October 10 |  5pm

October 10 | 5pm

OCT 10 update 5pm- Day 9 of recovery..
I have a case of the mondays.. but not the normal tired mondays.. like I’m exhausted mondays!
We skipped coop- mostly because my heart can’t handle the newness of new friends right now and I knew John wouldn’t be able to take them since he had a couple friends coming to help with floors.
So we went to our neighborhood Library.. where we are seen and known and life can feel “normal” for a few hours.
This is kindness to myself and my kids. Sure they were sad about missing coop, but they love the library and love Ms. Carly even more!
Here’s a glimpse into today.. I woke up and I threw on a shirt my friend brought me. It’s NOT a shirt I’d normally wear, but I kinda feel like I don’t care at this point if it covers my body it is worn! Ha.
At breakfast, my one daughter told me she didn’t like my shirt, it just wasn’t me.. she wasn’t wrong.. but I”m also embracing new things..
What I really heard underneath that comment was her sweet little heart of.. mom… so much is changing, please don’t go crazy and change.. Instead of being annoyed that she commented on my shirt that I thought was fine.. I decided to read deeper and meet her.. Her little heart needed reassurance and I also needed to remember it wasn’t about my shirt at all..
This was kindness to my daughter .. I could have just dismissed her comments and not said anything other than “well I like it today.” (And I really don’t always get it right.. trust me.. but these moments of getting it “right” are beautiful). I love my little truth speaker and I also love that she’s got the sweetest most sensitive heart!
A few updates:
– We got an email saying our van was totaled and we are currently waiting on numbers and holding our breath… car shopping is overwhelming! IF you know a good used car dealer please please let me know.. I don’t think I have capacity to try to find one for sale by owner.. too many things to think about and at the least with a dealer there’s a warranty that can give me peace of mind for this season of rebuilding!
-I finally got a call from our flood insurance adjuster. Somehow when he read me our coverage, it sunk in differently. Yes I know flood doesn’t cover contents, living expense, food, or even a washer/dryer… Sure I know there’s a deductible.. but when you say it out loud it sounds awful! Haha .. I right away think about all the neighbors hearing the same things, except this house was their retirement house!
This is kinda how monday is going.
And yet.. my neighbors are slowly starting to listen and realize that before adjusters come out they need to cut some drywall and remove floors.. I literally cheered for the big FEMA garbage trucks .. and the guys were grateful.. at least they smiled when my kids and I drove by waving! And then it hit me.. without the visual junk mess, will anyone else remember the trauma we have all been through?
I’d love prayer for us to be able to dream. I don’t just want to slap our house together and call it a day. I’d love to be intentional about what we choose.
Change is good, but just like my shirt situation today.. I want to walk into my house (and for others to also) and immediately think.. “this is totally you guys!”
Honestly, this is a new uncomfortable place for me. I’ve not designed a house, floors or cabinets I just feel overwhelmed.. I don’t know how I’ll dream inside the mess, but I know I want to!

 Ellen

October 8 | 10pm: Kindness and Casseroles and Crazy Makers

October 8 | 10pm: Kindness and Casseroles and Crazy Makers

Flood Update sat 10 PM 10/8 recovery day 8 –

All I can say is..

The kindness of friends carries me and Jesus enables me to extend that to others! It’s was a crazy day. Can I give a shout out today to the amazing counselors and friends that I’ve had that have sat with me and helped me in the process of healing over the years! You are my unicorns and I love that you have taught me to see people because you have seen me when I didn’t see me!

Everyone has a story and it’s a privilege to see others!

How do we have so much stuff everywhere?! Like what do you do with the random cup that you find in a cabinet? How do you really pack up tools in the garage.. like you might need them but you need to do the walls?! It’s a crazy maker!

Today I poured water ONTO the floors to wet them to actually get them up. Because those left had dried and now weren’t easy to pull up.. talk about your body remembering.. I felt big feels pouring water and seeing water sitting on floors! I didn’t expect it.. yet it happened! I had to breath and it was almost a crazy maker ..

Tonight our friend brought us a casserole!

We ate and had so much left. I delivered some to a neighbor that came to mind… we have so many single women on our street.. this ended with me sitting on a porch and listening to stories.. stories that included trauma and hard things. I listened and I shared some of my stories.. I left with a full heart because it was a privilege to hear her stories and even more awesome to feel connected in hard things!

Sure we are processing loss different but she invited me to share tools in the midst of hard things.. while I think my normal strategies are known by all.. they might not be.. and I feel super blessed to have sat in my neighbors yard tonight with her friend and invited into sacred spaces.

