They can't get county permits to rebuild the house until they elevate its foundation four feet. That could cost as much as $100,000. They say they can't get a loan from the state until they hire a contractor, and they don't want to do that with their insurance unsettled.
Life can seem dire enough that Eileen Thaden briefly considered applying for help from the ABC television program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, on which crews rebuild houses for struggling families.
Simon had lived in her Baltimore County house only a year when Isabel's surge sent the Back River flowing into her living room. Before the storm, she loved watching the sun set over the river or wandering to the water's edge to feed a familiar pair of ducks.
But such pleasant memories are long gone.
On a recent morning, she and her husband had to blast ice from their door frame with a hairdryer just to get out. Another day, Simon paced the trailer with a thermometer - 50 degrees on the uncarpeted floor, 58 degrees in the bedroom, 66 degrees in the dead center of the 232 square feet.
On several occasions, the sewage pipes have frozen, burst and spewed waste into the yard.
Simon was insured for $177,000 and, she said, suffered about $120,000 in damage according to contractor estimates. But she said she received a $70,000 insurance settlement and is building a modular home instead of trying to rebuild her two-story house.
"I've lived in a trailer longer than I lived in my home," she said. "You wonder: Why are we still going through this?"