Sunday, July 24, 2011


Okay--lots of pictures today, although these are actually from yesterday (Saturday morning). First of all, I would like to say that the pictures simply don't do justice to just how bad it is down in the valley. It's hard to explain just how depressing it is to see the guts of everyone's homes on the curb. Being down there makes me feel weird--my head starts to spin a little, I'm sure from all of the junk floating around in the air.


So the first picture is looking down Souris Drive, where the Red Cross and Salvation Army can often be found handing out water and meals. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


#5 Fairway is a mess! The guys working on the house are doing an amazing job---Perry says it's the best investment we've ever made. I agree wholeheartedly!


For those who have been in our house before, this is looking from the front door toward the old closet and in through the laundry room. Weird. That's the old fireplace on the left.


No ceiling in the living room.


Looking from the kitchen into the laundry room and living room. The old built in china cabinet is gone...*tear*.


The kitchen. There used to be a window and door where our our cooktop and fridge were.

The back of the fireplace. We're taking this down to make room for a larger, handicap-accessible bathroom for Natalie. I'm sure the guys are looking forward to THAT job! :)


The "great" room. I'm told our ceilings there can likely be salvaged. I hope so!


I am really not sure where this picture was taken, but I'll guess we're looking back toward the bedrooms.


Another view of the ceiling.


Junk pile in our yard...I wish the Corps would make a trip through the neighborhood to take the garbage away. However, since it is the Corps' job, I'm guessing they'll let it sit there until people start getting hurt, then take it away and declare it "a success."


This is my neighborhood...a pile of trash with pickups mixed in. I wonder when it will ever return to "normal."


My old stove is on the front lawn---still stuck on 12:54.


I'm ecstatic that I will have a brand new oven when we move back. Woohoo! Maybe I'll get serious about a baking business... :)


There she is...#5 Fairway with a big pile of junk in front of her.

Sanitizing is likely to begin tomorrow, then we let it dry for a week or two. We're currently trying to figure out how we want to remodel the place so that it fits Natalie's needs and is good for us as well. This includes a new, much larger bathroom/laundry room and a master bath with walk-in closet...I never thought I'd get that! We also need to decide on windows and doors soon. I have a lot of ideas; now I just need to channel them and start picking things out.

The good thing is that things have dried out down there, so it doesn't smell quite as bad as it used to, although it's still a stinky mess. I'm looking forward to the day when we'll all be together again as a neighborhood talking about the flood of 2011 in past tense.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Work Continues

A quick update for you today about the happenings at 5 Fairway...

As you can see, the house is undergoing a bit of a "renovation." We didn't make it down there today to check on the progress, but I'm sure they're moving on to the sanitizing portion of the project very soon. After that, the house and crawlspace have to dry out for a week or so. That's when the remodeling will begin.

We purchased this house knowing that it met most of Natalie's needs, but would require a bit of work to get a bathroom handicap-accessible. Since the house is stripped to the studs, we're taking this opportunity to get things just how we want it.

Right now, we're coming up with a layout, thanks in large part to my brother, Brian. It will include a roll-in shower for Natalie, as well as a jacuzzi tub. Natalie absolutely LOVES jacuzzi baths, as we discovered while at a hotel last year. Needless to say, that jumped high on our priority list for this renovation project.

I'm getting a major league headache from all of these decisions, and we have barely scratched the surface. I never wanted to build a house because I knew it would be too many decisions for me in a short period of time. I like to ruminate about these major decisions for a while!

We've received the maximum compensation from FEMA, and have applied for the SBA loan. After that, we'll apply for every grant available to us to try to cut down on expenses. We're so grateful for our amazing family who is here for us when we need them most. It makes it a lot easier knowing we have their support---we're all in it together.

Thanks to an incredibly generous family, we are currently staying in Minot in their beautiful home. They are residing at a lake cabin while we play house here. We've been here for a couple of weeks, and it has been an absolute blessing for us to be together during this initial phase of recovery. When our month is up at this house, the kids and I will head back to Sherwood to stay with Grandma & Papa Miller.

