The Straws That Break The Camel  

clevergirl4U 58F
1461 posts
3/25/2006 7:30 pm

Last Read:
5/18/2006 9:14 am

The Straws That Break The Camel

For those of you who occasionally visit, you know that I live on an old farm that sits on a big piece of rural property, once used as a cattle farm. You also know that I took a VERY direct and VERY devastating hit from Katrina.

The day the electricity and running water were restored, after having had NEITHER for 8 weeks, I sat in my electrically lit livingroom and WEPT....shoulder-shaking, box of tissues, soul-wrenching WEPT. I had been released from the world of "survival-mode" and cast into to the world of "NOW WHAT?"

Like many here on the Gulf Coast, deciding whether TO STAY or TO GO has been a nearly constant state of being. In MY experience, forward movement has been slow and pain-staking. Some folks are doing better, some worse. (I WILL tell you that retailers here are reporting RECORD HIGH SALES IN WINE AND SPIRITS, and the court system is clogged with rage-induced incidents of violence.) Do with that information what you will.

A while back caressmewell wrote about the relief she felt over FINALLY choosing a course of action, after struggling with indecision. I remember relating strongly to her words. I hated this feeling of inertia and indecisiveness that hung over me. Some weeks were better than others, tricking me into believing that the quagmire I was standing in was only temporary.(The week I FINALLY got the new roof installed was most excellent. The week the bathroom literally caved in and fell off of the house because of structural damage was NOT a stellar week.)

Today, I think the proverbial straw broke the camel's back. It wasn't a HUGE thing, considering the extremely difficult challenges I have been facing. Many would have packed it in when the insurance company sent a $1,600.00 check to repair the $25,000.00 worth of structural damage. It seems I can handle the BIG STUFF...I can roll up my sleeves and do battle with best of them. But today, ONE LITTLE THING tipped that teetering balance of indecision for me. Whatever else I do, I AM NOT STAYING IN THIS HOME. It is the right decision and I am relieved to have made it. I have been trying to hang onto something that is just too big for one adult to handle.

A few weeks ago, I bought all of the lumber and supplies required to build a very large, private, fenced-in area behind the house. I "robbed Peter to pay Paul," in order to invest in something positive and uplifting. The property was SO torn up by the storm that I am not YET able to run an electric fence around the property for my dachshunds, or enjoy the privacy I had before the storm. My hedges, azaleas, camelias, dogwoods and live oaks were torn to shreds. I planned to build this area in order to restore just a LITTLE piece, a ghost, of what I lost.

This morning, I walked around the house to that back area with the three friends who had volunteered to help with the project, talking over the "plan" for the day. We carried steaming mugs of coffee, and talked about how good Spring, the sunshine, and warming breezes felt. I stopped dead in my tracks as I rounded the final corner. Every board, every piece of hardware, and every bag of concrete was GONE. Into thin air. It took me maybe an hour to get my mind around this. HAD I somehow MISPLACED the 1000 pound project!?

My house is maybe 1/4 mile from the road, up a long drive, and well-hidden from view. I've lived here a few years, and before the storm, I knew ALL of my neighbors. There are nights when I forget to lock all of the doors, and I have never had ANYTHING come up missing.

But at some point this past week, someone drove up MY long pot-holed driveway that is still lined with up-ended roots waiting for FEMA removal, prowled around MY broken and scarred property until they found something worth taking, backed a truck up into MY backyard (since bull-dozed and absent of even a blade of grass), loaded what was to be "MY little haven from this mess" onto a truck, and drove off. And once I accepted that this really WAS the scenario, that this WAS the reality, my first response was "F**k this shit...I've HAD it!" Stealing is bad, but stealing from someone who has had their world already pulled out from under them reaches a whole new level of bad.

I guess this qualifies as my first rant.

I NEEDED that last straw. Maybe I was looking for it? Maybe I was hoping for just ONE LAST STRAW to upset the balance and set me free to move on? Maybe we are all waiting for that "last straw"? You think....?


rm_4wolfsr 57M

3/26/2006 8:09 am

I've been through my share of hurricane recoveries in Florida. Most of the problems were from "contractors" ripping people off. Nothing like a little blood in the water to bring out the sharks, I suppose. What really sucks is that once you decided to take action then put the plan in motion, someone decided to use that for their own benefit. Talk about feeling violated!! Now that someone has identified that they can get away with it, you have to be concerned that they'll be back. What will they do next time?? I can see wahy you'd want to say to hell with it. My thoughts and prayers are with you.


clevergirl4U 58F

3/26/2006 8:41 am

    Quoting rm_4wolfsr:
    I've been through my share of hurricane recoveries in Florida. Most of the problems were from "contractors" ripping people off. Nothing like a little blood in the water to bring out the sharks, I suppose. What really sucks is that once you decided to take action then put the plan in motion, someone decided to use that for their own benefit. Talk about feeling violated!! Now that someone has identified that they can get away with it, you have to be concerned that they'll be back. What will they do next time?? I can see wahy you'd want to say to hell with it. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Thanks. I didn't sleep well last night for that very reason...knowing that someone has been creeping around the place. We have a LOT of contractors in town, some reputable, some not. My house isn't easy to find...I'm guessing it was someone who knew their way around the property. I'm mulling over whether I need to buy some home protection...


rm_1hotwahine 62F
21091 posts
3/26/2006 12:49 pm

Maybe so.

