Tuesday, June 2, 2015

# 551 - Rain, Rain Go Away, I Want to Build Our House Today

We closed on our construction loan as of May 5th, then we immediately had a crew jump in to start clearing the home-site of the densely wooded forest. Everyone was READY TO BUILD! Then, the rains in Texas began pouring.

And it poured.

And much of our part of Texas began to experience devastating floods.

Then, the rain stopped for a moment, oh, but wait, it soon started to rain again, for weeks.

The fires that we had started so that massive timber debris could be turned to ash didn't have a chance. A sizzle wasn't even possible. Hauling this level of unsellable timber away costs THOUSANDS of dollars. Out here in RURAL burn the timber removed from your homesites, but that wasn't happening. Everything sat in the pouring rains and became soaked to the core.

The land became so saturated that the large equipment needed for clearing couldn't stand a chance at running through the muck. If they try to operate, the bulldozer would simply become bogged down and create more damage than good.

Since we cannot remove the remaining large trees we selected to be removed from the home-site, we could not proceed. And we can't start building unless the trees are removed because there is no sense in having one of these massive trees fall on any structure being built, so we can't begin building.

Additionally, we need to haul in several loads of top soil after the composted soil is removed so that we can build the house and detached garage upon a proper crowned, elevated site to prevent drainage from pooling under the house.

Each step is critical. But, for weeks we didn't make one step forward because the rain put a halt to all construction steps.

During these weeks I watched news reports highlighting widespread and devastating floods, especially throughout the Greater Houston area where most of my loved ones live. The images were terrifying.

Across Texas, there were stories of tragedy and unexpected flash floods that took unsuspecting lives. Experiencing a true flash flood is something that one cannot imagine...I experienced one at 17 years of age in San Antonio and I NEVER want to go through another one. There but the Grace of God...

Remaining outside of my own small-world irritations with construction delays due to rains wasn't a choice, due to widespread suffering. Of course, I had been feeling sad that our long-awaited construction process was so severely delayed. I was feeling the severe pinch of living in an RV for a much longer time-frame than intended, but as we realized the rains were not stopping and there was 90% rain in the forecast every day for the next week, and the next, then I began to also breathe a sigh of relief that we hadn't started construction the week prior to the heavy rains because we surely would've suffered major issues with material damage. As for construction, I would rather be patient and wait out the major rains.

The picture below is from about a week ago. This is 288, which is a route we take to reach downtown Houston and the Medical Center. For years I drove this strip of 288 as I traveled either to Rice University or to Houston's Medical Center and we still drive it whenever possible, very frequently. The bayou running parallel to 288 became so inundated with flood water that it completely covered this entire section of 288. I had never seen such massive flooding. Indeed, people died in this area. Terrible tragedies.


So, I could cry about the tragic losses due to massive flooding, but I am getting back on track in my small world. Truly, we do need a minimum of two solid hot days to begin drying out the land, even though we have fantastic drainage on our acreage, the terrain is still problematic after it rains day after day, for weeks. It would be problematic, anywhere.

Even so, if all had gone as expected, I thought most of the shell of the house would be constructed by now. So, constructing our custom country home has not gone as expected, but WHAT part of life ever goes as we expect? I am thankful Texas is getting some sunny weather because we could not have endured much more flooding.

Flooding inside Minute Maid Park...

Keeping things in perspective, I know our family is extremely blessed and being content with rain is normally a good thing. But, this level of rain has been challenging. Fortunately, nobody in my own family flooded during this round of storms, but many of our friends have flooded homes and vehicles. Eventually, the rains will slow down, and we will be working like dogs beneath the Texas sun. Until the hot, rainless days come, I am happily making sure that all of our construction decisions are livable ones that truly feel right. And, it seems that everything is really great...even though not much is going on.

Sgt. Dave is digging around our home-site zone for old bottles about
50 years old. This area was once an old Timber-Town. Every now and
then, we find truly valuable treasures. We have so much fun!

Along with the rain, I've had ample time to reconsider spare closet placement in the house along with other nook and crannies to be added. The down time has been well spent. I also spent one full week taking care of our first and only grandchild, Coraline, and the next taking care of my niece, Shaye, as my sister and her husband took a week long cruise to Mexico for her 40th birthday. After those two weeks, I was BEYOND WORN OUT and sick with a terrible cold virus unlike anything I've experienced in YEARS. Life...

However, I pray for everyone directly impacted by these horrendous rains because Mother Nature can indeed be unrelenting and indiscriminate. But, the selfish side of me screams, "Rain, Rain, Go Away...I want to build our house today!"

I spent about a week with my niece Shaye. It was great
to see her stand in the area where the house will be
built. Sharing the house-building process with her has
been fantastic! However, it is not very exciting to an
eight year old, in fact, it's kind of boring. But, that's ok.

Oh well, as of a couple of weeks ago, we've now officially worked for TWO YEARS to build this house. I cannot believe it has taken us this long to get to this point. Building on raw acreage in a rural area is NOT an easy process.

The great news is that today has been another bright and sunny day and our area has several days of hot, great weather ahead of us. This time in Texas can give LONG hot days, which can be beneficial for those in construction, especially after weeks and weeks of traumatic flooding. Even better, I can hear sounds in the distance of the crews working and it is MUSIC TO MY EARS!

As I sign off, I can also smell timber debris burning. It's good we are getting all of it burned before the hot weather kicks in the dreaded BURN BANS because those will present a completely new kind of hurdle, if we're not prepared!

House...I want you...I NEED you...I want your closet space, your bathtub, your full-sized kitchen...I want all of our lifelong belongings out of storage to be placed inside your innards! House, oh house...the house of my dreams that I have never seen in real life...I am ready for you!

1 comment:

LindaG said...

Glad to hear everyone is okay. Been praying for you all.
Too bad the wood couldn't have been used for some sort of rustic fencing; but glad you are getting to burn it finally.

Our garden is mostly a total loss so far. The tomatoes didn't like sitting for days in inches of water, even when planted on hills! The ground out there smells swampy.

The Red River isn't supposed to crest for another week yet. Fortunately there are levees between it and us. Some places had more flooding than us.

Has any of this rain helped with Texas' drought any? Usually this sort of rain does not help.

We are supposed to have at least a week of sun, with temps in the 90s this weekend. Hope you get enough dry weather to get the shell done!
God bless. ♥