It’s a mess here , but it’s a beautiful mess and while I never would have asked for this.. I’m embracing it moment but moment. Tonight we made a fire and a neighbor walking her dog let us borrow sticks & handed my kids marshmallows.. and a friend today brought hotdogs just in case for lunch that we were able to roast for what my 6 year old would call “second dinner”… man my 6 year old can eat!!!

Not everything that has come on Amazon is labeled.. so we would love to thank everyone…. My self is struggling with generic thank yous.. you all are really amazing and we are beyond grateful!

My kids feel loved and seen and it’s because of you all.. they see how they are cared for from afar and near and our neighbors have commented how they have seen so many friends helping and have felt cared for by us! Thank you! Really thank you!

We are almost done with floor tear up (our friend secured a rental of a floor scrapper yay! ) our kitchen was gutted today.. and we have only a couple smaller walls left.. vacuuming and dry out starts this week! Then dreaming for rebuilding ..

I’m also grieving.. I love a bathroom window but we have terminate damage and it’s around the window.. we prob need to lose the window in the bathroom shower.. I’m more taken back by the surprise losses..

I’m humbled by the updates to my Amazon list of random needs being met.. like car organizing and seating for my new outdoor yard life!

This is a crazy life.. today I almost sobbed when our street was turned into a one way for better traffic flow and I watched the fema pick up trucks drive by my pile because their truck was full.. I wanted my trash gone.. it’s a visual reminder Of all the loss.. my heart craves normal, my heart also longs for a place that feels like home.. and it’s a real deep reminder of how raw unexpected loss is and how temporary life/things on earth really is!

We are taking one day at a time. There’s again normal and not normal. Like our kids soccer pics!!! And outdoor evening fires.. I wanted to share these pictures for glimpses because I want you to see what happening here!

Again.. thanks for reading !! Notice that dove chocolate saying!!! My kids thought it was super cool! ❤️ I agree!

October 8 | 1pm: The Little Things that Get You

October 8 | 1pm: The Little Things that Get You

So it’s been a roller coaster.. I have so much to share.
Today we didn’t have anyone working on our house.. so MM and I got to bring some neighbors pancakes and just listen!
I got to knock on a family’s door and offer to replace some usborne books because a friend offered to help the neighborhood (and we literally only have 7 families.. we do live in an older community! 🤪) anyway here’s a glimpse in the drive in.
Today was the first day I didn’t cry driving in.. so you’re welcome?! You can actually make out my words and I wasn’t sobbing ha!
I’m SO grateful for friends!!! Also as we finally got a rental I realize man we lost all the things in our van too!
The moments of surprised loss are the hardest.. like when someone spills a snack on the floor and you can’t find the little vacuum.. ahh.. More on neighbor life and interactions coming.. my heart is full but my body is still weary!
We do have some needs for shop vacs and fans if anyone is coming tomorrow it should be our dry out days ahead!!! The gutting is almost done.. but it’s mess everywhere!

 

October 8 | 2am: Brain Flakes, Owls and Parking. Life in the Neighborhood.

October 8 | 2am: Brain Flakes, Owls and Parking. Life in the Neighborhood.

