This last Memorial Day Texas was hit by devastating floods. It’s hard to imagine now since it hasn’t rained all summer and everything is crispy and dry, but there was water everywhere and it simply wouldn’t stop coming. It’s either feast or famine around here (though usually famine). My five-year old son has been telling everyone he meets (the librarian, cashiers, random people in the grocery store, etc) that they should “come to our house so you can see how brown the grass is”. Ha.
Anyway, the flooding this spring destroyed my in-laws house (Adam’s mom and stepdad). Instead of going into all the details myself, I’m just going to post part of an e-mail sent out by my brother-in-law Keith (Adam’s older brother) because it covers everything quite nicely.
“My brother Adam woke me up early Sunday morning to tell me my folks had climbed onto their roof waiting their turn to be evacuated by Blackhawk helicopter. I threw some sledge hammers, shovels, and bottled water in the truck and left 30’ skid marks down my street as I peeled out of my neighborhood headed North (no way was I going to let my Mom ride in a Blackhawk before I do!). I had no idea what I was headed towards. I stopped at Wal-Mart once I hit the highway and filled my truck with kayaks and life preservers (just in case). When I arrived at the house, I found the water had already subsided and my Mom was just pushing an inch of mud around the entryway with a broom. She just stared at me for a few seconds like she was trying to figure out where she knew me from, then she just said “some water got in”. I just hugged her for a while and then I assured her it’s all just stuff and it can by fixed or replaced. Since that moment, we’ve had unbelievable help from family, friends, the community, and H-E-B. What has really blown me away and taken me down a peg, is when helpers arrive with food or labor and my Mom sends them to the neighbors because they “might need it more”. Day four and I still haven’t heard them ask for anything… simply amazing.
The water was over 5’ inside which didn’t spare anything. All appliances, furniture, cabinets, art, photos, fixtures, and cars were destroyed. I’m going to head up the rebuild. Since Sunday morning we have gotten busy demolishing everything in the house up to the first floor ceiling. The sheetrock, insulation, cabinets, trim, doors, and flooring have been completely abated. Yesterday I rented some de-humidifiers and fans to start drying the framing. That’s where you come in. I’m in desperate need of skilled labor, materials, prayers, and funds to put this thing back together. Insurance isn’t going to help, this is going to happen “naught without labor”. If the house is dry enough this weekend, I would really like to get insulation and sheetrock going. If you have time, resources, tools, trucks, materials, buddies, brothers, or neighbors that know their way around a job site, we can use them. I’m in need of everything from garage doors, sheetrock, batt insulation, doors, windows, and appliances. Thanks in advance for your thoughts, prayers, assistance, and time.”
If you’ve never been around flood water before, let me tell you something…it is disgusting. Things that would normally be okay getting wet can’t be saved from a flood. Here are a few pictures of the house after the water receded.
Like Keith’s e-mail said, everything was a total loss and the house had to be stripped down to the studs.
There are five kids in Adam’s family, and his stepdad has five as well. We have a lot of family, and everyone came out of the woodwork to help. There were volunteers everywhere…friends, relatives, and strangers. Local companies (HEB, Whataburger, Salvation Army, to name a few) helped out with food, water, bathrooms, and a host of other donations.
And just so we’re clear, I did nothing. I wanted so bad to put on my work clothes and be part of the solution, but with three little guys at home (and Judah being only 2 months) it was best to stay at home. So on one of the days that Adam came home all muddy and disgusting I told him that I hated feeling useless and wished there was something I could do to help. He replied “well you DO write a DIY blog and have some connections….why don’t you e-mail companies and see if they will donate supplies?”
Well duh….that was a great idea. So I made a list of stuff we needed and got to e-mailing. Unfortunately I didn’t hear back from most companies (evidently I really need to work on my pitch), but two responded immediately.
Ryobi was the first to answer and offered to send a much-needed pressure washer. They shipped it lightning fast and when it arrived Adam excitedly tore into it (he LOVES to clean things). Not only did they send a pressure washer, they sent their biggest, most powerful, most expensive one – a 3100 PSI gas-powered pressure washer with a Honda motor.
Isn’t that so generous? Here’s a one minute clip of Adam using it…it’s so satisfying to watch all that mud and muck wash right off.
Adam and I own a whole bunch of Ryobi tools, and I have to say that we love them. I was a little skeptical when we first got them because they are so reasonably priced, but they have been awesome. I LOVE that they are cordless and you can change the same battery between all our tools (they make 50+ tools use the same battery), and it’s so nice not to have to drag around extension cords or use a huge (and loud) air compressor for our brad nailer. Plus they are just a great company to work with. So if you are in the market for tools, consider Ryobi (they make everything!)
The next company to answer was Mohawk. They were wonderful and offered to sell us their SmartStrand carpet and a really great discount. Adams parents ended up going with a local company that was offering a crazy low prices just for flood victims, but I wanted to give Mohawk a shout out because they were so responsive and I could tell that they genuinely wanted to help.
The house is slowly going back together…the walls are back in, the flooring is in, windows are about to get replaced, and my brother-in-law Keith is in the process of building new cabinets. The outside looks quite a bit different too!
It seems that 2015 is has been the year of building for Adam and I. With the combination of our house, our friends Darin and Jody (the ones who are building the same house as us and are a few months ahead), my brother (who is building in our neighborhood) and my in-laws house we pretty much live and breathe construction. Speaking of, our foundation was poured today! We’re going to let it cure over the weekend and framing should start Monday. I’m so stinking excited to watch it come together. Next week I’ll post the foundation details and from there the updates should be coming more quickly (I just need to find quiet time to write them, thats the tricky part.)