Slowly, ever so slowly, I sense progress, a hint of moving forward in rebuilding house and life. Picking up my mail this week, I decide to peek inside the house to see if anything has changed recently. There had been a week’s pause in work due to a disagreement with one of the city inspectors. He insisted that he needed to check all the duct work though he had told my contractor it was fine to move forward with the dry wall. My contractor Mark was, understandably, not happy about this and reminded him, in vain, of his past approval. This would mean tearing down some of the dry wall to check ducts and then putting it up again, so Mark decided that he would bring in the inspector’s supervisor to discuss the issue. Hence the delay. Luckily, the supervisor sided with my contractor, so work could recommence. The walls are now covered with bright white patches to seal nails and seams. Scaffolding had been set up to reach those lovely yet inaccessible cathedral ceilings. The house appears to have a strange case of white measles, but I know the spots are the cure not the disease.
Life is also moving forward for both my son and daughter. There were a couple of challenging weeks dealing with the glitches that always seem to threaten a smooth beginning to the school year. Jacob found himself running around to various college offices to handle bureaucratic mishaps and the red tape that so easily tangles and frustrates even the most patient of people, which he is not. Nevertheless, after first complaining and then consulting his dad and me, he managed to take care of everything. This shows enormous progress from just a few months ago when panic attacks prevented him from doing anything. He also likes the co-op he’s living in, the same one I lived in 30 years ago, and has settled into his first full-time semester in nine months. The other day he spent many hours volunteering to help with the fire relief for those who’ve lost much more than we did in the recent fires outside of Austin. I can’t say that I’ve totally relaxed my concern about his depression issues, but I am beginning to breathe a bit easier.
Sarah likes her new dorm arrangement – four small private rooms for each person with a kitchenette and sitting area in common – and after some delays, has managed to get all her textbooks from various vendors without me taking out a second mortgage. She, too, ran into some glitches, mostly because of the budget cuts at her college. She did not get work-study and thus, her old job back. Since she doesn’t have a car, she worried about finding an on-campus job on her small campus. I wasn’t nearly as worried about her and felt confident she’d find something. She’s a good problem solver, which is probably why she does so well in science. Sure enough, during our first skype call she told me that she would be a teaching assistant to help beginning physics students. This is the advantage to a small college; there are a lot more opportunities for undergraduates.
It’s looking more and more realistic that I’ll get back to my house in the next four weeks or so. Even more importantly, the insurance appraiser and I have finalized (for now) the lengthy spreadsheet listing my lost personal property. A check is on the way. Of course, this first check is for the depreciated values, but as soon as I start replacing items, I can send in the receipts for replacement costs. I’ll be heading back to the furniture stores soon! I’ve even started browsing the real estate websites, checking out potential houses to begin my search once again. Things are looking up. I can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.