Update 1:40AM sat Oct 8
It feels like life is a blur. Like I don’t really know what day it is until my kids ask!
For those that know us, you know we homeschool now.. and so I’m realizing how grateful I am that we do all year so when something comes up for a week or 2 we don’t stress.. so I guess I have another week before I start stressing.. meanwhile they have all learned how to hit a crow bar to rip up floors.. I’m calling that real life Home Ec! They will thank me when they remodel some day.. or maybe tell their kids about that horrible time they pulled up floors because I wasn’t ready to do our “reg school routines” I’ll take either at this point!
This post is more glimpses into life here…
We have seen so many cool and so many sad things happening in the neighborhood!
We met a new neighbor tonight who is never in the neighborhood (she bought to invest in the property) and is actually here doing work now in it, so it was nice to know who lives in “that house” when we walk by..
Everyday I see trash pickers (that I honestly don’t feel all that bothered by.. if I wasn’t loosing everything there would be items I’d be willing to restore over time from prob everyone’s piles.. I love a good redemptive story for all the things!) and i love when things don’t end up in the landfill that could have a renewed life.. 😂 but I will admit it is unsettling when a neighbor is visibly upset by it and they continue picking.. that’s just heartbreaking..
Neighbors are getting mad at little things and not being able to control their own emotions and feelings. Understandable for sure. I was actually really frustrated for an evening about an interaction I had with my neighbor about parking. I withheld my annoyed feelings but clearly communicated a different solution was needed, that I wasn’t able to meet his request given the disaster and trauma we all are under, and that my priority was keeping my family safe.. I did indeed care about them too but that caring for them didn’t mean I could meet that request! 😂 He disagreed and thought his solution was easy.. I politely declined.. the next day he smiled and waved at me so… I’m gonna go with he had a weird control moment and I hope he decides to respond differently in the future.. but who knows.. (fyi his anger was about public parking and his right to ”own” the road in front of his house.. ) I did not mention it was public parking because.. well I didn’t have too defend anything here .. but he did take my advice and put out orange cones in front of his house so I guess he may have actually heard what I said?!
Emotions are high and people don’t know what to do with them.. it’s complex when you are living them too but aren’t choosing to harm the neighbors also hurting around you.. pray for my neighbors please!
We saw an owl in our tree tonight! That’s the picture! It was super cool to be that close.. and he actually scared me when he flew away I jumped!
Another super fun thing I get to be a part of.. a friend of mine is helping me gather wish lists for the neighborhood families (we have like 7) and she is going to coordinate people replacing books! I’m SO excited about this! We love love books in our house and we really only kept/buy our favs now..when we moved last year we donated a lot so the books we all lost were gems!
Oh and- we finally have cooler weather into evenings so we are hoping to do an outdoor movie night and s’mores! – I did update my Amazon list to include a replacement of our camp fire sticks because those are needed for our fun neighborhood night… we are so grateful someone had already replaced our popcorn maker so we are practically set for this fun thing!! Hopefully happening in the next week.
Thank you thank you! Today was like Christmas to the kids! I didn’t take a single picture but I delighted in all the things!
Somehow we ended up with 3 containers of brain flakes (which are my kids fav.. and when the flood happened they got dispersed throughout the house making it impossible to really save them.. though I did try at one point before deciding that was craziness!) and this afternoon my kids played for hours building creations!
Attached is a pic of one of them..
More soon.. ok one more.. a friend was able to find a floor scraping machine to get all the glue up from the glued down laminate.. I don’t actually know why it was glued to begin with.. 🤷‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️
If you read this far.. you are a rockstar!!

 

October 5 | 3am

October 5 | 3am

Update Wed 10/5- 3AM

We had a good friend come to be with our kids today. Our kids had a good day! Painted nails, played games, snuggled a baby (ok a toddler)..  

It really does feel like a vacation when I enter my friend’s condo. We aren’t doing vacation things, but there is a similar feeling of when you come in from a full day and you just want to take a shower and sit… 

If I’m honest, I’m getting nervous, I don’t know how we all will do when we wake up and go to sleep outside of our house on a regular basis.  Our time at the condo is ending. The place isn’t available for us to continue staying, we knew it.. we kinda were in denial. My little guy has told me many time how much he loves it here and tonight we sat outside for a bit staring at the moon and watching the clouds before bed. He shared some scary feelings with the hurricane too.

It’s cathartic to talk about trauma with others who get you. It can be uncomfortable to the person listening, especially if they themselves haven’t talked about their own trauma over the years. People need to tell their stories. People need others who are willing to enter into the pain and mess of life and sit with them in it.  

Today as I drove down the road toward our house, I sobbed. Mostly because I had not really sobbed yet, maybe because our kids weren’t with us, or just because my body needed a release at that moment.  There’s a pretty steady pace of hard uncontrollable things around me. 

I was going to demo the bathroom today! I left this afternoon ready. The van we had dried out and I had just driven the night before to ballet with the kids decided it was done. It flashed every light available and then shook.

I wasn’t prepared for the vehicle mess I was faced with. I spent the afternoon with a roller coaster of emotions. The insurance company wanted to pick up both our cars and have them assessed (though they said they would be basically ”totaled”) .. no problem.. they cover a rental… except it was a problem … NO WHERE IN ALL OF FL are there rental cars. I’m so serious. Multiple places told me they have been influxed with volunteers for mostly ft Meyer and they have sent all the cars there.  At first,  I was really glad there were so many volunteers and then reality hit and my middle kid-ness felt the weight of it; that means those who need cars HERE can’t have one. I have never felt the weight of having the financial (aka insurance stipend) means to provide for my family and being told no you can not! I sobbed. I wasn’t ready for another reality that was just a lot to take in.  It was also so uncomfortable that the guy on the phone kept telling me to let it all out.. I almost gave him a cheeky “let it all out” type response but decided to just say.. well thank you for being honest with the reality and ended the call as quickly as possible.  I wish I could forget that one specific call, because it was the most awkward I’ve felt in a long time! Ha. 

