Friday, November 6, 2009

We have HEAT!

Hello, hello, hello / Is there anybody in there? / Just nod if you can hear me. / Is there anyone at home? / Come on, come on down (Pink Floyd)

Writing a blog is a funny thing, I never know if there is anybody out there listening! :)

Yesterday was a great work day. We got a new heating unit under the house and all the duct work in. We have heat! The crew work hard and stayed late to make sure we would have heat last night. It was a lovely thing. I have had a chill in my bones since the flood and now, maybe finally, I can warm up! Yay Heat!

David and our new friend Scott Chapman took down the wall between the music room and the family room and framed the opening. It looks great! We have always wanted a more open floor plan and now we have one!

David purchased a digital/laser tape measure (thanks Home Depot gift cards!) and has measured for insulation, flooring and sheet rock.

Our flooring samples have arrived and I am looking at floors and paint chips.

We were thinking to throw up the sheet rock ourselves and to pay a small crew to "Mud", finish the walls and prep for painting. Scott recommended some sheet rock guys and they came in yesterday to measure and give us an estimate for doing the entire job and to do only the Mud work. We will see.

We had a cabinet maker come in on Tuesday to look at our kitchen. Of course the top tier of cabinets are fine while the bottom cabinets are dead so... We will have to see what we can afford. Refacing? all new cabinets? The numbers are not in yet.

The next step is insulation. Then Sheet rock. Hopefully, some time next week. We are still waiting for the moisture level to decrease 1 or 2 percentage points. Our friend Blair, who has a mold remediation co has suggested we fog a sealant before we begin work. Blair came in and kindly took a look around. He only found one little spot that needs a scrub under the house. That is not too bad at all.

We are determined to take our time and do this rebuild right, every step along the way. We continue to seek advice from friends and professionals. All have been so kind and willing to share their expertise with us. This one piece alone, understanding what we are doing and what we need to do next, has been a blessing. We proceed with confidence, which is no small thing.

We have scheduled days off the rest of November to get work done. Those of you that have offered to swing a hammer, I will be contacting you soon. :) Thanks.

Our spirits are good. We are grateful for our family and friends and all the continued support. There is no doubt that we would not be as on track as we are now, if not for the help of so many people.

We are prayerful and grateful and optimistic. Please continue to send up your prayers for us and our continued work around the house. Someday, in the not too distant future(maybe not for Christmas, but early in 2010) we will have a lovely, safe and complete home again.

It takes a Village. Thanks everyone!
Love and light,
Gloria and David

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

progress, slow but sure

Things at our house are quiet. With the equipment gone,we can hear the joists drying!

We received the moisture meter from a friend, as it had to be ordered through a professional. Thanks friend. The meter is on loan and will be passed on to others with similar damage. Our house seems to be drying out well. Our inside wood moisture ranges from 17.5 to 14.7! Most were on the low end. Really good readings! We are encouraged.

David had a good meeting with our new friend Scott re plans. So, we have a rebuild plan, or at least a start to a plan.

I am looking at flooring and have fallen in love with Wide Plank Wood floors. This may be the big splurge of our rebuild. We have agreed to sit on every decision, and take it slow each step of the way. So, wide plank wood floors are on the table.

The Roof work and the crawl space work will be done first~Heating and AC and Duct work. The house is cavernous and cold without any walls and flooring on the first level. We have had a recent cold snap. Thank goodness for our upstairs sanctuary and blankets and snuggles with our animals.

We are mostly in a waiting mode with regard to the house. David and Charles Park and our very generous and helpful friend Grant from St. Matthew's got a great start on packing up and moving to storage a lot of our furnishings. Mortgage Co, Ins Co and Contractors take a lot of time and phone calls and follow up energy, too. For now though, we mostly work and plan and wait.

I had a great visit with my Mom in NY and wonderful time attending my HS reunion last weekend.
This weekend we are taking a road trip to Pittsburgh to see our daughter Sawyer act the part of Eurydice, in Antigone, at her university.

Love and support and assistance continues to pour in from so many. We are truly moved. Our recovery fund continues to grow and we are so thankful.

We will be planning work days on the calendar for November. So many have offered to help swing a hammer, put together work crews and feed the workers. Keep logging on, we will be calling! :)

From the bottom of our hearts, we say thanks.
As always we will keep you informed and in our prayers.

