Dear Readers and Friends,
I need help. Like so many others in the Greater Houston area, I nearly fell to my knees this morning when the sun peeked through the clouds and the rain stopped. It finally stopped.
If you can, please give to our recovery fund… even a single dollar helps. If you cannot give, consider sharing the link for this page or the GoFundMe page to your family, friends, co-workers, or church members so that someone who can give may find us. Thank you.
The last four days have been the worst in my life. When the storm appeared in the gulf, it was a tropical depression. My husband and I were completely unphased. We had seen those before, made even it through Katrina and Ike… We thought “no problem”. Even when the rains started, we still weren’t worried. We bought our house in June and it had never flooded since being built in 1970 plus it was not in a flood zone.
We could never have know then how wrong we were.
On Sunday morning, the street in front of our house was clear. My elderly father was watching the news- his flight out of Texas was delayed and he wanted to know when he could possible get back home. My cousin had flown out the day before. It turned out he got out just in time. My 9 and 11 year old African guests were reading books, but anxious to get back to Ghana with their mother in just a few days. My brother in law was over and removing the patio furniture cushions to prepare for the weather. My 8 and 2 year old boys went outside and danced in the rain. They looked so adorable out at the curb. I remember thinking it was sweet to see them out there together looking at the weather. The rain water started creeping towards the house about an hour after the picture on the left.
At 6:30 that evening, the waters were at our front door. My husband and I had to start making decisions, fast. We had the lives of 4 children, and elderly man, and us to consider. Just a few hours before then, we were sure the water would never come in. How wrong we were.
Just before dark the water came in the front door, seeped into the closets, in the back doors, and in the corners of the every room. We had taken the last few hours to raise up as much as we could. With our one story, there was only so much we could do. We tried to save photos, flash drives, and important documents. Then, all of a sudden, we were grabbing what we could and heading to our attic armed with a charged power saw just in case. My husband had marked the wall with the chest height of our 8 year old. That was our “roof escape” level. We had some food, enough water to last a couple of days, and a make-shift toilet.
The kids were scared, but we did our best to make it tolerable. We talked and sang. We played with the shadows on the wall. The baby finally slept, but my 8 year old couldn’t sleep… he cried and it nearly broke me. Just after 11, my husband went down into the house and said it was coming in too fast and we had to move now before it was too late. As fast as I could I put what I could grab into a plastic bag- one change of clothes for everyone, phones in Ziplocs, and some diapers.
We climbed down the ladder and the kids squealed when their feet touched the icy water. The lights were all out, the darkness frightening, and our belongings floating around us shimmering in the flashlight beams. I had my 2 year old wrapped on my back. At the front door, the water climbed up to my chest (I am 5’7″). Water was above head height for my 8 year old. We put my father on an air mattress, the 3 kids held it tightly to stay above water, and my husband guided them through the swelling floods in our front yard. My brother in law manned the flashlight and grasped tightly to everything we now owned floating in a garbage bag. I held tight to a cooler of water, mostly to keep myself from going under if I tripped… my baby was on my back in a floatie.
There was no one around. It was so dark. It was raining hard. As soon as the kids realized how deep the water was, they all started crying. I had to reassure them- I had to reassure myself.
“It’s okay. We’re going to be okay.”
We had to walk in the water about a block. We say one person on the street- they were looking for a way out too. They asked if they could use our mattress. As soon as we were out of the water, my brother in law returned to the water to bring them the mattress so he could get his family out. We walked about a block looking to see if there were any lights on in a two story house. We were desperate for help. Anyone.
I knocked on a door. No Answer.
My husband knocked on another. No Answer. Oh my God. What do we do?
My husband saw a light and someone moving. I went to the door. Even with my baby strapped on my back in the pouring rain, they would not let us in.
We just had to get out of the rain and think. I saw a light go out across the street. I went over and knocked. And knocked. An older man opened. He saw the baby and asked if we needed help. Oh my goodness, yes. Tim and his wife Nadine let us in. I cried. They still had power, water and a second story. Nadine went into her kitchen and gave each of the kids some cookies and a drink, coffee to my husband and dad, and hot chocolate and a hug to me.
They helped us call 911 for a rescue, but after two-and-a-half hours no one ever came. Tim and Nadine offered their upstairs bedroom to us and their sofa too. We were so tired, we accepted thankfully. In the morning, a cousin was able to get in and get us. We were okay for the moment.
Here, now… two days later, we had a chance to get back into our neighborhood. The water was still knee high, but we could see what we had ahead of us. Everyone knows the most important thing you have it your life, but seeing your belongings floating by, water stains on your walls and toys scattered everywhere is devastating. It feels cathartic to share this here; to document the event somehow.
Our home was not in a flood zone. We had not flood insurance rider. We heard from our insurance company this morning and were told we weren’t covered for anything. We have lost so much, but I hope all the energy I have put into this blog and building my tribe has some karmic returns. If you have ever read a blog post on NoodleNook, purchased any of my products, or used the freebies I’ve given away, I hope you will find it in your heart to support me in any way you can. If you don’t have the means to donate, please email, post, and share this link with co-workers, friends, family, and church members- anyone you can. We need everything right now.
I need help.