Monday, February 21, 2011

This Would ONLY Happen While I Was Out of Town

(A continuation from the post below)

So we made it through our anniversary weekend.  Our eyes were clearly focused on the prize that awaited us at the end of the week.  Some much needed R & R at the Hilton Hill Country Resort and Spa was the prize we were seeking.  Gram was on the schedule the watch the girls for us and all we had to do was make it through 1 more week.  Traveling is a big part of my job, and this week had me making a return trip to Baton Rouge for meetings with our support teams in our corporate office.  This would be just a quick 2 day trip.  Up on Tuesday morning, back on Thursday evening.  Then, one more day in my home office, which was mostly blocked by a long webinar session. 

So Tuesday, I was up bright and early.  I caught the 7am flight to Houston without issue.  When we missed the connecting flight to Baton Rouge, I probably should have taken this queue as my last chance to head home, crawl back into bed and try this week over again the next day.  But that didn’t happen.  It was late afternoon before we made it into the offices in Baton Rouge.  The bulk of our day was pretty much wasted at the airport in Houston.  While I was on my way to dinner with some co-workers, I fielded a call from Brenda.  That evening she had taken Grace to swim class, and by now, they were home.  It was about bath time, and Brenda had told me that morning that she was planning on getting the girls to bed early that night, so the call was not unexpected at all.  Surely, my day in the Houston airport was the worst story we had to tell that evening, at least I thought so until I answered the phone to hear Brenda in tears.

Brenda is a pretty tough cookie.  She likes her routines, and she has her quirks, but she has done very well to adjust to having both girls when I travel.  So when she is in tears, then the news is definitely not petty.  I asked her what was wrong and she began to tell me the story.  As I mentioned it was about bath time, she had both girls in their bathroom, the bath tub was filling with water, and she was getting Hailey ready to get in.  The toilet had clogged in the girl’s bathroom, so she sent Grace into our master bath to use the bathroom before her bath.  Once Grace returned, she got both girls into the tub and let them play for a bit.  After awhile, she noticed that she could still hear water running, which shouldn’t be the case since they were all in the girl’s bathroom, and the tub had already been filled. 

Figuring that the toilet in the master bath was still running, she went to check on it to find, once again… for the second time in 3 days, a toilet overflowing from the bowl.  This time though, it was just her and the girls.  She got the water turned off and made her way downstairs to retrieve the shop vac, which was still on the back patio drying out from our weekend adventure with the powder room.  Big problem though, now that she was downstairs, she could see the real damage.  It was now raining in our dining room, directly below the master suite upstairs.  This was a big problem, and a handy shop vac was not going to do the trick.

We are extremely blessed to have family nearby.  I will be forever grateful that Tom and Cheryl, and Shannon and the boys were able to drop everything and come help Brenda.  They moved furniture and tried to contain to them mess as best they could.  By the end of the night, Blackmon Mooring had been out to our house and sopped up all the water that they could.  The carpet in the master bath and closet was a total loss, so out it came along with the padding.  They also had to cut a wide strip of the carpet along 2 walls of the master bedroom, again, along with the padding.  The baseboards were removed and holes were drilled in the sheetrock to allow the walls to begin drying.  Downstairs, the carpet and padding in the dining room was a loss, and again a long, wide strip of carpet along the living room wall.  The baseboards were again removed, and holes drilled to allow the walls to dry.  The mess was stunning.  So much water.  So much damage.  All of this was much more than I could comprehend over the phone from a car in Baton Rouge. 

The insurance company was called, the claim was filed and now we are waiting to hear the news.  Tonight we will sleep in our home for the first time since Tuesday night.  We have been camping over at Gram and Grandad’s since then.  Needless to say, we canceled our reservations in San Antonio.  That trip will have to wait while we recover from this.  So instead of a spa day, we spent Saturday looking at flooring options and wall colors and fixtures.  And definitely toilets.  I can tell you that if nothing else, there will be 3 brand new, top of the line toilets in our bathrooms very, very soon. 

Wow, what a week.  There are lots of little life lessons we have learned this week, and a few big ones.  But we aren’t giving up, and believe it or not, Brenda and I still love each other.  Not even living with your in-laws for a few days can derail that.  Once again, I know that we are amazingly blessed.  It means the world to me that Brenda didn’t have to endure that whole mess on her own.  Tom and Cheryl have been fantastic to us, helping us any way they know how.  And we know it isn’t over yet.  So if you know anything about laying tile or wood floors or plumbing, you can expect to hear from us soon.  It looks like we have a few projects to work on at our house. 

