Things got a little moist.
music selection: NONE. My internet was down for five days robbing me of Pandora Radio. This made me a very sad lizard.
It has finally stopped raining in Houston (after 26.4 inches per my backyard rain gauge) and things are largely back to normal for me. I got no water in the house. I sustained some minor roof and drywall damage that will cost about 100 dollars to repair if I do the work myself. Many of my neighbors were not so lucky. Many had water up to the doorknob and a few had water up to the roof line.
Around Saturday morning things looked like it was just going to be another minor inconvenience. We had one family at the clubhouse taking shelter with their dogs because water was close to getting in the house. A friend came and got them and we locked the clubhouse back up. Shortly after dark on Saturday, things started getting bad. We don’t know where the boats started coming from but they were in the neighborhood backing up to people’s front doors to pull them and their pets out. I was high and dry and began offering shuttle service to the few hotels in the area that still had rooms.
By Sunday morning, we had 40 refugees plus their animals at the clubhouse speaking English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog. I huddled the other board members and persuaded them we should expend association funds to buy those people food. I drove to four pizza joints and four chicken places before I found someone open. It took an hour and half to get food. I ordered 80 pieces mixed, 16 sides, and 40 rolls to go. People who previously said they wouldn’t eat because the stress had killed their appetite changed their tune when they smelled fresh fried chicken. Generous neighbors brought additional food and no one went hungry through the duration of the crisis.
On Monday, I continued giving rides to and from hotels and the shelter that opened at the Lone Star College for people and their animals. I had cats, small dogs, medium dogs, large dogs, one VERY large dog, a cockatiel, and a 7 foot boa constrictor named Lester in my back seat. The car currently looks like Hurricane Harvey happened inside. The back seat is quite literally muddy. By Monday night some county high water vehicles had pulled a large number of our refugees out to relocate to a proper Red Cross Shelter. We were down to about a dozen as people continued to be rescued from rising water in the neighborhood by boat all night.
Tuesday saw the population in the clubhouse fall to six souls and their animals. We had plenty of food and pet food donated by neighbors. We began accepting donations at the clubhouse which is now a full fledged donation center. One board member who had water in his house up to the door knob has elected to remain at the clubhouse rather than return home to begin cleaning to manage the clubhouse donation effort 24/7. All of our refugees have gone home or to be with friends and family. We know of no one who died but have multiple calls from worried homeowners who cannot locate pets.
We currently have 6 tables full of clothes, shoes, and cleaning supplies. If you are in Houston and want to help affected communities, we have found the greatest immediate need is cleaning supplies. You cannot buy a mop, bucket, bleach, scrub buds, cleaning gloves, or paper respirator masks anywhere in Houston at the moment: everyone is sold out. Consider donating your surplus to a local shelter or church. Donating cash to the American Red Cross is another great way to help: http://www.redcross.org/
All in all, I am very fortunate. I have been working tirelessly to serve my local community and will continue to do so until things return to normal. Speaking of which, I really need to get back to it. I’ll post Transparency for August over the weekend. Until then…
Devour your prey raptors!