Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nashville Flood 2010

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It’s crazy to think this Saturday will be four weeks since the flood. It’s been a very crazy busy four weeks with a lot of emotions involved. I still can’t believe our house flooded. I’m not sure when it’s going to sink in. I really don’t want to think about it because if I do I usually end up crying.

I thought I would do an update on what’s happened over the past few weeks, our current living situation and what the future holds. I may be repeating things I’ve written in previous posts so please bear with me.

The flooding began on May 1st. That night we moved into an extended stay hotel and stayed there for 9 nights. Brad took off work the first week after the flood and spent the entire week cleaning out our house. We had so many friends come help and my parents also came up the weekend after the flood. Basically all of our furniture was ruined including all appliances and our rugs. We were able to save quite a bit of our clothes but lost most of our shoes. Our beds, mattresses and bedding were all ruined. We pretty much ended up with anything in that was in our kitchen higher than the kitchen drawers. So our plates, cups, utensils, etc. were all saved. The other items that turned out okay were our kitchen table, my china, a kitchen cabinet, Cain’s crib, Cain’s nightstand and lamp, a leather recliner and Brad’s office desk. We also had some exercise equipment that looks like it will be okay unless too much water got inside the equipment.

During the first week, Brad along with the help of several guys worked so hard getting furniture moved and carpet pulled out. I spent most of the time on the phone with the insurance adjustor, FEMA, and searching for contractors. By the end of the week we had a crew in our house tearing everything out from about 4 feet down. This includes all walls (except for our plaster walls), floors, subfloors, tile, kitchen cabinets, and everything in both bathrooms. I never realized so much would have to be torn out.

The next weekend both FEMA and an insurance adjustor made it by our house. It looks like it will be sometime next month (beginning to mid June) before we hear back for our insurance adjustor. We were told they have so much paperwork to fill out for the claim that it takes several weeks to complete everything. Again, our insurance just covers our structural damage. We were totally unaware that we did not have contents coverage!

At first we were told by everyone that we should expect to be out of our house for a minimum of 3-6 months. It’s looking like it will be much longer and I’ll explain that in a minute. We had no clue what we were going to do and were would we live for several months all while still having to pay our mortgage and bills. Well, with all the bad there has been a lot of good! A friend Brad knew from college (Daine Devillier) arranged a place for us to stay for free for 5 months. Can you believe that?? I’m still in shock that he has done this for us. I don’t know how we will ever be able to repay him for what he has done for us. Hopefully one day we will be able to “pay it forward” and help someone else in need. He rented a wonderful 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment for us in Antioch, TN. It’s about a 40 minute drive from our house. We have our kitchen table here and the leather chair we saved. As well as a hope chest we are using to sit our TV on in the living room and Cain’s crib. My friend Courtney let us borrow a couch she had sitting in her garage and another sweet girl, who will be moving to Chicago soon. gave us a bed, mattresses, a night stand and a dresser. I can’t tell you how appreciated the bed was after sleeping on an air mattress for 10 nights. My coworker Vicki brought over pots and pans for us and we’ve received donations of sheets, curtains, towels, as well as books and toys for Cain. There are no words to express how grateful we are of everyone’s generosity. Let’s just say I have a lot of thank-you notes to write and there will be no way I will ever be able to thank everyone enough!

Cain was having a hard time adjusting at first. I mentioned in my last post that he was waking every night. Thankfully he slept until 5:15 last night so I hope he is getting used to the new arrangements and will start sleeping a full night again. We are getting there but it would be nice if I could get him back to sleeping from 8pm to 6:30-7:00am.

So when do we get to start rebuilding? I certainly wish I knew the answer to that question. To be perfectly honest with you, I’m not even sure that we will be able to rebuild. Right now we are in limbo just waiting to find out more info. Basically, we have been told that if your home is in the flood plain (which ours is) and you experienced 50 percent or more damage to your house then you will not be allowed to rebuild. As each day goes by I seem to lose more hope of being able to rebuild our home. If this happens we will be offered a “buy-out” of our home. I read in Sunday’s newspaper that the spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said the buy-out process will take at least 10 months before homeowners see any money for their home and that is if it goes smoothly. It was also stated that buyouts sometimes take a year or two in a process that is essentially a mass real estate transaction that must go through local, state and federal levels.

