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Yep, Peter is wildly lucky if he has power. I'm one of the unlucky ones. My little bachelorette condo in downtown Houston was built in the 70's and faces east, with lots of large, old trees immediately adjacent. I had been grateful for those trees as they shade my wee slice of Houston heaven from the south Texas sun, thereby keeping my air-conditioning bills down. But then they suddenly became a liability.

 

I went over to my daughter and son-in-law's house to weather the storm. They've got a sturdy, well-built brick house and I felt much more secure there. We had power until about 2am or so, when I heard this large humming sound and the sky flashed a bright, eerie science-fiction green and the power failed. Then it came back on for about five minutes. Then off again. Then on and off about five times over the next hour. I have subsequently learned that the electric companies have computers that instantly reroute you when your transformer fails. So when the green flash and loud boom signaled that the transformer right outside my window blew out, we were rerouted to another transformer. Then it failed, and we were again rerouted. This process repeated until there were no more working transformers to reroute us to.

 

So my condo and my kids' house are both without power and water as well. No internet and cell phone service has been spotty, not to mention I couldn't recharge. My son and his wife out in Sugar Land were without power about 18 hours, I guess, but yesterday afternoon it got restored. They live in a relatively new area, with underground untilities and not so many old trees to fall onto power lines. So late last night, I got into my trusty coche and picked my way through the mess and the muck and the water and bits of what used to comprise various buildings and made it out here. As I told my son, this is great! Cool air-conditioned air, light bulbs burning brightly, hot water from the tap, cold water from the fridge, and hurricane coverage on a television that works. He said that he supposed for me, it must be as though I've checked into the Sugar Land Four Seasons. And it is.

 

His house did sustain some minor damage, though, and as we speak, he and his wife's family are all up on the roof pounding shingles back on. A cold front has arrived and it's raining again, so the roof is slippery and this mother's heart is worried for him, but he's got to do something to stop the leaks that are filling the stew pot and roaster and other pots and pans sitting around on the kitchen and bedroom floors.

 

My former husband's various relatives didn't fare so well. His brother's family (also in Sugar Land) lost half their roof and that part of their house is a total loss. My former husband and wife, and his sister and her husband all live on Galveston Island. They're still evacuated up in Austin, so don't know what they're facing when they return. They've steeled themselves for a complete loss, figuring that way, anything less will be good news.

 

I'm charging my phone as we speak. I noticed that I've missed a few calls and have some new voice mails, so I'll be gettin' backatcha as soon as I have a shower.

 

A nice, hot shower, it's probably not necessary to add.

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My son's trip to Lowe's this morning might interest some of y'all. Not sure if Lowe's is a national chain so if any of you are not familiar with it, it's one of those super hardware stores like Home Depot. It was supposed to open at 8am, so Mark got over there at 7:45, thinking he'd be early, thereby lessening his chances of the store being out of roofing shingles. He was surprised to discover that the vast parking lot was full and there were already long lines snaking out the doors. Lowe's had opened early this morning, and had already organized everything. The lines were divided according to what you wanted. As Mark walked toward the front of the store, an employee approached him, asking him what he was there for. Mark said "shingles," and the guy pointed him toward one of the lines. "That's the shingles and roofing line," he said. Mark asked what the longest line was for and the response was "Generators." so Mark was glad about that. They were letting the generators people in five at a time and every now and then a woman came out from the store and hollered details about the dwindling inventory: "We still have blah blah blah and they will power one small airconditioner, several lights and a refrigerator and they cost $799" and so forth. When you made it up to the front of the line, Lowe's assigned you a personal shopper that accompanyed you, thereby speeding up your trip considerably. When it was my son's turn, the fellow said, "You need shingles, right?"

 

"Yes."

 

And they went immediately to the shingles department.

 

"What color? We're out of a lot of colors."

 

"Well, you know, it's funny. You look at something every day...."

 

"Is this patch permanent, or will the insurance company be replacing it?"

 

"The insurance company will be replacing it."

 

"Then it doesn't really matter. As for quality, they come in $20 packages or $15 packages."

 

"I'll take the $15."

 

"We're out of the $15."

 

"I'll take the $20."

 

"Okay, how many packages do you need?"

 

"Um....let me see..."

 

"How many holes?"

 

"Five holes and two ridgelines."

 

"You need five packages."

 

"Okay, thanks very much."

 

"Wait a minute, sir. Do you have roofing paper?"

 

"Uh, no, I guess not."

 

"Okay, one roll should do it."

 

"Oh, okay, thanks."

 

"How about tar?"

 

"Tar?"

 

"Yep, you'll need about this much."

 

"Okay."

 

"Now, how about a hammer."

 

"I do have a hammer."

 

"And nails?"

 

"I've got nails."

 

"Enough?"

 

"Well, I guess you can always use more nails, so throw in a couple packages."

 

My son, thanks to Lowe's exceptional organization, was in and out of there, with everything he needed, in less than five minutes.

 

A big improvement over letting folks wander around the store looking for stuff, stopping employees at random to question them, then leaving and getting home and discovering they didn't get something and having to go back and repeat the process.

 

 

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It looks as if alternate vertical supports have slipped suggesting poor foundation work, you may have grounds for reparation.

 

S, Nope! The building should be fine. It is a totally concrete construction building. It was built with angles like you mention to conform to the angled building line relative to The Gulf.

 

The building is not the problem.

 

The problems are utilities, erosion, vegetation line, and ground level amenities.

In which case it seems to have got off relatively lightly, a bit of landscaping and some remedial work on the pool will give a fine result, in three months one will hardly know there's been a problem, unlike other parts of the Caribbean.

 

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