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I'm finally back home in Atlanta from working on Hurricane Ike storm damage in the Houston area. Visiting Houston was certainly an experience. I’ve never seen so many cowboy hats, Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots. Given the circumstances, most people were really nice and courteous. I can’t count the number of sodas and meals I was offered. While I enjoyed the city, I am more than happy to be back home sleeping in my own bed, using my own bathroom and driving around without having to use a GPS.

What did I learn while I was in Houston?

Traffic Sucks. I thought our traffic in Atlanta was bad but we have nothing on Houston. I guess I didn’t realize how large the city really is. They have numerous freeways but from my experience, they were all congested. I know the city probably took on additional residents due to people fleeing from areas that were hit pretty hard by Hurricane Ike and that probably added to the congestion. The first week I was there, traffic was extremely unbearable due to the number of traffic lights that were damaged or were without power. Remember folks, if the traffic lights are out, treat the intersection as a four –way stop and be courteous to your fellow motorists. I almost had a pretty bad accident within four hours of being in the town due to someone who failed to stop.

There is no place like home. It was nice to get away to a different place for awhile but after the first week, I was ready to return home. There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed and using your own bathroom. I’m really weird about germs so I bought a big can of Lysol and sprayed down the room. I tried not to think about what the previous guests may or may not have done in the bed I was sleeping in or if housekeeping really took time to clean and disinfect the bathroom.

Gas is important. You never really know how bad you need gasoline until you don’t have it. Several of the gas stations in the area of my hotel had gas at the station but they had no power to the pumps. Luckily, my company had enough foresight to have a gas truck come to the hotel each morning. (Nope, it wasn’t just for me; there were about 30 of us from around the country staying in the same hotel).

You need a lot of insurance. In talking with several of the homeowners near the coast, I realized that you need to have three different insurance policies for your home. You need to have a policy for wind damage, a policy for flood damage and a policy for interior contents if you want to be completely protected. Most of the homeowners I spoke with did not carry flood insurance so they have to pay for damage to the first floor of their homes out of pocket. (Note: If you live near the coast, make sure you have an extra plump Emergency Fund). Even if you don’t live near the coast, you need to make sure you have an Emergency Fund for those tough times.

I’m off to sort through the mountain of mail I’ve accumulated over the past three weeks while I’ve been gone. I’m going to start three separate piles; one for bills, one for junk and miscellaneous. I’ll be off work until next Monday so I have plenty of time to sort through it at my own pace.

Stay tuned to SingleGuyMoney and make sure you have subscribed to the RSS feed. Some upcoming articles include:

  • September Net Worth Review (It's not pretty folks!)
  • September Blog Review
  • Damage photos from Hurricane Ike

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  1. Philip // October 8, 2008 at 10:06 AM  

    Yep, traffic is always horrible, and it is not just inside Houston, you have to consider the 20 small towns that has been swallowed up and is considered part of Houston now.

    Honestly if you think you saw lots of cowboy hats, that is in Houston where everyone is from somewhere else it seems, try going over to West Texas!

    Enjoy your few days off.

  2. Anonymous // October 8, 2008 at 2:31 PM  

    Hello from the great state of Texas!

    Thank you for helping us get back on our feet. I am glad we treated you kindly. It is a foreign feeling having other people helping us. Texans are usually the ones helping others. My heart goes out to all the people coming to our aide from other parts of the US and all the way from Canada!!

    A proud State and Great City sends a big thank you!!!

    Judy Johnston
    The Woodlands, TX

  3. Anonymous // October 8, 2008 at 5:13 PM  

    any stories on taking pictures of all your contents just in case of a disaster?

    i learned that @ a wedding out in St. Louis this weekend. turns out my cousin started a side business doing it, and it's one helluva good idea! (both the business, AND doing it for yourself).

  4. Anonymous // October 8, 2008 at 10:52 PM  

    I just stumbled across your blog. I think its great what you did to help out with the hurricane relief. I look forward to seeing the pics and reading more of your blog! :)

  5. Unknown // October 9, 2008 at 2:09 PM  

    Believe it or not, Houston is the fourth-largest city in the US behind NYC, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Welcome back!

  6. Fianna // October 12, 2008 at 1:16 PM  

    Thanks for helping out our great city. We are nearing normalcy now and greatly appreciate everyone that came to assist us.

    What I learned as one that did not have any damage to my house but was without power for 12 days is the importance of emergency supplies - flashlights, lanterns, batteries, full gas tanks, non-perishables, bug spray. With so many stores closed due to power outages and the difficulty in obtaining fuel for a full week after the storm, it is not feasible to obtain these items once the emergency has occurred. Anyone living in an area prone to natural disasters, be it hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes or tornadoes should have these items stocked up at all times.

    An emergency fund. For eating out, for buying these supplies, for the jump in fuel costs, extra money was needed and spent.

    Thanks again. (I can't believe I was able to type this entire comment without a good ya'll thrown in.)