Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring mayhem!

It's been an interesting couple of months around here . . .

Two months ago I get a call from Deborah while I'm at work.  The washer dumped an entire load of rinse water on the floor in the utility room.  She was headed out to take April to the hospital to have kidney stones removed so I needed to drive home to deal with the disaster.

No problem, I though.  How much damage can one load of rinse water do?  Well, the answer is, over $12,000 worth!  Once I got home it was obvious that I wasn't going to be able to deal with the damage myself.  I called the insurance company and they referred me to ServPro.  Called them and started the ball rolling to get a crew here to start ripping out drywall, floors and wet insulation.  Then I moved the washer and dryer out onto the back porch and started pulling up the molding along the floor.  Meanwhile the water kept wicking up the walls in the utility room, master bath, kitchen, and master bedrooom.

ServPro came in the next day and started the mitigation process.  Ripped up the floor in the utility room and bathroom, cut out the wet drywall and insulation, drilled holes in various interior walls, and set up fans & dehumidifiers.  After 3 days things were making progress but they weren't drying out near the water heater; we came home to find it temporarily moved behind the fridge and we got 4 more days of fans & dehumidifiers.

The insurance came through with $7K for the restoration part of the process.  That helps, especially if I do a lot of the work myself.  Given what ServPro quoted for the floors I decided to let them do the walls and I'll do the rest.

What I didn't mention was the fact that our project manager was out for 4 weeks on medical leave. Apparently they didn't pass the torch and things kept dragging on.  We finally got them to repair and paint the walls in the utility room so I could put a new floor in and we could stop going to the laundromat.  That was 3-4 weeks after the flood.

The bathroom had wallpaper; the guy who put in the replacement drywall mudded over the wallpaper.  Not sure what he was thinking, but I called and said that wasn't going to work; they needed to rip out the wallpaper and do the job right, so it could be textured & painted.  3 weeks later they *finally* got started.  By then Deborah was totally frustrated.  I was sick for a couple days, which turned out to be helpful - I was here to see the work and talk to our project manager, who was back on the job.  They did a much better job.

As part of the project we decided to replace the carpet in the bedroom with the same vinyl flooring we were putting in the bathroom.  We got a super deal at Home Depot and bought all 11 cases they had in stock locally.  Friday evening was spent pulling all the furniture, except the bed, out of the bedroom.  Saturday morning I ripped out the carpet and got all the staples from the carpet pad out of the floor.

Gaby, our 2nd granddaughter, came over and helped me put in the floor.  She started out carrying cases of the flooring in and handing the pieces to me.  By the time we were done she was measuring, cutting, and fitting the pieces while I focused on the more complicated sections that needed to be cut around doors, etc.  She did a great job and you can't tell the sections I did from the ones she did.  It was nearly 9:00 PM before we were done.

Sunday was spent putting the molding in the bedroom and moving the furniture back in, plus getting the toilet back in the bathroom.  Wasn't that fun!?  It took the rest of the week to get the bathroom molding done, caulk around the tub, and generally get the place back to normal.  Two months, all told.  Jeez.

In the middle of this disaster we had a few other adventures.

First Deborah and I made a quick trip to Florida to check in on my grandparents.  That involved fun things like replacing the guts on two leaky toilets, caulking around the master bathtub where the grout had come out, and trimming a bush with a chainsaw.  Dad and Jan were there part of the time, which was nice, and helped get some of the work done.

While pulling something out of one of the kitchen cabinets I happened to notice a can of pineapple that was about to explode!  We managed to get it out, and into a bag, without setting it off, then we started to clean out the cupboards.  There was stuff in there that was over a decade old!  Yikes!  We filled a garbage bag.

Deborah and I did find some time for sight seeing, taking a trip to Blue Springs and New Smyrna Beach.  It was a nice change from the cold/rainy weather we'd left in Oregon.

We came home to a letter from the insurance company (the same one I use) letting us know that they were cancelling the insurance on the house in Florida because there's nobody living in it.  Sweeeet.  NOT.  My sister is working on getting a policy through another company.  Hopefully they won't be quite as particular about whether it's permanently occupied or a "vacation" home.

Sooo, at this point you're probably thinking things couldn't get worse, right?  Ha!

We drove to Salem to see Brandi and Al's new baby, Charlotte, one evening after work.  On the way in that morning I'd noticed that the car didn't feel right when it shifted.  Driving up to Salem on the freeway it seemed to shift a lot more than usual.  Sure enough, on the way back it stuttered 3 times and the check engine light came on.  Code = transmission issue$.  Me = not amused.

I reset the light and kept an eye on things.  MPG down, shifty, but no light.  Until we went back to Salem and the same !@$@$# thing happened again!   We'd just rolled over 100K miles a couple weeks ago. ARRGGGHHHHH!

Let's see, brakes are due, 100K mile tune up due, and now several thousand dollars for transmission work.  On a car we're still paying for.  Well doesn't that suck.

We stewed over it for a few days, then decided we might as well look at a replacement.  I'd already decided that I wasn't interested in another Hyundai.  We've had 3, and they were all ok, but the last one just didn't hold up as well as I'd hoped.  Plus I thought we could do better on the MPG front.

Hybrids were pretty much out, due to the extra cost, so the next alternative was a small diesel.  That made it easy - VW Jetta TDI clean diesel.  Dad's had 5 or 6 VW diesels and has had great luck with them.  We stopped by the new Power VW dealership in Corvallis for a look after work one evening.  Not bad at all.  The next day, after doing some online research and deciding which options we wanted, we did the deal.  They gave us a decent trade in on the Sonata and matched the $1K factory rebate.  Deborah wasn't thrilled with the color but I think it's growing on her.  I'm loving the mileage (over 35 mpg commuting) and performance - lots of torque when that turbo kicks in!

Things haven't been ALL bad around here, though . . .

We tried out the new travel trailer and went to a wine bottling party at the end of March.  That was fun and the trailer worked out great!

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