Wednesday, January 19, 2011


About a month ago, I mentioned that we had a plumber over to do some work. He's still working. And Peeper has a crush on him.

What happened is that about a week before Christmas, I went down to the basement to look for a box and discovered water pouring through the ceiling. Luckily, it was right at the foot of the stairs, in the walkway, so it wasn't actually pouring onto anything but the floor. It could have been pouring onto a few thousand dollars worth of diapers and baby carriers.

It seemed to be coming from the area of the bathrooms (they are back-to-back, so I wasn't sure which one) so I immediately turned off the water to both toilets. I noticed that in the "master" bath, the floor right around the toilet was damp, so I figured that was the culprit.

It was about one o'clock on a Friday afternoon, but we miraculously got a plumber to come out that day, and he took a look from below and said that the wax ring on the toilet had probably given out, and he could replace it for about a hundred bucks. Yay!

Then, he looked at the bathroom itself and informed us that the discoloration of the flooring around the toilet was an indication that it's actually been leaking into the floor for a while, and there was mold growing under there.


Peeper had seen the water in the basement ("Uh oh!") so we told her that a plumber was coming to fix it. As soon as she saw him, she started saying "Pum-uh!" and watched closely as he inspected everything, took down the saturated ceiling tiles in the basement ("Reeeeaaaach!") and discussed our options.

Our options, it seemed, were pretty limited.

So, he came back the day before Peeper and I left for Texas, and removed the toilet, cut out a big piece of flooring, down to the subfloor (which required removing the vanity, which required installing a cut-off valve for the sink).

Peeper was fascinated, and wanted to watch everything that he did.

We then let it sit for a week, with a fan on it, to dry out completely, and the day before Peeper and I came home, he replaced the wood that he'd removed, and the entire vinyl floor, then reinstalled the vanity, sink and toilet.

He also "fixed" the water pressure valve thingy. It seems that the highest acceptable pressure is 75 um, psi? 75 somethings.

Ours was about 120.

This would explain why my parents house has such crappy water pressure. Also every hotel that we stay in.

So he replaced the "broken" valve and turned it down to about 55 whatevers.

Oh my God. It was awful. I thought I'd never get my hair rinsed, or a dish clean again. I couldn't even fluff up any decent bubbles for Peeper's bath!

And as soon as he did that, the kitchen and bathroom sinks started dripping. Well, not so much "dripping" in the kitchen as running. All the damn time.

Great. Thanks for that.

Peeper missed that visit, but every time she goes in that bathroom, she drops to her knees and touches the new floor and says, "Pum-uh!"

While he was here putting the first bathroom back together, he confirmed that the other bathroom had pretty much the same problem, so he came back today to get started on it. At seven-fucking-thirty in the morning.

Peeper was still asleep, but of course, the doorbell made the dogs bark, so by the time we walked him to the bathroom, I heard her crying over the monitor.

I went in to nurse her back to sleep, and found her sitting up in bed. She looked at me a said, "Puuuum-uuuh!"

So, she was up.

He did the same yucky-stuff-removal as before, plus replaced something in those two sink faucets and turned our water pressure back up (YAY!) and took the toilet away, because the tank is cracked and the lid is in about four pieces. Also it was draining really slowly, but when he took it out, he told me there was "something" stuck in it, which was causing that problem. I never did find out what it was. I probably don't want to know.

So, he'll be back in a week to finish that up.

We also had him take a look at the floor in the office (he's a carpenter as well as a plumber) because there's a buckled place and we were worried about mold there, too. He lifted the carpet and we checked it out and the flooring is all swollen (And cat-pee-smelling. Thanks, MamaCat. We miss you dearly, but we don't miss that.) but not moldy, so we decided to just let it go. We figured that just fixing that spot was really a half-assed measure because what we really need to do is replace all the carpeting and God-knows-what underneath, but there is zero point in doing until everyone living here is housebroken potty-trained.

If there had been mold, it would've been a different matter, of course, but the cat pee is long-since dried up and the problem isn't going to get any worse, so we'll just wait until we can do it right.

Some good did come of that, thought, because we had to move Peeper's toybox/bookshelf in order to lift the carpet, so when we put it back, I finally straightened up the books.

Check it out!

So, back to the woe.

Our homeowners insurance? With the $500 deductible (we're way over that) and $5000 coverage for mold and rot (we're still well under that, knock wood)?

It has an exclusion for ". . . due to continuous or repeated seepage."

Well why the hell else would you have mold?!?
So, this whole episode is going to cost a pretty penny, as you can imagine, but as luck would have it, we've just refinanced our mortgage and, in addition to saving a couple hundred bucks a month, during the transition period, we've been able to skip three months of payments.

Pretty much all of which will be going to the plumber.


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