9/29/08

Chapter 1: While we were underwater, so was our house!

Underwater is where we most love to be.  We've travelled all over the world and have spent many hundreds of hours beneath the Earth's spectacular oceans and seas.  We even named our jewelry business "Missouri Ocean Design" in honor of our intense love of the sea.

So the irony of having our home disappear underwater is not lost on us.

Join us in our journey through a completely different kind of underwater adventure.  Here's our story.  Be sure to click on the links to see photos associated with our "adventure."

We got home after two blissful weeks on vacation in Bonaire, an idyllic island in the Netherlands Antilles, at about 10:30 pm on a Tuesday night.  We had been either on an airplane or in an airport for over 18 hours.  From Bonaire to San Juan to Miami to Dallas to Springfield, we had flown around two hurricanes, dealt with long flight delays, no food, bitchy flight attendants and screaming children and the only luggage that completed the journey with us contained our diving gear.  We were tired, hungry, grumpy and stinky...and probably several other of the seven dwarfs.  To top it all off, I had to be back at the airport the next morning by 5 to catch a flight to Chicago for an 8:30am meeting.

Jeff noticed the large puddle in the middle of the garage floor first.  His mom had said we got a lot of rain while we were gone, but the wind must have blown really hard for the water to get under the seals of the garage doors.  This was strange, but no bells were going off in our heads yet.

When he tried to open the door between the garage and the house, it wouldn't budge.  At first we thought that someone (his mom and a good friend both have keys to the house) accidentally locked the door from the inside.  But Jeff said the handle was unlocked, it just seemed that the door was blocked or obstructed.  He finally body-slammed it and it opened.

He immediately shouted a few golf course words that I won't repeat here.  I walked in and was shocked to find myself up to my ankles in water.  We could hear water running, although it didn't register in my mind right away.  I remembered setting the dishwasher to run before we left and immediately assumed that was where the water was coming from.  Jeff was more alert than I was though and he ran into the hall bathroom and found the culprit:  one of the cold-water supply lines under the sink faucet was running full-force into the cabinet.  He immediately shut the water off.

I continued to slog around through the water, just repeating over and over, "holy crap," or something similar, like a complete idiot. 

Every surface in the house was either covered in water or covered in mold.  The carpets were floating and had a sickly film of mold on top, like a stagnant algae-covered pond.  The hard-surfaced floors had all buckled and lifted.  There were several inches of disgusting mold growing up all the walls.  All of our shoes, clothes and furniture were covered in mold.  The water had wicked up the bedspread in the guest bedroom and the bed was covered with mold.

The doors were all swollen shut and split open as soon as they were opened.  Many of the furniture legs had already started to split.  The wallpaper in the dining room was falling off the wall.  There was a "high-water" line on the drywall about three feet from the floor where it had soaked in the water like a sponge.  I can't even being to describe the smell!

I kept repeating, "what do we do?" over and over again, like some sort of idiot.  Finally, Jeff said, "we go to WalMart, buy toothbrushes, underwear (lost luggage, remember?), vodka and cigarettes (we don't smoke), and we check into a motel for the night.

And that's just what we did.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2: "We don't know anything about flooding, but we did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."