Hurricane Harvey - 3 Days After Landfall
Exactly a week ago, we woke to images on TV of the devastation in Houston. I couldn't imagine the horrors of escaping, in flood waters.
I worried about the people I knew in those areas, 20 miles from our home in Sugar Land. But, I didn't worry about our house. Fort Bend County has had 3 major floods in 3 years and we've always been fine.
A Week Ago, Sunday
On Sunday, we grew more concerned as we learned about the Brazos River, which borders our neighborhood. Predictions of rising waters had us slightly on edge. Then, late Sunday night we got word of the mandatory evacuation and I suddenly realized how unprepared we were.
Luckily we had until the next day, but we began frantically working. I texted and phoned friends and neighbors for the next couple of hours, carrying the phone with me as I made endless trips up and down stairs... carrying what we could from the first floor to what we hoped would be the dry floor. At 2 am, we tried to sleep for a few hours, but it wasn't restful.
In the morning we were up early, gathering important papers, valuables and food. We loaded both cars and felt lucky that we at least had the time to make decisions and communicate with others... who were in the same state of confusion.
We quickly learned tips we'd never known, like leaving cabinet doors open and opening the yard gates to let pond water flow. The phones beeped with texts and I was grateful for that, remembering how I didn't even know how to text, when "Ike" hit in 2008.
I scolded myself a few times as I carried boxes of memorabilia, photo albums and antique treasures upstairs. In August 2016, I had promised myself I would take a serious look at the collections that fill my house. Why hadn't I scanned all those old photos, like I said I would?
This time last year, I had just begun chemo treatments and often pondered the obvious question. "What is really important?" I was more anchored to home then, with so much time to stare at the "stuff" surrounding me. I did spend some time in the late summer and fall, sorting, deciding, donating and discarding. Now it's clear, those efforts hardly made a dent.
On Monday, before we locked up, I took one last look and hoped "the stuff" would be safe. Surely my grandmother's bears, the Sicilian puppet and the Uncle Sam doll, would be safe upstairs. Downstairs the only thing I really worried about was the old Meyer family table. I was pretty sure if we flooded, our lame attempt to lift the pedestal on bricks would not keep water from the lion's mouths. I said good-bye to the house.
4 Nights Away... Then Home
During our hectic scramble to get out, we changed our evacuation plan 3 times. News of flooded roads stopped our attempts to leave town. We ended up staying in a safe home, thanks to our generous friends.
It felt odd that first night, to eat dinner in a nice home, 3 miles from our evacuated neighborhood. I allowed myself to imagine the river rising 59 feet and flooding all our homes. Oddly though, I felt calm. I thought back to those anxious hours of frantic decisions and stair climbing and it suddenly seemed like the biggest stress was over. "If we lose it all, that will be okay." (I may have been fooling myself) But maybe a year ago, I really did learn more about what's important. It seems so cliche, to claim your cancer taught you that. But this past year, I've begun to face the reality that our "treasures" and "keepsakes" can be a burden. I had 4 nights to stew over that, before we returned to our dry home.
We came home yesterday and I spent a fair amount of time planning how I could volunteer this week. Today, I have spent many hours making more decisions as I put things back in order... and box up the things, I now plan to part with.
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me. I ranted for a year, until I got my vaccine in March 2021.
Coronary Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was Don who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!