Saturday, September 6, 2014

Raining on our parade. The parade is carpet.

Maybe I should subtitle this blog "Adversity, Resilience and Gratitude," because I feel like I keep posting the same pattern over and over again:

- something really difficult happens
- instead of asking "why me?" or "why us?" I shelve my feelings and just get on with stuff
- I express gratitude to the wonderful people who've stepped forward to help



The latest episode happened yesterday. Actually, there was enough happening to triple the length of this post, but let's keep it tight.

Amanda's dream is to re-do the kitchen. The actual dream is to re-do *a* kitchen, but our kitchen is dysfunctional and nothing but frustrating and ugly, so our kitchen is a good pick. We tossed out a budget when we bought the house and told the kitchen company what it was. Friday he presented us with a beautiful kitchen design, and only about 40% over the budget we'd given him. Turns out his quote is for the cabinets and counter top only, not the demolition, construction, tiling, painting, electrical, plumbing, structure, or appliances.

Before we had time to swallow that and digest it, we went downstairs to check out the new carpet. The house has been a construction zone all summer as we've had a company re-finish the basement -- it had been finished, very poorly, decades ago. It's been two months and the project is just about done, short of the final finishes like electrical outlets, fixtures and doorknobs. The new carpet went down Friday afternoon.

Friday evening, it rained. Big rain. Big storm. We didn't get many thunderstorms back in Halifax, and this single storm made up for eight years of missing them. I knew we'd get some water in the basement thanks to one foundation leak we'd discovered that the sellers didn't inform us about -- that's a disappointment/anger story for another time -- but otherwise, had no big fear.

After Gordon went to sleep, Amanda wanted to check out the new carpet. She stepped foot on it at the bottom of the stairs and said it felt damp in the basement. No worries, I said. It's been raining. YOU feel damp. Everything feels damp. It's a damp day.

We walked into the room that's to be my new recording studio. She stepped on the edge of the carpet. It was soaked. She started to cry.

We soon realized that the carpet along the edge of the wall was wet. Not just that wall, but the other exterior wall in the room, and even along the new interior wall. Same with the big room next to it. Water was coming in. We'd never seen water come in before.

First time we found water coming in ....... the day we thought we'd just about reached the finish line.

So, I'm thinking home insurance, I'm thinking lawyers, I'm thinking more debt, I'm thinking this house is going to be the end of us. Amanda's doing more crying than thinking. This is the last straw.

Amanda texted the foreman on the job, Jason, from Anden Design Build here in London. This problem is not his fault, but he's been wonderful with us through the whole project. He said he'd be right over.

He arrived amid rain and lightning with his pickup truck, his 11-year-old son, and a brand new shop vac. He was looking to buy a new one anyway, he said. Jason and his boy started pulling up the carpet and underpad from the tack strips and sucking up the water. Jason smartly peeled back the wet parts, propped them up with wax paper and paint cans so they could dry, and advised me how to help the drying process overnight and dam up the advancing water with what towels we had on hand. (We had few towels, thanks to having to use them earlier Friday to soak up an entirely different small flood on the tiled part of the basement, thanks to someone moving our washing machine drain to a non-draining pipe, but.......yarg.) I set up dehumidifiers and hoped for the best.

I got up and went downstairs at 4 a.m. to check the situation. The towels were holding. Things weren't getting worse.

Jason came by on Saturday morning with two portable air scrubbers -- big industrial-looking beastly fans with filters, designed for water abatement. He checked things out and was encouraged by how things were drying out.

Jason, you're a bearded angel.

Our new neighbours are excellent folks, too. The dad, Matt, is a Rush fan. That alone is awesome. They've been friendly and sweet. And when they heard Amanda was sick with a flu, and me with my fourth week of goodness knows what in my lungs and ears, and the soggy basement.... well, Kate, the mom, showed up at our door with a complete dinner for us. So kind of her.

I've probably said this before: I've never expected much out of life. I don't feel like the world owes me. I've never even been the kind of person who goes out of my way to help people. I'm a nice guy, sure, but I've always kept to myself. So, to have people who hardly know us reach out and do such sweet, awesome things really, really, really touches me. Jason, Matt, Kate -- thank you for helping make this "last straw" of an event less of an ordeal.

I'm hoping this seemingly never-ending repeating pattern of adversity-resilience-gratitude can eventually be replaced by achievement-appreciation-sharing, or some other less taxing process. Amanda and I, as upbeat and bounce-backish as we've been for the past year and a half, are really feeling like bad luck has us in the crosshairs. We have some wins, for sure, but the losses keep coming at us with time lines and dollar signs, and in ways that undermine our quest to enjoy simple pleasures and a positive outlook on what we know is going to be a sad end.

So, I apologize for the venting. It's a point of pride for me not to be a whiner and complainer. I maintain my belief that everything will be okay in the end. We're just going through a period of prolonged and intense FFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUareyoukiddingmewhatnext?!!?!?

Oh, here's some good news: G's eye appears to be all better and he's goofy once more.

I hope to post something hot-diggity-dog upbeat and exciting soon. Darned if I know what it's going to be, but if I see the opportunity, I will.

Last-minute shout-out to everyone running in the various Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope events around the country this weekend. I wish you good weather!

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