If you watched the news in September, you know that Hurricane Florence hit the east coast and caused a lot of damage.Most of the severe losses were in coastal towns, but places inland were affected as well.The Cape Fear River that runs through Fayetteville and the surrounding towns crested around 60 feet, majorly surpassing the 35 foot flood stage and causing families along the river and other water ways that run off it to be evacuated.
While we were in Arizona, most of our worldly possessions were in a storage unit in Fayetteville.We, luckily, decided to opt into the insurance the facility offered well before the storm.While I do not believe the storage unit was within a mandatory flood evacuation zone, we were informed by management that our unit had flooded.
We returned home at the end of October and took a peek at the damage.Initially we thought it wasn’t so bad—only a few boxes had been on the ground and it was mostly furniture that took the brunt of the water.We assumed we would be able to clean them off and be on our merry way.
After closing on our home, the next day we got a U-Haul and invited friends and family to help us empty our unit.We went out and bought gloves and masks for everyone, as long as a lot of white vinegar and cleaning supplies.
It was not just a little bit of damage.A whole box of picture albums was on the ground.Most of our furniture is wood or fabric, so the material held onto the moisture and mold grew rampant.Even boxes that weren’t soaked with water allowed moisture and eventually mold inside and we had to go through everything carefully.
Luckily, we were able to save money while we were in Arizona and we deliberately put some away for purchasing things we would need—like a washer and dryer.Luckily, like I said above, we put insurance on our unit and its contents.Luckily, we had the support of our loved ones as we unpacked, cleaned, and photographed the damage.Luckily, we serve a great God who has been gracious in providing, even through the troubled times.
I know people who lost everything in Hurricane Matthew.People who lost their homes and all of their possessions.In the hurricanes that have hit the Carolinas recently, many people have lost their lives.
We lost some furniture.Financially and emotionally that is certainly not the easiest thing to go through. But we have our lives, and we have each other.
On the plus side, we get new stuff.We get to pick the things that are to our taste.We get to design our house from the ground up, so to speak.And while it may be tough and draining and arduous, especially during the waiting (we are still working through the insurance claims process and have not been reimbursed for our losses yet), we know that now is not forever and that now will always change.
After over three weeks, we have been able to almost fully furnish our home with what we NEED, with either the money we saved or the generosity of others.We are grateful and happy for what we have, and we know that having each other is much more important than having a mattress, although it is much easier to sleep at night with one.For real.
We are first time home owners!And we did it all from over two thousand miles away.
What a rollercoaster this process was. I was super surprised that the part I thought I would love—the actual house hunting—was the worst aspect for me. When it got down to the nitty gritty though, we had some amazing professionals on our team who worked super hard behind the scenes to pull it all together in less than 30 days.
Our realtor was a good friend of mine who has been building me up and encouraging me for almost four years now. She is a rockstar. When we told her we wanted to buy a house in North Carolina, but do basically all of it while we were in Arizona, she didn’t bat an eye. She was down for the challenge.
My parents, who coincidentally LOVE “window shopping” for houses were game to go look at houses for us. They looked at neighborhoods, the condition of the property, the drainage of the lot—all of the things you can’t change and all of the things you can’t see in the photos.
Our realtor took us on video walkthroughs so that we could get a feel for the place as well. We talked over all of the positives and negatives. We searched for over a month and we fell in love with multiple homes. We were so ready!
Finally we found The One and we got an accepted offer. It was smooth sailing from then out (for us, not so sure about everyone else on our team, haha!) and we were so excited to close and get our keys just four days after we arrived in North Carolina.
Since leaving Arizona, everything has been a little crazy for us. We got in a car accident and my car was totaled, but because we were under contract on a house, we could not buy a car until we closed, otherwise it could mess up our mortgage. Luckily we were able to close just a week after the accident and our insurance was understanding so they let us keep our rental car a little longer than normal.
We were also super lucky because we closed on our house on a Friday and got our keys the same day, which doesn’t always happen in North Carolina because of the legal process here.
Even though we had no furniture, food, or toilet paper, we booked it to the house as soon as we got the call. Just thirty minutes before the courts closed, our realtor called us to tell us that the house was officially ours! We drove through the rain and pulled up outside just after five. Will even insisted on carrying me over the threshold. It was amazing.
We spent the evening at the grocery store buying toilet paper and frozen lasagna, and then back in our house to just soak in every foot of its perfections.
We are so excited to make it our own. To fill it, and decorate it, and host in it. It is our favorite investment, and we are so very happy.
On the first day of our cross-country move, in a small town in New Mexico, my tiny car was rear ended as we were attempting to pull into a restaurant for dinner.
Earlier that day
We were in Arizona for four months, exploring and working and living in a hotel.We booked it out from North Carolina in June, driving our two tiny cars packed to the brim across the country over three and a half days in order to get a good hotel room.We were able to snag a suite, with a kitchenette, separate bedroom, and couches for comfy movie nights.I took advantage of our space and went through a full workout program during our stay.I worked out five days a week for about an hour every day and got some abs by the end.
When it was time to leave, we were definitely a little sad.We had made great friends and connections, not to mention all of the authentic Mexican food and National Parks to explore.If you have been following my blog you know all about our adventures and how much we loved our time in the desert.Granted, my whole family is in North Carolina and we have an incredible support group on the east coast, so we were definitely excited to head home as well.
We weren’t able to leave town until the afternoon.We packed up our cars, checked out of our hotel, said goodbye to our friends and had a quick lunch at Subway.We sent texts to all of our family and friends to let them know we were hitting the road.I promised my mom I would let her know once we arrived at our hotel for the evening.Then we set off into the desert, going through our last border patrol check and peacing out toward the mountains.
