A fair bit of our Texas visit was spent on the road and playing hopscotch with Fate. We arrived in south Houston, spending several days with Jen and Trace, then on Sunday we moved up to northwest Houston. I attended a Lady Bobcats luncheon (my former Cy-Fair HS girlfriends), that lasted into the late afternoon; and then that evening we settled in at Debra and Sandy Sandoval's house. They were away in their camper exploring the western and mid USA and had asked us to house-sit and drive Debra's car that had been sitting idle. We were very disappointed that they were traveling and that we wouldn't get to see them on this trip, nonetheless, were quite happy to stay in their lovely home while they traveled.
Wednesday morning we had planned to drive to Austin, but awoke in the wee hours to the sound of pouring rain. Uh, wait a minute...is it actually raining INSIDE???? I groggily made my way toward the sound of the downpour to find that, indeed, water was absolutely pouring from the ceiling, through every light fixture, A/C vent and the ceiling fan down into the Sandoval's living room, kitchen and guest bath. Lordy, Lordy! I ran to wake up Frank and then dove into the kitchen cabinets to fetch every large pot, bowl and bucket I could find. After placing them I grabbed every towel I could get my hands on and began sopping up the pond that was forming in their home. Meanwhile, Frank ran outside to locate the shut-off valve to the main water supply. Having accomplished that he ventured into the attic to discover an arc of water shooting across the length of the house stemming from the hot water heater. He tried to stave the flow by shutting off the valve when he noticed the high-pressure hose had blown. Eventually he got the leak checked and we sopped up most of the water, got furniture moved and rugs taken outside to dry. Then we sat and pondered the situation. Should we cancel our trip to Austin? We hated to call Deb and Sandy but had no choice - their house was now a mess. When we phoned them they felt the same tug of conscience - they were clear up in Utah. Should they just come home? It would be a very long drive, but then after calling the mitigation specialists they realized they would not enjoy one more minute of their trip with this hanging over their heads, so they made a decision to make tracks and head for Houston. We phoned Kathy and Tom in Austin to tell them the disappointing news and then sat around to await the mitigation team. They didn't arrive until after 1 PM. They sequestered us to the master bedroom while they proceeded to literally demolish Debra and Sandy's beautiful home. It was heart-stopping to hear the pounding and wrenching and ripping and tearing out of the entire ceiling and wood floors. Me being the nosey Nellie that I am couldn't resist a peek outside the bedroom from time to time to witness the utter devastation and to snap a few action shots for Sandy and Debra in case they needed some photographic evidence for insurance. I was rewarded with scowls and shouted demands that I remove myself from the war zone immediately. After a while it got to be almost a game of me playing groundhog and them ridding themselves of my nuisance. Eventually, by 7 PM the team left with literally a semi-truckload of the Sandoval's disassembled home. What was left was a pathetic shell, littered with bits of insulation and sheetrock, dotted with large fans. We got out the brooms and the vacuum and set about trying to tidy up as best we could. It was a very sad and disheartening sight. We could only imagine how they would feel when they hit the door on arrival. We had been in touch with them the entire day, tracking their slow progress. In the meantime, Tom Stewart phoned imploring us to just hit the road, making clear to us that there was nothing for us to do but sit and breathe the dust until Debra and Sandy arrived. Debra and Sandy felt the same, so at around 9 PM after I had finished washing and drying the sodden towels we got on the road to Austin, arriving at Kathy and Tom's home a bit after midnight.