So, we were incredibly lucky. We live in an apartment so any damage that was sustained in our area is largely someone else's probably. As far as I can tell only some shingles fell off of the roof and a few very young, non-threatening tree came unrooted from the soil in which they were planted just a couple years before. Our electricity was out for a total of 12 hours, which was about the time that it took Amanda and I to get a good night's sleep (well, I slept well, anyway) and then eat breakfast. About the biggest inconvenience for us was the weaker than normal cell phone signal and the DVR box wasn't working until the Comcast offices openned and could resend a signal to it. Oh, and the Astros had to play two very important "home games" at "neutral" Miller Park in North Chicago.
Not everyone was so lucky. Particularly the people of Galveston and Bolivar, which is where I've grown up visiting and going to the beach. It's basically gone, now. What was once a neighborhood lined with homes is now dotted, at best with some weak structures that somehow stayed up.
My parents and many of my friends and family in Baytown were also hit pretty hard. My parents had several tree in their yard blown down as well as an electrical pole that serves their house. It will be a while before they have electricity, I'm sure. They stayed the night here the other night and I'm sure they were happy to have A/C and internet for a while.
Another friend of mine lives in La Porte, an area on the other side of the Fred Hartman Bridge from Baytown. They are still not letting people in to the town, so he is scraping for places to stay. He's going to stay with us tonight.
We've had no school this week, which has been strange. We really didn't expect the Hurricane to be this big of a deal, especially in Fort Bend, far from the Galveston coastline. It has essentially shut down the entire Houston Metro area. It's just so hard to imagine an area this huge, with this many people having their lives affected in such dramatic ways all at the same time. I heard a radio broadcaster say how Hurricane Ike was a great equalizer. We were without power for such a short period of time while several very affluent neighborhoods went much longer and may still be without power. It puts things in perspective and really makes you realize that we are all in the same boat. Hurricanes just kind of shine a light on that fact.