Unscheduled Home Improvements

Talk about a crazy week or so…  Last Saturday, on February 12th, Brenda and I celebrated 6 years of marriage.  Can you believe its been that long?  I am sure most people can relate to the feeling, some days it feels like it was just yesterday.  On other days, it feels like we have been together forever.  And no, I don’t mean that in a “prison sentence that just won’t end” kind of way.  Rather, being married to Brenda has been the greatest ongoing joy of my life.  We live real life together in a way that I just didn’t know was possible 7 years ago.  I would categorize this past week as a testimony to the strength of our marriage.  We are certainly living out some of the “for better or worse” moments right now.

So let’s take a step back here.  Since our anniversary fell on a Saturday, and a Valentine’s Day weekend, my beautiful bride and I decided in all of our practicality, that we would celebrate our anniversary, not on the 12th, but rather on the 19th.  An kid-free overnight trip to San Antonio was planned.  There was a night in a nice resort, a couple’s massage in the spa, dinner reservations at a restaurant with no children’s menu, and even reservations for Sunday Brunch with some friends before we headed home on Sunday.  By all accounts, this was going to be a really nice weekend away!  Both of us were really, really looking forward to it.   Some adult time, some tension relief, some pampering, some attentive service… can’t you just feel the relaxation? 

Well, with this great weekend planned for February 19th, we decided that the beautiful weather on our actual anniversary was not something to be taken for granted.  We debated which outstanding project to tackle.  The garage was in desperate need of re-organizing, the pool needed some attention, and the yard was going to need to be cleaned up in preparation for Spring.  So we spent our anniversary in our backyard doing yard work.  Twelve bags of leaves and debris later, we were sore, tired and feeling pretty good about what we had accomplished.  We were putting up our rakes and tools when I came around the house from the backyard.  As I turned the corner to our driveway, I caught one of those glimpses that makes any homeowner drop their jaw.  Water was pouring down my driveway, from under my garage door.  I entered my code in the keypad as quickly as I could and ran into the garage.  Hot water heater, good; garage refrigerator and freezer, good;  laundry room door… oh no… I opened the door to laundry room and there was about an inch of standing water.  The washer itself was not running and didn’t seem to be the likely source, instead what we found was the adjoining powder room toilet has overflowed (again).  This has happened before in the past, several times actually.  But in the past it has always been quickly caught and resolved.  But on this day, Grace had come into the house to use the bathroom while we were working out back and had not noticed that the toilet did not flush properly.  No telling how long that toilet ran, but water covered the floor in the bathroom, the entryway, and it was flowing out the front door and through the laundry room. It had even started to make it into the living room.  What a mess. 

So Brenda took the shop vac and started working on the water.  I opened the garage door and started pulling things out.  We have a lot of stuff in our garage.  There are Christmas decorations, camping gear and tailgating equipment and lots of just general stuff, some of which sits on the floor in cardboard boxes.   So after an afternoon of yard work, we had the joy of also cleaning out that garage and doing some major clean up in the house.  It was a rough weekend, but maybe was just what we needed to kick us into gear about re-doing that powder bath.  After all, 2 of the cardboard boxes in the garage contained a new vanity and mirror we had bought with this precise intention.  It was a blessing in disguise really.  All we needed to do really was pick out flooring, a new toilet and a new faucet.  A great project to tackle with the tax refund we told ourselves.  With most of the water up, we pulled out the carpet and padding in the powder room and even took the opportunity to remove the tack strips that held the carpet down.

No, not the most romantic anniversary weekend ever, but we live real life in our house, and we took it all in stride.  I was committed to not letting this little episode put a total damper on our weekend, so I muscled through with my plans and at least delivered a nice steak dinner for my bride once we got the damage under control. 

But it had only just begun really… (To Be Continued)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day in Austin

We didn’t’ get the 3 to 4 inches that were predicted for our area, and it didn’t snow all night and all morning as our weatherman said it would, but we did wake up this morning to a thin blanket of white fluffy snow in our yard this morning.  It wasn’t enough to make a decent snowman, and the snow wasn’t wet enough to pack a good snowball, but the girls had fun. 

We slept in this morning and had a good hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, biscuits and homemade jams and apple butter and then got the girls bundled up in several layers of warm clothes.  The sun was well up by the time we got outside and the snow was already beginning to melt.  The girls played outside maybe an hour, just long enough to get good and cold and then they came in to watch their Tinkerbell movie. 

This afternoon, we will head over to the Y and hit the Family Pool to burn off some more energy and come home to make homemade pizzas and watch a cartoon movie before bed. 

As they say about the weather in Texas, if you don’t like it, wait, it’ll change.  Tomorrow the high will be back up to 60, just like I like it!