The Great Houston Blizzard of 2017
If you've read Jens Alaska Trips, you know that I was in Houston during the winter of 2017-2018 working on my sisters house because of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey earlier that year. It all started back in September when I received a call from my dad asking if I could go to Houston to help. We were in Oklahoma at the time and had already planned to go to Georgia for the Wanderlodge Owners Group Rally in mid October. We talked about us leaving Oklahoma early and heading south for a couple weeks to get started, but they weren't really ready for construction stuff yet, and they had a pretty good crew cleaning up the mess. So we decided to wait until after the rally to go to Houston.
We left Georgia on the 23rd of October, and overnighted in Gulfport MS. Being the steller planners we are, we hadn't lined up a RV park in the southeast Houston area, so Jen started looking online for one. We wanted to be as close to the house as possible, but there is only one RV park in Pasadena (where the house is), and it was full. So we started looking around La Porte and the surrounding areas. After numerous calls we found what sounded like a great place in Baycliff. It was basically an individual fenced RV spot with a small storage building, perfect. We arrived in Baycliff just as the sun was going down, the directions took us on narrow, low branch, residential streets, looking less "perfect". Finally make it to the location, and David, the guy that Jen had talked to was waiting there for us. After looking at it, it was determined that there wasn't any way I could get the bus in there, plus the "concrete" pad was actually just strips of concrete really made for a small travel trailer, not a 40 foot, 45,000 pound bus. David was very nice, and said he has a different spot that may work better. So after another 20 minutes of narrow residential driving we arrive at the spot. It's big enough, but it is just a vacant lot with power and water. The problem with it was it was really soft. I could feel the ground squish beneath my feet, I knew bringing the bus in there would be a terrible idea. David actually spent some time calling other places he knew around there, but came up short. In the end he suggested the Wal-Mart parking lot for the night, until morning when we could contact more places, cool, I guess. We arrive at the Wal-Mart, and go ask the manager if it's ok to park overnight (that's the recommended practice as not all stores allow overnight parking), she said NO. Son of a .... Ok so we left the bus there for a bit and when to a RV park nearby. It was after hours but they had some spaces. We stayed two nights there.
We spend the next day traveling all over southeast Houston looking for a reasonably priced place that was still pretty close to my sisters house. No dice. On a whim I decided to go look at the house, I knew it was on a corner lot with a dead end on the side street of said corner, but I had only been there once many years ago, so I couldn't remember exactly. We pulled up to the house and realised that the bus and explorer would just fit between the main street, and the driveway on the dead end street. So it was settled, I was staying in the driveway, convenient, except no sewer connection, but there are ways around that, and no I wasn't going to pull a "cousin Eddie" from Christmas Vacation and dump the tanks down the storm drain.
After getting set up we only had a few days before Jen had to leave for Alaska. We got to work pretty quickly, we did a bit of yard cleanup, then moved inside to get to work removing the old tar that was used to anchor the sub floor. It was a not an easy task, but slowly and surely we got it all up. Before we had finished with the tar, Jen flew back to Alaska for the second time, this time we weren't sure how long she would be gone, but we knew it would be at least 2 months. While Jen was away I continued to work on my sisters house. We had to do some more demo on the kitchen, removing the old pantry and part of the ceiling where the cabinet drop down was. I also had to raise up the dining room floor to match the kitchen and master bedroom. Here's the deal, the house has a concrete slab, but in the areas other than the kitchen and bathrooms there was hardwood floors. The way they managed this is they put 2x4's on the slab in tar face down every 16 inches or so. They then installed the hardwood on top of those. Well after Harvey the floors were shot, and my sister didn't want the expense of doing hardwood again, so it was decided to use ceramic tile. The only problem there was that in the bathrooms and kitchen the slab was raised up to match the height of the hardwood floor. In the end we ended up with little steps into the bathrooms and kitchen/dining room.
Luckily for me they had hired a contractor to remove the bottom 2 feet of sheetrock and replace the insulation and install new sheetrock, plus paint. We started tiling and getting other things lined up then Thanksgiving rolled around and my Brother in law and I went to my parents place in Brady for the Holiday. It was a quick trip, but it allowed us to bring about half of the new kitchen cabinet back with us.
We continued plugging along but we soon realized that we weren't going to be able to get the tile done in time, so my sister and brother in law found a guy that could do it quickly and very reasonable. He actually pulled an all nighter and tiled the remaining 2/3rds of the house in like 2 days basically by himself, and it turned out pretty darn good.
Then IT happened!!
No one knew what to do or how to proceed and we were lucky to survive the great Houston Blizzard of 2017.
Thankfully we made it out of that nightmare! Looks like this post will have to go to at least another post or two. See Ya on the flip side.