Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Remodel money

It seems there are some people under the strange impression that Frank and I have tons of money to spare in this depression era since we have just started a major house remodel. No, actually we don't have money to spare and we asked for a loan that we actually might be able to afford. Had we been crazy we would have asked to a $270,000.00 loan! Which we could never have afforded.
What these people who think we are rolling in money are overlooking is the fact that we HAVE to remodel or leave. I'm not talking just leaving the neighborhood but probably leave the state. We are remodeling our house for Isabel. We are trying to make everything we can ADA compliant. With her growing (like kids do) and the fact that her wheelchair is on order we really have to think about the future. Things that when you are thinking about becoming a parent you never even would think about because all babies are born healthy, right?
What am I talking about? Door knobs, those are going to be levers not knobs so Isabel can actually open doors. Which isn't what a parent really wants a kid to be able to do but she'll need to be able to do. Or how doorways will have to be 36 inches or wider in the openings. This will accommodate a wheelchair being able to go through. Our closet doors will all be pocket doors so that Isabel will be able to get them open. And the new shower upstairs will be a walk with a built in seat so that Isabel can wheel herself in there and actually take a shower. Did I mention we are eventually going to put in a lift outside so she can get to the first floor and a lift that goes up the stairs so we don't have to carry Isabel up and down the stairs?
I say eventually because we don't have enough money even with our loan right now to do everything we need to do. With our loan and some money from very generous relatives we can only afford to do the complete upstairs half really. The kitchen will be a piece meal of work until we can get more money and the lifts will have to come later because that piece alone costs $20,000. We have learned that there are tax credits available if we get her pediatrician to write out why they house improvements are medically necessary (which he has no problem doing). We looked into doing ramps but to follow all the building codes and requirements a ramp on our house would end up going into the middle of the street!
Simply moving to a new house here in Seattle would actually not solve our problem. For you see just about every house here in Seattle is a two storey house. The few single levels are either not really single levels or are one bedrooms. Seattle doesn't seem to go for "ranch"style houses as some other states do. Which leads me to what I mentioned at the beginning of this blog.
When you become a parent you really do have to think about the future, no not just what happens tomorrow but years from now. We have to think about what Isabel's needs are going to be and how can we help her have a great life? Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy are going to be in her life for a long time to come. We need good special education programs to help expand Isabel's horizons. And the list of doctors that we need to help keep Isabel healthy and strong is long and incredibly important. We have all that right here in Seattle right now. Moving to another county in the state might not be the answer because they might not have all those things. Plus Frank's work has awesome insurance which helps us cover all these costs. We can't just up and leave unless we know that we would have great insurance coverage.
So, for all those people who think we are rolling in money. Think again. We don't have a choice really, it's now or never. Our future depends on this remodel and making Isabel's life better.

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