Thursday, June 2, 2011
Flooding: Update 3
We made significant progress since my last update on Saturday. Specifically, once we removed the sopping wet drywall, we finally felt comfortable taking a little bit of a break. At first, the break consisted of cleaning up the main living areas of our house. We shampooed the carpet and mopped the floor upstairs, because we knew we weren't going to be bringing up sopping wet nastiness anymore, and we were finally able to return the wet vac. Sunday evening, we were able to take time to go to World Steam Expo, where my friends and former roommates The Extraordinary Contraptions were performing. I was happy to get a chance to hang out with them, as it was the first time I saw them since the move. We got there pretty late, so the dealer's room was closed, and unfortunately the schedule was off, and the service at the bar was slow, so our dinner interfered with me being able to attend the whole of the Sunday Driver show. We did see Abney Park and the exhibit from the Charles River Museum. I enjoyed this show more than some of the previous shows, because I like the direction that Abney Park is going with adding old-timey brass to their sound and the harmonies from Jody. We also attended on Monday afternoon, so we could pick up some professional photography prints made of us the year before, and see the Contraptions show. Kevin had to leave early, so we didn't see him at all, and Scott form Frenchie and The Punk took over drums, which was kind of fun. There were a lot of cool stuff in the dealer's room -- much more tempting than last year -- but given out recent disaster, we limited ourselves to some candy. I tried horehound for the first time, and thought it was tasty, kind of like black licorice. Monday evening, we hosted our friends for a cookout, but thankfully they had been able to arrange another place to stay, since the spare bedrooms are full of undamaged things from the basement.
Yesterday, I worked on clearing things out more, since I had to be upstairs most of the afternoon to wait for the DTE guy to arrive and change out our gas meter. The change had nothing to do with the flood, we were simply on their schedule, since our meter was about thirty years old. When relighting out pilot lights, he reassured me that our furnace was fine after the flood, and he taught me how to remove and clean some parts of the old stove in the basement to insure that the pilot lights would remain lit, and the burners would light properly. Once he left, I got out the hip waders and went into the shower with a gallon of bleach and a tub of things to scrub. We're getting close to having sanitized everything now.
The other thing we have been working on is removing the built-in entertainment center that used to occupy the area of our basement pictured above. Not only was it hit with the flood waters, but the way it was constructed also made the back storage room generally inefficiently shaped for storage. It is easy for us to open up this area, because the ground floor of our house is supported by a steel beam and posts. We don't have to worry about load bearing walls, just the posts and the masonry at the fireplace. This entertainment center was installed rather oddly, but the worst part was how they rerouted the duct work that goes to the vent in our entryway. This flexible duct went from the top of the main duct and wraps under the duct and the beam, where it was supported by packing tape, up to where it was shoved over the plywood entertainment center, and generally jammed against the duct in the wall leading to the vent, which it did not fit. Scott will redesign it so that it fits properly. After all, for those of you who don't know, he's a mechanical engineer, and he designs these sorts of systems in schools and hospitals for a living. The other poorly done thing in that storage room i the lighting. We have an 8' light hanging down into head-banging range (for Scott's dad, at least), and it has to be plugged into an extension chord to another room in order to turn it on. We will install it higher up, add more lighting to the other side of the room, add electrical outlets, and a switch.
Our plan now is to clear out and sanitize the storage room first, since it will not need a new floor or drywall. Then, we will move everything into that area while we repair the rest of the basement. We will add a wall and a door to the storage room near where the entertainment center was, closing this area off and protecting it from sawdust. The area near the fireplace will become the shop. We will put up a temporary partition to protect the rest of the basement from the sawdust, and we will work on our repairs there. We plan to use green board to replace the damaged drywall, so that it will stand up better in any possible future incident. With a chair rail between the green board and the existing drywall above, emergency demolition would be simple. I would like to use paperless drywall, which is entirely impervious to mold, but it's not available at Home Depot, and I don't know if there are any other retail places where we cold get it. We will put down a water resistant, moppable floor as well -- probably sheet vinyl, due once again to availability. We are also discussing installing backflow check valves at the floor drains, and we have to repair the cleanout, which was improperly installed, leading to the overflow in that area. If we install the backflow check valves, we will have to rip out the tile in the bathroom, which is a huge additional level of expense and effort, but it would prevent the sewer main from ever backing up into our house in the future. This choice will be at least partly dependent on hearing back from the city and the insurance company.
1. Remove built-in entertainment center and extra wall in storage room. Mostly done.
2. Remove any remaining destroyed stuff or things we decide can't be salvaged after all. In progress
3. Remove unaffected keeper items so cabinets and shelving can be easily moved. Mostly done.
4. Bleach clean items to save. In progress
5. Install permanent lighting in storage room. Supplies purchased.