Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Frequently Asked Questions

These days, I get asked quite a few questions.  Well, here are some answers for inquiring minds:

Q:  How's everything going with your house?

A: If you recall, our house became Hotel Ike on September 13 when a giant tree decided it would rather be an indoor plant.  We have hired who we believe to be very capable and honest contractors (ask me again in a couple of months).  Unfortunately, I am less impressed with my insurance company by the day.  My contractor cannot start the actual work and repairs until the insurance has approved the estimate (and it's a big estimate).  And who can blame him?  I don't work unless I know I'm getting paid, either.  So I sit.  Waiting sometimes-patiently to hear from my insurance adjuster to call and say that we are a go for launch.  And we remain homeless now, going on 6 weeks, for repairs to begin.  My contractors have been wonderful.  His staff (and by staff I mean every female related to him), has inventoried, boxed up, and moved to storage EVERY ITEM IN MY HOUSE that was not ruined.  And the ruined items?  They inventoried those, also, and disposed of them.  That brought me such peace that I cannot describe.  I was spared the overwhelming chore of going through all of my destroyed belongings and inventorying them.  Thank you, kind elves.

So if anyone out there is wondering what they can do for us, please pray that we hear from our insurance company soon that they have approved the estimate so work can begin.  We are expecting this to be done in a matter of days, but there have been delays at every turn, and people, my sanity is hangin on by a thread some days.

Q: Didn't the tree hit your van, also?

A: Yes, the tree hit my van also.  It crashed into the top of it, breaking out the 3 back windows, and flooding the interior with 14 hours worth of hurricane rain.  Needless to say, it was totaled.  
(Quick story, one day when I called State Farm to check on the status of the claim for my van, the lady pulled up my information and said, "And you had the van that was completely submerged in salt water, right?"  Um, no.  But then I got to thinking, is rain from a hurricane that's been over the ocean for several weeks salt-water rain?  And then the phone girl and I shared a moment of blond-silence while we thought about that one.  Fortunately my husband was sitting right there to bring us back to 7th grade science class and remind us that no, it wasn't salt water rain.

For the past couple of weeks (several weeks), we have been borrowing an "extra vehicle" from a family at church.  This family is not one of our close friends (no particular reason why, we just have not taken the time to get to know them as much as we would like), but they heard that we were without one of our two cars, and called Brandon's office offering up their truck.  And when I say truck, I mean TRUCK.  3/4 ton, extended cab, full bed, hiked up thing that doesn't fit in some parking garages.  I felt testosterone-deficient just climbing up into the drivers' seat.  We returned the borrowed truck to the generous family this past week, and continue to be amazed at the generosity and kindness of our church family.

This past Friday we went into Houston (by House of Pies) to look at a van Brandon found a great deal on from ebay.  I was skeptical, to say the least.  When we pulled up to a warehouse across the street from a couple of abandoned houses behind an apartment complex I was a bit more skeptical.  When we stepped out of our car and saw a BMW outside the warehouse with a sign in the windshield reading "No Title Available", I was about to run for the hills.  Or maybe the House of Pies.  And I probably would not have run.  (come on, now.)  But we found a great van in this chop shop.  One year newer than our old one, 12,000 fewer miles, and much more affordable.  There were no floor mats in the van, so we just decided since the van had probably been used to transport dead bodies (Stow 'n Go seats are very handy for just such a thing), the floor mats must have had too many blood stains on them for resale.

All kidding aside, I think these van people bought vehicles on auction and then resold them.  And if you're ever in the market for a fire truck, I know just where to find one.

Q:  So where are y'all living?

A:  Since September 14, we have been living with my aunt and uncle, who are perhaps the most gracious people on earth.  Brandon and I talked about it, because our insurance will pay for us to stay in a hotel.  We thought that me in a hotel room for days with Dane and Aidan might just drive me to insanity, so we thought this was a better solution for our family for the time being.  And from our perspective, it is working out as good as it could possibly work out, considering we are living with other people.  The house has enough room that for the most part, we are not stepping on each other's toes.  

If at some point between now and house completion, it starts to not work out for our aunt, uncle, and cousin, we would move into a hotel for the duration.  After all, we are all family so technically we all have to love each other, we would still prefer that we all still like each other after this is all said and done.  Because we will still have to pass the cranberry sauce to one another at some point.

They live about 20 minutes from Hotel Ike, and it's closer for us to my work and the boys soccer, and a little farther from church and Brandon's office.  Did I mention that it's the best it could possibly be, living with other people?  We will be eternally grateful for the hospitality of my aunt and uncle, and I pray that someday we have the opportunity to answer someone's prayer when they really need a lot of help the way this has really answered ours.

I just realized that I am rambling far more than I thought I would be, so I will wrap this up and continue with part 2 FAQ tomorrow.