Sunday, September 28, 2008

Don's 35th Birthday

Don had his 35th birthday party at the Texas Rock Gym, last night.

It was fun! I'm hooked. Rock climbing is harder than it looks, but I just love a challenge.

I think Don had a great time, and most everyone climbed, even Don's Mom. Great job, Mary Bell!

Happy Birthday, Honey.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Still, No Power.

12 days and counting...

Total customers with power: 1.72 million (76% of total customers)

Total customers without power: 541,000 (24% of total customers)

You guessed it, we are in that 24%, that special one of every 4 customers.
We were supposed to go home tomorrow, but we just got power-restoration pushed back till' Sunday, 4 days from now.
Mom comes home Sunday and will most likely want her house back. Don has his 35th birthday party Saturday. We have family flying in Friday. We might just have to buy a big generator or cancel everything.

Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for all the crews that are working long hours to restore power, but it does make me think. What if there were no crews coming to save the day? Would people really be this severely handy-capped without power?
Our ancestors, even as close as our Grandparents, lived happily without electricity for most of their lives. I am sure with a little creativity and sweat, we could do the same. We could start a garden, barter with the neighbors, get to know our families again, and sip lemon-aid on the porch at sunset.
Alas, we don't live in the 'good ole' days.' The kids will have to return to school, Don will have to go into the office, showered, and I will have to buy my vegetables at the grocery store. It just scares me, though, to think of how dependant we are on something we can't provide for ourselves.
Maybe I should pack it all up, move to some far off place and live off the friuts of the land. But, then again, how the heck would I blog from there?

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Did you see this picture?
It is the headline on Yahoo. Yahoo understands me.


I am so grateful we have this wonderful home to stay in while our home is out of power. It just so happens my Mom and Dad had a 2 week vacation planned during this time. So, we have all the comforts of home and they got house sitters.

We are having a blast. We have visited tons of friends and family. We have visited LSU. We have eaten at some of my favorite Southern Louisiana food. Ahhhh, we are so blessed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our Ike

We stayed for Ike. Here is our story...

8:30am: I dropped the kids at school and ran by the grocery store to pick up some bread and water, just in case. To my surprise, the grocery store was slammed. There were no empty grocery carts to be found. People were rushing through the isles grabbing anything non-perishable. Of course, the steak and beer isles were almost empty, too. I admit it, I got caught up in the frenzy. I bought a basket full of groceries and 6 bags of ice.
9:30am: Lines at the gas pumps are 3 and 4 cars deep. I already had a full tank.
1:30pm: The school called to ask parents to pick up their kids. They wanted to let the teachers go home and make preparations for the storm.
3:00pm: I asked the kids to go outside and draw a picture of Ike on the back fence with chalk. 8:30pm: Alex is so worried about the storm that he can't sleep. We had to talk about his girlfriend and girl coodies to get his mind off of Ike.

All day: Watched TV, took in all the outside furniture and toys, checked on a neighbors house, picked up construction debris from a house being built next door, washed dishes and clothes, staged our "emergency room", turned the air conditioner down to 68 degrees and waited.
5pm: Read my friend Kahna's blog and got the idea to pull out our kites. Why not take advantage of the wind?
5:30pm -10pm: Neighbors started emerging from their homes. We stood around in the streets for hours chatting and letting the kids run circles around us.
10pm: The playroom camp out begins.

1:30am - 8am: The storm hits, and we loose power. It was scary when the house started to vibrate and windows started to leak. Everyone slept through the worst of it, except me. (OK. Don did get up when I had a question or got a little too nervous.) I guess the Mother-hen instinct kicked in. I wandered the house all night, checking on things and listening to the radio. I kept looking out the window at a billboard outside our bedroom window. I would know the storm was really bad if it fell. It never did...that was reassuring.
10am: Our street was flooded, but it never made it into our house.
12pm: Started up the grill and emptied the fridge into 3 ice chests.

All day: Played games, read books, cleaned up and waited for the forcasted cool front to come through.
5pm: Did a little sight seeing, mostly to use the air-conditioner and TV in the car. We had no idea how bad the storm had really hit Houston until we got out of our little neighborhood. Not many people fared as well as we did. Trees and power-lines littered the streets. Houses were crushed. I-10 looked like a lake as far as the eye could see. Just crazy. We were really thankful. We didn't loose a single shingle.

Remember that billboard? Well, it was standing, but this is the one next to it that I couldn't see.
9pm: Camped out on the foyer floor with all the doors open while the 68 degree weather enveloped us!

8:30am: Woke up, well rested, but with little chigger bites all over the kids. They look like the have the chicken pocks.
10am: We decide to drive to BR so Don can get onto the Internet. He has some pressure from work to get things done. His boss is in Chicago and doesn't really get what went down.
11am: Packed up the family, knocked a few holes in the walls around the windows that leaked and headed out for Baton Rouge.
2pm: Saw a sign on the service road of I-10 flashing, "Caution. House on Road." Sure enough, there it was, a little yellow house, in perfect condition, minus a foundation, sitting up straight in the middle of the I-10 service road. Oh, how I wish we had stopped to take a picture!
3pm: I was in awe of the amount of tree services, energy services, Wal-Mart trucks, insurance and church disaster units, generator transports, wire, oil, gas, and energy post convoys that were on the way into Houston along I-10E! Sad to say, though, at the tail end off hundreds of first responders were 3 measly FEMA trucks. Pathetic...why bother?

Neighbors helping neighbors throughout this storm was just touching. People sharing generators, waiting patiently for gas and not filling up to make sure there was enough for those behind them, helping clean each others yards and bringing coffee to tired police men. Beautiful.

