Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mold, Strawberries and Lovely New Neighbors

I suppose life would be too dull if nothing crazy ever happened.  How boring would it be to just nonchalantly sew or quilt the days away with no adventure in my life -- very, I'm sure.  Last weekend was so perfect -- days made by God to cheer a Grandma's heart.  Now, this weekend.  WHERE did IT come from!?  To find that we have had a slow leak behind the refrigerator for months, and we were just living here as happy as clams not knowing what was going on inside the walls.

I discovered the wet carpet at 10 PM Wednesday.  The first person arrived to do something about it about 10 AM on Friday morning -- yesterday -- after Jerry and I discovered that the carpet was soggier than ever.  Jerry went to work, and I stayed home to CONTINUE waiting for a call from the 2nd insurance adjuster assigned to us.  The first guy never called at all.  I finally called him.  Well, the poor thing just didn't think he could possibly drive 3 hours to get to our house, and we should probably find another one.  He told me he would find someone closer to us.  (Hazards of living in a one-horse town.)  I asked him how long I was going to have to wait to hear from the 2nd guy.  He said, "One hour".  That was 8 AM Friday.

Jerry had to leave early to be in another town to fit a wheelchair around a 22-year old male who had been cripple all his life and still lived at home with his parents.  So, I was on my own.  You have to be careful about leaving me alone because I am a MAJOR Type A personality, and if there is a problem, I HAVE to fix it.  If nobody else will do it, I'll get an axe or a hammer or a paint brush or a ladder or SOMETHING!  I can't just do nothing.  After Jerry left, I fired up the giant brand new shop vac again and started sucking up water.  It was a hopeless situation because the MORE I sucked, the more the carpet got wet.  I decided the carpet HAD to come up.  Nobody here but me, so down on my hands and knees I went.  I thought, how hard can it be.  They sure don't send Rocket Scientists out to your house to lay carpet, do they?

I started at one corner on my now soggy knees, and started carefully pulling.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.  It wasn't too hard at all.  The carpet unattached easily.  Of course it could have been that the holes in the carpet formerly wrapped around nails in the tack strip were now soggy and rusty.  With my lightning fast mind, guess what I figured out in less than a minute???? 

In order to remove the carpet -- you have to remove the furniture.  Fast, aren't I? 

Guy #2 finally called -- or I called him -- or something -- several hours later.  I know because it was AFTER I called and left a message for Roger, who goes to our church and owns the little carpet store in town, to call me because I had a HUGE emergency!  I find that panic in a lady's voice always gets faster results.  Roger called a few minutes later.  He was WONDERFUL!  Said he would send someone right away.  It was no longer than 30 minutes when Jeff arrived with those big pads you slide furniture around with.  I had already moved the 8 chairs and every piece of fine china and pretty long stemmed glasses and vases and antique glasses -- one by one -- from the hutch and put them all on a sheet on my granddaughter's bed and then covered dresser tops.  My Hang-Upside-Down machine is in this room right now to make room for furniture in the hallway.

Then I removed all the glass shelves from the hutch.  Jeff slid the pads under the heavy hutch and we moved the hutch across the room like it was a feather.  Those things are GREAT!  We just lifted the table and moved it.
About that time, Roger called me to see if his guy had shown up fast enough and was I happy, and was there anything else he could do for me EVER.  Don't you just love business owners like that?  I always tell Jerry, "I'm not hard to get along with, just give me what I want."  How easy is that?
Jeff finished pulling up the carpet to expose the very soggy pad that had PLASTIC on top of it.  NO WONDER we couldn't suck the water out of the carpet.  Jeff sliced the pad, cut it, rolled it up, bagged it and put it on the front porch.  You have to SAVE EVERYTHING according to our agent.  That should be a nice stinky mess by the time the adjuster shows up -- which, by the way, will be sometime because he does come to Kingston sometime.  He lives in Denton, TX.  How nice.

Okay.  I am in major motion now.  I walk Jeff out and thank him profusely.  I decide to call our builder, Michael-Row-Your-Boat (my nickname for him).  Jerry had called MRYB the day before and they had decided he would come out SOMEtime.  I decided I wanted him out NOW.  I called his office, and I gave the receptionist, Julie, my sad tale of woe and told her I needed MRYB to call me immediately.  He did call me about 30 minutes later which by that time was noonish.  I asked if he could PLEEEEEEEZE come right away because I couldn't possibly wait through the entire weekend for the water to continue rotting the inside of my walls.  He said he was sorry but his son and wife were coming with 2-month old baby, and  MRYB had promised him he would not make any appointments and miss his visit like he did last time.  MRYB had not seen the baby yet.  I decided that was a legitimate excuse, so I accepted the fact he couldn't come until Monday.

About 30 minutes later my phone rang.  It was MRYB.  He said, "I am almost at your house!"  Well, that was a pleasant surprise.  I told him I would open the garage door -- it was raining outside -- and I would be waiting for him. 