(This is a lame response but what you've said is so eloquent that I don't really know what to add - please continue this track whenever you are compelled to do so)

Yeah, I'm still [blog 1hotwahine]


caressmewell 53F

3/26/2006 8:28 pm

Some people just suck..I can't believe that someone would do this to another person. I'm so sorry that this has happened on top of all the other Katrina stuff you have been dealing with. May Karma find this person or persons.


rm_VoodooGuru1 49M
2053 posts
3/27/2006 4:23 am

What are you doing in Louisiana anyway? Sorry, but I'm not used to rural Louisanans having anything higher than a sub-par grasp of English, let alone a Master's.

I understand the ideallic surrounding of the country, but there's lots of affordable farms all over the nation. Even here in NY.

No hurricanes, no dead bodies, (mostly) educated people, and no one would steal from you hon. I leave my house unlocked and my keys in my car.


rancher21 57M
2 posts
3/27/2006 6:59 am

i read with interest your problem with your insurance company. if you would like for me to send you one of our estimators(adjustors) i would be glad to. it is possible only possible that he would be able to assess the damage and get you more from your insurance company. i am not interested in money and or doing any work. i understand what you have gone through. for the gentleman with the bac experiences i would say that most of the time it is not the contractor but the owner. the owner that upon seeing the large pot of money, becomes greedy, chooses the cheapest contractor he or she can, one that is usually not liscensed, and then complains when the project goes bad. we are presently finishing a rather large complex in nola due to this very thing. one thing i might add is that not only are we fixing the mess the owners made but were able to get them another 7 sum figure in supplements. for the guy in new york, your next college course try spelling 101


clevergirl4U 58F

3/27/2006 7:31 am

    Quoting rm_VoodooGuru1:
    What are you doing in Louisiana anyway? Sorry, but I'm not used to rural Louisanans having anything higher than a sub-par grasp of English, let alone a Master's.

    I understand the ideallic surrounding of the country, but there's lots of affordable farms all over the nation. Even here in NY.

    No hurricanes, no dead bodies, (mostly) educated people, and no one would steal from you hon. I leave my house unlocked and my keys in my car.
I'm divorced with a 16 year-old son...I've stayed here because I wanted him to have his father present in his life as he grew up. But Katrina shook up lives. Many of us were forced to question the choices we made, wonder over how we had lived our lives, and where we should go/or might WANT to go from here. There has already been a mass exodus from the region, and another will follow when school closes in May.

We KNOW that compromise is part of the bargain we make when we marry. We don't realize that it continues on when the marriage ENDS, for the life of the child Not sure where I will go from here, but letting go of the emotional investment I have in the farm was a first step to moving in SOME direction


clevergirl4U 58F

3/27/2006 7:32 am

    Quoting caressmewell:
    Some people just suck..I can't believe that someone would do this to another person. I'm so sorry that this has happened on top of all the other Katrina stuff you have been dealing with. May Karma find this person or persons.
The hurricane either brought the BEST in people, or the WORST in people. It has been interesting to watch.


clevergirl4U 58F

3/27/2006 7:41 am

    Quoting rancher21:
    i read with interest your problem with your insurance company. if you would like for me to send you one of our estimators(adjustors) i would be glad to. it is possible only possible that he would be able to assess the damage and get you more from your insurance company. i am not interested in money and or doing any work. i understand what you have gone through. for the gentleman with the bac experiences i would say that most of the time it is not the contractor but the owner. the owner that upon seeing the large pot of money, becomes greedy, chooses the cheapest contractor he or she can, one that is usually not liscensed, and then complains when the project goes bad. we are presently finishing a rather large complex in nola due to this very thing. one thing i might add is that not only are we fixing the mess the owners made but were able to get them another 7 sum figure in supplements. for the guy in new york, your next college course try spelling 101
I really appreciate the offer, but I have already had 3 of my own engineering assessments done to counterbalance the 1 done by State Farm. I'm sure that you have heard ALL of the insurance stories
Bottom line, they will drag this out for as long as they can and like many people, I can't wait for forever to move on with my life.

