UPDATE: as of 8/30/17 the water has receded at my parents’ house and we are getting ready to go photograph our home and tear down some drywall. Daniel and his parents have been dealing with insurance and Daniel has applied for FEMA. Thanks everyone, for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers!
First of all, I just want to thank every single person that has reached out and offered their homes, money, advice, kind words, support – just anything. There are thousands of people going through so much worse, but I am just so grateful for the outpouring of love.
I was one of the people that were initially doubtful at the amount of damage Hurricane Harvey and the aftermath would do. Our home flooded a couple years ago – we got an inch of water inside. We were lucky. I thought the same would occur this time around…I was wrong.
The day before everything went to crap, Daniel and I deposited our cars at my parents’ house, but decided to stay at our own home to take care of things, once again assuming if we got water in our home, it would just be one or two inches and we would stay in the loft upstairs until it receded. That night we hid in the hallway a couple times because of tornado warnings, and noticed a little puddle near the dining room. After thinking it was dog or cat pee, we later discovered that nope, there was water getting in. I went to bed with Lila shortly after, and Daniel stayed awake getting our house “ready.”
Around 4AM Sunday morning, I woke up because Daniel was back at it. Water had started coming in, but not too quickly. He had elevated the important stuff, and I got to work getting other things up on beds and counters, etc. Lila could tell something was wrong, I think. Every time I put her down she would start to cry. As we worked in our rainboots and gathered things to take upstairs, the water was at about 1 or 2 inches off the ground. Thank goodness we never lost power.
Once we were almost settled in the loft [about the size of a small bedroom, occupied by a giant desk and bookshelves, a ceiling fan, and a mini-fridge – hallelujah] the water in our home started to rise even faster. I was restless and kept going back downstairs and wandering around like an idiot, returning shortly after to Lila’s cries. By about 6:30AM I got Lila back to sleep, Daniel was finally getting a little sleep after being up all night, I went back downstairs and grabbed a few more things, took photos, and measured the amount of water. It was at 10 inches already. I made us eggs and coffee in ten inches of water in my rainboots before unplugging the rest of the appliances. I could hear the pots and pans slapping against the cabinet doors trying to escape. There was a crash in the garage from something that must have started to float and toppled over.
My parents were flipping out of course, and my dad was itching to come save us. At one point he gave me the biggest scare and led to my first bout of serious tears. He left Sugar Land in his truck to try and grab us, but the water was so high he was turned away. THANK GOODNESS. I was in better contact with him later about it so he came at the right time.
Every drop of rain made my heart race. It stopped raining for about an hour, and the water receded to about 7.5 inches, and then came a huge downpour for far too long that brought it up to 12 inches. I woke Daniel up and made him go turn off the power after several friends warned me about it. The water was getting too close to the outlets. He managed to keep the upstairs electricity running, too, which kept the fan going, and a couple outlets. While he was out there he encountered a floating fire ant pile [a couple bites], a ton of spiders clinging to dear life on the floating mulch bags that were supposed to slow the water down, and a dead mouse. :-O
We finally started devising a plan. The rain wasn’t letting up and I wanted to make sure we could evacuate with Lila and the animals. Lila, Osa, and I would go to the neighbor’s house where it was dry and cross our fingers for enough water to eventually receded that I could contact my dad to try and get us. We put on our wetsuits [that water is nasty], Daniel blew up his kayak and loaded it with what we would keep just in case. He carried Osa, I carried Lila, then he brought the kayak over, and my giant cooler of breastmilk. I measured 12 inches of water just before I left.
The relief was incredible. Osa, Lila, and I went upstairs for some privacy and were able to relax a little bit. Lila got to stretch her legs and crawl around, and I’m sure Osa appreciated the increase in space as well – and the small patch of grass she could go potty on! My sweet neighbors gave me a sandwich, too. I had forgotten to eat and looked/felt terrible and exhausted. They are such great people! They had 3-4 displaced families in their home, along with their respective animals. Checking the roads from their porch, we saw many families wading through with pets in floating coolers, and canoes and kayaks taking people to safety. There were about 3-4 air lifts that I saw, too.
Finally around 6pm, after hours of monitoring the water levels, we saw a truck drive by slowly and I told my dad he could try to come. Daniel came back over [he had stayed behind to check on the house and our cat] and we didn’t need to wait too long for my dad to arrive. We grabbed a few more things as a family nearby was being airlifted out of their home. The water in the house had recessed enough to walk back in – thank goodness! It was easy to get Rory into the cat carrier because the helicopters were so close and loud and she was afraid. We all made it to my parents’ house by 8pm. She’s been under my old bed at my parents’ house ever since and only comes out to use the bathroom and eat. Poor thing. Osa has been extra needy, too, all understandable given the circumstances.
We are currently at my parents’ house in Sugar Land. The neighborhood has flooded, but most houses seem okay in that they haven’t taken on water yet. The homes seem to be on a slope, which is good. My parents’ house is also on a hill, and though the water in the street is high, it hasn’t yet reached their sidewalk. I’ve been monitoring Nextdoor and the news, and things look hopeful. I really can’t go through this again. My heart is in my throat and I’m surprised I was able to sleep last night. My mom has been preparing deliciously warm meals, my dad and Daniel have been moving things around and prepping just in case, and I was sitting around with Lila, her with a cold, and me with a fever [although today I feel much better]. Update:: we’ve passed our viruses along to my mom. 🙁
The absolute worst part of it all is having Lila go through all of this. She isn’t even aware. Looking at her room brought me to tears every time. And all the idiotic walking around was mostly to her room. Just watching her life become slowly covered with water. I know none of those things are important, but it’s still incredibly sad to watch happen. I am so lucky she exists because without her I would probably be more worried about our “things.”
A couple of my “must grab” items included the button up lace top from my wedding dress, a couple hard drives full of photographs, important documents, and Lila’s first onesie that she came home with – the same one I used to announce to Daniel we were having a little girl. I also grabbed Daniel’s Sam ring, a band I had made for him with a ring of Sam’s ashes molded in. Later, when we could take more items, I also packed a book, and a couple other items for entertainment and documentation purposes.
Our home needs to be ripped to shreds and put back together again, but we aren’t even sure when we can start. Daniel and his family have been dealing with insurance, and the neighborhood lawns will be covered in heavy trash and garbage to be collected soon. I can’t believe this has happened to our city and am hoping for relief soon. Please keep sending positive thoughts this way. Although we’ve lost a lot, we have been lucky. I’m not looking forward to the clean up, but we are well and good at my parents’ house, and I’m just happy that we are all together.
Once again, thanks so much to every single person that has reached out. I truly, truly appreciate it. <3
Make sure to check out others’ blog posts as well. My friend Kiki has included a lot of helpful information and the Houston Mom’s Blog also includes links on how you can assist.
Make Red Cross donations here.
I apologize for any errors, but I was attempting to get this post out quickly. Will edit later.