In a previous post (Roofs, and Trees, and Tornadoes–Oh My!), I discussed the tornado damage to our house and farm. This summer has been spent repairing the damage done by the storm and because of that, we have made little (no) progress toward many of our long-term goals.

I am not a patient person when it comes to rebuilding. I like to finish a project and move to the next one. I like the feeling of progress. Fixing something I already did once is very frustrating for me. It feels like taking two steps backward. However, I am slowly learning to appreciate the process of rebuilding.

Two matching sets of patio doors in our basement (one set is pictured in “The Bull In the Window“) were damaged severely enough that they need to be replaced. When we first moved into our house, I was very concerned that something was wrong with those doors because there was visible sunlight underneath and dust/wind blowing through. A tube of caulk fixed some of that, but I was always uneasy because I could feel air blowing through them and could see moisture when it rained. Now, we get a chance to replace those doors and get them installed properly.

We also have a large window on the main level of our house. This large window is actually six windows mulled together and is 16 feet wide and 10 feet high. It sits directly above the patio doors mentioned above. When the tornado hit, our whole family was standing in the same room as that window. To get to our storm shelter in the basement, we actually had to walk (run) closer to the window, which was flexing and bowing in the wind, and then turn around our banister to go downstairs. In a “what if” exercise that all mothers will recognize, I often wonder what would have happened if those patio doors in the basement had been installed correctly.

Those patio doors were not only damaged in the tornado, but one was blown out of its frame into the house. The pressure of that storm sheared many screws and flung a very heavy door 6 or 7 feet inside of our house. If that door had been installed correctly, would it have survived the pressure? If so, would that big window upstairs have broken instead? What would have happened if that huge window shattered as my children ran toward the stairs?

So, I am learning to appreciate rebuilding. It is a chance to reset, readjust, and reevaluate the foundation of past projects. Rather than charging ahead for the sake of crossing items off my list, I am learning to appreciate the chance to backtrack and correct mistakes. I am learning to appreciate a chance to chart a new and better path based on a stronger foundation. Things may not happen the way I plan, but they happen the way they should, and this is for the best.

And, I will probably also deny all of this as soon as the paint and polyurethane fumes dissipate….


About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at
This entry was posted in Farm Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rebuilding

  1. Dirk says:

    The only thing I can appreciate from rebuilding is learning how to improve the remodelling on the last instance. Frustrating, extremely. Especially if your home keeps getting attacked by natures evils! 😦

    Good to hear you are persevering!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s