Love and light,
Gloria and David

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

All Quiet at our house this week

Hello everyone!

Not much happening this week here at our home and construction site!

We are waiting on a moisture meter that has been ordered through the mail. This will tell us the percentage of moisture left in the wall and sub floor wood. New wood from Home Depot has typically 12% moisture, so we need to be in the 12%-14% area before insulation and sheet rock work can begin.

Rachel and Bill gave us a little Crock Pot. So after 22 years of married life I am learning how to cook in a Crock Pot for the first time. It's funny, and fun. So easy, and delicious! It is nice to have a hot meal after a long day of work. Thanks Douglas family.

David and I went window shopping this past Sunday. We looked at flooring, tiles and appliances. I had quite a bit of anxiety. Everything adds up fast and well, frankly I am concerned about having enough funds to finish the job. David is confident in his skill, stretching the dollars, and our support group, that we will get it all done, eventually. I just have to be patient and keep the faith.

Our new friend Scott will be by on Thursday evening to help us measure and plan our building supply purchasing scheme and plan a rebuild schedule. We can then crunch the numbers and be able to see this all in black and white and dollars and cents.

Our friend Grant from church has offered a storage facility through his son-in-law. So, we are trying to arrange Friday as a moving day. Charles Park is coming home for the day and will help David move anything worth saving into storage. David and I did move some furniture and things up to the second floor the day of the flood, so all is not lost. The move will be on in the next couple of weeks to get as many things worth keeping out of the house before construction begins.

We continue to get notes and phone calls and Home Depot cards and emails. Offers to help swing hammers and offers to send financial assistance continue, as well. We are so grateful. I feel a little silly saying thank you so much, and repeating how moved we are by the outpouring of love, but it is true and we are grateful and we are deeply moved and appreciative. As I said in the beginning, this is a lesson in humility, among other things.

In the coming weeks we will plan our rebuild days like the Habitat model. We will have a sheet rock day (or two) and a flooring day, etc. So, those of you that have offered to swing a hammer, :)
we will be calling upon you and your expertise. Stay tuned!

I am going home to NY this weekend to visit my Mom and to attend my HS reunion! I am leaving David home to guard against the ever vigilant GA rain. Can you believe it has continued to rain consistently here? Yesterday, the roads flooded again. The rain has become a stalker. So many Georgians have suffered so much damage and loss, and at least for now it doesn't seem to be letting up! Lake Lanier (our main water source) will be at full pool today for the first time in years. Remember we had been suffering an ongoing drought for some time...

We love you guys and will continue to keep you informed as to our recovery. Please know that recovery has begun in our hearts and minds. This process is nowhere as difficult a struggle as it could be, due to the love and support from our family and friends and community. Thanks.

Gloria and David

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good News!

Some Good News! Our FEMA grant has come in and we have received the maximum allowance for a single family! $30,000! Yay FEMA! The flip side of this of course, is that the estimates for rebuilding have been coming in at @ $65,000. So, as we have known all along, we will be doing the rebuild ourselves, a bit at a time, with a little help from our friends and family.

We returned the rented industrial dehumidifiers and air movers on Tuesday, to the tune of $3,600. Similar work, the demolition of sheet rock and flooring, and rental machinery has cost our neighbors around $10,000, so we are doing very well thus far. The house is fairly dry and continues to dry out. We will have to live as we are for several weeks now and let the house continue to dry and make sure no mold occurs. So, far, so good. Everything looks clean at this point. One sticking point unfortunately is that we have a double layer of sub-flooring in our kitchen. This will have to come up, as there is certain to be water trapped between the layers. We are getting conflicting recommendations as to whether we can/should save our kitchen cabinets or not... time will tell, I guess.

The first aspect of the rebuild will be heating and air conditioning, duct work under the house, etc. This we will not be able to do ourselves. The first estimates are around $8,000. The second piece will be insulation for the under house crawl space and the first floor living space. Again, we will have to wait until the house is thoroughly dry. Those of you that have sent Home Depot gift cards, thank you, and this is likely where those first dollars will go, towards insulation.

Our homeowners insurance has agreed to pay for a new roof. We had a branch create a hole in the roof, from the 7 day storm. So hopefully, that work will start soon.

We joined our friends, Bob and Laurie Molloy, from NC, on Tuesday, and went to see a U2 concert, here in Atlanta. It was fun to have a break and a night out with friends.

