The Cost of an Upgrade

Our house was recently upgraded. Friends and family love it. They say it’s beautiful. They tell us how nice all the new fixtures and counters and floors are. They say how lucky we are to have this free remodel.

Sure, birch floors are nice, but the remodel wasn’t free.


The whole unfortunate ordeal began when a line the size of my pinkie behind the toilet got disconnected while we were away on vacation. Two gallons of water gushed every minute for almost three days straight. Millions of water droplets assembled themselves in my house: a tiny army ready to obliterate anything in it’s path.

My just-got-back-from-the-mountains smile was quickly replaced with WTF when I climbed out of the car, eager for the comfort of my couch, and found water sneaking beneath the garage door. Liquid coming from places it shouldn’t is never a good thing. Water needs to be contained, or it migrates quickly. It seeps into cracks. It soaks, and it destroys.

The stream of water we found outside trailed through the garage and came from the door connecting the garage to the house. Confused about what I was witnessing, I watched my husband unlock the door. Water gushed out like Niagra Falls when he opened it. I thought this is not my house. What kind of cruel trick is someone playing on us?

On the first level, there was a puddle collecting beneath my kitchen table, the table my husband put together only weeks before. My cork floor, my cork floor that was installed only one year ago, was bowing at the seams and expanding like a sponge. Every rug was soaked. The living room carpet was soggy, squishing up water with every step.

Downstairs, the basement walls bubbled up with fluid trapped beneath the layers of paint. A downpour fell from the ceiling onto the concrete floors, collecting inches of water beneath our feet. The smell of mold stuck to the inside of my nose like putty.

My head was so discombobulated that I actually called a neighbor and asked her for a squeegee.

After the insurance company was notified by my husband, who was thinking much clearer than I, professional disaster specialists were summoned to help. They arrived at midnight and went to work immediately.

First, anything wet had to be removed. Floors were torn apart, sending splinters and screws spewing about. They wheeled in nineteen commercial fans. One by one, they turned them on, forcing bits of dirt to rotate around in the air.

Five dehumidifiers, each bigger than my washing machine, were scattered throughout my house to suck in water against it’s will. Hoses snaked back and forth, a trip and fall hazard to my kids and dogs.

During this time my house was nearly uninhabitable, so the insurance company placed my family of four plus two dogs in a hotel. There, we found a silver lining. A pool. A good insurance company. Someone else to cook us breakfast. I thought things could definitely be worse.

The disaster specialists and their commercial equipment finally convinced the water to leave after it dribbled along for five days. Then a second team of professionals replaced old things with new. New subfloors. New floors. New trim. New paint. New counters.

Every night we cooked dinner in an unfamiliar kitchen, slept in unfamiliar beds, and heard strangers through the too-thin walls. Every day I went  back home and met with contractors and salesmen and whoever else needed to be there to fix my house. 

The cost of my remodel wasn’t free. It was more like:

Roughly 8,500 gallons of water. 

Almost 30 days of normalcy.

25,000 dollars, paid by the insurance company.

And 1 lesson learned the hard way.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Categories nonfiction, UncategorizedTags , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 thoughts on “The Cost of an Upgrade

  1. What a nightmare! I’m glad you’re back home though! That sounds like it was really hard.

    In your last paragraph you repeat the same line twice. Thought you might appreciate the heads up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also, to reply to the rest of your comment: it was probably one of the hardest things my family has dealt with. But we were all healthy, so it could have been worse. The dogs’ kennel in the basement was totally under water. I can’t imagine what would have happened had they been there.


  3. Oh wow…that is terrible. I’m glad you guys got through that! I had something similar happen in my apartment, after being gone for 4 months. It wasn’t as painful, being that it was a rental, but still…when water isn’t where it should be…
    Great post girl! I always love reading your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a nightmare! I’ve had a foot of water in the basement, so I know how accurately you described everything. Your details and size comparisons kept this interesting and readable. I liked your tone throughout. It felt factual, not self-pitying. Great piece! And so glad your ordeal is over!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We’ve been through a similar episode when I was a kid. Heavy rains caused floods and our house was filled with four feet of water. We spent few weeks living with our neighbors on the first floor, mom and dad trying to salvage anything that was usable, me and my little sister trying to co-exist with our hosts’ rotten egg of a son – it was nothing short of a nightmare. Your story immediately took me to that incident. Well written. Cheers, Varad

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Varad! I think it’s best to make the most of situations like this one. Especially as a parent. I’m sure your parents did what they could to keep the stress off your shoulders 😊.


  6. You made me feel your experience, and I’m having to force myself to sit here and not run home to check my house now! I’m wondering about the final section and your lesson learned though. It doesn’t feel connected to the rest of the piece somehow. And I’m not sure what the lesson learned is. Overall, great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lesson is to turn off water when I go on vacation


  7. Once I had left my tap open. the water filled the washbasin and flooded till it reached the living room and I felt cold and wet under my feet. I was watching my a show on television. I got up with a start and saw the damge done which was not much. got a squeegee. called a neighbour . we drained out the water which took 2 hours and left us completely drained. i ordered takeaway pizzas.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Many people underestimate the hardships of change. In your case, they only looked at outcomes like; this is beautiful and you got rid of the ugly. This is all, they could think of. I think we humans should not under estimate painful processes. A good lesson for me as well, won’t leave the house without checking faucets and electric switches.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was my lesson too 🙂 thanks for commenting!


  9. Water is such a powerful force. Thank goodness for insurance and the fact that your dogs weren’t in their kennel. I really liked this line “My head was so discombobulated that I actually called a neighbor and asked her for a squeegee.” That sums up the effect of shock so well! And now I’m always going to turn the water off at our renovation project each time we leave!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The disaster specialist said leaving water on when on vacation is a big no no, but for some reason people do it all the time.


  10. I’m so glad your house is fixed now. I can’t imagine how terrifying it must have been to come home to a flooded house. Especially for the kids. Your positive personality and your ability to see the silver lining shines through this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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