A year and 6 months after hurricane Harvey, my parents house is about to be finished

Krejlooc

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Oct 27, 2017
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#1
My parents got their home wiped out on harvey, they were one of the hardest hit in the hurricane. They lost everything in their house, both of their cars, and have generally had a wild, miserable time. When the hurricane happened, none of us could have ever imaged it would take so long for things to get back to normal. I remember a friend saying that only 4' of water wasnt so bad, not realizing how it meant we basically had to strip their one story house to the frame and start all over.

My parents own this house, they have lived here for 50 years. My dad took out a 30 year note when he was 18 to buy the house and paid it off over decades. This march is my parents 50th anniversary of marriage.

This morning we began installing the new wood flooring and should be done by tommorrow afternoon. After which we can move the furniture in and they will be officially done. In the 18 months they have been wrecked, my mom spent 6 months staying at a hotel where she said she would smoke cigarettes with the hookers on the balcony, and my dad has developed diabetes from breaking his doctor mandated diet due to being forced to eat out for over a year (but luckily its supposed to be the reversible kind).

Im so happy that this is finally almost over. 18 months is a long time.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,185
Clemson, SC
#3
Hate they lost everything in the home, but at the same time glad no lives were lost.

I wish them and you the best OP, hopefully things return to normal very soon.

...and yes, 18 months is a long time to live unsure of when you'll finally be back to where you were.
 
Oct 25, 2017
851
Chicagoland
#4
That's awesome! Was it rebuilt to look like the original or updated to something more modern? Hopefully they're able to avoid a repeat in their lifetimes.

Awesome that they were able to rebuild to be clear. The cause is not awesome in the least bit.
 
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That's awesome! Was it rebuilt to look like the original or updated to something more modern? Hopefully they're able to avoid a repeat in their lifetimes.
We took the opportunity with the walls torn down to completely remodel. It was a home for 3 kids, but since my folks are entering their 70s, we redesigned a bunch of stuff to make it just for them. Like showers instead of bathtubs.

We also completely redid their wiring. My dad wanted to cut cable, so we wired up coaxial cable in every room to a giant antenna in the attic, and i built intel nucs into the walls so they can stream kodi and playstation vue. All their tvs are now wall mounted with all the wiring being inside the walls, so they look like they are floating with no visible outlets.

The actual outlets on the walls have usb built in now, too, and there is a central NAS server room for their kodi stuff.

Basically, yeah, a lot of changes. Its basically a brand new house.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,033
#6
We took the opportunity with the walls torn down to completely remodel. It was a home for 3 kids, but since my folks are entering their 70s, we redesigned a bunch of stuff to make it just for them. Like showers instead of bathtubs.

We also completely redid their wiring. My dad wanted to cut cable, so we wired up coaxial cable in every room to a giant antenna in the attic, and i built intel nucs into the walls so they can stream kodi and playstation vue. All their tvs are now wall mounted with all the wiring being inside the walls, so they look like they are floating with no visible outlets.

The actual outlets on the walls have usb built in now, too, and there is a central NAS server room for their kodi stuff.

Basically, yeah, a lot of changes. Its basically a brand new house.
Wow, you did it up for them. Good for you man. Now you'll be the main tech guy for them, hope you're prepared!
 
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I asked my mom today what shes most excited for, and she said "making soup and having the family come over and eat in our house."

Asked my dad, "i got a 77" 4k tv blackfriday 2017 that has been in the box this entire time," lol
 
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Wow, you did it up for them. Good for you man. Now you'll be the main tech guy for them, hope you're prepared!
My dad taught me everything i know regarding computers. Great thing about my dad, he can do all this tech stuff without me needing to help.
 
Dec 2, 2017
2,280
#10
Be happy it didn’t take several years like it did for some I’ve known who lost everything during Hurricane Sandy. Some structures have finally been replaced as late as a year ago from that storm.
 
