Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

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Volkonski
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Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#1

Post by Volkonski » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:26 am

With all the Irma in Florida excitement my post-Harvey experiences will seem tame. However, they are all I have to share.

When last we met our intrepid adventurer he was heading to San Antonio because the Houston airports were closed.

Saturday Sept 2nd-

The flights with a plane change in Orlando were uneventful. I have never seen so many wheelchair-bound passengers as I did at the Orlando airport. :o

I was traveling Business Select and had boarding position A2. The same guy was ahead of me in position A1 for both flights. Turns out he was with The Travelers insurance company headed to Texas for 30 days to work on Harvey matters. As we waited for the second flight I told him about my being unable to fly into Houston. He said that he was about to call someone who worked for him and tell them not to head for Houston because they had been unable to find a hotel room for him. Not a problem since that fellow couldn't fly into Houston either. ;)

Ran into the same Travelers guy on the National Rent-a-Car shuttle bus. :roll: At the National Rent-a-Car lot there were no vehicles. None. :shock: Turns out that FEMA has a contract with National and had come thru earlier in the day grabbing every car National had. Luckily it was Saturday evening which is not a prime time for outgoing rentals. The Travelers guy and I were the only two people there trying to get cars. We both have confirmed reservations and his company rents many cars from National and on paper I still look to National as an employee of the giant multinational from which I am retired so special efforts were made for us. The National folk made some deal with Alamo and after about an hour I got a Nissan Altima with Colorado plates. Another Travelers employee had shown up at National so they let me take the car and waited in case they would need to share.

After some navigation problems exacerbated by the fact that my hotel hadn't turned on its street-side sign lights I found my hotel. At the bar manhattans which would cost $12 here on Long Island were only $7. :-D

And then to bed.


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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#2

Post by June bug » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:32 am

:thumbs: Volky! Looking forward to the next chapter! :bighug:



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#3

Post by Volkonski » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:45 pm

Sunday Sept 3rd-

Our friends with whom I would be staying in Baytown spent Saturday helping another homeowner in Whispering Pines clear out their house. From that experience they gave Mrs. V. a list of things I should buy in San Antonio- plastic boxes of many sizes, bleach, Murphy's Oil Soap, bubble wrap, face masks, gloves, mops, etc.

Sunday morning I found a Home Depot and filled my rental car with as much as it would hold. After a quick breakfast at Whataburger (good burgers, mediocre breakfast sandwiches :( )

The evening before my GPS showed the I-10 San Jacinto bridge west of Baytown as closed. On Sunday morning it showed clear so I headed east. The traffic on I 10 going west was surprising heavy, I don't know why. Going east with me I noticed a number of large portable generator units on flatbed trucks. Probably headed to Beaumont.

Highway signs warned that I 10 was flooded east of Beaumont and that thru traffic should take I 69 north in Houston to I 20 in order to head east. :shock: I 20 is about 200 miles north of Houston. That's a 400 mile detour if you were traveling from San Antonio to, say, New Orleans.

All along I 10 between San Antonio and Houston the gas stations had no gas.

Reaching Baytown I chose to head in via Spur 330 which is elevated. To my right was the massive ExxonMobil refinery/petrochemical complex, the largest in the western hemisphere. It was silent, dead, abandoned. No water vapor rose from the cooling towers. No steam vented from the flares or steam traps. Nothing vented from the exhaust stacks of the furnaces or the gas turbines. Only one or two flares were still burning from the shutdown. This plant normally operates 365 days a year. Living in Baytown for 31 years I had never seen it totally shut down before.

I drove to our friends' house and found the wife at home. We made room to squeeze her into the car and drove to my flooded house. There was a police checkpoint where they looked at my license and put a pink sticker on the car which would speed future entries. Cary Bayou had already gone down significantly so there was no problem getting to my house.

