[Disclaimer: These posts are honestly a recount for our family as much as they are to share with others a little of our personal life. While there’s not a recipe in this post, I promise I’ll be back to sharing those soon!]
In my last post, I shared about “The Storm“. The storm referring to the sudden loss of Josh’s dad as well as the actual storm(s) that caused flash flooding to impact many on our street, ourselves included, and in the surrounding area.
SUNDAY: To continue where I left off, it was the morning after the flood. The friends we stayed with were so gracious and let us leave the kids with them as Josh and I walked our property to survey the damage. At some point, still early in the morning, I left in search of our shed. Thanks to the help of a neighbor we hadn’t met before, we found it about 7-8 houses further down the creek, so somewhere around 7-8 acres or so from our house.
There was nothing that could be done in the moment, but just to find the shed was a relief. It was a bit of a challenge to even get to it – you can see the destruction the water did to the road below. Our shed was behind the house opposite these.
I honestly can’t remember who at this point, but someone told us we needed to call insurance as soon as possible. Josh began making the calls, and we quickly learned it was some what of a juggling match. We needed to take photos and leave the space as is for the insurance adjuster to see. BUT we also needed to show that we were doing everything possible to ensure the problem didn’t get worse from neglect… Thankfully both insurance and a contractor I’ve worked with for years, advised we call SERVPRO. Apparently they’re one of the top companies flood insurance works with, and they are able to begin the clean up process as soon as possible, whether the adjuster has been there or not. We were able to get on their schedule for Tuesday, and told the adjuster would be out within three days. Progress.
A good friend was at Home Depot bright and early that morning. They had some flooding in their garages and needed a sump pump. He was kind enough to get one for us as well, along with some other things that would prove to be helpful. Had we went later in the day, we’d have found the shelves emptied as so many others were in similar situations. With the shed found and the pump working on eliminating the water from the crawl space, we placed a call to Atmos Energy. They had come out the night before, in the dark torrential rain, and turned off our gas line, but the house still had a slight gas smell. A gentleman came and ran a test, ensuring us it was safe to be inside. So we began the process of calling flood insurance.
Thankful to have insurance called, SERVPRO scheduled, gas test ran, shed found, and photos taken – we now needed to figure out a temporary living situation. We initially assumed that flood insurance would provide displacement coverage if the house was not inhabitable, but we quickly learned it did not. Without HVAC or hot water, and with no idea when those things would be back, we knew we needed a place at least for the short term.
My best friend, wife of the friend who brought us the sump pump, lives the next street over. They have a studio apartment over the detached garage and generously offered us use of the space. With a bed + blow up mattress, small bath and small kitchenette, it was a HUGE blessing.
MONDAY: The following morning, my dad (with two of his friends), sister, her husband, and my niece arrived to help. The blessing of family is something to never take for granted. Having lost my mom and now Josh’s dad, that is more evident to us than ever before.
The guys, along with a couple neighbors spent the morning emptying everything out of the shed. I called and got a local storage unit and they loaded down a trailer and a couple trucks and took everything there for the time being. They were even able to cut a large enough hole on the back side to get the John Deere tractor out and hauled back to our house. While they worked on the shed items, my sister and I photographed and inventoried all the damaged items in the family room, and my sweet niece entertained the kids.
While my sister and I were outside cleaning up the debris, a gentleman showed up with pizza, fully paid for. I initially told him he had the wrong house, before realizing it was a gift from another dearly loved neighbor.😭 By the end of the day, we had the debris in the yard cleaned up, the shed emptied, and the family room inventoried. I really don’t know what we’d have done without their help that day. It wasn’t just the physical aide they brought, but more importantly their love and support.
TUESDAY: The SERVPRO guys arrived as scheduled and were such a blessing. We didn’t have hot water or HVAC, but the kitchen worked just fine. Over the course of that week, I baked several batches of cookies, wanting to love on these guys as much as possible. Perhaps part of God allowing this flood to happen was less about us and more about the people he would bring into our home over the course of the next few months.
And let’s be real, cleaning out the debris from flooding in a crawl space is just not a fun job. I for sure didn’t want to be the one down there , and I was so grateful for their service. Aside from cleaning out the crawl space, they began packing up the items in the family room, cutting out drywall, and eventually removing all furniture, cabinetry and then flooring.
During these few days, Josh spent time reading through our flood policy and we began to grow concerned that things we thought would be covered would not be. This list mainly included the fence and the shed with all its contents. Josh and I began praying that the Lord would bring us an adjuster that wanted to help. If you haven’t experienced this sort of thing, you’ll find an insurance adjuster plays a huge role. As Josh met with him, we learned that our shed and its contents would not be covered. 😩 But even in this blow, it was clear God had answered our prayers and our adjuster was a huge advocate for our family.
