Rebuilding (warning graphic photos included)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I am not sure where to start. I have been following blogs for at least 4 + years now, and I decided to finally start one of my own. I am by no means a writer so if you see poor grammar or run on sentences..please ignore.
I decided to start this blog to document the start to rebuilding our lives. You see we purchased our first home together & closed on May 11, 2012. We started the renovation process the very next morning. With the help of my awesome brother-in-law Spencer, we started demo on the bathroom. We wanted to expand it to add a claw foot tub for our girls. The entire house needed to be painted & that was the renovations that would need to be done prior to moving in, and in the near future we would do the kitchen. My parents are moving here for them to be closer & would be staying with us until the apartment would be ready for them. We asked Kacey’s uncle to be our contractor because we trust him & we love his work. Hours of blood, sweat & tears went into the next 4 ½ weeks. We had slowly started moving stuff over to the house each trip we made with about 90% being moved in by mid-June. I painted every room, refinished a couple of pieces of furniture, & customized our home to fit our personality. Finally we had an end in sight – Friday, June 15 would be our first night in our home – the place where my girls would grow up. I had already envisioned many bbqs, sleepovers with cousins, card playing nights with family & friends. I would get lost in thoughts as I peered out the dining room windows that provided a picturesque view.
And, just like that my dreams came crashing down so fast I lost my breath. The early morning of June 15 we received the call from Uncle Dave that there was a fire. We dropped the girls off at Nanny & Grandpas. I drove us to the house which is about a 10 minute drive that seemed more like 40 minutes that morning. As we pulled up to the house the vision I saw will forever be etched into my mind. The house was gone..my dreams as I had built for our family had just been burnt to the ground. My breathing stopped, I gasped for whatever air I could obtain but nothing. Kacey came around to my side of the car to hug me, Spencer was there with Uncle Dave. I just couldn’t get any part of my body to move. A few minutes passed & Uncle Dave came to me & said you need to get some air. I walked around to the back of the house (which was far worse than the front) to come face to face with devastation. I have never seen what fire could do this up close. It truly is one of the most amazing scenes. I had called my parents which was really early. I had to repeat myself so many times because I couldn't stop crying to get the words out...hardest phone call I've had to make in my life. At some point shortly after my sister called. We were comforted by Kacey’s dad, sister & brother during the first hour which I could never explain how much I appreciated them being right by our sides. By 9:00 am my sister-in-law Paula came. I will never be able to forget the look on her face as she pulled up, she was feeling my pain. We had spent a big part of the renovations with her & Spencer. We loved sitting out on the back deck enjoying a Bud Lite & looking out at the view. The morning was pure exhaustion - talking, crying, telling the story over & over.
The next to show up was one of our workers from the renovations came to help us board up the house. When he arrived I just buried my face in my hands…he had such compassion in his eyes & all he could do was shake his head and say how sorry he was. The same 3 men that had put in many hours were helping us to board up after just getting home from their overnight shift. They did not hesitate to get there as quick as they could.
Soon after a man I will never be able to forget his face showed up. This is my story as posted on facebook “Yesterday as I sat on our flatbed trailer located in the front yard, looking at the remains of house (no one but Kacey & I were there at this point..he was around back) I heard a car stop on the street. I turned to look to see a man taking a picture. He was in an older car, older clothes, etc. I just turned my head away. He said ma'am I am so very sorry, I couldn't look at him but mutter thank you. We exchanged very few words. I heard him walk back to his car, but then heard "ma'am I don't have much, (I turned to look at him as he was reaching towards me to hand something to me) but I want to give this to you, it's not much but God Bless you & your family". It was visa giftcard. I tried to tell him no I couldn't take it, but he insisted.. I couldn't get the words out to ask him his name I just started bawling..and then just as he appeared he was gone. I pray that this man recieves ten fold in return! Thank you kind man..who ever you may be - you have forever etched into my heart unconditional kindness!! We exchanged very few words. I heard him walk back to his car, but then heard "ma'am I don't have much, (I turned to look at him as he was reaching towards me to hand something to me) but I want to give this to you, it's not much but God Bless you & your family". It was visa giftcard. I tried to tell him no I couldn't take it, but he insisted.. I couldn't get the words out to ask him his name I just started bawling..and then just as he appeared he was gone. I pray that this man recieves ten fold in return! Thank you kind man..who ever you may be - you have forever etched into my heart unconditional kindness!!".
