Ok, I left you all hanging after making promises I would share my writing retreat. I apologize, but there is a good
bad reason. Things took an unexpected turn while I was up there in paradise by the Puget Sound.
I enjoyed almost two weeks house-sitting in what I call “the Mansion”, the first week with my darling husband who flew out with me.
The day my hosts returned home from Cuba, right before heading out to pick them up, I received some shattering news. My father had walked over to my condo in Tempe, to retrieve his car that was being stored in my carport. As he approached, he noticed a stream of water flowing from my front door. He and my brother crashed my swollen door open to find a full blown water disaster throughout my home, ceilings crashed to the ground and several inches of standing water throughout.
(thank God for good friends–my friend Michelle sprung in to action and ran over immediately to retrieve some waterlogged possessions–all of the documents I’ve been using for the book actually that were sitting in inches of water–and she took these photos)
Well, my entire next 5 days became consumed with managing this disaster. And we are barely, over two weeks later, still in to it. I had to spend several hours a day on the phone with insurance adjusters, water remediation specialists, etc. who sprung to action.
Without sharing all of the gory details, at this moment, every single one of my possessions has been packed out, catalogued and photographed (imagine all of your belongings accumulated over 18 years). It is all being stored in a warehouse somewhere. My home has been taken back to the studs upstairs and down. All walls and ceilings were soaked with water. Apparently a feed to the upstairs toilet burst, and it wasn’t noticed for over a week, after it had filled my home with water which started flowing out the front door.
(some of the itemized items from my home, trickling in, that have been catalogued–yes a single garden glove and two strings)
Once this is all over, I will have a new home–all new carpet, walls, paint, ceilings, cabinets, countertops throughout the bathrooms and kitchen, lighting fixtures–it was all totaled. I haven’t returned to AZ as my physical presence was not needed and my insurance company would just have to put me up somewhere. Frankly, I haven’t wanted to face the destruction and it’s being handed competently. We have tickets already to return in May/June and an AirBnb to stay at, so leaving it at that.
Now there are many silver linings going on here and let’s just say, this catastrophe knocked me right off a fence I was barely teetering on, and it will ultimately end up a good thing for us. But it’s still very traumatic to go through. Sometimes life makes your decisions for you.
The current stress has to do with two insurance companies figuring out who is to pay for what. Meanwhile, the house sits there, gutted, while one of them is attempting to confirm coverage–over a week now. It is testing my deep distrust of insurance companies having your back (remember we sued the life insurance companies who sold the insurance that cost Cindy her life…and lost). I have been managing this stress, and the potential financial consequences on me, for over two weeks now.
(it’s all over my face in this photo, even in spite of everything, I took a ferry ride which I love)
I have learned a lot about the toll this kind of trauma takes on a person. The first twenty four hours had me highly functional and on top of everything. Then my brain started blitzing out. I bumped my rental car in to a large rock in the parking space I’ve parked in dozens and dozens of times with my much larger SUV, causing damage. I now am also managing an insurance claim on that! (American Express has been wonderful to deal with and is handling the entire thing so I won’t be out of pocket even a penny). I left my keys in Lowe’s at the counter after running in for a small purchase. There was an incident involving my full bladder and a coffee cup that I will never disclose. I had to finally realize I was sort of out of my mind. The last day in Edmonds I chose to just stay in the beautiful Studio, read, relax and enjoy the view and let my brain settle down.
(my wonderful friend and host sent that gorgeous trifle down for me to enjoy)
I consider myself a very strong person–stronger than most honed by a lifetime of need–and this blew my circuits. It is a very humbling thing to realize and admit.
Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive and insightful husband who pointed out when I started having trouble sleeping and other stress symptoms, that I’ve lived longer in this home than any other in my entire life–18 years. Of course, even if I’m ready to release it, which I am, it’s a traumatic loss. ALL of my heirlooms, photos etc., are in the possession of other people. It is a lot to manage.
(my mother’s china on that plate rack, thankfully, survived)
So…I remain, waiting, learning new ways to manage this kind of stress. I’m exhausted, honestly.
On top of this, it appeared my brother went “missing” again yesterday and my father is out of town to a funeral, which I spent also a considerable amount of time planning for him (air travel, wheelchairs, transfers, etc.). I do a lot of managing my family from afar. Yesterday’s trauma involved John not answering his phone, or calling my Dad daily as promised for 4 days. We did a welfare check (well I orchestrated it at my Dad’s insistence), which resulted in several hours of dealing with the police, calling friends to go over and let them in, etc. And it turned out exactly as my husband and I suspected–he was in the house sound asleep, not answering his phone or the door. Sigh….
It’s time to reevaluate my family’s ability to live independently. So next month we will have a family meeting over this and it won’t be easy. Again, so thankful I have such a wonderful, willing and competent husband to help me with these complex issues. We are looking at obtaining guardianship now over my brother.
So yes, it’s been a time.
With all of that being said, while I was in WA, before the flood, I sent out three revised query letters to agents. One replied immediately saying our case had already received too much publicity for her to consider it (!!! I had to laugh at that as I was certain the airing of the ID show on the case would be a selling point–but her deal is to get people exposure like that–not the aftermath–so I understood).
Just this week, I received a reply from another agent I’m quite interested in who wants 50 more pages. I need the dust to settle a bit on this house disaster to be able to focus on cleaning up those pages and send them. But that was unexpected! Her advised turnaround for a reply to queries is 8 weeks. She replied to me in less than two! I just know the right people to represent me will be so taken with the story–and my telling of it–that they will jump on it. And if they don’t have that response, they are not the right people!
A good life lesson in general, right?
Those are my updates for now. I finally had a moment to string some thoughts together.
As always, thanks for being out there, and please stay tuned.