Gah! What a week! I am, of course, referring to the season finale of Game of Thrones, which my husband pronounced "Meh."
I'm talking about Harvey, which has been a lot of things, none so nice as meh. As I write this, I'm sitting in my own home again, and the power is back. I took a shower this morning and put on some mascara. Since I gave birth to my first child, my rules for Maintaining Some Kind of Grip have been:
2) make my bed
3) apply mascara.
Now I feel human and capable. It's been a long time since I've needed these rules, but they are firmly in practice today.
It all started off pretty well. My husband and I did a little panic shopping at Trader Joe's on Friday. I had tried to shop at HEB that morning, but there was a line going 'round the building, and a door monitor letting people in. My husband had better luck and had procured a gallon of milk and a watermelon (we eat watermelon like fiends). Still, since it was clear that afternoon I called Trader Joe's, "Hi! Do you have any food?" "Ye-es, just not bread or water." Away we went to my favorite food market. It was crazy how much food Trader Joe's still had on their shelves. I bought frozen veggies, frozen pizza, frozen Naan bread, frozen Key Lime Pie. My husband raised an eyebrow at that last one, but I assured him that come Day 3 of the Siege, we would be so thrilled to have some dessert. Trail mix, more milk, peanut butter cups (see Key Lime Pie explanation), and, yes, biscotti and cookie butter cheesecake bites. I kept thinking to myself that this was crazy, we didn't have to buy this food just because it was here. But if one is going to be stuck at home with flood waters rising, wouldn't it be nice to have some brie cheese and a bottle of red wine? Oh, to go back to that easy Friday night...
Saturday was fine, too. Saturday night, tho was a frenzy of activity. My husband is pretty amazing in chaos, maybe because he never stops moving. I can't remember what I was doing, but he came in from outside and announced that he had dug a trench on the side of the house to catch more water. Wow, okay, then. I think I put up some books on a high shelf. Later I went out to help him sweep water out of the garage only to discover that all 3 of our brooms were broken. Perhaps the brooms had weakened over time, or perhaps my husband is an intense sweeper when disaster looms. Don't worry, I'm not one of those people who will put in an insurance claim for a sore back just because I joined in with the sweeping with a broken metal handled broom that was now 3 feet tall.
Sunday morning the water really did start rising. I came into the family room and saw water on the floor. Immediately I went to wipe it up with a towel, only to understand a half second later that this was positively a total nitwit move. The water was coming in under my backdoor and filling the room. Okay, so this is happening. And then the water started coming in through the front door. I think it was less than an hour before the entire house floor was covered. Maybe because I'm an American, and we have a strong (albeit, often wrong) sense that it will all be okay, I didn't panic. I just sloshed around in what was now 5 inches of water, assuring my boys that we were okay. My calm voice was definitely on parade, and I don't know how many times I said, "It just is what it is right now."
I am not giving myself huge props for being all cool and collected. If you've been watching the news, then you know that I got off pretty easily. If the water had risen to waist high, or we had fled to the rooftops, my calm voice would have most certainly escalated with the situation.
But 5 inches of water is really not much in the grand scheme of things, and I do like to keep my eye on the Grand Scheme. Our feet got pretty prune-y, but I was able to make lunch, and then we sat outside.
Just checking the weather in my backyard!
Speaking of outside, our neighborhood had transformed into a lake, a lake with little houses popping up in a row. I couldn't see the street or anyone's lawn, just water. My husband spotted a patch of dry ground over by the church and decided to take our dog over, as she had sort of been freaking out, running in circles and splashing water everywhere. Does insurance cover damage caused by a panicked pup? I'll find out.
He needed help carrying the bowl of food, so I volunteered because both of my boys had slunk off somewhere. Now, my husband normally doesn't laugh at me because:
1) he is kind
2) it hurts my feelings
and 3) he is wise.
But every time he looked back and saw me mincing after him at a snail's pace like my feet were Ancient Chinese Royalty bound, he would quickly turn around. But I could hear him! And in my defense, the water was up to my hoo-ha, and folks in a canoe were paddling past me. Do you know that dog didn't even eat the food I brought for her?
We are so thankful to DIY Maven Ann who was very generous with her dry house; she invited us over the next day to charge up our phones and watch TV. When we walked in the door, she was frying up bacon. It was the best bacon EVER! We brought the Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Cheesecake Bites because one does like to be Stylish Refugees when possible. Another family was already there; they had walked out of waist high water, toting a small dog and a guinea pig in a bucket. "You just never think you're going to be that person who's walking in water, carrying a pack above your head," my new friend told me. Incidentally, my new friend is an interior designer, so we had a very nice chat about new floors and furniture. Why, yes, she would be delighted to help spend my insurance claim money.
And while I'm giving Shout-Outs, let me tell you that on Wednesday I had a manicure at Le's Nails of 5627 Beechnut Street, and that polish hasn't chipped one bit, but has lasted me through sweeping water out of my garage, sweeping water out of my home, digging through wet clothes, scarves and shoes that were all forgotten on the floor of my closet, and about 37 loads of laundry. And I know it's ridiculous, but it has been a spark of happy to look down and see my Ballet Slippers nails all shiny and nice.
When I plugged in my phone at Ann's house, I saw that I had 147 text messages. Many were from panicked family members, worried friends, and then there was an alarming amount from co-workers who were concerned that they hadn't heard from me. I had powered down my phone because I was trying to be cautious with my dwindling cell phone battery. From all the texting back and forth, I could see that they had tried to find me in every social media avenue, even engaging their kids to try to find Older through Instagram. I totally pulled a Sally Field, "they love me, they really love me." These same ladies later organized an honest-to-goodness boat rescue for another co-worker's husband and daughter.
It's an amazing thing to be loved by so many.
My husband is currently pulling out baseboards like a man possessed. He's really just not a sitting kind of person like I am; I don't want to brag, but I have a black belt (black seat cushion?) in sitting.
Please continue to pray for Houston, for our mayor, our first responders, all the good people whose lives are upside down. If you wondering how you can help, you can donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund or check out this New York Times article that lists scam-free ways to give.