Monday, October 5, 2009

Putting Things in Perspective

While we were at work today, a careless and too tall Great Plains truck (a large tractor trailer) pulled the phone cable off our house. The pulled cable also caused some of our awning to be pulled down. 

Our neighbors were kind enough to not only e-mail us about the damage (they didn't have our phone numbers) but also to take photos of the damage, try to reason with the driver (he could care less about what he did and suggested to our neighbor that we take it up with the cable company) and report the situation/bad attitude to the moving company's corporate headquarters.

When I first heard the news, I was disappointed and bummed. How would this look to potential home buyers? And what if the fix took a while and the company didn't want to reimburse us?

In the end, the damage was minimal — it was mostly the driver's bad attitude and lack of ownership that had our neighbors up in arms and caused them to report the whole situation. (Thank you again, Steve and Jay!) 

On the way home from work today, I thought more about what happened with our house and how minor it is in the grand scheme of things. I replayed a video of the Austell, Georgia, flood damage in my head and felt petty for being concerned about our small situation.

Video I took on Sunday as we dropped a pressure washer off in Austell, Georgia (homes are starting the rebuilding process, which means completely gutting water-logged drywall, cabinetry, carpets, flooring and more).

Allow me to rewind. Dan went up to Austell, a suburb of Atlanta near Six Flags, on Saturday to help with a colleague's home. This colleague's home was one of about 50 homes in her neighborhood hit — and only one of those homes had flood insurance. The first floor of her home flooded completely, with flood waters reaching two feet into the second floor. These floods destroyed kitchens, bathrooms, floors, electronics, family photos and countless memories. Flood waters totaled some neighbors' cars. Now they're all faced with the burdensome task of rebuilding their house from nearly the studs up. 

I spoke with someone today who has great experience with flood recovery and mold and moisture damage. His conservative estimate for rebuilding the first floor of a home like this was $100,000... with a small FEMA reimbursement and no insurance reimbursement. And if this family just walked away, they would lose their credit and contribute to a forgotten and neglected neighborhood. 

Leave your home in shambles? Or swallow your patience, savings and all of your downtime in order to rebuild? This has spent much of the last week gutting the first floor, spraying mold-resistant cleaners, reinstalling electrical and hanging drywall — some of the first steps in rebuilding the place they call home.

As for us, I'm reminded that we shouldn't sweat the small stuff (and reminded how important it is to pitch in when there's someone in need).

- Katy


Elizabeth Beasley said...

Katy - excellent perspective. At least we have houses. Not feeling particularly funny today, but wanted to say hi and let you know I check our blog. I dig it!

Elizabeth again said...

Goodness. I'm sleepy today. Can't even spell.

Kb_Mal said...

Thanks for stopping by, past tense verbs or not!

Oh, I'm not terribly good at being funny so I just write about whatever on here. I hope you check out Allie at Hyperbole and a half!