It’s strange to think a year ago we were stacking up cases of water with any food that we could still find at the grocery store. We were skeptical of the weather reports, but ready to huddle together if the storm did hit us hard.

The last hurricane to leave its mark in Houston was Ike in 2008. Flooding wasn’t bad but we went without electricity for two weeks. In a way it had been fun. Playing card games, fighting over fans, taking showers in the dark with only a lantern.

We get storm warnings all the time. Hurricane smhurricane. It’ll probably just be a tropical storm.

So, we piled up the water and snacks–most of which were eaten by the horde of children in the house–and bunkered down, all the family in one house. We were kind of excited. A few days without power isn’t so bad, and hey maybe we won’t have to go to work.

When Harvey hit Texas it made Houston feel safe. Saturday we had light rain and tornado warnings. My brother commented, “They’re making a bigger deal out of it then it is.”

But we weren’t paying attention to a key detail. The hurricane wouldn’t technically hit Houston. We’d get the tail end of the tropical storm and giant bucket of rain.

We woke up Sunday morning with a few inches of water out in the street and a back neighborhood bayou overflowing. We canoed, had a few laughs, thought holy crap we’re lucky. We were living in a different world compared to the rest of Houston. We knew that the city was underwater only becasue of the news.

Our phone service was great, our power was on, and the reservoir a few blocks over held all the water.

So, my Harvey experience was surreal. Like the images on the news and the stories on Facebook didn’t match my reality outside my door.

Yet, we were stranded on dry ground. We couldn’t go far because the neighborhood over there was flooded.

Things Houstonians were frustrated by: national media.

They found our love for humankind during this time surprising in this political climate. It was almost funny to watch the media cover it. “Someone helped another person, even though they wouldn’t get anything in return!”

We’ve always been this way, a hurricane didn’t create kindness. I wrote about this after Harvey.

The next frustration: Why didn’t they evacuate?

Most born Houstonians and longtime residents agree that the choice to not evacuate was the right one. We could explain it a million times, but what I learned during Harvey is that most people can’t understand it.

I don’t have a grand Harvey story. I was safe, warm, and could have went about my normal life. But a year later we’re still rebuilding, we’re still helping…and we’re still in good humor. I mean, who other than Texans would crack jokes during a historical flood?

Side Story: on Labor Day (a week after the hurricane) we went to a waterpark. On the freeway we passed by exits that were blocked because the neighborhoods were still flooded.

Advertisements