Sunday, September 14, 2008

Well, that was No Fun (AKA The CJC in the Aftermath of Ike)

Hurricane Ike has come and gone now.

As a trained speaker and communicator, I would like to issue my following description of the experience in two words:

Holy crap.

I'm from a nice little landlocked county over 100 miles from any coastline, so this was my first hurricane rideout, and I've never seen anything like that before. I've never seen anything so frightening, depressing, and mesmerizing at the same time. Good Lord, that was just mind-blowing.

As I write this, there is not even really an initial count of the total lives or property lost. I know that those numbers are about to rise to probably an astronomical and horrifying figure.

The damage to Downtown was crazy.

The damage to the CJC, in the big picture of things, was relatively minimal. Two of the front doors shattered in the early hours of the storm. Of course, that led to resulting water in the front lobby.

At some point, there was a sewage back up, that led to additional water on the ground in the back of building -- really really nasty water.

A leak developed on the 7th floor over the large meeting room for the Defense Bar. That leak promptly dripped down to the 6th floor, near the mail center.

The elevators stopped running at some point, and at last I checked, it sounded like there was a waterfall running down the shafts of the one elevators that go up to the 20th floor.

Throughout all of the Hurricane Ike, a lone maintenance worker was in charge of the CJC. He was a one-man show, and dammit, I wish I knew his name. He ran from place to place with plywood here, or a shop-vac there. He was overworked, and undoubtedly, underpaid. This guy was a true unsung hero.

I've been getting a lot of e-mails about whether or not the CJC will be open on Monday.

Frankly, I really doubt it.

But I'm not Ed Emmett or Ken Magidson (despite what some people who write to me seem to think).

My best guess is that it probably will take at least a week to get the elevators running again (if not longer). Not to mention the fact that there was no water pressure either. I think that it would be cruel and unusual punishment for us not to be able to use the restroom, don't you?

And speaking of cruel and unusual punishment, the vast majority of us haven't been able to take a shower for the past couple of days . . . Well, you get the picture.

I've heard from an unofficial source that there will be no court on Monday, but that doesn't necessarily mean that prosecutors and court staff won't get the call to come on up. If I hear anything official I will obviously post it.

I know that this whole process really sucks, but on the other hand, I know that I'm very lucky, fortunate, and blessed to be able to be sitting here with my family all in one piece.

In the days to come, we are going to be hearing more and more about our fellow attorneys, investigators and support staff who weren't as fortunate. And our CJC family, as always, will do everything that we can to help each other.

(NOTE: I'm still not quite willing to "out myself" on the blog, but enough of you know who I am. If you need anything, call me. I don't have much in the way of money these days, but I can offer help with pretty much anything else!)

And as for you, Hurricane Ike, on behalf of the Men and Women of the CJC, you can kiss our butts.

We're still standing.


Michael said...

Your comment about the hurricane being mesmerizing reminded me of the first hurricane I remember, Betsy, the first billion-dollar storm that walloped New Orleans, along with points west and east, in 1965. (To save you doing the math, I was -12 at the time.) I think people who've never been through a hurricane don't understand the exhilarating effect it can have -- maybe it's a consequence of the atmospheric pressure. I was hoping some of the remnants of the storm would wander up to Austin for some much needed rain, but no such luck.

I wish all my Houston buddies the best in digging out, cleaning up, and rebuilding. As for me, I definitely do not like Ike.

Anonymous said...

This was my first actual hurricane, as opposed to the minimal effects we felt from Rita. I live out on the west side of Houston, and I kept going outdoors at my apartment and walking around, thinking, this isn't so bad. I wandered out at about 12:30 am and promptly got blown completely down. There was no rain yet, just very strong wind. As I crawled back into my apartment, it occurred to me that it hadn't been so bad because the storm wasn't actually here yet. The rest of the night was very bad indeed, and at about 5:30 am, the windows of my home office blew completely out and everything came in. Needless to say, I will be busy reconstructing files and replacing computer equipment. PS, taping windows does not work very well. Live and learn.

whimsicalrandomness said...

i'm glad to see that ike hasn't impacted that keen sense of humor... and i'm also glad to hear that except for the enduring misery of no electricity and some other common luxuries, we seem to have survived it very well. i've been through a few of these, but i still can't help but stay up throughout the storm cringing at every swoop and follwed by their deadly silence... would you believe being back in the cjc is as refreshing as it is? well, being that there is no electricity at home and a little more tree-debri to clean up... this is great! :) i'm sure this will give me the little 'umph' i need to wipe out the rest of it tonight. but looking back, i can't remember when i've had such an active weekend... and with no electricity! and it was all topped off with a little excitement last night... a couple of rushing fire trucks and rescue brigades through the neighborhood sparked the curiousity of me, the misses and kids... we walked (i casually rode my bicycle) to the end of the street... a madman drove his truck into greens bayou... it still looks like a lake today. he survived, although swimming through sewage infested waters must feel like the alternative.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your help in advising the status of the CJC. But is there a website run by Harris County that will let everyone know the status of the building, court schedules, etc? I checked the official Harris County website and all I could find was Ed Emmett's speaking schedule.

Anonymous said...

holy crap most def sums it up