Our DIY Den Project

Den furniture
A 3+ YEAR ENDEAVOR: Part One

When my husband and I first married, we soon moved into an established neighborhood in West Plano, a suburb of Dallas, with traditional homes, surrounded by big trees and small yards. Very small yards compared to where we are now.

Our first home in Plano, Texas.

We were one of the many (read ~ 10 million) Americans affected by the housing bubble and subsequent crash of 2006/2007; my husband lost his business, and we went from living in a 2000-something sqft home to a less than 1000 sqft apartment in Richardson, Texas.

During that time I learned how to be savvy with what we had; I was the only one working at the time, and at first it was only part-time, but my employer graciously took me on for more hours even though he didn’t need me at work more.

In time we moved out of the small, roach-infested, Richardson apartment in order for me to be closer to work, so I could go home for lunch and see my girls. Although I really enjoyed my job, I disliked being away from my kids.

Every year we would move apartments, a couple of times even states, never really having a permanent residence, that I made my peace with that a long time ago; and so it was, without much enthusiasm, that I went with my husband and daughters to look at a couple of properties in January 2015 in a small town southwest of Oklahoma City.

I humored him, because I knew our credit had to be bad; we had a foreclosure from 2007, who cares that it was 2015 now? He only had 2 properties for us to look at, and he brought us to the one with 5 acres first. That was the only thing it had going for it too, the acreage. There was an outbuilding that we couldn’t get into, but it looked like it was in pretty bad shape, and the house was prefabricated, and when our realtor arrived and we were able to get inside, I knew instantly it was a no-go.

There were stains on the carpets, the kitchen floor was rotted through, there were only 2 bedrooms, no closet in the 2nd bedroom, because that’s where the washer/dryer connections were, and the master bath was jacked up. All in all it was definitely going to be a major undertaking.

The 2nd house we visited was totally different; the owners had already spent money updating it, so you can imagine the differences between the properties. The carpet, paint, and trim was new; the only things lacking were the door knobs for a couple of closets.

My husband made an offer that day, but still I was in denial about the whole thing; I thought we’d live in an apartment the rest of our lives.

It still hadn’t hit me until the contract got accepted and we started going through the process of actually ‘buying’ and ultimately closing on the home; that’s when I realized it was for real.

This is close to what our house looked like when we bought it; my husband was in the process of building a carport for us with telephone poles and sheet metal.

We moved into our house February 2015, and it was and is so unlike our first home; it’s smaller for one thing, but it’s on a one-acre lot that we got for less money than the purchase price of our first home, and we didn’t have to do a lot of things to make it ‘ours.’ It was perfect . . . for a time.

In case you didn’t know, we live in the part of the country where we experience a lot of wind, sometimes gusts up to 40 mph or more. Unless it’s tornado weather, and then it’s definitely more.

Enter April 2017, and by this time we already witnessed a year of tornadic activity, because the previous year one touched down in Bridge Creek, which is only 10 minutes away from us, producing flooding in our neighborhood and power outages. In April we’re just getting started in the bad weather season.

Ceiling Collapse
This is our den when the ceiling collapsed on my husband.

We didn’t have water leaking into the house thankfully, even though there had been heavy rain. The day the insurance adjuster came out, he cut us a check, and we hired someone to fix the ceiling. Oddly enough we didn’t have roof damage so that didn’t need to be repaired or replaced.

Our insurance company paid us for loss on the carpet, couch, ceiling fan, duct work, and everything that involved the ceiling. We looked at replacing the carpet with wood floors, but rather than replace our couch at that time, decided to vacuum it off really well. In the end, besides the work on the ceiling, the only other thing we replaced was the ceiling fan, because we got busy. We just vacuumed the carpet and moved on, intending to replace the flooring at some later date.

During the next year and a half my husband was experiencing frequent arrhythmia, (AFib RVR), and being a Fireman/EMT, it naturally had us concerned. We spent a lot of time at doctors offices and hospitals, trying to figure out why and how to fix it, however other than drugs/medicines, there was nothing to be done, we found out just this year. It would have been nice to have a doctor explain things, talk to him, us, so we wouldn’t run around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Due to the constant challenges he faced with his heart acting up while at work, my husband decided to medically retire; the only other option was to be on medicine that he was too sensitive to, because it tanked his blood pressure, and he didn’t feel that was safe while operating a fire truck. His particular arrhythmia is paroxysmal, not occurring all of the time, though when it happens, it’s sudden, and it seems to end abruptly as well.

In July 2019 my husband had been home for 7 months, our oldest daughter came home to visit, and we were celebrating our second daughter’s birthday. All 3 girls went to Walmart, to pick up a tent and ingredients for S’mores in order to camp out in our backyard, while my husband and I stayed home. In the few minutes the girls were gone we started having power surges where the lights in the house got extremely bright, brighter than normal, and our oven started making weird noises, noises I’ve never heard it make before; the only way I can describe it is if all of the alarms/alerts went off at once, that’s what it sounded like.

My husband cut the breakers off as soon as we smelled something electrical burning, waited a minute or 2, then turned them back on. It didn’t take long for the power surges to begin again, going through the same routine 2 more times before I heard something finally break, prompting my husband to finally shut the breakers off for good and call our electric company.

We had to wait probably 30-45 minutes for the electricity to be able to come back on, revealing the damage caused by the power surges: Our microwave, flat screen TV in the garage, and dishwasher no longer worked; and the sound of something breaking I heard? A bathroom light-bulb. Thus began the process for making a claim with our electric company.

Published by KS

I'm sharing my stories from a small town in Oklahoma: Chickens and other birds, cats, bees, a bunny, and art.

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