Then I got a new text that the RV trailer a friend was going to let us use was blocked by tree branches and they weren’t sure if they could get it to us. I sobbed again. Then jumped into organizing all the people to move the branches tomorrow morning. 

I saw countless neighbors just almost pacing outside, not really making any significant “progress” on their houses. We spoke to a few and one thing that stood out to me.. in all the convos with neighbors, each person was willing to offer to help, even though they themselves were in need of help. It was crazy. I can’t judge motives nor do I want to but there’s something hard wired in us to have compassion and empathy for others and a desire to be cared for, seen, and loved in community. It’s hard to be seen and to be in the vunerable party on the receiving end of needing all the help. 

I’m definitely learning a lot about asking these last few days! 

I never got to take apart the bathroom today, but I did get to talk to neighbors and it was still a full day! 

Tomorrow we anticipate a few friends coming to help and I’m so grateful! We need friends to be with us and to help us. The smell in the house is getting stronger and it’s feeling like we really need to get those kitchen and bathroom cabinets out asap!

We do have a bunch of needs for immediate house demo still, I’ll list here 

-Dust masks

-Fans

-dehumidifier 

-need a handful more plastic totes. Clear would be most helpful now since the last items are ones that we will need close by and seeing items is way easier!

– ear plugs

And here’s the immediate-ish amazon list. We know we will be in an RV trailer on our property soon. We don’t really know how long, but I know at least a couple weeks. And I can’t really live beyond that right now anyway!

I’ll update another list when I know more about what we need when we start living nearer to home. I’m looking forward to living with my neighbors again! 

Prayers

-for a vehicle that we can borrow since there aren’t any rentals (and/or some creative solutions to this. Insurance covers $50 a day so we could get a minivan or something large to fit our family)

-for significant progress on the bathrooms and kitchen this week and maybe even finish the gutting this weekend so we can start the 2-3 week drying out process soon!

-for us to be able to live life with a balance of connection and task. 

-for awareness of what our kids need and balance. 

-for good nights of sleep and better boundaries of our time around that too.. 

– that our flood insurance company would get their system back up and running and processing claims asap. 

– That we would be able to get our van towed to Honda and that maybe it would be a quicker fix verses throwing out a vehicle into the dump.. it feels so waste full and unnecessary if it can be fixed. 

Tonight, my heart is full and I feel so carried by my community of people near and far!  And I’m excited to tackle tomorrow (or later today at this point! ) also YOU are still a rockstar for reading this far!

Check out my list on https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3TET6AQ6U3PYT?ref_=wl_share&fbclid=IwAR1Ac_t0K5M9ZpnBENYheZlZzgWQkFhdRsD1CCrP_dwZofWeFZ6Yn6ohyVk

 

October 4 | 1pm

October 4 | 1pm

Update 1pm Tuesday :

Some really cool things and some hard things!

My one friend has come to be with my kids for a normal day in the condo while john and I assess house and pause to grieve together.

A new friend out this way offered her RV for us to use for a couple weeks (maybe more) for normalcy with our kids close to house!

Just now our van that (was submerged) we thought we aired it by ripping apart and letting it dry out and let water out.. just started shaking and flashing all the lights.. I drove it yesterday with kids because it seemed like no lights were flashing and it was doing OK.. today it crashed. I’m waiting on car insurance and while we thought we saved the car by putting on stilts it now stinks and had some water coming out of the exhaust.. I need to make a new claim there too. But for now it’s running and nothing is flashing..  so we do what we can!! Good news it’s now 70s in FL so windows can be down.

This feels like a big ask!

NEED:

Does anyone have a truck we can use with a hitch and extended cab for our fam?! Our van was our tow vehicle and that’s done. The Prius I’m surprised isn’t fried but I guess I don’t regret lifting it when it started flooding! We will see what happens next because it smells and it’s been airing out!

NO RENTALS anywhere in FL right now everything was sent to FT Meyers and all the volunteers flying in to help. Thank you really but the “reg people need cars too!”

I don’t know how long insurance will take. but we will need to hitch up an RV to dump (sewage) every week as well. So a truck feels like a need. We might even be able to figure out how to pay for a hitch to be installed on a truck if that needs to be..  

I’m doing Ok but treading water and realizing that surprises aren’t my fav thing right now!

Now that we know we have an RV option I feel like I can finally creat a list knowing we have a plan. .. and it’s ok to live day by day.. though I hate it SO much!

More later tonight for sure.. but if ya know of a truck.. just call or text

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