house renovation, day 19: houston, we have a problem


Okay, so let me begin by saying that I fully realize I have a great life, full of blessings not the least of which is that I am able to live with my sweet family in a very safe neighbourhood, in a relatively safe city, with a roof over our heads and more than enough food on our table.  In the grand scheme of things, particularly when viewed from a global perspective, we are beyond incredibly lucky and incredibly blessed.  I know this.  It is for this reason that I have been hesitant to share an update with you on our house renovation.

So I hope you forgive me when I say:   AUUUGGH.

Let's recap, shall we?

Our kitchen, while certainly serviceable, was in desperate need of renovation, mostly because of a considerable hole in a wall that suddenly appeared while we were on a family vacation this summer.  We found a contractor, we sketched ideas, and we made plans.  Because we are not fancy people (and our house is not a fancy house), our budget was modest -- no major upgrades, except for our one and only splurge, a range cooker Marcus had his eye on.  Since he has a passion for cooking, and is far and away the main cook in our family, the cooker makes sense.

According to our schedule, demolition of our current kitchen was supposed to begin Monday, October 8, while I was in Ethiopia.  Marcus had taken that week off (to take care of Alex), so it was perfect:  he would be there to do some of the preliminary demolition, and monitor the big stuff.  In fact, the weekend before, he began pulling up some flooring.

And that's when he noticed that even though the top of our floors seemed dry, underneath the flooring was soaking wet.

And that's when he called the contractor to come take a look, which he did.

And that's when the contractor said, "Dude. Call your insurance adjuster."

Several visits and two weeks later, the demolition still has not begun.  It appears that we have a major leak somewhere underneath that section of our house, causing water to seep up through our foundation.  The leak is the likely cause of the hole in our wall, because the wall was beginning to rot.   So far, it seems like the studs are still okay -- maybe -- but that remains to be seen (God help us if they're not).


Our current kitchen cabinets are literally crumbling:  the baseboards under them are like cottage cheese, you can poke your finger right through them.    It turns out that if we hadn't pulled up the floors and begun this process (because of the hole), in a couple of years that part of our house could've literally fallen apart.

At this point, we've had  plumber out who has confirmed where the leak is and we're now waiting for an estimate as to what it will take to get it all fixed; needless to say, we're hoping that the insurance gods will smile upon us.  We're also investigating as to whether we can go forth with at least the demolition portion of this renovation (including removal of all the drywall, examination of the studs and bleaching of the concrete slab), while the plumbing under the house is fixed (they will apparently tunnel under from the outside to do it).  Fingers crossed.

So!  That's where we are.  Originally, we thought we might have the renovation done just in time for Thanksgiving, but I think we've blown through that possibility by now.  I'm praying that removal of the drywall will reveal that we actually have seen the worst of the damage, and that we'll have it all fixed for Christmas; especially since right now, with the entire contents of our family room and kitchen temporarily relocated to our living and dining rooms ...


... we don't have any place to put up a Christmas tree, and people, I have to have a Christmas tree.

On a positive note:  the rest of our house appears intact, and even though we're living in just our bedrooms and bathrooms right now (with our kitchen temporarily relocated in our tiny laundry room -- a hot plate, a kettle and a toaster are getting a good workout these days!), luckily the three of us like each other a lot, so that part hasn't been bad at all.  Also, I'm hoping that even though this has been bad news, we actually caught the issue before it could've been catastrophic, and that, certainly, would be good news.  And of course, I'm trying to keep my eyes on the prize:  even if this is going to cost us more than we planned, we'll be getting a serious problem fixed, we'll eventually have a brand new kitchen, and hopefully it will be worthwhile investment in our home.

Anyway, to further cheer myself up, in my next post I'll share some final shots of Ethiopia -- my favourite images that didn't really fit in any of posts from last week.  (Also, please be sure to check out the 5 life lessons I'm thrilled Ethiopia taught me, over at Bliss Your Heart -- it's a good summary of my feelings about the trip.)

And of course, stay tuned, friends.

SongCrumblin' down by John Mellencamp