Saturday, January 22, 2011

Week in review (or when life gets in the way of visiting blog friends)

This post could well have been called "The Joys of Owning This Old House." A week ago Friday, I had a broken pipe in my basement. It burst and did a tremendous amount of damage. I didn't take any photos because I was too busy sucking water and trying to salvage things that were on the lower shelves in my craft room. After the water subsided and had been sucked up, I managed to take a few photos I showed last Sunday. Those photos showed lots of "stuff" being pushed around in my basement studio in order to get to the water damage, the pipes, and to make room for the restoration equipment. I didn't take photos on the weekend, because I was busy trying to salvage what I could.

On Monday, the POD that was supposed to sit in my drive could not be delivered due to the low hanging branch across said drive, so there I was, stuck making all kinds of decisions while feeling a bit overwhelmed. I was trying to keep out items I thought I might need in the next six weeks, including a couple of swaps and the OWOH giveaway. It took forever for me to decide what to keep and what to allow them to pack.

On Tuesday, the plumber was back and things began to move at lightning speed. Looks like a branch didn't make it when the plumber backed in.

While he was here, the restoration people came to pack my studio. When the plumber left, they moved one truck to the driveway and it looked like a convention. And all they did most of the day was pack and pack and pack and pack and pack.

Late Tuesday afternoon, one of the movers started bringing boxes upstairs.

It didn't take him long to practically fill my small living room.

He was a real sweetie and worked hard getting all the boxes up the stairs

two boxes at a time.

I went to the basement to see how things were progressing and I noticed the top step was a bit shaky. But it looked like the packers were really making progress.

Most everything in the main craft room was packed and ready to travel on Wednesday.

We even took a few minutes to laugh. That was the last time I laughed all week!! By late Tuesday afternoon, the stairs going to my basement had shifted and nearly collapsed. It was no longer safe to get to the basement. Edited due to questions in comment section: These are two of the people who came to pack my belongings. I am the short one behind the camera and am not in the photo!

When the insurance adjuster came on Wednesday, I could barely make it down the steps. I'm short and the first step had sunk about 16", too far for me to step at one time. The adjuster said the insurance company would not pay for the new steps. He talked to me like I was some kind of criminal, some kind bad person, trying to scam the insurance company when all I did was ask if the equipment and added usage while the stairs were still wet, could have caused the stairs to collapse. A fair question, I thought. I am not used to being treated like a child. I didn't treat him with disrespect, I couldn't understand why he treated me that way.

I did the only thing I knew to do. I called my friend Scott. Granted, Scott is in the middle of a whole house remodel, and I'm sure the last thing he wanted to do was come repair my steps. But he dropped everything because I know he heard the despair in my voice and the fact I asked for help. No beating around the bush, no subtle hints, just "please help me." That was all it took. By the time he got here, the insurance agent was gone, but he talked to the owner of the restoration company.

The restoration people were super nice, climbing the steps after they removed the the top two. They worked till noon, removing as many things as they could, then left for the day. Scott did a lot of measuring,

and removed concrete that had crumbled under the weight of the water. You can see how far the step slid, by the lack of paint on the right wall.

After a trip to Home Depot for supplies, and gathering tools from both our places, it was dinner time. I put on a pot of beans and Scott removed the old steps.

He then began the arduous task of repairing the concrete with mortar.

He also patched the cinder block wall on the left.

There was nothing left to do on Wednesday, except wait for the mortar to dry and eat dinner. By now, it was nearly 11 pm.

Thursday morning was a sharp contrast to Wednesday. The sunshine brought hope and the prospect that things would truly be OK. Even Bleubeard was checking out the operation.

Now anyone who knows me, knows I'm a neat freak, so boards in my living room were a bit of a stretch. But it had pelted ice the night before, so the boards needed to be kept dry.

Mr. Curiosity had to inspect everything,

and ask if he could help.

I told him that he could watch for Scott,

who would be here shortly.

When Scott got here, he began by making the runners that would hold the steps in place.

I didn't even have to use power tools. All I had to do was take photos and play "gopher."

When the first rail was finished, Scott used it as a template,

rather than remeasuring. Here he's making sure he has the board lined up straight.

then used the framing square to get accurate measurements.

Needless to say, Scott took these photos. The runners that hold the stairs together and against the walls are now in place. You can also see where he repaired the cinder block wall under the stairs.

He also took photos of what hadn't been packed, including the gray shelves full of things I thought I might need.

All the damage from the water is quite evident.

You can see where they already cut the wall and ceiling so the plumber could get to the pipes.

There are only a few items left in the room, but they still have the contents of the closet to remove.

All those machines don't look so big after everything is out of the room.