We continue to open the mail and email and find generous gifts from friends and family and work acquaintances. Your support and encouragement is touching and appreciated.

We will keep you informed of our progress. It definitely feels like we are all in this together and we are grateful for your support and our loving community.

Love and light,

Gloria and David

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chippin' away, one day at a time

I don't know whether to begin or end with thanks, so I will do both.

David got home from work on Saturday, and took in the mail and there we several Home Depot gift cards, from guests at the shop and long distance friends, and the kids' friends! A couple of guests at work have left little recovery gifts secretly behind after they check out. Family members and long distance friends, continue to call and email and snail mail and offer assistance.
St. Matthew's Episcopal continues to check on us and offer storage and rebuild assistance (when we get to that point). Rachel and Bill Douglas raced over with immediate assistance and continue to make sure we are eating :) Neighbors have created a dinner chain for the families that have been affected most (are without kitchens) and are providing dinners and breakfasts. All in our support group continue to make sure we are okay and are keeping our spirits up. We are so thankful and feel buoyed by all the love and support.

To say that after two weeks, Demolition, loud machinery, working our jobs, and working the phones and email, is becoming routine is not exactly right, but close. We are chippin' away at all the pieces, one day at a time.

All the big pieces of the demo are done at this point. The under house "crawl space" with all the insulation, heating and ac duct work have been cleaned out and new plastic has been laid and the dehumidifiers continue to run. Spraying of the anti-microbial has gone on for a while and will continue for several more days.

The rental equipment of dehumids and air movers will be returned tomorrow. We are keeping pace, if not a little ahead, of every house with similar damage on our side of the street, and we've done all the work ourselves!... with invaluable help from David's brother Park and a huge volunteer effort. Charles Park and his friend Tyler spent the day Saturday with David getting the last bits of sheet rock out and pulling the garage and the workbench together to prepare for the next phase.

The insurance adjuster was here and was as sympathetic as he could be. We will get some help with roof and seepage through the windows and ceiling. So, we will start from the top down. We have had several contractors and HVAC people here and will have 1 more estimate tomorrow so we will understand the depth of the damage, in building materials and in dollar figures. We will need this info for ourselves to plan a rebuild and for FEMA and Ins and any other grant/loan assistance for which we may qualify.

Our appointment with FEMA this past Friday morning went well. It was only an initial intake. We will see... no indication of what will come, only that he was putting down max for what was allowed in terms of HVAC, Flooring, Appliances, Sheetrock, etc.

We could not have kept up the pace without Park's help and strength and aptitude. In situations like these, we are learning that we need the help and advice and guidance and man power to assist us, and literally to just keep us moving forward. We are grateful for Park and the right help, at the right time.

We are both back to work and taking care of the house concerns before and after working hours.
It is a bit grueling, but as my friend Rachel said, "Tired is a given, how are you doing otherwise?"

Thanks everyone for the love and prayers. Keep em' coming!

Thanks to my sister Marie and family, who has called constantly and offered any help, any where and time. Thanks to my brother Frank and family for their love and support and assistance. Thanks to my Mom for her encouragement and care packages and loving calls. To David's entire family, Mom and Dad, Jess and Thurston and Keeler, and Park and Julie and Ronan, for more of the same, love and suppport and assistance and encourgament. Thanks to our darling girl Sawyer, in Pittsburgh for the calls and love and cheering and empathy.

The outpouring of love from friends, and friends of friends, and family has been amazing. There is a silver lining in this big rain cloud. Thanks all for helping us to see the glass half full again. Continued thanks to our Mercantile Family and our Copleland's Cheesecake Bistro family for their understanding and felxibility during this trying time.

Love and light,
Gloria and David

The 500 Year Flood, Storm Facts

To put the storm of last weekend in perspective the weather gurus are now saying this was a 500 year storm. (Happens once in 500 years) we had the 100 year storm in 1994 and a 100 year winter storm (17.5 inches of snow) in 1993, for what its worth. Lake Lainier (Atlanta's water reservoir) was below full pool by 7 1/2 feet before the storm hit. It is a lake that covers 75 square miles. It is now at full pool. That's a lot of water in 4 days. That's almost 117 Billion gallons of water.

Lake Lanier got as much water as tumbles over Niagara falls in 5 days 15 hours in just 4 days.