Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Life Marches On

Since my last entry about our home disaster, much has changed and life keeps marching on. We are now well into our 5th month of disaster recovery and still quite some way from getting our home and life back, but we are definitely on the way.
It's been almost a month since Grant Creek Excavating showed up in front of our home on a Wednesday morning at 6:30 am with a large backhoe. The owner was there to go over the job with the crew and introduce himself. It was an incredible gesture as, you see, they were supposed to begin work two days earlier but had gotten delayed on another job.  He wanted me to know how sorry he was for our problems and to tell me his crew had every intention of doing whatever it took to finish the job still in the original time frame. And boy did they ever. I'm not sure I've seen a group of harder working guys. By 8:00 am they started ripping up our front lawn and having at it in earnest. They worked 12-14 hours each day digging, ripping, laying pipe and constructing the water containment system in our front yard. Thy then connected the system to the storm sewer for primary overflow and constructed the upper overflow system to daylight any water that reached that high into our front yard. Even though we still scratch our heads at being required to create such a sophisticated system,. we are grateful to WGM for the design and for everyone else who helped build  the Beast Container 9000 (I just made that name up).
Although it seems trivial and out of touch now, seeing the plants go, some of which were transplanted from my first house in Missoula, and others of which were planted with a lot of love and sweat by Jen and me was a little heart breaking. The first night I just stood in awe at the mess and monster hole that used to be our yard. On day two the big backhoe was replaced by it's little brother and a remote-controlled machine used to tamp down the earth when they started back filling. It really was a site to see.
After Grant Creek completed their portion, another crew came in to connect the interior drain to the exterior containment system. We all waited with baited breath to see if it worked. Within about 4 hours, water was successfully moving through the interior system and out to the containment system.  In a testament to just how compacted the clay and rock are on the side of the mountain, after several more hours water was already draining into the storm sewer, meaning stage 1 of the system was already full. Since that time we've been monitoring the system daily to make sure it works and are now prepping to finally fill in the remainder of basement slab so that we can move on to re-building.
As Will Smith so famously sang, we are now about ready to, "Get Jiggy Wit it" and have been busy getting bids for interior plumbing, electrical and other work, while Daysprings crews are arranging drywall, flooring, ceiling, and other details. Matt Schmidt and the pros at Beaudette Consulting Engineers have been helping us assess structural needs and concerns and we hope to have a stairwell back in our basement in a few weeks. We love our home, but it was built in the 1950's, so we are getting used to hearing contractors and inspectors say things like, "well now that this is exposed it will need to be upgraded as it doesn't meet code anymore..." every time a wall is opened or ceiling tile removed. I don't really go to sleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head these days...it is more like dollar signs adding up! But I digress...work has been at a standstill for a few weeks but should start again within a week.
In the midst of all this, our dear friend Kristin English started a gofundme page for us to help offset the mounting personal costs. When the idea first came up it was sort of brought up in a joking manner and we brushed it off. The second time she brought it up in a group and everyone agreed we should do it but we politely thanked them and said no. When she brought up a third time we had a serious discussion and talked to another friend who had a gofundme site built for him after a terrible crime was committed against him resulting in very large medical bills. I also talked to a few other people, all who advised us to let our friends help in any way they wanted and let them have a choice. So we said yes and the results have been nothing short of miraculous for our family. In less than two weeks the site has collected over $13,000.00 and other people have donated directly. It has allowed us to take less of a loan and relieved to much stress and worry. We cannot thank everyone enough and promise to pass it on to others in need.

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