Hurricane Ike Lessons learned.

A year ago today my front yard looked like this... Two of my big beautiful trees had fallen during hurricane Ike.
We hadn't let enough water out of the pool, the back of the house almost flooded due to the pool overflowing.
The week before we knew it was coming and set out to get the house ready. We brought in all the plants and kids toys we could. Nailed down everything possible and taped all the windows.
While many people were panicking and spending all their available cash on supplies, we were comforted knowing that we didn't need to join the rush and that we were well prepared. We ran into Walmart on Thursday evening and were stunned to see the shelves. It was a very errie feeling when your huge supercenter is cleared out COMPLETELY!
Because of couponing and my food storage there was nothing that we needed, save for some fresh fruit and vegetables.
On Friday, everything was closed, the kids were out of school and we just had to sit around and wait. Paul, myself and the DuBois, took the shotgun and hand guns down to the creek to do some shooting and relieve some anxiety! We heard reports on T.V. of all the chaos surrounding the stores closing early and people not having any food or water. I can't understand not being prepared? Why would you live so day to day that you can't take care of your family in an emergency with the basics of food, when you have the ability with coupons to do it almost free?

Friday was very still, it was hard to imagine what was coming. I can understand how so many people were killed in the 1909 hurricane, you really have no idea what is about to happen. That afternoon the wind started to pick up a little and by bed time we were getting a little rain and large wind gusts. At midnight we lost our power. Paul and I laid down to try and get some sleep, but at 1:30am our first tree fell on the house. We ran to see what had happened and could tell that we might loose more, so we grabbed the kids and put them all in the center of the house. I can't describe how loud the wind was! It was amazing!
When morning came we were stunned at the damage. I guess we thought it would just pass over and we would have a few downed power lines.
We got to work quickly, cutting down trees and helping neighbors. It was a really neat experience for myself and my family. It was difficult. We were without power for almost a month. Paul had to go to Dallas for work and I was alone with the kids, two were having major asthma problems, it was HOT outside and honestly I was scared at night. Without power your world is completely different, we talked a lot more, we played a lot more and it was really nice. Psychologically it was difficult because we were some of the last to get power back. So when everyone else has it at church and school they move on, not realizing you are still struggling to prepare every meal.
Try getting your kids ready for school for two weeks without power. That is exciting.
But I am very grateful for a few things. I am grateful for all food, water, and batteries that I have stockpiled all for almost free with coupons. This is one of many shelving systems I have for storage. It may not be pretty, but I never want to have to worry about how I am going to feed my kids. I can't imagine a more sick feeling than not having anything to feed them or wondering who is going to help us, I hope that never happens.
We were also able to donate almost a thousand dollars personally, of toiletries to our neighbors and to my kids elementary school. Many people in my subdivision were flooded out of their homes. The kids and I went to "The Ivanovsky mini-mart" in my garage and pulled together almost 40 gift bags for families who had nothing but the clothes on their backs. We also were able to make dinner and bake items with the solar oven that I had and give warm food out to friends.
I am so thankful we were kept safe physically during the hurricane last year, and that the damage to property was fixable. I am also thankful for a supportive family who helps me use coupons and tolerates my stockpiles around the house! Hopefully we never have to go through any significant power loss again, but I know that if we have to, we will be prepared.



A Musing Mom (Taylorclan6) said...

Excellent post!

Hurricanes are not prominent in my neck of the woods (neither are those critters your husband shot, either) but job loss or unexpected bills are.

Three years ago I quit my job to stay home with my kids. Two weeks later my husband lost his job. There was scrambling, tears, and stress, but I knew we would eat. My storage room had food.

Also during that difficult time I taught myself how to make a lot of things from scratch. I haven't bought Rhodes rolls since. Even though things have exceeded our loss, I make most of my food from scratch. I want to know I can.

P.S. I'm baking sourdough french rolls even as I type. You can't buy hot, fresh rolls like those!

Hillori said...

Wow! I remember sitting in church a year ago, hearing a talk about a man's son in Houston who was so affected by the hurricane, and you just made it even more personable. Sometimes we think that catastrophe's happen to "other people" and people seem to live in the moment. But we never know when that catastrophe will happen, or what it will be. For my family, it was my husband being without employment for 8 months. Without our storage, we NEVER would have made it!

P.S. I can. NOT. imagine. getting kids ready for school for two weeks without power. I'm sure that brought many happy memories.

Superwoman said...

what an inspirational story and great testimony of the power of being prepared. That is so wonderful that all turned out well.

.:Anna:. said...

Jeff and I were in Montana. I was glued to the news for two days before it happend and then quite a lot aftewards...

Mom called at 5:30am to tell us about the storm, I got online and looked at the weather and it said the winds were at 70mph! That was RIGHT at your house, and the storm had JUST started. Then it was horrible-we got disconnected and I couldn't get a hold of anyone for hours. Ugh-It was horrible to watch from so far away and feel so helpless.

Heather said...

I am so glad that you and your family are OK. Scary!

M and W said...

I wanted to be there SO bad! I had told mom to call me the second the storm started so I got a call from her around 2am, she was standing outside and I could hardly hear her for the wind.

Meagan and John said...

I remember during one time last year going to walmart to get flashlights only to discover that all the flashlights and latterns were sold out completely (well except the ones we couldn't afford) we ended up buying pumkin flashlights designed for kids to go trick or treating--we had the food we just didn't have the lights, but we have since learned and we now have latterns (bought a few at a yardsale) and enough oil to last us a couple of nights

we had our own little catastrophe when the house we rented had sewage issues, bottled water is definitely something we keep stocked up on here--now if only I coudl find a portable toilet and generator for cheap

The Queen said...

Our church urges us to have a year's supply of food and other necessities. Some people scoff at that, but as you've shown, things can get out of hand very quickly. Thanks for sharing.

Julia said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story, I'm sharing mine today and will be linking to this post. I am so glad I stumbled on this today.

Julia @ The Frugal Find

Brandon & Natalie said...

Oh man, I love it - someone else shares my dream of being prepared at all times!!! Your shelves are making me salivate :) Awesome job, great post!

Karen said...

I really appreciate reading your story and insight to Ike. We lived in League City last year when it hit, and it was a defining event in our family's life. Unfortunately, we lost our home due to storm damage and had to leave the Houston area because there was no where left to live...but the lessons we learned are priceless. Faith and family are most important...possesions are not. You prepare for the unknown diligently, and make due with what you have. Today we live a more modest but more rich life and even tho going thru Ike was not fun, I'm glad it happened. All that considered tho, I hope that your family doesn't have to go thru another hurricane!!! Thanks for sharing your story!

Christi said...

How awesome that you were able to be a blessing in such a time!

Could you share more info on your solar oven? This is something I've been interesting for a long time, but have never found a feasible way of making one.