One Giant Leap for Vankind – #HurricaneIrma

Today was the FIRST day I’ve been able to take a deep breath since September 10! We found a general contractor who said he thought he could help us rescue our cars. Others had said no way. They’d wait until the insurance company gave them the go ahead to begin demo and repairs. Weeks away, probably. But Doug Miller of Timberland Builders, Inc, showed up shortly before 8:00am today, and he and his men were absolutely committed to getting our cars out of the garage.

It was a dangerous, scary job, and things conspired against them, but every time there was a hitch, they stopped, rethought the problem, and came up with another solution. They were very, very careful, trying not to cause any more damage to the cars, the garage, or our personal belongings. They were also very careful not to get injured in the process. (I was so nervous, I had to go inside several times. )

The guys removed the garage door. No mean feat, since it had to come down in panels, and there was a very tiny amount of space in front of the vehicles in which to work. Finally, our cars saw the light of day for the first time in a month! Mark immediately climbed into his van, cranked it up, and drove out of the garage, honking the horn all the way! Victor Willie didn’t even have a scratch on it. Mostly, it had been covered in soggy drywall, rather than plywood flooring or rafters. It’s FINE.

Then all eyes turned toward the Honda. I was shocked to see there was as much resting on the front of the car as there was on the trunk! OMG, the very idea of working with all the rafters and attic contents dangling precariously overhead was enough to make me ill. The picture doesn’t show just how much stuff they were scrambling around beneath. Toward the back of the garage, there were very few places you could stand upright.

 I had no clue how they were going to do this. Luckily, they were smarter than I.

First, they built a frame under the rafters at the front as a support so they could be jacked up, then they did something similar in the back. The frames had to be modified several times to give them extra strength.

Once the frames started to hold steady, they jacked them up, front and back, and drove the Honda out, too. Wooohoooooo! And the really good new is, astonishingly, it appears to have suffered only cosmetic damage!! It will need to be repainted, and there’s a very shallow dent on one side of the roof, but it doesn’t appear there’s any frame damage. Of course, we won’t know for sure until the body shop takes a look, but we are all hopeful!!


The State Farm rep should be here at noon tomorrow. Sadly, it’s Miriam, and not JAKE, but that’s the way it goes. 🙂 If all goes well, we could have our Honda back in a fairly short time, depending on Miriam’s assessment. Crossing my fingers here, because the transportation issue has been a big complication.

I hesitate to let myself get TOO happy, lest there be a smackdown coming, but right now, I’m feeling much better than I have in four weeks. YAY! Doug and his men from Timberland Builders are my new heroes, right up there with Thor and Harry Dresden. Except, REAL. And here to help when needed!

And there you have the latest. Hopefully, it won’t be long before we can get started on repairs, but for now, the garage has been secured again, and we have our cars ALMOST back. And that’s HUGE!

47 thoughts on “One Giant Leap for Vankind – #HurricaneIrma

  1. Yay! Fabulous (almost) news!
    Amazing how little damage the cars appear to have suffered, considering what was on top of them.
    And those guys deserve a medal for THINKING their way through things, not just barrelling in and ‘getting on with it’. Superstars indeed,

    Liked by 4 people

    • I agree, Karin! And every day’s rain saw the tarp sagging lower and lower under the weight. Mark would siphon out water from the ballooning “swimming pool” on the garage roof, to help keep the weight down. But still the rafters and beams were getting lower and lower, and boxes continued to suddenly slide down the canted plywood and crash to the floor. I was so worried about these guys! And here’s more good news for YOU. I’ll have a VEHICLE to drive to your house in a couple of weeks, for your club meeting. YAY!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Me, too, Linda. We want Doug to do our repairs for us, and it’s looking good, but now he has set a precedent, and he has a lot to live up to. 😀 If we can get going in the next week or two, my money’s on Doug for doing it 1) right, and 2) as quickly as is practical and safe. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! What heroes you had working to free your cars. Isn’t it wonderful to meet (or hear about) real life heroes. I’m so pleased your cars didn’t sustain any more damage than that. There was enough other damage to cope with. I hope all goes well from here on. Oh, and btw, I love your GIF at the top of this post. Clever! I’d love to know how you do that. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree on the unsung heroes out there, Norah. And even the news is full of them lately, between disasters both natural and manmade. It does your heart good to hear about the people who rise to the occasion and work so hard to help others.

