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We Cruised Through Hurricane Harvey…Others Weren’t as Lucky

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You may have noticed that I’m from Houston, Texas and haven’t posted for more than 2 weeks.  We are safe.  Heck, we were more than safe during Hurricane Harvey’s flooding because we were on a 7 day cruise that lasted 13 days.

We Were Extremely Spoiled Hurricane Harvey Refugees

Hurricane Harvey closed the port of Galveston, so the Carnival Freedom sailed around the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi River to New Orleans a couple of times while we waited for it to be safe to go home.  The first time on Saturday, August 26, was a quick day trip.  The second time, August 29-30, was an overnight stay in that port.  So our Western Caribbean cruise turned into a Mississippi River Boat cruise to New Orleans for the second half.  😉

Cabin Map of our Sailing Course August 2017
This is the picture of the map of our sailing route for the 36 hours leading up to our second side trip to New Orleans.


As we were sailing away from New Orleans August 30, 2017, we passed right by the Carnival Breeze. Just think about that for a moment and you will realize how freaking huge the Mississippi River is…

We had tons of food, lots of fun with Dive-In movies like La La Land and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, enjoyed a couple of hilarious comedians, and had all the regular cruise fun.

Mississippi River Sunset August 2017
A gorgeous sunset August 30, 2017 on the Mississippi River during the extended part of a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise due to Hurricane Harvey.

Our Total Cruise Cost

The total cost for our 13 day cruise ended up being less than $2000.

  • $1500 for the 7 day cruise tickets, taxes, fees, and insurance (more than usual because we booked last minute)
  • $180 Chef’s Table
  • $180 for pre-set gratuities
  • $120 extra to our dining room staff thanks to their awesome service over 2 weeks
  • TOTAL = $1980

There were a few extras like drink tips, souvenirs, and some fries in New Orleans, PLUS the $300 my husband took with us for gambling. BUT he cashed out $610, so I’ll just ignore that whole part, lol.  Technically it probably brings down our total to $1750.

Hurricane Harvey Was Just Emotionally Frustrating for Us

All in all, we knew we were extremely lucky to be on a ship away from Houston all of last week.  We also were overwhelmed with gratefulness to our friends and family for taking care of everything while we couldn’t.  Our hearts were breaking from the stories of families losing everything, sometimes even their own lives or those of kids they could no longer hold up in the water.  It was emotionally heart-wrenching.

So when we heard about our only physical problem back home, a flooded master bedroom closet, we still felt insanely blessed.

But we’re human and here were the main negatives looming over our extended vacation:

  1. I spent a large chunk of time worrying about our families, friends, our cats, our clients and their pets, and our two properties.  Everyone on the ship was worried about someone or something and just had to keep on keeping on.
  2. Another significant chunk of time was spent figuring out the pet sitting schedule changes and additions with Tiana.
  3. Both our pet sitting business AND our online business took a huge income hit.  Yay for well-padded savings!
  4. Our master bedroom closet may or may not exceed our flood insurance deductible, so I will find out down the road if I shouldn’t have actually made a claim at all.

We couldn’t get the actual phone lines to work (busy for hours), so I used the ship’s Wifi to keep up with what I could back home.  Videos wouldn’t load and most pics would time out, but our parents and a couple of friends kept us up-to-date several times a day and I could see a couple of dozen postings on Facebook each day.

Our amazing pet sitter, Tiana, covered all of our pet sitting clients and handled the ever-changing schedule (extended needs for owners with cancelled flights and cancelled jobs if the owners stayed home).

Our friend, Dean, stayed in our home, moved all of our belongings off of the floor downstairs, and figured out our master bedroom closet was flooding soon enough to save all of our stuff.  Our friend, Dee, kept me up to date and then came over to my place to remove the wet carpet and spray Microban liberally around the closet afterwards.  Between the two of them, our house emergency was totally handled.

Our Master Bedroom Closet After Hurricane Harvey Flooding August 2017
There was definitely significant water in our closet thanks to Hurricane Harvey, but our friends kicked butt for us and now it’s drying out.

Our cars were safe in the garage here at home since my hubby’s family dropped us off at the port.  My mom kept tabs on our tenant at our rental home.  Overall, our friends and family saved our sanity, our pet sitting business, and our property last week.  I am deeply thankful for our support network.

Hurricane Harvey Was Truly Awful for Others

The truly dark side is obviously how incredibly horrible Harvey was to my little part of the world.  The pictures on the news were of the hardest hit areas, but they weren’t nearly as outlandish as news stories are usually.  Rockport really did have whole streets of homes that were pretty much washed away.  Houston really did flood horrifically.

