I did some cleaning yesterday before youngest son got back into town. Maybe more organizing than cleaning. The room he uses used to be his twin sister’s. He’s never had his own room in this house. We moved into it three months after he left for college. His college was ten hours away and his sister’s was only three. Stands to reason that she would be making more trips home during the school year and would get more use out of the room, so it was set up with her things. There’s another extra room on the back of the house with its own bathroom. The plan was for that to be a sort of bunk room for the boys if/when they came home.
Of course, you’re probably thinking the house was livable when we got it. Au contraire, this was a hurricane damaged house. It had been empty for a year. The owners had come in a week after the hurricane and pulled out the lower four feet of sheetrock and insulation throughout the house along with the lower cabinets. When you came in the front door, you could see through the lower half of the walls into every room in the house. The upper four feet looked normal, but the lower walls were non-existent and the floors had been stripped down to the concrete. The house had incurred twenty-one inches of flood water at the front of the house and eleven at the rear. Some of this might have been from the waves of water pushed into the yards as emergency vehicles drove the streets looking for people to rescue or maybe it was all from the twelve foot tidal surge. Our house’s elevation is only eleven feet.
You may wonder why we would buy a house that flooded. Well, there were several reasons. I’ve mentioned that my husband took a lay off package at work several years back. They were making cuts and they made an ever so slightly veiled threat that if he didn’t volunteer for the layoff he might be in the next mandatory cut and that the insurance package in the mandatory package would not be as good as the insurance benefits with the volunteer package. With me being in the midst of chemo treatment, he didn’t want to make a bad decision and mess up our insurance, so he took the package. The volunteer package insurance lasted a few months past my treatment plan.
With four of our five kids away in college (on student loans, so we didn’t have that expense to worry about) our big house where each kid had their own room was a luxury, albeit a luxury they had only experienced for four years. Before that we were a family of seven squeezed into a 1000 sq. ft. house with two bedrooms and two sleeping porches and one bathroom. So, a five bedroom, two and a half bath house with a formal living room turned into a sixth bedroom allowed our kids (all in their teens) to have that short four years of self-indulgence.
Downsizing meant cashing out of the bigger house and the flood damaged house isn’t really that much smaller, anyway. It’s four bedrooms, three baths and about 400 sq ft smaller. It was being sold for lot value and it still had the flood insurance policy intact. With my hubby being in construction, we were able to do most of the work ourselves and it kept us busy while he was waiting for the homebuilding industry to get back on its feet.
So, first reason to buy a flood damaged house was to cut expenses. Second was to occupy our time between jobs. Third was that in over forty years, this was the first time it had flooded so it wasn’t like it was a property prone to flooding. Fourth was that the flood insurance had not lapsed, so we’d get the same rate as the previous owners (which I believe is being phased out over the next few years.) Fifth was that the roof was fine and did not need replacing, well, unless we wanted to insure it! The previous owners received insurance money for the roof, but did not do any repairs to it. It doesn’t leak and we don’t want that expense, so no roof insurance for the time being. So, all in all, we had sound reasons for selling our more expensive house and moving into this one. We also thought we’d only be in it for a couple of years at most. Oh well, that part didn’t pan out. We’ve been here almost four years now. It has served its purpose well and as kids have graduated college and started careers or gone back for more schooling, it has continued to provide a roof over our heads (still no leaks!)
So, the organizing that I did yesterday was to box up nic nacs off my daughter’s desk so that my son will feel like it is his room and not hers. I also took four dining chairs out of his closet and stacked them in the dining room next to the king size bed frame that’s leaning up against the wall. Those all belong to the middle son who is getting married next month. I decided that youngest son shouldn’t have to have a jam packed closet just because middle son has been collecting furniture for a house or apartment he hasn’t found yet.
Side bar here: I refer to middle son as middle son because he is the middle child in the family. He is actually the third of our four sons. So there is oldest son, second oldest son, middle son, daughter and youngest son. Ok, it makes sense it my world. Here we all are last year at youngest son’s graduation.
So how about a guessing game? You obviously know who the mom, dad, daughter and youngest son are in the picture. Can you guess who is whom between the oldest, second oldest and middle son? I promise to follow the blog of anyone who guesses!