We stopped in a tiny town in New Mexico and pulled into a parking lot to check our map and decide where to eat.We settled on a nearby local restaurant that had great reviews online.After turning back out onto the 25 mile per hour road, we drove a little ways and then turned left on another road.We stopped, with our left blinkers on, intending to turn into the restaurant’s parking lot.
That’s when I got hit.
Suddenly my head flew backward and my car lurched forward and my heart and lungs seemed to compress in my chest behind the tightened seatbelt.My arms were glued to the steering wheel and as I began to comprehend what had happened, and my car lurched forward again, I slammed my feet on the brakes in a feeble attempt to avoid hitting Will’s car, which was directly in front of me.
Luckily, I didn’t hit Will.He waved to me, indicating he was going to pull into the parking lot.I rolled down my window to look back at the driver who hit me to see if he was okay.He was in a huge truck.My tiny Mazda hadn’t stood a chance.
I shakily yelled back at him, “Are you okay?”But I doubt he heard me.I waved at him a few times, and indicated two or three times that I was going to pull into the parking lot to get us out of the road.I tested my car and it seemed okay to drive, so I cautiously pulled into the parking lot and to the side to stop.Will ran to my window and immediately asked if I was okay.I started crying, I think simply from adrenaline and shock.Also just because I cry over every strong emotion.I got out of my car and we hugged.That’s when we finally looked around for the other driver.
He wasn’t there.
Another shock.It was a hit and run.And it had happened to me.
The witnesses outside were shocked as well.The restaurant owners brought us water.A paramedic heard the crunch of my tiny car as it was hit, so he and his fellow paramedic came immediately and called the police for us.
Guys, I want to emphasize something right now.Every single person we encountered on this journey was amazing.They answered our questions, helped us however they could, and were on our team.Even though we went through something hard (although unfortunately not uncommon), we did our best to treat everyone with respect while at the same time emphasizing our situation and being proactive in getting everything accomplished.
We were in the middle of/on the first day of our cross country move.We were not from New Mexico, we had no permanent address, and we were two thousand miles from our destination.
As we waited for a tow truck, a truck pulled up and a man and his son got out, heading directly over to the police.There was a small dent in the front bumper of the truck.I nudged Will, who was on the phone with insurance.
I want to protect involved individuals, so I’m not going to hand out specific here, but let’s just say that the dad of the driver who hit me deserves an award.They came back, and we shook hands, and they apologized, and their insurance has been the bomb.
What a crazy rollercoaster of a night!
The tow truck driver, on arrival, inspected my car and told me it was okay to drive to Las Cruces.Will asked if he could drive my Mazda for me and I took his little Fiesta.We stopped for a quick dinner, got a hotel room, unpacked my car, and then went to the ER to get me checked out.
I got x-rays of my right wrist and they did an exam but determined nothing was broken or bruised.They gave me a shot for pain and a prescription for muscle relaxers, and advised that I not take more than half a pill at night if I was planning on driving the next day.
The following day was Friday and insurance claims adjusters don’t really work on the weekend.We had one day to get everything sorted out, otherwise we were going to be stuck in New Mexico all weekend.
To make a long story and a long day a lot shorter, we were able to meet with an insurance claims adjuster that afternoon and after working with us for a few hours, he determined that my car was a total loss.
Not to be dramatic, but literally six years to the day after I bought her, my baby died.
On one hand this was much more convenient.We didn’t have to figure out how to get my car repaired and then to North Carolina, or how to get to North Carolina and then repaired.Having it be a total loss meant that insurance could give us a check and a rental car and we could drive off into the sunset.
Which is pretty much exactly what we did.
It was a bitter sweet moment, and I may have shed some tears as we said goodbye to my Mazda and peaced out in the HUGE Ford F-250 rental car (the only car they had on the lot for us).At least we knew we could fit all of the stuff that was inside my car into the truck.
We stopped and indulged a little for dinner at Cracker Barrel, drowning our sorrows in comfort food and consoling ourselves that the total loss was ultimately in our favor because we could finally get back on the road.
After dinner we drove a couple hours into Texas just to get somewhere.I took half a muscle relaxer once we got to our hotel room and we went to sleep almost immediately.It had been a crazy 28 hours.
The rest of our trip was absolutely uneventful.We ate dinner one night at the fanciest Panera I have ever seen.We still listened to podcasts and stopped for Subway, gas station dinners, and tiny donuts.Will drove the truck (and LOVED every minute of it) and I drove his car.We took a different route home than we had planned in order to save some time.Our favorite hotel was a La Quinta somewhere near the eastern border of Texas.Our room had crazy tall ceilings and was exceptionally nice.
All in all, even after arriving back home in North Carolina, purchasing a new car, and other grand adventures we have been on since coming back, we are grateful.We don’t know God’s purpose yet in the accident, and maybe we never will.Sometimes everything isn’t about us.Maybe it is about someone we encountered along the journey.
Or maybe for us, it was about having each other and learning to cope together in a stressful situation. Having Will by my side through all of it was the greatest blessing.It was much less stressful to go through it with him and while I would rather never total a car again, I would gladly say I’m excited to do life with my husband, especially during the rough patches of life.
For those who have never seen it, or for those would like to re-live this once in a lifetime experience, I would like to invite you all to witness the sun rising over the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.
Labor Day Part II
“You cannot see the Grand Canyon in one view, as if it were a changeless spectacle from which a curtain might be lifted, but to see it, you have to toil from month to month through its labyrinths.” -John Wesley Powell