Our house was boarded up by 10 am. By that time many people had come & gone. We had talked to so many strangers that felt a strong sense of what we were feeling. You see this house sat on a walking/running path of many from the small community that has known this house for years. It was just as much a shock to them as it was to us.
We left to grab a sandwich & head to the house we had lived in for 2 years (and where we would remain for the unknown amount of time). We are blessed to have the things in life that we have especially the family & friends. On the way our claims adjuster from the insurance company called & could meet us at 1:30 pm. We went home, Kacey ate, I showered & we went back. When we arrived Paula stopped back by to drop off a much needed 12 pack & a very thoughtful gift…she knows me & she knows just how much beer & a pair shoes brighten my day. You see my entire wardrobe & every 250 pair plus shoes were there (I love shoes – what can I say?).
Not long after our adjuster pulled up (I will not be using names for now). He introduced himself & promptly let us know just how sorry he was. We sat for some time to go over everything. Soon it was time to show him the damage. My heart sank…I had yet to walk through. My brother-in-law Anthony stopped by. He said “Lynn you guys had someone watching over you”. We were thinking of staying the night that night. The walk-thru was so tough, just writing this still brings tears to my eyes.
The day was long but we made it. The night was where I felt my world crash again. I couldn’t sleep even though I was exhausted. My body hurt. I finally took a sleep aid only to wake to nightmares.
Saturday was a day that I needed to run to the store to pick up a few things. This day 5 years ago I had married one of the strongest men I know. All of the things I had bought for him were at the house. I walked around a few stores in a complete daze. I made it to Target to only have a complete meltdown at the register. Yes I was that crazy lady crying like a grown baby trying to see through my tears to get to my car. We spent the remainder of the day with family at my mother & father in laws pool, grilling, listening to the laughter of children, recounting the day before & celebrating our 5 years together. I am so lucky to have married into such an amazing family. They gave us a gift from all of them. It was door knocker with a note that said "Dear Lynn & Kacey, We will build bigger & better. Your family will be there every step of the way. Love, All of us." I cried because not only do I realize there is no doubt in mind they will be!
In the days to come my job in this ordeal would be to maintain strength. I needed to start working on the inventory list, shop to replace items for the family, and still run the daily doings of my household.
We meet with the fire investigator to determine what the cause of the fire was. Came out as inconclusive (more on this to follow it deserves a post of its own). I had to meet with our adjuster & the building adjuster that would determine the cost of rebuilding. This day was by far one of the hardest days ever. Walking through, staying focused, and talking through the inventory…just not a day I wish upon anyone. Both men said I was handling it quite well (I had not shed a tear). I lost it as soon as I drove away.
Each day has gotten better. I realize that material things can be replaced lives cannot. I am thankful & I feel guilty for feeling that losing my house has caused such pain knowing their are those that have lost much more. Many people have reached out to us, people we don’t even know, close family & friends. It is the most humbling to be receiving gifts/things from people.
A friend responded to an email that I had sent to a group of friends that gave me an insight of someone looking in from the outside. I will save this email forever & from time to time will need to reflect back. I recently was fed back some of my own advice to a very special person - take each day by day, hour by hour, even 20 minutes by 20 minutes. It's a rebuilding process. We've lost something dear to us. We must go through a grieving process. I am strong and I am determined to get through this.
My account of the day & days that have followed & that will follow is why I’ve started this blog. I want to remember in 5, 7, 10 years from now the things that have made me a stronger person. I want to remember all the humbling things that I am so grateful for. All those that made sure we stood on solid ground to stay strong for our girls. I also want to document the rebuilding process.
Here are some pictures of the before, during renovations & of the fire damage. My last picture is June1, 2012 because my camera was in the house along with my external hard drive.
Posted by Lynn Fern at 6:42 PM
All things DIY, home improvement, tutorial, decorating, furniture painter, furniture refinisher. Lynn Fern simply living life and enjoying the journey as I create the destination. I have a love for design, DIY, travel and making our house a home. Most importantly, I love my family and enjoy creating a place to discover & create memories for our journey.