House Update #8

We are inching up to the six month mark of time since the lighting strike hit our house and it caught fire. With that said, I’ve been getting asked by people on a regular basis if we’ve moved back in – rationally thinking that it’s been plenty of time.

Well…the answer is a big fat no. We have not. In fact, this is primarily why I haven’t written an update since October 22. The house is still standing there, as strong and patiently as she can waiting to be fixed – with no roof ridge boards/caps supporting her, no walls or ceilings, no electricity, no water {except in the basement bathroom}, no {interior} doors. Tarps covering the roof, boards protecting many of the interior windows, and wood covering every square inch of our original hardwood floors throughout. It’s a sad sight to see.

In this photo below, I’ve shown the how a roof is structured (source) and the structural importance of every piece. You can see that our ridge boards are completely burnt away. In addition, our rafters are severely compromised as the rafter boards are also burnt to a crisp (literally) and are about half of their original thickness. Not shown in my photo are the various missing joists all over the house.

Given the home’s age, 133 years old, she’s been given a lot of flack because of the way she was built all those years ago. However, I have to rebuttal and point out that she’s still standing there! With a beyond compromised framing system, through 20+ mile per hour winds practically ever other day, snowstorms, rainstorms, and more. You would think that she would have blown right over by now, but she hasn’t. She’s one tough cookie – like me and isn’t going anywhere! Not all things old are bad, yet I understand the need to bring things to today’s code standards, etc.

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Let me pause…

If I was reading this, I would likely think that the author was a bit off, talking about her house the way I do…but maybe this is my way of therapy. My way of justifying moving back into a house that was struck by freaking lightning and caught fire…with my 9 year old son sleeping inside. Maybe I have some PTSD, maybe I feel indebted to this house and God for protecting all five of us (plus our six furry creatures) and making sure we were all 100% safe and unharmed. For somehow protecting my most sentimental/cherished items (that could never be replaced) that were packed away in my attic while the rest of the attic contents burned. Maybe it’s my way of trying to not feel guilty that 3 months prior, we moved to Wisconsin, 1,000 miles away from where my kids were born and raised leaving behind the lives they knew only to be in total disarray.

Clearly there are a lot of issues. It’s sad and depressing and I obviously just want to go home. I don’t even care about all of the stuff we lost (which dear heavens alive – insurance is trying to kill me on this one!!! … by the end, I think I should have a career in investigation, golly!! But I won’t bore you with all of those details.) I just want to be at the house, that come January we have owned for 1 year but have only lived in 96 days!! We’ve had all odds against us with coming here – but again that’s another blog post. In short, we bought the house in January, stayed in North Carolina until essentially April and then made the move. Then, June 28th the house was struck by lightning. Wahhh!!!

Between insurance, engineering reports, getting samples, and a zillion things more, my patience is wearing thin. From the original timeline, we are behind schedule and that’s a hard thing to swallow when there are no ifs, ands or buts about us moving back in by the end of July.

Anyway, on a happier note …

Enough complaining. I’ve never used my blog as a vehicle for complaining, and I don’t intend to now (but thanks for listening!). I can’t wait to get back to being CRAFTY and COOKSEY (is that a word?) again! In the meantime, I haven’t been able to let my insanely gorgeous porch sit totally naked. I’ve been sure to rummage up whatever I can find to decorate our step area just so 1. it doesn’t look like no one lives at the house (well, guess my secrets out now! lol) 2. so it doesn’t look like the house is unloved!

Here was my FALL porch…

p.s. I haven’t wanted to go out shopping to replace our holiday items for the porch yet because we were thinking that the roof would have been in full demo mode at this time and I didn’t want all of my new stuff getting ruined – nor do I have a place to store it either!

That poor Mickey Mouse pumpkin is burnt, but I couldn’t muster up throwing it away in August knowing the rest of my fall (and winter) decor was adios amigos. I needed something that could sit outside on the porch. The gold/bronze flower holders are from various thrift stores in North Carolina. I painted the two fall porch signs and “B” door hanger and built the wooden stand that the other pumpkin is propped up on. The pillow cover has burn marks all over it…but I embroidered this years ago, and again, figured it would work for one more season!


It’s super pitiful looking (especially that tree without a skirt or box!)…but it’s the best I could do for now. Plus, it’s hard to decorate for Christmas without Christmas lights and garland!

The small artificial Christmas tree is like the pumpkin, burnt. It used to go in one of my kid’s rooms (yes, I’m that mom who puts a tree in each kiddo’s room!) but I just couldn’t pitch it before one last hoo-ra outside. The snowman I actually bought for a gift…and then regifted it to myself for this photo (ha!!) The small wooden bird houses are from our very first house (4 houses ago!! We’ve owned 4 in 12 years!) in Georgia. They were left by the previous owners out and about in our 2 acre yard…and being the sentimental person that I am, I couldn’t leave there without them! I painted the signs and the antique 25 gallon crock is all full of mold since the fire (ugh!!!) But you know…you can’t really tell from the street! lol I made the poinsettia wreath with supplies from the Dollar Tree and the poinsettias in the crock are from a local thrift store. Simple, cheap and easy… absolutely not what I had planned and absolutely not Victorian looking…but oh well!

We have a 4 foot tall wreath that we have used at every house now. Ideally, it would have gone up on the top portion of the chimney, but given the state of the house, I wasn’t about to venture out a window onto the roof to hang it. Unfortunately this wreath is also burnt…but I figured it would last one season out here with the roof demo.


Our sweet almost 13 year old Miniature Dachshund unexpectedly (kind of) passed away on Wednesday, December 4th. I’m so sad that she will never be back in the house once it’s complete, but I have the peace of knowing she’s in the backyard…along with likely many many many more dogs! lol My hubby kept joking he was digging up other dogs and humans! I tell ya! ???

Signing out…

Well that’s all for now folks. Hopefully my next update will actually include some progress! In the meantime, I wish you all the merriest of Christmases and the happiest near year!!

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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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