Monday, August 27, 2007
Today was day five without power. But, things are progressing. When wer arrived home this morning, the electrician was there to re-connect the power lines to the back of the house. Granted, there is no electricity running through those lines, but at least they are connected. We also have phone service. I'm not sure about data. The plumber/HVAC guy came by to bleed the water out of the gas line and restart the water heater. He also inspected the furnaces. Luckily, they can be repaired. One needs a new set of electronics plus a motor. The other, just needs the electronics.
The big issue continues to be moisture in the basement. All of the carpeting and padding is out and we scrubbed the floor down with diluted bleach. The real question is what might be lurking behind the walls. We have had a diversity of opinion on how to deal with that issue. Some have suggested just using heating fans and dehumidifiers. While that might be a reasonable approach, it is a non-starter (literally) until we have power. The most common suggestion has been to remove the drywall up to a point well above the waterline. We talked to a professional handyman about that today who looked at us like we were crazy. His suggestion was just to pop a few holes here and there for ventilation. After listening to water damage professionals and a few phone calls, we opted to cut back the drywall and take a look inside.
Of course, we still can't get a professional to give us the time of day. That means the clock is running on the bloom of mold spores I expect to burst forth at any moment. The end result is that I engaged in yet another round of physical labor I had not anticipated ever doing in my life. I have the utmost respect for men and women in the trades and I firmly believe in the power of the trained specialist. That is one of the reasons I do what I do in a boutique firm. But, when there is no one to call, you call on yourself.
Actually, first we called a carpenter we know for tips before we started bashing random holes in walls. We learned that the right thing to do is to score the wall with a box knife and then start bashing it in. After a few efforts, I figured out that a couple hammer blows in a verticle line make a nice handle with which to pull on the drywall. I also learned that the area close to the scoring is more easily pushed into the wall than pulled out. It makes for a cleaner break.
It turns out that this seems to have been the right course of action. With the wall open, I used the box knife to cut away the insulation. When I pulled it out, the insulation was dripping wet. I am sure we have removed gallons of additional water from the basement and that this water would never have dried up on its own or with fans and dehumidifiers.
Tomorrow, we will finish this job and, I am hopeful, clean up the mess it is creating. After that, I think I will sit in my comfortable chair upstairs and enjoy one or more long, slow shots of an appropriate beverage that is quite possibly originating under preference criterion A of the North American Free Trade Agreement. See, I told you I would get back on track.
Here are a few more pictures just for context. On the left is the basement. Below, is the neighbor's uprooted tree.