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......

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