Life in the Wind Tunnel – Rant

January 24, 2010

I’ve tried not to dwell on the mold remediation and flood clean-up because it causes sheer depression.  Last week (Monday) the disaster clean-up workers began.  An incredibly competent woman who is shorter than I am (it is possible) headed the crew.  They sealed off the kitchen and emptied the base  cabinets along the east wall and the vanity in the half bath.  They sealed off the west wall cabinets and the upper cabinets on the east wall and in the laundry room.  The original drying out had been done back on the days following the washing machine hose break.

Diining Room to Kitchen 1-24-2010Dining room into kitchen

Little Maria then cut 36″ up and removed all the drywall in the 1/2 bath, laundry room, and the east wall of the kitchen.  They were wearing their HazMat suits.  Little Maria and her crew then thoroughly scrubbed down the walls and studs with chemicals, turned on blowers, sealed the door to the garage and left.  It may only be unsealed by the hygenist.  During the process, they uncovered some prior unworkmanlike repairs.  For example, this house had polybutylene pipe.  I had a leak and Shell Oil (under a class action settlement) had to re-pipe the entire house.  In the kitchen under the cabinets, however, the workers did not put the pipe inside the drywall.  Instead they ran it along the very back of the cabinets, drilling holes in the cabinet boxes to pass the pipe through.  That was inspected by an adjuster who told me that is the proper way to install the pipe.  Right!!!

In another instance, the plumbing company that turned on my air conditioner last summer used a faulty pitcock.  I have a little utility room at the back of the house for the hot water heater and furnace.  It opens only to the outside.  The pitcock sprayed water all over the little service room, soaking the drywall and insulation.  When I discovered it, I called the plumbing company (which I’d used for years) and two guys came out to replace the pitcock and the drywall.  Turns out they did not run the drywall all the way to the floor behind the furnace, and they put in no insulation.  So this winter, the draft I’ve felt came not from the dog door, but from behind the stove.

So, those are pre-existing conditions to fix.  But the current company?  I am beyond annoyed.  The mold remediation department head failed to email specifics to the hygenist who must inspect the completed mold remediation and take samples for lab analysis.  Nothing more can be done until he inspects and sends samples to the lab.  Meanwhile an ionizer is running . . . and running . . . and running in the kitchen.  The kitchen countertop from the east wall and the lavatory countertop from the bath, the stove and the dishwasher are all crammed into my garage.  It blocks access to my shop vac, cleaning supplies, tools, trash can liners, etc.  I called the overall foreman on Friday morning and said, “The countertops, stove, and dishwasher must be moved somewhere for storage — I need access to all the stuff that is behind them.”  He assured me it would be moved, but when I came home Friday evening after work, it was all still there.  I’m going to buy a mop and some Pinesol and a bucket so I can mop the downstairs area that is left to us.

Garage blockade 1-24-2010The garage blockade

The mold cleaning crew was finished on Thursday — no hygenist came out.  On Friday morning I called the hygenist and he claimed to know nothing about the job.  I gave him the supervisor’s phone number and my adjuster’s phone number and the claim number.  He did not come out on Friday.  Kitchen cannot be unsealed until he gets here — so, I cannot measure for cabinets, so I cannot get a quote for the adjuster, so the whole project is further delayed.

Then there is the barking dog issue.  With the kitchen sealed off, I have been letting the dogs out into the front area of my walled yard.  It is nearer the street and the sidewalk.  Inca and Phoebe have BIG mouths and apparently have been barking incessantly when outside.  Why’d I not know that?  Because the wind machine in the kitchen is so loud that I cannot even hear the telephone ring if I am downstairs.  One of my neighbors has his bedroom at the front of his home and it must feel as if the dogs are in bed with him barking.  He accosted me on Thursday and was pretty angry (I certainly don’t blame him).  I apologized profusely and said I would do something  about it.  So the dogs are crated upstairs on the side of the house furthest from my neighbor’s home and I am letting them out one at a time.  I guess I was just so tied up with the construction (or lack thereof) issues that I wasn’t paying attention to what the dogs were doing while outside.  I hate crating dogs for the day so run home at noon to let them out — one at a time.  I trade off office dogs.  Of course, Chase is crazed about Phoebe — that creates another dynamic.  Inca is like someone’s much younger sister who wants to be part of everything and is flat out annoying.  As soon as the dust clears, she is going to be debarked.

There is no water available downstairs with all the construction — so the bright spot is that I am running up and down the stairs about twenty-five times a day (always carrying something — e.g.,  the puppy going down and dishes to be washed in the bathtub going up).  It is soooo good for my heart and thighs . . .

. . . and the wind machine roars in the background . . .


  1. Taryn says:

    It sounds like a very annoying and frustrating situation! You deserve a good rant! Here’s to a speedy conclusion to your project.

  2. Carol says:

    Oh, Penny! I wish feeling bad for you would help the situation, because I feel SO bad for you! 🙁 Hope life is better soon.

  3. janet says:

    Poor girl – you need a cocktail and a massage!

  4. Jean from NM says:

    What you describe is beyond depressing, Penni. I think we should call the mold remediation department head, the hygenist and the job foreman. Repeatedly. Until they respond. How many people read this blog? Give us the phone numbers — we’ll start in first thing tomorrow morning. In the meantime, a massage sounds like a great idea! Hang in there. We’re thinking of you.

  5. Oh man!

    How awful! Just the noise and inconvenience are horrid, and then to have the upset neighbors, too………………………..

    Wondering if there isn’t some sort of short-term rental you could use until they are done? This is crazy-making…………….

    So sorry.

    Surely wish there was something I could do!

  6. Sharrie Brockhaus says:

    You are having the same kind of trouble that I have experienced with contractors and so forth. The powerless feeling is totally frustrating. Hope it all comes together quickly!!

  7. kathy says:

    There is nothing more unpleasant than ongoing construction in your home to make you absolutely crazy. When I have a client who insists on living through the remodeling process, I do all I can to convince them that that is a road they really don’t want to take. But I know that sometimes it is unavoidable.

    And having dogs makes it all the more complicated. No chance that any of the dogs could take a “vacation” with a friend, if even for just a few days, to give you a break?

    And yes, the squeaky wheel does get the grease. Don’t let up on the calls to the people who should be doing their jobs to get this project completed! It is very wearing…I know. Rant definitely deserved.

  8. Garrett says:

    Oh Lady!!

    I’m sorry to say that I found it completely humorous and I laughed my butt off! So much as to the sleeping demons…er..puppies.

    I would HATE to have to go through all of that mess and I sympathize for you, with you and every other way. Oh my goodness yes great exercise! But preferably when and IF you wanted to do it, and not for many weeks longer than originally predicted.

    Fingers crossed that it remedies quickly!

  9. Garrett says:

    WAKE the puppies. as to WAKE the sleeping puppies!

  10. Ugh … from one disaster to another! Now we know who NOT to hire for this sort of thing!