August 31, 2017

***Warning! Long Post!*** Recap of Hurricane Harvey

Hi dear friends! I hope those of you who read this are doing ok or better yet, very well. Our home sweet home of League City & surrounding communities in Houston have certainly been put through a heck of a natural disaster. The poor coastal towns of Port Aransas, Rockport, Aransas Pass & their nearby towns took the initial brunt of having the eye of Hurricane Harvey smack them directly. That started on Friday, August 25, 2017. I’m having to look at a calendar because my days are all blurred together! We were so saddened Saturday morning to see the devastation out of those wonderful coastal towns. Rockport is near & dear to our heart. We have spent 18 years there for every vacation & extended weekend holiday with my husband’s family. They worried about “when” a big hurricane would eventually come & wipe out the area, and sold their home & business 2 years ago, so they are ok and safe-thank God! But our heart definitely breaks for the special town.

Friday, August 25, 2017. There was a little rain, but not much. My fabulous flocker, Kristi, had agreed to decorate for this sweet lady’s 50th birthday in Friendswood. The poor birthday girl, Maria, had to cancel her big birthday trip because inclement weather was coming (little did we know exactly what was coming), so we really wanted to make sure she still had something special for her birthday. Even with the birthday on a Sunday, because of the weather forecast, I offered for us to decorate on Friday, so we would not have weather concerns-and Maria could come home to it & start her birthday weekend offย  in a super fun way, but to pick up on Monday. I had a sinking suspicion something might go sideways with the plan.

I love our “Cheers & Beers” Houston Texans Theme Package! It sure did look great! Maria loved it, too!

Saturday, August 26, 2017. We had a bit of rain that Friday night & Saturday morning, and then it was more like hurricane party time. People were excited about the big “Mayweather vs. McGregor” fight, and had fight parties, went to bars & restaurants to watch. During the fight, Harvey decided to start paying us a visit. It started raining so hard, so fast. People started getting stranded.

Sunday, August 27, 2017. All through that night (Sat night/Sun morning), homes & cars started taking on water, getting flooded, and people were getting stuck. Many people also lost power. The hurricane party was officially over, and it was definitely emergency egress time. But the Texas spirit did not retreat. These brave men & women lept into action, and started helping neighbors, strangers, literally anyone & everyone. Bring your big truck & your boat. The rescues were astounding. The rain just kept coming. And coming. The water rose, more people were getting flooded with several feet of water in their homes, people were being stranded in their cars. The personal accounts from friends & even strangers has been more than I can even describe without writing a book just about these few days. I think the National Guard, Coast Guard & Cajun Navy (volunteer group from Louisiana) arrived Sunday afternoon. The days started blurring together about this time. I started checking social media to check on my friends, and found out my sweet, single mom friend, Mary, was rescued from flooding & sheltering at the local HEB. We were lucky enough to help her get her family (2 kids, 2 chihuahuas, one kitty & herself) to her brother’s, which was no small feat with the roads closed.

Mary with her two kids walking in the median. Her son is carrying the two chihuahuas (no leashes), barefoot (no shoes). They had to walk through these flood waters to get to her brother who was waiting on the other side of them. Broke my heart to not be able to get them all the way through, but look at the water.

Monday, August 28, 2017. Sometime between Sunday & Monday, my dear team member & awesome friend, Brandice, watched the water come up & up her driveway & eeek into her garage. She was without power & started getting really scared, even though her husband is a retired Marine. She has a 10 & 3 year old, along with 2 labs & 2 kitties. I finally was about to have the National Guard go get her, and her husband made the decision to try & drive out in his work truck (and hope for the best). Thank God-he got them through!

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Brandice rode in the back of her husband’s work truck with the 2 pooches to keep them safe & calm, while the kids rode in the truck with her brave husband, Toby. She could hear me woo-hooing as they turned the corner to my street in pitch black & rain.ย They were safe, and that was what mattered.

3 labs-Brandice’s 2 and my one. They got along very well!! Not a surprise, since their mamas do, too.

Exhausted kids with Rex watching over them. They could sleep because they felt safe. I love that my home can be a safe haven! And Rex is a great “comfort monkey.”

Then it was time for a little fun. My sweet Logan was a great host to a 3 & 10 year old, Rocky & Brody.

Rocky “kind of” stole the show because he’s so stinking cute. He showed up with a poop emoji shirt on, but loved my flamingo slippers, so he had to try them on for good measure.Then Rocky decided he wanted a beard. Brandice’s husband, Toby, has a full beard, and my super amazing husband, Chris, has a partial beard. So, my fabulous husband (did I mention how great he is) got creative & pulled out some scrap vinyl & hand drew/cut Rocky his own beard. This is how we have fun in a hurricane.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017. The flood waters started receding in the afternoon (thank God) just enough for Toby to make it home & check everything out. Their power came back on & he was sure they would be safe & not have any flooding in their home. Unfortunately, my dear husband had already left earlier in the day to go help one of his poor employees with the flooding at his home (ripping up carpet & all that fun stuff), so he missed the photo opp. But he was definitely a huge part of the Flocking Team Hurricane Harvey 2017 Party!

