For Riverstone residents Wes and Wendy Farmer, life in their community near Steep Bank Creek is almost back to normal after Hurricane Harvey.
One can still see brown waterline marks on the grass up on the levee. Visible too are three-foot high waterline marks on the fences in the neighborhood.
Farmer, who was on a family vacation in Maui, Hawaii, in August of last year, didn’t need to watch the Weather Channel or look at his phone to know how much rain was coming to southeast Texas. A lot of that rainwater was in his house, and he saw it from the security camera he had set up in his home.
Then he discovered he didn’t have flood insurance.
Recently, he and a friend were moving in his newly refurbished refrigerator. Another refrigerator was humming away in the garage. Farmer said it’s the refrigerator that continues to work even after the entire garage flooded.
“When Harvey hit, the flood line went right across, like two feet from the corner of my driveway, which put me in a flood plain,” he said.
He took a moment to look around and said the toughest things lost during the flood were his marriage certificate, their photos, and videos of the children.
Farmer, who lived in Southern California, said he’s been through several earthquakes, but it’s not quite like weathering a hurricane and losing possessions damaged by water. His wife, Wendy, a Houston native, knows all about them.
When Farmer and his wife finally returned to their home, the scene was surreal. Personal effects were floating everywhere on the first floor.
“Stuff came in and it went out and moved around the house, out of the house. We opened the front doors and we literally couldn’t see the floors, there was so much mud,” he said.
“My wife was like a rock through everything. I just wanted to go berserk. ‘Relax,’ she said. ‘It’s just stuff.’”
Determined to find whatever possessions remained, Farmer put a message on Facebook, saying he needed help. People came from all over to help get his life back to normal with food, cleaning supplies, and support.
“My wife and I stayed upstairs for about a month. People were coming over every night with hot food. And the HOA was incredible. They had bleach for us, toilet paper, paper towels, shop vacs.”
After assessing the damage, Farmer finally found a contractor, HTX Restoration, who started working on the house in April. He moved back June 1 after living in an apartment for more than six months.
His home, though not quite a war zone as before, has boxes and personal effects stashed in every square inch upstairs.
He hopes to be back to normal within a month, with hosting get-togethers with family and friends first on his list.
“We’ve always been the ‘entertainment house.’ And this year, we’re inviting everyone over for get-togethers,” he said.