House Fire Update #3 – Frustration

It’s been awhile since I last shared an update about the house. Mainly because there hasn’t been much of anything done and then at the same time, there’s been so much. To say the least, it’s been super frustrating and just down right annoying. But because school and sports have started, I’ve been either
A. getting a lot of questions about “how is the house coming, is almost ready to move back in?”
B. “ohhhh, you’re Bruce”, when I introduce myself
C. blatantly knowing who I am and playing dumb and then slipping some random detail about me/our situation and hoping I don’t catch it, haha. Sooo, rather than play the game of telephone, I decided I would just update the world on the grand ol’ fun we are having as part of the aftermath of our insane lightning strike!…so it can be from the horse’s mouth!

In the end though, we are so very fortunate that things didn’t turn out worse than they did. We are all healthy and fine, and that’s really all that matters. It’s just a headache dealing with all of the junk that happens in the aftermath of a house fire, especially on an 1886 Victorian!

Living Arrangements

We were put up in various hotels for 66 days. Insurance then could not find us a suitable living arrangement so they said that in two weeks time they were cutting us off and just going to give us a settlement on our “additional living expenses” (that just means the cost of rent, etc while our house is being rebuilt) and we had to find something on our own….super cool after they took 66 days and couldn’t find anything and then gave us less than two weeks time to find something. P.S. don’t think we got rich here, they only gave us 21% of what our policy covers us for for additional living expenses! (lesson learned: just because you pay to have X amount of dollar coverage on a policy, does not mean that you will get that…even in a situation like ours where we literally cannot live in our home).

We decided that we would buy another house as an investment property, a 100+ year old little cutie that was for sale for pretty cheap. We figured we would renovate it and then either flip it or turn it into a rental once we could move back home…wellllll, after having the inspection we decided it was just going to be more of a headache than worth it, so we backed out and signed a lease on an apartment, three days before school started back up {if you know me, I take great pride (maybe way too much) in owning our own homes etc so apartment life is kind of a struggle for me. But, I’ll get over it and I’m truly thankful to have a safe place for my family and to be out of the hotel!!}

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Clothing / Shoes / Etc

If you recall from house fire update #2, I said that all of our “soft goods” (ie: clothes, shoes, blankets, stuffed animals, etc) were taken by a company a couple of days after the fire. All of our items were taken to over an hour away to a facility where they would have cleaned them…the type of cleaner that cleans like factory worker uniforms, hospital gowns, table linens, etc. Well…after I went there to ? see ? our items, I said NOPE! Don’t clean them, bring them back to me and I will handle getting them cleaned, by golly! I had 110% faith in my ah-mazing Shaklee cleaners and my cleaning abilities (that my hubby wishes I would put into practice WAY more often than I do) to clean our absurd amount of poundage of clothes. So, I took the cleaning costs payout and asked for all of the clothes to be delivered (in August) to a storage unit I rented. p.s. this is a 10×20 storage unit… and these bags are stacked double high. I can literally say I’m drowning in laundry! For real!!

I was just a little beyond aggravated with the way that these items were returned. They were all throw in bags and totally getting squished. Particularly our shoes and boots, baskets, hats, etc. I even called it out to the guy who delivered it and he told me that my items were like this because I decided to not have them clean them and if they had, they would have returned my items differently. Umm, excuse me? So you’re telling me you treat my stuff like crap if you’re not going to get paid to clean them, but then if you get paid you magically fix all the problems you created with them and make them good?? Sorry, it shouldn’t work like that!

Total Loss Items

If you recall in my last update, I shared that part of the way insurance works, is they send someone to your home to document all of the total loss items. It’s literally done by someone walking through your home with an ear bud in their ear talking to someone in never-never land, transcribing what they say. I purposely went to the house and sat all day (with no electricity mind you) while this was done. I was pretty impressed because I even heard my “tubes of chapstick” being documented. Well, the job wasn’t able to be completed on day one so they had to return a second day. However, this day I was not able to meet them at our house right away because we were having an inspection done on that other house we had planned to buy. So I was going to meet them there following the inspection. Surprisingly they “finished” and had already left by the time I made it back to my house. A couple of weeks later, I was provided a document that listed out all of our total loss items. I printed all 189 pages at the hotel and went to my house. I took a pen and got busy checking off every single item in every room. To my dismay, I personally documented and photographed 1,963 line items (many of those items had more than 1 quantity). Ummmm…..yeah. I’m not even sure what to say about this. Other than “what the heck?!?!” Why was our stuff not properly documented? Why did I have to spend two freaking weeks of my own time out there doing this from sun up to sun down while practically ignoring my kids? If I did not go to my house and personally go through the list they provided, I would be out 100% on the items they never even recorded! That’s just down right crappy. Even if every single one of those items only cost $1.00, that’s $1,963 I’m loosing out on!! (p.s. they sure as heck don’t only cost $1.00 each). You guys get the point.

Throwing Away Everything

The restoration company was actually supposed to come in and throw everything left in my house away (it was all the stuff deemed a total loss.) Well, there was no way in heck that I was going to have that happen because we literally had just moved into our house 3 months prior, and when the movers packed us up from North Carolina, they did a hooooorible job of labeling boxes. They didn’t label them with anything that was actually in the boxes, they just marked the room…or even worse, left the boxes blank, so I had no idea what was even in the box. So all of that stuff was up in my attic that I hadn’t even gotten around to unpacking. So rather than have people literally pitch my stuff, I wanted to go through it (and of course document it) and then throw it away myself.

