aftermath

we dream, we create, we change, we love

Archive for September 18th, 2008

In Amputated Hands

leave a comment »

After the storm, our Allstate insurance agent’s phone just flips over to voice mail during business hours. Leave a message, and we get no call back. All week long after the hurricane has passed, it’s been so far. Any good Houston insurance agent would not have even waited to get that first call from his customers. He would know that it is almost certain they would need him, and before the storm had left the northside of town he would have been on the phone himself, personally making arrangements for his clientele. Allstate? Their agent shows no signs of caring, none whatsoever.

So, two days after the storm has passed, they have an emegency claim center set up nearby. Not that one would know this from any of those so-called “good hands” commercials they plaster all over the local television’s hurricane coverage (nor are such claims center locations given in that do-nothing voice mail on the agent’s phone): one has to find a claim center such as this completely on one’s own. Had we gone out this parking lot by any other exit, we would have missed even this random site. But don’t bother wasting that precious fuel so scarce in Houston these days trying to figure out where this pic was taken: coming to this van does you no good, beyond getting yourself a claim number, which could just as easily have been done by calling their national emergency hotline (which at least had a person on the other end of the line, as contrasted with the local agent).

Either way, having that claim number doesn’t seem to get you anywhere either. We had that in hand within 12 hours after Ike had made landfall and left his mark on our house sufficiently for us to know we’d need our homeowners’ insurer around. All that claim number got us was an assignment to a claims adjuster . . . who, once finally reached (only after repeated followup calls from us), seemed quite confused about why a clearly communicated, detailed home claim from a Houston hurricane had been assigned to an auto (?!?) claims adjuster all the way over in Louisiana.

Ah, but so now we’re on the right track, yes? Not so. We’re in Allstate‘s hands, which means – as we’ve already been told by yet another Allstate rep (still not our own local agent) – that we have absolutely no more clue than they do as to when we might expect to hear anything whatsoever from our insurer on our claim. Don’t they need to look at the water damage in our attic? Big shrug from Allstate. How about all the work we’ve already had done on those fallen trees in our backyard? Maybe Allstate would like to have a pet insurance adjuster check that one out. Aha, rain expected to be back in the area this weekend, that together with all the damaged Houston roofs should give them a sense of urgency, wouldn’t you think? Not – they’re too busy updating their TV commercials.

And all of those Allstate TV commercials? More hot air than anything Ike threw at Houston.

[Additional Ike-related aftermath content: Hurricane Ike Aftermath]

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - homeowner

Written by macheide

18 September 2008 at 9:37 pm

Posted in homeowner

Hurricane Ike Aftermath

leave a comment »

The center of Hurricane Ike passed us shortly after 3:30am CDT on Saturday, September 13, only about 15 miles away, at the time still boasting maximum sustained wind near 110mph and hurricane-force winds extending as far as 125 miles from center. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by macheide

18 September 2008 at 5:31 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Blue Roof

leave a comment »

Almost a week after our first of many post-Ike attempts to reach Allstate, no agent, claims adjuster, nor any other Allstate rep shows the slightest interest in any of this information, apparently waiting until it’s time for them to put their bad hands to work attempting to deny or contest any damage claim.

What Ike did to our house and yard:

  1. Roof – Tore off shingles in numerous patches on the roof. As Allstate continued ignoring its Ike customers even as new rain threatened damaged roofs, we had to make our own arrangements for temporary “blue roof” tarp to cover the roof areas requiring repair. Leaking through those areas during Ike left some of the attic insulation damp, meaning that insulation needed to be be discarded and replaced. Leaking down the corner of Nat’s upstairs bedroom damaged some of the interior paint. Severe leaking into an upstairs bathroom light may require replacement of that fixture. (Note: All hurricane cautions I have read from all official sources strongly advise against turning electricity back on for any electrical outlets or fixtures that were soaked as badly as this fixture was, until after the house electrical circuits have been checked by a licensed electrician. Is Allstate going to persist in ignoring its Ike customers, then try to deny claims for such services that are so strongly advised, or would they rather I take the risk in having the house burn down with potential loss of life?)
     
  2. Window – One living room window has been severely cracked and will need to be replaced.
     
  3. Fence and Landscaping – Two of the trees added to our backyard for our pool landscaping were ripped up by the roots and needed to be chopped up for disposal. Fencing near those two trees and along other sections of the back edge of the yard was destroyed.

Of course, Ike also dumped a lot of debris in the pool, but that left no permanent damage, nothing that a few post-Ike swims couldn’t take care of. And as brief as our power loss was (under 12 hours), that was still enough to send some of our refrigerator contents to the trash, but that bit of loss has to be expected of a hurricane.

