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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
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
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
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
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
The combination of the two things created our flash
flood. Either situation alone would not have flooded our
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
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.
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
and I'll find a place to put it if I like it.