Wednesday, February 5, 2014

No, my front "den" (really the formal dining room but we use it as a game room/second living area) is not typically under water!  Randy heard water running around 6 am on Sunday, February 2nd.  He thought it was likely Jamison (our 13-year-old) up taking a shower before church.  This is not necessarily atypical behavior for him.  He seems to need very little sleep.  He has learned to be quiet about his nocturnal wanderings though!  Randy says he drifted back off to sleep but woke up again around 6:50 and then thought it was not typical for Jamison to take a 50 minute shower!  He is a clean kid...but he is  still a kid.  Enough said.  Randy thought he would give Jamison five more minutes and if he wasn't out of the shower by that time, he would go check on him.  Five minutes later, Randy walked out the door of our bedroom and realized immediately that something terrible was wrong!  He sloshed through water out our door, across the great room and into the kitchen...all covered in water.  When he got to the front den, he saw...
 water raining down from the ceiling.  Really.  It looked like a rainforest indoors!  You can see this chair is thoroughly saturated and if you see the silk lampshade peeking in to the photo on the right, it is also soaking wet.

This is the door leading from our kitchen into the "den".  Water was pouring from this area.  Randy ran upstairs to see if he could figure out the problem.  His first thought was someone left the tub water running and it had overflowed.  (His first thought is always that the kids done it somehow...wonder why?)  When he got to the boys bathroom (which is directly over the doorway you see in this picture, he realized that there was a hefty spray coming from the pipe leading from the wall to the toilet.  He shut off the water at the source and this is what we finally figured out was wrong...

It cost around $5 to replace this with a much better quality product.  Now the insurance company is telling us that we will need to replace all of them in the house with a type that monitors the flow of water and if a large amount suddenly starts rushing out, it will shut off.  Happy to do it.

We called the insurance company immediately.  Whoops!  Immediately after he came bursting into our room sounding more panicked than a new father in labor saying something along the lines of "the house is flooding, get up quick!"  THAT'S the way to wake someone up, folks!  You go from dreamy, sleepy to slap-you-with-a-cold-skillet awake in .4 seconds.  The words weren't so bad as the panic I heard in my very-stoic husband's voice.  I hate remembering that part.

As the hours and days have passed, we are starting to realize that the damage is far worse than we ever could have imagined.  When I was growing up, if we had home insurance, I wasn't aware of it.  If something like this had happened, we would have rolled up our sleeves, grabbed a bucket and gotten to work!  I keep looking at the huge mess and feeling like I need to start ripping out walls and mopping up the mess.  Then Randy reminds me that we need to do things in the proper order and the insurance company drives that - not us!  

Since every room in the lower floor was wet, we will be pretty much gutting out first floor.  This means, some walls (not all - some of them they will simply replace the bottom part of the sheetrock and repair), all flooring, kitchen cabinets, and the ceilings in the kitchen and the den will all come down and be redone.  

Yesterday we spent many, many hours with our wonderful friend Larry Schwing - he's what I call a "Grandaddy Contractor".  See, my grandfather (and subsequently my uncles and my brothers) are master carpenters.  I mean The. Best. In. The. Business!  If my Grandfather or one of his progeny made it, you can rest assured it was done right and it will last for centuries - or until the termites come!  Larry is that kind of carpenter.  I have seen his work and wished we could afford a makeover so I could have him fix some of our "issues".  We are thankful now to know him and to have him drop everything (he is very busy) and come help us.  

We also spent even more hours with the insurance adjuster.  Our insurance company is based out of Omaha, Nebraska.  They hired an independent adjuster to come assess our damage.  He specializes in water damage and so far has been extremely helpful.  He said he hopes to have his report of all of our damage in to the Nebraska office today so we can move forward.

Water extraction experts have been here and left behind a flock of very noisy fans and dehumidifiers.  They are noisy. And big. Did I mention noisy?  I mean, you have to shout to be heard in all but two rooms of our house (my sewing room/jewelry making studio/craft room and Melissa's bedroom and bath are unaffected - except by the noise and smell.  Did I mention the smell yet?  I am seriously worried that we will start to effect the neighbors!  The smell is BAD and getting worse!  It smells like old gym socks...and a boys locker room and something else gone bad.  Truly wretched!  They say it will get worse until they get all of the carpet and wet sheet rock out.  

For now we are housed at the Comfort Inn.  When they told us last night that it will be several months before we are back in our home.  We were told they will likely move us to a furnished home for that length of time.  My head is spinning.  So many things all need to be done at once.  We need to get kitchen cabinets ordered ASAP - we are told they take 4-6 weeks to come in once ordered.  For today, demolition will start this afternoon.  That will be rather hard to see but if the smell starts getting better, I will be good with that.

This has been hard.  It is absolutely devastating.  There have been God-sightings though!  When I was picking up a stack of paintings (Painting 101 in college many years ago for me!), I found both our wedding photo album and an album of professional portraits of the children as babies.  The were all standing on the floor leaning against the wall.  The paintings in front and behind the albums were wet.  The water was several inches deep in that spot - and the albums are totally dry!  God shows Himself in the unexplainable!  I know that might not mean much to you - but those albums were priceless to me!  

So many friends have supported us beyond our imagination.  Theresa McLellan lives a block or so down our street.  She saw my post on Facebook Sunday morning and came immediately with hot coffee and donuts.  Our dear friends from church Tim and Teresa Griffin offered their home for us to stay in.  Rosie Lynch came right over and let me cry on her shoulder - and then took our dogs to her house to get them out of the chaos.  My BFF Sandie McCurdy has taken Timothy the chinchilla in so he doesn't have to breathe construction dust.  Friends and acquaintances have been wonderful.  Please know that if you left a word of encouragement or called, we appreciate it.  We feel loved and supported in this very trying time!  I will try my best to keep you updated and current.  For now - I must open the door and face the stink to get some packing done!

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