Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rebuilding Heart and Home, One Step At A Time

Hello everyone! How are all of you? Are you surprised to hear from me after such a long break? I thought I'd share a quick recap of what I've been up to these past six months. Many of you are aware that we lost our home during a storm this past March. I am so grateful to those of you who have been checking in with me during all this time, and I appreciate your kind, thoughtful messages of support. I can't lie and say this has been easy, but it is getting better every day.

If you hadn't seen it yet,  go here to see the aftermath of the storm. This was our home, cut in half:

After that monster tree was removed from the inside of our house we had one week to empty the contents, and put everything that wasn't destroyed in boxes and into storage. Most of our furniture, rugs, books, art, bedding, drapes and many smaller, personal or decorative items were taken to the dump in a huge dumpster. That part was hard, let me tell you.

After nearly one month in a hotel, we finally moved to a rental house with rented furniture, rented dishes, rented pots and pans, rented towels, rented sheets and pillows. That part was weird and unsettling, and took some getting used to. 

The past few months have been a whirlwind, and I have experienced confusing and conflicting emotions. While I was grieving for our lost home I was also filled with extreme gratitude for everything I still have, for the love and support of our friends and family, for our warm and comfortable new temporary home.

Actually, most days I was torn between feeling  immense relief and gratitude, and enormous grief and guilt.  I realized that, even after taking into consideration everything that had been destroyed, we still have so much more than so many other people in the world. And, I am alive and strong and healthy - that tree didn't get me, it just missed me by a few feet! There must be a reason I am still here, I hope to figure it out someday.

 For now, I am plugging along, working on the rebuilding process. I have spent countless hours preparing loss reports for our insurance company. That part continues to be frustrating and tedious.

Inside, most of the walls were damaged or completely destroyed by the tree, the roof was torn in half the length of the house and the interior was flooded by rain for almost one week before we could secure it with a tarp.  All the walls in these pictures, the ones with the blue tape on them, were eventually removed due to water damage. My favorite stone floors throughout the upstairs were ripped out in order to allow the subflooring to dry.

It was sad to see the house in this state, but after slow and steady progress, and I can finally glimpse the light at the end of a long and arduous project!

 These are temporary posts and rafters in the living/dining/entry holding up a gigantic tarp to protect from further rain damage, before the floors and walls were removed. You can see the hole where the tree ripped into our house, along the ridge of the roof. Luckily, part of the tree came to rest on a berm at the edge of our property, or it would have continued to fall through the floor and to the bottom level of the house.

The carpet on the stairs was soaked through and molding. Not a pretty sight. Downstairs in our bedrooms and closets it was worse.  Everything was smelly and squishy with water.

During the summer, we figured we didn't have a lot keeping us here. We couldn't start  rebuilding until our engineering drawings were done, and then we had to wait for county permits.

So, we decided to head out of town for awhile. We went here:


And here:


And here:

And here:


And here:


We explored parts of Europe, ate delicious food, 
saw the most wonderful sights, ate delicious pastries,
wandered through museums, ate delicious chocolate,
 and I even had a chance
to spend time with my long-lost relatives in Germany. 
Our trip was a dream come true for me.
I cherished every moment, and will remember it always.

(In future posts, if you're interested, I will put together a travelog for you!
I only took about 1,200 pictures,
 plus all the ones my girls and husband took.
I think I have a few to share with you! 
 If you'd like to see some of them let me know.)

Anyway, when we returned from our time "overseas" the work began
 to restore our house, to make it better than before.

We interviewed and chose a contractor.
We applied for permits.
We had engineering drawings made for a new roof and deck.
We have spent countless hours
pouring over brochures and websites seeking information about
 windows, skylights, flooring, electrical work, plumbing, 
heaters, water systems, bathroom fixtures, tile and stone.
We've changed a few things about the layout that bothered us before,
and I know this house is going to be better than ever when we're done.

 I still have so many more decisions to make!
But, the project is coming along,
and we will be back in our home before too long.

 New interior framing, awaiting skylights:

 Part of the new roof:

We are still awaiting electrical work, then insulation and sheetrock.
At that point, I think the house will feel whole again.
 Right now, it is all wood and studs, and tarps and plywood.
But, I do see progress, and I can glimpse the results, just barely!

In the meantime,
when I need a break I take long walks along the ocean.
Lucky me!
 I do my yoga and pilates, and try to stay CALM.

 Thank you for dropping by today, I appreciate your loyalty and support.
I am blessed by your continued friendship and kindess.

Stay tuned for further progress reports.
I will check back in with you again, very soon!
Until next time,

I'm joining everyone at Metamorphosis Monday. Thanks!


suzyq said...