So, there you have it. 98% of Houston, 5 million people, out of electrical service. We will go back home when the answering machine picks up at our house, but I have a feeling we are going to have a good long visit here in Baton Rouge.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane IKE

If you look close, you can see this stupid thing is headed directly over my house! Crap.
On the bright side, we have a "Harry Potter" room under the stairs in which we can "hunker down," and I do just love an adventure.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My fellow Americans...

My fellow Americans, it is an honor to address the Democratic National Convention at this defining moment in history. We stand at a crossroads at a pivot point, near a fork in the road on the edge of a precipice in the midst of the most consequential election since last year’s “American Idol.”

One path before us leads to the past, and the extinction of the human race. The other path leads to the future, when we will all be dead. We must choose wisely.
We must close the book on the bleeding wounds of the old politics of division and sail our ship up a mountain of hope and plant our flag on the sunrise of a thousand tomorrows with an American promise that will never die! For this election isn’t about the past or the present, or even the pluperfect conditional. It’s about the future, and Barack Obama loves the future because that’s where all his accomplishments are.

We meet today to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans, a generation that came of age amidst iced chais and mocha strawberry Frappuccinos®, a generation with a historical memory that doesn’t extend back past Coke Zero.

We meet today to heal the divisions that have torn this country. For we are all one country and one American family, whether we are caring and thoughtful Democrats or hate-filled and war-crazed Republicans. We must bring together left and right, marinara and carbonara, John and Elizabeth Edwards. On United we stand, on US Airways, there’s a 25-minute delay.

Ladies and gentleman, I never expected to be speaking before you today. Like so many of our speakers at this convention, I come from a hard-working, middle-class family. I was leading a miserable little life, but, nevertheless, overcame great odds to live the American Dream. My great-grandfather fought in Patton’s Army, along with Barack Obama’s great-grand uncles’ fourth cousin once removed.

As a child, I was abandoned by my parents and lived with a colony of ants. We didn’t have much in the way of material possession, but we did have each other and the ability to carry far more than our own body weights. When I was young, I was temporarily paralyzed in a horrible anteater accident, but I never gave up my dream: the dream of speaking at a national political convention so my speech could be talked over by Wolf Blitzer and a gang of pundits.

And today we Democrats meet in Denver, a suburb of Boulder, a city whose motto is, “A Taxi? You Must be Dreaming.”

And in Denver, we Democrats showed America that we have cute daughters who will someday provide us with prestigious car-window stickers. We heard Hillary Clinton’s ringing endorsement of “the weak-looking thin guy who’s bound to lose.”

We heard from Joe Biden, whose 643 years in the Senate make him uniquely qualified to talk to the middle class, whose family has been riding the Acela and before that the Metroliner for generations, who has been given a lifetime ban from the quiet car and who is himself a verbal train wreck waiting to happen.

We got to know Barack and Michelle Obama, two tall, thin, rich, beautiful people who don’t perspire, but who nonetheless feel compassion for their squatter and smellier fellow citizens. We know that Barack could have gone to a prestigious law firm, like his big donors in the luxury boxes, but he chose to put his ego aside to become a professional politician, president of the United States and redeemer of the human race. We heard about his time as a community organizer, the three most fulfilling months of his life.

We were thrilled by his speech in front of the Greek columns, which were conscientiously recycled from the concert, “Yanni, Live at the Acropolis.” We were honored by his pledge, that if elected president, he will serve at least four months before running for higher office. We were moved by his campaign slogan, “Vote Obama: He’s better than you’ll ever be.” We were inspired by dozens of Democratic senators who declared their lifelong love of John McCain before denouncing him as a reactionary opportunist who would destroy the country.

No, this country cannot afford to elect John Bushmccain. Under Republican rule, locusts have stripped the land, adults wear crocs in public and M&M’s have lost their flavor. We must instead ride to the uplands of hope!

For as Barack Obama suggested Thursday night, wherever there is a president who needs to tap our natural-gas reserves, I’ll be there. Wherever there is a need for a capital-gains readjustment for targeted small businesses, I’ll be there. Wherever there is a president committed to direct diplomacy with nuclear proliferators, I’ll be there, too! God bless the Democrats, and God Bless America!

New York Times

Nix the Bus Idea

The bus didn't show up yesterday. It was 30 minutes late today. The bus drivers don't know the names of the kids who ride the bus. They only the number of kids that get on and off per stop. Not safe or efficient.
As Palin would say, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Bus

Don just brought the boys to the bus stop. This is first day I agreed to let them ride the bus. They were so excited, but I am super nervous!
I had changed my mind this morning. I was going to keep on driving them to school, but the boys, Dad included, overruled me.
What if they get lost or in a wreck? What if they leave their homework on the seat? What if there is a big meanie on the bus?
I'm freakin' out over here! I am seriously considering going to the school and waiting to see if my kids arrive at their classes safe and sound.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Last Lecture

My favorite points of wisdom from this book:

"...We can not change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."

"...When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you."

"There is a lot of talk these days about giving children self-esteem. It's not something you can give; it's something they have to build...You have to give them something they can't do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and you just keep repeating the process."

"Fashion, by the way, is commerce masquerading as hip."

"Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won't make us any happier."

"When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it's really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do."

"Halfhearted or insincere apologies are often worse than not apologizing at all because recipients find them insulting...Proper apologies have three parts: 1. What I did was wrong. 2. I feel badly that I hurt you. 3. How do I make this better?"

"Sometimes all you have to do is ask, and it can lead to all your dreams coming true."

"...The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it bad enough. The brick wall are there to stop the other people."