Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tennessee Floods part 2

By SkeeterAs you know from my last posting, my parents Tennessee home flooded recently. I was with them the day the waters started to rise. On that Sunday morning, May 2, we awoke to mud on the driveway of the house.
My father takes pride in his home and yard and was not happy with a neighbors renovations causing the mud to creep into their driveway with the heavy rains. Little did we know, this would be the least of worry.The waters continued to rise and their house was under water by Monday. This picture I found on the Internet of their house still makes my stomach turn into a knot when I see it.But what is done, is done and now the cleaning and rebuilding begins.... After talking to my mom on the phone on Monday evening, I longed to be with my parents. The house was still under water and the interstates remained under water as well so nothing I could do to help.

The waters finally lowered and they could get into the house by Wednesday. Thursday morning, I was on the way back to Tennessee with a car full of supplies such as boxes, tape, cleaning supplies, etc. The Saint headed to TN after work that evening. He had our pressure washer with him to help where needed. He sprayed the house, porch, part of the driveway, swing, garden statues, etc while I worked on clearing the remainder of the stuff from the house. Most items on higher spots such as cabinets remained and needed to be removed. We were shocked as to how high the water was in the house. As you can see from me standing on the deck, the swing is much lower then the house. The swing was completely under water! The house you see behind my parents in this picture is a story too. It is a two story house with flood insurance. The homeowners were in the process of getting the house ready to go on the market For Sale. Most everything was removed from the house but the garage held lots of boxed items and a new zero-radius (expensive) mower and all other lawn equipment. I am not sure just how high the waters got into their house but at one point my brother said it was about to cover the entire front door of the house! Insurance will cover the house repairs but NOTHING that was in the garage! You see, the insurance company states the garage is not part of the house as it is on a separate foundation being concrete! You better read the fine print in your insurance policy people!!! Debris such as this large stump were all over the yard.
The first thing I noticed when stepping out onto the deck was the missing Air Conditioning and Heat Unit. It along with the entire duct work had to be removed. Several family heirloom pieces were stored under the crawl space of the house. They were all lost to the flood. Rocking chairs belonging to grandparents, wash stand, library table, etc.
The deck and screen porch combination will have to be inspected by a professional as the right side of the deck has settled into the ground thus it is leaning.
Water was up to the arrow I have marked to show you on the screen porch.
The same amount was also in the garage.
The Hot water heater was under water so a new tank must be purchased with renovations.
Luckily, the water did not get above the electrical outlets thus they still had electricity. Fans were in every room running full blast to dry out the sub flooring. The contractor had to drill holes in the floor for drainage as well.
The carpets in the house were removed as they were saturated with smelly contaminated water. The wood paneling must go.
Look at that red clay on the kitchen floor! Water got into the cabinets so new ones are on order. The dish washer was damage so must be replaced but the stove was fine and the refrigerator was removed before the flood.
The sun room doors had to remain closed as this room was a health hazard according to the inspector.
Rotting worms were covering the floor and they were an awful scent to the nose. Shoooo-weeeee.
Red clay in the bathroom and lower vanity's filled with water. All tile must go and the shower as well.
The master bedroom closet water line was saddening. The louvered closet doors must all be replaced as all other doors in the entire house.
Guest bathroom vanity will have to be replaced along with the toilet, tub and tiles.
Marble foyer floor will have to be replaced as well.
One week after the flood, everything remaining salvageable was placed into boxes and put into a neighbors basement for storage. Monday morning, May 10 demolition begins for major renovations. My mom had been wanting to update the house and with Mother Natures help, it is now happening. Not the way she prefers a renovation but nothing can be done with Mother Nature's act but to move forward.
Dry wall was cut above the water line from all walls and door's begin to be removed.
Kitchen cabinets were removed. Anything salvageable will go to Habitat for Humanity as the contractor on this project is a big HH fan and donates lots of time and money to this program.
It was sad to see the house slowly being demolished by a mere 6-8 inches of water inside.
A sad view for what was once a gathering place for a fun family kitchen.
The Great room does not look so great now.
When my mother saw the old wood paneling and dark doors gone, she was excited while my dad had a minor break down. Mom is seeing the positive side of things while my dad is having a difficult time with change. He does not like change and at his age, I know this is very difficult for him.
Can you imagine the horror of walking into your home of 26 years and seeing this sight?
My mother is so happy to see the 'Harvest Gold' colored tiles, tub and toilet going away. We must find the Rainbow at the end of the Storm...
About 3/4 of the dry wall is okay so that will save some of the cost of repairs and renovations.
All wall paper is now stripped and all staples from the old carpets have been tossed into the huge trash container.
The house is now starting to look like a new house under construction.
The Great room is ready for new walls and floors.
New kitchen cabinets/counter tops are on order and the wall cabinets will be recycled for use in the garage.
The sunroom was pressured washed to clean out the smelly worms but the structure was damaged. Since this picture was snapped, the glass room has been removed with the metal and glass being recycled. This spot will remain a patio for now.
The Bathrooms are totaly gutted with the Gold tub removed since this picture.
Bedrooms ready for new construction.
Closet's ready for make over as well. A lot of do it yourself Free labor has applied in getting the house to this stage. Family and Freinds have pitched in where possible (manual labor, donations of materials, food, water, etc) and will continue to do so to keep the cost of repairs low.
Here you see my mom and dad taking a moment to sit and reflect their 51 years as a married couple. My nephew (their grandson) had renovated this swing and planters a few days before the flood. We were all happy to see it survived the wrath of the flood after being pressured washed. The contaminated dirt will be removed from the planters but it will once again have blooming flowers to enjoy as they swing. Bob the cat keeps a close eye on his best buddies in the world. He is the cat that belongs to neighbors but pretty much lives on the screen porch with my parents.

Houehold items remain in 3 different neighbors basements and my parents continue to stay in a basement apartment of one of these wonderful families. Mom and I had to joke while at the local "Wishy Washy" (laundry matt) doing our laundry together. It brought back memories of a time when that was normal for us as we did not have a washer and dryer in the 1970's.

I received news on Sunday that my dad was in the hospital emercency room. One of his hip replacements has jumped out of place. While putting on his shoes the same way for 16 years, this hip decided to jump on him. We are awaiting news to see if he will have to have it replaced a second time. What is that saying, "When it Rains it Pours". Well, in my parents case, it sure has rained enough on them.

This is a big hurdle for my parents to jump but they will survive with being surrounded by a loving family, caring friends and neighbors...

Note: I plan to be back in TN the first weekend of June. I hope renovations will be close to complete and I plan to remain in TN for as long as I am needed. Blogging will not be possible so I will be in and out for a while. Please keep my parents in your prayers...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,In the Garden


  1. Dear Skeeter ~ My heart goes out to your folks. They and you and all that are helping with this renovation are in my prayers. I hope things go well with your Dad's hip also.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  2. How awful. Mother nature can be so destructive and disrupt lives in such a terrible way. I hope your father doesn't have to have his hip replaced again. Your parents are in my prayers.

  3. I'm amazed at how quickly the repairs are being done. I hope they can settle back into their home soon. All the best for your parents and I hope your dad does well. Take care.

  4. Oh goodness Skeeter--reading this and seeing all the pictures just breaks my heart! Please let your parents know they are in my thoughts and prayers. Mother Nature can indeed be very cruel at times. How lucky your Mom and Dad are to have you to help them.
    Take care, Linda

  5. Skeeter, I am praying for your parents. They have been through so much. I will continue to remember them in my prayers each day. Carla

  6. Dearest Skeeter, Mother Nature has dealt a terrible blow to your Mom & Dad but has brought loving family & neighbors together for a common cause.
    I hope things will be back to normal soon for all.
    My thoughts & prayers will be with all who are involved in this endeavor.
    Do convey my thoughts to you parents.
    Do be careful on your travels.

  7. How awful that your parents are having to deal with this Skeeter. Was your parents' house known to be in the floodplain, or is this another case of redrawing the lines after a flood?

    Our state dealt with major flooding after Floyd. It's so difficult. We had to move our house out of the floodplain and it still sits at the edge of the 500 year floodplain, as that was really the only place to put it on all our 54 acres.

    It's wonderful your parents have a place to stay. Even if they'd had flood insurance, it does not provide funds to stay elsewhere like homeowner's insurance does.

  8. it's just been heart wrenching to see the destruction Skeeter. I am so very sorry your parents home was so badly damaged...and I am glad they are finding some positives in the losses. Your advice about the small print in contracts and policies is excellent! I spoke with my insurance guy and found out how clever insurance companies have gotten in NOT covering lots of situations! gail

  9. Skeeter, thank you for sharing this with us. I watched some reports on TV about the flood, but nothing really hits home like a personal account like this. All the damage that was done to your parents' home is so sad and just mind-boggling. While homes can be rebuilt, the sentimental attachments to certain things are hard to deal with; I am so sorry about their loss of some family heirlooms, which can't be replaced. I like your mother's attitude, though--I've got some ugly green carpet I'd like to get rid of, too:)

    I'm glad your parents had so many people helping them in the clean-up process. I'll continue to keep them and you, Skeeter, in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. What a terrible mess for your parents. I know it must be awful but so much better with help from all their friends. I hope your dad'd hip is ok! He doesn't need more bad things! I'll keep them in my thoughts and fingers crossed the house is back to normal by the time you come up.

  11. Skeeter,

    Keep us apprised through Tina if you can on how things are going. This flood has damaged so many people's lives. I hope your parent's are getting all the help they need. It looks like you've helped them immensely on their way back to recovery! Your mom has a great attitude and I hope your dad get's through his hip problem without too much difficulty!

  12. As I sit here speechless, I cannot imagine what you are feeling. God Bless you and your family...

  13. I'm so sorry to hear all of this about your parents flooding. Thank goodness for family and friends who help.

  14. Good Morning everyone! I just cannot convey the feelings I have about this flood mess. My family has lost a lot but many lost everything. At least my parents got out with most of their items while many people only got out with the clothes on their back that day. I am not sure if they were in a flood zone or not but I don’t think so. They have lived in this house for 26 years and the water has never come close to the house before. Paper was reporting one other flood of this magnitude in 1937 (I believe that was the date) and it was a bit worse but no dams were in place to control the water back then. They were referring to this as one of those 100-year floods.

    Mom called me this morning for a bit of moral support. Lord, I don’t know how much more she can take. She and one of my brother’s got dad safely back to the apartment from the hospital yesterday. He has a contraption on his entire leg to keep his hip in place until the insurance works out the next step. Dang insurance companies love to take your money monthly but when it comes time to utilize their services, they want to give you a hassle. Arggggg. This hip is 16 years old and the life span on it was 15 years so we are fearing a new hip is in the works. Maybe just the part breaking down but we fear the worse. We are prepared for the worse but will gladly accept better news.

    My parents are lucky to have 3 sons and their entire families living near by to help them out. I only wish I were there as well, Sigh, maybe some day...

    Thank you all for your prayers, good vibes and wishes for my family. We need all the help we can get as we continue to be tested in our every day life…

  15. To see what all actually had to be done really puts it in a whole new perspective. I'm sure it was difficult for them to see their home taken apart like that, but your Mom sounds like she's definitely seeing the positive. I hope their home is back in order soon and they have no further problems from the flood.
    Hope your Dad's hip is better. It really does seem like these things come all at once.

  16. My thoughts and prayers are with you all Skeeter. The rainbow is that they will have a new house when it is all done and I am really stunned by how fast the work is getting done. I found out years ago when I lost an entire extra large freeze and lost all the contents (mostly meat) that except for the normal routine (which is almost nothing) things, a rider of some kind is needed for all other stuff. I think insurance companies are the biggest rip of we have. People that have not been thru something like your parents are going thru have no idea how much it invilves. A fire is the same. I have had 2 aunts burnt out and my best friend so I know what it is like. Terrible tragedies. I do hope your Dad's hip jumps back ito place, all on its own. Then he can have the last laugh on the insurance company for that. My bad but that is truley how I feel!!!!

  17. Hi Skeeter, that is an awful thing for anyone to have to go thru. I hope everything works out well for them and the house turns out better than the original.

  18. Hi Skeeter -the pictures are so sad but hopefully with all the wonderful help of family and friends they will be settled back into the house soon. I didn't dare drive down that road for nearly 2 weeks after the flood -I was so shocked that something like that happened in what I deemed a safe area -little did I know what the flood waters were capable of:(
    Continue to be strong for your mom and you will pull thru this. I do like your upbeat feelings on the bathroom -it's good you can put a positive spin on it for your moms sake. Hang in there girl! Ciao

  19. So sorry this has happened to your parents, but it looks like they are handling it well, and in the end, they will have some unplanned renovations done. I'll bet your Mom was happy to get rid of the "harvest gold" !

  20. Skeeter, it's tough to look at the pictures, so I can't even imagine how you all felt seeing such a disaster. All the best to you and your parents. I'm praying for them.

  21. Thank you all for your kind words today. It has been a tough day for mom trying to keep dad still and her hip is bothering her now as well. Gee, I will be glad when things settle down for my family. I like it best when we are boring with nothing going on, lol....

    On a happy note, the Saint bought me a new plant today! Cant wait to show it to you all but must get her in the ground first....

  22. Hi Skeeter, I am so glad your parents got through the ordeal, and you have obviously been a wonderful and supportive daughter. Makes me think about our relationship with nature - we try to control it, and think of our houses as our refuges. But it doesn't always work ... best wishes to you and your parents, catmint

  23. Oh no! What a horrible ordeal for your parents. And it is wonderful that they can count on your support Skeeter. I hope you dads hip is ok.

  24. I am so sorry that you, and especially your parents are having to go through all of this. I hope your father will be well soon and that things get to the new normal as soon as possible.

  25. That really is a terrible situation, sorry to hear about it. I can imagine how difficult it must be when they have lived there so long. At least everything will be like new once renovations are done.

  26. Sorry I am just now reading this. Flood damage really is terrible and I hope your parents are OK and your dad's hip is OK. They are lucky to have family help them. And, wow, 51 years of marriage--that's wonderful.