Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Danger: The Love Nest

Today I'm in a bit of a funk, I'm afraid. I am torn between writing about the really cool stuff that's happening in my life right now and the other unfortunate matters. I guess it's a good sign that there are still positive things in the running! :)

Okay - let's start with the good: 1) My parents are having an engagement celebration for us in July at their home which will include some family and a few friends. Mama-Deb (my amazingly cool, wacky and loveable step mommy) is organizing and she sounds excited and on-task. I would expect nothing less. Deb is one of my favourite women in this world... so for those of you who think you've got the bestest-parents-ever, I offer a challenge;) She is currently training (post chemo and radiation) to walk a marathon distance to raise money and awareness for breast cancer through the Avon Walk in SF. She is a recent breast cancer survivor and a survivor in life. Hope you get to meet her someday! And of course I have the best dad too - that goes without saying.

Good thing today #2: Supa J., (that's her "ghetto" name for when she's nursing at Highland hospital) sent us a beautiful bouquet of multi-colored roses and lilies - and a really sweet card! They are beautiful - and I know that Supa J. can totally "get" the whole same sex marriage deal since her brother and his partner just took the cover (in a very hot photojournalistic sort of way) of a gay oriented magazine's "marriage issue". Anyway, she thought that she was only sending congratulations for the upcoming nuptuals, but really, she was offering a taste of salvation and sanity to cope with the rest of my day. Thanks a million Supa J... (and for the 1 o'clock a.m. ride from the airport, etc.)

So... the rest of the week goes something like this: the cute little abode that is to be the love-nest of one T & W turned into a water park, complete with wading pool and fountain.

I bought this really great house in November 2005, and while I love the place, it hasn't been without problems so far... and still, it's hard to explain exactly why it is that when you come home from work, you arrive at a place that really feels like home; one where you can see such potential and can envision living for a long time to come. I walk in the house and I see quaint built-in cabinetry, crown molding, original 1934 hardwood floors... and someday, a deck where Wen and I can drink coffee in the mornings and have room in the yard to plant sunflowers. I *really* want this to be our home.

What I bought though, more realistically, is an adorable home which needs a little TLC. The kitchen has been renovated and it has good appliances and cabinets... but aside from that, the house has original electric, telephone and plumbing - and original paint in some areas! Without going into full detail, that should give you a bit of an idea. Cosmetically though, the place really looks cute and I understood that it was going to need work when I aquired it - hence the good price for the neighborhood. What I had figured though, was that the work could be done gradually.

I got home from work on Monday night and discovered that my water heater had blown, emptying it's contents all over the floor and continuing to pump fresh water through like a sieve. I found myself standing in the "wading pool", trying to throw contents from the pantry to avoid demise. I found the shut off valve for the water, but discovered that it closes off water to the entire house (without option). Long story short... a lot of the water went under the house in the crawl space and that gap in the flooring (to the crawl space) probably kept the whole house from flooding. Still, the crawl space is now wet. Part of the hardwood floor is destroyed and will be pulled up in the morning. The wood beams are saturated and we will attempt to dry them then treat them with fungicide. The walls are saturated and will be tested tomorrow for asbestos before they can be safely cut away. If there is asbestos, an abatement company must come and remove the hazardous material. Work will begin tomorrow morning... and the new water heater will arrive on Friday or Saturday to keep me from getting too ripe. I had a shower this morning at Wen's and since the house smells so bad from the leakage anyway, I figure I'll fit right in and no one will notice.

I knew the water heater was old, but no one could tell me *how* old when I moved in. It didn't give signs of going out. Unfortunately, the last house I lived in was built new and so I never considered things like running drain lines to the great-outdoors for a water heater, or nifty new overflow valves that will just shut the whole thing off. This one didn't have any of that.

When the inspector was here today, I asked him to look at an area downstairs where I noticed the plaster bubbling a short time ago. The house is a tri-level and I don't really use the "downstairs" much because it's a guest bed/bath... but I had friends coming for the weekend and so I realized a defect in the plaster recently. He assessed the area today and discovered that the inner wall is saturated. From what? Don't know. Related to the water heater? Nope. Separate problem.

So... in addition to the water heater guys, a mold specialist must come to assess the downstairs wall. A "water leak specialist" must come to determine the cause of the damage. Likely, the entire wall must be removed and rebuilt.

Will insurance cover it? I do have homeowner's insurance. Well, when I bought the house, the Only company that would write my policy was Lloyd's of London. I was told that this is primarily due to the fact that the plumbing is original and has not been upgraded. It seems that California/US companies are scared of water-related claims because of potential mold and dry-rot. Huh. Well, when I called my ins. broker yesterday, they said that I should *seriously* consider whether or not I want to report this claim (now 2 separate claims) because there's about an 80 percent chance that if I do, Lloyd's will cancel me this November and I might not find another company to insure the house. No insurance = no mortgage. If I tear up my walls and upgrade all of the plumbing, might someone else insure me? Possibly. They will get back to me tomorrow to discuss potential options... or maybe I might not know until November comes around. Or - I can pay cash.

It seems that if you live in an older home and you buy homeowner's insurance, you should really consider it the same as "fire insurance" because if you try to use it for anything water-related, you will no longer have a policy. Oh yeah... and you probably can not sell your house in the near future either (for fair market value), or at least I'm told.

That's the story, folks. So... the great wedding that we were hoping to save money for?... I would love nothing more, but right now, I'd also love for us to have a place to live once we're married. (The realist in me!) I avoided the aneurysm and the heart attack never did hit... thank God, but as I said, I'm in a bit of a funk today so I'm trying to hold on to all things positive.

I thank God I did not have an aneurysm. (A positive thing.) Repeat: I thank God I did not have an aneurysm.

Anyway, if ya'll don't hear from me for a bit, it's because I'm drinking Apple-tinis and eating chocolate chips out of a big vat of peanut butter with a spoon. And praying for about $40,000.


Blogger heather said...

i can tell you two are a good match because you both (when posting about your waterworld adventure) balanced it with good and bad news. but, at least as you sort through what to do, there are two smarties trying to figure things out. =)

8:37 AM  
Blogger Goeve said...

Not sure if it's the same in Cal but I'd imagine so...there is such a thing as stigma damage. As a real estate appraiser we do reports for mold-stigma damage all the time. Usually litigation cases. It's generally no more than a 15% depreciation in value - more commonly around 5% and that IS after corrections are/were made.
Hope the clean up goes smoothly - that's just horrible news.

1:27 AM  

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