If you weathered Hurricane Ike with us, you can skip this one. You already know this stuff. This is for my non Texas readers:
Rules to follow when a hurricane is impending:
1. Stock up with non-perishables for 3 days.
ACTUAL RULE TO FOLLOW: Stock up for a MONTH of water and non-perishables. Your power may very well be out for a month. (1 week later, 1 million Houstonians are still out of power - the boil water status has just now been dismissed.) Remember to fill pitchers of water up and put in your fridge, even if you DO get power back, a week of not being able to drink the tap water is a pain. You can't use it for meals (unless you boil it), you can't brush your teeth (I feel like I'm on a mission trip), you can't really wash your dishes with tap, etc. Even if you get power back and just need groceries, a week later all grocery stores are still not open and not nearly fully stocked; even Wal-Mart for awhile was only letting people in 10 at a time and rationing what you get. The wait to get in Wal-Mart is crazy long.
2. Get a little bit of gas for your vehicle
ACTUAL RULE TO FOLLOW: Fill up your tank and go to Wal-Mart and buy as many gas cans as you can, and fill them all up with gas (BEFORE the storm). The line to get gas is HOURS long for many, many days afterward. (People had generators, but couldn't get gas to run them). If you have to go back to work or travel anywhere for the week after, you'll have to wait for hours to get gas...or spend a good bit of time driving around looking for a gas station that has power so you can pump gas. (NOTE: gas pumps do not work without electricity).
3. Be sure you have a land line with a NON-CORDLESS phone attached to it.
ACTUAL RULE TO FOLLOW: This one!!!! Cell phone circuits will be completely busy. You won’t get calls in or out for days. Texting will work somewhat, although at times they will be delayed for hours. (Even a week later my phone at times wasn't ringing, but I'd suddenly get a voice mail.)
4. Stock up with battery operated supplies: radio, flashlights, fans, etc.
ACTUAL RULE TO FOLLOW: This one too! If you live in Texas humidity, by all means go purchase one of those small battery operated fans (you can get them at Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) And make sure you have a radio and extra batteries for all. After the power was off, it was great to be kept up to date about what was happening by radio. (Even though at times it was frustrating because it was the TV news on the radio and sometimes they talked like you could see what they were saying).
5. Watch it when driving
ACTUAL RULE TO FOLLOW: this was another good one...and still is! With the flooding, trees down and debris all over the roads, light poles snapped in two and power lines down... these are all good reasons not to get on the road. Even a week later, many red lights are still blown away and not replaced, or broken. So that means big intersections will now become 4 way stops...which translates - LOOONNGGG drive times and waits to get anywhere.
MORE GOOD RULES TO FOLLOW: Make a friend with someone who owns and operates a chainsaw. Have friends who are carpenters, roofers, maybe even with someone who works for Centerpoint Energy. Live next door to a grocery store so your power will be turned on first. Live in Texas, these people have the best spirit of anyone I know; friends and neighbors helping out friends and neighbors...it's a beautiful sight.
So although the storm didn't affect you other than your gas prices, and CNN and all the major news networks have left to go to the next big story....we're still here, in lines at the grocery stores, at the gas pumps, in lines at red lights that don't work, with no electricity, no food or water or ice. Many have lost their homes but haven't even been allowed back to see the damage or begin to rebuild...and the rest of the world goes on.
Don't worry, I don't blame you...you can't understand unless you've experienced it. It's human nature to forget when it's not right in front of you. But I will ask you to remember to pray for those who are struggling and will for quite some time. Maybe every time you go to the gas pump and don't have to wait in line for hours to get it, you'll remember to pray. Or when you can just go into the grocery store without a wait, without having what you purchase be rationed, you'll remember. Or maybe when your cell phone rings you'll remember. Or when you walk into your house and the AC is pumping, and you have cable TV, and you can open your fridge and get something cold to drink, or you can cook, or you can brush your teeth with water from the tap, you'll remember to pray....the people most devastated by this storm really need your prayers!
And for those Texas readers who kept reading even though I said to skip it, here's a reminder for me and you...
Leaky roofs, no electricity, no gas, no Wal-Mart or grocery store, no red lights, no good water, no food, no vehicle, heat and hunger, survival at it's minimum...the majority of the rest of the world lives like this every single day. This is not a devastating natural disaster for them, this is daily life. These are inconveniences for us. Use this time to remember those less fortunate than us as we are forced to relate to them.
And let's all pray!