As many of you know, I now live in Houston, Texas and no doubt you have heard we are now living through likely the worst episode in the city’s nearly 200 years of history. Even though we have been consuming quite a bit, it does not seem right to write about wine right now.
Instead, I thought I would offer up my assessment of our current situation.
By most accounts, we have another twenty-four hours to endure before there is even a semblance of a break in the storm that has dominated the area for close to a hundred hours thus far.
As I have mentioned on Facebook several times, we have had it far better than many. Our house, which is newly constructed (we closed on it in October), has a few leaks in the roof and a couple of windows, but otherwise it has held up well. The street, after a couple of instances of worrisome but luckily brief flooding, is handling the water well, too. Or as well as could be expected.
The back yard is also draining exceedingly well, but in my rather water-soaked brain I am worried that an inevitable saturation point is somewhere in the not too distant future and the draining system for either the street or the yard (or both) will soon wave the white flag and exclaim “no more!”
We lost power yesterday, but only for about two hours, so we have been able to monitor the storm on T.V. much like many of you. We also have the “advantage” of access to local news coverage, which seems to want to report the more tragic episodes of the storm, interviewing people who just escaped their house with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing.
[I do not know about you, but after I left all my worldly possessions behind, seeking higher ground, warmth, and dry clothes, the last thing I want to do is talk to a reporter.]
Even though we have only lived here for a little less than a year, I have ridden through many of the neighborhoods that you see in the reporting. Buffalo and White Oak Bayous both have bike paths that I frequent with regularity and I have ridden around the Addicks and Barker reservoir areas (water is now being released from both to avoid pressure on the dams) countless times.
I shudder to imagine the damage.
When the storm first hit on Friday, I have to say I was initially not all that impressed—I have weathered a few hurricanes on the East Coast and those, based mainly on the wind, seemed to be far more severe.
Yes, the key word there is “initially.”
Since Saturday afternoon (when we were able to hold an impromptu birthday party—that we had initially cancelled—for our nine year-old Sebastian), the rain has been heavy and relentless.
And the amount of rain we have received boggles the mind. Growing up in the mid-west, we rarely had large rain events, but we certainly would get some heavy snow. When I was young, my father told me that, essentially, an inch of rain is equivalent to eight inches of snow. Thus, when I heard about rainfall totals in various storms across the country, I would do the calculus to convert it into snow so I could better grasp the intensity of the storm.
I think the largest snow storm I experienced as a kid was just under two feet. In Philly we had one storm that dumped almost 30 inches on the city.
Two feet of snow is roughly three inches of rain. 30 inches of snow? Almost four inches of rain.
Here in Houston they say we are getting 50 inches of rain.
That would be four hundred inches of snow. Over thirty-three feet of snow.
All told, we are holding up fairly well. We have enough food for at least a couple more days, and heaven knows we have enough wine (quick math: at even two bottles a day, we are good until well into 2019 on that front). Everyone is more than a bit stir crazy, however, and if I play one more game of Uno or Sorry I might scream.
Both my wife and I are eager to get out and help, but there does not seem to be a shelter within walking distance of our house and driving at this point is simply not a good idea.
So here we wait.
I am sorry about the long diatribe, but I wanted to let you know that we are fine. Thank you all for your direct messages, texts, and comments on the various social media—even though I have not responded to you all individually, I have read them all and really appreciate your thoughts and comments.
Last, I want to point out once again that I might not do many things well, but I certainly seem to marry quite well. When we were trying to decide where to live in Houston, my wife, despite assurances to the contrary by our real estate agent, demanded that we live outside of any flood plain. No 100-year flood, no 500-year flood. No flood whatsoever.
So far, that seems to have been our saving grace.