      I used to use IncrediMail for my default email, and it allows you to create stationery and animations within the program. I have my silly ol’ face stuck on lots of animations. When I got my latest computer, IncrediMail stopped working. I have recently downloaded a new version to see if I can set it up again. (It’s so much more user-friendly than Outlook OR gmail!) I haven’t had a chance to see if I can use it again. If I can, I’ll be happy to make you some animations. It only takes a second to plug face into one. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is wonderful when people work hard with you to solve a problem. It restores our faith in humanity.
        I hadn’t heard of Incredimail, Marcia. It sounds interesting. I appreciate your generous offer. Perhaps I’ll check it out myself. Thank you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • If you could have seen what was actually ON the Honda, you wouldn’t believe it could possibly be undamaged. It took four men and a heavy duty jack, plus strengthened and re-re-enforced scaffolding to lift it. No way mere humans could have done it. So why there aren’t more serious dents or broken windows, I just don’t know. Everyone was shocked. Of course, it will take the pros to determine for sure whether or not the frame is damaged, but I’ve got HOPE that it isn’t. 🙂 Hope is a good thing to have! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree on both counts. It was like a miracle was happening. We fully expected to get the van out, and be forced to leave the Honda buried. Fingers crossed that the adjustor approves us getting it to a body shop for a close up look at things. To the naked eye, all it needs is a clean up and paint job. I hope our naked eyes are right! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is indeed good news. Amazing there is little damage to the vehicles and that they still run. VW and Honda, not surprised. Would make good commercials!! (like those Timex commercials) This will have to go into a book at some time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have a friend who said she can see the Honda commercial in the making, and a new Honda coming our way from the company. Hahahaha. I’ve got plenty of pics, and “connections” at the dealership. It could happen! 😀 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s amazing that your Honda suffered such little damage. It makes you rethink that whole protection of the garage thing. Of course, if our garage collapsed, that would mean our entire 2nd floor collapsed as well. That wouldn’t be good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha, no that wouldn’t be good at all. Let’s hope it never happens to you! 😀

      And no one believed that car would come out of that garage in such good shape. (The back end had more stuff on it than the front!)

      State Farm has already been here today, and given us a figure of $5,600 for repainting and fixing the small(ish) dents, with the proviso that anything additional that the body shop finds will be added into the claim. I’m astounded. AND, it’s good to drive already, so even if we can’t get it into the shop for a couple of days, we have our car back! Had State Farm been able to look at the car when they called me first, the day after I reported it, we’d have had our car situation sorted out in a week.

      Oh, if ONLY things were moving that quickly with the homeowner’s policy. But I’ve got a general contractor now who is working with the insurance company, and hopefully, we will be moving forward before much longer. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • The demand is so high for home repair and there are some price increases going on. We had out two wooden gates break off during the storm and the contractor estimated $4,400 to replace them. The materials might cost $2-300 dollars at most.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yikes. Yes, it is tough to find good contractors available to do repairs right now, but I think we’ve lucked out. Fingers crossed that it goes smoothly. Of course, we are looking at a claim in the area of $40,000, instead of $4,400! There will have to be at least one concrete wall replaced, and the lintel over the garage door is history. Plus a full roof, including rebuilt trusses/rafters/attic flooring and more. Then there’s electrical to the garage, with new lights, and plumbing. (Our waterlines are overhead, and run through the garage, too. (We had a slab leak some time ago, and they ran them this way, rather than jackhammering up the slab.) So, we have a major job coming up. Gulp.