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#11
Be happy it didn’t take several years like it did for some I’ve known who lost everything during Hurricane Sandy. Some structures have finally been replaced as late as a year ago from that storm.
My dad is an architect, mainly for small home repairs that need permits from the city, and thats basically his entire job since the hurricane, helping people get their plans to repair their house. There are tons, and tons of people in houston who still arent even close to being done. Like in my parents neighborhood, they are really the only ones even remotely ready to move in, its otherwise kinda spooky and eerily empty. My parents had help because we have a large family, it has seriously been pretty constant work whenever you have any free time, thats why they are close to moving in. We are lucky, you look at Puerto rico and those people have basically had their homes given up on by the united states.

To give an example, its me, my dad, and one of my uncles installing the floor right now. We have been lucky to always have someone in the family willing and able to work basically everyday. Without the family, this likely would have taken years. I mean, it already did.
 
Oct 25, 2017
826
#12
Good to hear your parents are brightening up, 18 months is a long time. The house seems like a super smart house!

Was the house rebuilt in the same spot? If so, what was the reasoning? I'm assuming because the land was already paid off and it's been their home for so many years. Any improvements made to prevent this from happening again, or does the risk just come with the territory?
 
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Good to hear your parents are brightening up, 18 months is a long time. The house seems like a super smart house!

Was the house rebuilt in the same spot? If so, what was the reasoning? I'm assuming because the land was already paid off and it's been their home for so many years. Any improvements made to prevent this from happening again, or does the risk just come with the territory?
We have a lawsuit pending with the city of league city. This wasnt a natural disaster, we didnt flood from rainwaters we flooded from the ground. My parents used to live in country, we grew up with cows and pastors in our backyard. Houston spread to their home within the last 5-10 years. Lots of new construction that had no impervious cover accounted for. My parents neighborhood is the only one that flooded, all the new development drained into the neighborhood using it like a ditch.

My dad has financed a 12" tall aqua dam for like $12000. In case of flood, we fill the dam with water and activate an installed sump pump in the backyard, which should keep them from flooding again.
 
Oct 25, 2017
210
UK
#15
How are you doing the NUCs in the walls to handle streaming? De-cased them for easier installation or something else? What about accessibility for future upgrades? That particularly stood out to me because while I've seen plenty of modern wiring getting added to houses, this is the first I've heard of someone going so far as to install full computers into the walls!

Any pictures from the build process?
 
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How are you doing the NUCs in the walls to handle streaming? De-cased them for easier installation or something else? What about accessibility for future upgrades? That particularly stood out to me because while I've seen plenty of modern wiring getting added to houses, this is the first I've heard of someone going so far as to install full computers into the walls!

Any pictures from the build process?
We built little shelves in the closets, like cubby holes. They have a grate on the front to let them breath and for easy access if they need to be serviced, then ran hdmi repeaters through the walls to the closets. Each tv has a nuc somewhere about 10' or so away, just not in a place that can be seen.

Ya ill throw up some pics once the house is done.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,744
#18
Congrats on the end of a long road, dude. Hope your dad gets back to being healthy again.

Which part of town was your house at? All things considered, I got extremely lucky in Sugar Land where we were a part of the area that got a huge break in the rain between bands of the storm.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,557
Miami
#21
This sounds really great OP and building stuff together with your family is one of the best experiences. I'm sorry that they had to go through all that pain but the new house sounds like a really nice upgrade.
 
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Old post of mine showing the discrepancy between my parents neighborhood, and the new one across the street:

Oh, now the Mayor of the city they live in (technically not Houston)? Fucking worthless. It should note that my parents place was destroyed because of new development within the last 5 years. They used to live out in the country, now they're surrounded by city. When the flood happened, their neighborhood was the only one that was destroyed, it had been there for 40 years. The new developments right next door were absolutely bone dry. In fact, my dad has video footage of the surrounding areas draining their streets into his neighborhood.

Some pics:



my parents neighborhood



Directly across the street. Both pictures were taken seconds apart.

So my parents neighborhood scheduled a meeting with the mayor to discuss what could be done. Got a big ol' *shrug* from him, told us to "stay dry!"
 
