When I woke at 3am last Friday morning after about 3 hours of sleep I had a bit of a pit in my gut. I thought it was the lack of sleep or the dinner I skipped the evening before. Regardless of how I was feeling I was already an hour behind schedule. Scott and I were on our way to Galveston, TX to clean up our friend Doc's house from the splashing Ike gave the island.
After a quick stop in Fort Worth we were on the Island by 1:00 in the afternoon. Typically you see weekend traveler traffic heading from Dallas to the the coast on I-45 but this day it was a procession of emergency vehicles, construction crews, and utility repair vehicles with names on the doors representing a multitude of Texas Cities & Counties. All headed to Houston & Galveston. Our approach to the island was shocking. The road to the island was littered with cars & boats. Big boats.
We spent the early part of the day touring the island. The destruction was wide spread, especially on the ends of the island. Much of the central interior part of the island looked somewhat spared.
Our first real out of the car stop after dodging construction & utility vehicles was at Jamaica Beach at Jayson Hudson's home. He was without power, water and gas. His house, on stilts with an an enclosed garage took in about 6 feet of water. He also lost anything outside on the property like the fences & sidewalks. His entire neighborhood looked looks much like the national media coverage of the storm represented. Missing roofs, large boats strewn about, debris lodged against anything solid. Most small features just washed away. After a beer & a cigarette at Jayson's we went back into Galveston town.
We piddled around helping the neighbors until Doc arrived. Once there, breaker by breaker, we brought the electricity back up in the house. Doc was lucky, his proximity to UTMB & his property's elevation, his electricity & water were on. All water needed to be boiled. Our initial survey of the basement was not good. Very close to a total loss. Earlier that day we assured Jayson we would be back Saturday afternoon to give him a hand. What we foolishly predicted would be a half day job with 5 hands actually too a full day and a half of work. Everything had to come out of the house, be sorted, losses cataloged & hauled to the curb, rehabs cleaned of mold, and all drywall removed.
Scott and I were on the island for exactly 48 hours. In that time we ate from red cross trucks, got food & ice from the police & military, made multiple trips to home depot, endured a scary curfew encounter with police in which a pistol and flashlight were pointed in my direction and handled (read smelled, tasted & touched) some of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. I wish I was able to go back and help again next week.