When I last wrote I mentioned that we had heard that some pipes had burst at our lakehouse in Michigan, about 100 miles from here. At the time I knew it was bad, but I didn't want to jump to conclusions, especially when we knew so little. Reality dawned when we arrived in Michigan in the very early hours of March 4.
I have spent a good amount of time deciding how I wanted to write this post...this has been a devastating experience in the lives of me and my husband. I didn't want to present this to you, my friends, as something dramatic and in a "Pity Party" sort of way...yet I want to be honest and real about what has happened at our home away from home...heck, HOME. It's not pretty and I've just slowly got my head on straight.
I know it was a virtual shock for my neighbor, Susie, to walk in Tuesday morning and see what you are now looking at. She has been a dear and incredibly selfless friend in looking after our little cottage, coming in periodically to make sure the windows are closed, lights are off, and to water our plants. She had been on a short vacay and when she returned, she
stumbled on this.
We bought this place when Abby was just 6 months old. She grew up, as all four our kids, escaping every weekend to the country.
I laugh now...they were all captains, sailors, swimmers and daredevils. Many said our kids were missing out on sports in the city...baseball, swimming (ha), soccer, cross country...you name it. To us, they had the best of all sports and activity. They were young and strong and brown as berries. They knew water safety, could swim and fish and water ski, ice skate and snow ski. You can see Abby had a little too much sun here, but sometimes you couldn't grab them long enough to get sunscreen on them, they were too busy chasing toads and jumping off the dock!
It appears that the pipes burst in the upper level bath. The water gushed for an estimated 3 weeks. The rivers of water took many directions but seriously destroyed that bathroom and went in all directions upstairs so nothing was exempt. Our master bedroom took a big hit.
The lower level was worse...obviously. the water had nowhere to go but down after saturating the upper level of our home. The staircase...sad. And then it penetrated floors and ceilings collapsed. My laundry room is below the bathroom where it all started. You can see that cabinets fell off the wall on to my washer and dryer.
My kitchen is my pride and joy and I know all of you understand why. And it's also Grand Central Station for everyone when we have company. So it makes me so relieved that for some reason the water did not take this direction and my kitchen was unscathed.
An old picture...the floors in the Great Room were ruined as well as the staircase coming down into this room. Thankfully the flow of water stopped before it reached the wall that looks out on the lake...19 feet of floor to ceiling glass windows.
The balcony off the master bedroom...I'm so surprised it didn't just fall down. I couldn't bring myself to go upstairs although The Husband did.
I used to joke that if we ever had a fire, after getting the kids and dogs out, I would carry my Hoosier cabinet out on my back. The kitchen (as I've said) was fine. It's incredible that the water flowed in such odd directions.
So there you have it. I felt it was good for me to look back at pictures we have of good times. We have had our fair share of this beautiful escape over the past 23+ years. We've seen our kids (and pets) grow. And while most of our activities take place outdoors, these walls held laughter and fun and many sleepy, tired bodies. Wonderful meals and warm fires in the winter. A safe shelter.
Milo was a mere six months old when he trotted along after us at the lake. He loved to go on the boat and run after the neighbor's dogs. He made friends quicker than we did! Layla is a bit more cautious...she liked to sit in the screened in summerhouse and watch our antics from a safe place.
We watched rain fall when all we wanted to do was be out on our toys. And The Husband and I rejoiced that the lovingly planted and tended to gardens were getting a natural drink of water...maybe we were the only ones!!
Days of sun and sand are what we remember most when we think of the lakehouse. Busy activity filled days with friends and family, and then the quiet ones that The Husband and I have been sharing by ourselves in the last few years. Lazily drifting in the boat, him fishing, me reading, and long slow meals on the patio, listening to the birdsong.
We're at home now...waiting for word on the extent of the damage...what can and will be salvaged. The "clean up" crew had to get a plow to get through the good 4 feet of snow in our driveway to bring in a dumpster to ultimately haul out the debris. That very word makes me shudder. My walls and ceilings and treasures now classified as debris.
I have to thank my good neighbors, Susie and Mike. And I want to thank all of you ladies who felt it in your hearts and minds to send good wishes after my last post which just alluded to this devastation...it's as if you knew me and what I was trying to hold back on.
I truly hope you don't feel like I am being melodramatic with this post. I felt so wrapped up in sadness when The Husband and I were there on Wednesday. I found this little corner of the Great Room where we always gathered to talk and look out at the bay, it was one of the only places that was dry. The temp in the house was still at 55 but slowly heating up. I crawled into a ball on the settee with my hood over my head and a small throw over me as The Husband worked with the insurance adjuster. In a half dream I heard Susie's voice. I sat up. We huddled and talked. She was shook up, too. Later she brought over some snacks and a bottle of wine. For about an hour it seemed okay as we sat in this one dry spot but I kept my back to the room. The frozen bay was all I wanted to see.
Love and many thanks in advance. I know all of you know what the lake means to me. We have a long road ahead of us but we will be fine. And I will keep you posted of that progress.
~~I live with regrets-the bittersweet loss of innocence-
the red track of the moon upon the lake-
the inability to return and do it again.
~A Familiar Rain