Blame It On the Hurricane

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.

Looking back on this summer, Billy and I have been “homeless” and living out of a bag for three months now. As I write, Billy is at Juilliard in class, and I am sitting on a very comfortable bed in Robert and Camilla’s house. It’s looking like our summer is finally at an end.

But to catch you up to now–

We finished up our time in Maine with a few more adventures: like canoeing for miles to a water lily pond where Billy lost his glasses because I (maybe) steered us into a log.

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Going to more concerts (the three thousand other concerts not pictured here).

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Visiting the perfect Popham Beach where we evaded nasty prices by walking for miles along the coast.

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And my favorite memories from Maine were of course hanging out with the best of people, eating lots of delicious food (friends not pictured, but the food is).

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When our six weeks were up, we said goodbye to all our friends and piled in the car to drive home. We squeezed a free and fun ride home to Robert and Camilla’s by way of our friend Jackie’s car. We managed to fit four bodies and lots of instruments and things into a single car. It was pretty cozy.

It was nice seeing Robert and Camilla again, and getting a couple days of rest before we headed to the airport for our last “home” of the summer – Billy’s sister and brother-in-law Lindsey and John’s house in Houston.

We were so excited when we saw Lindsey drive up to us at the airport! That hug from her was one of the greatest. We piled into her car and arrived at her house and got our minds wrapped around the fact that we were in Texas.

One of the reasons it was even possible for us for us to visit was Lindsey needing someone to watch over her young ones for the two weeks she went back to school before the kiddos would start. We worked out an arrangement that we would go to my house in Groves during the weekends and be at her house during the week to play with Rocky, Knoxx, and the-cutest-baby-ever Eliza.

I loved when we first got in and I got to see my family. I hadn’t seen them in a year, and as weird as this may sound, I was kind of shocked to see them in real life. It’s like it’d been so long that I forgot that they were real humans – not just voices that talk on the telephone. I loved all the hugs I got.

At my house we played a lot of Super Smash Bros with my nephews and lots of board and card games with everyone else. Oh and of course we ate a lot of good food. Constantly.

We also got to visit with Julia. We went to Village Creek State Park in Lumberton. 10/10 would recommend.

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We had a chance to hang out with my cousin Taylor, and his wife Brittney. I got a bonus dinner with both them AND my Uncle Kevin.

We had a lot of really fun days down in good ol’ Groves.

During the first week of watching the kiddies, we did real well. We made sure they were off electronics and we all had lots of fun together. The second week we weren’t as great, but I like to think that everyone still enjoyed our time together.

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I guess I have to mention that we saw the partial solar eclipse. It was kind of cool.

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We had the great fortune of being attacked by Harvey (a “thousand year storm”) during our stay. Another week in Texas!

Right before the storm hit we drove down to Groves to spend the week with my family since our flight was cancelled. We had fun playing in the flood waters and breaking in to Julia’s house (I promise we had good intentions). My turtle Richie also took advantage of the fun to be had.

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Billy cannot resist a good rock skipping opportunity.

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But the rain just kept coming. It wasn’t very fun anymore.

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To explain the whole story of Hurricane Harvey as I understand it: He started as a category four as he hit Rockport, Texas. They experienced a lot of wind and storm devastation there. We were expecting *some* rain. Houston was on the “dirty” side of the storm, but we were ready for it. Southeast Texas can handle their water.

Harvey hit and the rains came. We were all still doing fine. The problems occurred when he got stuck. Two cold fronts were surrounding him, effectively holding him in place. And then, of all the crazy things, he actually got pushed back into the gulf. I didn’t even know that was possible.

So back into the ocean he goes to collect more and more water. He keeps trying to push up onto land, but those bully cold fronts put up a mean fight and only let him partially land right over Beaumont (my home) with his booty still in the water, meaning he can continually pick up more water and sling it right onto Houston and us.

Finally the cold front on the right lets up enough and Harvey barrels through into Louisiana, fully landing and quickly losing his power as he travels along.

My hometown got 47 inches of rain. Some parts of Houston got 52. It was absolutely insane. Over 90,000 homes had water enter and destroy. The saddest phrase I kept hearing from everyone as they waded through the river that was their home:

I feel so helpless watching the water destroy everything we’ve worked for.

My parents’ house was barely fine from the flooding (this is why houses on the coast should all be on stilts). Three houses down from them were not so lucky. Many of the people I’d grown up with had feet of water in their homes. My grandparents and uncle had thirteen inches of water in their houses. You can see the scum line on their cabinets.

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After several days of pouring rain, Harvey was gone. But there was so much left behind. Constantly there were rescue helicopters flying over our house to get to Port Arthur, picking people off rooftops. Anyone with a truck and/or boat was out risking their lives to save others. My entire Facebook feed was people posting in need of boat rescues and pictures of water where it didn’t belong and prayers from those out of state. Oh yeah and Sarah’s first day of third grade in sunny and dry Arizona!

When it was possible, our family went out and helped where we could. All we could really do at this point was help transfer disabled elderly from a nursing home.

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The base of operations was a lot more similar to a movie than to real life.

The work we could really help with started when the waters finally receded from homes. We headed to my grandparents’ and uncle’s houses and started ripping out all their carpet and cleaning/salvaging everything we could.

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We were all pretty raw and sore after. Poor Billy Hands.

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My favorite post I found regarding the storm:

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We barely managed to get to Houston for the weekend. My parents drove halfway, then Lindsey met up with us and drove the rest of the way home. At this point most of the roads were still underwater. There was one questionable route that we decided to check out. A trip that usually takes 1 1/2 hours took 5. But finally we made it.

We had a fun final weekend with Lindsey and her family before we managed to get on a plane and fly back to NYC.

Of course it was raining.

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All I’ll say is that I’m proud of the place I come from. Everyone in Texas is my hero.

And I’m grateful for my loved one’s safety and for clear skies.

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Until next time ♥

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