Saturday, October 8, 2016

Building Update: 1

So much for an update after 2 weeks!  Almost 6 weeks later, we have moved the tiniest bit forward.  Which I guess is actually a lot, because it is more than we have in the past 5 months.

me too...
We finally got our final engineering report.  We had to hire a private engineer to determine the base flood elevation of our property.  We are in a flood zone A (least risky of the flood zones - ha!) so there are no formal hydraulic studies done by FEMA.  And, because we don't live in a development, per se, we became the ones responsible for determining this number.  The previous base flood elevation (where the house currently sits) is useless because the house was built in the 70's.  Due to developments around our neighborhood, the drainage and water flow patterns have really changed.  So, from the beginning our options were to repair the house and risk another flood or figure out new base flood elevation and build higher.  We didn't choose option A because we would have to disclose a flood if we ever wanted to sell and another possible flood?  No thanks.

The engineers had quite a bit of trouble determining this base flood elevation.  I have no idea why, I don't get it.  All I know is every time we talked to them the number got higher and higher.  So, a process that was supposed to take 3 weeks, took over 3 months.  They were able to come up with a number using some method they devised.  Then they had to get approval from the county using said method.  If that didn't work we were looking at a super expensive (upwards of 40k they told us) study.  Which obviously wasn't an option.

They were finally able to meet with the head of the drainage district and 11 feet became the magic number.  Yes, 11.  We have to build our house 11 feet off the ground.  We will not be able to get permits unless the living space is 11 feet up.

Fortunately, we already had a plan in place to build 10 feet, so at that point...whats one more foot!  Basically, we will have a 12 inch slab, a garage with 9 foot ceilings, 1 foot of space between the garage and what will be the first (second?) floor of the house, which puts the floor at 11 feet.  The house will sit on top of the garage.  And my legs will be in great shape (silver lining).

We met with our builder last Thursday to finalize plans and selections...what I picked 3 months ago has totally changed.  The longer they make me wait, the more I have time to think about it and the more things I want changed.  Sorry not sorry!!  So, now we wait (more) for the final contract, which we will hopefully have in the next few days and then we are ready to send stuff to the bank.  PROGRESS!


Our other current, and never ending battle, is insurance.  We received our initial check but have filed quite a few supplemental claims.  They don't cover granite, tile, windows and some other stuff...all of those were damaged.  So we had to file separate claims.  This was done back in July, a month after they were supposed to have been filed.  But, I digress.  They have now been filed 3 times with no communication on a decision.  I emailed a supervisor last Wednesday she agreed something was off and it was taking too long.  She was able to get some info about our claims the next day.  PROGRESS!  We were supposed to hear from our adjuster in 1-2 days.  But, nothing.  ALL the eye rolls.  So, that is on my to-do list for Monday.

On a positive note, I have made some major progress with buying things for the house...  Since we pretty much need everything as far as furniture and decor, I figure it is smart to spread out the expense and start buying a little every month.  Since I have a pretty limited budget to buy with, I have been much more intentional about purchases and if I don't love it, I don't buy it.  Learning more lessons...

I caught a great sale at Pottery Barn and was able to buy all the bedding for what will be our guest room.  And, spent a day Round Top (must do if you haven't been) and had quite a bit of luck!  I will definitely be going back there in the spring.

So, I am happy with the way things are coming together.  I have been very cautiously optimistic the past month or so, but I feel like I can finally get excited.  And we might actually get to start building soon (realistically within 2 months probably, but relatively speaking...soon).  I have actually enjoyed the design/building process more than I expected to since I never planned to do has kind of taken over at this point.  I sure Barry is thrilled with my random (sometimes all day) texts with ideas or projects that I have, but this is only the beginning!!  

Next step: Demo Day.