I have often wondered just how you are going Heidi!! I'm so glad things are starting to go in the right direction for you at last. I can only imagine how frustrated you have been with the insurance claims....I'm just doing a small one now and it's doing my head in!!
Please keep us updated on your progress.
PS I would love a trip like that but I don't think I will go to those lengths to make it happen!!

Deb said...

It's good to "see" you again and I'm glad you're making progress. Looking forward to future posts!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Good to see you post again. I know you are looking forward to getting back in your own home. Thanks for sharing your trip - looking forward to hearing more about it and seeing more pictures.

Jemsmom said...

Oh Heidi!!! It is so good to hear from you!!! I was thinking about you the other day and thought I should email, but then life happened and I didn't. I am sorry because I have missed you and you have been on my mind. Oh the travels you went on!!! I love Wurzburg and Coburg!!! I am so glad you got to visit relatives. What an amazing adventure came out of something so devastating. I would LOVE to see your pictures! Your house is coming along so well and I will continue to send prayers of quick building! Take care of yourself and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!

Bella Vista said...

Heidi, it is good to see you post again. I have thought of you often and kept you and your family in prayer.

Your attitude is very good for all you have been through. Your words touched my heart. Continue to stay strong and know that we all care.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving. So glad you had a wonderful trip in Europe.

Barb ♥

Rose H (UK) said...

So, so pleased that things are finally moving along for you. Looks like you had a fabulous trip, though I bet thoughts of home weren't far from your mind. I hope you'll soon be 'back where you belong'.
Sending hugs
Rose H

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Heidi, I'm so glad things are progressing for you. I hope it goes quickly from here out so you can get back into your home real soon. I'm glad you've been able to have a little fun while going through all this. Your trip sounds amazing! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Stacey said...

Heidi, I've thought about you so many times. Still to look at the pictures of that giant tree on your house leaves me in awe. We just don't have trees that big here in Oklahoma so its hard to imagine.

I know your house will be just beautiful. Sounds like you've dealt with that situation in the best possible way. Can't wait to see what comes next for you.

Sonia said...

So glad to see your post...wondered how things were going for you...I bet you will be glad to see a new year come and leave this one behind. We had some pipes burst in our home years ago ...had to move out of our previous home for almost 3 months but when our home was finished it was more beautiful than when it was new. That was the silver lining...I hope you are finding the silver lining too. Can't wait to see it when it's all finished ..the progress is fun to see too! Hope you will have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

Miss Bloomers

Karen said...

How wonderful to hear from you again, Heidi! So happy to know that your home plans are progressing well. Praying for clear-headed decision making.
I'd love to see some of your trip photos. I figure if I can't go to Paris, i'd sure like to enjoy someone else's trip vicariously.
Blessings, k

vignette design said...

Hi Heidi,
So glad to hear from you and see the progress of rebuilding your home and life. It will be so wonderful when you can finally call your home, home again.
Meanwhile, all your traveling sure makes it better.
I think of you often and wonder how you are. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas! ~Delores

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Heidi, I remember you said you had lost your house, but this is the first time I've read the details. Oh my, girl! I know it must be such a hard thing for you. Thank you for those sweet comments, that made my day. I have tried to keep a good attitude myself, in spite of hard times & losing so much too. We can't let it beat us! Keep your chin up & be thankful for getting to go on that fantastic trip. Hope you have a Merry Christmas & I can't wait to come back & see you in your home again. Keep me posted! xoxo

Apron Senorita said...

Merry Christmas Heidi. I wish you the blessings of love and peace this holiday season. May you enjoy the splendor and joy of Christmas with your family. -- Yoli @ Apron Senorita

Anonymous said...

Glad I keep checking in, missed this in November, maybe it is done, maybe not. Glad your better, can't wait to see your new house. Mary

cge4211 said...

I checked in today and I wondered how your home repairs are going. This whole event must have been very difficult. I hope things are finished by now. Check in and let us all know how you are doing.
Carolyn NC

Karen said...

I'm checking up on you, too. Hope and pray you are well and happy. blessings, k

Sweetladyelaine said...

Just checking in to see how you are? Missing your posts! I am praying for you. Hope you are well!
Blessings My Friend,

Rose H (UK) said...

Just been thinking about you Heidi...hope all is well with you and yours.
Best wishes from across the pond.
Rose H

cjvierow said...

Hi there Heidi! Haven't heard from you in soooooooooo long! I hope all is well and your house is progressing or finished by now. I keep you in my thoughts and prayers and really MISS your posts and comments. So until you feel like posting again, may the Lord richly bless you. With warmest thoughts, CJ

Rose H (UK) said...

Hello Heidi
I was thinking about you today and was wondering how you were getting on.
Sending best wishes
Rose H