I was waiting for someone to take a poke at voodoo...must be careful to NEVER make generalizations about the people in a region


keithcancook 60M
17718 posts
3/27/2006 7:59 am

Grrr. I am so sorry that you had to experience such a let down after having already experienced so many already. And a bit angry as well.

Come to Carolina if you are looking for a new region to live. The place is booming and the economy is full of promise.


kyplowboy22 61M

3/27/2006 8:23 am

Can't even imagine what a mess all of that has been and still is down there. We have felt the fallout from it all the way up here in Kentucky. There are still multitudes of refugees here. Teams from power companies across the state went down there to try to help you all, but all of them I talked to were just stunned at what they found. Put a lot of people in a stressful situation and their true character (or lack of) shines through. I live in the country, own a small farm. What we get here is tornados. Every year, some farm or small town around here is hit hard by one of them. Mostly, people try to pull together to get one another through it, knowing full well they could be next. But even here, the parasites surface when the chips are down. And I think I would be more upset over the theft than I would be the storm. My uncles words ring in my ears, "When you get down to it, most people are just no damn good." I feel a quiet rage building inside of me at the thought of what they have done. I feel sure they will surface again, at another place, doing the same thing, and only hope that someone puts their sorry asses in the ground. Wish I had all the answers for you like Rancher21, but I don't. I wish you well in what ever it is you decide to do and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care.

kpb


clevergirl4U 58F

3/27/2006 9:22 am

    Quoting kyplowboy22:
    Can't even imagine what a mess all of that has been and still is down there. We have felt the fallout from it all the way up here in Kentucky. There are still multitudes of refugees here. Teams from power companies across the state went down there to try to help you all, but all of them I talked to were just stunned at what they found. Put a lot of people in a stressful situation and their true character (or lack of) shines through. I live in the country, own a small farm. What we get here is tornados. Every year, some farm or small town around here is hit hard by one of them. Mostly, people try to pull together to get one another through it, knowing full well they could be next. But even here, the parasites surface when the chips are down. And I think I would be more upset over the theft than I would be the storm. My uncles words ring in my ears, "When you get down to it, most people are just no damn good." I feel a quiet rage building inside of me at the thought of what they have done. I feel sure they will surface again, at another place, doing the same thing, and only hope that someone puts their sorry asses in the ground. Wish I had all the answers for you like Rancher21, but I don't. I wish you well in what ever it is you decide to do and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care.

    kpb
Yes...we had crews from all over the country here. They lived in tent cities, worked 14 hour days, missed their families, and suffered right along with us. A crew from Alabama restored my power...it took an entire day because they had to run new poles across the fields. I invited them back the next day to watch some of the 'Bama game...they hadn't seen a TV or a game since they had been here We both felt like we had won the lottery...I had power and they got to see a 'Bama game.


clevergirl4U 58F

3/27/2006 9:48 am

    Quoting keithcancook:
    Grrr. I am so sorry that you had to experience such a let down after having already experienced so many already. And a bit angry as well.

    Come to Carolina if you are looking for a new region to live. The place is booming and the economy is full of promise.
I was honestly surprised/shocked to find the pile of material missing because I have experienced MANY more acts of kindness than bad acts during Katrina.

When I started talking to my son about a possible relocation, I was surprised by his enthusiasm for the subject. He suggested Ireland (our ancestral home), France (we are both bi-lingual) and Japan (he can study with the masters of Anime) He was pretty disappointed when I told him we might to need to narrow the search to North America! I understand the Carolinas are spectacular


aascrompn 42M
6444 posts
3/27/2006 11:10 am

I'm very sorry to hear about that! Criminals suck! At least you are able to now move on...


rancher21 57M
2 posts
3/27/2006 2:47 pm

engineering assessments will not solve your problem, you need to have someone that can write the estimate in the language that state farm will understand. i highly recommend that you find someone that can do this. if i am not mistaken it would be someone versed in exactamate. this should give them cause for reconsidering your claim. good luck.
trk


clevergirl4U 58F

3/27/2006 4:01 pm

    Quoting rancher21:
    engineering assessments will not solve your problem, you need to have someone that can write the estimate in the language that state farm will understand. i highly recommend that you find someone that can do this. if i am not mistaken it would be someone versed in exactamate. this should give them cause for reconsidering your claim. good luck.
    trk
I really DO appreciate your input, but does this sound familiar?

1. State Farm came out with their OWN engineer and the adjuster. Took many photos, drew many diagrams...

2. They somehow came to the conclusion that the 4 tress that hit the house caused the lathe and plaster walls and ceilings to crack and cave in, caused the ceramic floor tiles to crack in long lines throughout the house, caused all of the doors to shift in their casings so much that I had to remove all of the dead bolts, separate the ceilings from the walls and cause the bathroom to fall off the house, but did NOT cause damage to the foundation. Their argument was that the pilings were old because the farm house is 75 years old. I remarked that they had INSURED a 75 year-old farm house. They would pay for everything from the floor up, but will NOT pay to lift, reposition and level the house and replace the foundation.

