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July 25, 2013

Not long ago Allison, Madison and myself were in the kitchen having a snack of a lunch as we were in mid preparation for family portraits in a few hours. My parents are always begging for a family portrait, but not any picture of the three of us will do. My parents want a picture of the three of us plus them and my brother. A family portrait. The kind with a sponge painted background and a-place-your-hand-on-his-shoulder-tilt-your-head-this-way kind of situation; they arranged the appointment while we were instructed to simply show up and smile. Deal.

That is, until the bottom fell out.

Allison walked towards our living room setting up the ironing board to quickly iron a pair of my khakis when I heard her ask about some water on the floor. What? Where? I rounded the corner into the hall and saw a large puddle of water on the tile floor, but I didn’t see the source of a leak. Where was it coming from? Odd. We wiped up the puddle and turned around only to discover there was a puddle in the living room, too.  Well, crap.  So we wiped that up and immediately saw the puddle form again from underneath. Water was coming through the seams from underneath the hardwood floors!

Amidst the chaos, we didn't manage to take any pictures so I've taken the liberty to (poorly) paint a picture of our living room as we discovered it...

And this was our reaction...

And this was Madison...
I could feel my blood pressure rising and attempted to hold Madison back from the water while trying to calm my heart rate at the same time. The water kept coming. I looked in the half bath in the hall to make sure the toilet wasn’t overflowing. Considering our track record, that would be a plausible explanation. No luck. I opened the small door housing the hot water heater under our staircase and choked on the breath I had been holding. I immediately turned off the water supply and screamed for towels. Allison started throwing me anything she could grab with the potential for absorbency. Beach towels. Hand towels. Paper towels. I shoved everything I could on top of the floor to soak up the water.

There was so much water. I screamed for more towels. Madison tried to help by throwing everything she could get her tiny hands on into the closet. Magazines. Toys. Books. Thanks, but no thanks little lady. That’s not what we needed at the moment. I ran outside to get the water hose hooking it up to the tank allowing it to drain outside, down the driveway and into the street.

Hello neighbors. Ignore the man running in and out of his house wearing pajama pants holding a water hose; we’re having a crisis over here.

I called my father in a panic to let him know our hot water heater busted, water was gushing all over our house, we wouldn’t be able to take pictures today and asked if he could come help because we were drowning in a collection of tank water and tears. Sometimes I can be a little dramatic. Nonetheless, he showed up to a situation far more in control than I had originally described and replaced the hot water heater with a brand new one. What would I do without him?

Meanwhile, Allison is reaching out to the insurance company to cover our bases in case our floors were ruined. The tile floor was fine. The hardwoods we had installed before moving in a little over two years ago, not so much. They were already starting to buckle in certain places and provided a nice squishy sound when stepped on. They needed to be replaced. We don’t mind doing repairs and improvements ourselves here and there, but we’re not DIY professionals (and this isn’t that kind of blog) so we know our comfort zone and when to hire out.

The next few weeks were full of inspections, estimates, quotes, measuring, appointments, phone calls, paperwork, Madison’s second birthday, more quotes, the realization our flooring isn’t stocked, special ordering said flooring, receiving the wrong quarter round therefore exchanging it out for the correct quarter round, discovering a box of the special ordered flooring was damaged, taking the damaged box back and being told to allow two weeks for another special order, a moment of silence while I tried to hold my composure (and my religion), the suggestion of checking every store within the eastern part of North Carolina to see if anyone had the flooring in stock only to discover one store a few hours away had 11 boxes… I only needed one so I asked they ship two, just in case.

All of this finally brings us to the day of installation when the existing floors were ripped up and disposed of and the discovery that the subfloor (of concrete) contained some moisture bringing production to a complete halt. The moisture would need to be at a level 0.45 or below before the new flooring could be installed and we were reading at 0.8 in some places. The guy looked at me and said to bring in some fans and cross my fingers for a few days of dry, warm weather to bring the moisture level down. Sure thing.

That is, until the bottom fell out. Again.

While this summer isn’t short on heat, it has also been very wet.  I feel like it’s been raining forever making it impossible for the moisture to dry out. We have a couch in our hallway. We have a coffee table, a buffet table, a chair and a half and an ottoman shoved in our kitchen. We have various lamps and picture frames and toddler toys spread out among the other rooms in eager anticipation for these floors to be installed. Over the last nine days, we’ve had the moisture level checked twice. The first result gave us high hopes as we saw the level at 0.6 only to have those hopes extinguished with the second visit reading at 0.8 again. For the love of Noah, can we get a week without rain? Judging by the rumbling thunder and torrential downpour that woke me at 1am this morning, I take that as a no… and so we sit and we wait in a state of perpetual living room regurgitation that is our house at the moment.

As for the family portrait, it has yet to be rescheduled. Until then, this pitiful photo of us eating dinner picnic style upon the concrete subfloor will have to do (our kitchen table is buried somewhere among the living room remains).

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