Sunday, March 7, 2010

The long-overdue story

So here's the story, long overdue.

On August 15th, we moved into our new home. We had friends from the old ward and the new as well as family helping us out. We hoped to unpack immediately and settle in, but the boxes stayed in stacks, as they often do, and we only really managed to get out a little more than the necessities for a while.

We'd been in the house 10 days. The day was August 24th. We'd noticed that our clothes weren't drying as well as we expected, so James had spent the afternoon after work trying to clear out the dryer vent. I was working, and as we hadn't figured out a good return trip for me, my thoughtful husband James offered to come pick me up after my shift.

He started a load of laundry before he left.

When we pulled back into the driveway, we were puzzled to see that the garage door was open. Surely James had closed it before leaving the house. And why was it raining in the garage? James let out an exclamation of dismay and dashed into the house. I followed in a daze of horror and dread. Ascending the stairs, it soon became evident what had happened, although the how is still a bit fuzzy.

From what we can figure, the drainage hose that connected to the washing machine was poorly secured at best. Perhaps due to the minimal jostling the machine suffered as its brother was having his vent hose cleared, the grip on the connection was compromised sufficiently to pop it loose when filled with pressurized water. The end result was the wash cycle water and the rinse cycle water was diverted, not to the sewer as is only natural, but our upstairs laundry room, hallway, and wherever capillary action and gravity led it.

We did the only thing two brand-new homeowners could do in such a situation. I called my parents. He called our real estate broker. We cried. My parents came over and spent several hours helping us vacuum up the water and mop up the mess. Our broker came over (he happened to be in the neighborhood) and gave sympathy and guidance on who to call (insurance company), as well as possible renovations to avoid similar catastrophes in the future.

James called the insurance company and they moved fast. They contacted a home renovations company, Hansen Construction (who would become a household name in our home over the next several months), who were in our home by 11 that night. By that time, my parents had gone home, our broker had left, and I had curled up in an exhausted heap on the couch of the front room. James spent the next several hours directing and observing the crew tear apart our new home.

They ripped up the linoleum in the laundry room, all the carpet in the hallway and at least a few feet of carpet into each of the four bedrooms, the linoleum in the guest bathroom, down the stairs and part of the kitchen. They cut out the bottom 12-18 inches of the walls of almost the entire upstairs and put giant fans and de-humidifiers throughout the house.

At some point, I crawled into bed and went to sleep, but not before calling in to work, saying I wouldn't be in at 7 the next morning.

I woke before James the next day (he'd been up later, working with the crew until they left around 2 AM) and wandered through the wreckage. I went into the nursery and looked in the closet, where I had hung two little outfits. Seeing those little clothes amidst the wreckage was too much for me. How could I raise a baby in this shell of a house? We'd totally blown this whole homeowners thing. We hadn't even been here a month and we'd destroyed our home in one dunder-headed move. I sat down on the portion of the floor still carpeted, leaned against the crib, and cried.

By the time James awoke, I'd regained some composure and we got ready for Stage Two of the demolition, though at the time we didn't know it. Hansen came over at 9 AM and I listened in horror to phrases like "So, we'll tear out half of the ceiling in this room" and "This carpet in the front room will have to go, too." Steve, the demolition foreman, was wonderful, though. His calm explanations and capable personality gave us an island of comfort in this, our sea of despair.

James had called in to work the night before as well, so he spent much of the morning trying to get stuff done from home and talking with the demolition crew. I called into my work in the morning and said I could come in at 11 if they needed me, since there really was little to do but watch my new home get torn apart. They said I could come in at 3 and leave at 11 that evening, so I'd only miss out on 4 hours of actual work time. So we watched as our home had ceilings, walls, and floors torn out and thrown in the huge dumpster they'd parked in front of our house.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Holly and Nathan said...

Oh my goodness! I've heard you talk about this story, but to "hear" it again via the blog...wow! If there was a scale for stress level, I think this would be off the charts!