Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Living on a freeway

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if you decided to camp out on the middle of the freeway? I think we are getting a good feel right now at our house.

Yesterday started out as a big day...and finished as even a bigger day. The kids all had their first day of school.
Alex headed off to middle school--YIKES!!!
Tyler off to third grade, Alysee to second grade, and little Nate had his first day of full-day kindergarten.

It was a marathon of a day. After all the off to school preparation was done I put Chloe down for her morning nap and then Coop and I preceded to mow the lawn, clean up breakfast, prepare two and half dinners, do four loads of laundry, clean up the house, work on cub scout stuff, eat lunch, read a story, put Coop down for his afternoon nap, and then at last I decided to reward myself with a little break and chat with my sister online and plan my weekly trip to Hawaii (that I've been planning for two years). Chloe and I were in the office with the door shut enjoying ourselves. I found this great deal to Honolulu and I was mapping out what days would be best to travel and mentally thinking of all the fun Birch and I were going to have. At about 2:30 pm I heard a little pop sound but didn't think much of it...after all Hawaii was on my mind. About a half an hour later Chloe started to fuss so I got up to put her down for her nap. I opened the office door...

to see 1/2 inch of water down our maple hardwood floor, laundry room, newly tiled bathroom, and Alysee's carpeted bedroom. I stood there for a minute in shock and then noticed through the hallway that water was squirting fearlessly out of the wall behind the washing machine. I put Chloe down (she preceded to enjoy herself splashing in all the water with her poopy diaper) while I figured out how to turn the water off. The water had been squirting all over the wallpapered laundry room wall so the wall paper boarder was coming off.

I didn't even know where to begin. Pulling out all the towels seemed pointless with the amount of water that was swimming around upstairs. I called our friends that live close by and own a carpet cleaning business and she came over with her teenage son immediately with a load of towels. Reluctantly I called Birch and he didn't really have much insight other than to get out the water as fast as possible. So the three of us (my friend, her son, and me) quickly started soaking up the water off of the hardwood floor first and then spinning the towels in the washer (my friend is so smart) and then we went from room to room doing our best to soak up the 1/2 inch of water. Meanwhile another friend from church came over that also runs a carpet cleaning business and he started in on the carpet floors.
The culprit of the disaster...this little tiny tear in the cold water hose.

Next thing I know the kids all start coming home from school and sadly I couldn't really even pay any attention to them. Coop then wakes up from his nap to inform me that he wet the bed. Nice! I remembered about at that time that I should check the basement.

Yep, as I went down into the basement hallway into the shop I saw bubbles coming out from the shop door. I opened the door to see a rainfall coming down from the ceiling and again a 1/2 inch of water covering the concert basement floor. The water was bubbling because I had a huge cardboard Costco detergent box sitting next to my washing machine that was soaping up the water as it would make it's way down to the basement. The shop ceiling (including light fixtures) was particularly bad because the water upstairs was running down all the upstairs venting (let me remind you that two years ago we put in a new heat pump and furnace) making its way to the basement shop. I went into the large game room and second kitchen to find that the water was coming from the wall ceiling and was creeping its way through that carpeted floor. I spent the next hour sweeping the water with a push broom out the door.

By this time, I decided that I did need Birch home and that maybe we needed to call the insurance company. I've always been told to never declare water damage because no one will insure your house if you want to move. We called anyways.

Align CenterI didn't even think of taking pictures when all the water was every where. Currently the hardwood floor is warped and buckling a bit...hopefully this can be fixed by having them refinished.
Showing the basement ceiling light fixture full of water and the ceiling with water damage.
This is the water that remained after I swept it out for an hour with a push broom.

After several calls to the claims department we had chosen a water disaster team to come in and assess the damage and help dry us out. That company arrived around 7:00 pm just as our carpet cleaner friend was cleaning up his stuff from working on the initial water removal from the carpet and ripping out carpet padding. For the next four hours the company mapped out the pathway of the water, set up these massive and NOISY (thus the freeway sound) drying machines, took off doors, and started ripping up some floors to allow water to circulate. These machines should be on for the next three or four days.

Today the insurance adjuster comes to further assess the damage and tell us our next step after we get the house all dried up. The water disaster team had this cool tool that could sense the water in the floors, walls, cabinetry, etc... The humidity level in the basement last night read at 64% which apparently is quite bad (I think for mold growth) and the upstairs was at 46% which is also high for a main level of a house. We are not allowed to have the air conditioning on because the house needs to stay extra warm.

Special dryer system working on sucking the water out of the hardwood sub floor.
Laundry room damage...the vinyl flooring was pulled up in some areas to expose the sub floor.
The shop is full of huge fans working on drying out the dry wall and flooring.

So Birch and I finish folding the four loads of laundry that I had done and cleaned up the kitchen. It was 11:30 pm as we readied ourselves for bed. Birch went to get a drink from the kitchen and noticed that his little toesies were wet. YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!! After emptying out everything underneath the sink Birch found that a plastic pipe going into the garbage disposal had cracked and was leaking water all over. Who has an extra plastic pipe thing in their shop?? I couldn't believe it...Birch went downstairs and and brought up just the right piece. I guess he had bought two the last time we had had a problem.

As we dropped our tired bodies in bed at midnight Birch reminded me that it's not a problem if money can fix it! I've been kicking myself for not checking out the sound that I heard. By now I think we've paid for our trip to Hawaii in insurance deductibles (did I mention that I backed into our babysitter's car a couple of months ago...causing us to get a new bumper and our babysitter to get a new car door?).

Today I am thankful for a husband that loves me, a couple of dinners that I already prepared, kids that hopefully will go with the flow (as they were getting emotional last night about the "house being ruined" we reminded them that we still have half a house that is perfect), and an insurance company that so far seems to be fairly easy to work with! I have much more exciting things to post...but for now this is on my mind. Wish me luck keeping Chloe out of all the fans, electrical plugs, and that we don't go deaf in the next four days!


Jessica said...

Oh man, what a day! I guess it's true...when it rains, it pours! Good luck with it all!!!

Mama Nirvana said...

Oh, Sara, I don't even know what to say. Wish I was close to help or just keep you company through this. What a memorable first day of school your kids had!

Annie Ditto said...

I AM SERIOUSLY CRYING FOR YOU RIGHT NOW. Sara- I am so sorry! What a miserable day! If you need to vent or complain or cry, I should be home all day! :) Love you!

Matt said...

Holy! When you go for diaster, you really go for it. So sorry....

Robyn said...

Oh. My. Word!


The exact same thing happened to my mother - only she was out for the afternoon with her sisters. The water ran for over 4 ours. She came home to a solid 3" of water everywhere.

She and my Dad ended up living in a hotel for 4 months while the house was basically rebuilt. Maybe I shouldn't tell you that (?)

So if you need some advice from someone who has lived through it - CALL ME! I'll hook you up with my mother.

Dang girl. Nothing like a little chaos to enliven the day . . .


P.S. - What a very wise man Birch is. I'm going to use that wisdom in the future for sure.

emily a. said...

I can't believe it Sara. I feel badly i didn't call when I thought to. What a horrible day. It's not your fault, Sara.

kg said...

So sorry Sara! I think you need a trip to Hawaii :)

Julia said...

Sara, I am SO SORRY THIS HAPPENED!!!!! What a nightmare. What a perfect time for ABH 2009, huh? I'm thinking of you!