Last week was the first time in years I was able to let go of everything and just focus on the kids -- no distractions. We had just gotten back from San Jose where we had a fantastic time with family, even throwing Jacob a surprise 5th birthday party.
It was the perfect way to re-charge. Not only were we able to have some quality time as a family, Jeff and I were able to get out for some grownup time with Auntie Pam and Uncle Scott -- although I swear we don't call them that while away from the kids, that would just be creepy. We even drove the long ride home in record time on a holiday weekend. Things were looking up.
The abbreviated week started with all three kids in swimming lessons (post to come on that soon), I was able to get up to speed on early intervention appointments and the enormous pile of laundry that had accumulated was finally chipping away and I could actually see tile peeking through the endless mounds. Other than following up on a leak we had in our kitchen, the week was designated to be all about focusing on time with the kids and being in the moment at home.
Yeah, that lasted about ten minutes. But before I get too far ahead of myself, let me rewind a bit.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed the mat in front of our kitchen sink was wet. "Honey, can you be careful when you do dishes?," I requested to Jeff. He looked at me like I was crazy. Ok, maybe Jacob was getting himself cups of water and spilled -- a lot. Or maybe Lucy dropped her drink there and we hadn't noticed.
But the water wasn't going away.
And what's up with all these bugs? Lots and lots of little gnats were flying around the kitchen area, getting in our coffee, clinging to our dishes. I was losing my mind, baffled over how this was all happening.
We finally had a plumber come out to investigate. He noted:
1. There was nothing coming out from under the sink.
2. No broken pipe or anything that stuck out as odd.
3. Hmmm, was it lunch time? It felt like lunch time. Now what did he want for lunch -- a sandwich? McDonald's? Yeah, I think I'll go to lunch.
Now I don't know that this guy was actually thinking about lunch. But I will say there was definitely something on his mind other than the increasing amount of bugs and water in my kitchen. He at least took enough time to notice the water was actually damaging the bottom of our cabinets. And uh oh, the carpet on the other side of the wall (in the dining room) was actually soaked.
"Looks like a slab leak."
Note to readers: In case you're not up on the latest and greatest insurance coverage, according to our friends at the insurance company: slab leak = no coverage for damage.
The ambivalent plumber said he'd come back with a leak detector machine to get a better idea. Interestingly enough, Mr. Dependable vanished into thin air. Or maybe got washed away by the current in our kitchen. Either way, when we finally caught up to him, we were told the company's leak detector machine broke and they couldn't help us.
So we called another plumber.
Fortunately this time, it took our new friends Edward and Vic 15 minutes to find the source of the problem (but another 25 to explain it in their long-winded pipe speak). They knocked out a hole in the dining room wall and the stucco outside to discover a drain pipe had split in two places. It was like "nothing they had seen before."
Oh goodie. I just love being a guinea pig.
Our home warranty (which I had actually meant to cancel months ago but never did check off my never-ending list) covered all of the plumbing. They checked their calendar and scheduled to come back in a few days to repair it, forcing us to stay out of the kitchen and not use our master shower. We can live with no kitchen for a few days, right?
In the meantime, our insurance company sent someone to assess the damage. Three lovely men in uniform came out to pull off the toe kick (hey, I learned a new term!) under the cabinets. They were down on hands and knees checking out the wood underneath as well as inside the hole that had been so nicely created in our dining room wall. I could hear discussions being mumbled back and forth, holding my fingers crossed so hard behind my back, I got pins and needles in my hand.
I heard certain words thrown back and forth that made no sense. What does that mean? Hmmm, don't get what they're saying. Hold on, I know that word... wait, did they just say MOLD? Like hard to breathe, makes you sick mold?
We have mold. It's under our cabinets, it's in our walls... it's a big, fat job that requires losing half a wall, several cabinets, relatively new carpet, countertops and ten days of work just to REMOVE it.
I didn't even have time to melt down. I called my insurance company immediately and told them there was no way we could have three kids -- two diagnosed with asthma -- living in a house being de-molded. Could they help us? They agreed and within hours, we were moving our brood into a hotel room ten minutes from our house.
That was six days ago.
Stay tuned: The Suite Life of Jeff and Jackie is coming soon!