In Houston: the cleanup begins

After this storm, I understand two things. What's important - and being prepared.
And personnel from USCG Air Station Houston sent rescue footage here.
Monday, September 8, we bought wood to board up the house - just in case. We've had enough of these Gulf storms to know - better safe than sorry.
The next few days we stocked up on batteries, water, canned goods.
The preparation helped the stress levels, yet waiting for the storm to hit was still rough. The aftermath is what we really didn't expect.
Ike was so much stronger than anyone thought - and came into downtown Houston with more force than anyone would have expected.
Fortunately my kids slept through hurricane Ike. The afternoon before the storm, we cleared out our bedroom closet downstairs, and were able to put in two twin mattresses on the floor. The kids stockpiled board games and flashlights, then went to sleep at 11pm - and by some sheer miracle, woke up around 8am.
Around 3am, with winds churning and trees cracking, the power went out. In our backyard, a tree fell - not on our home but onto the neighbors' garage next door, where no one was sleeping.
The kids were sleeping less than 4 feet away. I'm grateful our home is brick.
I was awake all night.
The next morning, we saw many trees uprooted in the park across the street. I mean uprooted. Branches looked as if someone went through the park with a huge saw. Leaves and twigs looked like they came through a shredder.
In our neighborhood, it took less than 24 hours for neighbors to meet each other for the first time. Everyone wanted to see what happened, yet everyone wanted to connect. A sense of community was felt everywhere. Neighbors who were known only by the fact that they went to work, went home and back to work again stopped to meet the guy two doors down for the first time. Not necessarily for batteries or food, but more for companionship, wanting to know how each of us got through the storm, if anyone needed help.
Power has been out for a while.While doing the every day chores like washing dishes next to candlelight and listening to kids play board games instead of Halo 3, I thought there may be some silver lining in all this destruction.
We are safe.
We are here.