Some of the toe kicks are now in place. Scott cut them to size from a sheet of plywood. When he was finished, he cleaned the area and we called it a day.

Yesterday morning, we removed the old railings and toe kicks from the existing steps. Yes, the old steps need paint, but they are in good shape, even after sitting under wet carpeting for days. I was able to get two apart in the time it took him to do six. And one of mine nearly fell apart because it was one we couldn't reuse. Talk about fast. I could not keep up. In the end, Scott replaced three steps, which I didn't think was bad. In the above photo, nothing is nailed in. He is finishing the final step and doing a dry run.

By early afternoon, all the steps were made and screwed in place

except for one because I asked him to get photos before he finished. So where was I?

I went to City Hall, where the city government is. I had to go to the top floor, where the City Clerk's office is.

Thankfully they have elevators, or I would still be climbing the stairs! The purpose of the visit was to pick up forms for Scott, who will be filing for the position of Mayor in the upcoming election.

Yes, you read correctly. I may be friends with the mayor of our fair city soon. Filing deadline is Tuesday, but he plans to file on Monday. The primaries are March 1, so there isn't much time to campaign. He's hoping to campaign through word of mouth and virtually.

Back home it was back to reality. It was time to clean up and make things presentable, since the general contractor and the restoration people will be back on Monday to start the madness all over again. Until then, thanks for reading this (I realize it is LONG) and know why I haven't been around to see you for awhile. My time has truly NOT been my own. But be aware I am truly grateful for all your wonderful comments and concerns. Thank you for being so good to visit, even when I can't get to your place.

32 thoughtful remarks:

Healing Woman said...

I read every word Elizabeth. Man! What a nightmare you have been through. Your friend, Scott, really pulled through. What a gem. I sincerely hope you can get this behind you soon. I don't think there is a moral to the story..just handle each calamity as it comes along, as you do so well.

BTW, I don't think I've ever seen a picture of you on your blog before. You are very pretty!

Good luck this week!

Dianne said...

What an adventure! But just think how nice it will be when it's all finished!

Stephanie Mealor Corder said...

Oh WOW, what a week, I can't believe the stairs fiasco after everything else that happened! You are so lucky to have a friend like Scott- I am so sorry that you've had to go through this!
BTW, *was* that a picture of you? I thought it was one of the people packing bc they had the same color shirts on.........I enjoy having faces to go with my friends!
Surely next week will be better- it HAS to!

Pam said...

Wow, a mayor that is a step-builder! A mayoral candidate that in spite of his own remodel came and built you stairs! If I lived in your city I would be running this man's campaign and he would WIN! As far as your flood, as a native New Englander I lived with a sump-pump in my basement for years; and it flooded alot because my sump couldn't handle the water coming in; I did my laundry wearing boots in the basement! It sucks. I'm in SW FL now and you reminded me of a couple of things (the pipes breaking, floods inside) I do not miss! I'm glad you are back to normal now and with new stairs too!

Sue said...

Hi ya hun
aww i have been thinking about you, water does such damge. Im surprised you have the heart to blog at all hun. Wha a lovely friend Scott is, i hope he gets the job of mayor.Insurance comapanies are a pain in the butt, always loop holes.
Hope your soon sorted hun, big huggies, sue,xx

Tammy Freiborg said...

This too shall pass! A good mantra for this trying time. You'll have to try think of the unpacking a bit like Christmas and a chance to reorganize ;). Hope you have enough unpacked supplies for creating to keep you art happy!

Halle said...

Hope the rest of the weekend is less eventful than the previous week for you. The steps look great...and sturdy. Scott's a good friend.

Seth said...

What an ordeal! Hopefully you feel better after this posting. I hope the weekend is perfect!

Terri Kahrs said...

And I thought that I had a tough week!!! I've been living with a toothache and had to have the offending tooth extracted yesterday. OMG, Elizabeth! I can't believe that man treated you so terribly. Thank goodness for Scott -- his skills AND his kindness. He's a good friend and would make an awesome Mayor!!! Hope your basement is back in order soon. Hugs, Terri xoxox

oneoff said...

What a week! So glad that you had someone you can rely on to come and help. I hope the rest of the work passes quickly, and that the insurers get a dose of reality... Sending you and Mr B all kinds of good wishes,
Bernie x

Cynthia Eloise said...

phew!!!!!!!!!! what a week you have had.

Magpie said...

Oh you poor woman! I feel so sorry for you. I hope the coming week will be miles better than last. It looks like things have really progressed, so I'm sure it will be better. I wish I could vote in your city...I would help to make Scott the mayor! I can tell he will make a wonderful mayor! Someone who really has the welfare of people at heart.

Stay positive, and keep us posted!

Maggie xo

ps I had to chuckle at Bleubeard overseeing the process :)

Clare H said...

