Monday, May 3, 2010

Daddy Update 05.03.10

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
-- Jeremiah 29:13

We're doing OK. It was a long, 12+ hour day today but we accomplished what we set out to do. Jason and I went over to what was left of the house with Daddy today and packed up any remaining items of interest, value, etc. At least the sun was shining. It was exponentially harder yesterday digging through rubbish, piles upon piles, while the rain beat down on us through the open roof.

Today, we worked our bottoms off. And chatted with well-meaning neighbors, chased off nosy ones with cameras, and talked to contractors, sub-contractors, insurance adjusters, city Police, city Fire, and city codes. The firemen who came by today told us we all needed to be wearing masks so we ran to the store and got those. The smell is just gross. It's dirty and wet and sad with just the tiniest hint of that sweet campfire smell. After a while, your eyes and nose burn and you're coughing. Our clothes and any exposed skin were covered in black soot. Jason gets a special thank you for allowing me to run to Target looking like Hitler. I went in the rest room and was dismayed to see I had a tiny, jet black ash mark right under my nose.

As I write, Daddy is settled into what will be his home for the next few months - an extended stay hotel near his house. They accepted pets and their rates and amenities were good plus it's conveniently located to his house so it worked out.

The insurance company couldn't write off the house completely so the plan is to bring in a contractor who will tear down and rebuild the affected part of the house. They predicted a 3-month timeline. Knowing how these things go, Daddy is prepared for a 6-month stay at his hotel.

Thank you all for your calls, emails, prayers, etc. We truly are blessed. God is good. 

And, there are lessons galore in this little incident and I will share as many as I am able to learn with you all as possible. Here goes the 1st few:

1.  Don't put off to tomorrow what can and should be done today. That may mean "write your will." Or, "increase your homeowners' insurance." Or perhaps it's just "tell that person how much they mean to you."

2.  You do not need 18 mixing bowls. Or 7 winter coats. If you're reading this, you are blessed beyond words. We have too much stuff in our lives. We're cluttered. Now I'm not planning on selling off all my possessions and going to live on a commune but this has made me realize how much stuff we accumulate. And that's all it is...stuff.

3.  Make copies of all your important paper work (including important phone numbers and contact info) and put it in a safe place (i.e., somewhere other than your home).

4.  If you have a neighbor who suffers a similar fate, here's what to do (and not do):  DON'T: call; drop by just to say hi; stand out front just shaking your head; keep driving by slowly just to look out your car window; take pictures of a stranger's house; allow your kids to ride bikes and walk around while the people are trying to clean up. DO:  bring bottled water if the family is there working; offer your clean/functioning bathroom if you live nearby; offer to run errands/go pick up lunch; text or email your sentiments so they know you care but can keep working and don't have to stop what they're doing to answer the phone; bring empty milk crates, Rubbermaid tubs and trash bags.

5.  Do not get a leather wallet wet. And, if you do, don't put it in the microwave to dry out. And, if you do, two minutes is too long. There's a popcorn setting and a beef wellington setting but not a wallet one so I guessed. Guessed wrong. (See pic above)

Back of house from driveway. Kitchen on left; garage on right.


Standing in den. Hallway on left. Foyer on right. New skylight above.

Jason standing in front yard beside some old bicycles which were in the attic over the garage and flew to opposite side of yard during explosion. The road you see behind him is the one where the river is on the opposite side. Compare this picture with previous picture (#1) in this album. It's the same intersection, two days later.

Juxtaposition of beauty and devastation.

Some things escaped almost, if not completely, unscathed.