We’ll just say it’s part of the closure process of literally getting rid of over 50% of the stuff you own…and have accumulated over your whole life! (p.s. I should mention, I do save everything, and I spend waaaay too much of my hubby’s hard earned money on crafting crap and house decor that I really shouldn’t…so basically what I’m trying to say is, we have a whole heck of a lot of stuff!). Just the attic alone yielded two large dumpsters.

In the end, even though it super sucked, was a lot of hard, heavy, dirty work, I am so so thankful that I was the one who personally threw our stuff away. I was able to find all of my kid’s baby books (good thing I had always kept the plastic cover on them ? because they are still “salvageable” to a mother ❤️, I found ultrasound photos, all of my running memorabilia from 10 years of competitive racing, $10 billion dollars worth of crafting stuff ? (I’m actually not sure that is an exaggerated number, lol) my very first Singer sewing machine (150th edition) that my parents bought me for my 18th birthday was totally destroyed ~ insert heartache, I was saving that for my girlie, wahhh!! and a ga-gillion more things…and even more sewing machines! But now in 5 years time I won’t be thinking “where did ____ go? gosh, I wonder if someone threw that away??”

I mean, on the plus side, this is a great way to purge! (???…and yes, I really mean all three emotions!!

House Demo

We are at day 91 from when the fire happened and there are finally crews at our house today to start a bit of the demo work. Understanding this whole process has been a process in itself. It’s beyond frustrating when you are working on someone else’s timeline and not your own. Because lets be real, if you just lost most of your crap, could no longer live in your home, wouldn’t you have wanted work to have begun “yesterday” so you could have moved back in “three weeks ago?” Yeah, I thought so ;-p

The floors have been covered with plywood and doors and trim are being removed to try to save.

Look at this beautiful lath and plaster…oh be still my heart! I just adore it…and it makes me want to cry when I think about it all being ripped down and not replaced. Wahhhh!!!

Anyway, there’s of course been so much more – between all of our electronics which were taken to a different location, getting some of other salvageable items back, etc. But this update is long enough!

I’ve tried to stay busy and forget about things by doing what I love most…like….baking apple turnovers with my girlie!

And…sealing and painting furniture that was supposed to be in the dumpster… (garbage, schmarbage!!! you know I can’t throw anything away…two dumpsters was my limit…bahahaha!)

And…picking up furniture off the side of the road and turning it into beautiful, funky, one of a kind pieces!


School, Sports & Kiddos

All of our kiddos started back at school after Labor Day, which I hate to admit this, was a bit of a relief for me because it gives them a bit of normalcy and not dealing with house crap (even though we truly have tried to keep them out of it as much as possible). And I truly hate that they were robbed of a fun summer, kind of. We still went on vacation and did a lot of fun things, but…it definitely wasn’t our typical summer! Even though they are the new kiddos still (they only went to school here 5 or 6 weeks last year because we moved here after spring break), they are adjusting well and have really made some wonderful friends so that is beyond amazing and a huge blessing! All of the friends and people we have met here, just solidify and reconfirm our decision making in making the 1,000 mile move! We truly feel it was the best thing for our family….and give us that much more fighting desire to rebuild our beautiful 1886 Victorian so we can really set our roots here and grow old!

Sports are consuming our every moment when they are not in school. Two kiddos are playing 2 sports each and one is playing 1. But their practices, games and meets are of course all either on different days or all at the same time! But they are having the times of their lives, so it’s all worth it!…and plus, I have to admit, I secretly love running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off and get an adrenaline rush from my own chaos (a true life lesson and quote I learned from my dear friend Angela!) We are at such a fun, exciting stage in life and I’m eating it all up!

….And…because I’m a weirdo!… I can’t let my house look unloved or abandoned or like no one cares about it….. so….

Yep, I even decorated the front porch…you’re welcome house…I really love you and we are coming home at some point! (I have a weird connection with this house so I really feel if I treat it right, it will treat and protect my family right!)

Good thing they are doing the demo work at the back of the house, lol…for now!

Remember…don’t miss an update about the house, there will hopefully be a lot more now that work is beginning!

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Fire Updates:

Update #1: House Fire, Struck by Lightning

Update #2:  Update

Update #3: Frustration

Update #4: The Beginning of Demo & A Few Hidden Surprises

Update #5: Demo of the Downstairs

Update #6: 

Update #7: Silver Spoon

Update #8: Trick-Or-Treat; Victorian Style

Update #9: New Joists

Update #10: Roof

Update #11: Roof Demo

Update #12: Roof Demo & Rebuild

Update #13: Beginning of Rebuild

Update #14: Secret Bookcase!

Update #15: We Have Roof Shingles!

Update #16: Heart Hunters & Easter

Update #17: Butler’s Door

Update #18Hometalk Segment & Video Walk-Through

Update #19: Beginning of Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC

Update #20: Garden & Bunnies

Update #21: Choosing An Exterior House Color

Update #22: Treasures Hidden In The Ceiling

Update #23: Insulation

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