Thursday, July 24, 2008

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Part The Second

The damp concrete at the front of my garage door made me sick. I immediately dashed into the house, and was hit by the smell of wet carpet. Ugh. Into the kitchen and the swamp of the area rug. A lot of water.

The familiar culprit sat squatting in the laundry room, and a hint is that the word “dry” isn’t in the name of the appliance. The washer was sitting there, tub full to overflowing with pure, clean water. All over the floor. And it went behind the washer under the wall and drained into the garage, to the right (our left) into the pantry, and from there under the wall into the living room and the corner of the carpet. Right where the cheap computer table sat. And next to that, the cheap entertainment center. Standing there with their feet wet, they looked pitiful.

My immediate move was to run out to get a hose to siphon the still-flowing water from the tub of the washer. The hose on the side of the house was the nearest, and I dashed out to grab it real quick-like. Upon grabbing the fitting of the hose on the spigot, I was aware of the familiar sting of a paper wasp. Dang it! After hopping around a little bit, I tried the fitting again. Welded on after several years of benign neglect. Double dang it!

I rushed around to the back of the house and easily removed that hose. Inside, I dropped the end of the hose into the washer and went back outside to start the siphon. The thought of sucking on that hose with my very own mouth was a little too much for me, and so I got the bright idea to use the shop vac to start the suction. It worked like a dream. Well, as soon as the kinks in the hose were straightened out and the flow got steady. And this whole time, the water to the house was off.

In the time that the tub was emptying and my anger was rising, I went out and turned the water back on. The inevitable air bubbles rattled and sputtered from the kitchen sink and the steady drip into the washing machine miraculously ceased. As I busied myself with vacuuming as much H2O from inside my house, I ran scenarios in my head how this could have happened. I never formulated a better theory than the water simply siphoned out of the water heater (higher level) to the washing machine (lower level).

All while we were splashing around in the same kind of substance a couple of hundred miles away, blissfully ignorant of the activity at home.

The next day I called our insurance agent. She was extremely helpful…for the 23 seconds she was on the phone with me giving me the 800 number for the REAL insurance company. After a couple of calls, they got me hooked up with an adjuster who hooked us up with a “recovery and restoration” company who came right out at about 6:30 p.m. and cut out carpet, ripped out baseboards, drilled holes in walls and toe kicks under the kitchen cabinets, and set up eight big squirrel cage fans and a large dehumidifier that drained into our sink. The noise from the fans was like being at a racetrack or football game for hours on end. The television was pulled away from the wall, and its plug taken over by the fans, so there was silence from the airwaves. Not like we’d even be able to hear it over the fans.

Every day, a representative from the company would come by and check our humidity levels and water in the sheetrock and floors, explaining everything they were doing. Very interesting.

Finally, on Thursday, they came and took away their noisy equipment. I was alone in the house when this finally happened. At first I just sat there and reveled in the silence. Then when my 17 year-old got home from a water polo meet, we moved the entertainment center back to the wall and plugged it in. I reluctantly turned the box back on, not really wanting to destroy the quiet that was left on the exit of the equipment.

So now we camp out with a half-torn up kitchen floor and a living room with 27% of the carpet torn up. And for some reason, I am still worried about the washing machine acting right.

When the new flooring gets installed, I am working on getting a giant Ziploc bag to put the washer in.

Thus begins the wait for the insurance company to make good on the 12 years of premiums that we have paid. Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be getting much back compared to what we’ve put in. But on the other hand, we won this round. There is, however, no doubt in my mind where the odds are stacked.


DammitWomann said...

How awful - but you seemed to write about it humorously. I so enjoy your writings..always funny.

aA said...

Well, i figure that "yourself" is the only one you can laugh at and be sure your teeth won't get punched out!

And if you cry about everything, nobody wants to hear it. Or read it.

Thanks for the nice words!

Rob V. said...

Looks like it's time to bite the bullet and get a new appliance (or maybe more than one). I feel your pain. Our clothes dryer just went kaput and I recently had to pay a plumber to repair a busted water pipe. Had me saying dang and double dang, just like you. But, you left me hanging. Have you ever determined what caused the water overflow?