The Right Perspective

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Royal Flush

It's been quite a December here.  It started out relatively normal...the usual hustle and bustle of shopping and cleaning and getting kids to school and nap and back again.  But then things started going a bit crazy. 
We woke up about three weeks ago on a Monday morning and got ready for work and school.  Andrew left first and asked me if I knew that the garage door was up.  I realized that I must have left it up (rather uncharacteristically) over night after I hurridly carried all the groceries in the night before. 
Then Emily, Ethan and I went out to the van to rush off to school.  I had just cleaned it out the Friday before, so it should have been pretty neat....but Emily said, "Mom, why is it so messy in here?"  I'm not sure exactly how many second it took to register, but when I saw the small emergency kit contents strung out around the back seat, I knew that someone had been in our van.  And then Emily said, "Mom, where're our Dvd players?"  That's when I felt sick....and scared.  I hurridly got the kids back out of the van (because I'd been buckling them in) and back into the house and then called Andrew to let him know that we'd been robbed.
Long story short, that Monday was started out with a visit from a friendly local police officer and a police report. 
Tuesday morning came and went without any major incidents.  I did some shopping and then came back home around 11:00.  I saw three messages on the answering machine.  They were all from the fraud department of our local credit union.  To sum up a long story, while we thought nothing of any real value except for the dvd players had been stolen, apparently the thief also walked away with an old (but I guess still functional) bank card which he used quite liberally in the 24 hours he'd had it.  Granted, it was a little-used account with not much money in it and we were not charged for any of the fraud, but I did have to go to the police station, file a police report and then get a copy of the new report to take to the bank so that they could start pursuing the fraudlent charges.  I also had to close that account and open a new one.  Of course the police report couldn't be done immediately, so I had to make a second trip that day (no nap for Ethan) and then spent an hour at the credit union trying to sort everything out.  Fun times with two kids.
Bad things come in threes, right?  I thought the robbery, bank card theft and oh yeah, the credit card number that had been stolen online the month before, counted as three things, but apparently not.
It all started with a flush.  Specifically, a flush from the toilet in the master bathroom.  But I guess that Ethan must have needed a lot of toilet paper.  And then must have flushed....a lot.  I was downstairs and knew nothing...until I started hearing strange water sounds.  Like the water was running (which isn't unusual in our house with two children who are drawn to water like moths to the flame), but not like the normal running sounds.  I listened for a few moments and looked around and tried to figure out what I was hearing.  Then I heard a Drip.....Drip....Drip.  Not far from our Christmas tree, there was a pretty steady drip of water falling from the ceiling. 
I ran upstairs, banged on the bedroom door (which was locked, but we  won't get into how many times I've threatened to take the doors off the hinges if they don't stop locking them) and after being let in, opened the bathroom door to see a completely flooded bathroom, with the toilet still overflowing.  I managed to shut the water off and started to sop up the mess with old towels....and then any towels I could find.  Then I ran back downstairs to see how bad the leak was....and discovered plenty of water dripping from the ceiling and water running down a wall, soaking the carpet in the living room.  More towels were put down, a bucket was produced and I called Andrew to ask his advice.
A little bit later, I took a load of soaked towels down to the basement to throw them in the washer....and discovered that the basement was flooded as well.  There might as well have been a straight pipeline from the bathroom to the basement.  And where do you suppose the worst of the water damage was?  Directly above all of the kids' already wrapped Christmas gifts.  That's when I cried....and thought very vile thoughts.
Very long story short, Andrew is a saint and calmed me down as bawled to him on the phone from inside the van in the garage (because I didn't want to see the children or have them see me).  He actually made me laugh and then offered to re-wrap the presents (which I won't make him do).  When he got home (and got back off the floor from seeing all the mess/damage) he took us to Walmart to buy some more wrapping paper and then out to dinner.
And so that brings us to today.  I called the disaster water remediation people and had them come assess the which they replied, I think you should call your insurance company and file a claim....which we did.  Many hours worth of work later, here's the scoop:  The entire master bathroom floor and subfloor will have to be replaced.  The vanity ( and I guess sink/faucet) has to be replaced.  I think the small areas of carpet in there will be ok. 
The ceiling in the living room....not good.  A large chunk will need to be replaced as there is currently a gaping hole there where massive fans are currently blowing up under the floor of the bathroom trying to dry everything out and prevent and mold.  There is a wall/header in the living room that is also very wet.  They removed a couple of baseboards and drilled holes in that wall to allow air to blow into it and hopefully dry it out that way, although there is still the possibility that we will have to do major repairs to that wall.  The carpet is probably salveageable, but we'll see. 
In the basement, since it's unfinished there's no major damage, just a lot of industrial-sized fans and a huge dehumidifier to thoroughly dry anything damp.
All in all, we have 7 industrial fans and 3 huge dehumidifiers running for the next 2-3 days (at least).  Andrew and I are sitting in the living room, but have to literally shout at each other to be heard.  Upstairs, it's not quite so loud. 
And we are/were hosting Christmas this year!'s all just stuff.  So many are dealing with so much worse right now and so despite my breakdown yesterday, today we're just dealing with it and trying to keep it all in perspective.  I have a bunch of presents to re-wrap, but at least we have presents.  And the kids have driven me insane the last two days....but at least we can still kiss them goodnight, which is something I have not taken for granted lately.  And that is what really matters.
And now, for the pictures:
 The master bath.  It doesn't really look so bad in this picture, but the damage is done.  The red machine is one of the dehumidifiers.  There is also a large fan in the closet directly behind that and one pointing into the bathroom from the bedroom.
 A sideways (sorry) picture where two tiles have completely come up and the warped floor underneath
Our new industrial equipped living room!

Now I know what the inside of our ceiling looks like, minus the completely soaked insulation.

A closer view of underneath our bathroom.

The holes drilled behind our baseboard in one wall with the fan blowing into it to dry everything.

We had to move the Christmas tree and a piece of furniture or two to accomodate the mess.  The living room is a bit of a disaster, but at least we're making some progress.
I'll keep you updated as we learn more and make repairs.  It should be..,..interesting.