through all the days, Harvey remains: packing up in the #CoalsonCleanup

it feels like a year has passed in the last month. in the last three weeks. was it really just late august that I stood before the brilliant passing of the moon, my arms power-posed in the triumph of my innate awesomeness?

that week I transported myself from the crisp northwest pacific air to the southern thick humidity, as a veil of misty clouds lowered themselves over our bayou city. it was easy to find humility.

for four days the rains poured from the heavens, cleansing our city from the dirt and debris collected in our souls; our hearts spilling out into the bayous and causeways. for four days our lives were consumed. for all the days after we have thought nothing but Harvey. there is still water standing today.

taking strides to pull ourselves from the disaster, we’ve tried on friends to help pull us through the heartache.

Joe and Irene Beach, my parent’s closest confidants, have swallowed the pain immolating from my parents mouths and hearts and ongoing zeal.  they drove over 3 hours from San Antonio with delicious texan smoked turkey in one hand, and with over 100 packing boxes and materials in the other.

gems like these are hard to find; their friendship stretching through various homes and terrain and fires and floods.  we don’t know what we would do without them.


Tom Anderson, my Daddy’s hometown Jackson County pal, instead of running through fields and streets with baseballs and fishing poles with my young father, drove down from Terrell with an 18-foot horse trailer, 2 humidifiers, and some sheetrock to get the party started.

the hometown buds packed with diligence and vigor, pinpointing precisely what was to be carted away to storage, and what was to be left for my father to utilize while out of his flooded home.  (note the wine books made it to the temporary home.  a win for my dad’s new boss… the sommelier.)


Richard and Jo Engelhart, moved by the spirit to assist their fellow prayer group couple in their urgent quest for normalcy, took time out of their day to move heavy furniture and pack more boxes. 50 years of memories takes a long time to gather. now stored away in a dark garage, the shiny trinkets are dull with depression.

we cannot fathom the devastation that is happening on islands far away, where food and water and diesel is scarce. we are lucky to have friends like these who love without boundaries and commit to helping their friends in need.


the universe has sent us an angel in Art Schmitt, a diligent man who has committed the majority of his days, his time and energy, to help my parents realize the re-engagement of their home. for the past month, this man has traveled to the empty house to assist my father. every damn day. they hung sheetrock in all of the rooms themselves, working 10 hour days to complete the task within a week. paint will ensue soon. I cannot think of someone more dedicated to my father, my mother, my family- then Art.

of course I would be remiss not to his other-half Debbie Schroen, as she has allowed for his desertion to weston lakes every day. we are grateful for such amazing family.


but there is still work to be done, y’all.  over 2000 square feet of tile to be laid through the rooms that held doll houses and sewing machines and writing contraptions.  FEMA has not even visited yet; the waters receded from the home in early september, yet my parents still wait for relief.  thank you to those who have contributed to our efforts, you have made a direct difference in our lives.  at this point, even sommkid is weaving her magic wand with her creative encouragement.



as life returns to “normal” for everyone else, and our busy schedules take over our lives, I remember my father, scraping floors, pulling carpet, piling debris on the side of the curb. he didn’t deserve this. my mother didn’t deserve this. but it happened all the same, leaving a gaping hole in my heart that only grows bigger over time. the worry and sadness almost overwhelms me.

Harvey has invaded my soul, and embedded into the soft flesh of my gut. he pains me every day, striking when least expected, using his broad strokes to wash away the sentiments of our lives.  we pass by overwhelming scenes, every day in the soft comfort of our vehicles, our guts tugging at our bleeding hearts and wrestling with our frazzled minds.  it can almost be too much to bear.


we must find strength.  we will find hope.

we will get through this, y’all. #HoustonStrong #TexasStrong #CoalsonCleanup

there’s still so much work to do: being #allerganstrong during the post-harvey cleanup.

the air hung heavy as we squeezed our way into the memorial area, the musky deterioration of the coagulation of life permeating into our lungs and our heads and our hearts this past week.  it was unfair to be such a bright, sunny, day.

cars lined all sides of the street: metal carcasses swallowed by the receded waters, soggy, waiting for redemption from their disrepair.

right away our hostess appeared, as if frolicking across a field, picking wildflowers in the grasses between the mountains concealed as homes. upbeat, she ignored all usual co-worker customaries, and rightfully so in this abated bayou bottom.

rather, she directed us to the properties around the street in which we could serve, truly ignoring any needs of her own chateau in lieu of others, a true godsend to her grieving neighbors. we obeyed.

we cascaded towards the work in which we found ourselves that day. our souls unprepared for the gravity of the scene around us.

some toiled right away: splintering, swinging tools, destroying indoor barricades residents had built up over decades of life. no wall was safe.

every memory was hacked to pieces, exposed, thrown to the curb for the world to see.

we felt a sense of accomplishment as debris piled around us.

others preferred to excruciatingly peel back the memories one layer at a time, working with homeowners who culled on every object presented.

in reality, we seemed to only pull away the outer sheaths of organs; the tight transparent coating spilling centuries of confessions onto the cold, wet floors.

we were awash in putridity.

a sense of sadness began to fill the air as some realized how sombering the work was.

survivors guilt began to build in those who live in houston and were unaffected, while anguish churned inside those who had traveled to assist, both discovering the sudden immediacies of their work.

their tear-filled eyes argued with their placating bodies as they went back in. it was rough, y’all.

the beauty in the emptiness was serene.

homeowners began to query as to our intentions, the memorial area of houston long-forgotten in the time since Harvey, and even more so now with impending twin storms in florida.

it was unfathomable we were here to just help.

but we were, and we did; we made a small dent for one street. one. how much more is there to do, y’all?

we’ll be back.

#houstonstrong #texasstrong #allerganstrong