Monday, September 7, 2009

A Basement Update:

I need to post an update of our basement "saga!" I apologize for not doing this sooner. It's so like me to share all of the drama and none of the resolution. So here goes...I'll attempt to give an abbreviated update. Yeah, right! (For those who are just catching up, the saga started with this post - Home Early! Friday, July 24. You can access it through the archives on the right.)

After a few days of trying to dry things out ourselves, we realized that our home was being overcome by that terrible musty, dank smell that wet basements tend to give off. We finally called a restoration company...actually we had to call a few until we could find one that wasn't booked. They sent someone out to give us an estimate and talk through a "plan of attack." They set up a HUGE dehumidifier and two HUMUNGO fans which were strategically positioned to dry out the walls and floor boards. Our carpet was salvageable but not the padding. So they suggested that Jim and I pull up the carpet to cut out the sopping wet DISGUSTING padding. Once this was done, the entire drying process only took a few days! They returned to collect their equipment and spray the carpets with deodorizer, and the rest was in our hands. ($465.)

Ben and I went shopping for the best deal we could get on carpet padding ,which of course has to match the padding that was left in the rooms. ($120.) And I am darn proud of that price! If anyone needs good carpet padding price-haggling tips, just let me know! :-) Jim and I installed it a few days later. Of course it goes without saying that an unplanned run to the hardware store interrupted the project, since one needs copious amounts of duct tape, right?!? Once the padding and carpet were back in place, we had to hire someone to restretch and retuck the carpeting. ($140.) Finally, we had our super awesome carpet cleaner come for the finishing touch. ($42.) This was the true bargain of the whole thing, don't you think?!?

Then, the putting away could begin. We had to throw some things away, but all in all we were very lucky. I actually got to the point that I was relieved when I found things that I could just throw away instead of having to wipe them down and try to remember where to put them! We decided to move all of our files and records out of the built-in vertical file drawers directly under the window well. Brilliant, eh? The only problem is that they are now housed in the vertical files that used to be full of music. So we're now in the market for some sort of shelving to file piles of music... ($??.)

Of course while all of this clean-up was going on, there were numerous calls to and from the insurance company. We discovered what everyone sort of already knows in the back of their minds, that practically nothing in a basement is covered! This storm damage would be categorized as "surface water," which is not covered. :-) We have since looked into flood insurance and concluded after more phone calls that this would be rather pricey and would still come with way too many limitations. We've decided that our money would be best spent just "cleaning up" after the next time, God forbid!

We also discovered that our professional instruments, which reside in the basement office/music room were insufficiently covered! They were not is any danger this time, but it was a good wake-up call. So, of course, we will now be paying to have their coverage increased. ($??.)

Once we decided that we definitely weren't getting flood coverage, I set about brainstorming ways of handling such a flood should it happen again. I finally settled on purchasing a pool cover pump that we could lower into our window wells to pump them out like our neighbors did. ($29.) Yet another steal...hope it works... We'll have to work on our entire plan of attack, but I think I've got a good start. Perhaps I'll write it up and color code it just like the federal govt and public schools have tried. :-) Then, of course, we'll need to have some in-service on how to properly put the plan into effect...

Oh, and I almost forgot that we had an insurance adjuster and contractor come out to examine the stains in our kitchen ceiling. They appeared during the storm as well, and after long contemplation were deemed to have come from the pipe vents on the roof! Apparently that much water in that short of time forced its way through the elbow joints at floor/ceiling level that must not have been glued properly when the house was built. Go figure. Vent caps will prevent that the next time. ($10.) Of course, we don't own a tall enough ladder to install them... :-)

So that brings us to Now. We got a check from the insurance company to cover having the ceiling patched and repainted, and we're still waiting to hear back from the "paint people" with a definite date.

What's crazy is that, like I said before, this was certainly no Katrina! And yet it has still taken all this time, effort, stress, etc. to get this far. I can't even begin to imagine what a "real" disaster is like! I mentioned this to the "Head Water Mitigator" from the restoration company. (Don't you just LOVE that title?!? I guess it's better than "Water Soaker-Upper"...) Anyway, I said something like, "I can't even imagine where we'd start if this was a real disaster!" He replied, "I tell you what you'd do. Three things: a buncha' guys, a dumpster, and a Pod."

That's sobering.

So, for now all's back to "normal" is the Weaver basement. Thanks for all of the well-wishes along the way!

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