This Flooded House: Moving Back Home - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

This Flooded House: Moving Back Home

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Since the 2011 flood hit, we've been following the progress of some of our KX News staff whose homes were hit by the high water.

Last night, we had an update from Shaun Sipma.

Tonight in our series "This Flooded House," we hear some good news from Jim Olson about getting life back to normal.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I stood in front of my house in mid-July of 2011 recording a report on what I had found as one of the first people in my neighborhood to venture back in.

What I had found was devastation. Along with the standard muck and mess, I discovered my foundation had been wiped out by the rushing water. That lead to this in November of 2011 - demolition of my home of a quarter-century.

But, almost parallel to the seasons, that winter of heartbreak was followed by a spring of hope as work began in April on a new house at the same location.

Already facing a mountain of bills from the flood, family, friends, and I did as much work as possible ourselves - farming out some of the most critical and specialized work to paid contractors.

But we pounded nails, installed siding, placed insulation, laid floors, and painted and stained - to save money and make the project possible.

We've worked just about every weekend and many weekdays in the past year - in fact if you've tuned in the KX News at Six and seen Alysia on her own, it probably means I worked on my paid job here at KX News early and then took off in the afternoon to build a front porch or move furniture.

All the work paid off early this year when we were finally able to say goodbye to our FEMA trailer, and officially move in to the new house that now sat where my flooded house had been.

The new house has the same square footage of my original house, but instead of a basement, we built a second floor - a room now packed with stuff that will someday, we hope, be a great playroom for grandkids.

On the main level, the house has a layout that's very similar to our former house but we have made some improvements over what was here before - from a bathroom attached to the master bedroom, to a new treatment for the area between the living room and dining room.

And perhaps our favorite upgrade is right here in the floor of the entryway.

It's a medallion that's inlaid into the wood floor - a process for which I hired an expert by the way.

And the marble slab points guests north toward a staircase I've just started to stain and paint - a process sure to take me a few more days and a weekend or two.

There's still much more to do - outside there's landscaping and finishing work to be done on the house in the spring, and inside there's the upstairs and lots of painting to do.

But one year after the process began, I can now report that - with an SBA loan providing debt up to my ears - This Flooded House is once again a home, thanks to so many people who helped make it happen.

I want to especially thank a few people - I got special help from Curt Moore, who invested dozens of hours helping wire the house.

And throughout the project, my friend Jeff Rudy was here to help - Jeff invested hundreds of hours on every phase of the house building.

I also got help from good friends Cherie and Mike from California, who spent a week in July pitching in.

There's still lots to do but I can say we are now officially living in This Flooded House. Jim Olson, KX News.

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