          But, we HAVE our cars back. The Honda will be in the shop at some point soon, but probably only for a few days. And we no longer have to worry about replacing it. Yipppeeeee. 😀

          Hope your get your gate taken care of soon, with minimum problems. Good luck! 🙂


  5. OMG Marcia, what an ordeal!!! I hope your house is intact. Irma struck when I was in PA helping with my mother. I have a cousin in FL, just north of Tampa, and we were worried sick. Fortunately, Irma dropped to a level 2 before reaching them, and they incurred little damage. I’m sending you tons of positive energy and keeping you in my prayers. Also sending lots of love and hugs, my friend ♥♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

    • Don’t be fooled by Level 2, either, Tina. It was lower than that when it reached us, and we have $40,000 worth of damage to our garage!!! It will be months yet before our house is back to normal. Check out my posts to see what a tree the size of Milwaukee looks like covering your house! And what a $7000 tree removal job, complete with CRANE looks like! Go here:
      And here:
      😯 😯 😯

      Thanks for your love and support! We are doing okay, but my stress levels are through the roof. I have to remind myself daily that there are thousands of storm victims out there in MUCH worse shape than we are! AND, we’re still alive to tell about it! We are grateful! Stressed, but grateful! 😀 ❤

      And very glad your relatives are safe without much damage to deal with! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Holy cripes, Marcia! I’m amazed your hands are steady enough to type, and your mind clear enough to put ‘pen’ to page. Maybe it’s time to move to the Rockies 🙂 How fortunate that you’re able to tap into gratitude. Once seated in this most blessed virtue, we can move anywhere. I am MOST grateful that you’re alive and well and able to grace us with your lovely presence. Love, light, and blessings, dear friend ❤❤

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you so much for such kind comments. It’s been the steadfast encouragement and support from friends, both online and IRL, that have buoyed my spirits throughout all of this. We’ve a long road ahead, but with such kind thoughts and prayers coming at us, we’ll make it, I’m sure! We are very grateful for all who have taken the time to let us know they were thinking about us, including you! 🙂 ❤ Hugs!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Flash Fiction Prompt for Hurricane Relief #Flash4Storms #SundayBlogShare | M J Mallon Author

    • This was HUGE. Their success is probably the only reason we didn’t end up with one or both vehicles totaled. They were absolutely great, and I do hope the insurance company doesn’t give us any problems with using them for the garage demo/repairs. We know at least the front wall, to the right of the garage door, has to come down. We’re hoping that’s the only one, but it will take an engineer to determine that. But we are looking at over $40,000. Eeeeeep.

      It’s great to know that Mark can drive the Honda until we can get an appointment for the repairs. It has scratches and small dents galore, to the tune of about $5600, but nothing to prevent him from using the car until it goes into the shop. SUCH a relief! Moving forward, now! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Evelyne! The last couple of days have been spent with a workcrew emptying out the entire garage and attic. The things we could save completely filled a 20’x10′ storage pod, and the ruined things filled a 16’x8′ construction dumpster! I’ll be posting about that process very soon. It was unbelievable! And they are going to have to empty the dumpster before they can even get started with the demolition of the roof and parts of the walls! So, onward we go! 😀


    • Thanks, Robbie. This was a minor miracle for us, and in the three weeks since I posted this, Doug and his team have done several other things, including setting up a 20′ pod for garage and attic contents that were salvageable and a 16′ construction dumpster for those which were not. Then he sent a team of “pack-out pros” to empty everything out for us, and they were amazing.

      And I’m due for another update, as soon as I can find a minute to put it together. Several more great things have happened since then, and I have some cool pics to share. Am planning to do that later today, if possible. Also permits have been filed for, and the insurance company has finally sent a partial check on the $60,500+ estimate for repairs.

      One of these days–probably after the first of the year–life will be somewhat normal again. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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