MRYB arrived, and it was just like November, 1998 when he built this house.  He is very nice.  He will always look 16 years old even though he is at least 50, and I told him so.  I showed him the mess.  He snapped pictures of everything.  He walked around looking at the house he built, and he was amazed at how "new" it all still looks.  I told him I hadn't changed a thing -- everything was still original.  He asked if he could take a picture of our fireplace.  Then he stood by the stair rail and ran his hand over it and said how awesome it still looked.  I brought him upstairs to show him what I had done to the attic he built. 

THEN, it was back to the mess downstairs.  I asked him if he couldn't chop some holes in the sheetrock and tear off the baseboards so we could see what was inside.  He said he could NOT do that because it had to be DRY first.  WHAT????  I didn't get that.  He said he would call ServiceMaster and have them come out right away with dehumidifiers that they would stick inside the walls.  I asked him if they could remove the sheetrock and the baseboards.  He said they would probably put holes in them.  Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.  I really wanted the whole thing finished by 5 PM, and it was already 1:30, but whatever .....
Somewhere between the soggy pad removal and MRYB arriving, Adjuster #2 from Denton called me.  I told him what I had done because I couldn't wait FOREVER for him to call me.  He was very, very nice, and had obviously worked with distraught old women before.  He said I did the right thing getting the pad up, and it was perfectly fine to have our builder come.  He asked me to have MRYB call him when he figured out what all had to be done.  Okay.  I could work with those rules.     

After MRYB left, I decided to come upstairs and try to finish the red flounce blouse.  I was really getting into it when the phone rang again -- lots of calls yesterday -- and it was ServiceMaster.  His name is Terry and he is the owner.  He told me he was sending a team right out.  He said they would clean my carpet for me.  I told him NO WAY was he "cleaning" my carpet.  I told him it was like new even though it was 14 years old.  He, of course, sensed immediately that I was out of my ever lovin' mind, and insisted my carpet would need to be cleaned after they dried it.  I told him I would NOT let him clean it.  He decided to drop that subject and send the "team" out. 

About this time, I decided to call our new neighbor, Cindi, next door.  Everyone who comes here to do service always goes to their house by mistake, so I thought I should warn her.  She told me they already had.  She was SO, SO, SO, SO NICE!  She said, "You are coming over here tonight.  I am going to go change the sheets right now, and you can stay here and come and go as you need to.  You are also coming here to dinner tonight.  I don't have much, but I will fix us something, and we can have some wine with it."

I was so pleased and thankful.  I worried for a moment about the dogs, but I prayed that God would help me be gracious even if the dogs jumped in my lap while I was eating.  The thought ran through my mind that maybe we really would become good friends with these new neighbors!  You sure couldn't find a more gracious person that has only known you for 15 minutes.


It wasn't very long at all before a gigantic yellow van pulled into my driveway occupied by two young men.  One of them was Juston.  I know, because he had a name embroidered on his shirt.  The other guy was wearing a hoodie, and he didn't have a name.  I asked him why he didn't have a name on his shirt.  He said he was too new.  Oh, I always ESPECIALLY love it when I get the "new" guy -- don't you?  When I go to a restaurant, I will say, I wan't the NON-smoking, NON-crying child, NON-new waiter section.  They look at me like I must have just fallen out of a spaceship from another planet, but I don't care.  I want to enjoy my meal.  I like the handsome college man who is working for tips.  I could give you a list of names as long as my arm of those I remember.  They knew how to butter up the hard-to-please lady that others didn't want to wait on.  Then when the "others" found out the picky old lady was a good tipper for good service, they would argue over who waited on me.  I LOVE that!  Jerry, of course, being my total opposite in that department wouldn't care if they served fried cockroaches in the nude.  He just is not picky at a restaurant.  He tells people about our first date when I ordered a steak, and I had the NERVE to return it because it wasn't cooked right.  Well, that was his first clue, wasn't it?!  Too late now!

And what does THAT have to do with the leak story???? 

I Knoooooooooooooooooooow -- how do I get sidetracked like that?

Okay.  Where was I? 

Oh, yes.  The "team" of Juston and New Guy (NG).  Juston and New Guy came in and explained to me that they were going to DRY OUT my rooms with dehumidifiers.  I explained to them that MRYB told me they were going to cut holes in the wall and baseboards and stick hoses in there and blow air in them to dry out INSIDE the walls.  They looked at each other with bewilderment in their eyes and decided to call Terry, their boss for the 1st of about 50 times!  Evidently, there was some misgivings that I was extremely poor, and my insurance company probably wouldn't pay for such an endeavor.  So, I picked up my phone and got Adjuster #2 from Denton on the phone.  I asked A#2 to explain to Juston and NG that my insurance WOULD pay and to get their "rears in gear".  He did.  Juston and NG called Terry again.  Terry must have told them to proceed.  So NG pulled out the refrigerator and proceeded to pry the baseboard away from the wall.


And THIS is when all HELL broke loose!  NOTICE NG's hands.  NO gloves.  He has his hands all over that board.  He rubbed his fingers across the rotted sheetrock and scooped up a big glob of goo right on his finger.  He stared at it and showed it to Juston.  They decided to call Terry AGAIN!  Why on earth didn't Terry just come himself?

