{or lack thereof?}

Six-and-a-half weeks ago we had a minor flood, which resulted in the insurance approving some repairs. These include:

  1. Replacing the upstairs bathroom floor
  2. Replacing the carpet in the upstairs hallway
  3. Removing (and replacing) some of the kitchen ceiling, wall, and the sheetrock around a ‘beam’ that separates the dining from living room
  4. Replacing the dining and kitchen floors, and also that of the hallway that runs from the kitchen to the front door

There was also a lot of air-moving, dehumidifying, mud/tape/texturing, painting and the like.

The process is not a fast one. When they finally came to remove parts and dry them out, one of the things they did was send off a sample of both my kitchen and bathroom vinyl to be ‘assessed’ by some kind of lab – yes, they had to measure and test the quality so as to replace my floor with *just as crummy* stuff, and not a mil thicker! 🙂 This took forever it seemed (longer than the first repair time estimate I was given). Finally they got the report back and the flooring company called to say I could come down and pick out flooring.

On the day we were leaving for vacation. Great.

I didn’t want to advertise to the world that I was going to be gone, so I didn’t say that right away, until it was obvious that there was no way I could have them start on this while we were away (we had moved *everything* out of the hallway [which I had blocked off with shelving and laundry nonsense] and dining room and entryway). I did my best to stop by a few flooring stores here and there on our trip, to get a feel for what I was looking at (I had a $13/yd pricepoint, but of course the stuff I was drawn to was in the $30-$40 range. Gulp.), and whether we could afford to ‘upgrade’ to something of better quality.

In the end, I made a special trip to town the day we returned from vacation to “pick out” the flooring I wanted so they could get going on it already. The lady in charge of “my” account (who was always on the phone or with a customer when I called) was busy with another customer. Other employees helped me out and I wrote down my preferences for flooring. They were running a special to clear out some old stock – the highest-end stuff which was regularly $36-$40/yard was $18.79 IF they had it in stock and didn’t have to order it.

Naturally, the options I chose weren’t really options (I needed a large amount of it, and the people working with me weren’t privy to what was in the back room) so I had to go back the NEXT day (a wednesday) to actually speak with the lady who had my measurements. She recommended and showed me a big roll of stuff in their warehouse – much darker than what I’d originally chosen, but in good color tones and design (see it here, if you like). I really don’t like the name (“Chagrin” in “Dark Shadows.” What IS that? How about “Delight” in “Varied Chocolate?” yes, much better.), but I think it will look okay. And spending an extra $6/yd is within our budget – especially to get something that will better tolerate our lifestyle. 🙂

Sadly, their ‘scheduling software’ was having major glitches and they couldn’t schedule any work to be done (nor give me ANY idea of when it *might* be) until it was better (that afternoon, certainly). In the morning it was still down, but surely after lunch it would be up. Turned out to be working Friday morning (presumably when everyone booked their work) BUT my lady was at a home show or something, so I couldn’t talk to her until Saturday (and they looked it up – I WASN’T scheduled). Saturday I was told that November 6 was the first day available. I might’ve cried.

In that time, we decided to have the laundry room (adjoining the hallway) redone too, and tacked that on to the job. We also learned that the insurance didn’t want to pay for the labor to remove all the floor/subfloor in the area, and planned to add a subfloor and floor over the top of what was there. I didn’t prefer this, so I gave the kids each a crowbar and had Hubby back the trailer outside the dining room door. It was a lot of work, but we got it all done in a day and a half or so.

The ugly part came that Thursday when we started on the laundry room. Our estimate was for the install only – we had to move everything and get it ready. So I unloaded the pantry into the basement and onto some shelves perched in the schoolroom. We moved the washer and dryer out individually to pull up the floor under them, and between the washer and furnace ran into a surprise. The baseboard along the wall was wet. Soon we found that the whole half of the room was wet underneath the vinyl. And the wood was black with mold.

We’d used the furnace once or twice that week after returning from vacation (it was cold!) but it must’ve happened some last spring too. Instead of the condensate draining through a pipe into a bucket in the garage (classy, I know), it had come disconnected and was draining into the bottom of the furnace – and seeping into the floor. Thus began some learning – how to dismantle and remove a propane furnace, how once-upon-a-time the dryer HAD been in that corner, and, after cutting new holes in both the dryer and wall, how to balance a dryer over a gaping hole in the floor. 🙂

We got an air mover going, but they forgot the magic-mold-killing-serum (still waiting on that). Sunday a cousin came and helped us figure out how we might install the furnace in the garage (just on the other side of the wall from where it was) and I was able to cut and piece some floor support and OSB wood so the dryer could have a more stable foundation. I tweaked some existing shelf brackets and found a couple long cupboard doors (I think they were from an entertainment center in the basement before we moved here) which I put on the brackets to act as shelves. Presently the washer and dryer sitting side-by-side and all the cleaning/laundry supplies on the shelves above… they are my sanity-saving elements right now.

I have big *someday* plans to pull my stove out of its awkward corner (no room for little helpers!) and build an in-kitchen pantry instead. Cooktop and wall oven can go in the kitchen island, with plenty of room for helpers, and that would leave my laundry room – that 5x(almost)10 foot room – for laundry ALONE! NO pantry, NO furnace. It might just work…

For now, the kids are roller-blading all over the OSB floors, and I look forward to when the upstairs toilet isn’t taking up the bathtub.

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