Sometimes When it Rains, it Pours

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Everyone has probably heard the saying “when it rains it pours”. This can be a good thing in the world of miles and points when there are super lucrative promotion, great fare sales, etc. that seem to happen in quick succession. However, the saying more often has a bad connotation. As in, when bad things happen, they happen in abundance. Today it just so happened that my family experienced “when it rains it pours” literally. It rained, and it poured. And it kept pouring.

The funny thing is that just a year or so ago we were in a severe drought, but now we are flooding. In fact, much of the Houston area is experiencing some sort of flooding right now. It’s like someone turned on the faucet, and just hasn’t remembered to turn it off. Last night we got about six inches of rain in a four hour period. Given that we were already saturated from other recent rains, this rain just immediately became some serious runoff. Our french drain in the backyard couldn’t keep up, and within a 15 minute window of when I got up the first time around 3:00AM to check on the flooding situation, and when I got up the second time around 3:15AM, we had taken in water through half of our downstairs.  I was literally scooping water out of my house with a yellow bucket that two weeks ago had been used to build sand castles at a resort.  My how things change quickly!


By about 4:00AM I had called my parents to help as we couldn’t get ahead of the water. By 6:00AM the water extraction/restoration folks were there. By 6:15AM we realized how bad (i.e., expensive) the problem was. When they gave us the quote just to do the minimal amount of work that was recommended, my husband and I both felt the air go out of our lungs. They kept repeating how lucky we were, and how good it was we got up when we did, and the damage would have been way worse, etc. I’m sure that is all true, but it doesn’t help much when you watch dozen and dozens of holes get drilled in your walls, kitchen, etc. to help air out the water in the walls to try to prevent mold. It took a bunch of work to get the house fixed up the way we wanted it, and such little time for it to be flooded, and subsequently torn up. I love to travel, but I also love being in my home. It’s not just a place I store luggage between trips, it is where my little family lives.  It hurts to see it torn up, even if the damage is considered “minor” compared to how bad it could have been.



It’s amazing how quickly priorities change. We were just days away from making a major purchase for our family, and as soon as we got the quote this morning and realized the extent of the damage, my husband and I both knew without saying a word that that dream was shelved for now. In fact, I wish some of my upcoming trips were refundable so we could redirect the funds and focus toward fixing our home and redoing our drainage system so this doesn’t happen again.

We don’t live in a flood zone, so hadn’t yet taken the time to purchase flood insurance. We had talked about it, but not actually done anything about it. That was very silly, or as Homer Simpson would say, “Doh”.  I highly encourage my story to be a lesson. We have lived in this house for two years and never flooded. Today that changed in a matter of minutes. For about $200 a year we could have been covered with flood insurance. We will now be covered in exactly 30 days, but that won’t help us this go ’round.

I am grateful that we were both home and could work together to minimize the impact. Had we been traveling and returned home days later, this would have been much worse. I’m also grateful that we have the savings to start to fix the problem. It could have been much worse for sure. In fact, I’m sure for others in our area it is much worse. We’re a little shell-shocked and sad right now, but we will work to make the best the situation. For the next several days our house will be inundated with dehumidifiers and blowers. After that we will start the reconstruction process. I’m sure we will have many trips to Lowes, so at least the timing is good for the Ultimate Rewards 10x points offer. 😉



We also made some great unexpected progress toward the $25,000 annual spending bonus on our United MileagePlus card. When we hit that target we will get 10,000 additional United miles. I’m not really in the travel mood right now, but I know I will be again before too long, and it will be nice to know that we made the most of a crummy situation on the miles and points front. Truthfully, overall our family is so blessed that this really should just be viewed as a minor blip on the radar. Hopefully after we dry-out, patch some of the holes, and repaint, it will be just that (and an important lesson).

Apologies in advance if I’m offline a bit more than usual in the coming days. With my husband now out of town again for a work trip, I’m crossing my fingers that the heavy rains don’t return for a while.  Stay dry, have flood insurance, and use a points earning credit card when all hell breaks loose.

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  1. I would debate the flood coverage. Many homeowners policy cover you for water damage from storms just not from floods (like a river or creek overflowing onto your property). Either way water damage to your home is no fun and emotionally taxing as I’ve experienced. Good luck with the clean up.

  2. We drove to Houston yesterday afternoon and saw many flooded area. The water was receding by the time we got to town. We stayed the night at Park Inn to get our bonus points before heading to the beach today. Hope things dry out for you and all those who experienced problems with the rain.

  3. Thanks to everyone. We will get through it for sure……eventually. ;). Our insurance told us that if the water was from a busted pipe or got in due hail damage or something it may be covered but water that comes from the ground outside would only be covered by flood insurance. At least that was how it worked in our case….

  4. 🙁 Sorry to hear. Went through a similar experience 2 yrs ago when our pipes burst while we were away. Came back to 3 inches of standing water in the finished basement. Restoration guys immed ripped out all carpet, wallboard up to 4 feet off ground, had fans & dehumids going for a week. Makes you so sad to see, so I feel for you. But, keep your chin up, happily it is all fixable. Like all else, with time it will all just be little speed bump in life and a great story to tell friends and laugh about. Your super optimistic and happy MP side will be back in no time. 🙂

  5. Sorry to hear. Happened to us the first day we moved into our home a few years ago. Feel for you, but at least you were on the ball and caught it earlier! Hope things get better.

