The roofer is packing up his tools, your newly planted lawn is beginning to sprout, the paint is drying and the keys to your new home are in your pocket. You are a homeowner.
What seemed like small deposits each month after many years of hard work amounted to a down payment on your slice of the American Dream. While there were moments along the way of frustration and seemingly never ending hurdles that stood before you and this day of homeownership, you persevered and enumerable happy years await you in your home. You can hear the laughter of your unborn children echoing off the newly textured walls.
Once you take full possession, you decorate and move in your prized possessions, some antique and heirloom with more memories than could fill a journal; others are new acquisitions to celebrate your new space. You’re a good steward of your home and pay close attention to ensure the tax bill is paid and your homeowners insurance is kept up to date.
You sit in your living room admiring the trees in your back yard reflecting on the long months of searching for the right lot; a must for you was city water and sewer. You wanted the security of being connected to the city’s systems.
One night in mid-January many years later, you tuck in your children, read them their favorite story, “Good Night Moon,” and after turning off Jay Leno’s monologue you reach over and flip off your bedside lamp.
In the confusion of half sleep, you hear water. Is it a dream? Are you still asleep or is there a river in your home? You stumble out of bed and realize you’re standing in inches of water— and what is that awful smell?
Staggering first to the kids’ room to ensure they are safe, you then make your way through the lake fast forming on your carpet, slogging next to the bathroom. When you turn on the light, it takes a moment to assess the geyser of murky water emanating from your toilet. Is this real? Are you sleeping and just can’t wake from this nightmare?
Unfortunately, this real life 2 a.m. wakeup call happened to a neighbor of yours in Homer, Alaska. If only it were a dream instead of a real life nightmare. If only it was water that he was wading through to get to his children, instead of human waste.
You know how this story ends. Or do you?
You see this is where the miracle takes place.
While we slept, God came to town and flooded not one, but three homes with city sewage. How do we know it was God? Because the city of Homer’s insurance company told us so: “Act of God,” the company declared.
In some South American countries, images of Jesus appear miraculously from water stains in stucco. In biblical times, bushes would erupt in flames and God would communicate with men. In our modern times, here in Homer, Alaska, we are told by our city officials that God appeared and the result is three homes filled with sewage.
First, why does God get blamed for everything bad, and so rarely gets credit by our government for anything good that happens? Second, will you turn your back on these three homeowners? Or will you demand that your city officials do what is right, if not financially easy, and stand behind our neighbors? What if it were you?
Public Works Director Carey Meyer has said the city has other avenues to cover the damage. It’s time the city explore them. Homeowners insurance said no, the city insurance said no and City Manager Walt Wrede said sue us.
What do you say?
Chris Story is the owner-broker of Story Real Estate and the host of Alaska Matters, a radio show that airs every Tuesday on KGTL AM620.