Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Houston After Ike

It turns out my place doesn't have power back on yet, so the first thing I do when I return will be to empty the refrigerator into a Dumpster.  

I'll have to time my return carefully, though, because the 9PM-6AM curfew is still in effect, and apparently enforced:  over a hundred ninety tickets were written for curfew violation the first night it was in effect.  

Houston Independent School District's inclement weather hotline says that the public schools will be closed through Wednesday, and a local tipster informs me that there's talk of keeping schools closed all week.  

Intersections controlled by lights are de facto 4-way stops.

All grocery stores reported to me (Randall's on Weslayan and anything near the Medical Center) are all selling only things that don't require refrigeration, except for Whole Foods on Kirby, which was selling fresh meat and dairy products -- all at normal prices -- and lines are heinous at any of them.

Lack of air conditioning will make the city miserable -- Houston is naturally a swamp, and except in winter tolerable only indoors -- the second the cold front fails.  However, Ike was immediately followed by a different storm, brought by the cold front that drove Ike East.  Houston is temporarily blessed with natural cool air.

Some folks, recognizing the finitude of their ability to keep perishables in their deep freezers, are throwing block parties for their neighbors so as not to lose the benefit of the vennison, ice cream, or other treasures that had been in cold storage.

Some restaurants (e.g., Luther's Bar-B-Q) were open Saturday -- Day Ike-1 -- and made good business feeding people who couldn't run their electric stoves.  Restaurants may have been without power, but those with gas heat have been working to sell perishables before they, you know, perish.  Ziggy's Grill on West Alabama was pushing turkey burgers this way, I understand.  Without electricity, keeping fed could become expensive.

I"ll be keeping tabs on the electricity.  Condominiums near the Greenway area are known to have power, as are many neightborhoods adjacent to the Medical Center.

If you visit friends for dinner in Houston, bring a toothbrush:  the curfew is 9PM, and you don't want a $500 citation.

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