Slowly but surely things are returning to normal here in SE Texas. Almost all of the schools are back in session, and electricity is restored to everyone who is able to receive it. There's still much cleanup ahead for those homes and businesses who were flooded, so it will be another several weeks before any of those businesses will open.
The businesses that are open are operating with limited hours, and restaurants have re-opened, although they have limited hours and limited menus. We tried to order pizza from two local Domino's Pizza franchises last night, and both were out of the hand-tossed dough, which I think is about 75% of their line. Kind of hard to sell pizza when you're out of dough..LOL
The local grocery stores are slowly restocking their produce and freezer sections, although there are still big gaps of empty shelf space where they're still cleaning and restocking. I saw a picture of one of the local Market Baskets with a parking lot full of thawed freezer items that they were throwing out. I remember how completely gross it was to clean out my fridge and freezer after Rita in 2005 — I can't even imagine taking that cleaning to a much larger level in a grocery store's freezer section.
Poor Eric, however, is slogging away at his plant with no power, no sewer, and no phone. The plants along Chemical Row in Orange are all along the Sabine River, which is the body of water that was the recipient of the Ike storm surge that flooded this area. He spent the first week back at working shoveling muddy crud from his lab, but is now happy to be playing gasoline boy and filling the generators around the plant while construction crews demolish the lab building where he works and begin to rebuild it. Many of the neighboring plants are simply laying off employees while they rebuild, so we're both thankful that he still has a job.
Now the scam artists and sharks are beginning to prey. I got my first tree service solicitation call the other day. He called under the pretense of looking for a long-long friend with the same last name as Eric, and he skillfully detoured the conversation to the hurricane, asking about tree damage and mentioning, by the way, that he was in the tree removal biz. When I realized what he was doing, I just hung up on him. People never cease to amaze me..:)
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