Friday, August 26, 2016

My New Year's Resolution

My 2016 New Year's Resolution was to start blogging again.  I really enjoy doing it, and somehow it has been almost a year since my last post.  What a year it has been.  We moved into a new (to us) super old house last October and were getting ready to do so for a month prior to that.  Then the holidays, then we were remodeling said new house.  I was really busy keeping up with that and with work.  Part of the remodel was creating a dedicated workspace for me.  I was so excited to get it all set up because as soon as basketball season was over I was going to get my computer and myself organized and start blogging again.

That was the end of March, about a month before season was over.  Then April 18th...this happened...

It is so hard to look back at these pictures and replay the events of that day; it gives me so much anxiety.   I am hoping writing about it will be therapeutic in a way.  I love documenting our life with our kids.  There are so many things I would love to blog about that I haven't over the past year, and I hope to go back and do that at some point.  But, this is my life right now.

I wish that I would have started blogging shortly after the flood because I know eventually we will come out of this and looking back at these pictures will keep me from ever taking anything for granted.  There have been so many hard, frustrating, infuriating days over the past 4 months; I wish I would have documented the process so far. I have learned so much and, God forbid, anyone I know goes through this...I am your girl!  I spend time every day dealing with this in some form or fashion...FEMA, mortgage issues, banks, insurance adjusters, builders, floor plans, contractors, county permits, electricity company, home insurance, flood insurance, storage buildings, packing/unpacking/moving/repacking, disaster recovery centers, loans, demolition companies, engineers, septic issues, well issues, mail issues, car dealerships, car insurance...its never ending.  Some days I have a great attitude about it and some days I want to punch the wall.  Mostly the latter lately.

Some days my kids ask about a toy that was lost in the flood or they talk about their flood house and tell people that it rained in their house - but they are getting a new one.  Some days they want to live with my parents forever.  They have had great attitudes and they remember so clearly what happened that day, which is so crazy to me.  Sometimes when it rains, Sawyer will worry about a flood and Ty is terrified of thunder.  Just today she was talking about it and remembered that she was sleeping when it happened and we had to wake her up.  I barely remember that blur of a day, but they do.  They remember the firemen coming, they remember that they "got to ride in a boat" - fortunately they don't remember the strong current and terrified looks on the firefighters faces.

All that being said, I am thankful we were awake before the water started coming in so we could get the kids and as much stuff as we could to higher ground.  We have had the best support system around us.  Our friends and family have prayed for us, helped us move, helped us clean mud off of anything that was remotely salvageable, done our laundry, kept us company, walked us through insurance, given us advice, helped us buy cars, cooked for us, watched our kids, helped us financially, listened...this list is never ending as well.  I have learned the greatest lessons in humility and patience and am still learning to trust in God's plan and just take everything as it comes, I cannot control it all - or any of it for that matter.

I hope to start blogging regularly again and keep up with this process.  We were supposed to demo the "flood house" this week, but as per usual, things didn't happen as planned.  We had to cancel at 4:30 the day before because of a last minute (HUGE) change from the engineers.  So, everything is on hold again while we try to determine how high we need to elevate our new house.  We planned on about 4 feet (we had 28 inches of water in the house) thinking that would be more than sufficient.  Initially the engineers were saying 2-3 feet, but then all of a sudden they said 8-10 feet.  Needless to say, that threw us for a huge loop.  I felt like everything was being suddenly ripped out from under us again. Building a house 8-10 feet off the ground in the middle of the country just isn't an option for us and we had to go back to square one and rethink our options.  So we are back to the waiting game while they work it out with the county and with FEMA...all this fuss over determining a base flood elevation.  No one wants to commit to a number at this point, but our builders are working on some options that might work.  Thankfully (I hope!), my parents aren't sick of us yet.

So...this is where we stand now, 4 months later.

Barry has worked tirelessly getting the house ready for demo and maintaining things out there.  Hopefully we will be able to pass that baton onto the builders soon!  I hope to have a much more positive update in the next two weeks, maybe I will get around to writing about something fun in the mean time.