More Challenges

Posted by Denise on August 1, 2013

Both Glenn and I work full time. This blog is a labor of love that we enjoy immensely, but unfortunately sometimes life intervenes and it delays our posts. Well, life has been intervening LOTS lately.

A couple of weeks ago at about 8:00 in the evening I had just sat down at the computer when I heard a tremendous BOOM! and the entire house shook. I had just gotten home, having stayed late at work to finish up a report, when it happened. My first thought was that the ugly storm that was threatening on my way home was starting with a vengeance. Anyone who is familiar with Central Florida thunderstorms would know what I mean. Sometimes the thunder will shake your whole house. We aren’t the lightening capital of the world for nothing! Anyway, I didn’t hear anything else, so I started second guessing the thunder connection and went looking for the source. I went out to the front of the house and looked at the roof and trees overhanging. Everything looked fine, so I checked out our next-door neighbors’ houses just in case. I didn’t see anything wrong and the storm was starting and it was pretty dark so I went back inside. I walked through the house and everything was fine. Huh. Oh well, it must have been a transformer blowing due to the heat or something like that.  

The next morning as I was leaving for work I glanced out of the sliding glass doors to the back porch…and saw nothing but dark green. What?! I stepped out and saw that a HUGE limb, about 2’ thick, was hanging over the back bedroom, held up by 3 other large limbs like a three-legged stool. It had obviously broken off, hit the roof and bounced into that position with the largest and heaviest portion suspended over the roof. OMG! I hadn’t been able to see it from the front of the house the night before.

Glenn came outside and immediately set to work calling our insurance agent and getting up on the roof to look at the damage. At least two large holes that he could see, including an area with splintered wood that looks like it may be one of the rafters. And more that we couldn’t see due to all of the branches and leaves covering parts of the roof. He cleared off all of the small limbs and branches, but there were still limbs too large and precarious for us to deal with in the way. Of course, it was a really stormy day and by the time Glenn got the first branches off it started to lightning again and he had to leave the roof. It didn’t rain long, but enough to thoroughly soak through part of the ceiling and it started to bow out into the family room. Yikes!

As soon as he could get back on the roof, he and a roofer we called covered the damage as well as they could with the limb still there. Our insurance company called a water damage contractor out and by the time I got home that night every room had at least one huge blower in it and there were 3 large dehumidifiers in different rooms. And the company said they didn’t have enough equipment with them, they would bring more the next day! They were as good as their word and brought more the next day for a total of 23 huge blowers and 5 huge dehumidifiers roaring throughout the house, power cords snaking everywhere, hoses from the dehumidifiers stretching from different rooms to the sinks in bathrooms and kitchen. We couldn’t walk without stepping on or tripping over cords and it was like living in a wind tunnel. We couldn’t talk without yelling over the noise. After two days, the heat level in the house was starting to rise because of the 120 degree exhaust from the equipment, despite the air conditioner’s valiant efforts at keeping it cool. On top of it all, our house is older and isn’t meant to handle that much of an electrical load; circuit breakers would pop randomly and would need to be reset and cords moved to different sockets.

Our insurance company offered to put us up in a hotel, but we felt we needed to be home in case something else happened such as more water leaking in, and we were reluctant to move our cats from the house. They were already stressed but not as much as they would be if we took them to a strange place. We had one room in the house, a guest room, that didn’t have machines in it so we put them in there and coped as well as we could. We had to push dehumidifiers out of the way to use the bathroom, then return them to position as we left the room. And these suckers are large, waist-high behemoths, thankfully on wheels, but heavy and hard to move nonetheless. By the third night it was over 90 degrees in the house, hot enough that we could hardly sleep. Just when we thought that we couldn’t take it anymore, the water damage experts said it was dry enough and removed the equipment. Sweet silence! We were so happy for the peace and return of cool air.

Early this past Saturday, a tree company came out and removed the remaining limbs from the roof. They did a great job and it was a relief to have it gone. Meanwhile, the daily storms continue. In the past several days we’ve had more severe storms with lots of rain. Another company had to come out and put additional tarps over the roof after another huge leak waterfalled into one of the bathrooms. We used lots of pots to catch the water and the ceiling is on the verge of caving in. And yes, the blowers are back, but only in one part of the house.

To further complicate matters our home is old enough that we have some asbestos in the popcorn ceiling material in most of our rooms. This is not a huge problem as long as the area isn’t disturbed. We’ve painted over it several times so its safe…until something like a disaster makes it crack or otherwise disturbs it. Then it can be a problem. Our family room ceiling developed a large crack under the bowed out area due to the leaks and now we have to get professionals out to test and repair. Sigh.

And if that isn’t enough to deal with, on Saturday Glenn accompanied me to a daylong job-related conference in St. Petersburg, a beautiful little town near Tampa, two days after the limb hit the house. It’s over a hundred miles away and I had to be there by 8:00 a.m., so we were up by 4:00 and on the road by 5:30. Once he dropped me off at the conference, Glenn decided to take a nap in the van while it was cool, finding a nice parking spot near the conference location. He got up after a couple of hours and found that he was stiff and sore, but putting it down to the work he had done on tarping the roof and moving branches the day before. He loves to walk and decided to look around downtown St. Pete. He met me at noon for lunch and said he was sore especially in his hip and leg, but not too bad.

Glenn walked over 10 miles that day, not that unusual when he has the time to do so, but by the time he picked me up and we started for home, he was in real pain and having a hard time sitting in the car. The next day was worse, but he felt better when he was on his feet, so stayed busy and the soreness was manageable. But by Monday morning he could hardly get out of bed, it hurt when he sat or stood and was almost as bad when he lay back down. I called in to work and as soon as the doctor’s office opened, we called and got a late morning appointment. The doctor sent him to get tests done and they determined he had a bad infection requiring antibiotics, steroids and pain meds. He was miserable.

It’s been over a week and Glenn went from feeling quite a bit better back to hurting again as soon as the antibiotic was finished, never having been pain-free the whole time. The doctor is talking about more tests to try to pinpoint what else may be wrong. Oh, boy, more fun. L

So we are praying that everything settles down and gets back to normal, Glenn heals and becomes pain free, the asbestos air tests come back normal once we get them done, the roof and ceiling repairs go well, and we get back to a normal schedule.

We are very fortunate, even with these challenges. God is so good to us. No one got hurt from the falling branch, we have insurance to cover the largest part of the repairs, and I’m sure the doctors will figure out and treat Glenn’s injury. These small misfortunes will pass and become funny stories for telling later. We will provide updates as things progress.

 

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