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Some pics from the last time i posted about this:

"Just left the house for the day, here are some pics. Keep in mind, this is after working from thursday til sunday non stop to try and get it in a livable condition, so this is actually dramatically better than it was when they were first evicted:





This is the front door:



That's exposed dirt, down to the rebar



You can see how the "door" is really wide open to the outside.

To give a frame of reference, some pics from september 2017:







"
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,348
#25
I have some good friends who made the last payment and were debt free exactly the same day Harvey hit and flooded their house. Like literally made the last payment (a car payment IIRC) that morning.



They had no flood insurance. So they basically went back into even more debt than they had started off with.

The house itself is almost ‘done’ now, and they kind of went in reverse after that happened and said Fuck It and decided to spend several tens of thousands of dollars to add a pool and hot tub during the rebuild. Not exactly the decision I would have made but, well....it is a nice pool. Lol
 
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If that happened to me I'd say, "Welp, I guess it's the van life for me" and leave. I know some people had no choice on that too. What a fucking mess.
Ita more than a house, its where me and my brother and sister all were raised. Its s shrine to our happy memories. Moving was never considered, this is home to thr whole family. My parents are the original owners, the only people who have ever lived in this home. When my dad signed the mortgage, the house was still under construction. When we were tearing down the walls, he found a signature on one of the beams that said "jm and em, love forever" written in marker (their initials).
 
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I have some good friends who made the last payment and were debt free exactly the same day Harvey hit and flooded their house. Like literally made the last payment (a car payment IIRC) that morning.



They had no flood insurance. So they basically went back into even more debt than they had started off with.

The house itself is almost ‘done’ now, and they kind of went in reverse after that happened and said Fuck It and decided to spend several tens of thousands of dollars to add a pool and hot tub during the rebuild. Not exactly the decision I would have made but, well....it is a nice pool. Lol
Yeah a lot of people in my parents neighborhood had no flood insurance. Many outright left afterwards.
 

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Oct 25, 2017
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#29
Wait - one question - how hard was finding builders and contractors? Must have been insane competition for workers and materials, even now.
 
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#33
Not having flood insurance near kemah is just stupid. Your mere miles from the coast. Sorry but damn.
not many people realize that flood insurance is different than hurricane and wind insurance. Many of those people thought they were insured.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,209
#35
OP, thanks for sharing your and your parents’ story. I graduated from houston and both my wife and I have family there (mine Dickinson , she Richmond). While I cannot completely empathize with this story, I fully sympathize with it and am rooting for you all. We were in Dickinson this past November and August and the damage is still felt even in those neck of the woods.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,789
#36
I’m glad to hear. My brother’s family’s house got finished a couple months ago and his in-laws will be able to move into their rebuilt home in a week or two. I’ve been taking care of my brother’s dog for so long we’ve joked she’s mine now (she’ll be moving back in with him after all this time when the in-laws get set up).

Many people in my brother’s neighborhood opted to just leave even with flood insurance. I’ll never forget what my brother said to me, along the lines of “if I can’t afford to destroy and rebuild this house completely then I’m going to move. I can’t live in this same house after seeing my baby’s toys floating around like that.” I’ve never seen him so traumatized.
 
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OP, thanks for sharing your and your parents’ story. I graduated from houston and both my wife and I have family there (mine Dickinson , she Richmond). While I cannot completely empathize with this story, I fully sympathize with it and am rooting for you all. We were in Dickinson this past November and August and the damage is still felt even in those neck of the woods.
My folks are right down the road from dickinson, off of 96. Dickinson and my parents neighborhood were among the hardest hit in all of Houston.
 
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I’m glad to hear. My brother’s family’s house got finished a couple months ago and his in-laws will be able to move into their rebuilt home in a week or two. I’ve been taking care of my brother’s dog for so long we’ve joked she’s mine now (she’ll be moving back in with him after all this time when the in-laws get set up).

