Flood of 2016

It’s been a tough week for Houstonians. Last Sunday night we experienced an extremely uncommon rain event with some areas receiving a foot of rain within a few hours. At our house, we got 9.2 inches over a five or six hour period. There are many locations around the area that have experienced flooding, but it was Cypress Creek (which is close to the house) that we’ve been watching closely.

It was a pretty rough storm to ride out. Due to the intense lightning, we lost a transformer in the area and power to our house. It would been another 24+ hours before it would return. All night we were awakened by lightning strikes that would illuminate the house. We also had 4 or 5 public service alerts on our cell phones. They really should manage those better as we received a lot of duplicates that sort of causes you to try to tune them out. Regardless, we didn’t spend much time sleeping that night.

Cypresswood FloodingThe next morning as I tried to make my way to work, the intersection between home and work was already flooded. Not only did it have water covering it, it had a lot of water covering it. Little did I know just how extensive the flood waters would be.

Cypress Creek at Stuebner RainfallCypress Creek runs roughly horizontal and with it out of its banks, Cypresswood road was flooded for several miles. This created a problem for me since I live north of the creek and work south of the creek. With it flooded, I (along with many others) was required to make a detour around the problem area. Monday night it took me an hour to get home from work. This was an inconvenience for me, but those living close to the creek were suffering with the real threat of water intrusion in their home. In fact, there’s one couple that we just met that had 5 inches of water in their home.

Cypress Creek at StuebnerIn order to gauge the extent of the flood, a co-worker suggested that I take a look at www.harriscountyfws.org. The web site reports rainfall and creek levels around the county. It’s automated, so there’s no waiting for updates. It quickly became my go to site to determine how the rain had and was impacting the level of water in the creek. You can see in the graphic above, that even though the rain event was on the night of the 18th, it wasn’t until 2 days later that the creek level peaked. So even though many people were going back to work, others were watching the water creep closer to their homes. On Wednesday and Thursday, we had what I would consider some big storms roll through the area. Relative to the Sunday rain event of 9.2″, the 0.64″ and 1.44″ seems nominal and looking at the creek water level, have only minimal effect.

This morning the Bammel church spent some time ministering to those affected. It was a touching service and I really appreciated it. You could say that we have storms that we must face from time to time. Casting Crowns’ “Praise You In This Storm” felt very appropriate to be played at the start of the service.

We’ve only been here a short time, but I feel a new bond with my fellow Houstonians. Just like the times during Katrina and Gustav, you feel some connection with those that experienced the same (or similar) walk. I’m looking forward to something closer to normal this week though.

Settling Into Texas

We continue to find our way around the area. I would say that between Connie and I, we know the area about 75%. For me 90% and Connie 60%, but that’s just an estimate. I’ll get a call periodically from her asking for a confirmation of her current route. Since I’ve visited the area several times over the years, I definitely had the advantage.

We’ve decided upon a church to attend. A lot of this would due to it’s close proximity, but there’s plenty of other things that made us feel at home. To me, it just feels a lot like a body of believers in touch with our real mission here on this side of eternity. Still a little too early to know if we’ll be there long-term.

Tonight makes 4 runs in a row (every other day pattern). I found a route that takes me around a local park. It’s a 5.5 mile route that takes around 40-45 minutes. I really hope that I can find a place to comfortably ride my road bike, but I still feel like the roads are too crowded for me. I may need to visit a local bike shop for advice. If I can keep this exercise pace up, then I’ll be very happy with that.

Connie and the kids are back into school. It’s tough with the distractions of getting the house in order, but progress is progress. We had our first official visitor this weekend (starting a little early today). That’s very exciting for us and it gives Connie a chance to catch up on things with her friend. Super nice to have the friendly face here.

I’m hoping that I can be a little better about my blogging. I think that my interest in it might be coming back. Perhaps my interest in photography will come back as well. Again, we’ll see.

Moving Isn’t Easy

I know that it goes without saying, but moving isn’t easy to do. It’s made even more difficult with a bad moving company. For us, that bad moving company was “All My Sons“. I don’t think it was coincidence that the 3 boxes that we were missing were Xbox Ones (original box) and another box labelled “controllers and accessories”. Not only did we have some of our stuff stolen, they did a poor job of estimating the number of trucks needed for the move and I ended up with a truck overflowing with stuff and some items left behind. Do yourself a favor and avoid them! You’ve been warned. I will never forget this poor experience and I hope that they aren’t in business if they don’t improve things.

