As I write this, I’m sitting in my kitchen listening to the loud, monotonous whir of several industrial-strength fans and dehumidifiers. For four days, the fans have been pointed at bare floors that have been stripped of laminate and carpet in an attempt to dry them completely before any mold or other water damage can occur. They’ve been running day and night since Saturday and I’m starting to get used to the sound, like giant white noise machines lulling you to sleep.

fans in the dining room

On Friday morning, we woke up to a water main break in the street about four houses down from us. We didn’t think much of it because a work crew arrived to handle it by the time we left for work. However, I came home on Friday evening to find the sprayer we had attached to the toilet to clean cloth diapers was gushing water, and had been for a while, because there was an inch or so of water in the bathroom, hallway, dining room and kitchen, and it had start seeping into the carpets of Sebastian’s room and the guest room/office. I was in shock! I ran to grab every single towel in our house and Nick rented a wet vacuum from Home Depot. After about an hour, the surface of the floors were dry but we had no idea what we were facing under the floors. We believe that the pressure buildup from the crews working on the water main forced water through the sprayer; the only way I could get the sprayer to turn off was to turn off the water to the toilet.

On Saturday morning, a work crew came out to rip up the flooring to assess the water damage. They put down the fans and dehumidifiers and have been back each day to check on the progress. An insurance adjuster will be here Thursday to assess the damage and give us an estimate of how much of the repairs the insurance will cover.

office/guest room

I’m a positive person by nature. I have to be or else I would never be able to get out of bed in the morning on account of the state of the world. There are obviously times when it is very hard to remain positive, but trying to see the silver lining in all situations is what gets me through. Here’s the silver lining(s) as I see it now:

We get new floors. At the beginning of this year, we made a list of all the improvements we have wanted to make to our house. We’ve lived here for almost 8 years now and have made a few small changes like painting some walls and replacing the kitchen counter tops, but we haven’t tackled any of the big projects. In fact, I would even admit that we’ve gotten lazy and let a lot of things go, like our back yard. Making this list was our way of committing to saving funds and completing the projects. And it just so happens that new flooring was on that list, and the way I choose to see it is this mishap just forced us to get started on this project a little earlier.

We found mold. While this isn’t a silver lining per se, it is a revelation that contributes to at least two positives: 1) we have discovered a problem that we can fix before it gets worse and makes us sick or makes the house uninhabitable and without this issue, we might not have discovered it in time, and 2) the cause of the mold is thought to be from the dampness of our back yard – it is seriously swampy all the time due to poor drainage and beaver dams a few feet away (that’s a true story for another time). Now that these issues have been brought to our attention, we can focus on cleaning up the mold and we can prioritize upgrades to our back yard, which is another renovation on our list.

It will be several weeks before we can get the new flooring down, but for now, I’m having fun picking out samples and envisioning a new and improved floor. As soon as the weather warms up a bit, we’ll start making upgrades to our yard. Maybe we’ll even paint a few more walls while we’re at it.