On Fire
We live in desert country, so we are used to our summers hearing about forest fires and wild fires and having friends evacuated and seeing the sky covered in a thin haze. It comes and it goes and it’s part of life here.

This year has been different. Spring started in February (I ran outside in a t-shirt and shorts in FEBRUARY), and we have had less precipitation than ever. I don’t have scientific facts for you, but I can tell you that June is usually rainy while the kids have end-of-school-year fun events. We did not have a rainy June. Or May. Or any month this year so far. We’re on a Level 4 water advisory.

Our province is on fire, other provinces are on fire, and Washington State below us is on fire. Last night we met friends at the lake for dinner and within an hour the smoke from those raging fires across the border had rolled in. Smoke filled the sky and the setting sun was a fiery red. (See above photo.)

We woke up this morning to a sky full of smokey soup and another red sun.

Smoke

There are air quality advisories, because 10 is considered high risk and the last advisory I read said that we are at a level of 20. Our town is like a ghost town. Everyone is locked inside, hoping for the winds to come and clear out our valley.

Pray for rain, too. Please pray for rain.

We’ve been in a bit of a holding pattern over here in our new house. We’re in, but we’re still “camping” until we get the renovations done and can unload our container full of our stuff. We’re hiring our brothers (Not a church term, but I guess also a church term, because our brothers are also ‘brothers’).

Now the word just looks weird. Brothers. BROTHERS. #brothers

I’m craving broth all of a sudden.

We spent today ripping out our old flooring. This:

Before

Is now this:

Middle

My brother is here right now working on the demolition side of things and it’s so loud inside that I escaped to the deck with my laptop to write this boring post about floors and renovations and IT’S STILL REALLY LOUD.

Our plans have changed a hundred times, but I think they are at the point where we know what we really, really want. There will be walls knocked down and walls built up. The floors that have been ripped to the bones will be covered with wood floors from a mill. No more laminate, and no more linoleum.

We’re making it ours. It will take time, effort, and money, but oh. The dream is real and I cannot wait for it to be fulfilled.

The Container

I sent the above photo to Instagram/Facebook/Twitter tonight with the following caption:

We went to our container full of all of our house belongings to grab our mattress in order to return a borrowed one. Stuff doesn’t matter, but the stuff I choose to make my home ::home:: matters. It’s in a container until we’re able to bring it back to us. I have some feelings about this.

I’m so thankful for where we are, and how we got here. I tell the story often to people in our community who haven’t heard it. It’s an amazing story and we get to live that story. We also get to make this home our own, which means that until the guts of the house are renovated, the mementos and photos and memorabilia that we use to make our house a home are in boxes in a container or stored elsewhere. It’s so great, but barren of our thumbprint.

First world problems, for sure, but when I get to unwrap our personal items that have been stored for almost three months now it’s going to feel like THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER. I can’t wait.

Home
Last Friday afternoon, we moved into our house. WE MOVED INTO OUR HOUSE. It was at the eleventh hour but WE MOVED INTO OUR HOUSE. The remediation guy took his air sample and we immediately started moving our things out of the basement suite we were staying at and moving them into the house. By the end of the day, we were ‘camping’ in our house. Mattresses on the floor, suitcases and boxes strewn everywhere, but we were IN.

We woke up Saturday morning feeling a little bewildered that we were actually here. We were also on a mission to clean, because while the professionals who came in to do their job of getting rid of mold, that consisted of spraying chemicals on every surface to kill any spores. There was a film of dirt and dust and spray on everything. Everything. We called in the troops and cleaned every surface (Walls and floors and windows and doors, oh my!). Ten hours later, it smelled good and it looked good. The windows are so clean that it looks like there are no windows.

We may be “camping” in our house until we make the necessary renovations, but it’s more like “glamping.” I have a new fridge that is HUGE, and I got my dream stove: A gas range and an electric oven. The bottom drawer can be a warming drawer, but it is also an oven. DOUBLE OVEN. I baked my chocolate cookies for the family the other day for the first time in two months and the kids acted as though they had won the lottery. It feels so great to be able to cook and bake again. I love to barbecue all year long, but having multiple burners and an oven makes me so happy. So happy.

Six days in, and it still feels surreal that we are here. A year of waiting to sell our house, getting an accepted offer on this house, going to court with a sealed bid and winning by $111.20 (ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN DOLLARS AND TWENTY CENTS), getting all of the crews in here to get everything up to code, digging a new water line, fixing a natural gas leak, and having air quality issues, among other things.

But we’re here. We’re home.

*** NEEDTOBREATHE. Of course.

Diggin' It

It’s been quite the process to get our house ready to live in. We knew it would be, and budgeted for it, but we keep hitting road blocks and I’m in the verge of turning into an enormous green rage monster. (Hashtag HulkSmash.)

We’ve done everything the remediation guy told us to do. We had the professional cleaners and air scrubbers in and they spent a week doing their job. We had the electrician in, who pulled a ticket to get the power turned on so that the cleaners could use electricity. We had the City turn the water on so the cleaners could clean and…there wasn’t even enough water pressure to flush a toilet.

(Matthew texted that to me and I replied with, “Did you find that out the hard way?”)

(He did not, thankfully.)

We told our new neighbors about our water issue and they said to use theirs for the cleaners, as they know how much needs to be done. Hooray for good neighbors!

We thought that maybe the water pipe damage was outside the house from when winter hit (the house was empty), and got a contractor in to dig down to the pipe. Dry as a bone. He then dug by the connection at the road and no leak there, either. The water guy from the City pulled out a map and the water line goes directly beneath The Tree. There is no way on Earth that we’re harming that tree, so plans were made to spend Tuesday having Matthew and the contractor digging a new water line that goes to the left of the property, around the tree. Once that’s fixed, we can move in!

Nope.

The remediation guy took air samples last Wednesday and the results came in on Friday. All spore levels were in the low end of the good range, meaning really, really low. Regular low. Probably lower than most houses because of ALL THE CLEANING. Every test was green/good to live in. Yay! Except, he won’t sign off on it because the one spore type is a more dangerous one. It came in at the same level both inside AND outside, but he wants the level inside to be at zero. ZERO. We figure that the reason for equal counts is because we had other workers in the house (Natural gas guys, Telus, etc.) after the contractor dug up parts of the yard and the air scrubbers were gone. They tracked in the stirred-up dust.

Last night our restoration company (Owned by Matthew’s Dad) lent us the special vacuum and the air scrubbers, and we bought the cleaning solution. Matthew set up the air scrubbers while I vacuumed every surface, and then he started with the cleaning solution. The house is now locked tight with the air scrubbers running. They will remain running until the remediation guy returns Thursday or Friday to take another sample for the lab. When he returns, we’ll turn off the scrubbers and he can take the air sample.

Once he takes his sample, we’re moving in without waiting for results. The last report showed that the house is perfectly fine, and it’s time to live in our house. I’ve held it together and been patient well beyond my natural capabilities (Truth) (Don’t ask God to test your patience, because He will) and I just need to be home.

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