My Project Management Skills Came Handy Part 1

October 10

This is a long time since I've wrote.  And, many tell me they like reading my blogs.  I apologize for keeping you waiting. You almost got a 2-thumb-2-line blog last weekend. 

I have so much to tell you that I might have to write 2 blogs back-to-back.  I don't want to keep you in suspense any longer, so here's my 10-day journey.
          It was already planned that while Frank would sail Komeekha to Boston, I'd fly back home to visit my doctors to get my 6-month supply of pills.  In anticipation of this short visit, I texted friends and planned activities with Justin (my son) and family.  My calendar filled up even before I landed in Toronto on Friday, September 30.  My dear friends, Drew and Jill, dropped my off at my house on their way to their cottage.  I was welcomed home by my friends Debbie and Sharon who care for our house and our dog Cocotte during our absence.
          Debbie and Sharon had decorated with an autumn theme.  As I'm not a decorator - we all know our limit, don't we? - my house hasn't looked more festive and homy than now.  What a comforting feeling to be home again!  We chatted for a while.  There was so much to catch up on and stories to tell.
          For obvious reasons, I didn't have a lot of warm clothing on the boat.  So I only brought a couple of pants/tops knowing that I had boxes of them in the basement.  Also, I had planned to go say hello to the grand-kids downtown upon their arrival from school.  Before leaving, to set up my bedroom for my week, I went downstairs to get some clothes.
          I won't write all the expletives that shot through my brain when I saw a 15-foot-diametre puddle and a dripping ceiling waiting for me in the basement.  Where does this come from?  I tried to figure out what is above me, upstairs:  the laundry room and kitchen.  What's the extent of the damage?  One-inch depth puddle, not the whole basement but touching one wall, many wet/dripping beams across the ceiling, wet plywood but not caving yet.
          Can we get a plumber late afternoon on a Friday post-covid?  Sharon came to the rescue.  She called the plumbing company nearby.  Her name was recognized as she had taught some family members a few years ago.  One of the owners came within the hour.  (The last time I called them - mind you, it wasn't an emergency - they couldn't come for 2 weeks).  Bravo Sharon!  A heartfelt thank you!  What a relief in this chaos!
          We couldn't hear a water noise.  The floor was dry.  So our preliminary assessment of the location of the damage had been nill.  Ken, the plumber, within minutes found the culprit behind fridge:  the water line connection was loose.  As soon as he moved the fridge, we could hear the sound of water.  The floor was a bit wet but contained under the fridge.  The water was escaping through the holes for piping to the basement and seeping through the underfloor.  That's why the water damage stayed hidden under the fridge.  Even though my friends felt bad, it was nobody's fault.  The same thing would have happened to us if we had been there.
          Ken shut off the water to the fridge.  And, we called Belfor, a restoration company.  Sharon and I went to work on the puddle downstairs while waiting for Belfor.  Debbie prepared dinner.  There's often a positive spin in chaos for me:  Justin had worked for Belfor where he still kept connection with his friends there;  and we had a carpet cleaner that sucks the water faster than wringing a mop.  By the time Belfor arrived, the basement painted cement floor was wiped.  Justin's buddy at Belfor assessed the level of moisture everywhere and gave me a summary of my options.  For water damage in a house, most insurance companies require a $2000 deductible and don't pay for plumbing repairs.  I decided to try to dry the floor and basement ceiling myself with fans and heaters.  And, I bought a moisture metre at Canadian Tire.
          After a couple of days, the wood of the basement ceiling looked dry.  But the hardwood floor in the kitchen started cupping (the planks curved).  The moisture measurements were still very high.  By that time, I've had multiple conversations with Justin and Frank.  We decided that we couldn't take any chances.  We called Belfor again and called the insurance company - weekend emergency service.  Within hours, Belfor installed 7 commercial-grade fans and 3 dehumidifiers spread between the basement and the kitchen.  The kitchen floor is covered with plastic tarps under which the air circulated.  We have this loud and cumbersome contraption for 3 days. 
          On Wednesday, Belfor cleared the kitchen;  but the fridge needs to remain outside its cubbyhole, in the middle of the working space.  The fans are transfered in the basement for an additional 2 days.  On Friday, the moisture levels force them to keep the 7 fans in the basement over Thanksgiving long weekend.  They will be removed tomorrow.  Belfor will then send their report to the insurance company at which point a decision will need to be made:  repair or replace the entire 600-sq.ft. hardwood floor which would require removal of a section of the island and another kitchen counter and removal of the pool table by a professional.
          It's a wait-and-see period now.  I guess this is a 2-blog story.  I have a plane to Boston to catch.
                                                To be continued ....

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