You may have wondered why I didn’t post last week on the 14th. Well, life has been busy! It had nothing to do with the long weekend or Valentine’s day at all. Let me explain what all this has to do with marriage…
My brother finally did it! He proposed to his long time girlfriend despite the fact that all of us were starting to wonder if he would ever get up the courage to actually do it on Saturday, February 8th. Lets just say the proposal did not go as planned and the backup plan was also a flop. But it eventually happened and we could not be happier for my brother and future sister in law. That started all the excitement and talk of weddings, venues, food, dresses, flowers and honeymoons.
Two days later tragedy struck in my family and my sister’s house caught on fire while she and her husband were at work and her son was at school. Structurally, the damage was not too bad. Their garage around the hot water heater, their linen closet and their master bathroom and bedroom were the only fire damaged areas. The smoke damage is extensive with it permeating everything and soot has fallen on everything. They are renting so the coordination between the homeowners insurance and their renters insurance companies has been awful. Inspections and estimates and the lawyers have eaten up almost a week before we could get in there and start cleaning up.
Repairs are expected to take 6-12 months and their home is currently without power or water. They will be temporarily homeless while the repairs are being made and everything needs to be taken out of the house because it needs to be completely gutted and rebuilt. This is a slow process. Everything needs to be photographed where it is. Then it is removed and another photograph is taken to document the damage. Then we attempt to clean the item and see if it can be salvaged. If we can salvage it, it goes into storage. If we can’t another photo of the damage is taken and it is entered as a loss. this is the case for every single item. Everything. Dishes, towels (all a loss because they were in the linen closet that was on fire), every nick knack, shoe, piece of furniture… it all needs to be documented and the process is painfully slow. This is how I have spent all my spare daylight hours. My evenings I am washing the bags of fabric items to see if I can salvage them or not and sorting accordingly to go back to my sister.
People don’t seem to understand what a process this is. Everyone says “well you have insurance so they should cover it”. Insurance only goes so far. Insurance does not cover the two weeks both of them have been off work trying to catalog and deal with all of this. Insurance doesn’t cover the hundreds of hours we have spent sorting nor do they sort for you. Insurance covers the “loss of use” for a short period of time, but not the whole time you are displaced. They were in talks to purchase the house from the owners before all of this happened. All of that is on hold until the home is habitable again. People also say “as long as everyone is OK the rest is just stuff” Well, yes. But unless your home burns to the ground you still need to deal with that stuff. Demolition can’t start until all the stuff is gone. Documenting and dealing with all the stuff is a VERY slow process. We are hoping to be done by the end of the month. We know the fire could have been MUCH more devastating, but that doesn’t make things any easier.
In an effort to not let the tragedy rain on my future sister in law’s excitement I went to lunch with her over the weekend. No talk of the fire. Just weddings, colors, dresses, flowers, food, honeymoons and all the other details of a hopeful new life together. This was a very welcome change to the clean up effort at my sister’s house.
Through all this I am still working full time, still have my photography side business getting busier and busier and I am still spending time with my husband and children. My husband has been wonderful through all of this and is keeping the house going and the kids entertained while I dart in and out helping out for a few hours here and there. Almost 9 years later and we still love each other.