Many people in my brother’s neighborhood opted to just leave even with flood insurance. I’ll never forget what my brother said to me, along the lines of “if I can’t afford to destroy and rebuild this house completely then I’m going to move. I can’t live in this same house after seeing my baby’s toys floating around like that.” I’ve never seen him so traumatized.
There's a few memories that stick with me. The first is driving into the neighborhood after the flood water receded. The morning the flood water went down -- which was my birthday, no less -- I drove into the neighborhood and it was like nothing i'd ever seen before. It looked like a landfill. All the yards, all the streets filled with ruined trash as thousands upon thousands of people were everywhere, in the sweltering September heat, ripping stuff out. You had to park at the entrance to the neighborhood and walk in, because the streets were so filled. I don't have pictures of that, unfortunately.

The other thing that sticks with me is when we were almost done emptying out the house and pulling out the sheet rock. My mom thought the family photo albums had been in the attic and safe, but one of the very last things we found in a closet was the photo albums on the floor, they had apparently been moved years ago and got completely ruined. An entire lifetime of memories destroyed, thousands of photos lost. Things like the last pictures of my grandma and grandpa, my dad now no longer has any photos of his dad.

We saved a handful, here's what we could salvage drying in the living room the day of the clean up:



It was pretty damn heartbreaking.

There were, surprisingly, good memories too, though. I've posted about it before, but the way the community came together and helped brought us all to tears. The day of the clean up, early in the morning, this guy came to the door and asked if he could help, and we asked him to help up pull down the sheetrock. Turns out he was from west virginia, he had watched the storm on TV and said he felt an obligation to come help. So he hopped in his pick up truck and drove non stop from WV to Houston, and just looked for a church which pointed him in the direction of our neighborhood. Later on, this marine was walking around the neighborhood asking to speak to the owners of the houses. When my mom approached him, he gave her a big hug, told her he was so sorry for what had happened, grabbed her hands, and put something in her fist then walked away. When my mom opened her hands, he had put a $500 bill there; he apparently out of his own pocket gave every person in the neighborhood $500. That $500 wound up being actually super important at the time, as it totally covered the deductible for my parent's auto insurance. There was this other guy on the second day of the clean up, he was an unassuming guy who brought a bunch of boyscouts to come help. They really, really helped by pulling down a lot of the ruined, soaked up sheet rock, all for free. After the guy left, we found out he was actually a fortune 500 company owner, an insanely rich guy from river oaks, who got down and dirty with us like normal people.

Lots and lots of stories of unbelievable kindness. I remember the second day of the flood, the ice cream man came into the neighborhood, and gave everybody, adult and children, free ice cream. When we'd try to pay, he'd turn our money away. There were the girl scouts, I have no idea the troop number, but every day for 2 weeks, they'd come and bring every family in the neighborhood home cooked meals. AMAZING home cooked meals. Meals that put the red cross to fucking shame. Like one day, they brought tur-duck-in dinner for everybody. Every house got a full tur-duck-in, with all the sides, mashed potatoes, yams, cranberries, stuffing, maccaroni, etc. It was like a full thanksgiving meal, one for every house. It was brought in like 10 vans, an insane amount of food, and that was just one day. There were families who would drive around in trucks with Ice and water and toilet paper and all sorts of supplies if you needed them. There is a gas station at the corner of the neighborhood entrance, and the guy who owned it was a saint. Infamous, around houston, a lot of places were gouging their prices, like best buy selling a crate of water for $100. But the corner store owner was the exact opposite, he opened his doors and told everyone that if you were a neighborhood resident, everything was free. Gas, ice, food, toiletries, he said if you needed it, please take it. He lived in the neighborhood too, and said the store was there to serve. My dad had a gas generator, which we'd use to run fans, so the free gas was a godsend. It was also remarkable because everybody seemed to know the stakes -- you'd hear people say "Oh, I don't need that, please give it to someone else who does." A type of comradere amongst strangers I'd never seen before. I heard about how in other cities, disasters like this can bring out the worst in people, but at least in my little pocket of Houston, the hurricane brought out a ton of love and beauty. Just about the only thing I CAN complain about, is that the first day after the flood, a bunch of vulturous "we buy ugly homes" people descended upon the neighborhood and tried to buy the homes for pennies on the dollar, while people were reeling. That really upset everyone. There were so many people from all around Houston helping on their own time, that this company was paying people to go around and rip off others in a time of need. Really gross.
 
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