While they were talking to Terry, and Terry was explaining that our insurance company probably wouldn't pay for mold, I was on the phone to Adjuster #2 AGAIN.  He told me if it was WET and moldy, it was totally covered.  I gave my phone to Juston who was still talking to Terry. 

Lots of discussion went on after that.  I said I wanted them to CUT OUT that wet stuff and take it out of the house.  They said Terry told them they couldn't do that because it could spread the mold through my entire house -- like blowing on a dandelion -- and it could be very dangerous.

Check out the guy with NO GLOVES holding the "very dangerous" moldy board.  I told Terry.  Your guys are practically EATING the stuff -- how dangerous can it be?  Well, he used to think mold wasn't dangerous and then he got pneumonia three times, so now he thinks it is dangerous.

I ask Juston and NG WHAT they are going to do.  I ask if they aren't the guys who come out and make it "like it never even happened" in the commercials on TV?  Juston said they were those guys, BUT they were NEW and hadn't been trained yet.  You can imagine my total NON-shock at that statement.  I tell them I am going to look in the phone book for a company that cleans up mold.  The ONLY company that does it is ServiceMaster, and that is who they were.  I decided to call ServiceMaster Central in Tennessee.  They put me on the phone with some other ServiceMaster owner in Lawton, OK.  He tells me he does this sort of thing all the time, and he knows Terry.  He tells me he will call Terry.

Terry calls me back while Juston and NG stand around and occasionally rub their fingers through the mold and stare at it.  Terry tells me he is going to have some MOLD SCIENTIST (MS) come here from Oklahoma City -- 150 miles away -- and take a sample of our mold and a sample of our air.  Then the MS is going to take the samples back to Oklahoma City and mail them to some lab.  Then the lab will eventually mail the reports back to the MS.  Then the MS will call Terry and Terry will call me. 

I said, "THEN WHAT!?" 

"Then, we will know what kind of mold it is."

"Well, B I G   D E A L", says me, "WHO CARES what KIND of mold it is?"  "Why can't your company just REMOVE it from my house?" 

He continues to explain that depending on what KIND of mold it is -- that Juston and NG still have all over their fingers and their pants where they have been wiping it -- it could be toxic to humans.  They will have to wear Hazmat suits to come in and clean it up, and they will have to make sure not to let any air blow on it.
(THAT was good news when I remembered I had the four air conditioner fans running constantly all day per the advice of Jeff, the carpet guy.) 

"LOVELY", I say.  "Is this "team" of yours going to drop over dead in my kitchen any minute!?"

After several more phone calls to Adjuster #2 and Terry, the team decided they would COVER UP all the mold with plastic -- HOW NUTTY IS THAT???? -- and then they would put up dehumidifiers to dry out the air and the carpet.  This is what my house looks like this morning.

How crazy to cover up the wettest parts in the house with plastic!
The dream team FINALLY left, and I finally got to open the large box that Jerry brought home from the store that contained the Mother's Day present I had asked for.  I wanted these last year, but when I found out how much it cost, I decided I wasn't worth that much.  This year, Jerry decided I was.  How WONDERFUL do these look?  At $3.75 per strawberry, they better be, huh?

I HAD to eat at least one strawberry.

By this time, Zak, the new neighbor had stopped by to see our lovely mess and to be sure we were coming to dinner.  I hurriedly finished my berry, and we left to go next door.  I actually did have good enough manners NOT to take my camera with me and start snapping pictures over there, but I wish I could have.  Cindi is another "me" when it comes to organization.  WOW!!!  Everything was perfect.  The table was set just like I set it, and dinner was already on it.  All we had to do was sit down.  The house was spotless and totally set up, and they just moved in a few weeks ago.  She had a chicken/rice casserole, garden salad, hot rolls, a bottle of Merlot and 4 different kinds of cheesecake for dessert.  I was totally impressed and thankful for my new neighbors.  And GUESS WHAT ELSE????  They never smoke in the house, and the dogs were extremely well-behaved.  They put them in another room during dinner.  What a lovely, unexpected blessing to end a hectic day of killer mold and strangers in my home. 

God is SO GOOD --  ESPECIALLY in times like these when you really need Him!  He has never let us down. 

Sorry this is soooooooooooooooooo long today, but that is how it happened.

Hugs, Joy 


  1. Goodness, goodness, goodness! Oh Girl, you've got a real mess there, but no one can handle such things as well as you can! I would sit down and cry, especially if they told me it was mold. Hopefully, it will be confined to just that wall and hasn't damaged any other walls. However, it does sound like they are going to take their own sweet time getting the mold tested.

    Yep, I've got the kids today. I'm beginning to feel really resentful about it and that's not a good thing. Hopefully, I'll do some sewing tonight after they leave. I better go check on them since they are out in the back yard and have been quiet for a while. Justin is with me, of course.
    Hugs, Phylly

  2. Water just seems to get everywhere doesn't it.
    You have my sympathies - we had a pipe into our upstairs toilet decide to leak one night. Huge huge job and distruption to our house for weeks after while floors, flooring were replaced and carpets taken up and dried and cleaned. Cuts into your sewing time too - that's the worst of it :)
    Glad that your neighbours are nice that is always a good thing.


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Hugs, Joy