One year ago on November 8th we moved into our dream home. We’ve had a few glitches. One was my bathtub, which would only fill about 1/8 full before the water turned tepid. Finally, I convinced my husband and the contractor that their lives were on the line if I couldn’t have a nice steamy bath…and soon.
The plumber came and opened the crawlspace hatch. The air coming from the opening smelled moldy. Now, you’d think with our ultra-dry Idaho climate, mold wouldn’t be a problem, but in our little section we have soil drainage issues.
I called a disaster cleanup group and the bad news quickly turned to a worst-case scenario. We got the customary bids. Group one said we had mold and showed me pictures, group two said we had mold and showed me photos, the insurance adjuster said he didn’t see any.
We contacted a mold tester. He tested inside and out. The outside air showed 160 whatevers of mold. The tester said he fully expected the inside air to be twice that. Well, it wasn’t, it was 32,000 whatevers. I’m no math whiz, but even I can tell 32,000 is more than twice 160.
Judging by the three bids we got mold is much more valuable than gold. After a set of coronaries, we settled on a service that promised they could get it pumped out, cleaned up, and put right in seven days. We lived with fans blowing in and out of the foundation vents for several days.
I need to mention here that I have two very large, very loud watchdogs who are bent on letting me know whenever someone arrives. No matter how often they come.
Restoration began. They pulled the insulation out through the vents. Better than through the house. Side note: My husband is an architect. Architects are want to insulate things a lot. So, when they began pulling insulation, they saw their half-day job stretched into four full days. And with the extension, my hopes of having them out in seven days evaporated.
Two days into insulation pulling, I went out the front door and discovered water on the front walk. Not just a little. Nope. When I walked out to see how bad it was, I found myself standing ankle-deep water. It had formed large puddles in the flowerbeds too. Next to the house. I called the landscapers. Then, just because I could, I lifted the crawlspace access door and, yup, you guessed it. The area was filled with water…again.
Again came the pumping truck. The dirty little secret is they don’t pump for free. It’s fifteen hundred dollars every time they pull in the driveway. Maybe, I tell myself, this time they’ll get it repaired.
Later that day, the landscapers assured me the system was fixed this time for sure.
More days lost to pumping and drying and we’re waving good-bye to week three.
The stars align. The insulation and the vapor barrier are gone. Now to treat the mold. Things are humming along only three plus weeks off schedule. I think, okay, they’re almost done.
One morning I again notice more water on the front walk. I’m a patient person…sort of, but this was one leak too far. After the customary phone calls, I have a yard and house full of workers again. Again with the pumper truck. Again with the fans. And again the assurances that all is fixed.
At this point, my husband decided that having the crawlspace pumped out three times in one month is too much. He says what is needed is a drainage system so this doesn’t happen again. In comes company number three, complete with another set of workmen. They’re tasked with digging a trench around the inside of the foundation, drilling a hole in said foundation, and installing a sump-pump. I’d have felt bad for these guys having to dig in those close quarters, but with all the dog barking and strangers in and out of my home I have a sympathy deficit.
Things appear to be going well when they discover a wet spot in a different area of the crawlspace. And voila, the sprinkler box is filled up again. This time, we have to have all the outside faucets replaced with some special kind that should have been in the first place. So, now I’ve got two more sets of guys roaming my house, a plumber and an electrician (to wire the sump-pump). And it’s week six.
One set of workmen or another decided that a ditch would be the answer to the sprinkler box issue.
A new set of guys arrive to replace all the insulation and the vapor barrier. I figured, judging by past experience, it would take another week. At this point, I’m wondering if I’m going to have to set extra places for Thanksgiving dinner.
To my complete surprise, they’re in and out in a day. Two days later, the drain is all done and everyone is gone.
The good news is we both feel a lot better with the mold gone. Of course that’s offset by my shattered nerves. Picture large dogs barking every single time someone comes into the house.
What does this have to do with writing? If I were a better person, I’d be able to tell you that I wrote through the whole thing. I didn’t.
Have there been times in your life when you weren’t able to write?