Friday the 13th

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ImageToday is Friday the 13th, and I am feeling very lucky–blessed, actually. A group of volunteers worked at our house this past week, and our stairwell and and upstairs hallway are completely transformed.

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to be very clear that although we did have lots of water in the house, it did not go to the second floor. However, with five feet of water inside, the stairway carpet had to be ripped up and the first floor wall of the stairwell was taken down. Therefore, the second floor wall and upstairs hall were affected. Also, many volunteers with muddy boots had walked on the carpeting in the upstairs hallway.

A group from Temple Baptist Church in Waterford, NY came to Schoharie for the week. They stayed at a hotel in Cobleskill and made our town their mission trip. The group is called TSM Engaged (Temple Student Ministry). All the students we met were really nice kids, and great workers. Their leaders were models of passion for God and compassion for others. And, they had great knowledge and skills for rehabbing homes. This group pulled up the carpeting, removed  the remaining wallpaper, skim-coated the old plaster with new, the primed and painted the walls of the stairwell and upstairs hall. Also, they painted two door to upstairs rooms and the front door. As it turns out, there was a nice finshed wooden floor under the carpeting upstairs!  Thank you, Lord, for TSM Engaged, and thank you to those at Schoharie Recovery and SALT Recovery for attracting and assigning volunteers.

I have had the priviledge of working twice at the Loaves and Fishes Cafe, the system of feeding the volunteers at noon each day. The women who work at this ministry have been serving meals every day since about a week after the flood, and will continue to do so for the rest of the summer. It is amazing tosee God work through those who cook at home and bring food, prepare and serve food, and then clean up and get ready for the next day. There are so many people helping from so many different sources.

A couple of weeks ago, we put a little bistro set on our back porch,and I have been enjoying morning devotions and coffee out there. A photo is included in this slide show.

We are planning on hosting an Open House during Labor Day weekend to re-dedicate the house to the Lord, to celebrate the rebuilding and recovery, and to thank all those who helped. I started this blog to keep our volunteers from far away informed. It would so great to see them again and let them see the fruit of their labor.

Commencement

This is graduation weekend in New York State.  Last night was Middleburgh’s ceremony and this morning was Schoharie’s. Much has been written in the local papers in recent days about the resiliency and strength of the Class of 2012. Many of these kids were among those whose homes were flooded, and almost all of them helped family, friends, and neighbors clean and rebuild.  In Middleburgh, students helped to shovel out mud and help rebuild ruined equipment in the tech rooms. The gym was flooded as were the athletic fields. The large key that is handed to each newly-elected senior class president from the graduating president was among the many casualties of the muddy waters.

This is a link to one of those articles:

http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2012/jun/23/0623_middleburgh/

This has been a very difficult year at school. Financial pressures, many employees flooded, concern for the students and their families, facilities rendered unusable all combined to create even more stress than we usually see at school. Sometimes, tempers were short, but more often, colleagues were very supportive and sympathetic.

Now that I am finished with school, I will begin the work of trying to organize the upstairs rooms and the garage,which have been housig rescued belongings. Many volunteers cleaned and boxed up households items that were not ruined or could be cleaned, and most of them have been untouched while we were busy with the rebuilidng of the downstairs. So now I will be spending much of each day with this next project.

The area has seen many volunteers this past week. Some finished painting our garage. Attracting volunteers to our area, and then matching them with the appropriate work site is a huge job, and we are so thankful for the people at Schoharie Recovery and Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery for all their efforts.  You might want to take the time to follow these links and read more about what is going on with the recovery effort, as well as some interesting media attention to our little village. Another example of the help and care we receive is the $10 gift card we received to purchase bedding plants. Since we will be doing some digging around the foundation later this summer, I am using lots of containers for my flowers this year.  

We cannot say “thank you” enough for volunteers and donors from near and far that have helped us rebuild and have encouraged us every step of the way. And, of course, we thank God for using so many people in so many different ways to provide that care and help for us.

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It has been so long since I posted. Life is returning to “normal”. In our community we are calling it the “new normal”. There are so many changes that we have to learn to accept as the norm. With the beautiful spring weather, the robins have returned, and so have many village residents. The singing of the birds combines with the hum of power tools as homeowners and volunteers continue to rebuild. I’ve learned to appreciate walks through the neighborhood again so I can view the progress.

Our downstairs is almost finished now! Duane and Brad installed all the wood trim, and some wonderful personal touches such as the door for Sandy’s under-the-stairs den. The kitchen, breakfast nook, dining room, and music room all have Tiffany-style light fixtures. The kitchen has back-splash that is reminiscent of an old metal ceiling. Both the living room and the dining room have area rugs. The new dining room furniture has arrived, (although it is not in place yet), and the donated living room couches look elegant and are very comfortable.

I am recovering, too.  I have always been rather “scatter-brained”, but now it’s worse than ever. We call it “flood brain”. I realized the other day that my memory is improving because when I needed to put a new set of checks in my checkbook, I was able to remember that after the flood I ordered new ones and had stored them in my desk upstairs. When I went to fetch them, they were there! This may sound rather simple, but I have had so many moments of not remembering where I put something, or not remembering if I still have it, or remembering something that didn’t really happen, that this event was a real victory.

There is still much work to do. The downstairs little half bath still needs a sink. I am soon going to be making a decision about a new piano and finish up the music room. Then we will have to deal with foundation work, roof work, the stairs, and the upstairs hallway. But none of this is pressing, and we will have time to enjoy our new digs downstairs. This summer I will be going through the upstairs rooms where all the flood-surviving possessions were stashed in the days after the flood to clean and organize them. We want to make room for family members to visit this summer!

The following link is about one setback in an otherwise monumental amount of work, planning, creativity, and compassion on behalf of so, so many local organizers and volunteers from near and far.

http://www.fox23news.com/news/local/story/Theft-from-Schoharie-Recovery-effort/EeXgwLGUgEmsvyKlwXVjkQ.cspx?autoplay=1

Before I end, I want to share this link to a story in the Albany Times Union. The church in the article is the one where our son JJ and his wife Kate were married in November 2010. When they celebrated their one-year anniversary and looked through their wedding album, every place in it had been hit by Irene: the church, her Mom’s house, his parents’ house, and the cute little covered bridge where some of their outdoor shots were taken. The resiliency and faith of my friends, family, and neighbors,  still moves me to tears.

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/At-tiny-church-a-time-of-renewal-3466567.php#photo-2791580

1 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever ; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. 2 For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever ; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.” Psalm 89

Floor

Another quick entry. Phil, another friend from church, is installing the floors. In the photo on the right, you can see our new kitchen floor. On the left, you are looking at the dining room floor sub-floor. The old house syndrome, in which nothing is even, is a big problem for the floors. Fortunately, there is goo that he can use to even out things out. When it dries it is very solid. The big gray patch in the photo is the dried goo. The rest of the downstairs flooring will be wood laminate–recommended to be kid-and-pet friendly. The counter tops are scheduled to arrive on Friday of this week, and Frank will be installing appliances. I’m really looking forward to cooking in my own kitchen! “I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness; I will sing the praises o the Lord Most High.” Psalm 7:17.