HURRICANE HARVEY: PUT TO THE TEST BY MOTHER NATURE
Pre Hurricane Harvey it was just another weekend in our household. Not that ordinary since we were hosting our friend and her husband, who just relocated from California. As well as you can say hosting because when all my time is the baby, it’s so hard to play host. Thankfully my friend understands and she helps me by cooking or finishing something I start and then forget to finish since I have to go tend to my little man.
Come the alerts of a tropical storm we didn’t rush to board our house, pack for the end of the world or get out of town. It was regular hurricane season. It’s Houston, it’s Texas.
Come dawn on Friday we woke up early due to a tiny person wanting to feed and then go back to sleep. Hubby and I stayed awake, catching up on all the alerts from the night before and social media. My husband, the amazing husband and even greater father got himself up and took off to the grocery store. Stocked up on a few non-perishables, water and filled up the gas tanks. He said just in case. We are parents now after all.
That entire weekend of Harvey was like an entire three days of Ferris Buhler’s Day Off kind of days. I mean because the days were so long, so much happened and blended with each other. No one was really sleeping in the house or the city period. All the tornado warnings were enough to scare anyone out of a peaceful sleep.
When the rain didn’t stop, I wasn’t worried. Come on it’s Houston, even though we live in the outskirts, it’s Houston! When the tornados and I stress that S for multiple tornados, hit it was a big wake up call. Three different tornados in different sides of town hit three of our loved ones. We started getting scared, hubby didn’t show it but I knew he was worried. I was scared because it felt like we were stuck in the center of a triangle of disaster.
ACCESSING THE SO CALLED DAMAGE
We went to check on the in laws who had been hit by a tornado. Sure it was a lot of tree damage, some wind damage, and some other house structure damage but he was on top of it already, getting it fixed. He’s a Texan, that’s what we do, we get to it and not wait around.
To us this was the damage, it was being taken care of and most likely the worst of it. We visited, relaxed in the backyard and drove ourselves back home. Wondering and thinking nothing else about it. In fact, we were trying to see what our schedules were like for the week, with work and baby. The husband even made a work appointment for Monday morning.
HARVEY HAS MORE TO GIVE
Sunday I wake up to find out that close to our old neighborhood and where some dear friends live was hit by yet another tornado. This hit a little too close to home. When I saw their damage it felt too real. When I talked to my friend and I could tell how shaken up she was about the whole ordeal, I knew it was bad. I put myself in her shoes, as a mother, and as natural human instinct thinking you could die. Her words echoed in my mind;
“…I heard a snap and I thought that was it, the house was about to collapse on us…”
Thankfully that did not happen but that didn’t make her feelings and fear any less intense. I looked at my baby and started to panic. That could have easily been me holding my child in my arms, while my husband held on to me tucked away in a closet.
We kept discussing leaving the house. After all, after two days, several tornados and nonstop rain the water were creeping up on us. During the few tiny breaks in the rain, it would recede so no one thought much. But when we started to NOT have those breaks and the backyard was almost at the door and the front yard was slowly creeping too, more panic set in.
NOWHERE TO GO
Freeways were already flooded, streets were flooded and we have a small baby and my friend that I’m hosting, pregnant. All the people we know were in the same situation. Harvey was sitting right on top of us and wasn’t discriminating on the side of the city. We thought of going to my sister who lived an hour away north but there was no route clear enough and I wasn’t willing to risk my baby. No shelters were in place close to us yet. But we were already starting to prepare for an exit. Baby’s bag with his essentials was the first to be ready, all our important documents and jewelry in another, people were already looting so this had to come with us. We kept saying, just in case.
THE REAL TEST
Waking up to a start of the week, finding out the water didn’t recede over night and in fact risen almost to your front door. My husband and my friend’s husband started lifting furniture and build a clay damn in front of the door to try to slow water down. Everyone was officially in panic mode. I moved things up higher. My photo albums, pre digital age, my art, my art supplies that I had been gathering for years to build my studio, this was surreal.
Water kept moving, rain wasn’t stopping and then the phone call came in. We had somehow lost service and no one noticed. My friend had been calling. She was volunteering with her church to rescue people and she was in front of our neighborhood ready to come get us. No time to contemplate if we should or shouldn’t leave. We were leaving. They showed up in a boat and we were gone. It was a very dramatic rescue but I think it’s because in everyones mind it was about the baby. Us as parents, my friend who is a mother and the church who helped us. We said goodbye to the house and silently hoping that the house would still be there when we returned. Our most cherished possessions tucked away in our attic, just in case.
COUNTING THE BLESSINGS
As we laid in bed that night and hearing the rain not stop for another night and all the predictions that the worst was yet to come, I was thankful. Thankful that we were out, my baby was safe, my family was together and that I have a great friend that risked herself to come get me and my family. The rest did not matter. If Harvey decided to take our home and processions, let him have them. They are all material things and we are safe and unharmed.
UPDATE: We were finally allowed to return to our home. Thankfully our home was spared. No damage that we can see. Sadly some of our neighbors were not as lucky.