Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013: Part 7 - Back in the US

That final day in Rome started to bring reality back into focus. Our reality was that we had a house that had flooded in Arizona, 2 weeks of state hopping around the US visiting family, and then back to Chile for our final semester of school here.

How were we going to get everything done that needed to be? A little bit of weight began to rest on our shoulders.

We flew 10 1/2 hours to Atlanta. Then the 4 hours back to Phoenix. We arrived at our house late on Saturday and realized we'd need a hotel. There was no way we'd be able to stay there (we were holding out hope that we could spend a few nights in our Sleep Number bed).  So we headed to our hotel. I searched through bag after bag until I found church clothes and headed up to the laundromat to do a couple loads before morning. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open. After living in Chile, and vacationing in Rome, I couldn't make myself just LEAVE my clothes in the laundry room at the hotel. So I sat there and watched them.

We all wanted to go to church on Sunday to see all of our friends. Thankfully, we were all up and wide awake by 7am with the time difference between Phoenix and Rome. It was good to see everyone. After church we went to our house to look at things in the daylight. Wow. What a mess...

Here are the pictures that our friends took of our house when they first arrived. By the time we got there, the dry-out crew had already removed the water and debris. The drywall had been removed in several places and fans were everywhere. It also smelled to high heaven. Like "Christine's Basement". (My family will know that that means) Old lady, wet basement. YUCK!

This first pictures shows the ice left on the driveway. Our next door neighbor left for work when he saw ice on the driveway. He knew that wasn't right, so he called his wife to have her check and see if we had a sprinkler leak. She walked over and heard water pouring in the garage - and quickly realized that it wasn't a sprinkler leak. We had 3 days of freezing temperatures in Phoenix and our pipes just couldn't take it. 

Water was pouring out of the front, back and side doors. This is a picture of the back doors.

This photo shows the water in the hallway looking into the laundry and garage. 

The ceiling in the laundry room. The leak was in the wall between the two showers upstairs. The laundry room and garage ceilings got the brunt of it. The garage ceiling fell on my car. I just had all the dings and scratches buffed out of it last year. Luckily, I don't see any damage. The drywall was so wet that when it fell, it was probably not much harder than a wet towel.

Water between the wall and the paint. 

The ceilings were all soaked. So were the walls. There were able to dry out most of the ceiling. Everything will be repainted and treated with a mold something or other. BONUS: Bye Bye Popcorn Ceilings!

The water was about 1/4 deep when our friends first went in the house.  

More ceiling damage in the laundry room. When the dry-out guys removed the washer and dryer, water poured out of both. Not a good sign.

Greg and I got through most of everything in the 5 days we were in Phoenix and still managed to have dinner with friends. Surprisingly, not one single irreplaceable was damaged. All of my photos were fine. Only 20 were in an album that was on the bottom shelf of the desk. They were salvageable. Everything else was just stuff. 
Having lived in another country for a year with only a few items from home, has made me realize that all that "stuff" at home just clogs up my mental peace. I had intended to go home and get rid of 2/3 of everything we have. I'm over stuff. So this just kicked that in gear a little sooner than we planned. 
We met with insurance guys, carpet guys, the contractor. We went through the attic and everything in the house that was wet. 
It was a whirlwind but in the end, we felt good about the way we were leaving things so we headed to Kaysville (Fruit Heights), Utah as planned for a fun weekend with family. My oldest niece, Katie, will be submitting papers soon to serve a mission for our church. We are so excited for her. My littlest niece, Marisa has grown like crazy. The last time we got to snuggle her, she was just a month old. Now she's a year and we got to be there to witness some of her first few steps - she walked to Uncle Greg. It made his heart melt. Oliver is Andrew's age and Quinn is Alex's age. They are the best of friends.
There are not many pictures of our few days in Utah. Probably because we were overwhelmed with the house. But we had a great time. Dinner as a whole group every night, shopping at an adorable boutique with Katie and Michele (her mom), nails, home movies, you know - all the good stuff. Lots and lots of laughing! Andrew even went on a blind date with Oliver and some of his friends. It was a great weekend.

Monday morning, Greg headed to Minneapolis for meetings, and the kids and I headed to Independence, Missouri to visit my family. We had a new family member to meet. Little Colton was born at the end of September and we've only 'goo'ed and 'coo'ed at him via the internet. 

He was still batttling RSV so he was a little sick - but he constantly had a smile on his face. He is the sweetest little guy. He makes 11 grandkids for my parents. Colton is my brother Randy's first. Randy is the baby in our family - the youngest of the twins. Randy named Colton after his twin brother, Ryan. I love that! We loved actually getting to cuddle little Colton Ryan.

Even though the trip was quick, there was still time to have fun with Uncle Matt.

I talk to my mom and sister almost every single day via Facetime or Skype - or text using WhatsApp; but I miss talking to my brothers and dad. I am the oldest of 5 kids. We grew up really close and I miss them like crazy. Matt is the oldest of the boys and the middle child. 

My brother Ryan lives in Oklahoma and was planning to drive up, but was hit with the horrible flu bug that was sweeping across the states. So I missed him. I got to spend time with Randy - but due to his travel schedule at work, he was out of town when we had our little photo session. 

The kids went sledding. Andrew is looking quite dashing in Uncle Matt's hunting coveralls. My family in Missouri are camo-wearing hunters. My boys own very little camo. Only a few items used for paintballing. So the camo look is something they are not quite used to. 

Grandpa Leonard is my mom's dad. 4 generations! Again, we missed so many pictures - we were just so side-tracked. I also was able to visit with my grandma Donnie, who is my dad's mom. I love that I have so much family around!

There were slumber parties - where I made flavored popcorn with my little Katie (I have a big Katie in Utah, and a little Katie in Missouri) who is also my namesake. Little Miss Kaitlyn Rhennia was my Sous Chef. "But my name is not Sue!" I love her!

There was a birthday party for my adorable little Leah.

I can never get enough Daddy time! Here is my dad with my sister's husband, Mike.

Finally, the annual kid pyramid.

A few last family shots with the people that were there before we headed to Atlanta to meet Greg at our connecting flight and hop on a plane back to Chile. 

Us with baby Colton!

My sister (and best friend) Shellie's family.

My brother Matt's family. We LOVE his wife, Erin - she is totally one of us!

My brother Randy's family. His fiancĂ© Casey and their new baby. I am so glad my brothers have chosen wives that we adore. Sometimes families are not so lucky. 

It was an unbelievable trip. We came back to Chile and had just under a week to rest up before the semester started for my kids. Time here has just flown by. 3 1/2 months from now, we'll be on a plane back to the US for good. Wow. Some days, I never thought I'd make it, now I can't believe we are in our final months. What a glorious opportunity this has been. BUT I will say, being back in the states made us want to stay. I think going home at the end of this year was the right decision for our family. There is a lot for us here, but our home is there, and home is good. 

No comments:

Post a Comment