[Additional Ike-related aftermath content: Hurricane Ike Aftermath]

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - homeowner

Written by macheide

18 September 2008 at 4:20 pm

Posted in homeowner

Ike Recovery Multitasking

leave a comment »

This past Monday, trash collection took normal trash, but left the pile of tree debris we had stacked out at the curb. Houston says its trash service will pick up storm debris; but our neighborhood contracts out with Waste Management, and of course there’s no readily available information to be had on what their policy will be or when it might be carried out. Our lawn service doesn’t chop debris, but did agree to haul it off next week. Even so, it’s relaxing to chop it all up myself, whereupon Susan will bag it, whereupon our trash collection will take it as if it were normal trash. (And after I took the lion’s share out by the pool for chopping, as pictured here, today’s trash collection did take the small orderly stack of debris that remained at the curb; so after this pile has been chopped and bagged, we will be done.)

But as lazy as this Ike recovery effort probably appears compared to what most Ike victims face, at least I’m multitasking. That’s not my Zen mp3 player piped into my ears; it’s my cell phone. I’m on a conference call, discussing government regulations that will extend relief for companies adversely affected by Hurricane Ike.

[Additional Ike-related aftermath content: Hurricane Ike Aftermath]

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - choreograph

Written by macheide

18 September 2008 at 11:09 am

Posted in choreograph

Post-Ike Commuting

leave a comment »

Getting America’s 4th largest city up and moving again is a bit of a chicken-egg exercise run by committee, with FEMA still playing after-the-fact games, the state completely AWOL, and everyone else just working it minute to minute to minute as best as can be expected. Auto fuel supplies being virtually non-existent on the south side of town. We hear that there are stations with long lines stretching several hours worth of waiting but still pumping gas in the far northwest suburbs, somewhere about midway between the main evacuation routes. But down near South Belt, a key early intersection for the main body of evacuees, we can’t count on anything but fumes anytime soon, it seems.

Late last week, Houston Mayor White publicly encouraged non-evacuees to leave the dwindling gas supplies for evacuees, seeming to forget that such a strategy would leave him with over 2 million citizens running on empty. Brain-addled University of Houston jumped the gun, re-opening this past Tuesday, even before the city had sufficient water pressure to flush toilets for returning students and even before all campus entrances were unflooded or cleared of debris, apparently oblivious to the fact that students dutifully driving in on Tuesday were likely not going to have enough gas to make it back in anytime soon, not if they’d been following the Mayor’s advice. And even trying to bring fuel trucks into town seems useless until gas stations have electricity to run the pumps.

Susan gassed up the Bitty Burb just before Ike hit, mayor be damned. And I still had just under 3/4 of a tank, as shown above at the beginning of my first post-Ike commute this morning, enough for maybe 3 trips to the office before I start feeling completely stranded, since I’ve been getting close to 40mpg. But Nat had only enough left for that one trip into UH on Tuesday; and Kelly ran his tank bone dry right into the storm.

Note for Next Time: Let other evacuees deal with it as they see fit, without interfering with our own need to be prepared – fill up every car, and have extra on hand!!

 

But we do seem to have turned the corner. More gas stations are open in our neighborhood on my outbound commute this morning than when I made my inbound commute scarcely two hours earlier. And it’s quite common to see caravans of utility vehicles on their way to their next site for bringing electricity back to the area.

[Additional Ike-related aftermath content: Hurricane Ike Aftermath]

//www.internetbumperstickers.com] - abelian

Written by macheide

18 September 2008 at 9:21 am

Posted in abelian

Office Closed

leave a comment »

The automated message on my governmental employer’s emergency notification service notifies me that our office will remain closed at least through the remainder of the week. But we still have no Internet access at the house. And even hitchhiking via wireless won’t help me get back on track for most of my work: I need a secure cable connection to my job’s network. So with dim hopes that my building’s network might be up and running despite the office closure, I commuted in this morning.

Morning traffic was only mildly lighter than would be expected of an ordinary weekday rush hour. Most of it probably Ike recovery traffic, heading for a gas station or grocery store or hardware store or POD. None of it headed to my office building, for which the garage had no more than half a dozen other cars keeping my Blue Bug company.

No luck with the office network. So after two quick business calls, I headed back out to the office garage for an early outbound commute. Snapping a pic of the only visible Ike damage to our building: broken glass panes in the corridor between the building and the garage.

[Additional Ike-related aftermath content: Hurricane Ike Aftermath]

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - deskjob

Written by macheide

18 September 2008 at 7:39 am

Posted in deskjob