We kept in touch with Oilman2 over the weekend because he’s down in the Houston area. We like to have eyes & boots on the ground and offer to help, if we can.
As it turns out, though, he didn’t have any water problems at his home in The Woodlands area. That’s just north of Houston on I-45, if you’re not familiar with the layout, but I suspect after the mass media hysteria this weekend, everyone know where Houston is, how much it rained, and oh yeah…it rained some there this weekend.
Even though his home didn’t get any water in it from the passing of Harvey, at least through last night, OM2 had some incredibly important information to pass on…
Let’s start with some history.
When Hurricane Ike dumped on Houston several year back, OM2 got about a quarter of an inch of water inside his home.
Surprisingly, his real water problems, again a few years back, involved Tropical Depression Allison. That storm didn’t pack the devastating winds, but it did sit over Houston doing incredible damage. To the tune of 2-1/2 inches of rain in OM2’s house.
He’s been through the rain and flood thing before, so he knew the drill and what to do if things were to get that bad…which they didn’t.
But they sure as hell would have, had he not been proactively involved in a city hearing a couple of years ago.
I won’t go through the whole topography discussion, but let’s just say two things are important.
The first is that the local council was looking at putting in a 24″ storm sewer. Well, OM2 knows the hydraulics like the back of his hand and so he got up in the hearing on the project and explained (in no uncertain terms) that if the city didn’t put in at least a 36″ storm drain, they would make absolutely NO PROGRESS toward the outcome of this particular storm sewer project.
One council member, who did follow, then asked the city, in so many words “Since this fellow has just laid out the physics of it, why are you coming to us with plans for something that won’t solve our problems?”
A fair bit of embarrassed shuffling, ass-covering, and bureaucratic nonsense followed, but in the end, the council (because OM2 showed up armed with the facts) had “shown them the Light.”
Fast forward to this weekend.
Even with his back yard the “low spot” for four houses, the water was running off in sheets and was happily going down the (correctly sized) storm drain.
The takeaway? Even seemingly small items, like sizing of a storm sewer, can have a direct impact on how your home will fare when the crap is hitting the fan.
Along about Saturday, the same local council people were out “pressing the flesh” and offering “help” for people with problems. Not that a politician could talk the rain away, but they might have a fair chance at boring it to death to get it to move on…
A council member showed up and told OM2 he was pleased to see that their street was dry, but my, wasn’t that a lot of water – a sheet several yards wide and nearly 2-inches deep – was flowing from OM2’s back yard to the street.
“Well, it’s didn’t use to be so bad. But you see this-here neighbor behind me? Ya’ll told him he could put in a retaining wall and concrete-over most of his back yard, and then put a roof over it. By doing that, there is only one place for the water to run…and that’s into my yard. And what did you do about it? No one told me that was going to happen and now you’re sitting here asking how you can help?”
OM2 is not a slight fellow. You don’t toss around big boy toys on rigs (on and offshore) for any length of time and remain either shy or frail.
Almost immediately, said city office “Run off like a scared rabbit…” And with good reason.
Even in Houston, and even during weekends like this, people who live under the thumb of government remember that government is supposed to be a servant of the People. Not people as servants of the government.
It may not seem like a big thing, but it really is.
Especially when it rains.
All Quiet in the Outback
I’m almost embarrassed to report how peaceful it was here. We’re 200-miles from the closest coastal beach and 585-feet high.
We also live in what are called the Concorde Mountains.
They are not exactly the Alps of Texas, but they’re good enough to prevent a flood from ever happening here, at least so far.
I think OM2 muttered something about his flood insurance situation. At first, the insurance companies played the “You don’t need flood insurance because you’re not in a flood plain.”
Then, after the events of both Ike and Allison, everyone wanted to dig in their heels because now OM2 lives in a flood plain.
The home insurance game here is a lot different. Remember, we live in a highly modified modular home. When we bought the place, insurance companies would write the homeowners, just like any other home. But, in the past 10-years, or so, even the cost-efficient outfits like Geico are charging almost twice the homeowner insurance premiums for a mobile or modular than they do for a stick-built home.
Worse, the modulars, local real estate people tell us, are a continuously depreciating asset. Unlike stick-built homes that can go up in price.
Notice that I didn’t say value. Utility value is about working windows, good a/c, and keeping Orkin on a schedule. Stick-built home, like the current run-up in Bitcoins, are something of a mania.
I can think of a LOT of people who will want to pick up stakes and move from Houston.
And since we keep looking at a move to Payson, we’re looking to list sooner than later. Seems to me there ought to be thousands of Houstonians who might appreciate 29-acres and some elevation. Toss in property taxes that are 1/10th of what they run down in the new swamp, formerly called Houston, and we just might be able to get our move made yet.
As of a few minutes ago, we passed the one inch mark in the rain gauge with another 5-6 inches due in the next couple of days. Even s0o, we had that much a few weeks back to it will be familiar territory.
RSS Feeds Repaired
If you’d like to use it, the RSS feeds are back online – and there’s a sign-up form as well. They have been a bit flakey in the past, but they should be fairly reliable and stable now. Link is on the upper right sidebar. Don’t know if an ad-blocker kills it, or not…
If you get an email from us and don’t want the service there’s a simple unsubscribe link at the bottom. Only the RSS subscribers who were marked “active” however, were imported to the new system.
Well, off to see how that new trading principle outlined on Peoplenomics this weekend is going to work out.
Write when you get rich or dry out — and carry galoshes.