My front door had swollen with the moisture and it took all my strength to turn the key and open the door. Our house sitter and her husband had ripped out the den's carpet the day before so the smell was already improving. The high water line was obvious, about 13 inches above the concrete. This was good because it did not reach any electric outlets. The power was on upstairs and downstairs. The 2 central air conditioner units were running pulling moisture out of the house. :thumbs:

Opened the garage door, cleaned up the two folding tables and unloaded the car onto them. We took some before photos and headed back to the friends' house. Dinner was pot roasted elk with potatoes and carrots.

I checked with the people that we were hiring to help clean up, the cleaning woman of a retired music teacher (Mrs. V. being a retired music teacher many of our contacts are also retired music teachers ;)), her mother, her brother, son, nephew and daughter. They all have regular jobs but were on temporary layoff due to the storm. They will have no work until their employers reopen which could be weeks. This is one way that a storm can really hurt people who suffer no wind or water damage. Also, my younger daughter's father-in-law to be was driving down to help since he was off work on Labor Day. A very strange way for us to meet for the first time. ;)

Some time during the day I reached the insurance adjuster and got him to make an appointment for Tuesday since I had only a short time at home.

Then to bed.


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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#4

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:57 pm

Moar!!!! (Glad you are okay and Mrs. V also.) Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. :-D


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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#5

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:52 pm

Stay safe, Volky!



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#6

Post by maydijo » Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:56 pm

I am hoping, since the water didn't get to the power outlets, that your precious, irreplaceable things like photo albums are all safe?



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#7

Post by Volkonski » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:08 pm

maydijo wrote:I am hoping, since the water didn't get to the power outlets, that your precious, irreplaceable things like photo albums are all safe?
Yes. :-D


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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#8

Post by Sugar Magnolia » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:10 pm

Just out of curiosity Volk, do you do any sort of hurricane prep before leaving for the north? Since you're gone during at least part of the season, do you worry about being away if one hits?



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#9

Post by RVInit » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:31 pm

Wow, V. I am so happy the water level stayed below the electrical outlets. I have never had that experience, so I have no idea what you are facing. I'm really grateful for everyone sharing various experiences because it can really help others. I hope your cleanup and home dry out/repairs go as well as possible. I wish there was something I could do to help. Stay safe and keep us up to date on how things are going. :bighug: :bighug:


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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#10

Post by Chilidog » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:20 am

If you can, get a laser level and a rotozip tool with as many cutting bits as you can find.

Use the laser and rotozip to cut a line in the walks 48" above the floor.

Demolish every thing below that line. Drywall, and batting. You can go higher later if need be, but start at that point. If it works out, You can then install the new drywall horizontally.

--------
Note: check with the local building department if they are going to have any specific requirements for demolition. They may say 24", but I would be cautious and go with 48". Water wicks up the paper layer on drywall. The water line may be at 13", but the damage may be higher.
--------



Set box fans to move the air to help dry it out.

Wood wall studs are problematic. They can take time to dry out and are difficult to cut out and replace if it's a load bearing wall. Also water sits between the sill plate and the concrete that is hard to dry out.
One contractor I know had some success using an air compressor to blow high pressure air between the wood
Sill and the concrete slab and blasted out any residual water. If it's a non load bearing wall you might be able to cut the sill plate out, but it's a pain.



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#11

Post by Chilidog » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:34 am

Stachybotrys (black mold) likes paper such as drywall facing and ceiling tile. It will also grow on wood, but not as fast, so usually wood studs can be salvaged if they can be dried out.

With damp wood, you are more likely to get various wood rot fungus, or insect damage (Carpenter ants or termites).

Don't be too much in a hurry to slap up the new drywall. Make sure it's all dry.


Also, use a HEPA filtered shop vacuum as much as possible. Bleach may kill the mold itself, but not using a HEPA vac can spread the spores about.



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#12

Post by Sugar Magnolia » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:30 am

Chilidog wrote:Stachybotrys (black mold) likes paper such as drywall facing and ceiling tile. It will also grow on wood, but not as fast, so usually wood studs can be salvaged if they can be dried out.

With damp wood, you are more likely to get various wood rot fungus, or insect damage (Carpenter ants or termites).