We have up days and we have down days. I know I've been up the past couple of days knowing that the plans have begun. Life goes on and we just have to make it through this trial. We will.

More pictures to come tomorrow...

Friday, July 15, 2011


I'd like to think I've been quite positive throughout this whole flood fight. I always believed things would turn out for the best, and I still do in some respects, but I also have my doubts.

I was going to blog about our first visit back to the house yesterday, but all day I've been thinking about one thing: what have we done to deserve this?

It's never good to feel sorry for yourself; there's always a lesson you can learn from each trial you encounter in your life. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn't get you anywhere. I would like to move on, but I'm having a difficult time getting past this initial frustration.

After getting married, Perry and I made a great financial decision by purchasing a cute little house in Minot. We loved that house...we put a lot of hard work into it over the course of three years. Sure, it wasn't on the greatest street in Minot, but we had nice neighbors and we loved being in our house or in our back yard.

When we sold the house, we made quite a bit of money off of it because of our hard work. We used that money to purchase our home on Fairway. It wasn't easy for us; financially it would stretch us thin, but we knew we could do it. We had to make it happen for Natalie; it's a house that's perfect for her needs. So a year and a half ago, we took on a new mortgage.

Since then, we've worked hard to fix up the new house and we were just getting back to the point where saving money was becoming easier. We pay our bills on time, our credit scores are fantastic, the mortgage is not more than we can handle. We're raising a family together in a modest, but beautiful neighborhood.

So now here we are, a year and a half later with a house that is worth nothing. FEMA tells us the most we can get to fix our home is $30,000; we're looking at $10,000 alone to gut the house and sanitize it. We're expected to take on another loan (SBA loan) to do the rest of the work. Of course, there are many charitable organizations raising money out there, but remember that there are 3100+ other homeowners out there in the same position we are in. So when we fix our house, we'll have our initial mortgage, plus the second loan which will likely exceed the first. Our house will be worth half of what we put into it. We're expected to do this why? Because the Army Corps of Engineers says there was no way to prevent this from happening? Really???? Really????? No WAY to keep this from happening???

What did we do to deserve this? I'm not talking about just my family...what did we ALL do to deserve this? If a tornado were to hit my home tonight, insurance would pay for a new one. I realize that tornadoes are much more dangerous, but from a financial standpoint, I feel like our lives have been destroyed. Our federal government sends billions and billions of dollars in aid to other countries, but somehow can't find enough to help hard-working people its own back yard. We aren't looking for handouts, we're looking for a hand up to pull us out of this mess.

We have to be strong, and I stay positive as much as possible, but the reality is that our house, along with many others, has become part of the Mouse River.

Fear not, I will be more positive about the situation in the future, but I had to get this off of my chest. My heart is breaking for all those in the same situation that we are facing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Big Year Ahead

It's been a spring and early summer in Minot that many of us will never forget. No more will we hear about the flood of '69...all other floods will be compared to the flood of '11.

As I type this, our home in the valley has at least a foot or two of river water running through it; at its peak, there was likely five feet or so flooding our house. Being in Minot and yet not being able to drive to #5 Fairway is so frustrating.

I've been encouraged by my junior high English teacher to keep a diary of our experiences. (Hi, Mrs. Pearson!) I love to write, but often find I have no time to do so with our hectic schedules. This will be my effort to keep an online journal of sorts---and share our experiences with you. If you scroll down, you'll find I didn't do a very good job of keeping up this blog. Calvin is...hmmmmm...a very busy boy. He keeps my days exciting, as does Natalie. I realize, though, that it is very important to have my thoughts and our experiences during this catastrophe on record.

My plan is to blog as often as possible about the progress we're making. Right now, our house is a mess. If we are allowed to fix it, it will need to be gutted---so hopefully you will see the blood, sweat and tears it will take to get us back in our home under the same beautiful roof that Perry and our family constructed last spring! :) I think it will be fun to show the stages and hopefully get lots of pictures to share with you.

In the end, if no one reads it, I'll still have all the words and pictures saved--and that's something to be proud of...especially for this busy mommy!

Many pictures are on the way...stay tuned!