Home > gardening, musings, NaBloPoMo, news, tornado, update > The story so far…

The story so far…

If you are just joining us, here’s what you missed:
February had slipped into April and the garden was in full planting with sprouts and the budding of peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes beginning to appear. I was in the death rolls of a CISSP class at UAB and aimed for the CISSP exam in my near future… my attitude towards it was well expressed by the quote from the movie, Mystery Men: “We’ve got a blind date with destiny… and it looks like she’s ordered the lobster.”

Little did I know how messy the lobster could be.

April 27, 2011 was a dread filled Wednesday. I wrote about my first week since that day, below, but what happened since then?

Since then, the yard cleanup continued until we had the large logs arranged in the back yard like a paddock for the dogs to get out and run in (since the fence was demolished). We call it Fort Bitch. We continued living in our damaged house for about a month, until the insurance company could find us a temporary place while our house could be repaired.

Our temporary place is an unused starter mansion in a lake front community inhabited by doctors and such, called Lake Crest, on Lake Tuscaloosa. We moved most of our belongings into a POD on our front lawn, and then moved us, our clothes, the dogs, the dragon and a few personal belongings into the starter mansion. We left our 4 bedroom, 2 bath ranch style house for a 3 floor, 6 bedroom, 5 bath mansion with a huge kitchen, garage, office, down stairs den, and safe room.

The only way the bedroom decorations could have more freaky was to have the kids’ names stenciled on the doors before we arrived. Aside from the Master, the bedrooms are The China Room, decorated in an oriental style, black lacquered furniture and Chinese masks on the wall, The Fairy Room, with pink walls and fairy decorations, the Dragon Room, in blues, with dragons in the lamps, bed, mirror, and wall paper, and the Africa room, with its leopard and giraffe print covers ceremonial masks on the wall, and elephant styled chair and stool. Our Kids’ tastes: Asian art and literature (son), Pink, Fairies (daughter), All things Dragon (son), all things Africa (son)… FREAKY!

The mansion is weird. The neighborhood must have some agreement… none of the houses have anything on their front doors and most have nothing on the front windows aside from some shutters, so at night everyone can see into everyone’s living room. The dogs hate it, they bark at every car and person passing by the house – because they can see them all! Also, none of the doors close and latch (and stay close at more than a light push), unless bolted. The windows are not well sealed, and the wind whistles through the place like a tea kettle. Oh! and the scorpions in the downstairs den are no joy either.

Our, OUR, house has a new metal roof and new structure underneath. The bathrooms are being rebuilt (both were leaking, cracked, and mold had set in after the storm). The kitchen, directly under one of the large trees, is just a room of studs, but they have found all the live wires in the house that were uncapped and bare in the walls – a fire waiting to happen. The electrical and plumbing have passed inspection, so sheet rock installation can begin. After that, the kitchen should go pretty quickly.

I, finally, took my CISSP exam and am awaiting my results. The test took me 5 hours to take, plus the 3 hour commute to and from the testing site in Huntsville, made for a very long day.

We had hoped to have Halloween as our celebration in our house in our neighborhood, with our friends, but we are still in the mansion. Halloween in the mansion neighborhood was like when I was a kid, my kids each got a BAG FULL of candy, and I heard several people say, while we were out and about, “OK, we are going to go home, dump our bags and then continue…” There was a lot of candy to be had.

We had hoped for Halloween in our house, now we are hoping for Thanksgiving.

UPDATE: 30 Nov 2011

Well, we missed getting home by Thanksgiving, so now we are REALLY hoping for a Christmas return. We joked that the unpacking of the pod would be like presents on Christmas morning. Now it very well may be. Guess where all of our Winter clothing is stored. Go on, guess. YES! In the back of the pod, behind and under everything else we packed!

I just received an eMail that I had to share:

Dear Christopher Copeland:

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have passed the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) examination

NOW, you are caught up.

  1. David Bradshaw
    9 November 2011 at 14:49

    Yes..I see you still love writing. Thanks for the update. I remember sending you a word of encouragement back when the Tornado/Storm hit ..don’t know if you ever got it. But I can tell you from my family’s experience with the fire back in February that it will be alright in the end. You have to look at it positively or it could seriously affect your karma. I don’t know if you have developed faith in God since we last spoke, but it was the one thing that kept me sane through the whole experience. (I wont bother to detail the other trials that pre-dated the fire such as my 18-month jobless/project-less unemployment, the 4-month setback of our restaurant business caused by the flood of 2010, and the harrowing negotiations with my lender to convince them to not foreclose on us). Had I not been a person of faith, I could have easily lost it in so many ways.

    Unlike your situation it took only about 5 months to get back into our house, the interim being spent in hotels and temp housing. We said from day 1 that the most important thing was that we all survived with no injuries (at least that we know of). So anything from there was going to be a plus. The house was extensively damaged (large loss). The entire first floor and garage (oh it s a 4-bedroom, 3.5 bath with 2 floors and a crawl space) had to be gutted down to the studs and rebuilt. The upstairs was stained with soot and other fire related residues, but only needed a good cleaning, airing-out/deodorizing (that burnt smell can linger long) and a new paint job. Thanks to new regulations all the windows also had to be replaced. Needless to say we took advantage of the situation and did a bit of re-designing of our 12-year old house. We changed the floors from carpet to hardwood, re-did the master bathroom and added more lighting and cooling options. On the whole a pretty good result, considering. Thank God we had insurance.

    So don’t worry. Everything will be alright. Just have faith. God Bless!!


    • CA
      12 December 2011 at 08:51

      Thank you, David.
      Yes, I recall getting your note after the storm. I am sorry that I did not reply to you.
      It did mean a lot to me, that you were thinking of us.

      With my wife driving the contractors, we are going to be back in our house by Christmas (or she promised that we are spending it with them – and THEY get to feed the 4 kids)

  1. 30 November 2011 at 13:58

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