Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tainted House

You know what I hate about home improvement projects? They are always so much more complex than you originally think they will be. Take the bathroom sink, for example...I thought we'd just hook it up and set it on the pedestal and we'd be done in what, 30 min? Instead, you have to turn off the main water supply, open the water pipes to the sink, empty them out, set the sink brackets into the wall, realize they aren't strong enough, get anchor screws from the hardware store, set up the sink, realize the drain trap isn't long enough, go to the hardware store and get a longer one, set up the pedestal, realize that it doesn't quite sit flush with the floor and sink, get some cement and glue the whole ensemble together and then to the wall, caulk the sink, and wait for the cement to dry. That took TJ and his dad an entire Saturday. Putting the doors up was a little bit better, but still a lot more complicated than it looks. You can't just set the door in the frame and "pop some nails in to hold it in place" so to speak. Instead, you have to measure the door, saw however much off the bottom so it fits, hold it up while you put shims in about six places around the frame, make sure everything is level and that the door shuts perfectly, make endless adjustments of the shims, and finally nail and screw it into place. And every time we get one thing done downstairs, it makes us realize how much more we have to do. Putting in the doors reminded us that we needed door handles. We also need to trim out all the doors, install the closet doors, put up the closet shelves, trim out the half-wall, reattach the smoke alarms, trim out the windows, put up new never ends. I hate that our home flooded. I am so grateful that we made it through and that no one was hurt and that we were able to somehow not go bankrupt on the house, but the damage was so complete and so uncovered by insurance that it left us permanently scarred. And even though the town has been working all winter to improve the drainage situation, and even though we lived here for 3 years without a drop of water coming inside, it will never be the same. It's tainted. We don't trust this house to stay dry. And because of that, we've decided to put the house up for sale this spring as soon as the downstairs is done. Intellectually we know that it probably won't flood again, but no one can guarantee that for us, and just the thought of watching all our hard work go underwater is unbearable. We have no idea if it will sell or not, but it will show nice with the brand new lower-level, all new appliances (furnace, a/c, water heater, water softener), a fenced backyard, the biggest garage ever, and neutral colors throughout. And at the right price, I think it will do well. It will be sad to leave this home since it's our first one together, but it will be a relief too. The only thing I wish we could take with us is the tree in the front yard that we planted when we moved in. His name is Sprout and it's been so much fun to watch him grow each year. We've already started looking at condos in Ankeny, the town where TJ's new office is located. It's not my favorite town, but it has a billion stores (imagine having a grocery store down the street instead of 15 minutes away!) and parks and I love that TJ would be so close to work. We're looking at condos for a few reasons. First, after all the work following the flood we've dreamed of "maintenance-free living." No mowing the lawn in the summer, no scraping the driveway in the winter, no worrying about having to replace the roof or siding, no basement to fill up with water. Second, Ankeny is a very rapidly expanding town and everything is so new that we really can't afford a single-family home there. The biggest things we'll be giving up are a fenced yard (we'll have to walk Sassy but she'll be sooo excited about that) and some storage space (but since the flood wiped out half of our belongings, we don't have that much to store, so it's not a huge deal). I dunno, I guess we'll just see what happens. I'm over-thinking it, like usual. We'll hope for dry weather and then we'll hope for a quick sale. One thing at a time. --KC


  1. guys have been through a lot, but you have also seen how much your friends and families love and support you. Kathy and Terry have been incredible in their help and support and that is just one of the many reasons we love and appreciate them so much! If and when you leave your home, you'll still be taking many wonderful memories and those don't take up storage room except in our hearts and minds. Our prayers and love are with you always and I just want to say thank you to you and TJ for being such wonderful parents to Topher. Love you

  2. Big news! Maybe you and Regina will end up moving at the same time, since they're house hunting too. Good luck!
    luvs, aby