ABC Did a Beautiful Job Siding My House

In the last week, we've hit a major milestone for recovering from the derecho, we finally got siding on our house. This was after Iowa Metal Roofs stole our money and a year of frustration in trying to handle it. I'll probably mention the theft occasionally for a while longer, but I don't really have the personality to hold grudges for long; I just want it to show up in Google results to warn others.

We ended up going with ABC who did a wonderful job. They were fast, cleaned up every night so our dogs (one who is going blind and deaf) wouldn't be stumbling over nails and metal bits (we got steel siding). They also did a great job of keeping me informed of every step, more so knowing that we were ghosted by the other company.

To our surprise, they even went beyond what we expected and fixed some of the soffit that wasn't installed properly.

Not to say that wasn't perfect. They accidentally broke a pipe in the process, but I'm going to let that one go though it was an unexpected $500 repair. I honestly couldn't tell you if the kids would have ended up breaking it in the same way in a year or so.

We went with a “serious blue” (according to our neighbor) which is almost a sapphire color. With the white trim around the windows, brand new LED lights everywhere (motion on the front and back, big lights around the garage), and a new street sign, it now looks like a house that is ours.

I would recommend them for steel siding in a heartbeat.


A painful step for this was handing over the checks for the payment. Since we had to get a second home equity loan to cover the siding, I watched our personal debt increase to a higher level than it had been in pretty much my entire life (excluding the house).

This is also one of my two biggest triggers. Call it a result of my upbringing, but I really don't like being in debt. It causes me to get anxious in a way that I can't easily handle it. From self-reflection, it seems that my anxiety levels get worse around the 0.3 and 0.7 of my incoming levels. With the HELOC, we are well above the 0.7 point so I find it intruding on my thoughts a lot more than I enjoy.

There is nothing I can do about it though besides just work at paying it down. I'm not going to stop our trip to the cabin over this, but I'm also not going to be getting a new computer unless my catastrophically fails. Or getting a home media server to replace my aging one.


One thing of note, we paid off our car last month. That means no more car payments for a while (that got moved over to the HELOC) and we own the car free and clear.

That also helps.


I still have a trauma response to the siding. I keep expecting something to go terribly wrong, like the house burns down or the siding falls off. I know it is just fear from the last two years, but it is slowly feeling like it's “real”.

Like the debt, there is nothing that I can really do to speed up this healing process. It just needs to be worked through before I cease to see it as the “new” siding and then it will just be “the house”.

I'm looking forward to that point, but it takes a while for it to be glossed over.


The last repair is the gutters. We've found a place and are getting on their schedule, but it won't be “until summer” before they get to us. There is enough on the HELOC to cover it, so as long as we can avoid spending it on another emergency or overdrafts, there will be some point around the two year anniversary of the derecho that I can finally say we've recovered the storm.

Hopefully then, I'll stop assuming the worse.

Shed and Porch

Technically, we lost a shed in the storm. That will eventually be replaced, but I want to pour a concrete floor for it and get something that matches the house. I also want a fence. But, to be honest, we can live without those things and I'd rather recover funding to get under my trigger threshold first (at least the 0.3 level).

Also, the porch area is pretty trashed. Last year, I put down vegetation clear to prevent weeds from growing up, but I'll have a few challenges this year as I start the transition to gardens or just plain yard.


That leads into my plans for writing. Well, I'm still burned out but I'm finding that I'm thinking about writing a lot more. That's good because it means that I'm getting excited.

But, publishing books can be expensive. I run about $2.5k/book for one of my books at the moment. There is no chance I'm going to do that above the 0.7 level. That probably means I'm going to be looking at another 3-5 years before I can “finish” a book.

There are currently two books in the pipeline:

Flight of the Scions is pretty much at the last few steps, getting a sensitivity reader to look at it and creating a cover.

Second-Hand Dresses is “stuck” with one question from the first editor that I want to write a MfGames Culture to solve. This will help with writing.

In both of these cases, I have self-inflicted tasks that block them (cover and library). I also noticed that when I go down to write, I'm finding myself hung up on other tasks, so I'm going to let that part of my recover by focusing on getting Nitride finished and redo before I get back to finishing the projects I've started.

The Future

I feel a lot better now, more so than in a long time. I still feel that there are a lot of things still entangled together, but I'm getting a better understanding of why they were entangled and how to get out of it. But, like everything else, it just takes time.

Just keep swimming. — Dori, Finding Nemo