Home Not-So-Sweet Home

Last week in Colorado was one for the record books with its never-ending rain and the resulting flood waters. Fortunately, my home was one that did not flood out. Some of my neighbors were not quite as lucky but still better off than many who live to the west and up into the mountains. However, enough damage was sustained in my small town that a disaster deceleration was signed in order to help the town and its residents repair the damages done by the storms. Other than being trapped in the town as water flooded out the main roadways and the water restrictions as the sewer plant dealt with flood waters, I thought I would be one of the residents not needing to repair damage from the storm. I was wrong, so very wrong.

To understand the problem, it is pertinent to know that I live in a double wide manufactured home. The home before it was assembled here on the lot, it was in two pieces running length wise. After placement, the seams were connected together to form the house as a whole. When it was placed on the lot, the supporting structure of heavy duty jacks were placed directly on dirt. This was the minimum HUD requirement in 1994 when it was placed. Most manufactured and mobile homes, however, have the jacks placed on a cement pad or cement runners. Newer homes require some kind of crawl space to be built under the home.

Over the six years I have lived here, the house occasionally moved a bit after a big snowstorm melts off or a decent amount of rain because of the lack of cement but, physically, it is barely noticeable – it just made a lot of creaking noises as it settled again. This storm caused the jacks to move excessively. There’s a gap forming between the two halves of the house. Along the floor – where the distinction between the two halves is most noticeable – the gap is 1/2 inch to an inch wide. Most of the gap is covered by walls and/or decorative “beams” at the ceiling so it is not obvious in most of the rooms. This gap also allowed a great deal of water into the rafters. This water is gradually leaking into the ceiling. The shifting has caused a great deal of cracking in the ceilings and walls through out the house.

If my home coming apart the seams wasn’t bad enough, it wasn’t everything. The water and wind from the storm resulted in extensive roof damage. The roof was further damaged by wildlife seeking shelter in the rafters. By Saturday the 14th, there was something nesting in the rafters over every room. On Monday, one of the creatures discovered the ceiling in the closet housing the furnace was weaker compared to the other ceiling. (The drainage system with the furnace ventilation system may have leaked or backed up – it is hard to tell – resulting in additional water damage.) I came home from much needed grocery shopping to find the furnace closet door open and ceiling & wall pieces falling onto furnace as a creature aggressive attacked the area. It scared me but I acted quickly by slamming the door shut and placing boxes of hardcover books in front of the door. I can still hear bits of wall & ceiling hit the metal door in late afternoon and early evening. I am too scared to open the door to see if the creature has broken through.

The roof wasn’t the only area to come under assault by wildlife. Creatures also destroyed the underbelly protection and got up in the areas under the floors. I kept hearing them walking along the metal vents and ripping up the insulation as they moved under the floor.

The exterior of the house sustained damage as well. The gutters leaked excessively and leaked into the wood supports behind them. All the water warped the siding. The wood supports, the wood around windows (windows that can no longer open due to the shifting), and the siding elements that are raised above the base siding are all rotting and/or molding.

I am still able to live in the house. It seems safe-ish although I am deeply concerned about future storms of rain or snow. I do not know if the house can survive additional onslaughts. Supposedly, Colorado is in for a rough winter.

My house is most unhappy but, fortunately, my insurance company has been quick to respond to my claim filing. The insurance adjustor is arriving tomorrow to view and document the damage. I hope that they are willing to move forward with the claim and fix the house. There is a possibility that they may opt to replace it instead. I pay extra every month for full replacement coverage of the house and its belongings so the insurance company may decide it will be cheaper to replace the house than to fix the problems. Manufactured and Mobile homes are relatively inexpensive and there comes a point where they are no longer worth fixing which is why I pay for that extra coverage. Have to wait and see.

When (If) the claim moves forward, there is a high likelihood that I will have to move out in order to have the two halves reassembled, and definitely have to move for a house replacement scenario. So I may be moving some time between soon and January although the whole situation with my sister isn’t settled yet either. I am left with a heaping plate of things to do, and a heaping plate of questions with no answers in sight. I continue to pack and clean because I do not know what else to do plus I do not want to end up scrambling around trying to get everything packed quickly when moving time shows up. Nevertheless, until I get definitive answers from others, I am at loose ends.

At this point, I may not have time to participate in NaNoWriMo 2013, and this blog may be neglected for several months. Again, everything depends on how things work out for my housing situation.

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