Thursday, September 25, 2008

Good Night Moon!

Dear Audrey,

When you were a toddler. your favorite book was “Goodnight Moon”. You wanted Mommy to read it to you every single night. It was part of your bedtime ritual. After you were in your jammies, Mommy would gather you and the book, and your blanket and would sit down in her rocking chair. She had inherited the rocker from her grandmother, so it really meant a lot to her to be able to sit in that chair and read to you. You would point to all of the pictures and name the items with Mommy as she read to you. It got where you knew the story by heart and if Mommy would try to ad lib, you would say. “No Mommy, that’s not how it goes.”

Mommy had to have her surgery while this was still part of your bedtime routine. She couldn’t hold you in her lap for 2 months, and you were too young to really understand. I was there the first few nights, but you didn’t want me to read to you. I would read the book to you, but you wanted Mommy to read it with you. She finally hit upon the idea that she could sit on the floor and you would sit on the floor beside you. Then she could read to you, “Good night, moon! Good night, room.” “Good night, kittens. Good night, mittens.” Then it would be time for your good night kiss and someone would have to put you in the bed for Mommy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Guess who's got lights? Guess who's got air conditioning? Guess who gets to take a hot shower in the morning (hopefully, too soon to check out the hot water situation) Guess who has cable TV? Guess who has internet access on her own laptop? Guess who? Huh? Huh?

After 10 1/2 days - we were sitting out on the driveway before the mosquitos drove us inside when I looked up and saw the street light come on. We had the main breakers turned off just in case there was a power surge when the lights came on. So we hurried inside and started unplugging extension cords and slowly turning stuff back on. And it all works!!!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

One Week Ago Today...

One week ago today, we were sitting in front of the TV trying to decide whether to stay or to go. I had packed up my family keepsakes and photos and thought I was getting caught up on laundry (how could I forget jeans?). We finally decided based on the information we had at the time to stay since our hotel reservations were just on the other side of town.

One week ago today, we were sitting in front of the TV watching the waves already wash over the west end of Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula, essentially cutting them off, and watching the waves already crashing up over the Seawall on the east of Galveston.

One week ago today we were sitting in air-conditioning with lights and TV going without the overriding sound of a generator engine.

One week ago today we were worried about what was coming, but not too worried - after all it was only a Category 2, and I had rode out Alicia which was a Cat 3 without too much trauma.

One week ago today we watched the winds begin to come up before dark, but it wasn't too bad and there wasn't any rain yet. The lights started flickering, but would come back on - not too bad so far.

One week ago today we watched the winds start to really slam the area - we still had TV, so we laughed at the idiot reporters that have to get out in the storm just to show people how bad it is - we know already! You jkust look ridiculous!

One week ago today I started to get scared - this was not really like Alicia after all. Would the house hold? Would we have serious damage? Would the lights eventually go out altogether?

One week later - the lights did go out about 1:00 in the morning Saturday morning and haven't come back on to this point. We never had the eye go over the house so the winds never quit blowing all night. The roof held, although we lost some shingles and the turbines shifted off the standpipes, allowing rain to blow into the attic - as a result, we have some ceiling damage in the kitchen and in the hall bath.

The fence blew down in three spots - it's now held up literally with clothesline and tree stakes. If Jasmine ever chases a squirrel across that side of the yard, she will probably find out how secure the fence isn't. However, we probably won't have many squirrels in the backyard anymore since the one tree, a 15 year old red maple that I planted the week I moved in fell across the fence and is resting on the neighbor's elm tree. At least the fence on that side hasn't come down yet. The neighbors lost their pecan tree - it was probably 30 years old and huge. It come up from the roots - scary.

We are so fortunate - yes, we are still having to use the generator for lights and fan, and to keep the refrigerator running. Yes, cold showers in the dark are getting really old. The lines to get gasoline haven't been much fun either - but at least we aren't at the mercy of the ice, water, and food lines at the FEMA PODs. Yes, I worry that we will get thunderstorms coming in before we are able to get the roof replaced. But we have had mild temperatures since Ike passed through, we have a roof over our heads, we do have some electrical power due to the generator, gas lines are decreasing and restaurants are opening up - life is getting back a lot closer to normal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Things To Be Thankful For

Hurricane Ike - no, that's not what I'm thankful for. That sorry storm could have just fizzled into thin air and I would have been perfectly happy. No, what I'm thankful for regarding Hurricane Ike is that even though he was Category 2 sorry so-and-so with a Category 4 storm surge, and that instead of the eye passing over, the eye wall went right over my house, yeah, all that - in spite of all that, we came through with our lives and still a roof over our heads.

Ok, so the roof has a little wear on it and some missing shingles and two openings where the turbines decided to move over just a little - just enough to let rain get into the and through the hall bathroom ceiling, oh yeah and the kitchen ceiling. Oh and the red maple tree in the back yard decided to crack and fall about 6-7' up - but it fell parallel to the house. The fence - well that's another story. It came down on one side - or at least 3 panels came down. Those panels are now held up with thin rope and a tree stake. If Jazz ends up chasing a squirrel across that side of the yard, it's history.

Ok, I'm not thankful for having to take cold showers in the dark because here it is Wednesday and we still have no electricity - I don't think anyone would be thankful for that - wait, I have a friend who has no running water and has to go outside and down to the corner to the "blue chalet" when she has to get up in the middle of the night. She might be happy to have a cold shower in the dark.

We have some minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things, and my bank account is going to take an unplanned hit covering my deductible (I hope that's all I have to cover) - but when I consider how bad it could have been and how much worse other people have it, I praise God that I'm alive as are all of my family friends and that even though it's a little battered and worn, I have a roof over my head. Oh and I have a generator so I have a few lights, a fan, the TV (OK, when you don't have cable and have to put up with either round the clock hurricane recovery coverage or inane sitcoms that may not be something to be thankful for), and I have access to the internet through Mark's Verizon Air Card!!!! Thank you, God!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

My Third Grade Years

Dear Audrey,

You are now in the Third Grade. I can't believe how fast time is flying and how much you have grown up.

I started trying to remember my Third Grade year so that I could compare with you. But you know what, I don't remember that much about my actual class time anymore. It's amazing how some things you think you will never forget slip away as the years do.

I went to Third Grade at Mading Elementary in Houston. I remember being in a "temporary" classroom. I put temporary in quotes because it seems like in every school, the "temporary" classrooms in "portable" buildings seem to end up permanent structures on the school campus. I don't remember my teacher's name, but either she had a baby or she got married, and left mid-term. I ended up with a substitute teacher for the rest of the year.

I remember that was the year I learned cursive - and thought I was all grown up since I could write in cursive. I'm sure I had math, English, science, and probably geography. But I don't remember that much about my coursework.

Grandy was pregnant with your mommy when I started Third Grade. Kathy was just starting Kindergarten. It was definitely a year of change. Grandy's daddy, my Granddaddy died on October 1, 1965 - just about a month after I started school. Your Mommy was born on February 27, 1966.

We moved to Pearland in April of that year, but since it was so close to the end of the year, Grandy and Grandpa Harold decided that Kathy and I should finish out the school year at Mading. So Grandy would make 3 trips a day from Pearland into Houston to take us and pick us up. It was 3 trips because Kindergarten was only a half day back then. She would have to pack up your Mommy and the diaper bag each time.

I remember one of my friends in Third Grade, Cheryl Heflin. And I think the reason I remember her the most, is that when I started school in Pearland the next year - there she was - at Pearland as well. Another girl that I got to be good friends with in Pearland, Pam Rabon, had also gone to Mading.