Spending two weeks in an extended stay hotel, where they charge you $3.00 for a roll of camping quality toilet paper, extra fees for dishes and the use of the laundry mat, and must inspect your room before you check out, cured us of our thoughts of taking our insurance company for up to $16,000 in living expenses. We took advantage of our time off from normal life to look at our possibilities. The first was to stay in hotels until we could contract someone to rebuild our 1700sqft house. The second, find a property to rent until we could rebuild. The third, take the insurance settlement and make a down payment on a new property. We began looking in our area and in Little Rock for properties we could make our home, even if for a temporary arrangement. We quickly tired of that. It was clear that Realtors need be expert marketers and photographers because every property we looked at fell short of the quaint country cottages and verdant green pastures depicted on their website ads. Staying in hotels was not going to be an option for us. Buying new or renting was not an option. Perhaps, we thought, we could live in an RV on the property until we could rebuild.
On the way back home from one of our house hunting trips (we went to see a 10 acre property in Solgahachia AR - pronounced sog-a-hatchie by the natives; what promised, from the photos, a small one story house, a hatchery, and 10 acres of property, but what delivered, a small shack, a rusted out poultry barn, scrap metal, old cars, and a 10 acre parcel butted right up to Highway 9 [the highway was the front yard] and extending back behind that house at a 30 degree grade, almost straight up to the pinnacle of a flat topped hill) we were at a loss for what to do. Patt then suggested that we live in our shop on our property for at least a year until we could decide what to do. We both teared up - call us crazy - but it just felt right. We settled with our insurance company. Basically we offered them a deal to pay us what we thought it would take to convert our shop into a home, in exchange for foregoing the total allowance for living expenses they were on the hook for. In retrospect we should have negotiated for a little more but all in all that got us out of a hotel and as you will see in the next post, well on our way to having a home of our own again.