Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy our kitchen?!?

On Monday, March 6, 2006, I decided to change the faucet on our kitchen sink. The previous faucet was just a tad leaky, and we had just bought a new one over the weekend. Being impatient, I decided that I would replace the old faucet with the new one before settling down at my desk to a day of appraisal reports. Hindsight 20/20, it was a bad decision, but at the moment, it seemed perfectly reasonable. I mean.........How hard can it be? You unscrew the pieces, remove the old faucet, put the new one on, and screw it all back together? Right?

Well....things did not go that smoothly. I had a small malfunction. Which resulted in a small pipe breaking. Below the shut-off valve. Which resulted in water pouring all over our kitchen floor. And we happen to have incredible water pressure. By the time we got the water shut off, we're talking somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 gallons of water. In our house.

In the middle of this, I made a rather frantic phone call to my husband at work. I'm hysterically yelling into the phone that I've got water everywhere, while he is still trying to figure out who the idiot on the phone is and why they are hysterical. I wish I had a recording of that phone call. Or maybe not.

For the first few hours, I mopped. And mopped some more. And tried to convince myself that it was just a little water. By that evening, Mike had convinced me that, perhaps, this was a bigger problem and I needed to pull myself out of denial. We continued to suck water with everything we could think of. We elevated carpets and increased air circulation. And in the morning, I called the insurance company. When they asked if we thought we should have a water damage professional look at it, I agreed hesitantly. Wasn't that a bit extreme, after all?

The professionals showed up within two hours, armed with state-of-the-art tools that measure water content in flooring and wall surfaces. It wasn't good. They packed out our flooring, and packed in 8 HUGE fans that made us feel like we were living at the end of the busiest runway at Seatac. They made suggestions about moving out, which we ignored. For heaven's sake, I operate a busy business from home and could not imagine moving the business, as well as our family of six, to a motel or apartment. So we lived on the runway.

The professionals came back daily and monitored the drying process. On Thursday, the insurance adjuster came and viewed the damage personally. We had water behind the cabinets and it wasn't drying, so our cabinets joined our flooring at the garbage dump. And our kitchen became an assemblage of boxes. A commercial-sized humidifier and more fans joined the original 8, and they erected a plastic tent around that whole portion of our house. We had to yell to hear each other just a few feet away.

Finally, after a week, we were pronounced, "Dry". Great. We looked around and our cabinets were gone, our flooring was gone, the sheetrock was gone up to a height of four feet, the insulation was exposed...we didn't even have a kitchen sink.

From that point, the arguments started with the insurance company. We fired the adjuster. We tried to fire the voice on the phone in Michigan. We became the "Homeowners from Hell." After three months of living with a family of six, through baseball season, without a working kitchen, we finally became fully functional in mid-June, with the help of a $30,000+ "donation" from our insurance company. There is a woman named Sarah in Michigan that works for the insurance company that REALLY doesn't like us. Because we won. Neener neener neener.

Our new kitchen is beautiful and we love it!! Looking back now, the three months was well-worth a brand-new custom built kitchen with exactly our tastes in flooring, cabinetry, countertops, appliances........the whole works.

But I have to admit that I will NEVER never ever try to replace a faucet. NEVER!!! My plumbing days are over. Its hard to believe it has been a whole year......

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Story for Dane

The past couple of weeks, Dane has spent more time than usual at home. First, he missed a week of school with pneumonia, and then he had a two-week break between the end of basketball season and the start of track, so he has actually been home after school. We also had three days off from school altogether for Mid-Winter Break, and the boys and I spent a lot of time together then. Its been nice.....

The other evening, Mike and I both commented to Dane at the dinner table about how lean he has gotten. With three full sports seasons already behind him this year, and one still to go, he has gotten almost downright thin. He is looking me in the eye right now, and I'm sure that by the end of the summer, I'll be looking up at him. As all Moms of boys this age seem to understand, its not just their HEIGHT that is shocking. His hands are suddenly large, his posture has changed from a boys to a young man's, and he's just so.......grown up.

As a final WOW, I was shuffling through pictures late this afternoon, looking for Grant's football photos from last fall. In the middle of the stack, I stumbled across some pictures of Dane from his 2005 football season. What an incredible difference 18 months has made!!! Mind-boggling!!! I'm sure I'm going to be saying the exact same things about Grant in a few years!!!

So Dane.......Here is a funny story for you. One that I remember from when you were very small. We were at Nana and Grandpa Larry's house for Thanksgiving, the year that you had turned two. Grant was about 5 months old. I had bought you the Disney movie, "Snow White" and you had been watching it off and on for a few weeks.

When we got to their house, Nana had a children's nativity all set up for you on the coffee table. The figurines were made out of plastic, so you could play with them all you wanted without having to worry about breaking her porcelain set. I was busy with Grant and not really focusing on what you were doing, until Nana pointed me to you and asked what you were doing. You had taken the figurines and lined them up, as if in a single-file line and seemed almost to be MARCHING them. It wasn't until you started chanting, in a sing-song voice, that it dawned on me, and I started laughing.

There you were, with Mary, Joseph, the three kings, the shepherds and all the rest of the gang lined up and singing, "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Hi Ho.....". To you, they were the seven dwarves marching off to the mines.

I love you, Dane! You are a great son, a wonderful oldest brother, and a marvelous person. I'm so glad I have you in my life!


Wednesday, March 07, 2007


For the past four years, I have been driving a minivan. A white Honda Odyssey, to be exact. Cloth seats, power sliding doors, boring, practical........YAWN!!!!

We have long been admirers of the big SUVs. We are those annoying people that show up on car lots (preferably when they are closed) and press our noses up against the windows of the vehicles just to look in them. Each year when the new models come out, we check out all the new options on the internet and debate whether we would want leather or not, and what color we would choose. And then we rationalize that they are gas-guzzling beasts and we don't envy those folks when they get to the pumps. Yeah right.....

Well.......GUESS WHAT???!!!??? WE BOUGHT ONE!!! Good-bye to practical and bring on the fuel!!!

It is a 2007 Suburban in Amber Bronze (please don't call it brown)!! Far and away, a more luxurious a vehicle than I expected to be driving at this point in my life. Leather, power moon roof, auto headlights, remote starter, OnStar, 6-CD changer, rear-parking assist......but we will be living without the heated seats (All together now......ooooooohhhhhh......bummer!). It is an absolute BLAST to drive. We got a great deal on it and, with the boys getting taller with every passing day, its sure nice to have the extra room. (And YES, there is significantly more room than in a minivan.)

Now...........if I could just convince Mike that he can't drive it. Except maybe on his Birthday and Christmas. Or when I want a nice long nap on a long trip. :)