Being a distracted fundraiser!

I keep forgetting that Strut Your Mutt, which is usually my favorite fundraiser of the year, is just days away from wrapping up and I even have a fundraising page! Should you be inclined to donate any amount–and NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL–the link is right here.

The weeks since the flood have been some of our busiest ever–RPM was instrumental in helping clear the local shelters so they’d have room for animals displaced by Harvey. Groups all over the country drove to Houston to take animals we were pulling from BARC, Harris County Animal Shelter, and Houston Pets Alive. It was a nationwide effort to help, and I’m sure the same groups and many others helped areas impacted by Hurricane Irma.

Keeping up with my work and helping manage our situation at home has been a challenge, and you’ll never know how much your words of comfort, your cards, texts, emails, comments here, and messages on Instagram have lifted my spirits. Thank you so much!

some progress

What you may have gathered from previous posts is that Tim is not back home with his dogs yet. But yesterday his return journey officially kicked off. Let me give you a little perspective.

This is Tim’s apartment right after it was finished and ready for him to move in back in 2015. Keith our contractor and his crew made it so pretty, right?

The photo below is after the flood. If you look at the towel hanging on the stove, you can see the water got at least as high as its bottom, and it began soaking up the water that makes part of the towel darker blue. It was just under fifteen inches deep in there. The water opened the cabinet under the sink and stuff began floating out of it. Here, the water has receded to only about two to four inches deep.

About five days after the flood, thanks to the return of Keith and Crew as well as Jess and Pete, Tim’s apartment looked like this.

After yesterday’s installation of insulation and today’s hanging of drywall, things are looking a little brighter in Fox Den!

What I have discovered

Since the flood, as I’ve thrown ruined stuff away, I truly do understand that things are just things and most are replaceable but some are not, and I just have to deal. I am dealing, actually.

But sometimes a thing is more than a thing. Here’s an example.

I’ve featured this album on my blog before. It’s utterly ruined. Every record inside is in its own sleeve with lyrics, and those sleeves remain a soggy mess stuck to the records.

I’ve long had all this music in my iTunes. There isn’t one song from it I can’t hear whenever I want to. I don’t need the album replaced.

It can’t be replaced. It was given to me by Riley when I was a teenager, and we’d lie on the floor in front of my parents’ stereo and listen to it and talk about the Beatles and music and everything else that came into our heads for hours. It’s one of the things Riley touched and I touched, so our energy is in it together. Riley is dead, and there’s never going to be any new tangible thing like this album for us.

So while it’s just a thing, it’s a thing with an energy that is connected to my heart and soul. It’s a thing that’s hard to throw away. But I will, and everything will go on because after all, all things must pass.

Portrait of the Artist

I think I did pretty well after the flood as we started pulling stuff out of the house and I ruthlessly decided what was trash and what wasn’t. “I don’t care” became my stock response to every item someone else expressed sympathy about. But when I found this in a flooded bin, it made me physically ill. I didn’t know I still had it. I’d even asked my brother last year if he had it, and he thought he did.

This discovery about broke me.

Debby and Lynne painstakingly lifted it from the water and found a way to place it where it could dry. It did dry, and the truth is, there was already some staining on the sketch long before our flood, but nothing like it has now.

Written on the bottom: HERE’S AN ARTIST’S CONCEPTION OF ME. I can’t read the artist’s name, but I think the date is 1949, which would corroborate what my mother once told me, that the sketch was done of my father by one of his fellow art students while he was in college.

Today’s Daddy’s birthday. The sketch is weathered but it will be okay. Like me.

He was one of the biggest reasons I’m a strong person.

Got a dime?

Deep from one of the flooded bins on the carport, I rescued this. It’s a little bag I made when I was around 15. I don’t remember if I used my jeans, Riley’s, or First Love Tim’s, but it had a rawhide cord that pulled it into a little pouch, and I often hung it from a belt loop. That rawhide cord had come out and become a slimy thing that scared the crap out of me because I thought there was a snake in the bin, even though snakes aren’t slimy and whatever, fear knows no reason. After some serious laundering, my little denim bag is fine. As I recall, we called these dope bags, but I never had pot in mine, probably only a few dollars and some change. Always had to have a dime with me for that emergency call. There’s a whole generation who thinks phone calls were a quarter, and more generations who don’t know what a pay phone is.

Priorities

Today is Jim’s birthday.

I actually have a gift for him that I purchased while he was here and intended to ship. I had all the time in the world…and then the flood happened. Below is a generally accurate account of what I told Jim.

“The morning of the flood, I texted Tom to tell him Tim’s apartment was flooding. He told me he didn’t have time to talk because our house was also flooding, and before he did anything else, he HAD TO GET JIM’S BIRTHDAY PRESENT SAFELY OUT OF THE REACH OF FLOOD WATERS.”

When I recounted this conversation to Timothy, here is a generally accurate account of his response.

“I hope you told him that when you called to tell me the house and apartment were flooding, I said, ‘Don’t worry about the dogs or the antique violin my great-grandfather built. GET THE BLUE VASE TO A SAFE LOCATION!'”

Well, of course, Jim knows we’d do that. But he always likes a little proof that the blue vase still exists.

Happy birthday, Jim!

Who saved my sanity…

In the first week after the floods:

Lindsey and Rhonda, who came and packed so many of the things that made me feel daunted and overwhelmed.

Tim who in light of all he’s lost could continue to say, “They’re just things.”

A young man named Dustin who doesn’t really even know us but went through the house with Tom and helped him get a starting point in dealing with the destruction.

Our contractor Keith, who when asked to come look at the damage, not only showed up the next day but brought a crew of workers with him and began tearing out sheetrock and pulling up flooring and gave us good advice on how to start setting things right.

And the bunch below: Pete, Lynne, Debby, Tom, and Jess. They have packed and moved and cleaned. Hauled debris. Fed, cheered, and comforted. And Jess was with us, helping us, instead of spending his son’s first birthday with him. I will NEVER forget the feeling of Pete and Jess showing up raring to put our world back in order. We wished Isaac a long-distance happy birthday with our pizza. He will always be blessed with examples of what family means.

Who else? You know who you are. You emailed and called. You texted and messaged. You commented here and on Instagram. You offered to do anything you could to help. Just knowing you’re out there sending love and good wishes has been huge. My gaze toward the future and determination to make Houndstooth Hall even better has been inspired by you. Thank you.