our first new floor

It was so thrilling in January. The worn, stained carpeting in the family room and the tired vinyl in the kitchen had been replaced with warm oak from one side to the other. Suddenly the space seemed brighter, lighter, bigger. Even the addition of a large area rug and the restoration of the furniture didn’t create clutter.

Creeping Damp

Then one day, oh it must have been in March or April, ominous stains appeared on the floor near the refrigerator. The cut edges of the boards became black lines I tried to ignore, tried to imagine away. When I rolled the fridge forward, I discovered a puddle of water, I shut off the water line to the ice maker and called the repair guys. When the boards began to buckle, I contacted Jason Brown Wood Floors, who had laid the original wood floor, then I filed a claim with the insurance company.

no place for orchids

As the buckling in the floor expanded sideways and down toward the family room. I was passed from one claims adjustor to another as they took vacations and suggested I ask the refrigerator repair company to pay for the damage. After JBWF provided a written estimate for replacing the floor, The Hartford hemmed and hawed and thought a patch would do. If colors didn’t quite match, how annoying could that possibly be?

Seriously annoying. In my opinion.

Showing Everybody the Money

Some weeks after I had signed a contract with JBWF to redo the floor, an insurance representative came along to eyeball things. What, they couldn’t send someone to assess the mess up front?

The check arrived made out to me, my Dear One and US Bank who holds our mortgage. I forwarded it to US Bank for their endorsement; they returned it eventually to be deposited in our account. JBWF got their 30% up front to order the material. Then we sat back and waited.

Patience is a Necessity

supply chain issues

Waiting is the new normal in the time of Covid. Nothing is in stock; everything is backordered. Think of all those appliances, toys, machine parts, electronics, and who knows what sitting out there on cargo ships of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California. In fact, we were about to be grateful to spend over six hundred dollars to repair our freezer because replacing it was going to take a minimum of two to three months.

Save the Date

JBF locked in four days of our life. In anticipation, we emptied bookshelves, cleared away tchotchkes, relocated plants. I parked the cars on the street to provide access for the truck. Supplies and tools filled every corner.

And the tumult began. Again.

My office is directly below the kitchen and the din sent me to the tool shed for the ear protection I wear when using the leaf blower. Sawing and banging rattled the walls, knocked the glass shade off a ceiling fixture in the basement and set all the pictures askew. The Inner Sanctum of My Dear One at the other end of the second floor wasn’t quiet—but it was tolerable.

Foraging for Food

a plastic shroud

A plastic shroud wrapping cupboards, counters and drawers made it impossible to make meals. We discovered the nearby Panera had excellent cinnamon buns. Lunch and dinner were bought wherever.

rebuilding the larder

Getting from my office to the car or our bedroom or pretty much anywhere above the basement level got complicated. I had to detour out the back door, traipse across the patio, trot up the steps to the driveway, and enter by the kitchen door. If my destination was the bedroom, then I continued past the garage to the front door and on up the stairs.

They had reserved five days for the job. Thank heavens it only took four. Friday was the day Kevin the freezer guy came back with the needed part and worked his magic so we could get to work rebuilding the larder.

Running Water

cleaning up

Two weeks later Mike the Plumber performed the annual check up of our things that use water and we did not receive a clean bill of health.  He expected to replace a couple of bolts on new toilets, just because. Then the problems piled up as did the list of charges on the work ticket. The mixing valve on the shower in the master bath needed replacement. The toilet in the master bath was damaged and the drain on the righthand sink was about to croak. On the main level, the kitchen sink needed a new faucet as the old one was both leaky and generally unsatisfactory. Once under the sink, Mike determined that the connections to the water supply were also leaking. More labor. More parts, More costs.

The bill is going to be north of $2,500 but Mike’s a charmer and made his clipboard out of wood from a beech tree he felled and lumber he planed himself. What’s not to love?

Oh, and we replaced the roof in the summer of 2020. Can’t wait to see what piece of home gives out next.