Terri and I have a lot of people to thank. We’ve had so much support from near and far throughout this year, and we don’t know what we would have done without it.
Last week we started sending out progress photos in emails, but we don’t even have contact information for many of the people who came to our aid. So I’ll be posting those photos here, along with a lot more as time goes on, more than is practical to send in emails.
We were able to move back in a few days before Christmas, a year and a fews days since the night of the fire. The house isn’t done, but it’s close, and we can continue the work more easily and comfortably now that we’re back. The yard is still a total wreck, complete with dumpster in the front yard and debris littered about. We’ll get to that soon.
Meanwhile, the inside is amazing. We still mourn what was lost, but that gets easier every day. Easier still, because we’re so pleased with the results of all the hard work.
Here are some before and after photos. In some cases, even the before-fire before for reference.
We finally have a move-in date. On December 20 a three man crew of Student Movers will help us move the big heavy stuff from the rental house to the upstairs, and T and I will spend the rest of the month shuttling carloads of stuff back to the house, which definitely won’t be finished. There’s months of work ahead – but at least we’ll get to spend Christmas at home again.
With the deadline looming, everyone is scrambling to get done. Painters are right on top of the carpenters, priming trim as soon as it’s nailed in place. Electricians and tile setters have been working Saturdays and Sundays.
Dennis helped me rebuild the stove hood, almost exactly like the one I did a little over a year ago. Same design, but had to adjust it to fit new cabinets and walls.
The carpenters have been wrapping up baseboards, door jambs and window sills. I follow behind with the final trim – ripping, routing, cutting, and mounting for 35 windows and 25 doorways. Built before the advent of domestic air conditioning, my gosh, this house has a lot of windows and doors. And still more to do later.
I wanted the second floor plumbing to run through a new hall closet on the first floor, but it came through the ceiling 6″ into the Living Room. Erg. I wrapped the pipes in insulation to cut down on the flushing noise and built an inset bookcase to hide it. Finally finished that late Sunday night.
More painting and trim work will continue through Thursday. Then we have to completely empty out the house again and sweep the whole place. On Friday, the floor guys come back to clean and buff and apply the final finish coat. We’ll have to stay out of the house at least through the weekend.
Appliances are still MIA, but maybe they’ll show up soon.
(Update: Long story short, the guy who took our order at Lowes got fired two days later, and screwed up our order before he left. Looks like we’ll be camping in the house for Christmas.)
Six Terabytes of data, over 50 thousand photos, all the raw and finished video footage, hours and hours and hours of it. Everything. Going all the way back to 2004. Photos of the girls since middle school, scans of family prints now gone, the boat building and sailing archives, travels, life.
Somehow tonight they all came back from the grave.
I had given up on it all. Already mourned the death, mentally buried the body and said last rights. And yet, still.
Next to the living room, the office got it almost as bad. Smoke and flames and water. The intense heat melted anything made of plastic, making macabre Dali-esque drip art. Then smoke and soot seeped into the smallest crevices, turning all black. Then the water and foam from the firemen. The room was several inches deep in water before they were done, dripping through the floor to the workshop below throughout the next day.
Days after the fire, I went in and collected the hard drives. All the wires, the power supplies, and the cases of the cheaper backup drives, all melted. I yanked out what remained of the cables and put the bodies in a plastic tub in the boatshed, where they sat in the freezing cold for over a month, drying out.
I assumed they were all lost. Had to. Too hard to hope. But, still, mapped out a plan to try and recover what I could. It would require buying exact copies of each, sometimes used on ebay, and transferring the guts of the deceased into the bodies of the still living.
Last weekend the burned drives came to the cottage where they got cleaned off as best I could, at least so I could handle them. On some, the cases had to be broken off with pliers to access the drives within.
Tonight a duplicate of the main RAID storage unit arrived. I borrowed the power supply and cables from the new one, updated software on the laptop, and plugged it in, fully expecting to have to pull out the drives and transplant them. But low and behold, the dang thing fired right up and mounted on the desktop. Amazing.
Paying extra for the good stuff paid off this time. The cheaper drives, with cases made of plastic, all melted. I’ll still try to save a couple of those, but chances are slim. The LaCie 5Big RAID was expensive. Twice the cost of cheaper drives of comparable capacity, but made of metal, with premium drives and controllers, it took it all like a champ apparently. Even the LEDs and power buttons survived the heat.
Sometime in the next few days, a third party replacement power supply will arrive. Then I can connect the new and old together and start the transfusion, transferring a lifetime of imagery, digital lifeblood, to the new host.