We've still moving forward one step at a time. We've got dad in the condo, and it's nice enough in a corporate-apartment-impersonal sortof way. He hates everything about it. But it's temporary (up to one year), and it's better than crashing on a couch. It's at least some space he can call his for a while.
We went over yesterday and did some rummaging around in the debris. Miracle of all miracles, we found several picture albums. They are singed, covered with dirt and ash and soaking wet, but the pictures are there. We've been washing them under running water and drying them on towels laid out around the condo. After they are dry we're putting them in new albums. So far we have a pretty complete history from 1974-1980. There doesn't seem to be anything after 1981. We're going back out tomorrow and will root around some more. We found dad's tool box, but it's wedged in so tightly we can't get it out. He has no idea if anything survived in it, but he wants to look.
We met with an excavator today, and applied for a demolition permit. (No, dad hasn't made any decisions about rebuilding or moving, we just need to get the debris cleared out.) Because of the economy the contractor is pretty slow and can start work as soon as we want it. He's also willing to work with us - go slow so we can rummage through the debris as the layers are brought out. It's really amazing how stuff was tossed around by the backhoe. My bed is at the opposite end of the house from where it used to be. The file cabinets from the computer room ended up in the old garage.
We've also started on the inventory of the house. Have you ever tried to list every single thing in your home - by memory? It's crazy. We've made it through dad's bedroom and my bedroom so far. We have to list a description of the item, how old it is, where we purchased it, brand names/model/model numbers (if we know them) and how much it will cost to replace. The insurance company takes that list and runs some fancy calculations, then cuts dad a check for what they think his stuff is worth. If and when he replaces it with new stuff, they'll give him the difference. So if he claims he paid $10 for a pillow 5 years ago, they determine the pillow has depreciated and is now only worth $7. So they pay him $7. When he buys a new pillow and it costs $10 or more, they'll give him another $3 to make him whole.
Kendra and Dan are the only thing keeping me sane. My aunt Jean has been a godsend - again. She was a rock when mom died, and is such an amazing help now.
Mostly, I'm just exhausted.