Last weekend was a pretty special one for my family. They finally got to take down the sign in their front yard that read “I’m coming back.”
It was the first time since the Mouse (Souris) River Flood of 2011 that my family was able to move back into their house in Minot.
For about the last year, my parents stayed in a FEMA trailer, or the “White Castle”, as my dad called it, on the front lawn.
My folks, both in their mid-60s and pretty recently retired, worked diligently to repair the house, tackling one room at a time until the main floor was virtually livable again.
There are still hundreds, if not thousands of hours of work left to do… The walls are bare, the basement is filled with all sorts of stuff that used to be spread throughout the house.
But the good news is, they will be spreading that stuff back through the house while living in it.
It’s been a pretty tumultuous past 18 months for my parents. They retired feeling fairly confident that they would be financially secure for the rest of their lives. I guess the first rule of retirement is to plan for the unexpected.
There were dozens of days spent gutting out the house late last summer and hauling the mushy innards of the house out to the curb.
It was way too much work for a newspaper man in his mid-30s, much less a retired couple. But we got a lot of help, which we are very thankful for, and soon got to the job of rebuilding the house.
My dad has always been really handy and did a lot of the work himself. About a year ago, I moved to Grand Forks to take a job and could only be of help on the occasional weekends when I was home to visit.
It was a mountain of work to say the least, but my parents, with help from friends and family, continued to chip away and last weekend, were able to enjoy a weekend in there house.
There are even some improvements! The downstairs bathroom got a remodel and is now more spacious and since they are leaving the basement unfinished, I don’t have to go all the way downstairs to watch TV.
It’s still hard to walk around in the house and swallow the fact that water nearly touched the ceiling on the main floor.
But that water is gone, hopefully never to return, and I’m hoping that my parents will now be able to do what they wanted to do — enjoy retirement from the comfort of their own home.
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