When I got home I finished the personal property inventory and finally turned it in on July 28th. While I was away Doug found out what the settlement amount was probably going to be and that it was based on them restoring our house rather than tearing it down and building a new one. Apparently the structure was sufficiently stable in spite of the fact that most of the inside was completely gutted. The insurance company would oversee this process and all we would have to do was wait until they were finished to move back in.
According to Doug, the problem with restoring the house was that we would have to spend an additional $50,000 or more of our own money to bring the basement up to code so that it would pass the various inspections. These code issues really had nothing to do with the fire – they had to do with it being an old house with a cellar that was dug out after the house was already built so it would have been an independent expense for us. Bringing our basement up to code would have been a very tricky and expensive process and Doug thought that it would not be worth it in any way. Actually I would have been happy to get the basement fixed and have the insurance company repair our house for us, but this was not satisfactory to Doug.
The solution seemed to be to take a cash settlement which would amount to 75% of the repair settlement and do things independently. This made me very apprehensive because in the past projects like our addition would last forever and never get finished. Our addition, which we started in 1992 wasn’t even halfway finished. That’s how fast we work. But I went along with it because I didn’t really have much of a choice. Doug said we would have time on the tour to design a really great house that met all of our needs. That cheered me up quite a bit because it meant that we might have an even better time on the tour than usual, with such an exciting project to work on together.
After the fire, we had talked about whether or not we would be able to do the tour again. Doug was kind of over it but he knew that I still enjoyed it. The tour had become slightly more interesting to him last fall when he became tour manager. We stayed in better hotels and had generally more interesting lunch stops and sightseeing trips. But he told me he definitely didn’t want to do the tour manager thing again if they ended up with the same bus driver. Doug did not enjoy working with her. She was kind of difficult. I think he even mentioned this to the producer. So things were up in the air for a while and eventually we decided that it would be good to tour again and have things get somewhat back to normal. He was still having second thoughts about the tour manager gig and I agreed that we would both have more fun if he just went back to playing the show.
Then while I out on the ship he was asked to be tour manager again and in a weak moment he said yes. I was still happy that we were not letting the fire stop us from doing the tour. If that seems naïve, it’s because it was. I was still kind of shell-shocked and I think Doug was too. We definitely made some bad decisions along the way.