We finally received word that our house had passed the inspection for a certificate of occupancy on July 22nd, enabling us to begin moving in on July 23rd … exactly one year after the lightning strike that started us down this long road!
The return has been a mix of emotions. Joyful to be back in our own home, with everything (at least inside the shell of the house) completely new and updated. Frustrating to have a contractor that fails to make the last, lingering tasks a priority. Sad, so see how many trees failed to survive a year without being properly watered, how much of the “lawn” will just be starting from scratch, and how the endless stream of contractor personnel felt the area around the house was essentially an open garbage can.
That said … I’ve always enjoyed projects, so making the most of the positives is definitely the mode of the day!
The best way, I think, to summarize the stages this has gone through is to look at the kitchen of the house, in each step.
When we first found our home, it was quite rustic. One friend of ours referred to it as a “Cabela’s Lodge” at one point, and that’s not far off, at all. When we first came to view it, the previous owner had trophies from his various big game hunts in several rooms, to add to the effect. I must admit, I’m still amused by the memory of the front half of a warthog, protruding from a ring of brush, stuffed and mounted in the high living room wall!
Can I just say…hate florescent lights?
On July 24th of last year, when the airlines finally got me home from Phoenix to start the hands-on process of recovery, this is what I walked into.
I will be forever thankful that my wife, kids, and even pets were all safe.
The months that followed saw delays and roadblocks from so many sources. Remediation companies that could not schedule pick-ups, upper management at our insurance company (not the front-line adjuster, who was excellent!) that took 2 months to decide if the repair estimate was valid, and then our state governor who decided that residential construction was too dangerous during COVID-19 … but that commercial and governmental construction was not (???). It took a while, but movement did slowly occur.
The actual fire was in an attic space, the lightning appearing to have struck the geothermal unit in one part of this area. The smoke and water, however, impacted every other space, down to the basement flooring. The result is that 85% of the shell of the house was saved (Thank you to the local, volunteer fire department!), but the rest had to be gutted.
Fast forward to two weeks ago…
Yes, it was a long year. But, yes it was all a blessing to us. Opportunity to grow and learn patience, see the bumps in the road for the benefits they eventually bring, and for the family to share in an experience that brings lifelong memories, an even better home to return to.
Plus … a dedicated office space with lighting designed for Fly Tying!