When you experience a storm the magnitude and size of Harvey, there are waves of intense weather, followed by quieter hours. During the night of Saturday, August 26th, quiet was nonexistent. The girls and Lucas went to bed at a reasonable hour, but I was bracing myself. You see, I am weather watcher. I have 4 tracking apps on my phone. I know the lingo. I know the warnings. I have mastered the art of under the stairs closet sitting. There are weather people I trust and weather people that I ignore. Unfortunately, the ones I trust indicated that it was going to be a long night.
We have a group text with our elder team from church. I really wish that everyone could see how much fun we have together. To read our text thread is to be entertained. Lucas sent a full report to all that he felt safe with the night ahead. We checked on each other at 9:30 and I assumed we were saying goodnight. At 11:46, our friend John gave an update of his street. Water was rising and others reported the same. Two people on the thread were obviously pacing with me, and I know they both could handle my excessive messaging. At this point, I knew that my thoughts needed company and I switched to a chat with John and Marla. At 11:52, our conversation began with, “Lucas was WRONG.”
For the sake of friendships, I will not divulge the author of that text, but it was clear before midnight that we were all nervous. The first few comments included things like, “I’m moving to Colorado” and “I wish I had built a canoe.” By 12:15 the tornado warnings were so intense that I felt the best use of my resources was the $9.99 funnel rotational app. Later that hour, jokes are interruppted with “shelter, Lacy” and “your turn, John.”
At 2am, I had to wake Lucas up to move his truck. The water was 2′ from our foundation and rising. About 30 minutes later, the kids were called to shelter in the closet and when that cell passed, the water was not stopping. We began to move things to the second story. This is one of those moments when you all look at each other and you have to decide what matters. Is it your grandmother’s furniture? Is it the desk from your dad’s office? These did not make the cut that night. My wedding album, my kid’s art from preschool and a few important documents went upstairs. The rest was stuff. We said that aloud. We hugged each other and the water kept coming.
“I want to vomit.”
This is the text that sums up the next few hours. The Emergency Response Alarm sounded from the plant. Lucas was needed, and there was no way to get down our street. The humor turned very dark on our text exchange. Sarcasm and morbidity was replaced only by calls to return to the closet. The tornado warning was constant. In these two days, there were 148 tornado WARNINGS for Houston. Insanity.
As the water crept closer to our house, the room that would have flooded first was my craft room. What this meant for the waterways of Harbour Park was that glitter was going to abound in your grass:
Marla: If you are going to flood…there better be glitter.
Lacy: Oh, there will be glitter all over the neighborhood.
John: Little victories.
Marla: Gotta spread that sparkle even in the flood waters.
These two kept me sane. Having spent much of the night with two teenagers and a grumpy hubby in a closet, this was my mind break. At this point, the news reported that we had received 23″ in the last 12 hours. The water was 6″ from the foundation and I just had to walk away from the window. At some point, I dozed off. I think I slept for about 45 minutes. When I woke up, the water was not lower, but it was not higher.
With the daylight came the images of the city. Unbelievable. Unimaginable.
And there was evening and there was morning – the first day.