I couldn’t stand the idea of Brandice having to ride in the back of the truck again all the way home, so we loaded up her pups in my trusty minivan, her kiddos with Toby, and we took off for their home in Bay Colony. It was still raining, and there was definitely still high water in many, many areas. I made it super close to their neighborhood, but the high waters were just too much for the mighty minivan to attempt, so we turned around, went to higher ground at a local shopping center (completely deserted by the way), and Toby made 2 trips to pick up & take them all home. All safe & sound.

Wednesday, August 30-Thursday, August 31, 2017. These days have started blurring together! I don’t think anyone really knew what day of the week it was has been lately! You would have thought it was over once Harvey decided to visit just east of us, and we were SO happy to see the sun peeking through clouds-and NO rain! The roadways were primarily draining minus a few smaller, low-lying neighborhood side streets in some communities, so I think everyone who had a running vehicle was getting out. We “city folk” don’t do well sitting at home for more than a day, let me tell you that! Ha! Wed. afternoon, I got word that Friendswood roads were open, and so I made it over there to pick up the Beers & Cheers 50th birthday package that had been there since Friday morning. To my utmost surprise, it was still standing! A little weary from being submerged under water & being hit with 4 feet of water for days, but it was actually there! I would love to see what it actually looked like while under water. I have to say, this is definitely testament to the fact that I have high quality, weather-resilient products! You don’t get harsher elements than this (except a tornado, and we won’t think about those)!

Beers & Cheers-“After” Harvey visited! hurricaneharvey-after-video

All I can say is WOWZA! I am proud of all of the hard work, commitment to providing the best possible products & experiences to our fantastic clients, and the opportunity to still make a birthday girl smile in the midst of the worst natural disaster we’ve been through. Kristi did a phenomenal job making sure every piece not only looked great, but was very, very secure. Maria came out when she saw us picking up (Logan was so sweet & went with me to pitch in and help), and gave me a wonderful, heartfelt hug. Although we had never met, we were not strangers. We had both weathered this crazy storm, and could relate with each other on the wild “adventure.” You can hear the generators going in the background of the video, and see that clearly she had a lot of damage. She had 18″ at least in her beautiful home. She still managed to thank me & tell me how much she enjoyed her decor, and here’s a new use for them: They monitored the water level based on where the water was on the stars. She said they would get excited when they would see the water go down even a little on the stars. These were definitely the cutest rain gauges anyone around here was using! It was astounding to see the water lines on the decorations.

Why am I taking the time to recount all of this? Well, it’s been one week since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. So much has happened. As a mom, wife, friend, boss, neighbor, community member, etc., my business came to an abrupt halt because we needed to take care of each other. That comes well before anything else, right?! Now that the “dust” has settled a bit, and the water has receded in our little area, I come up for air to assess everything. I’m not sure what is coming next. Schools are closed for another few days, people are still in dire need of help, we are still preparing food & feeding the Coast Guard, and we all have a different perspective. I love that our community helped each other so much. It did not matter if each person was a Democrat or a Republican, a Trump supporter or hater, what color their skin was, where they were from, what their religious beliefs were. It was truly a testament of human spirit. I do like to brag about these Texans though. You’ll never see a larger population of trucks-and probably Jon & bass boats-in one area. These brave souls did not leave anyone behind, including the poor, helpless pets.

My family was SOOOO blessed. We did not have any property damage, no water in our homes, no cars destroyed. We did not even lose power! When we decided where to buy a home 10 years ago, our neighborhood was brand new, and the developer had big plans. One of them had to do with utilities & all the non-fun drainage stuff. We have underground power lines. Our streets were designed with the most amazing draininge. Our house in particular, is at the end of a cul-de-sac, and sits higher than the others on the street. Our lot premium was so well worth it!! But one way we (and so many others) are being impacted will be the income loss I will now have. It’s understandable I will not have people renting yard decor & celebrating birthdays & all their special occasions through me for a while. But it certainly will hurt us financially. For “some” reason (insert your own sarcasm), the cell phone company, mortgage company, car loan company, our oldest son’s college tuition, along with other typical family expenses, will still be due. I’m not sure what we will do, and what will happen to Flamingos 2 Go. I’ve been in business for 18 years helping make people smile! We have simply THE BEST clients any business could ever hope for, and I am proud to say, I love having my little flocking team! This business provides them with a small, monthly supplemental income that helps them pay for braces, mother’s day out, volleyball, car repairs, vacations & life’s little emergencies.ย 

Stay tuned as I come up with hopefully some creative ideas that will be awesome for all of us! For anyone who was actually able to stay awake to read to the end, thank you for reading my 2000 word mini-novel! I guess there was more to say about this once-in-a-lifetime experience than I thought! I would love to hear from you, and know you are okay. Our clients are not just an order; they become part of our lives, even if it’s just for a brief time, while together we create memory-making moments for others to treasure!

Cheers to you, and may God bless you & your family! Thank you for all of your support!!!!!

~Chris Ann