That being said, unfortunate things happen (sometimes way too frequently). People are more important than things and the stuff that was stolen was just “things”. Lesson learned… again. I’ve already replaced one of the consoles and I’m going to use this as a opportunity to learn.

Another thing that I had confirmed by this move is that my wife is amazing. Not only did she pack most of the house, she’s already unpacked most of the boxes. Yea, amazing. She’s also been a cheerleader for the rest of us. I hope that our children remember how tough she has been. It’s a good example for them.

One thing that really surprised me about this move is that I really miss our old house. I really do miss it. The wonderful neighborhood and neighbors, the layout of the house, and so many other intangibles. We changed so many things to make it work well for us. We raised our four children there. So many memories…. so many memories and having that suddenly be gone is difficult. I’ve cried a few times about it. Crazy isn’t it. I’m sure I’ll get used to our new house. It took me a week to get past that and at times I think I’ll just wake up and I’ll be back there. It’s not going to happen and I’ll get over it.

The new house is nice. The new neighborhood is nice. Work has been great. I love being in the office and I’ve got some great co-workers. I’ve got my diplomas on the wall of the office and books on my bookshelf. In time, I’ll have my new computer set up. We continue to learn new things about our new house. We also continue to make small changes to fit our needs. I’ve got plenty of wiring yet to do. The kids network is going though and they can do school. My computer still isn’t connected, but it will get there eventually. My Surface 3 has been great though. Church was really good this past Sunday with the kids enjoying it as well. I really can’t complain.

After a couple difficult months of being stressed out, I’m starting to feel a little relief. I haven’t returned to normal, but at least I’m starting to feel a slight reduction in my stress level. It’s a good thing as I was starting to buckle under the load. I don’t take changes very easily, yet a new routine is starting to form. We’ll get there. Slowly, we’ll get there.


The Other Side

We made it to the other side of the Sabine. It actually wasn’t as easy as it should have been. We had plans to close on our Baton Rouge house, drive to Houston and close on the house there the next day. It seems that the storms of the prior days brought so much water that the Sabine River (which forms the southern border between Texas and Louisiana) was out of it’s banks and had flooded many homes along it. It also shut down I-10, and ever other road south of Toledo Bend Lake (which was also part of the problem).

When you are travelling with only phones for computing devices, it’s difficult to get up to date information on road closures. It’s doable, but I never really trusted the information that I would find since you couldn’t be sure it was still applicable. I really just had to trust my instincts and go with a low risk route as it would mean less of a chance of backtracking.

We left at around 8pm and made it to my sister’s home in DeRidder after midnight. The next morning at 7am we headed north to Anacoco and went west toward Toledo Bend dam. We crossed the dam (which was still pouring additional water into the Sabine River) and headed toward Houston. We arrived there around noon and went to a final walkthrough of the house. We went directly to the closing and managed to finish up around 5pm. So it was a hectic time, but we made it.

The Process of Moving

We are getting close to the sale of our house and purchase of a new house in Spring, Tx. It’s been a rough ride and I’ll be happy when it is completed and things are back to normal (whatever that will become). When this process started, I thought it would be pretty bad. I was wrong though, it’s actually really, really horrible. Out of it all, my wife has confirmed once again that she is amazing.

Where once we were talking and texting with our realtors constantly, we now rarely hear from them. We went from cleaning and organizing our own home to setting up appointments in Houston. That transitioned to writing contracts and hiring inspectors. From there we went back to appointments and another trip to Houston for Connie and Maryellen. Then back to inspectors and then loan processors. Now we are corresponding with title companies, appraisers and movers. All the while, going a little more crazy each day. We are getting close to the move date and it’s time to turn off and on utilities.

For the past few weeks, Connie and I (mostly Connie, okay almost exclusively Connie) have been packing up the contents of our house. At the same time we’ve been culling those items that we didn’t want to part with previously, but now don’t want to pay to move them to Houston. So it’s been a time of putting items on the curb or (if they are in good shape) putting them aside for the youth garage sale. Even though we pruned quite a bit, we still have boxes up to eye level around the house. The shed is packed though and the attic is empty (two things I thought were impossible). Tonight Connie and the girls worked on packing up the toys in the toy room. Tomorrow it will be time to get more boxes. My stress level is high, but not as high as it was a few weeks ago. We continue to move forward.

I think that when this move is over, I’m going to try to do a better job of not storing things unnecessarily. I’m especially bad about techie items and I would probably be better off if I took advantage of eBay to get rid of slightly outdated items. It’ll be interesting to see how much room we have for storage compared to our current house.

So we keep pressing on. It’s getting close.

Stop by for a few words on what is happening with the Callahan's.