Don't be too much in a hurry to slap up the new drywall. Make sure it's all dry.


Also, use a HEPA filtered shop vacuum as much as possible. Bleach may kill the mold itself, but not using a HEPA vac can spread the spores about.
Bleach only kills the surface of the mold, not the rooted spores in the grain of the wood. Undiluted vinegar will soak into the wood and get the roots.



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#13

Post by RoadScholar » Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:04 am

I've had good results with vinegar.


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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#14

Post by Chilidog » Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:38 am

Just don't mix the two.



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#15

Post by MRich » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:55 am

Chilidog wrote:Just don't mix the two.
Wow, I knew about bleach and ammonia, but I didn't know about bleach and vinegar! Thanks!



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#16

Post by Chilidog » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:51 pm

Bleach and any acid is a bad mix.

Personally I don't know what is worse, the smell of bleach or vinegar.



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#17

Post by RoadScholar » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:54 pm

The vinegar is less toxic. Kind of like why shellac is more pleasant to use than varnish or lacquer... our systems can deal with alcohol a whole lot better than paint thinner. No, it doesn't smell great, but you don't have to be as careful when using it.


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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#18

Post by Volkonski » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:03 pm

Before continuing my day to day summaries some quick updates.

I have a contractor lined up. He is working for 4 of my neighbors and I got the last slot of the 5 he can handle. He will be inspecting the house and starting additional drying steps ASAP. :) I was just lucky that one of my neighbors had him lined up in advanced and that it is to his advantage to get several jobs in one location.

The people I stayed with in Baytown after the storm have ties to relief agencies, town government and the local college. On my last morning there the husband was phoning in reports of people in dire need to local agencies. Typical case- sixty year-old divorced woman with only $100 in the bank, home flooded.

There were 4000 high water rescues just in Baytown.

That missing realtor was killed by her ex-husband.

Mrs. V. and her cousin are now in Scotland.


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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#19

Post by DejaMoo » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:24 pm

Volkonski wrote:Mrs. V. and her cousin are now in Scotland.
See? It could be worse. Instead of staring at water-soaked walls, you could be staring at a haggis.



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#20

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:27 pm

Allegedly.

I tried to find out what the ex-husband did for a living. Can you shed any light on that Volky?

And, Volky -- good luck!



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#21

Post by Volkonski » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:37 pm

Sterngard Friegen wrote:Allegedly.

I tried to find out what the ex-husband did for a living. Can you shed any light on that Volky?

And, Volky -- good luck!
Well, he confessed.

All I have turned up is that he attended Sterling High School in Baytown in the early 1990's.


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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#22

Post by TexasFilly » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:38 pm

Sterngard Friegen wrote:Allegedly.

I tried to find out what the ex-husband did for a living. Can you shed any light on that Volky?

And, Volky -- good luck!
Local TV station was reporting yesterday that the ex "tearfully confessed" but we all know how that works. I haven't seen anything indicating he was employed. I read a bunch of comments in to the Houston Chronicle stories on this, and some claimed to have known this couple and said he was a loner who didn't have any friends. That needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, it being the intertubes and all, but it would fit the pattern.

The investigation has likely been severely compromised by the passage of time between her disappearance and the body being found, especially with the flooding. I did read about a PI her family hired who lamented that the first 48 hours are critical and the PI didn't get the case until 4 days past the 48 hours.

I will update if I find anything else out.
Edit: The police say the ex confessed and led them to her body. That makes the confession pretty airtight. YMMV. http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/bayar ... ipid=hpctp


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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#23

Post by Volkonski » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:10 pm

I am sitting here on Long Island watching the contractors demo our kitchen cabinets in Texas via our security cameras. :)

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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#24

Post by AndyinPA » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:25 pm

Yikes!



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Re: Volkonski's Harvey Aftermath Adventures.

#25

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:16 pm

DejaMoo wrote:
Volkonski wrote:Mrs. V. and her cousin are now in Scotland.
See? It could be worse. Instead of staring at water-soaked walls, you could be staring at a haggis.
:rotflmao:


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