  6. As a fellow Houston gal, this is always our worst nightmare! I watched our backyard like a hawk yesterday, and even had to wade out to the French drains a few times and clear them of debris. What part of town are you in? We are out by Memorial City Mall- not a flood zone either but we bought insurance last year after our neighbors flooded. I’m SO sorry about your poor house! Good luck!

  7. So sorry! I always admire your healthy, positive attitude when things happen to you (like lost luggage) so hang in there 🙂

  8. Sorry to hear about this mess. Regardless of the fact that your insurance company told you verbally that you’re not covered, you should still take the time to read the fine print within your insurance policy. Someone working for the insurance company has it in their best interest to convince you that you’re not covered. Maybe the insurance company is telling you the truth. Maybe not. Or maybe there’s a loophole that the insurance company failed to mention. The best way to know is to read over the insurance policy yourself.

  9. So sorry to hear about your flooding. We had our water heater develop a leak 3 weeks ago in our unfinished basement. Fortunately, were able to handle it ourselves with the help of our 2 sons. Since we have lived in our house for over 20 years we had large of accumulation of stuff down there that is now trashed. Our adult children’s baby books are the one thing we are sad to loose. We have taken all the pictures had put them on a cd so in a few weeks we can see what we can save. I think by the end of next week the garbage men will have taken the last of it away. Our bright spot is that I have been wanting to get the basement clean out and now it is.

  10. Thanks again to everyone! I did read the insurance policy yesterday and it is pretty clear that this sort of water event is not covered. Our fault for not having flood insurance earlier. I agree that savings are for “rainy days”! We are fortunate to have that savings. Now time to replenish some of it. 😉

  11. Sorry to hear what happened to you. The exact same thing happened to us a few years ago and we got the same response from the insurance. I know it’s stressful having to get the house back in shape and worrying about possible mold situation for the safety of the kid. But it passes quickly and hepefully your travel hobby will take your mind off it in no time. Good luck.

  12. Oh, MP, I’m so sorry you are having to deal with this. Will be saying prayers that you find just the right folks to work on your home…

  13. The coverage you need to add to your homeowners policy is called “Back-Up of Sewer and Sump Pump Overflow Coverage”. That would take care of water coming from the ground where the sump pump cannot handle. You determine how much coverage you want (I have $10K coverage for my house) and the cost of that coverage is added to your premium.

  14. 🙁 Bummer about the flooding and damage to your house. So glad that both of you were home and could take care of the problem immediately. We don’t live in a flood zone either but after your situation, I might have to reconsider taking out flood insurance.

  15. Sorry to hear that and I feel for your pain.
    We had similar event last year and felt that we were on a chopping board while the flood recovery guys told us their “initial” estimate (needless to say the estimate was subjected to change in any seconds). We were offered a 15 seconds approval time to approve their “unknown” estimate (i.e. ripping all the baseboard, some drywalls, … etc) or they would leave and go to their next potential clients.
    Good luck! Hope everything works out at the end!

  16. I am so sorry to hear about this, MP. All our best to you and your family! We totally understand how expensive those remediation companies are – we called them scam artists when we had to use them on the day we moved into our brand new home. I won’t rehash what happened, but we felt that our new home was broken forever with new carpets and baseboards ripped up, huge holes cut in the drywall. However, time passed and lessons were learned – we can now honestly laugh about that unfortunate event and rest assured that hiring the remediation company will reduce possible complication when we sell the house in the future.

  17. Very sorry to hear about the bad news. Regarding to the flood insurance, the deductible is very high before they start to pay (at least in my area). Lowes in UR has 10X.

    • @Nguyen, you are right it is Lowes, not HD. My head was apparently confused. All fixed now. 😉 The flood deductibles we saw were $1000. Quite high, but lower than what happens if you don’t have coverage for sure.

  18. Think seriously about installing a sump pump system for your basement, and make sure it has battery backup in case the power goes out. It is not as expensive as you might think, and it would have prevented this.

    I was actually working out of town for an extended period and I was housed in someone’s basement. I got flooded out during a series of heavy rains and it was a terrible experience, so I can relate. Sorry to hear it happened to you.

  19. Not to bum you out or anything but any drywall that got wet should be replaced. Cutting holes in it will not guarantee that there will be no mold. Black mold will grow behind the drywall, where you can’t see. My best advice at this point – if you have central AC in the basement, turn it ON COOL and run it, run it, run it. It will help get the moisture out of the air – and walls!

  20. So sorry to hear this… being flooded is no fun and a huge effort to recover from. My kids’ sitter was away from her house last weekend and the little hose that supplies water to her fridge broke. Now her kitchen is ruined and there is water damage all through the basement. Even the littlest thing can wreak havoc.

  21. Very sorry to hear about this. Hope you get thru with minimal cost.
    At least according to, it’ll be 84 degree, sunny and no rain tomorrow in Houston.

  22. I feel for you. I live in Houston too – Cypress to be exact. We got the heaviest rain yesterday, luckily we have many retention ponds in our neighborhood and our house did not flood, just the streets. We have gone 4 years without flood insurance (not in a flood zone either) because, like your family, we always meant to get it but just never did. I am getting it now. FYI to people wondering about the homeowners policy – none of the policies written along the Gulf covers any flooding from rising storm waters – mainly excluded because we can get hurricanes here. Everyone in Houston and surrounding areas have to get a separate federal flood insurance policy to cover this. Also no one has basements here because we are at sea level :).

    Hope you can get your house fixed quickly and good luck!

  23. get several quotes. when we had water damage there was a huge range in the estimates provided by the water remediation folks. some of the stuff you said they said about you being so lucky reminds me of some of the things the more unscrupulous providers said to us.

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