Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Tale of the Leak, The Lake, The Crack, and the Family Who Had Enough

Those who've been following the travails of our house woes know that our journey has lasted 7 months as of the 25th of July. Water first appeared in our basement on Christmas day and has been the gift that keeps giving. At first we thought it was a small leak of some kind, but it turned into a problem big enough that we ended up having to reconstruct our entire basement, including removing a large portion of the slab. We discovered a lake of grossness under our house, fed for some years by a burst pipe. We also discovered an underground spring manifested under the slab as well, a spring that has probably flowed through our property off and on since the home was built...at least that is one theory. Like an onion, each time we thought we'd solved the problem we were simply peeling off a layer to another problem. Over the past 7 months we've discovered hidden floor drains, asbestos, mold (the really nasty black kind) and improperly installed electrical work, much of this in areas of the basement undamaged by the water problems. We also made the mistake of moving our washer & dryer into the basement, inadvertently changing our restoration job into a renovation job, thus opening our basement to the need to upgrade everything to code in order to pass inspection. It's been a bit of a mess to say the least. 
We've had a storage pod in our driveway since three days after Christmas and between that and the garage, our belongings have been in various stages of packed and unpacked since that time. An unknowing passer-by might easily mistake us for hoarders gone wild.
It has been both an interesting and frustrating experience, as our problem was multi-headed and the solution involved both insured and non-insured work. We've gained knowledge about water, the mountain we live on and the underground springs that exist all over, city code, plumbing, electrical, construction, mold mitigation, asbestos removal, and countless other things we never would have known otherwise.
My last post was two months ago and much has transpired since that time. Unfortunately, our basement is still in a state of reconstruction and last Friday water appeared in the basement again, this time caused by a grading problem in the front of the house, no doubt exacerbated by heavy trucks and trailers used to haul old stuff our and new stuff in to the basement. Luckily our construction crew was able to dig a trench as a temporary solution until we return from our annual Midwestern swing (also known as a vacation). No water since and the drywall was not damaged by the leak. In all probability we will have to excavate in the front next.
On the good side, we are finally getting some positive gains on putting the basement, and somewhat our lives, back together. Drywall is up and taped. Ceiling is back in (at least part of it) and flooring should arrive within the week. We think there might be some light at the end pf the tunnel and hope to have the basement back within a month (crossing our fingers).
Throughout all of this we try to remind ourselves just how lucky we are to have all that we do and that this is just a temporary problem, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit we haven't felt unlucky through most of it all. We are so very grateful though to everyone near and far who has helped us with donations, cards, calls, and physical labor. It remains extremely humbling and a little embarrassing when we know others need so much more than we do...we will be forever grateful. The total costs of the project are now over $150,000.00 and we would have been in some serious difficulty without the help of so many others. To all of you, anonymous or otherwise, we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.