The rest of the week was somewhat of a blur. We spent our days working at the house (cold as it was) and our evenings at the gifted apartment. Packing up only what we needed for a day or two at a time. Josh worked to compile the long list of things lost, while we both researched the cost to replace these items. Fairly early on, we began the conversation of lifting the floors in the family room and vaulting the ceiling. We love our home and want to stay here. But we also want to try and avoid anything like this happening again. So I spent time working through drawings and compiling the wish list to send to the contractor for the additional costs, while Josh researched loan options to make this possible.
Honestly, within this first week after the flood, there were SO many people who loved our family well. Families brought toys and healthy snacks for our kids. A dear friend brought me bathing wipes, cleaning supplies and an array of other things I didn’t know I’d need, but most certainly did. We had neighbors watch our kids while we dropped our cars off at the mechanic and picked up rentals. A dear neighbor even insisted on doing our laundry as we weren’t able to! When I say we were carried by the hands and feet of Jesus, I truly mean it. Gift cards showed up in our email inboxes for food… the list continues.
The apartment was such a blessing, but we were all in one space, the kids were off their schedules and they just weren’t getting enough sleep. There was a need for a more long term place to stay until our insurance could be settled and our HVAC repaired, with all the new duct work replaced and a new hot water heater installed. And while our brains told us this was a problem, that we needed to figure out a solution, the truth was the Father had already worked it out. Josh got the text from his mentor offering us FREE lodging for THREE weeks. Truly it was all so overwhelming. To be on the receiving end of SUCH kindness is so humbling.
We were both exhausted. It’s a strange thing to sit in the juxtaposition of immense gratitude and yet complete weariness. There was a surrealism to the who thing. Somewhere along the line, a wise person pointed out that there’s a deeper appreciate of the one with the other.
The apartment was a tremendous blessing. I’m really not sure what we would have done without it. There were two bedrooms upstairs (master down), and each room had two twin size beds. This meant we had room for Josh’s mom. There was so much to do, meeting with the contractor, tackling insurance, test driving vehicles after one of our cars was totaled out, cleaning the tools and items from the shed in effort to salvage as much as possible… Meanwhile, Josh still had to work, we had to get the kids to and from preschool, and the list continues. When she offered to come and stay a week, it was an immediate “yes”!
One week turned into two weeks, and two weeks soon turned into three weeks. Debbie stayed with us the entire time we were at the condo. And I’m honestly not sure how we’d have done it without her. She took the kids to the park, helped get them ready for school, gave baths when needed, and SO much more. I don’t think Josh, Debbie or myself will ever forget those three weeks together.
We’ll forever remember the trip we all fell in love with poke bowls. Have you tried them? SO good! And Josh will forever make fun of us for all the nights we put on a hallmark movie by 7:30 or so, only for Debbie and I to both fall asleep somewhere around 8 – 8:30. We were exhausted and yet the time together was healing in a way. The kids loved having their Gigi here. The loss of Perry was still so fresh. The grief still raw. But being together during this time was really special. It’s amazing how God gives you the sustenance you need to endure the valley. Through His people.
I shared in my first post that there were two different times the night of the flood where a light brought hope. First, right as we stepped on the porch and became immediately aware that our plan to drive was not an option. But hope came as our neighbor to the left stood outside with a flashlight. Second, when the water had receded and we made our way up the street to stay with friends. My load was heavy, my body was fatigued and I knew it was going to take all my energy to make it. But before we even made it past our house, I spotted a light. Two of our neighbors coming to meet us and help with the kids and dog.
I share this, because when you find yourself facing deep waters, beneath the dark sky and torrential rains, and suddenly a light brings hope, there is a deeper understanding of why Jesus is the Light of the World. That night, the light gave direction, it illuminated our path, it brought hope and relief. And this is Who Jesus is. He is our Light.
[Some of our incredibly kind neighbors who watched the kids for a few hours while we took both vehicles to the mechanic and picked up rental cars.]
[Amazingly, we were able to pay to have the shed brought back to our house, then lifted up and anchored down. We also ordered replacement parts from the company we ordered it from and Josh and my dad replaced the broken window, damaged roof pieces, large panels on the back, and built a new ramp. Progress!]
[When the guys delivered the shed back, they were able to use their skid steer to move the fort back to its original location. Josh rebuilt the stairs, and since then we’ve built a small table using some of the old fence and scraps pulled out of the family room. Brighton used several scrap pieces of wood and designed (all by himself!) the gray bench in the back of the fort. Josh helped him screw it all together and I helped him paint it. He’s so proud of himself, and so are we. 🧡]