Warning: The following is a deconstruction of events from the last few days. It contains a great deal of analysis, backsliding, rear-view mirroring and other assorted falderal. It is by no means a good and fine piece of writing. But…then, it doesn’t have to be.
Well, arriving home from Pismo Beach a week ago, we were still (perhaps thankfully) naive about the task before us. Movers were to show up on Friday morning and begin the haul two miles from our then home–to this new one.
The thing we did not count on is just how much crap we really own. I use the word crap here quite specifically. We own stuff that sat in boxes for nearly 5 years in the old house. We didn’t need it then–we don’t need it now, but my wife wants to have it out and not in boxes. As my friend Brian would say, none of this is essential to my happiness–so, we have it here. I do confess, my wife is a wonderful homemaker and the house (this one–the new one) really does look good.
I could go into a lot of detail here, but it would be lost on the real story–which is this. It was not really until yesterday, some six full days after we began the move, that we really totally emptied the house. And even then, I went back today to throw away some of the trash piles that I’d neatly stacked along the side of the house, and found two framed pictures that we had totally forgotten. Left them right on the wall and ignored them, we did.
So, on Saturday, I decided that having the water turned off was a bad idea. We had some cleaning to do and were going to be in the house for a while. It seemed a good idea to call the city and have the water turned back on. So, I did. And then, I left to attend to matters at the new house.
What I had not done, what the movers didn’t do, was turn off the connecting pipe between the water purifier and the refrigerator. That line was apparently open still and no one was in the house. You know where this is going.
When I got back to the house, there was standing water all over the kitchen and dining room. It was less than an inch, but still–it was there. I found the shut-off valve, cranked it to the right and began mopping up with towels, rags–even a couple of old floor rugs that lacked the rubber backing they normally had. I called Sue and she came over to check it out. It’s laminate flooring, after all–how bad could it be? We mopped it up, right? We caught it before it got too bad, right?
Saturday night, Sue went over to do some more cleaning and hauling out and she called me to tell me that the laminate boards had indeed warped. They weren’t bad, but they were definitely warped. Sis-in-law mentioned she’d seen a show that said if this happens, place heavy weights on the boards after they’re dry. Off I went to Home Depot to rent a floor/carpet dryer. Got it Sunday morning, ran it for 24 hours, placed 40 pound gravel bags over the various warps. We slept well–it looked good and we had hope.
More fool us.
Monday morning came and not one board had flattened. In fact, they looked worse. Things were bad. Let me state the obvious:
We’re in escrow and we’ve just ruined the laminte flooring (about 75 square feet of an 800 square foot area). We remodeled and put the floor in three years ago. Two years ago, we learned that this particular laminate flooring is no longer being distributed. We talked then about buying a couple of boxes worth so we had it on hand for emergencies. We never did get past the talking stage. The bottom line here was that it appeared that we were going to have to rip up the entire 800 square foot area and replace the floor. This looked to be a minimum of a $4,000.00 repair.
We considered calling our pal Lance, the realtor who sold the house–and our new neighbor now–to tell him to go to the buyers and knock 4K off the price of the house. We considered (for a moment) trying to do it ourselves. Yeah–that was our response too.
I called Lou. Lou is our friend from church and a good, good man. He first worked on helping me not to panic. “Call Conejo Hardwoods,” he said. This was the supplier he worked with originally. “Give them the info and see if they have any left. If not–we’ll look at Plan B.” Plan B of course was a full floor replacement.
Well, Dave at Conejo reiterated what we knew–out of distribution now, wanted to check the warehouse and see what he had–he’d call me back. Yeah, right.
Well, 10 minutes later, Dave called back. “Mr. Storer? You must be a religious man.” I laughed. “I’ve got 25 boxes left. How many you want?” I bought 15 and Dave sold them to me for 89 cents a square foot. They do not make this stuff anymore and so he gave me a break on price. Of course, it’s also non-refundable.
Well, today–Lou found room in his cramped schedule to help out and began ripping up the damaged part of the floor. I was with him when he did and sure enough, the bottom of the floors–the laminate boards–were still wet. Droplets of water clung to them fully five days after the spill. This was after having a floor drier on them and being mopped for an hour. Note to self—laminate flooring does NOT handle water well. At all.
Meanwhile, we came close to falling out of escrow…..again. Our buyer is selling their home and their buyer was having some issues, so there was talk that they would fall out of escrow for a second time. Indeed, for a while, we were preparing for precisely that eventuality and how to handle the financial ramifications.
Things are a bit brighter today. We’ve got the floor replacement boards and Lou is on the job. Escrow is holding and the word was contingency problems have been removed. As I said….Oy.
I realize that reporting this is no good without the real reflection that events like this ought to bring. As usual, though–I find reflection brings with it the truth of simplicity and even a dash of faith. We took a risk when we went to buy this house without first selling the old one. We were prepared to accept that risk and it looked for a while as though the “worst case scenario” was going to take place. But even so, we took the risk because we knew that the upside was moving our family to a better home in a better neighborhood where Shannon could have friends (she already has two good friends on the street and they’ve played together nearly everyday we’ve been here). Even if escrow falls through, this was still the right thing to do.
Perhaps more than anything, it’s a realization that choosing to “move-up” to a bigger or better or whatever–house–is in itself a risk. But once in a while, a good calculated risk is a good thing to do….for the whole family. In the end, the cautionary part of this tale is this: to avoid risks is to avoid life.