Ice Disaster Recovery

We are totally fine now, but yes: we were victims of the ice storm in Texas last week. It began with tons of ice & sleet Valentine’s Day night. We lost power for the first time the next morning, Monday the 15th, at 7:55 AM. We were lulled into a false sense of relief Monday afternoon when the power came back on at 3:45 PM. I waited to see if it was a fluke before telling my StudioSmile members that we would have PiYo as scheduled at 6 PM. We made it through 4/5ths of class...when the house was then plunged back into darkness, and our internet & my video feed died. We lit candles & huddled under blankets together on the couch overnight into Tuesday morning, as the temperature dropped from Monday’s high of 19°F down to 13°F. No power, no heat, no phone data or service, no way to get info except in sparse random little text/data bursts maybe every hour or two. We literally just hid under blankets with the dog on the couch.

And then at 10:45 AM Tuesday morning, there was a loud rushing sound in the bedroom. For a split second, I thought that maybe it was the blessed heat coming back on...but no: a pipe burst, sending water cascading out of our ceiling fan & AC vent. Within 20 minutes, our master bedroom ceiling caved in. 

Our downstairs flooded. The fire department had to come turn off the water, because the valves were stuck so tightly. We packed up & left as soon as we were sure the water was completely off + pipes emptied and sheltered at our church (yes, with Bailey!) before going to JB’s friend’s house for the night.

JB’s friend lost water that night & power the next morning, so we moved on, as not to add to their burden. The kids’ best friends both wanted us to come to their homes, but Will‘s BFF has a cat, which is a no-go for JB & Bailey; so we dropped Will off with them, and the rest of us stayed at Annelise‘s best friend’s house for the next 3 nights. Honestly, the peace of mind that our kids were happy with their BFFs & that Bailey was safe was totally priceless!

We are also the luckiest family that I know, when it comes to any of us who had damage. Our landlord is Chinese, and her Chinese cultural community bands together like nobody’s business! We had a contractor by Thursday morning, when everything was still freezing & icy for two more days. He only speaks Chinese, so our landlord communicates with him directly over the phone and then calls or texts us for any bits that we need to know. The fact that we are off the hook for directly negotiating all of the minutiae is such an incredible stress relief! He assessed the damage & whipped into action immediately. We had to clean everything out of the master that we wanted to save and have our destroyed mattress & box springs hauled away before he came back that afternoon to demo the ceiling and rip out the über-nasty carpet. 

Our beloved Kim’s Tea House reopening saved our sanity for lunch (bubble tea makes everything better!!! 💖) and my BFF even in Texas from Oct to Mar - my Costco heat dish! - survived the water in the family room!
(Our flooded tile floors in the family room and kitchen had completely dried by the time we came back to the house, so that was a huge blessing there.)

The shattered pipe (it splintered in several more places beyond this picture)

Ceiling cut open & cleared out before ripping out the flooring:

All of the master ceiling & floor demo was done, bagged, and put out to the curb for trash by
 Thursday night. Blank slate, drying out:

Friday morning
 as we tried to leave Annelise’s BFF’s house to go back to work at ours...we discovered our truck had a FLAT TIRE!!! Seriously?!?!
After an unscheduled tow & 2 new tires, we got back to work. The good thing about it happening on that Friday was that the contractor wasn’t getting to the house anytime soon, anyway, because our landlord was driving all over Houston trying to find pipe parts. Every Lowe’s, Home Depot, and hardware store was completely sold out of cpvc pipe materials. It was like the hunger games. (And honestly, it still is! So many people still cannot find parts. They’re having them overnighted from other areas of the country.) ...But God (& Chinese connections!) because somehow, somewhere, our landlord found the pipe parts for our house by Friday night! (I can’t overstate what a big deal that is. We have friends who not only haven’t gotten parts, yet, but who haven’t even gotten a plumber or contractor to come out & do the initial assessment of their damage. I wish any of them spoke Chinese, so I could recommend our guy, although I have a feeling he limits his work to people within his community, like our landlord.)

After the contractor rebuilt the pipe works, we had to wait for several hours on Saturday for the sealant to dry, before trying to turn the water back on. Those were EXTREMELY nerve-racking moments!!! But the pipes held!!!!! WE HAD WATER! No more hiding in a freezing corner of the backyard for #1! (Oh yeah, that happened.)

When we got the water back on, I officially rescued ALLLLL of the clothes that had been on our destroyed bed with the laundry! (The blessing of this happening in brutal cold: I could leave them in a bag out back without molding until I could launder!) 

JB & I cleaned out the fridge & freezer, and while it reeeally sucks to lose $$$s worth of groceries, it’s GLORIOUS to have it super clean in there!!! The floor water had gotten into our pantry, so we completely cleaned that out, too. Even though it obviously didn’t affect the higher shelves, we still took everything out & cleaned those, which also feels amazing now alongside the fresh fridge & freezer.

We got a TON of crap out of the house (so many bags of trash, 6 donation bags (mostly from the kids cleaning upstairs – we didn’t have any damage upstairs, but we put them to long-overdue work in their rooms while we were working downstairs ;-) #parentingwin) & 3 bags of fabric to recycle (clothes/sheets/pillows too worn or damaged to donate.)) Our amazing trash collection TOOK IT ALL!!! (Thank you, God!)

Our contractor re-insulated the pipes & ceiling
 Sunday morning, and he sheet rocked the ceiling back up Sunday afternoon!

On Monday, he sealed it:

and on Tuesday, he textured it:

Now it has to dry for a few days before painting, and then the only thing left is to replace the flooring. Our landlord said she does not want to do carpet in there anymore, so even that is a great blessing!

JB & I are still living out of our suitcases until the master ceiling is completed & new floors are installed, but at least we’re home! Now we’re relaxing in our funkily-configured-for-now family room that’s also housing all of our rescued bedroom furniture. :-P

I have to say, all of your prayers are truly being heard and felt!!! THANK YOU ALL SOOO MUCH!!! (And for the record, no one better *EVER* question my winter PTSD, again!!!!!)


  1. Wow, Sues, seeing the pictures of the damage is so sobering. But what a blessing that y'all have been able to get things cleaned out and repaired so quickly!! Praise the Lord!! Hope your house is all put back together soon!


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