Saying Goodbye for Real to My Home Destroyed in the Flood
Well, the news is in and it is not good. We do not have the elevation to rebuild beyond the 50 percent damage mark and it is quite obvious to anyone who walks into our shell of a home, that our damage was well beyond 50 percent. Our new appraisal came in at a figure too low to meet the City of Houston’s permit requirements.
In addition, the scare of a second flood with this no-show of Tropical Storm Bill, and the fact that the Harris County Flood Control project on the bayou will not be completed until 2021, leaves us too vulnerable to go through this again. At our age, our nervous systems can’t even think about going through this process again. It’s not that we are running scared — oh wait, yes we are. And so are a lot of our peers and neighbors.
We will sell our lot, as many others in our age group are doing, and a young family who wants the best schools in Houston and our suburban bliss, will build a high up big mansion on the soil we leave behind. (We don’t need these best public schools anymore since our children are grown, and that is exactly what makes our land so valuable.) These mansions are already popping up all over our neighborhood and was the subject of this past blog, The Mansionization of Meyerland. Little did I know when I wrote that two years ago, that the trend would affect me so personally.
We will not, cannot demolish and rebuild a high up mansion. It’s time to downsize and move. I am doing it kicking and screaming. My husband is doing it with a positive spirit and can’t understand my grief. Fortunately, most of my friends understand my profound grief.
It is true I get attached to things, and also hoard a bunch of memories. It will take years of weeding through a storage space to toss out all the memories stored here that won’t fit in a downsized place. I can’t do it now even if I wanted to (and I am way too emotional to do it now anyway) as virtually everything is in boxes stacked floor to ceiling.
The stress of all of this, plus placing my dad somewhere has been unbearable. I can’t believe I am functioning, but somehow I am still working and making rational decisions at each step of the way. How that is, I can’t explain. I guess I am stronger than I ever knew, even though I am prone to tears at the drop of a pin.
My husband who is much less emotional, and a bit too rational, points out that we are healthy and can be happy elsewhere in this city. He would not trade our situation for a health scare, and we know many friends who have gone through that.
I’ve lost control of what I want to do though – similar to a health situation. The decision has been made for me, whether it was by Mother Nature, the Harris County Flood District’s inaction on the Brays Bayou, the City of Houston’s post-flood rules, or that this 1964 home was ready for retirement. That hurts. When other people our age move out of the home they raised their children in and downsize, they do it willingly. That’s the real difference here.
I am still planning my escape to New Jersey, (so desperately needed now more than ever) and for now, I will enjoy living in this space, though it is an empty shell of my memories. It will be demolished at some point so I have to appreciate living here in the last moments, regardless of the condition. My husband and I have set it up to be as comfy as possible until we can make the next move.
What a loss. What a mess. Where will we live? These life decisions would keep me wired 24/7 without the help of those little sleeping pills – my chemical of choice to help me through this trauma. We have begun perusing other homes and places to live in a certain vicinity to our lifestyle, and that too is a full time job. (Thanks to my kids who are helping with this.) We will stay in Houston, in the southwest portion where everything and everyone we know and love resides – just nowhere near a flood plain or bayou.
I can’t even begin to describe the sadness surrounding this event.