Second Funkiest White Man in America
UPDATE - It's been almost three weeks now. Here is our status:
We only got an inch or two of water in our house. But that was more than enough to devastate the first floor. Water gets under the baseboards, which means it gets into sheetrock and, if present, insulation. This water creates mold, and mold moves. If you don't get rid of everything that has mold on it, you will always have mold in your home.
This means that we had to take off every bit of baseboard we have. And we have a LOT. Our house is 4,000 square feet, so the first floor is 2,000 square feet. When you add in all the interior walls, fireplace, cabinets, etc. man, I am here to tell you - that is a LOT of baseboards!
Oh, and of course all our floors are toast. The wood floors and the carpeting were the first thing to go. More on that in a second.
So good ol' RodeoSchro set out to remove all baseboards, and sheetrock up to 1 foot or two feet, depending on location. We had a company called ServPro come out and check for moisture and luckily, there was nothing wet above 1 foot or so. But keep in mind that no matter how "low" the moisture is, you have to remove ALL your baseboards. That's a lot of work and if you can't save your baseboards, that's a lot of money.
Removing the sheetrock went OK. The only bad part was finding four baby rats behind the sheetrock in a corner of my garage. You should have heard me scream! Sadly, I did not sound like Arnold or Stallone. I hit a note so high that I'm sure Prince was nodding in admiration up there in Heaven, LOL. I was able to get some yard workers over ASAP and I gave them $20 to get rid of the little rodents. Then I gave them another $20 to finish the remaining sheetrock, in case Momma Rat or some rat relatives were around. Thank goodness they weren't! Of all the money I've spent in this so far, that was the best $40!
We walled off the upstairs hallway in plastic sheeting in order to keep dust out of the second floor. Now, the second floor is basically our whole home.
I never get mad at this. We were so lucky in that because of the small level of water, we didn't lose anything except carpet and flooring. All of our furniture is OK, even the piano (I took that as a sign that I need to learn how to play it!). We didn't lose any clothes or anything else in our closets. We haven't lost any cabinets, nor will we lose the wainscoating in the dining room. Believe me, I have neighbors who lost everything on the first floor - expensive built-in cabinets; clothes; stereo systems. And insurance doesn't pay anything near replacement value. Heck, I have friends in other parts of Houston that had 4 feet to 8 fet of water in their homes - for days. They lost everything. So I am not bellyaching. We're lucky, as far as I'm concerned.
That said, our little street looks like a bomb went off! We live in an 8-house cul-de-sac. Seven of the homes got water. One guy paid someone $1,000 to haul off his trash but the rest of us are waiting on the city of Houston, or FEMA, or someone to come get ours. So far, all we get from the government is "We're coming". I understand there is a GIANT list of people whose homes got it worse than ours, so I'm being patient.
Speaking of trash, we drove by the old Walmart location south of us in Dickinson. Dickinson is where my friend died in the flood. He was wheelchair-bound, and the water rose too fast. I've heard some people tried to save him but couldn't. I've been gutted about this for the past three weeks and I doubt I'll ever fully get over it.
Anyway, the old Walmart parking lot was filled this way: 1/3 of it covered with refrigerators and other flooded appliances; and 2/3 filled with a 15-foot high pile of debris. It's incredible and yet I know that's only a small part of the wreckage. Someone told me this morning that there's so much debris that it could fill our NFL stadium 60 to 90 times over. I believe it.
For us, we are now in the drying process. We've got 15 commercial fans blowing air all over, in order to dry out the studs. I still have to deal with my tub and shower. They are attached to the front wall of the house and you can't get behind them unless you take them out. And if they come out, they aren't going back in. I don't want to lose them and luckily, one neighbor told me how they had the same situation and used a brick mason to take out bricks from the outside of the home. Then he cut through the drywall and got at the wet insulation that way. Hopefully we can do that too.
This sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Well keep in mind that I am one of the lucky ones. What I'm dealing with pales in comparison to what thousands of others have to deal with. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.