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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We have a permit!

I probably shouldn't be this excited, but my mind was racing last night after we received an email from the superintendent in charge of our project.  They received the permit on Monday and ordered the lumber that day!  The lumber and other roofing supplies are scheduling for delivery this coming Monday.  The size of the crew has been increased to hopefully complete demo and reconstruction Tuesday, with replacement of the layers of roof on Wednesday.  Of course, then they pause for inspection, but it definitely looks like the village is pushing things through.  Next up they'll do the insulation, pausing again for another inspection.  After that he'll put in for temporary occupancy.  We're still not sure whether we want to live in a construction zone.  It will probably depend some on what is happening with the sidewalk/outdoor electrical.  But he mentioned that will all be taken care of before temporary occupancy is granted.

My mind was so excited to hear this yesterday, as it feels like it was the last big hold up.  I was thinking about cooking again, letting the kids play with their toys, and everyone sleeping in their own beds.  Then I realized I may only have to lug laundry one more time (bless you anyone that has to go to a laundromat).  We have been truly blessed through this whole experience.  Time to start being sure we know the names of everyone in the hotel that has helped make us feel at "home".  In 10 days we might have the option of going home!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wonderful Fall Days!

Not much new to report on the house.  The structural engineer didn't get the proposal in until Monday afternoon, so the permit wasn't requested until Tuesday morning.  This could potentially push us 3 days back due to when weekends fall.  We will receive a new update with new timeline tomorrow, hopefully with news that the permit has been received.  Looks like we'll be here until mid-November.  At this point I am hoping we can be home by Thanksgiving so I can cook the meal I usually do that weekend.  I would also like to do a thank you party for all of those that have been so supportive for us during this difficult time and that weekend would be perfect.  It's definitely out of our hands though.  Let's hope we're home before the first snowfall!

Last weekend we had an awesome time at Richardson's Pumpkin Farm in Spring Grove.  My dad was very generous and sent us a groupon so we just had to find the time to get up there.  With no Sunday school last week, we had the perfect opportunity for a relaxing morning followed by a wonderful afternoon of fun.  It actually felt like we were on vacation for the weekend.  Saturday was spent at a marionette show, the fire department open house, and in the pool.  The pumpkin farm was awesome, with everything we wanted to do included in the admission price.  We all loved the slides and enjoyed a wagon ride out into the pumpkin patch.  The wagon ride was a first for the kids and they loved it!  There were a bunch of other small activities for the kids as well and we enjoyed being able to take a deep breath and watch the kids be kids.  After the farm we used the last of our gift card to Cheesecake factory for dinner, courtesy of my sister.  We even spent a little extra and shared some cheesecake, the Godiva chocolate choice being naturally gluten free :-)  It was wonderful to relax as a family and not have to worry about any extra that we were spending as our expenses are definitely up these past 7 weeks!

Yesterday we had another wonderful fall day.  We started off at the library for a short parade and puppet show.  Then we headed to Accelerated center where the kids got to enjoy some sports stuff and their inflatables.  Both were quite tired after that.  But a last stop was the Glen for their trick or treating, where both kids filled their buckets while in costume.  The highlight for the parents were the free kids meal coupons - possibly choose one of them for lunch next Saturday.  Jon's parents then treated us to lunch/dinner before we came back for a relaxing evening.  We enjoyed the evening reception and Carolyn fit in a few chess games even.

All things considered, we're doing well.  Looks like another 3 weeks or so before we'll be home.  But everything is in God's hands and all will be done in His timing.  It is amazing the support we have received from those around us.  Thank you if you are reading this and have helped through time, money, or prayers.  I'm looking forward to the time I'll need to spend writing thank you notes when we get home.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Delays and more delays

So we finally received a response today with a tentative timeline.  It's been a long week waiting for this information, as no progress has been made in 9 days.  We've been waiting on plans from the structural engineer so they can avoid rebuilding half the roof.  But it looks like they have come up with an alternate type of lumber that is stronger and will do the job.  I am not "happy" with the new timeline, but at least it has everything finished well before Thanksgiving!  No, I'm not joking that it's somewhat close.

Submit for permit Monday
Start work ~7 days after permit is received = Roof work starts approximately 11-3
Once roof is complete we should be able to return home ~11-5
Then complete interior work, done ~11-15

That puts us less than 2 weeks shy of Thanksgiving before we have our entire house back to ourselves.  It's truly amazing to me how long all of this is taking.  If the village responds quickly, we maybe be able to take a few days off as 5 days is built in for receiving the permit.  There's been no discussion about the electrical - indoor or out - so not sure how all of that factors in.  And no discussion about replacing the sidewalk, so not sure when that will be done.  However, in my mind these are next in line musts before we can return home.  No electricity in my kitchen and an extension chord through my laundry room causes problems.  Plus there's no door to enter/exit through until the new sidewalk is installed.

