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From the Archive

This takes a bit of explaining.

Back in 2005, we had some problems with the house.  I wrote a letter to my relatives, explaining why we weren't home when they called us on Thanksgiving.  Whilst I was cleaning out old emails, I found it, and decided it was some  of my best-ever writing in the category of "Surviving A Bad Situation".

So, while you read this, remember it's three years old, and all is (relatively) peaceful now.

Enjoy.

Dear Family: 

Just in case you don't hear from us this Thanksgiving, it's been busy around here.

It started with the rat living under the house about three weeks back.  It was under the house except when it came out to crap all over the floor, steal food, chew on Kate's dresses, etc. So the exterminator came and threw some poison bait around. The rat took one under our bed and played hockey with it.

OK. The house quieted down. No more rat noises. Bad smell, though.  OK, the rat has kacked it. Hooray. But that's sure a lot of smell for one rat.

Life goes on. The HVAC man comes to clean the ducts and prep the furnace for the winter. "Did you know there's water in the crawl space?"

So the plumber comes out. "I can't get to the pipes with all the ductwork in the way."

So the HVAC guy comes back and takes out large sections of ductwork.  Now we are without heat. It's 75 in the day, 40 at night. OK, lots of blankets and we'll get through the weekend.

So the plumber comes back. It's water under the house, like under half the house, six inches deep. Now we know what the smell is: the kitchen and laundry have been draining under the house.

So the plumber calls his contact in Emergency Recovery. They pump the water out, spread absobent, spray disinfectant all over the place, set up a HEPA filter and blowers to change the air under the house. Did you know industrial absorbent smells like cherries? Really, really powerful cherries. Now we have no heat and no water. We're staying at a hotel tonight, everyone!

TOday, the plumber comes back. The pipe under the house is 40 year old ductile iron. The previous owner, who never finished watching *all* of an episode of "This Old House", rebuilt the kitchen, and put a floor joist down, touching the pipe. As the house settles and the floor gets walked on, the pipe gets squeezed, and finally cracks. This is in addition to the 1/2 inch of open space in the pipe left by 40 years of dishwashers and washing machine lint. So he's pulling out about thirty feet of iron pipe, and we plan to replace it with ABS.

So, finally, the insurance guy comes in. He hears the whole story. Our insurance covers water coming in. Water going out is not covered.  Since it was an outgoing drain pipe, we're not covered; a 40-year-old pipe molested by the previous owner and rotting through is 'wear and tear'. He will pay $150 for the guy who went under the floor to check out the puddle.

The guy in the house on the corner getting drunk and belligerent with the insurance guy just adds that touch of farce that the production needed.

We're going to another hotel tonight. Tomorrow we hope to have water back, in the appropriate places. We will be in the house over THanksgiving, with our new electric heaters and a summer's worth of split pine in the fireplace. We already have a home equity loan, so we can cover the repairs, and we're getting a lot of Davey D-I-Y's half-ass work torn out and replaced while we're at it.

If I sound tired when we talk, you'll know why.

Everybody have a great THanksgiving!

John Reynolds

"I'm not paid to be normal." - Doc Nickel

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
ccdesan
Jan. 15th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
HiRate Insurance Company: "We're there for you." (Until you file a claim, and then we've never heard of you.)

That was a good piece... glad it's well behind you.
torakiyoshi
Jan. 15th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
Remind me sometime to play you a song by Doo Doo Wah called "Proposition 104."

-=TK
carlfoxmarten
Jan. 15th, 2009 07:14 am (UTC)
Youch, that's pretty bad!

Old DIY work is usually the worst for that sort of thing.
(though that doesn't left "modern" DIYers off the hook, either)

Ah well, much other stuff that needs replacing?

I've been told that CAT-5 or CAT-6 cables work very well for in-wall telephone cables (by people working at the local telephone company), so I don't know how your phone service is right now...

Swampy: "Most people wouldn't use a gas torch when they lock their keys inside the car."
Roger: "Luckily I'm not most people."
deckardcanine
Jan. 15th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
I like your icon. "I am Iron... Thingy."
sleepyjohn00
Jan. 15th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
Courtesy of The Feychild's Halloween strip : http://www.feychild.com/stickfigure/d/20081031.html

She does put the ambiguous one through some changes, doesn't she? :)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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