Our Olde House definitely took a big hit when our oak tree fell onto the kitchen. Tree branches covered the roof of the house, the back deck and most of the backyard. The most important thing to us was to be sure that all people and pets were fine, and this we quickly verified, but there was also a possum in the live trap under the house which I removed before we forgot he was there. The other important thing was to find someone who could remove the oak tree from the kitchen; by the end of the day the tree had been removed from on top of the house and a tarp was put in its place.
The deck to the apartment was completely ripped off, but the stairs eerily remained intact. Several kitchen rafters were broken, large holes were in the roof and ceiling of the kitchen and sunroom allowing the rain to flood these rooms, and the kitchen wall was slightly crushed. After the tarp was on the house, Miss Sherry and I spent the evening clearing tree branches, attic lumber and roof shingles from the kitchen and sunroom. We filled four large bags and quit for the day.
The remaining days of the first week after the tree fell were chaos with constant anxiety and intermittent discouragement. Miss Sherry and I spent the next five days removing more large bags full of stuff from inside the house, all the while even more debris kept falling out of the ceiling. The County EMA guy came to look at the damage from the tree, and remarked that Our Olde House must be built incredibly strong since it did not crush flat under the weight of the tree.
Since the ceiling over the dining nook was gone, so was the light fixture that hung over the table; that meant that live wires were somewhere in the remaining attic space. Sherry’s son found the circuit breaker for it and turned it off. After a little searching I found the wires and put wire nuts on the ends and taped them together with electrical tape.
We woke up to rain and leaks in the kitchen and sunroom coming through the tarps; not a perfect solution. I put some buckets and trash cans under the leaks for now, and headed out to get some plastic to tape over the holes in the ceiling, Miss Sherry’s son helped me make a plastic ceiling which we taped to the walls or remaining ceiling structure. More debris kept falling onto our plastic ceiling, which we removed; we managed to work the accumulating puddles to the low side of the plastic and dump outside. Another round of sweeping stuff off of the floor into a debris bag, and another storm heading for us.
We got another tarp since they put a thousand nail holes in the first one so it leaked like a sieve. For the second tarp I had a ‘moment’ when I strongly suggested that they not put a thousand fiddle-sticking nails in the tarp. The roof guys apparently realized my mood and uncertain mental state and instantly stopped pounding nails; the second tarp did not leak.
More stuff fell from the attic overnight onto our plastic ceiling and some of the tape let go. Back up the ladder to re-tape the plastic to whatever wood was close. I did find out that tape to sheetrock ceiling lasts only a few minutes until the tape pulls the paint off and falls. Some tape I was able to put a staple through where I had some decent wood in the right spot. Over the next few days I also learned that the tape pulls the paint off of wood surfaces too, so eventually nearly every piece of tape had a couple of staples through it.
The insurance people and roofing contractor came by today, and after talking to them it seems clear that the entire kitchen will need to be vacated. While it was raining inside the house for at least one hour, not only did the water run across the entire kitchen and sunroom floors, but apparently water was running on top of the remaining sheetrock ceiling in the kitchen so it will have to be replaced along with the flooring. And probably some sub-floor got soaked which would mean the stove and dishwasher and lower cabinets will need to be removed; the upper cabinets will need to be removed to replace the ceiling.
The storage unit arrived today so I was looking forward to stampeding all of our extra stuff into it, but since I am the one doing the moving, the stampede is more of a mosey. I started with the table and chairs, and then moved an assortment of stuff from our bedroom/kitchenette into storage. At that point I went to purchase some boxes in order to pack a plethora of small items too numerous to carry individually. Enough for today; looking forward to a shower and laying on the heating pad for a few minutes.
The next day we went into the kitchen to pack up all of the cabinets, or at least start packing, but that seemed to be an overwhelming task to us, so we put that off. I have a dozen plastic bags of debris and a very large pile of branches and wood from the holes in the ceiling and roof to drag to the curb tomorrow, but the inside and outside of the house are clear of debris.
After one week we reached the peak of our experience as far as chaos and futility go, because we started to actually make some progress toward our goal of putting the house back together. The storage unit is filling up and the floors and walls of the kitchen are getting cleared off, and I was even able to vacuum those rooms today. Yes, we are bruised, but not broken; and we are not moving because God loves us right where we are.