Monday, October 13, 2014

Everything is gone-Mold Saga Part 3

Good bye, nice little house.  Sniff, sniff :-(
(Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here)

We had a really difficult weekend.  We went to our house on Saturday to clean out the rest of the garage of all the things that didn't fit in the huge dumpster.  When we got to the house, there were probably 10 people from our church standing there, ready and willing to jump into our trash pile.  What a blessing!

We brought one Bagster along, and now we laugh at that.  We use *3* Bagsters.  We completely underestimated the amount of stuff we had left!  Oops...

There's another one in the back that is hard to see.
Our volunteers got the whole garage cleaned out in just under an hour, which was great, but the hard work was just beginning for us.  They had set aside things we wanted to try to keep and things they didn't know what to do with.  So, donning our embarrassing masks, we set to work sorting out what was left.

This is ridiculous, right?!?
It was absolutely heart breaking.  We were forced to choose between our health and our only copies of pictures from a photo shoot we had when Sarah was a tiny baby.  Our health and hand made towels with each child's name that my mom made for them when they were born.  Our health and the only material thing we have left from my dear uncle who passed away much too young.

We sat there for hours picking through what was left of our life.  It was physically and emotionally exhausting.

We've heard it said that you should treat your home as if it's on fire when you have the type of mold infestation we had.  Run away and never come back is what they say.  That sounds good to a point, but it's not really a great comparison.  We feel blessed to have been able to go through our stuff before having to throw it away, but there was almost nothing we could keep.

We have friends in our neighborhood who lost their home to a fire a few years ago.  While it was an agonizing time for them, they got their housing paid for during all of the time they had to be out of the home, insurance paid for them to replace all their belongings, and they got a brand new house built in the place of the old one.  They now live in the same great neighborhood in a brand new house with all new belongings.

I don't want to minimize their hardship at all.  I walked along side them, from watching the big machines come in to tear down what was left of their house, to welcoming them back to the neighborhood 9 months later.  It's just that they lost their home and all their belongings and got it all replaced, much of it even better than the original.  We lost our home and all our belongings and we sit here thankful for Tim's parents opening up their home (and furniture) to us.  Otherwise we'd be homeless.  That is a very sobering thought.  Of everything in our home, we were able to keep maybe 20% of our clothes (none of us were able to keep our winter coats or boots, and MN gets cold...) and possibly a few pans and CDs and a few other odds and ends.  We're not sure if we're even going to be able to keep those things.  Everything else is gone.

I am completely overwhelmed thinking through all of the stuff, even basic necessities, that we no longer have.  Big things like beds, a couch, a dining table.  Small things like dishes, towels, pillows, lamps, shoes, measuring cups.  We have most of what we need here at Tim's parents house but, considering they rent and we are not on the lease, we can't stay here forever.  We have a new housing situation on the horizon that I'm excited to share with you all in another post, but we can't make that move until we are able to furnish it.  We should be getting our Social Security payments eventually, but we don't know how much or when yet (more info on that here and here).

Another issue that we have to deal with, much to the horror of my frugal heart, is that we are unable to buy used items at this time.  I have bought exactly one piece of new furniture ever, and it was an awesome huge bookshelf/catch-all from Ikea.  Other than that, we've always furnished our house through Craigslist and garage sales, just the way I like it.  But with our current severe reactions to any type of mold exposure, we are not able to risk bringing any type of mold into our new home.

We never could have guessed our reactions to our stuff on Saturday.  It was worse than we expected.  We had a hard time breathing, headaches, extreme body pain, and dizziness.  I forgot to put gloves on, and my hands are now raw and rashy and blistery from touching the contaminated stuff.  This is all a nightmare.

When our church volunteers were over on Saturday, I was trying to be tough and make the hard decisions about what to throw away.  At different points I needed to look away or pretend I didn't see what had just gone in the trash.  As I was lying in bed on Saturday night, I started to comprehend what it meant that everything we had ever known was on it's way to the dump.  It hit me hard, and I decided I needed to go back and pick through the trash bags on our driveway.  I went back there on Sunday afternoon looking for 2 main things-a small piggy bank my mom painted for me when I was little, and some of the school projects and pictures my kids have done over the years.  I looked and looked and couldn't find any of it.

It hit me like a ton of bricks on my way back home, empty-handed.  Our, and more importantly our kids', entire life history was in those Bagsters.  I was sobbing as I was thinking that I have nothing from when my kids were small apart from digital pictures, which I am so thankful to have.  It could be so much worse.

These past couple days have been very hard for both Tim and me.  We are now reacting much more severely than we did before because of our most recent mold exposure, so we are wondering if we will be able to keep anything at all that was ever inside our house.

I feel like this has been one big whine-fest.  I don't intend to come across that way.  It is truly my hope that anyone still reading this will understand what a big deal mold is and do anything in their power to not let this happen to them.  Here is another similar story from Kate at Modern Alternative Mama.  They didn't have the previous health problems we have, but they still lost almost everything because of something that could have been dealt with early on.  If you have water in your home, please deal with it before it steals your health and all of your belongings.

Friday, October 3, 2014

SSDI Decision #2!

Yep.  Huge news!  I got a fully favorable decision in addition to Tim's decision (more info on that here).  We are so relieved!  Thank you for all of your prayers.