Saturday, December 8, 2018

November 2018 Earthquake Update

First and foremost I want to thank everyone.  Your kindness and support during this time has been one of the few real bright points this entire week, so thank you SO much for that.  I needed every bit of it.

This has been a real ride this last week and just crazy and stressful.  First there was the aftershocks.  So.  Many.  Aftershocks!  We topped up over 3,000 yesterday, I think.  Up until a couple of days ago the aftershocks were just constant, which kept me in a constant state of shot nerves.  I finally slept downstairs last night instead of bedding down on the son's floor on a pile of blankets and I still felt unease about it.  Nerve wracking doesn't even BEGIN to cover it.

Then there was the son's stomach bug, which turned out to be a nearly week long affair (I called his pediatrician and I guess it's a nasty bug going around), so that was fun with a broken toilet.

I got so dehydrated on Friday just from not thinking to drink much and then not having water available TO drink (my emergency water somehow surfed from my pantry, across the hallway and was jammed over by the hot water heater in the laundry room) that by the time I went to the doctor on Monday I had a pretty significant urinary tract infection and kidney infection.  I didn't realize how badly it was effecting my ability to think until the nurse asked me if I was on the keto diet (as I had worrisome amounts of protein in my urine) and I couldn't remember what that was and other things that I should have known, but for the life of me couldn't remember.  Just as an aside I want to thank you all for your donations to my paypal as due to that generosity I was able to pay for that doctor's visit and BOY did I need it!  

Then there was the home owner's insurance.  Which turned out to be as useful as a screen door on a submarine.  I went from calling them Friday and them telling me to put things on credit card and take plenty of pictures and they'd get an adjuster out to confirm damages to calling them on Monday and them acting like I was insane for even thinking that I might be covered for earthquakes in an earthquake zone.  The insurance is going to cover 100% nothing.  I broke down for a while after getting off the phone with them and then tried to think of what else to do.

At least my husband's classic car insurance through Hagherty was worth something.  It sounds like they are going to fix my husband's car, which at least we have that going for us.  We had a guy show up and take pictures day before yesterday and they are getting quotes from body shops and things.
Cracks, cracks everywhere.
After finding out that the home owner's insurance was going to cover 100% nothing, I called FEMA, but our Federal government hasn't, in all of their infinite wisdom, declared Alaska a national problem, so I'm worried that's not going to happen either especially how quickly Alaska got on the ball and started to repair roadways and things to get the state back up and working again (nothing shuts this state down and after this quake it really showed how much Alaska could get done when the brakes were taken off).  Governor Walker, on his way out the door (literally, we were right in the middle of transitions for our state government this week), declared a state of emergency for the state and the old and new guys in office came up with a disaster relief grant program you can apply for.  It went live at 8 am on Wednesday, I believe, and I was awake at 6 am and called when the thing went live at eight (and then called, and called and called again that day until I got a person instead of an answering machine) and applied for the disaster relief.  The grant you can get is limited in what they cover, but I'm praying they might pay to at least replace the chimney and maybe the man door to our garage (which we use as the main door in and out of the house) as you have to basically kick the door in to get it to open now and there are gaps in the door frame and a few other necessary repairs that we're not sure how in the Heck we are going to pay for.

We told them about the hot water heater as it kept going out for no reason after the earthquake and wasn't cycling right.  You had to actually drain the tank to get it to refill and fire.  It finally just out and out quit night before last.  So we went and bought a new hot water heater on the house account and my husband installed it yesterday.  I have to say it was nice being able to take a shower for the first time since the earthquake (I had been running lukewarm baths for the kids instead of worrying about showers and using up what little hot water we'd have for the day doing that).

My mom called and told us she'd bought us a toilet and we could pick it up at Home Depot.  I cried when she told me that.  As gifts go that was one of the most heartfelt gifts I'd ever received.  My best friend bought me a new canner.  That also brought tears.  Blog readers paypal donations came in with different messages of encouragement...more tears.  Thank you, everyone.  I can't say that enough.

I finally got courageous enough to go and check the outbuildings yesterday.  I found a miracle while there.  We had foam insulation left over from building the chicken coop and my husband had put it in the shed so it was protected from the wind.  I don't know how that foam insulation fell in such a way to protect the lawn mower, but it did.  I was so grateful when I found that as there was NO way we could have afforded to replace the lawn mower (seen up top).

The 40 ft van was bad, but not as bad as I'd fear it would be.  Some of my family heirlooms might have survived from the look of it, but it's going to be a while before I can get back into the van to fully check the damage as it's going to take a lot of work to get through all of that.

The other two outbuildings, though, are gone.  The shed actually sank/shifted and bulged it's sides out and the barn cracked the main roof supports in the quake.  We're just going to worry about demolishing them later.  That's all we can really do at this point.  

On top of everything else, Mother Nature decided to have a version of, "Hold my beer" when it came to Alaska.  Friday we had the quake.  Saturday we got 60 mph gusts of wind.  Temperature went up to unseasonably warm weather which melted snow, quickly tanked the temperatures to create wonderful amounts of ice and then dumped about 8 inches of snow on us.  All in a couple of days.  So, I'd like to apologize to any neighbors who might read this and ended up in possession of pieces of our gutters as I didn't have the opportunity to clean them up before they blew away.

Cleaning has been slow and hard.  Having a sick son and me being sick on top of it just didn't help me out much, never mind the aftershocks and things.  But, I'm getting there.  

The mice in the pantry ended up being a blessing in disguise as I didn't have much food to lose compared to how it would have been.  I did end up losing a bunch more jars and food, but due to the shelves being away from the walls and all of the jars being stored with their rings on and in boxes with high sides...I didn't lose too much there, which was a miracle.  

