Sunday, October 1, 2017

FEMA Denies Our Claim

It has been a few days since we received the notice from FEMA that they have deemed our house habitable.  

How can you live in a house with a huge limb of an oak tree sitting on your house, sinking deeper every day from the weight and more rain pouring into the holes in the roof?  The back room is visibly crushed.  The truss is cracked.  You can see daylight from the holes in the kitchen ceiling. The air handler has busted pipes.  The Captain can't get into the laundry room . . . the door won't open.  What would happen if you force it open?  Will the ceiling crash in further?  What is damaged in that room?  It stores our laundry equipment, lawn equipment and power tools.

But FEMA thinks the house can be lived in and we have to appeal their decision in order to have any chance of getting help from them to rebuild.

The FEMA inspector who met with The Captain and checked out the damage was very encouraging and we really thought we would be rebuilding the damage soon.  Oh no, how silly of us to think that . . . things can't be that easy with the government red tape.  The appeal process could take up to 90 days.  Then the repairs can commence should we win the appeal. 

So, we shall remain homeless through the holidays and beyond.  What a nightmare!

Although this is a major setback and our future with the house my first husband and I bought in 1984, The Captain and I still have tons of faith that we will get through this and come out of it better than ever. 

Faith and the unknown can be a very scary thing . . . damn you Hurricane Irma!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

More Hurricane Irma Perils and Being Grateful

We moved again and have settled at my Mom's house.  She had evacuated to hide from Hurricane Irma at my brother's house in Georgia.  Her house is where evacuees usually flee to, but a Category 5 Hurricane Irma scared her as it did me.

Initially FEMA gave us 14 days to stay at a motel.  With only three days left to go, we contacted FEMA only to be told they were not sure if the program would be extended.  They assured us they would let us know.  They let us know a few hours before we had to check out.  Since the motel was booked solid, we were proactive and set up a reservation at another motel on our own dime.  

We decided that it was not worth having to wait until the last minute to know if we were going to have a roof over our head every week or so.  We have no idea how long it will be before we can move back home.  

The fact that we had my Mom's house to fall back on, we decided to leave the FEMA program and stay with her.

Now we know we will have a roof over our head that will not be taken away at a moment's notice and I am very grateful for this . . . not everyone has those options.

Our FEMA house inspection was very positive and we should be hearing from them sometime next week as to their decision on how they will help us.

I still haven't been home . . . don't want to see the damage.  My heart has been broken enough!

There is something unnerving about being "homeless" and still having a home . . . an oxymoron.  Although the feelings of homelessness are very creepy, I'm grateful to still have a home that is mostly intact.

Our part of the world was hit by another major hurricane after we were hit by Hurricane Irma.  Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and produced a humanitarian crisis of major proportions, destroying their electrical grid and bringing their economy to a standstill.  

The grateful feelings overwhelm me when I read the stories coming out of Puerto Rico.  Lives have been devastatingly shattered.  I can only imagine all those people feeling so helpless and not knowing where to turn.  They are running out of money, but what can they buy?  I could go on and on about what is going on there.

The Captain and I, along with my mom, have been inconvenienced.  It will no doubt change our lives, but I believe for the better.  I've always believed that everything happens for a reason, fate and destiny.  I can see many reasons for us and they are all positive.

Count your blessings . . .

Monday, September 18, 2017

Perils of Hurricane Irma

For the first time in my life, I hate living in Florida.

As I sat outside our motel room this morning, enjoying a gorgeous blue sky Florida morning, I couldn't help but think back to a week ago today when The Captain went back home after Hurricane Irma passed to make sure all was well to go back home.  Initially, I was not worried because Tampa was spared with a Category 1 instead of Category 5 hurricane.

It is something that I can't face at this time . . . I have not seen it, nor do I want to even see a photo.  A huge limb on a chunk of our house, pierced through the roof and even some of the ceiling, affecting several rooms.  The Captain tells me parts of the ceiling and insulation is scattered all over the place. 

What once was my favorite part of the house, the back room whose walls were made of glass, were smashed, exposing the house to future storms, exposure to the bare elements of nature and further deterioration of the roof and ceiling.  I can imagine the puddles of water and sand making a muddy mess on the floor.

I am feeling lost, like a gypsy wandering in the wilderness of FEMA motels, not knowing if the temporary housing will continue and for how long.  

So far FEMA has been awesome.  We will see when we hear what the inspector has to say and what they are prepared to do for us.

In the meantime, we can't touch the damage and there is  another hurricane threatening to hit Florida.  It is almost unbearable to think about . . . time is just making a bad situation worse.  The heavy limb sinks a little bit further with time and every rain that decides to come around.  Thank God our rainy season is winding down, although it is peak hurricane season.  Until the inspector sees the damage, we can't even put a tarp on the roof to prevent more water from gushing in.

I'm thankful that The Captain and I had the good sense to evacuate to a local motel when we were faced with a Category 5 hurricane colliding with our world.  We did not have to experience the ravages of the storm ripping through the house not knowing if we would live or die.  God does not give us more than we can handle and after 34 years of living in that house, that little voice in my head told me to get out this time around.

Hurricane Irma hit Florida as a Category 5 hurricane . . . I'm so grateful that we got the west side of the hurricane after it was downgraded to Category 1.  There could have been so  much more damage.

Pray for the victims of this season's hurricanes which have come at us with a vengeance we have not seen since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.  Our damage is minor compared to others . . .