Tornado reconstruction continues

Spring has come to St. Louis early, and things are moving again at our house. Among the projects we still need to have completed are:

  • rebuilding the bottom of driveway where the tree’s root ball came up
  • fixing our yard … Probably needs some grading in places and some sod

Well, today we got a surprise. The driveway guys arrived ready to do their work. (I guess that’s what happens when you don’t top up your cell phone account right away)

Check out this video of the action.

Continue reading “Tornado reconstruction continues”

Drapes of Wrath of Khan

Okay, so the title of this blog post doesn’t really mean anything, but keep reading anyway.

We have been in our renovated home for about 2 weeks or so. It is lovely: the rooms are all painted, the floor is refinished, our kitchen cabinets are great. But there were so many little details that still needed to be done. Chief among those was the hanging of drapes. You may recall a recent entry in which I explained how Yoli had built a big cardboard-box wall in our bedroom to add some privacy.

Well, I am happy to report that the drapes are now hung. Take a look at the before and after:

Many other things have been taken care of, as well. We have a new front storm door, several light fixtures in the dining room and kitchen were moved, safety brackets were installed, and much more. We’ve had a handyman taking care of all these things for the last three days.

This coming week we should get the final pieces for our kitchen: pulls for the cabinet doors, some decorative paneling for the sink cabinet, and a display shelf.

There are still many, many boxes to go. We also need to buy china and silverware and bookshelves and such things. But it’s getting closer and closer to being “home” again.

Waits and measures

Maybe waiting is the measure of a man. We have done our share of it.

Today, I daydreamed back to a sweltering Bolivian night eight years ago when we made pizza for Yoli’s family and I got down on one knee to propose. Not many days afterward, I boarded a plane bound for St. Louis.

I knew we would be separated for a while, working in two countries on the paperwork to obtain a fiancee visa. But I didn’t know how long.

How long turned out to be nine months. At the time I called it ‘the interminable wait.’

It seems to me that the waiting was hardest at the beginning (where the elation of getting engaged was followed by the loneliness of returning home alone) and near the end (though we never had a clear idea of when exactly “the end” would come).

My mind wandered, remembering those months of waiting, then returned to the present. I thought of our eighth wedding anniversary, just around the corner: Nov. 22 and 24.

But even sooner, I thought, our family will move back into the little brick house that was shattered by the Good Friday tornado.

Then it struck me: we have gone through another “interminable wait” this year.

In some ways it’s been harder. There was little joy at the outset, except maybe the solace that comes from knowing nobody was hurt and many of our possessions could be saved. There were so many unknowns: how do you pick a guy to cut down your tree? We chose one, and it went badly. How to choose the best mudjacking Denver to fix driveway? Our temporary housing moved us farther away from all our usual places. We couldn’t walk Jadzia to kindergarten as we had planned, nor could we walk to the farmer’s market, or the bank, or the library.

But in some ways it’s been easier. Yes, we were separated from our house — but not from each other. We’ve been in exile, together. The rental house where we’ve lived was actually bigger than our own home, though it lacked some things (dishwasher). Our friends and family rallied around to help us. And our wait has lasted only six months, not nine.

Still, there’s no getting past the waiting. As with our engagment eight years ago, we had a vague notion of how long this reconstruction process would take. But the ending proved to be elusive. We would get close, and things would drag out.

At last, though, the finish line is in sight. Today our little house was full of people: cutting tiles, running pipes, painting walls, tracking in mud.

Tomorrow our long-stored belongings will begin to arrive at the house. Before the end of the week, we hope to be sleeping in our own beds again.

I would like to think that this “interminable wait” helped us, strengthened us inside.

Time will tell.

Progress reports

This week Jadzia brought home her first report card — or rather “mid-quarter progress report.” Her teacher had very nice things to say, and of course we are proud of how she is doing in school so far. Last week, Jadzia even got to host her grandpa for the school’s “Grandparents Day” festivities.

And I suppose it’s time for a progress report of a different kind: an update on our house. Keep reading for some more photos.

Continue reading “Progress reports”

Proof of a new roof

Some friends on Facebook demanded that we provide photos of the work being done on our house. I present to you now photographic evidence that the project continues to progress. Perhaps by the end of today we’ll have all the new shingles up!

Masonry and excavation … Now that’s progress

Paid a visit to the house today to see how work was progressing, and also because the grass in the front yard was in danger of becoming a forest.

What I found was awesome. Lots of works, lots of work being done. New cinder-block walls are going up near the kitchen and the back yard has a big hole where a new foundation will be poured.

My weedwhacker didn’t cooperate, though. I think I flooded it. So I borrowed a neighbors’ mower. I soon remembered that not everybody keeps their mower set as high up as I do (same as my dad). still, the yard looks nice and the house is making progress.

Keep reading to see video of the work.

Continue reading “Masonry and excavation … Now that’s progress”