Some of the lowpoints of the last few weeks:
- Work continues to be a game of politics, all while the workload piles up with additional duties and fewer people to do the job. Not a day has gone by without at least one phone call asking me where something is and when will it be done. Never in my career have I ever been so far behind or so disorganized. I have piles everywhere in my office and I'm not even sure what is in them anymore. I know things are being missed and this is not something I am known for.
- The gentleman who started the fire reached a plea deal with the county attorney. We had previously asked the county attorney's office that we be consulted regarding sentencing since we really felt that his circumstances were so much more extreme than ours that we did not want any restitution or exhorbitant fines. We were hoping that he could receive community service and terms that would not destroy his family. Unfortunately, what happened was that I received a phone call from the Chief of Police letting me know that he had been to court for the sentencing and that the judge had recommended restitution. The county attorney had asked him to contact us and have us call them. Once again, I was required to relive everything first on the phone with the county attorney's office and then as I drafted the required letter that they needed for the judge.
- The insurance company is still dragging its feet. They have claimed for three weeks now that they are just about ready to issue us checks for our personal property, appurtenant structures (shed, fence, shade cover, etc) and for the next month's rent. None of these checks have so far arrived. We have also received nothing on the liability portion of our claim.
- We are also concerned with the replacement value they will give us to replace on our home. We found out that the local adjustor had not submitted his reports to the Salt Lake office in over two months. Salt Lake wrote us to let us know that they could not proceed with establishing a value without the required information and wanted to know why it hadn't been sent. I referred the matter to our agent who reported to me that there had been words with the adjustor. Whether or not it was out of spite, when we received our copy of the report from the adjustor, he had reduced his valuation of our former home from $290,000 to $240,000. The determined replacement value of the home is all the insurance company will pay us to rebuild, so this number is important. It does not matter that we paid for $300,000 worth of coverage for the structure, we will receive what the insurance company determines based on their best guess what it would cost to rebuild the house we had.
- The Friday before Labor Day, I was greeted on my return home from work by my daughters crying and my sons angry. There taped to the garage was a "Notice of Trustee's Sale". We have since been officially served by the Trustee and have spoken to the company. It appears that according to their records, our landlords have not made their payments and now the mortgage company has opted to sell the house to recoup some of their loss. Our landlords left a message stating that they were suprised by this and had been making payments according to their modified home loan and would work to get this resolved. Two weeks later, the mortgage company still claims that there are no payments and the sale will proceed on October 7th. After that date, we will be contacted on how to proceed with making our rent payment and we will have 90 days to vacate the home unless we can work out arrangements with the new owner.
- Yesterday, Rick and I went "shopping". Actually it was more getting an idea of costs and what our choices would be for construction. I have looked at the reports from the adjustor and his contractor. Rick has only looked at the specs from the architect, who of course has designed a dream home. By the end of the exercise in reality, I realized that the process of rebuilding is changing my husband. He has never been an angry person, is usually the voice of reason. I have seen him become progressively angrier every time the insurance company is mentioned. I have to admit it is scaring me.
- Rick is not the only one whose personality has changed since the fire. Lela stills suffers from anxiety attacks where she becomes so sick she cannot leave the house, Emily spends hours listing everything that she no longer owns whether through writing lists or drawing pictures and Wil has become less expressive and more sullen. He spends alot of time in his room and/or texting his friends, but not talking to us. Only Jon appears unaffected, but there is a part of me that is waiting for that shoe to fall since he was the one who was almost trapped by the fire when we escaped from our house. I don't know how Hunter is doing. We try to keep things positive from our end and I know he is doing the same. Occasionally there are comments about how when he comes home it will not be in any way to the life he left. I have heard more from the families he is serving in Montana. In his case, I have to have faith that the Lord will take care of him since I cannot be there.
One such friend posted today on Facebook that her weeked was one of joy and sorrow. That got me thinking of the some of my favorite scriptures. Ecclesiates tells that to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. This has always been one of my favorites and I had versions of it throughout my house. The scriptures also teach that there must be opposition in all things. If we do not experience sorrow, we cannot fully appreciate joy. Another of my dear friends posted "Although fate determines the circumstances, how you react depends on your character."
So here are the ups:
Homecoming - Hurricane defeated Dixie in an awesome game and Wil did a great job conducting the band as they pepped. Then both Wil and Jon went to the dance with incredible girls. It was Jon's first date and Laura's first date. She is the youngest and only daughter with many older brothers. Jon was met in the front yard by some of the men in her family dressed as hicks holding guns. He thought it was hysterical, since we have a family joke regarding the poor young men who try to date Lela and Emily.
- Lela started playing the violin and I can actually stand to be in the house with her when she practices. Maybe the noise will get worse, but she is enjoying it and is excited to go to class.
- Emily and I sat on the couch and took turns reading stories. She loves books and has started to carrying a couple with her wherever she goes.
- Jon found his bass clarinet. We thought it had been lost in the fire, but while cleaning the band room, it was discovered on a shelf. He had completely forgotten that he had taken it to school and left it there. The poor band teacher had joked with Wil that he could not use "I left my instrument at school in case my house burned down" as an excuse for not practicing. Now we have Jon's clarinet saved because it too was left at school.
- Hunter wrote to say that he and his companion would be having a baptism yesterday. I am amazed at his growth and the service he is able to provide to the people in Montana. He sent us pictures and then later in the week I received an email from a family in Montana with accompanying picture. It is good to know that there are wonderful people taking care of him.
- We received plans from the architect and the should have the permit set this week so we can obtain a building permit. We also received our first draw from the mortgage company to cover these expenses so I can breath a little easier when it comes to finances.
- We had a Christmas preview at our house this week. I came home to find half a dozen boxes on my bed. They all contained Christmas ornaments and nativity sets. I have become an expert at surfing the internet in order to find those items no longer available in stores that my children have placed on their "wish" lists. We had a blast opening everything and reminiscing. I was even able to find and purchase the "birthday plate". This is a plate that we use whenever there is birthday or someone's special day to celebrate. To see it again brought smiles.
- Wil built a Heroscape field on his bedroom floor and he and Jon played for hours. They also spent time teaching the girls how to play Pokemon and competing with each other.
- While in Salt Lake for a conference, Rick learned of a store with a stash of Chevron cars. He was able to make a huge dent in reestablishing our collection.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.