Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The shock is wearing off

Three weeks ago I received our first foundation repair proposal- it felt like a punch in the gut...20K+. For a few days we were in shock and awe and began to scrabble and look and realize how much this house has indebted us to it and put us in debt as we attempted to maintain it in a leakproof and waterproof manner. We found ourselves realizng that it was too much, so we asked contractor for the short list of must do's. We are still waiting, though his office folks have called to talk about financing.

At his suggestion we went to local homeshow, saw all the contractors of foundation repair of local willing to pay to be at show worth. We filled out forms and they have all paraded through the house and crawled beneath. Today I went with guy #5. I found where Mouse the cat has been of recent- guy #4 did not secure the crawlspace door and it lay open for several days- mouse has "scented it up", but I digress. I was reminded again of the layout beneath and all the jargon and conversation was given visual reference again.
This is a good thing.

Last Wednesday after a 2 hr visit from #4 man we decided that the 20K and 23 pier difference made us desire true wisdom. We were told of the county's best structural engineer/home inspector. Thursday I gave him a call and tomorrow he will arrive, look over all the proposals, look over the house and sort out the malarky from the truth. yes, we shall be paying for this wisdom, but it may save us thousands or it may affirm the need for super major work that NEEDS to be done. I am hoping for the former. Presently we have bids in the 4K, 5.5K, 7.5K and 24K range, one is still outstanding. Proposals for piers range from 8- 33. Some call for a few bridging joists where others call for major girders all over the crawlspace. There was mention of rolling girders ad colapsed joists- I have located both at the same location but wonder if I am missing something. There is talk of cross bracing and crush blocks. We hear from several that the insulation under the house should be pulled out. So, we await truth and wise counsel so that we can spend wisely the funds we have and settle the foundation issue and be done with it. We want move on with life.

Paul's MS awaits our attention. We shall travel south in a few weeks to consult with a MS doc. We spent time on the phone with a neighbors sister- she battles MS, has for several years. The reality that soon we shall be asked to choose a drug path is starting to settle in. The reality of dietary changes is settling in, and yet there still remains changes ahead. As I shopped today the veggies covered the bottom of the cart yet I found myself reaching for some of the old normal items. Finding balance between MS diet and family food is in process.

Peace rests within as we walk daily. I find that I dont look far in advance. Today is far enough, tomorrow will be dealt with on the morrow. I am grateful for all the prayers, for the encouragement and compassion from so many. We understand that others can not lift the burden of the season but in sharing the moment they are lifting our hearts and we are taking another step forward.

So, as the shock of the first proposal has settled and more reasonable proposals have come our way I find that I look forward to tomorrow, to answers and a plan of action. I find that without a plan of action we often are restless and at odds with how to cope with situations. Once the plan is set we have a challenge to face and we can move forward. After a month of wondering and fearing the worst it will be good to settle the question of what truly needs to be done.

It is time for action.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

another punch in the gut

Small cracks, over doors, diagonally traveling.... what can this mean?  doors sticking, unsticking, hope its just the weather.  pencil marks and dates are found throughout the house, watching the cracks, hoping for no new lines.  A few patched only to return.... sadly they do.  Recently some grew and so we again had to take off the blinders and face reality.  Foundation issues.  significant issues.

Today the moving house guy came- he has worked on a neighbors house, and was a known entity so he was the first to call- not sure if there will be another or not.  A walk through and short crawl under the house revealed many reasons for cracks developing.  Engineered trusses and I beams are not what they were hoped for... now we shall get to support the local economy.  Oh how weary I feel today.  The details are still to come, Insurance does not cover poor workmanship.

And so again I look to my Heavenly Father is despair and need.  He who protected another of His children allowed this house to be a platform for ministry and life.  He shall give us wisdom and help us discern the next path of attack.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, he can tell disease to leave and it goes- just as a king directs His troops.  So too He can provide ... oh may He be glorified in this season of our life, may it not be for naught.


A few days later I am again living today... for I can not borrow or handle tomorrow today.  And today was Home Show day- we went to see what foundation folks had to offer.  5 booths, many similar, some that made us wary, others that looked good.  We also saw the booth of the one man we had come out, saw the piers he uses and spoke with him a bit.  Next week we should get the first proposal- and begin to consider honestly what needs to be done to stabilize the house so it does not roll in on its crawlspace.

Job... the book of a man who suffered, who had live steamroll him.  He has been on my mind a bit of recent.  MS and foundation issues revealed within days of one another- our world shaken on each account, but again the Lord holds us in the midst of the quake.  We are having conversation and dreaming together, looking at life in new ways these days, weighing the days and trusting God a bit more.

  This morning the bear spoke of how he and God have had some conversations- and what he has heard is "you are not in control".  Oh how often we presume that we are, and then Job moments come to remind us that we truly are not.  The question is when we receive the punch that doubles us over and knocks us off our control diaz where do we land who do we look towards??  I am looking to the one who knows tomorrow and holds my hand through today. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

God is in the midst

Last month there was a moment when my bear spoke of numbness in his face.  As the weekend progressed it became worse and worse.  Monday he saw the doc as one friend was concerned of stroke, it was ruled out.  The following day he was sent off to get a MRI.  We took it in stride, only quietly wondering at the speed of the testing.  Thursday we sat in a neurologists office and heard that MS was high on the suspect list.

The previous Sunday MS was on a laundry list of possibliites.  I told my bear that if it was MS we'd sell the house and move to a simpler house- he replied that we'd move to the country so he could live out his days as he delighted to.  The neurologist encouraged us that MS was not what it once was- that the drugs have come a long way since 20 + years ago.  25+ years ago I cared for a mother who had MS and was wheelchair bound.  23+ years ago a friend was often thought of as drunk because she stumbled as she walked fighting for independence rather than cane assistance.  These are my first thought of MS.  Recently a neighbor spoke of her energetic fit sister as having MS- not what I anticipated ever to be on her list of life issues.  Another friend spoke of a diagnosis that came 10+ years ago with only occassional flares.

Today we returned to the doctor after a month away.  In the past month a lumbar puncture was done and we waited for results.  The numbness started to disapate.  We came to realization that perhaps there is more to this life than the beautiful moneypit that has consumed us more than we ever wanted it to.  We rejoiced at a bonus from work and splurged on a ATV and went on our first "modern horseback ride" as a couple.  It was wonderful- no thoughts of house or ailments.  We have started to reconsider many things that have been stressors and burdens and occupiers of us.  Perhaps we are jumping the gun, shell shocked.   perhaps we are just beginning to see a clearer.

Today we were told that there is no confirming MS- only reading the signs and all things point that way right now.  There is no map of what lies ahead, it is a day to day adventure that will only be known by today.  and today, and today.  Our hope is that this will have been a season of reevaluating and relaxing and reprioritizing.  Our hope that this is not a season of preparation of what is to come.  We don't know, yet we know the One who holds our lives in His hands.

So, we are looking at life a bit differently, trusting God to walk through this journey with us.  Enjoying the days of sunshine and trail rides and trying to keep things in perspective.  We are getting to know our neighbors a bit, playing with children on the lawn and learning to eat well so our bodies will be strong against free radicals and things that would tear us down.

Of recent i have misspoke the phrase - humility (pride) comes before the fall- and we are learning to walk with a bit more humility- a bit more dependent and needy and transparent and vulnerable- easy-no, delightful to the Lord- yes!

where are you finding God in your midst?