So today we have some answers, but also many questions.  Looks like we'll be just shy of Diamond status of Hhonors!  Time to try and dream about sleeping in my own bed in about 3 weeks.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Initial Demolition Complete

We went by the house yesterday since Carolyn had a soccer and took the bus home.  It appears that the initial demolition has been completed.  They have taken out the entire floor

I was relieved to see that they took the floor out leading into our bedroom.  With the way tarps had been put up initially and where furniture had been moved to, it appeared that they were stopping short of taking everything out.  Our bedroom door is now taped shut as well.  It is hard to tell if the floor boards were damaged by water that sat for several days.  But there are some dark spots, so we'll see what they say.
They also tore out one section of wall.  Upon a close look at the wood framing in that wall, it looks to me as though at least one of the studs (is that what it's called?) will need to be replaced due to cracks nearly the entire height.

I'm unsure why they only removed that section of the wall, since about a foot to the right there is a crack in the drywall that runs from floor to ceiling.  But I'm sure they have their reasons at this time.  It is funny to see the entire floor pulled up except the one square underneath what is supporting the ceiling.  It is surreal to see a room that really has been the center of our family's life for the past 2 years gutted.  But I know that they will rebuild it and it'll be even stronger.  They did also finish taking out the concrete and put in a new board which will be needed to pour the new sidewalk.  I'm not sure what these wires belong to... something for the electrician to look I suppose.  One of them has a split in the protective coating.

Today is going to be a big day.  At 11am I will meet with the structural engineer, which should address our concerns for the overall safety of the house.  I've been informed he will do that and determine whether the current plan for the ceiling/roof is appropriate.  I'm an definitely anxious going into this meeting and had dreams last night that foundation issues were found and they decided the entire house needs to be rebuilt.  So I guess anything short of that today won't sound so bad!

I did stop by the bank on Tuesday to deposit the first check from the insurance company.  Of course, nothing can be done simply and I have to go in and get the check signed by the bank before signing since it is made out to us and the bank (mortgage holder).  They remembered us from when we took out the heloc to do the roof.  After years of never being in a bank, it's weird but cool to be recognized.  Looks like we'll be in there more to deposit other insurance checks.  Received the check for the tree company yesterday.

And beyond all of this house stuff, of course life continues forward.  I have a job interview at 1:30 this afternoon.  It's for my same company and would continue to be from home.  So we'll see how it goes.  I'm glad it's after I meet with the structural engineer, in case we do find out that repairs will take significantly longer than we were originally told.

Dear God, give me the wisdom to say the right things during today's interview.  Give the structural engineer the wisdom to see any damages to our home to ensure all necessary repairs are scheduled for completion.  Help all of us to manage this situation as best as possible.  I know that this will be used for our good, but I'm just not sure how at this point.  Help us to see the good in a tough situation.

Ready to tackle this long day!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Demolition begins!

While doing laundry at Jon's parents yesterday, my neighbor sent me the best text I've received in a while.  She let me know that there was a dumpster and vehicle from ATI in the driveway at our house.  This means that demolition has officially begun!

While this means that there's a lot of demolition to do, this is such a welcome sight after waiting 4 weeks for something to start.  Our furniture is safely stored in the garage and other parts of our house.  James and I stopped by so he could see some of the work being done.  And this morning, we went back to take some pictures of what things look like now.  I have to admit that seeing the broken rafters kind of shook my world.  We are SO blessed to have not been injured in any way.  And very fortunate that we had work done on the roof this summer.  There was a ton of new wood added this summer to reinforce what had been there.  I am convinced that without the added supports the tree would have crashed right through and landed on James and me.
This is the main hole that in let in the majority of the water.  You can see the completely broken 2x6 and the bent conduit.  You can also see the broken 2x6 next to it that was sistered this summer, holding the tree up much better due to the new wood.
Here we see another rafter that is split a bunch at the right.  The lighter wood around it held much better and this is what was added this summer

This is the second area with a large hole on the roof.  We can see how the brand new wood from this summer is splintered.  I am so glad is was added though, as the other rafter would likely have just completely buckled on its own and this is practically directly above where James and I were in the room.

They've sealed off the rest of the house and started on the floor as well.  It's definitely weird to see the ceiling so exposed.  Seeing the ceiling held up by the 2x4s is a little unnerving as well.
But we can see that this is definitely needed as in this picture we find another 2x6 with damage that also appears to be shored up the company.  This should provide safety until the structural engineer gets to the house.
Concrete has also been removed.  Not sure why these chunks were left, but at least the huge slabs are now gone.  Our back door certainly looks very different at this point!
After soccer this morning we took the kids for a special treat hot chocolate.  We've gotten a taste of winter today with temperatures in the 30s and rain.  They continue to be in good spirits through all of this.  James has said that he feels safer seeing all of the wood providing support in the ceiling.  I am looking forward to seeing this process continue and everything rebuilt.  We are all looking to be home, but with the ceiling removed it is evident that there is a lot of work up there.

Dear God, thank you for watching over us.  I can see your work in this catastrophe and I am looking forward to see how use this for our good.  Thank you for blessing us with the means to withstand this and still remain close as a family.  Continue to help us get the rest we need and prepare us for what is to come.

Time to rest with everyone on this cold, rainy afternoon.  Thanks everyone for the support!