Thousands and thousands of homes were completely flooded out, including hundreds if not a few thousand within 2-3 miles of my own home.

One set of our close friends are going to be living with their parents for several months since their whole, new home was around 3-6 inches underwater.  Their floors and 4 feet of drywall had to be removed from the whole house, plus the flood waters killed one of their cars.

Those friends didn’t need any more physical help by the time we made it home Friday afternoon, but they called out for help for a coworker’s home on Saturday.  I helped with a little part of a huge cleanup (drywall and floor removal).  It had me nearly in tears.  They received 7-9 feet of water and everything downstairs was ruined.

Friend's Coworke's Flooded House August 2017
The whole bottom story of this home had to be ripped down to the studs. I helped carry out flooring, baseboards, trim, and dry wall while the few crow bars available were being put to use.


Piles of Debris from One House of Hurricane Harvey 2017
This is just a part of the piles of flooring, drywall, and everything from just ONE house (5 miles from my own) I helped with that received 7-9 feet of water during Huricane Harvey.

Every house on their street and the half dozen streets around them suffered the same fate.  It looks like a war zone of debris.  Piles and piles in every yard.  Hundreds of people parking in the streets to reach the home they were helping.  It was an emotional day.  I’m sure there will be more of the same for the next month or two.

Our Neighborhood During Jerk Harvey

Our own neighborhood got EXTREMELY lucky.  Both of our retention lakes near my home overflowed their banks.  Some homes had the lakes right at their back doors by the time the rain stopped.  If the water hadn’t receded between rain showers, the whole neighborhood would have been a few inches under water along with the thousands of others.  It truly stopped pouring just in time.

Small Lake High Before Overflow Harvey 2017
This picture is of the small lake between showers when people were first getting nervous since it had never been that full ever before.
Our Small Lake Overflowing on Our Street During Harvey 2017
The small lake of our neighborhood is about a block and a half from our front door. This is a picture of it not only filling up, which never happens, but pouring beyond its banks and directing into our street!  Picture grabbed from our neighborhood’s Facebook page.

Can’t Drown Our Texas Attitude

This complete jerk of a storm has destroyed property and taken lives.  But it has not destroyed us as a whole. Neighbors, friends, and family are uniting to clean up.  Help from other states like Louisiana and the country in general are pushing along the progress.  Looters and hoodlums are around, but it isn’t slowing down rescue efforts, fundraisers, or people showing up to help with physical labor.

We will rebuild.  Hopefully better so the next hurricane doesn’t impact us this hard.

Everyone I talk to has generally the same attitude as me about this whole thing – it’s horrific, it makes our stomachs churn, the overall loss can almost be felt physically…but we are stronger than shit tons of water.  We are extremely strong when we are united.  And united, we are already recovering.

If you’d like to help, JJ Watt is raising money until September 15 –


FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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11 thoughts on “We Cruised Through Hurricane Harvey…Others Weren’t as Lucky

  1. I’ve checked your website for days looking for an update, and I was just getting ready to send you an email this morning. I’m so thankful you’re safe and received only minimal damage. Stay safe!

  2. @Wanda, yeppers! We were just on a boat crossing our fingers for everyone else. 🙂 The wifi was pretty bad and I didn’t have my laptop, so blog updates just couldn’t happen. Feel free to follow me directly on Facebook though – that loads even on slow wifi. 🙂

  3. Wow! I’m glad you made it out relatively unscathed. You obviously have a very strong support system (and a bit of good luck) on your side. Hopefully all of your neighbors, family, and friends get back to “normal” soon.

  4. I also keep checking your blog for updates!! Wow the pictures are unbelievable thank goodness for your support system and prayers for everyone surrounding you guys.

  5. @Mitch, I hope so too. The problem is that there is an outpouring of help for the first week and then unaffected people’s time starts getting filled. I’m going to attempt to help someone every week for the next 2 months.

    @Revanche, yes, my people kick ass. You included. 🙂

    @Money Beagle, thanks!

    @teinegurl, I was overwhelmed by how many people were checking on me when we were out of pocket. I’m grateful for everybody’s well wishes.

  6. We experience Irma just recently here in South Florida. Most of us were lucky but without power and gas. It’s a tough situation but we also remember our friends in Texas and hope to get through it all together!

  7. I’m glad your home was only minimally damaged. I also had an extended cruise thanks to Hurricane Irma. We had four extra days on the Carnival Glory at no cost.

    Carnival and American Airlines were great.

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