Friday, July 25, 2008

He's back!

Back home again! Neighbors gave him a lift to Port Isabel to wait for the Rio Transit bus. When it didn't come, he spent $50 for a taxi to Brownsville (the normal price) and caught the last bus of the day from Brownsville to Houston. Supposed to leave at 12.40pm but was an hour late - arrived here at 8.30pm! Had to wait quite a while in Sarita, where one of the passengers was pulled off the bus and checked out by the immigration police. Got to see IronMan and Transformers and some other movie with Dennis Quaid (all in Spanish) - all at significant volume. He says this ride must have been penance for all his recent sins...

Anyway, he's back home. We will have to go back down to check the house again once the power comes on.


He is on his way home... taking the bus from Brownsville. I'm so relieved. Bus should get in around 7:30 tonight.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More than seven days to restore power

The latest estimate to get all the power back up on South Padre Island is "7+" days. I don't know if my husband knows that, since I haven't talked to him since 4pm. I doubt I'll hear from him tonight... which is discouraging. If he were hurt or sick the calls would come but right now nothing. So I am left spinning in what-ifs and worries. I must to do 2 things next week - a deposition in Corpus Christi on Monday, and a file review in Chicago on Thursday. My thoughts are to drive down on Saturday, pick him up and do the depo in Corpus on Monday, and then drive him back to Houston. There are other things that should be done (a file review, and visiting my parents) but both of those things can be rescheduled. What-ifs and worries... I'm sure more will be clear tomorrow.

Update on local damages...

And by local I mean our street. My husband reports that our house has very minimal roof damage, a few shingles lost. One side of the privacy fence blew down. A bit of water under the front door. Amazing really.

He says the water was back on this morning when he woke up. Our neighbor to the east - the roof has a hole in it (not sure what size or which side). Our neighbor to the west - roof damaged as well, and the fence is down between our yard and his. The neighbor further up the street to the east - more roof damage as well. There was no street flooding on our street or on Gulf Boulevard close to us. Padre Boulevard was definitely flooded.

He is going to stay and work with the neighbors on their cleanup. He says he is fine and he does actually sound OK. Hopefully the power will be restored fairly soon so that he’ll have something to eat besides cold tortillas and cheese. The news reports say it will be “several days” before power is back on.

Cell phone calls aren't getting out - perhaps the traffic is too heavy this morning. He had to call me from the neighbor's land line.

I am hopeful he will take pictures but of course without power it's going to be hard to get them to me!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Causeway reopened this evening

According to the Weather Channel, the Queen Isabella Causeway has been reopened late this evening. This is great news, because the power-restoration crews were not staying on the island and until now have not been able to start the process of getting the electricity back on. The city manager was also interviewed and he said that the debris was more extensive than expected and they were working to get the roadways cleared before vehicles were allowed back on. Hopefully once the power is back on the water flow will also be restored to homes. I know there are millions of people in the world that don't have electricity and safe water available to them - I've even lived that way myself. But it's more difficult when almost everything you do has electricity integrated somehow. Makes you really think...

Hurricane Dolly exits, stage left

And good riddance, too. She left quite a bit of damage in her wake - we won't know the full story until the rain stops and the wind dies down some. At the peak of the storm my husband said the house was shaking and once in a while he would hear a cracking sound. Hard to know what that really is without further inspection.

The power went out around 11:30 this morning, and the water stopped around 3 this afternoon. Hopefully the city crews will be out in force to get the utilities running again. There are quite a few people on the island so that should help. And the causeway should be reopened soon (it has to be closed when the wind exceeds 39mph) now that the wind has calmed down to about 35.

Around 11 AM my husband "went for a walk" on the beach, from Bougainvillea Circle to The Palms (for those of you who know where that is...). He retrieved a football and a nice plastic bucket. He came back on Gulf Boulevard, which is where a photographer got a shot of him. Here is the link to the slide show - his photo is somewhere around 23rd or 24th.

Update from South Padre Island

Hurricane Dolly is passing over the island now. Overnight the wind and rain were "very noisy" according to my husband. I spoke with him early this morning and again about 20 minutes ago. So far the power has gone out once for just a minute or two. Cell phone still working. He says "it's a good thing we didn't pay anyone to prune the palm trees because they are all pruned now".