2. I paid for an engineer to inspect and write a report using exactamate.

3. State Farm disagreed with the findings.

4 The adjuster returned home to another state, and I was assigned adjuster #2.

5. I hired another engineer who concurred with my first engineer.

6. Adjuster #3 came out and took the same photos and drew the same diagrams because adjuster # 2 lost my entire file.

7. Adjuster #4 advised me that he had taken over the case because adjuster #3 had been re-assigned to another state/location and they will re-consider/review/or lose my file.

8. An attorney advised me to have a 3rd report/engineer to make the strongest litigation case.

In the meantime, I cannot make ANY of the interior repairs because the house will shift and crack AGAIN when repositioned. In the meantime I am living in a house decorated in "post WWII Berlin."


twirly_girl 47F

3/27/2006 8:59 pm

Wow.
I am ashamed to be in the insurance business when companies pull this kind of crap. Fortunately my experiences with Louisiana was in helping people file claims and get their money. But I got to see the heartache, anger and hopelessness that came with the process too.
No... I don't work for State Farm (thank God) but the company I work for isn't a whole heck of a lot better when it comes to settling major losses. Fortunately though they settled quickly with most claims as to avoid law suits. Unfortunately, we will no longer be writing home insurance in the gulf coast for awhile to compensate. LOL
*sigh*
I do feel for ya and if you decide to make Houston your home or anywhere in the towns around it, let me know. I'd be glad to help in anyway I can.
And on the topic of relocation...
You could always move to North Dakota! I hear those blizzards are hell to go through.


-Nikki


clevergirl4U 58F

3/29/2006 8:51 am

    Quoting rm_valleyrat4:
    And in the darkness it just got darker.
    Hope you're making the best of a bad situation.
    Take care of you and your son.
I got over it and moved on pretty quickly. If nothing else, I am resilient, which is NOT to be confused with flexible

Thanks for the kind words!


clevergirl4U 58F

3/29/2006 8:21 pm

    Quoting twirly_girl:
    Wow.
    I am ashamed to be in the insurance business when companies pull this kind of crap. Fortunately my experiences with Louisiana was in helping people file claims and get their money. But I got to see the heartache, anger and hopelessness that came with the process too.
    No... I don't work for State Farm (thank God) but the company I work for isn't a whole heck of a lot better when it comes to settling major losses. Fortunately though they settled quickly with most claims as to avoid law suits. Unfortunately, we will no longer be writing home insurance in the gulf coast for awhile to compensate. LOL
    *sigh*
    I do feel for ya and if you decide to make Houston your home or anywhere in the towns around it, let me know. I'd be glad to help in anyway I can.
    And on the topic of relocation...
    You could always move to North Dakota! I hear those blizzards are hell to go through.

Some companies are much better than others

Good news today...my storeage room is being re-fitted as a BATHROOM! In a few days, I'll be able to sit in there and flush to my heart's content...it will sound like a freakin' waterfalls

Yes...the blizzards...he continues to write about me in derogatory term...I think I am going to have to be the grown up and "walk away."


rm_Rovakin 44M

4/2/2006 7:42 pm

Aware that USA has been blocking any attempt to make an international agreement on climate changes and pollution?
Sorry to rub it in when it obviously is on such a personal level for you, but some of us - over here - see some kind of justice in this whole thing. Actually, some of us cant supres a smile...


clevergirl4U 58F

4/2/2006 9:55 pm

    Quoting rm_Rovakin:
    Aware that USA has been blocking any attempt to make an international agreement on climate changes and pollution?
    Sorry to rub it in when it obviously is on such a personal level for you, but some of us - over here - see some kind of justice in this whole thing. Actually, some of us cant supres a smile...

I'm a Democrat...of COURSE I know all about the US GOVERNMENT'S failure to take part in the Kyoto Protocol...I OBVIOUSLY didn't get a vote. And YOU obviously can't separate your politics from your sense of humanity and compassion for human suffering.


Toodela 59M
1745 posts
4/12/2006 4:42 pm

I am actually looking for the post that you mentioned in the group and read this one.

I followed as much of Katrina as I could and I have only on thing to say ... I won't live there.

As for your humiliation, maybe somebody needed it more than you, but I doubt it ... people who do this have no humility in them. They are not even worth your tears over this and I hope it brings them bad luck!

God bless.

ΓΏ


Honor has not to be won; it must only not be lost.

~One Minute in Life~



Become a member to create a blog