Oh my word!! You really do need a big hug!!! Its very strange the insurance dude wouldn't include the stairs, it was damage caused by the repairers, surely they should fix it, ahh well anything to get out of paying some times!

Karen said...

If I lived near you I would vote for Scott!!! What a lovely friend to do all that at short notice!!! It always amazes me the amount of damage water can do, I hope that you are back to normal soon, HUGS XXX

Diane said...

Scott is a Godsend! You are truly being tested these last couple of months--hopefully this is the last of it.

La Dolce Vita said...

holy shmoley! E you certainly have had enough! that Scott is a true blessing! stay positive, it will all be brand new before long! xo

Steph said...

Oh dear E, this is is quite an ordeal...Scott is such a friend in need and always....precious...hope you'll take care and that things will be better soon...big hugs from over the seas....

Doone said...

Oh Elizabeth, Amy told me you had had your stairs collapse and I wondered how you were coping -and I see we worry too much for you cope so well - you really are a marvel.

And you get your repairs done by the future Major - I am so impressed.

when you do get time to stop - drop me your address again please.


Amanda said...

WOW, reading your post I feel so much. You are so good to blog this. With all your ups and downs, you have done so well to keep on keeping on. And what a wonderful friend you have in Scott. I wish I lived close to be able to vote for him, I feel government needs people that know the importance of getting projects done, and he really gets things done. Well my best wishes for you and your week next week. Take Care.

FMH said...

What an ordeal, but what a good friend you have, I would vote for him!!
We've been through a similar situation, water main break, spewing freezing cold water over all of us while we tried to shut it off. Crying doesn't help and hugging the plumber only scared him ;-)
The up side was we had a REALLY clean basement and it isn't a finished one.

jackie said...

man, i can't believe you're having to go through this again! so sorry for all of the stress you've endured! but so happy that you have such a wonderful friend! good luck on getting everything back to normal and good luck to scott on the mayor race!

~*~Patty S said...

OH MY that is quite a saga...why is it when things get bad they often get worse! So glad no one was hurt on your crumbling stairs and it does sound like you came across more really nice and helpful people than the one jerk. That sure can be a downer when you are already all thrown off balance with things going wrong.
I think Scott has my vote already, what a guy!
You and Bleubeard take care and hang in there. It will be great when you can look at at things nice and neat again and good as new or better even!

Dianne said...

Holy cow! a trial for sure...and you are certainly fortunate to have such a faithful friend in Scott! Hope you are in the home stretch now, and will be getting back to normal soon! hugs from Ohio...

Dianne said...

oh yeah, good luck to Scott on the election! he sure would get my vote!

voodoo vixen said...

Elizabeth, you really have had the worst beginning to this year, I sincerely hope that this will be the final saga you have to endure and can get back to normal soon. When you told me about the stairs and the adjuster saying it wasn't covered... I couldn't believe it! How the heck does he think they got so bad then? Nothing to do with the water and the travel and weightload? Sometimes you get the feeling that they think the money is coming out of their back pocket not your insurance premiums!!
What a good friend Scott is and what a great job he has made of your stairs and yep, I would vote him in as mayor!!

Carola Bartz said...

Holy cow, Elizabeth!!! What a s**ty start of the new year! That adjuster is such a pain in the you-know-where - I deeply dislike this kind of people. Whereas your friend Scott - what a gem! You are truly lucky to have such a wonderful friend, and I honestly hope that he'll be the next mayor of your town. I'd vote for him.

sandra de said...

OMG you don't need me to state the obvious. My heart goes out to you. But what a friend you have in Scott ... a living treasure he deserves to be Mayor.

Kirsty.a said...

Sounds like a nightmare. Good luck to saviour Scott in the mayoral elections

elle said...

My goodness, Elizabeth. YUK! But this too, shall pass and I guess the thing to do is to look forward to a completely cleaned and reorganized work area sometime in the near future. Bless you and Scott!

Kat W said...

What a hard & disruptive time you're having. Thank the heavens for good friends. If Scott is as good at mayor duties as he is at handy work and being a friend - he'll make an excellent mayor.

Hopefully you can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and this will help keep you strong.

Good luck with the work next week.

Kat X

Anonymous said...

Ugh, what a God awful mess that is but what a blessing to have a friend like Scott. And I disagree with that Insurance chap, I would call up his office and complain, both about his assessment of the stairs and the way he treated you, they behave like bullies and hope you won't have the nerve to challenge them. Good luck to Scott on the Mayorship, looks like he would do your town proud.


Helen said...

I came bazck from WOYWW to back read your sad story! Go Scott! Sounds like a true friend and how hard he is working. You are in my thoughts.