I just cried and cried as I read the buyout info in Sunday’s paper. I wish I had answers or knew when I would receive an answer but it seems it may be awhile before we know much more than we do now.

I guess until then we just patiently wait and pray everything will turn out okay in the long run.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Crazy hair

I'm working on putting our flood pictures into a slide show but it has taken me longer than I expected. In the meantime, I thought I would share Cain's crazy bed head hair!

So far, Cain is not adjusting too well to the new living situation. He always slept great for us until the flood. For almost two weeks now Cain has decided to wake up crying around 2:30 every morning. On a few occasions I've been able to rock him back to sleep but many nights he will cry as soon as I stop rocking him. By 5:00 every morning we are usually exhausted and I give in to bringing him to our bed so we can get at least one more hour of sleep. I really want to be able to let him cry himself back to sleep but every night I get nervous our neighbor upstairs can hear him crying. Actually I don't want him to have to cry himself to sleep but I don't want to start a habit of him coming into our bed. I'm hoping this is just a phase that will end soon and he will go back to being a good sleeper. Do any of you moms out there have any advice for me. I'm a girl who likes my sleep at night. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Just a very quick update

I apologize for the lack of updates lately. I've realized a correction I need to make on my last post. I mentioned that we had 4 inches of water throughout our house. I wish it had only been 4 inches. We actually ended up with about 3 feet of water throughout the house it is now gutted from about 4 feet down. We are doing okay and have found a place to live for the next several months (more about that later).

We were without internet last week hence one of the reasons I have not been able to update our blog. Besides cleaning and moving into a temporary home we have been dealing with a few illnesses since the flood. The week of the flood Cain ended up with his first ear infection. Then last Wednesday I stayed in bed all day with a terrible stomach bug. And this weekend we had to take Cain in to the Dr. on Saturday due to the fact he was running a fever of 101.1 and acting very lethargic. The Dr. ran several tests, checked his oxygen sats, and ran labs. Thankfully everything turned out okay and he seems to be feeling much better today.

Again, I'm hoping to post more flood pictures and write an update later this week once I have more time.

We can't thank everyone enough for all the kind calls, emails, prayers, boxes of supplies, borrowing of furniture and even home cooked meals. Not to mention all the help cleaning out our home. We don't know what we would do without everyone's support. It's appreciated more than you will ever know!

Monday, May 10, 2010

After the flood

This has been an emotionally and physically exhausting week. It’s still very hard for me to comprehend that my house flooded last weekend ! We ended up with approximately 4 feet of water throughout our entire house.

After the water went down on Sunday, Brad and our friend Benson went to check out the damage. Brad decided it would be best if I didn’t come see our house on Sunday. He took plenty of pictures for me but he thought the damage was more than I could emotionally handle. I think he was right about that! I stayed over at my friend Allison’s house while her husband and Brad tried to salvage what they could.

Here are a few pictures of what Brad & Benson saw as they arrived to our house after the house was flooded 3 times.

After 2nd & 3rd flood 030 After 2nd & 3rd flood 032 After 2nd & 3rd flood 042 After 2nd & 3rd flood 112 After 2nd & 3rd flood 059 After 2nd & 3rd flood 070After 2nd & 3rd flood 078

The rest of the week was spent week was spent pulling our belongings out of the house, cleaning what we could, calling contractors, and basically gutting our house from a few feet above the water line.

I’m hoping I can get more posted soon but I need to get to our house to help Brad move us into our temporary apartment. I can’t wait to tell you all about that.

