Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted as saying: “Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker.”…”That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” I don’t know if I’m there yet. After the flood, I’m at: “That which does not kill me shapes me.” I don’t feel a bit stronger as I circle my deluged yard collecting manufacturer names and model numbers for my FEMA “Possessions” (former) spreadsheet. My chickens DO feel the ultimate weakness when I pick their remains up after another night of raccoon raids on their decimated coops. Mother Nature’s power is neither stronger nor weaker after each thrashing she hurls at me and my loved ones, my weak ones, my remaining living ones. Yes, I have an attitude about all of this. No, I don’t know if crisis is supposed to determine who your friends are, if God exists, or if, as a survivor, I am stronger. What I do know is that I, as a life, I am supposed to incorporate what has happened into my life. Cursing it or trying to forget loss will give IT life. The purpose this tragedy has is the purpose I give it.
The wondrous trans-formative power of first hand experience with natural disaster can not be properly described by me here in this written piece. Although this power most certainly can run one over the edge of sanity, I’m going to say that it is a matter of withering luck and a sturdy extended branch of some belief that combine and afford salvation to the foundering soul. Once one climbs up on a high dry place and peers down on the low flow of consumed mankind, there is the choice to sense and grasp something other than emotional destruction. How about the cleanliness of it all? How about, that all of the accumulated dross and false joss of one’s former lives and future dead-ends are being carried out along with things precious and endeared? I want it one way. But it’s the other. Do you feel me?
What would you do with the time you had left if everything you were doing was undone? Would you walk the flattened fence line and kneel in the sand on the sharp broken wire and wish to be taken away with the others? Could you bring yourself to search the nearby forest tangle for your possessions carried off over the far – still standing – four foot fence, still sitting and now molding under a defiant arch of hawthorn, still valuable but quite lost. Should you ignore that reality that is whispering something down there in the now calm creek bed? Eight feet down the banks a watery siren sings her enchantment. One hundred yards from your dwelling, her lyrics entreat you – all is well now and forever; lying to you now that the last three floods in the last six weeks were all flukes, demanding that you rebuild, repopulate, repeat the investment, interest, and intensity that was just washed away, wetted through, wantonly destroyed. Take a walk in the sun but never say “never give up”.
Opportunity knocks seldom and it is not always wise to answer. When she knocks down the door, there’s your answer. From under the door that once kept intruders out and from over the din of falling furniture, one can hear through the siren’s soothing song. Hers ends with “Never give up!” but your counter point composition – maybe for the first a time in your life – is a lyric that begins “Never again!”. There are plenty of things a critic could dwell on in his former dwelling: From short insurance payouts, to those who don’t show; from memories and mementos; or that crap that did NOT go. “Never give up!” and “Never again!” are both powerful slogans. Both slogans, like distinct blossoms, are beautiful and can be inspiring to those facing defeat. Either might be appropriate when appropriately applied. Seems to me you’d stop and see how beautiful they are.
My current circumstance requires that I amalgamate the two above slogans in an appropriate confection to bake my future’s cake. What should I do with this deluged dwelling? Build it up again where the bare studs stand? Tear it down forever with a full demolition band? What’s in between Jelly Bean? Building it again in place leaves me vulnerable to the kind of disaster I’m now trying to recover from. Tearing it down and walking away from that poor fat slab, at the minimum, leaves me with a fat payment to my mortgagee for the portion that I owe on the dwelling which is a portion of the loan on the apportioned real estate appraisal at closing. Between these twin specters of doom are an arching rainbow of possibility. None of them perfect. None of them guaranteed. All of them with a down slide.
If I rebuild the inside with the same outside, I should do this with the anticipation of another flood. What I am trying to say here is I need to use materials and techniques that will more easily repaired and less expensive to replace. For example: painted floors with throw rugs instead of carpeting; drywall with the bottom four feet painted just white (no custom paint) and with a chair rail covering the seam between the upper and lower wall; high shelves for all clothes, books, papers, perishables; used furniture and appliances.
If I do not rebuild, I owe the Capital Farm Credit $12,000 and have no place to live. You see the formula for what you owe your mortgagee is: OWE = (B/A) * H
Where B=Balance of note, A=Appraised value at loan closing, H=House value at loan closing
If I demolish and put a manufactured home on the property, how high should it be elevated? How much will it cost? What will I do with all of that land?
Is there another option?