Flooding

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We had our first flood event this week. It was only a matter of time. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the floods Houston had last spring, but it was still an experience that I hope doesn’t happen again, at least for a while.

A bad thunderstorm passed through overnight. I woke up early in the morning to lightning and thunder, but didn’t think much of it. Then at 5:30 in the morning, our phones both went off. I thought it was another Amber Alert, so I turned it off without looking. We got up at 6 a.m. Turns out that the alert we got was a flash flood warning!

I should say first that our area was fine, just a lot of deep puddles on the sidewalks. I need to get some rain boots!

Derek looked through his emails, and an email was sent by the metro saying that parts of the red and green line tracks were under water. This means Derek couldn’t take the metro to school like usual, so I had to drive him in.

Driving of course posed another issue, because one of the main roads that we use to get to school is Route 288, and the underpasses of 288 were underwater.

Google maps picked up on the “traffic” on 288, i.e. cars at a standstill because they can’t go through the water, so we were routed a different way, but we really didn’t know if we would encounter water on that way either.

We thankfully didn’t. However, we did drive over some bayous that were to the top of their banks and it was scary looking! On my way back I was at a red light, and I needed to turn right. I looked to my left, and I saw a back up of cars because an underpass was filled with water! Good thing I didn’t need to go that way.

I am thankful all of this happened on my day off. Apparently a few different routes to the Chronicle building were flooded out too. The office had a delayed opening. I had enough trouble figuring out how to get to work with the marathon! I am hoping I don’t have to deal with this in the future, but I’m sure it is bound to happen again.

 

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Houston Marathon

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I had a bit of a weird moment happen to me this morning. The Houston Marathon was today. I was watching the coverage on the news before I left work this morning. I heard them talking about the route, and they echoed multiple times to CHECK YOUR ROUTE if you need to head out for anything. Silly me, I didn’t think to check if I would be effected.
So I’m driving to work, and I approach the light just before my office. I see a bunch of runners going past, along with some police cars and barriers. Uh oh! So I get back on the highway, go one exit up, with the intention of coming back around. Turns out that road is blocked too!
I tried not to panic, and eventually I realized that I could just take the road in that I take to leave the parking lot when I go home, which was one turn before approaching the blocked off road. I wish I could say that I realized this route right away, but I never claimed to be good with directions. I made it to work 10 minutes late. Not bad.
All morning long I watched the runners pass by the windows, and just thought that it was interesting that I live in a city that hosts a popular marathon. I knew about the NYC marathon and Boston marathon, but I never realized Houston had one. This would have never been a problem if I hadn’t had to work Sundays, but no matter what the day, I wouldn’t have had to deal with something like this back in Wellsboro. Sure, we had a bunch of races, but lots of them were on designated trails, in the canyon and forests!!!
Just something new to have to think about!

The Airport

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We went on vacation a few weeks ago. We had to fly out of Houston’s George Bush Airport to Miami. As someone who travels a lot, the thought was not lost on me that now we have a new “home” airport. I’ve gotten so used to northeast airports like Corning-Elmira, Philadelphia and Newark. We traveled frequently enough that we knew what restaurants/areas we like in different airports, and we know our away around the terminals and shuttle systems for the most part.
Not to mention that this would feel extremely different just because flying in and out of the northeast is so… yucky! We always leave home in the dead of the winter (usually raining) so flying south would literally be a breath of fresh (hot and humid) air. It was strange flying from hot weather to hot weather!
The thing I was most worried about at the airport was parking. I researched this ahead of time, and there are two ecopark garages where you can park for $5.54 a day, or $7 for covered parking. I was relieved, because I was expecting to pay $100 for parking! If we fly out of a busy big airport, we’re usually traveling with family, so we leave our car behind. And parking at Corning-Elmira was cheap. So I was a little naive about what to expect in Houston.
The Ecoparking was a decent experience. Two shuttles left while we were getting our bags out of the trunk, but two more pulled up right behind them. The driver hands you a paper slip that has your parking information on it. You have to keep the slip to get to your car when you get back. It was about a 5-10 minute ride to the terminals, including time to pick up a few more people in the parking lot.
Coming home was very strange. I’m not a homebody at all, I’ve always resented the fact that I was from the northeast. Every time I flew home and the pilot said, “Welcoming to Corning, or Newark, etc,” I would always quietly “boooo.” It felt less awful to fly home to Houston, which is a destination for travelers.
There are two airports in Houston, George Bush and Hobby. They are on opposite sides of the city, north and south. It took us half an hour to get to G.B., but we left at 5 a.m. in the morning and had no traffic. Hobby is closer to us, but it is a smaller, domestic airport (Southwest has a hub there) so I’m not sure if we’ll ever get the chance to fly out of it.

A Texas “winter”

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Here are some things I have noticed about this season, which feels more like spring or fall most of the time!

Here, when temperatures drop, everyone scrambles to cover their tropical plants. I have seen reminders on Facebook from the local meteorologists with each cold front, and I am thankful for that, because we bring in our potted cactus too! This is something new to have to think about.

Speaking of cold fronts…
Cold fronts create such a drastic temperature swing here. Last week, it was 80 degrees on a Saturday, and by 11 p.m. the front blew in and it dropped 40 degrees. It was in the low 30s by Sunday morning. It is hard to grasp that fact that one day you’re wearing shorts and the next you’re bundled up with your winter gear. Cold fronts in winter in the northeast just make a cold day even colder. Just put on an extra layer and you don’t really notice the difference!

Most people here wanted a white and cold Christmas. Newsflash, it was in the high 70s on both Christmas Eve and Day. Apparently there was an extremely rare White Christmas in 2004, and the locals look back on that fondly! A local meteorologist writes a blog, and I always read them. The most recent blog was about just this topic. Apparently the news station held a poll and 75 percent of Houstonians don’t like a warm Christmas. However, this meteorologist had a good point, and that was that over 60 percent of Christians live in the southern hemisphere and therefore associate Christmas with summer. So, basically, Houstonians would have to get used to a warm Christmas like it or not. I think that is silly that people in Houston get mad when it’s not cold. It’s like if I wished for a 60 degree Christmas day back in PA and got mad each year when it didn’t happen!

One thing that I didn’t expect that I should have expected was the apartment being so drafty. But, it’s similar to most houses in Wellsboro not having air conditioning. It’s just not needed enough. So why would an apartment in Texas be well insulated? On one of the first cold mornings, I woke up and the house was 69 degrees, which is really good all things considered. I opened up the curtains in the living room, and ten minutes later the temp dropped three degrees to 66! So now when it is a cold day we know to just keep the curtains closed to keep the heat in. I am thinking about going to Hobby Lobby and buying fabric to make door socks!