Looking at the radar it seems the eye will pass right over our house. In a way I wish I was there to see it. Can't get him to take pictures during the storm - he won't open any windows or doors and says that the windows are too fogged/rained on to get anything meaningful through them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

hurricane dolly sunset

hurricane dolly sunset, originally uploaded by AmyEmilia.

This photo was taken by my husband, who is riding out the storm on South Padre Island. I was talking to him as he was taking these pictures, and all he could do was say "wow!" over and over again. Here in Houston the sunset was pinky orange too, but not quite as nice.

As you can see, the surf is quite wild-looking. He is planning on going down to the beach in the morning (after the storm passes of course) and taking a few more pictures. I hope his night isn't too rough.

Dolly heads for Brownsville

Looks like Brownsville is the target for Dolly. My husband is at our South Padre Island home, and I'm in Houston. Certainly he will have LOTS of rain and wind but since the storm should come ashore as a category 1 hurricane we are not panicking. Maybe he will send photos - if so I'll post.

Here in Houston we have already a little rain - desperately needed here and even more further west and south. Forecast winds of 20-30 miles mph here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Getting ready for Dolly

We are watching Dolly, wondering if it will hit South Padre Island and hoping it will instead trend north to the relatively uninhabited land between Brownsville and Kingsville. We will see...

Sunday, July 20, 2008


hot, originally uploaded by AmyEmilia.

No surprise, it's hot in Houston! I think that is part of why I haven't posted much lately. Too hot to do anything really. As they say - it's not the heat, it's the humidity. Believe it or not, Houston isn't the most humid city.

According to World Facts & Figures, the city with the highest average humidity is St. Paul Island, Alaska! I was surprised at the number of colder places, but then I've never really lived in a cold climate. Those of you with more experience may understand that better. (By the way, the least humid was Milford, Utah, with a morning reading of zero humidity, and an afternoon reading of 34%.)

Houston actually is pretty far down the list at 27th. Cities ahead of it include New Orleans, Galveston, and Brownsville. I've also eliminated the following locations from any future intinerary: The Caroline Islands (except for Yap, which I'd like to see for it's famous stone money), Guam, Marshall Islands, American Samoa - and a whole lot of Alaska.

Or maybe not. I've visited lots of "uncomfortable" places, and I had a great time at all of them. The weather was a factor and something that I remember - but it was part of the place, part of the experience.

Which brings me back to summer in Houston . The real source of my ennui is familiarity. For the last 17 years, every summer has been hot and humid and full of mosquitos. The air is thick and I am reluctant to breathe it in. The air smells wet, the grass grows green. Moss creeps up the bricks, my camera lens fogs when I leave the house. My orchids hang in the live oak tree and bloom like they are in Thailand.

It may be hot, and humid - but it is home.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


sandcastle, originally uploaded by AmyEmilia.

My nephew and I built this sandscastle while we were vacationing on the Island (South Padre that is). I am a particular fan of drip castles and this is easily the biggest one I've ever done. We had a fine time!

Sandcastle building is a meditative endeavor - the sand running through your fingers, the waves rushing up and down the beach, kids laughing, the sun creating sparkles of light on the wettest parts of the castle. Sometimes a big wave comes in and part of the building collapses. When you leave, the building stays but for a few hours at the most. But I can always visit the drip-towers in my memory, looking out to sea.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wyland wall worshipping...

worshipping the wyland, originally uploaded by AmyEmilia.

I know I've been silent for a long time - and this picture tells you a little about where I've been. My sister and her family came to visit us down on South Padre Island - we had a wonderful time. The Island is a great place to just hang out. Not a lot of big sights to see (althoughSchlitterbahn Water Park got high marks) but plenty of space for a family to run and play and eat.

The artist Wyland painted this wall in May 1994. It is part of the South Padre Island Convention Center. The side where we were playing around (the south side) also has an area of native trees and flowers to attract birds and butterflies. The boys had a great time making shadows in the spotlights!

The weather cooperated most of the time so we were able to spend time building sandcastles and lazing around on the beach. Afternoon naps, feeding the local cats, investigating local stores (Art Sea has some nice art and cool stuff!), eateries... all good fun. Some places I haven't been before, like Fishbones - really good fried shrimp in an entertaining venue. Or the local pizzeria, D'Pizza Joint , which features a brick, wood-fired oven and lots of local color. (Good pepperoni, by the way!)

My sister and I had not vacationed together since we were children, so this was a special week. I am so glad it was possible!


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