Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurricane Ike Mini Report

Hi. Greenfamily survived Ike. This picture below is as devastating as it got for our family (face is filled with ketchup, not blood :))

We woke up on Saturday morning to this flood in our front yard.

When the winds and rain let up we went out for a walk.

At our friends, we played the requisite board games.

And spent much time camping inside our house by candlelight. We luckily have gas instead of electric cooking, so our meals are fairly gourmet and have involved cooking everything in the freezer, then the fridge. We are really, really sick of fake meat, which I had just bought a lot of since it was on sale.

We have enjoyed a few days without access to internet or electricity. Life is peaceful here on our street. GreenDaddy says its the most relaxed he's been in a long time.

Last night we took a card table out onto the lawn and ate with our friend Hosam. Neighbors joined in, and eventually GreenDaddy, Grasshopper, and Ben, the neighbors sun, gave an impromptu concert.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you all are ok. I wish I could fed ex you some ice. xoxo, Julie

GreenDaddy said...

The experience for us has been overwhelmingly positive. Our house was not damaged. We lost power but our water and gas flowed consistently. We met many of our neighbors for the first time, and if we had already met them we got to know them better. I was so stressed out about my job, a few days without internet forced a nice reset of my temperament. We checked on an elderly neighbor next door. The hurricane hadn't caused him many problems, but he invited us in and talked to us at length. He explained that he had prostate cancer. He walked us through his house and explained its history.

In the evening, we ate out on the front lawn. Neighbors spontaneously brought their food over and joined us. I accompanied a guitar-playing teenager from next door on my cello. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that the biggest story around Ike is the change in use, perception, and relationship to a relatively unscathed built environment.

Saturday night, before the curfew was called, we went for a drive. The Montrose streets were dark. None of the traffic lights worked. Westheimer, West Gray, Dallas -- streetscapes that are normally defined by glaring signage and street lamps -- were almost pitch black. The result was a de-familiarization of the space. The bowed-down trees and the massing of the unlit buildings imbued the streets with an older, more dignified feel. The neighborhood felt like an older Asian or Latin American town where power is often lost and lighting is spare even when the power is on.

We drove Downtown and the glittering broken glass on the roads was spectacular. The glimmer made the normally eerie empty streets and skyscrapers even stranger. We found the Chase building which was completely encircled by huge news trucks topped by satellite dishes. Reporters were standing in front of the cameras waiting for the broadcast to go live. Though the building was ravaged, I was just reminded of the disjunct between the discourse of the news coverage and the actual experience of the storm, and how the national discourse is way more distorted by sensationalism than the local.

MaGreen said...

Yay! I fixed the website. It's been a couple weeks I was having problems posting.

It is Friday after I wrote this. Still without power, less ecstatic about the peace and quiet...that's sort of morphed into exhaustion and annoyance. The power line down the street is still tucked neatly into the gutter, it's black rubber limbs wrapped around it like they're trying to cover an embarrasing nakedness.

I do still love the stillness and silence of the house as we fall asleep.

GreenDaddy said...

Our little nights eating out on the front yard might be included in a NY Times story! MaGreen and I wrote out all these notes for the reporter, so I thought I might as well post them:

We never lost gas. Many of our neighbors had electric stoves. We tried to cook everything in one pot because we had to do the dishes in the dark.

First night – cooked by candle light and ate on paper plates

Spaghetti with collard greens, quorn meat balls, canned organic tomato sauce, added molasses, garlic, all of the vegetables we thought would go bad, carrots boiled and mashed up to sweeten the sauce, walnuts, salt

Cucumber salad – cubed seeded cucumbers with diced scallions mixed with balsamic vinegar, oil, sumac, salt, and pepper

A loaf of thawed out Whole Foods bread that we had frozen

Wine – Hosam

Fried potatoes, vegetable stir fry -- Richard

Second night

Basmati rice, dal (mix of moong and massor lentils) both made in our pressure cooker using a stacking device in order to reduce the amount of heat because the house got hot the first night. Added onions and garlic, asafatida, cumin, salt, and coriander to the dal. (Madhur Jaffrey recipe)

We made just enough for three people because we ran out of ice.

cake said...

thank you so much for posting your notes of your experience. and the pictures! i can imagine it being peaceful, relaxing, even beautiful, to be off the grid for a change. i can also imagine it becoming tiresome. our lives are currently set up to include electricity. we can pretty easily take breaks from it, but for daily life to continue, in the ways we have become accustomed, we need the power back on. sad, but true.

i was never worried about you guys. you're resourceful, and have good survival instincts.