It took me days to get the kitchen in enough order to actually cook in it again and I'm still cleaning and working on it.  We ate out a LOT this last week, which we just put on credit card and will deal with later as we really didn't have much of a choice.  Poor Alvah has been freaking out in his own way since the quake and one of the main things he desperately wanted was to do was get McDonald's french fries for every meal once his stomach let him keep them down.  I think it's because McDonald's is familiar and comforting to him.  

Both of the kid's schools are still closed and will hopefully open at the end of this coming week.  The head of education for the state came out and said that the kids will not have to make up the school that was lost due to the quake, so we'll see how it effects second quarter grades once the kids get back to school.  In a way I am dreading the kids going back to school as I don't know if I'm ever going to be okay with letting them out of my sight for the rest of my natural life, but I also realize how important it is for the kids to get their lives back to normal as much as possible during this entire mess.  

I've had a couple of people e-mail me and ask me if I had a wish list on Amazon yet on items we still needed so they could help out in small ways.  I just wanted to say I'm working on it.  I'm compiling lists as I go along and will put one on Amazon when I can.  Honestly I think that's going to be the best way for ME to keep track of everything that I need to replace.  I lost a lot of spices and herbs and such. Bright side is that my everyday plates and bowls (well some of them anyway) were in the dishwasher when the quake hit, so I have plates that are a bit chipped and things, but usable.  

As things go that life can throw at you, this one is financially devastating on a level I hoped to never have to deal with.  So much for paying off bills and getting ahead *deep sigh*.  I'm just grateful as it could have been so much worse as there are others up here who are.  We have a bunch of homes in Jewel Lake that are being condemned due to earthquake damage, people lost their homes to fire and aren't covered because the fire was due to the earthquake, etc.  


  1. I feel so bad for you all. Just happy that you survived!
    I live in the mid section of the states and we have no earthquake or flood insurance unless a separate policy is purchased. From what I understand it is that way most every where.

    I know you worked hard to pay things off and catch back up - now this. It would have been worse financially had you NOT done that - so there is a tiny silver lining.

    God bless you and I hope you get your life and 'sanity' back soon. It has to be so nerve racking!

  2. Oh Erika.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your home owners insurance. I had really been hoping (and praying) that the homeowners insurance would let you rebuild better than before.

    Can you sell some of the materials from the tear downs for something? Copper, aluminum, etc.? No idea if that's even possible but we have a few people around here (in MN) that do that for a living.

    We'll pray hard and hopefully the state and federal funding will come through and be helpful! I'm so glad that you were able to get medical treatment for yourself without extra debt and that your son is well enough to eat French fries. I'm also glad that the mower is intact and that the car will be repaired. Little silver linings!

    Long distance hugs,

  3. What a wonderful miracle with your lawn mower!
    And what a great mom who knows what the perfect gift for right now is! : )
    I'm so sorry to hear that the insurance people lied to you. You might try calling your U.S. senators and congressional rep to ask about the FEMA. Hopefully they would be working to get that on Alaska's behalf. (I don't know how any of that works, but I do know it never hurts to ask!)
    I've been telling my DH your earthquake story, and he is a car guy. He wants to know what your DH's classic car is, if you don't mind to share.
    I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.
    Please remember to take good care of yourself!

  4. Erika, that is just ridiculous! "Sucks to be you" is just not good enough when there is a natural disaster. There is most likely numerous people in your position, struggling financially to find a way to repair their homes. So there should be relief of some sort out there to help you all. Keep looking, keep asking questions and do not give up on this one. You deserve to have help to repair your home to livable and safe conditions!

  5. Thank you very much for the update. I've been thinking about you all week, and praying for you and your family. My husband says we don't have earthquake insurance, either. It is something we would have to buy separately around here, and we didn't. So, here's hoping there are no earthquakes around here. What a mess!

    I'm glad to see that you are going to have hot water and a toilet! That was a good gift! As for the French fries--there has been more than one occasion where I have been extremely grateful that there was a McDonalds. In those cases, I can't help but think about if I was born in a different time and place and had to either cook my dried beans or whatever, or starve, and have always been glad it was a choice to pick up fast food.

    Hang in there. Hopefully, the disaster relief money will come through for you and the others who need it, too.

  6. Where we live in Nevada we have to pay extra for earthquake insurance since we are on a fault line. Also paid more for flooding and everyone laughed at me until the water came within a few hundred feet of where we live. Sorry you have to go through this. I agree keep calling and checking every lead for assistance. Unfortunately at a time when you feel overwhelmed is when you need to buckle down and do even more. As a mom you know about going the extra mile. I have told people I don't have money but I do have time so I will keep looking! Take care and hope to hear of more silver linings.

  7. Most homeowner's insurances offer earthquake coverage as an add on, and at additional cost. If you are concerned you should contact your agent, or insurance company. They could advise you of the cost. Flood insurance, on the other hand, is usually purchased as a separate policy from a different entity. By sharing her experiences, Erika is doing us all a great service in reminding us to check on these things sooner rather than later. Let's hope our government does more for the good people of Alaska than they did for the folks in Puerto Rico.

  8. Please know we are all sending you hugs and prayers.

  9. Erika - I contacted Penzy's spices to try and figure out a way I could get you some good spice replacements. They will be emailing you - I hope it can help you at least get some "normal" back to your meal times. ((HUGS)) Melissa V

  10. So happy to see an update - but so sorry for all that you are going through - I cannot even imagine how terrifying all the aftershocks must be!
    And again, I really do feel as though Alaska has been abandoned - there is nothing on CNN or any of the other US channels about how you are all coping and to find out that FEMA isn't even there to help is ridiculous! I really hope that your State insurance comes through for you even in some small way.
    Please look after yourself.