The Indoor Perfect Storm
This entry was posted on 6/14/2008 2:48 PM and is filed under Random Thoughts.
It was Saturday morning and I had half a blog written on the exciting subject of keeping a household budget. It's kind of neat the sly ways I can manipulate the family budget. After all, it is our money, so who is going to complain?
We ran out to the commissary, and the house and garden to pick up some roses. It was a typical Saturday morning. When we got home, Carole went in the house and I opened the trunk to get the groceries. We have eleven recessed lights in the kitchen area (don't tell Mr. Monk), and the first thing Carole saw was water pouring from all of the light fixtures. It was the morning from Hell.
She screamed. I thought someone had died and raced into the house. Then I raced downstairs and shut the water off. After the water was turned off, it just kept coming. I went upstairs to locate the problem. In the master bathroom, I found the toilet tank hose just hanging there. It turns out that the hose had a sophisticated shut-off device in the line and it ruptured. The irony and humor are there, but it's hard to appreciate while standing in two inches of water. This definitely got me out of my promise to vacuum the downstairs drapes.
We had water on three levels of the house. We immediately called Steve Norwood, our contractor and friend. He told us to call the insurance company and then he came right over. The emergency insurance agent told us to find a water extractor and gave me a list of names for our area. Unfortunately, the Northern Virginia area had had tremendous storms the week before and no one was available. Can you imagine sleeping in a house full of water? Neither could I. I can't even stand to watch one of those stupid music videos where it is raining inside the house. After about three hours, Steve located someone who could come out. Then, there was an accident on the Wilson Bridge, so it took him forever to get to our house. I was feeling like Joe Bfstplk, the Li'l Abner character who always had a black cloud over his head and bad luck followed him.
When I was a kid in East St. Louis, our basement was lower that the street sewers. So when it rained hard enough for the street to flood (which was often), we had to race down stairs and screw a plug into the basement drain hole. If we were late, water would be gushing into the basement. With that experience indelibly etched in my skull, I have never purchased a house what wasn't up quite high. "I understand that the bathroom is in the back yard, but I want to know how high are we above the century's worst flood level."
The next day, Brian Jennings, our water extractor, came out with his sophisticated moisture detector and before we knew it, we had holes in the ceiling and walls. The holes were like rabbits; they just kept multiplying. By Thursday, we were in great shape on the floors and rugs, but we hadn't turned the corner on the walls. Off came the baseboards and Carole's good humor.
Now, a week after it happened, I can still hear the professional grade dehumidifiers and super charged blowers grinding away on the first floor. I'm hiding in my second floor study. The minute I put down my pen and appear on the first floor, I will be pressed into service returning things to their original spots.
I have now been assured that we have turned the corner. The house is definitely drying and nothing nasty seems to be growing inside the walls. All we need to do is replace the ceiling and the hardwood floors. That won't cause any dust, will it?