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Published June 01 2012

Minot: After selling home, cabin fever hits

MINOT, N.D. – Crammed into her lake cabin with as many of her possessions as possible, Margie Bolton feels like a hoarder.

“It’s really fun (living at the cabin) for the summer, but after being in there for the winter, it’s a little bit of close quarters,” she said.

Bolton, 54, and her husband, Ted, are among the thousands of Minot residents still displaced after last summer’s Souris River flood.

Unlike those in the city fixing up their flood-damaged homes, the Boltons sold their home of 25 years to another family. But that doesn’t mean the past year hasn’t been stressful.

“I think I’ve cried more this spring about it than I did last year just because of the frustration level,” Bolton said.

Reflecting on the past year, Bolton remembers how overwhelming it was as they scrambled to save their belongings before the flood reached their home.

She recalls standing with her neighbors on the Broadway bridge, where many watched the rising river in an attempt to know what was going on with their homes.

“We just stood there and cried and held each other,” Bolton said. “People who you weren’t necessarily close to before, but you were all going through the same thing.”

When the Boltons were allowed to return home in late July, they were relieved the water missed their second floor – where some of their belonging were stored – by a matter of inches.

They dried out and sanitized their home and put in a new subfloor to begin the recovery process. But when a family offered to buy their home, they decided to cut their losses and sell.

“We were really tired,” Bolton said. “We aren’t kids anymore. We just didn’t know if we would have the energy to fix it up one more time.”

However, leaving behind the home where she raised her children hasn’t been easy.

“I never thought I’d leave the house, and so that’s part of the struggle,” she said.

Finding someplace else to live in a city with a housing shortage also has been a challenge.

Bolton owns Margie’s Art Glass in downtown Minot and wants to create an apartment above her store so she and her husband can get out of their cabin and have a real home again.

But she said the red tape involved with the city has been frustrating. She thinks others in the city are also increasingly frustrated as they struggle to return to normal a year after the flood.

“We’ve been without a home now for a year,” she said. “We just need a place to live.”

Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.

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