Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A flood of trouble (from September 2007)

I remember in high school and college, writing and English teachers were always big on foreshadowing. Every now and then, I realize, I experience it in real life -- I look back on something, usually just a trivial event or random conversation, and recognize that it was a little hint of something bigger to come …

Early yesterday morning I went to the coffee maker to get my morning cup of coffee. Brett makes the coffee each morning (or night before), which is always very nice, I’m always reminded. But for about the third time in two weeks he hasn’t set the water holder on tight enough, so water has leaked all behind the coffee maker and along the counter. It wasn’t the full pot of water, but I was still irritated.

Also yesterday morning, Brett has his Old Navy bag full of clothes to take to the dry cleaner. “When will you be going to the Laundromat … I mean dry cleaners?” he asks me.

Which brings me to later that morning …

Aside from the coffee maker leak, it began as any other day: getting the boys off to school and Zach and Allie playing, watching movies, being 3-year-olds. By about 10:00. I threw in my second load of laundry of the day. Zach, Allie and I then went to the couch to read some books. About 10 minutes later I got up to get some water. I noticed a puddle in front of the refrigerator and initially thought a) Zach and Allie, who had been drinking water earlier, had spilled b) Zach and Allie had been playing with the water dispenser (poor Zach and Allie – they’re always the first suspects) or c) the little hose on the refrigerator was leaking again (that’s another story).

I soon noticed there was more water on the floor than Zach and Allie could have been responsible for. It crawled all the way around the corner and down the hallway that leads to the laundry room. The rug down the hallway is drenched. I hesitantly peek in the laundry room – standing water. My heart is starting to race. I immediately shut off the washer, which apparently has been feeling the Arizona heat as much as I have – it didn’t know to say no to the water. It just kept on coming with the machine totally full and spilling forth.

As I carefully tiptoe across the slippery tile, I look into our room (which has wood floors) – water is all the way past the bed and almost to the far window. I then venture back down the hallway and see that water has also crept into one corner of the dining room (more hardwood) and is almost reaching the twins’ room. The little lip on the wood floor in the family room seems to be keeping any water from going onto the wood floor in there, although a bit has managed to cross the small hump. The wet tile in the hallways and laundry room is so slick and a couple times I do the little thing where you start to slide and feel like you slightly pull an inner thigh muscle trying to keep from falling. I decide it’s time to put on some flip flops with good tread.

Next I do what any panicked woman does – I call my husband. And as any good husband does, he immediately calls our insurance company, leaves work, picks up a wet vac, rushes home, and proceeds to suck up the water without even changing his pants and leather shoes. All the while I’m trying to keep Zach and Allie in the playroom – the front room in the house that is dry. Thankfully all the rooms on the other side of the house – the kids’ rooms, their bathroom and the guest room – are also water-free. But I’m secretly wishing the carpeted bedrooms could have been waterlogged. The carpet isn’t that great and the twins’ room has the blue paint stain (another story, but I’ll give you a hint … she’s the only girl child in the family and she likes to sneak away with interesting objects while mommy’s busy doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen).

Anywho, the wet vac only holds 5 gallons, so Brett is dumping it out frequently – easily 20 times. He does a good job and by the time the “water restoration specialists” arrive 90 minutes later, it really looks like things are about cleaned up and life can go back to normal.

But as soon as I think that, this 3-person crew brings out their special little radar stick – a baton-shaped device with two little teeth on the end that they poke in the wood floor seams. If there’s moisture underneath, you hear an unmerciful, squeaky “beep.” They start poking and in the beginning things are pretty quiet. But they’re poking in the dry areas. As soon as that stick moves to the areas that were under water, the screech of continuous “beeps” fills the air. They finish their testing and I really think they’re just going to bring in their fans and dry the floors out.

Nope … all three areas of the wood flooring have to be ripped out and replaced. Ugh!! As they investigate further, they discover they won’t be able to rip out the wood themselves. They say they’ve never seen it glued down like this before. Double Ugh!! So a special floor demolition company has to be brought in. By the time they get started, I (thankfully) have to leave to take Blake to soccer and then go to the school for a back-to-school type function.

When I get home I see a guy riding a machine – it looks like a ride-on lawn-mower. It’s unbearably loud, puts out a bunch of heat, and smells funny. It brings Zach to tears so Brett has taken the kids outside. It looks like a circus outside our house – neighborhood kids riding bikes and skateboards while a handful of workers are carrying out torn-up pieces of wood, and one guy is riding the funny little floor-eating machine in and out of the house. The smoke alarms inside the house keep going off, fans are blasting and a general sense of chaos has reared its ugly head.

The neighbors are curious. Brett’s out chatting with a guy who lives down the street – Joey from Long Island, he’s been here two years and is ready to go back. He’s out on a walk with his baby girl and 2-year-old boy and is still digging his heels into fatherhood. The boy is starting to rummage through the wood floor and nail remnants. While I practically leap to get him out of there, Joey laments, “This drives me crazy, he never listens to me … Look at that. Is this normal?”

So now our wood floors are gone. Our furniture and other stuff is in the garage, the master bathroom, and the guest room. We’ve moved the couch to the playroom, so the 6 of us have been spending most of our time there (all the other TV’s are disconnected). In our bedroom the only thing that is on the concrete floor is the bed, sitting on four pieces of foam and pushed up against the window. Creepy.

Today there are about 10 loud fans blowing throughout the house and hopefully by early next week we can get the actual replacement of the floors under way.

Until then, we’re all basically living in the playroom. Our new washer comes Wednesday, so I hope to make it until then without going to the Laundromat. And the next time the coffee maker leaks, I’ll quietly clean it up and be thankful my husband makes me coffee every morning.

No comments: