Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Milestones

Last Friday we got the water turned back on, … Woo Hoo! Water has been my bane, but no doubt about it, it is a necessity. Saturday morning early the first thing I did was to hook up the toilets. The second thing I did was …..well, erm, on to the other milestones.


We have Steps!
The front porch is actually being built. Of course, last week when it DIDN’T RAIN” the crew was inside working on putting in the doors casing and trim etc. Now that we are back to more typical spring weather (cloud bursts every 45 minutes) the outside work is underway.

Friday we took delivery of some new furniture. S and I have/had a hodgepodge of hand me down and chez Goodwill stylings. It was fine for where we had been living, but it did look a little odd in our new house. The flood gave us reason to make some improvements. We bought a nice couch/loveseat set in the mission style.

I’ve noticed in the past few years that most couches and chairs are pretty uncomfortable for me to sit on for any length of time. Maybe I missed the introduction of 'uncomfortable chic'. S thought for a long time that the reason I often sat on the floor was because I am some sort of tree hugging enviro-grouch. It was a revaluation to her to learn that it has more to do with my back getting sore after about 45 minutes in all but one of our chairs and couches. Two ruptured discs are always there to remind me of my foolish youth.

All of this is to say that our faux bungalow couch and love seat are not only good looking, they are really comfortable, at least for this old geezer. When we have the celebration gathering later in the spring, be sure to give them a sit and tell us what you think.

We also took delivery on our new bed, this too is an upgrade. I’m hoping the one we bought is as comfortable as the one I took for a 15 minute test snooze on the showroom floor. It’s one of those memory foam mattresses, and they say they need a little breaking in … We’ll see.


Also new are the washer and dryer. The ‘laundry platform’ these days seems to have adopted models of both Coca Cola and the computer industry. I think we got ‘Washer and Dryer – version 4.6’. We may need one of those tech geeks to come out and show us the high lights of the operating system. Actually, Mrs. C is away on a business trip and I have experimented with doing some laundry. This may that one situation where technology has actually made a task fool proof, or at least smarter than the average fool (that would be me). So far no foaming waterfall or scorched clothes. Coca Cola he said? Remember getting a little bottle of Coke, it was 8 oz I believe. 12 oz. is the new small size. Well this laundry tower seems also to be 30 % larger than our old washer and dryer. Hmmm, may be we need to do a little remodel to accommodate the new equipment …………maybe not.

Last week we marked several other milestones as well:

April 3rd was the one year anniversary of the day we moved into our house. I’m hoping that we don’t have a similar year anytime soon. And April 4th was 4 months to the day since we flooded. I had hopes, almost from the beginning of this adventure that we would be back in the house in less than four months. I’m sad, frustrated, a little angry, and very anxious about this. On the other hand I’m confident that we will likely take up residence this coming weekend and that all the remaining details will be finished in less than 2 weeks. Imagine, actually looking forward to being able to mow the lawn or fussing about the peas not germinating, normal seems so extraordinary.

Some of you know that I went to Louisiana in the winter of 2005 to help with hurricane recovery. I continue to get news releases from the Louisiana Recovery Authority. This most recent announcement indicates that they are now distributing funds to help people raise their homes. It would have been nice to be nice to get financial assistance to raise our home, but the idea of waiting four years to ‘git er dun’ doesn’t work for me.

Louisiana's Road Home Program Pays First Elevation Checks to Homeowners
Applicants Encouraged to Return Commitment Letters

BATON ROUGE, La. (April 8, 2008) - The state last week distributed the first checks for home elevations through the Road Home program to homeowners, just six weeks after announcing it was reactivating its elevation program and speeding the process of getting aid by forgoing award calculations and offering a flat amount for elevation.
"Homeowners should take this as a sign that the state of Louisiana is committed to helping them to rebuild safer, stronger and smarter than before," said Walter Leger, chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority's (LRA) Housing Task Force. "Applicants should consider their options and return their elevation letters to the Road Home so that we can quickly move to get them the funds they need to elevate their homes."
Louisiana put its elevation program on hold in April 2007 after serving 2,000 homeowners because of concerns over a potential shortfall in the Road Home budget. The LRA and the Office of Community Development (OCD) announced in late February 2008 that the state was reactivating the elevation program and notifying homeowners who qualified for elevation awards by letter.
To date, the Road Home has mailed more than 22,000 of 70,000 letters to homeowners. The rest will be mailed in the next few weeks. At this time, more than 2,000 people have returned their letters indicating that they would like to participate in the program. The state estimates that 35,000 to 40,000 people will elect to participate in the Road Home Elevation Program.
Homeowners with questions about their letters or their eligibility for elevation funding should contact their Road Home Personal Applicant Liaison.
Rather than each homeowner having an individual elevation grant calculation, homeowners will receive standard elevation amounts through the Road Home program, based on the type of home they have, at the following levels:
Site built homes and modular homes: up to $30,000 elevation allowance;
Mobile homes: up to $20,000 elevation allowance.
Homeowner compensation through the Road Home is capped at $150,000 per applicant. Those homeowners who have already closed on their Road Home grants will receive elevation funds as a second disbursement from the program. Eligible applicants who have not closed will receive elevation funds during their Road Home closing. These funds are made possible through Community Development Block Grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Louisiana will also issue a request for proposals in the coming weeks for a contractor to run a second elevation program using Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds beginning this summer. This program will help some eligible Road Home applicants cover the gap between their Road Home elevation awards and the actual cost of elevation.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently announced new program rules to allow property owners who have already begun or completed elevation to be eligible for this hazard mitigation funding.
Homes damaged by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita may be eligible for the retroactive funding through this second elevation program as well, provided that they meet all other federal requirements. This exemption applies to property owners who completed or started mitigation work on their property by March 16, 2008, and whose properties fall into one of the following categories:
Properties identified as eligible for elevation through the state's Road Home program, which will be included in the OCD's HMGP application; or
Properties included in an HMGP application proposed by a parish and submitted to the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
To date, the state has disbursed $6.2 billion to more than 105,000 homeowners through the Road Home program, making it the largest home rebuilding program in American history.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.
Seeing this was a good reminder that though this has been hard to take, it could have been much worse, we didn't have it nearly as bad as many other people.

My brother writes that I may want to consider another home upgrade: a john boat. He mentions that there is record snow pack in the Cascades and we are having a chilly spring which both adds to the snow pack and increases the likelihood that rapid snow melt in the late spring may lead to flooding, in which case a john boat tied to the hand rail of the new porch might come in handy. He’s right; It's possible. As Dave-The-Contractor likes to say “anything is possible”.

Here in the PNW most of our flooding occurs as mother nature sometimes stumbles from fall to winter. It is often the result of a 'rain on snow' event that is produced by Chinook winds on the heels of a cold front that dumps a lot of fresh snow in the mountains. But this is the new century, we have the issue of global warming and more importantly to me; we are downstream from lots of development. Every paved parking lot, storm water street drain, and dike project (upstream) is designed to pass the problem of all this water, … downstream. Our little town does not have the political or financial clout to make water run up hill, or at least to help us deal with the water that those upstreamers just want to get rid of. This ‘social’ trend is potentially just as dangerous to us as the environmental effects of global warming.

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