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The Soggy Saga of Writers' Roost

In case you haven't heard, we had a flash flood June 27 and had to be "swift-water rescued." We're okay. We lost things (not the house) but things can be replaced.

About 3 a.m. on the 27th, Julie woke me and said she had heard a roaring noise, looked out and couldn't see anything but water (we had power, lights, phone, satellite dish TV). I jumped into some clothes, went out on the front deck and sure enough, there was about 3-3.5 feet of water under the house and on either side as far as we could see with limited lighting. The water was already up to the headlights and taillights of both our vehicles (we park under the house, which is 12-13 feet in the air on concrete and steel pillars).

We called 911 and they assured us they would come to our rescue immediately. They were out here in about 20-25 minutes. A large fire truck was west of us about 80-90 yards and smaller trucks and sheriff's vehicles were east of us about 50 yards, so that's the total of how far the water reached.

Ultimately, the water reached a depth of about 4-4.5 feet and was terribly swift. The emergency crews stayed in touch with us by phone, saying they'd rather not put a boat in the water because it was too swift and, in the dark, they couldn't see obstacles such as our fence line since the water nearly had it covered. Their first call to the house Julie answered and they told her that unless we had a medical emergency or the structure was compromised or threatened, they'd rather not try a rescue but that if there was a problem they would get to us. They wanted to wait for daylight and to see if the water would go down. They called every 10-15 minutes to be sure we were okay and that the house was fine.

The second call I answered, and a man said, "I understand you have an elderly gentleman in his 70s in the house who could have medical problems." I replied, "I'm the 'elderly gentleman' and I'm not having any medical problems." To which he said, "Oh, well, sir, you don't sound 70." I retorted, "I don't look, feel or act it either."

Meanwhile, as I mentioned, the cars were going under. The headlights and taillights came on for each vehicle. The water began to push Julie's vehicle out from under the house and the big fire truck to the west of us used its bullhorn to tell us not to try to escape in the vehicle. I called 911 and told them the flood caused the lights to come on and that we weren't in the vehicle and to please tell the firemen we had more sense than to try to get in a vehicle in high water. We later learned that the waters caused the passenger side windows on each vehicle to go down. Of course, the vehicles were a total loss.

At about 6:30 there was some daylight and the water appeared to have receded about a foot, so the "swift water rescue team" came after us. They tied ropes to the trees and utility poles down our fence line, which is almost on the roadway, and came to the stairs that go up to the front deck where we were standing. They wore wetsuits and life vests and brought life vests for us. They took us down one by one. Julie went first (God save the Queen!) The water was chest deep on her and cold. She told me later that her second thought, after "Brrrr!," was "Snakes!" She didn't see any though. They moved us to the west, the shorter distance to higher ground. I was next. They told us to keep our feet pointed into the current or we'd be swept under. They didn't have to tell me twice.

A sheriff's car took us to the brand new law enforcement center (not even open to the public yet), poured coffee in us, fed us breakfast and got Julie some "jailin' shoes" because her wet shoes were giving her cold chills. Their Jail Ministry put us up in a motel that evening.

We were able to get back to the house about mid-day and get some essentials (we weren't allowed to carry much out) and Julie's new little dog, Sawyer (that's right, after Tom, what else on a river).  Someone dumped him near our house several weeks ago. He's about 5 months old, cute, loving and smart. We asked the vet what breed he was and she said, "I'd describe him this way: a Walt Disney, rare, low-rider sheep dog."

We rented a car that afternoon (thanks to car insurance). The couple we bought the house from carted us around and they have essentially taken us to raise. They've helped us with clean-up, with tearing down the remains of the storage buildings and with finding service and repair people to get everything done.

Our river, the Lampasas, had been up since we moved in May 30 because of all the rain in the watershed (about 38-40 inches ahead for the year so far). The Corps of Engineers, in their usual lightning quick fashion, waited until Stillhouse Hollow Lake was 23 feet above normal before beginning to release water. However, the evening before our flash flood, there was a 10-inch rain in two hours about 5 miles SW of us at Salado. And, Salado Creek feeds into the Lampasas about a mile above our house.
The combination of the two things created our flash flood. Either situation alone would not have flooded our property.

We lost everything we had in two storage buildings under the house, including a brand new riding mower, every Christmas decoration we owned, mementos, tools, end tables, chairs, picnic table and on and on.

Of course, our A/C was on the ground under the house and inundated by the water. We've done what we'd planned to do all along - put a new A/C on a 10-ft. tower. It was finished yesterday (July 12) and we spent the first night in our house since the flood.

The last couple of weeks have been filled with dealing with service and repair people, insurance adjusters and in cleanup. Flood insurance doesn't pay for fencing and we lost most of ours. It also doesn't pay for water wells. We don't have an operational lift at the moment because the water got the motor in ours. Congress, which underwrites flood insurance, made all the rules for it in their infinite wisdom and that's why it doesn't pay for much. If they were writing funding for Congressional raises and perks, there wouldn't be a problem.

What we lost were things and time. As I said earlier, things can be replaced and time is something retired people have plenty of. We're fine and the house is okay or will be in a short time.

--- Willis Webb, July 13, 2007


Welcome to the website formerly known as The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc.

My name is Susan DuQuesnay Bankston. I live in Richmond, Texas, in the heart of Tom DeLay's old district.  It's crazy here.  No, seriously, it's triple z crazzzy.

I used to be an independent voter, but that all changed when I got to know a few local Republicans.  They are meaner than 10 acres of snakes and have the ethical compass of a bank robber. 

So, I decided that they could just Kiss My Big Blue Butt.

A lot of what I post here has to do with local politics, but you probably have the same folks in your local government.

This ain't a blog.  Blogs are way too trendy for me.  I've been doing this since 1992, so I'm used to it even if you ain't. 

Email me and I'll find a place to put it if I like it.