Thanksgiving, 2011 – the date of our very first holiday celebration in our new abode. The celebration was beyond wonderful. The food was eat-till-you-pop worthy, the football games were thrilling (especially the very last UT/A&M match-up – Hook ‘Em Horns!), the grandkids were adorable and the gathering of family was heartwarming. On a scale of one to ten, this Thanksgiving was a big, giant-turkey-sized TEN.
Now, stroll with me back to the end of September, a mere three months ago. Also, a mere three months after we moved into our new house. As Hubby and I sat contentedly in the peaceful quiet of our new den, I turned to him and said, “I love this house.”
“I love it, too,” he said, “but I don’t trust it yet.”
I gave him that look – you know, the one that says I hear the words that are coming out of your mouth, but you’ve lost me.
He explained. “After 23 years in the other house, I knew everything about it. Anything that could or would go wrong, what to expect… everything. I could trust it. I just don’t trust this house yet.”
A short few weeks later, as I stood ankle deep in water in that very same den, those words rang in my ear. Only hours earlier, I had been enjoying the sound of heavy rain pelting the over-baked ground. It was the first measurable rainfall since… I can’t even remember when. Houston (not just Houston, but all of Texas, to be precise) had been experiencing the worst drought since God was a boy. Finally, the heavens opened up and rain fell in buckets. It started early in the morning, a furious rain with giant drops that sounded almost like marbles hitting the ground. All day long, it rained, easing off to a slow drizzle every so often, only to pour down again moments later.
I didn’t turn on the television, or music or anything else that would make any noise. I just wanted to listen to the sound of rain, rain, rain. I was still listening when my daughter and her family called to invite me out to lunch. Gleefully, we made our way to a restaurant that had a covered patio where we could enjoy our meal and keep watching the rain. We took our time, enjoying not only the rain, but the cooler temperatures that came along with it. Ninety minutes later, we finally wended our way back home.
You can imagine my surprise when I opened the door to my house and was greeted by the odious smell of… sewer water?? What the… ?? Then I saw the stream of water snaking its way out of the hall into the living room on the wood floors of which I was oh-so-proud. Further inspection revealed that all three bedrooms, the hall, and both bathrooms had standing water. Well, it wasn’t so much standing as it was flowing (I refer you to my previous statement about the water snaking out of the hall into the living room.)
It didn’t occur to me that the other side of the house might be joining in on the fun until I heard the squeals of my grandsons – ages 3 and 4 – as they discovered the indoor wading pool previously known as my den. By the time I rounded the corner heading their way, the water was inching its way into the kitchen.
You might be wondering how my house could flood in the middle of a Texas-sized drought. I wondered that too and frankly, never got a satisfactory answer to that question. Maybe it was a perfect storm (ha!) of circumstances. The plumber who braved the storm, on a Sunday, no less, snaked all the drains – the sewer line and all the area drains around the house. Through some evil convergence of happenstance, they were all plugged up. Okay, so that explains the lazy river of sewer water flowing from the bathrooms throughout the bedrooms, but not the den on the far side of the house. No one has ever been able to explain that one to me. That water didn’t smell – it seemed to be rainwater. But as soon as the drains were opened by the trusty plumber, the water in the den magically receded. Presto, chango!
However it happened, the whole house flooded. A water reclamation team came to the house, sucked out all the water, set up dehumidifiers and drying fans. They coated every surface with drying agents and some foul-smelling liquid that was designed to keep mold spores from growing. They pulled off baseboards and cut sheetrock and wreaked havoc in my beautiful new house. If I hadn’t been in shock, I would have been devastated.
Off to the hotel I went. My husband joined me there when he came back in town. Fast forward three months through the nightmare of insurance adjusters and mortgage company bulls**t and contractors and movers and cleaning crews and only a couple of genuine meltdowns by yours truly, and we finally moved back in on the afternoon before Thanksgiving.
It rained yesterday. Not a gully-washer like the day my house flooded, but enough rain to make me a little nervous. No flood, though. Nice and dry on the inside, plenty of water on the outside. Thank God for small victories.
And what a day of Thanksgiving it was – one that will surely become fodder for family lore. Oh, and my new wood floors? Even more gorgeous than the previous ones. Silver lining and all that, you know?