On a very different subject…baby Nadia needs our prayers today. I met her mom, Suha, a few months ago. Nadia was born on May 5th with many of the same heart defects as Cain. She is currently in the operating room undergoing her first open heart surgery, the BT shunt.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nashville Flood

Now that the Nashville flood has started to get National Coverage on CNN I thought I would go ahead and let everyone know how the flood has impacted our family. I realize there are many wonderful people that read our blog whom I've never met and some of you may be concerned that we are okay. Thankfully I can report that our family is okay and made it out of the flood waters safe but unfortunately we lost our home in the flood.

I have actually heard that the tragedy of the 2010 Nashville flood is the single largest disaster in TN since the Civil War. There are no words to explain the devastation I've witnessed in Nashville in the last 6 days. It is just heartbreaking.

Many of our friends and family already know we lost our home but may not know exactly what happened so I'll explain....

On Saturday the rain in Nashville was terrible. We have a creek in our backyard and we kept watching the water rise. We weren't concerned at first but towards lunch we started to get really worried. Brad decided we probably needed to pull our boat away from the creek and parked it on the side of our house. We kept watching the rain and the water rising but never in a million years thought our house would be underwater soon. Around 2:00 Brad said he thought it was time for us to possibly gather some things in case we needed to leave. He decided to drive our boat down the road to higher ground. While he did this I frantically dressed Cain and gathered our most important belongings like Cain's heart meds. Just in the few minutes Brad was gone the water had reached our back door. Brad raced in and took Cain to get him out of the house as fast as he could. Brad put Cain in our car and drove him across the street. At this point I was in total shock and couldn't even think straight anymore. Our house was beginning to flood. Our really good friend Benson came to our front door to get me and walked me through our yard over to Cain. Literally in less than 5 minutes the water was over my knees/thighs. Benson had me hold on to him as we walked across the yard so the water wouldn't sweep me away. Plus I think he was afraid I'd run back to my house to try to save more belongings. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget that walk away from my house knowing I was leaving but my house was flooding.

I stood across the street and watched my house flood as Brad and Benson worked frantically trying to get irreplaceable items like family photos, wedding pictures, Cain's medical info, etc. into our attic.

Our house as the water was rising. Thankfully we were able to move Brad's car before water got in it.

Our neighbor Johnny using his boat to get things out of his house and safely to the road.

After about an hour the water started to recede a little. My neighbor offered to watch Cain as I went back in the house to access the damage and help Brad & Benson gather us some clothes and important items.

I thought that was the worst of the flooding but unfortunately that wasn't the case. Knowing that we would be out of our home for awhile we found an Extended Stay hotel to stay in Saturday night. On Sunday morning around 7:oo we received a call from the neighbor across informing us that our house was about to flood again for the 3rd time. We found out it had flood again around 12:30 that night.

We couldn't get home until the water receded but some of the neighbors took a few pictures of what the neighborhood looked like at its worst.

This picture was taken by a neighbor that lives a house down the road from us. His house sits up much higher with an unfinished basement. This was the picture he took looking out the front of his house to our road.

And a few out of his back door.

My next door neighbor's cars under water.

I was trying to upload pictures from after the flood but it is taking way too long. I'll try again tonight or tomorrow but for now I need to get over to our house to work. Brad has been cleaning out the house all week with the help of many WONDERFUL friends. I've been outside packing anything we could salvage into boxes.

We have been told we will be out of our house for 3-6 months as the water damage is dried out, the house is treated for mold, and then it will need to be rebuilt.

I know all of this seems very unfortunate (and it is) but we are truly blessed. Our house and belongings can be replaced...people cannot be replaced. There have been over 20 deaths in TN due to the flooding. We are one of the fortunate who has flood insurance. We have insurance that will help with our structural damage. We thought we had contents coverage but realized after the flood that we didn't and our lost contents (furniture, appliances, etc.) won't be covered. Again, we are still very fortunate because SO MANY people affected by this flood have no insurance at all. It has been a very tragic event for Nashville. One that is hard to even put into words. One thing I have learned though is I'm proud to be from Nashville. Everyone is pulling together to help their neighbor.