18 January 2008

Then and Now.

Four years ago we moved to our cozy little town. Not quite as simple as that made it sound. We used to live in the same town our shop was in. Big advantage was being only five minutes from the shop. Big disadvantage was being thisclose to the shop. We also had a super creepy crackhead former employee that was freaking me out right before we moved. So my genius plan was to keep our move a secret. Hah! We found the perfect property. But there was a catch. They had to close by the end of the year. Part of our hesitation in closing at that time was that we knew we were going to go down to Mexico with our family to celebrate my Dad's recent retirement. We were going to be gone for two weeks of January. We also hadn't sold the house we were in, but didn't want to lose the property so we finally broke and agreed to close on December 31, 2004.
We spent New Year's Eve at the house with a bottle of wine. We moved a few loads up to the house over the next week, including the kitties, but didn't plan on doing the big move until we sold the other house. We did spent a few cold nights in the new house. There were gaps around every (single pane)window and door. The cold air blew up from between the pine slats that were the floor.
After only one week we prepped the kitties for a long haul alone, loaded Polar and Ody off to the babysitters then headed down to Mexico.
Near the end of the trip we decided to pay to use the hotels computer to check e-mail. We had a bunch of junk and one e-mail from our realtor/friend who was one of the few who knew both that we moved, and where we were. Turns out that temperatures had plummeted well below zero (like -20F) for over a week, and it was stormy and awful. Wow! Glad we're in Mexico was my first thought. Not so much. The (new town's) fire department had called our shop to let us know that our new house had no power because the fire alarm went off when the main water line into the house froze and burst filling the basement with water. They couldn't find the breaker to turn the pump off so they killed all power. This killed the boiler as well as the water pump and it was a very quick path to every pipe in the house freezing and bursting. It took a while to realize what that meant for our new house, but my main concern was the two kitties we had left in the new house that had been a literal ice box for nearly two days.
We called our friend Steve. He went over to the new house and rescued the kitties. They were curled up together (never happened before or since) in
zoi's cat bed. Cold, but otherwise o.k. He took them to his house until we could come home for them. He then shoveled his way into the bulk head, got the canoe out, and paddled around the basement to try to get the power, and boiler back on. Got the power on, but all radiant registers, toilets, faucets, and water anything had burst and were useless including the boiler. A five month insurance cancelling, $20,000 plumber bill, rebuild, repair, recover, blah, blah, blah nightmare ensued.
When we head out of town now it is a completely different ballgame. We have insulated the house, started replacing windows and doors, new floor, etc. etc. We have two wonderful women come over two or three times a day to care for the animals and they will even put pellets in the P68 pellet stove in the living room to keep the birds extra toasty. We have our contractor on alert, and the pet sitters know to call him if they can't get ahold of us. He will check in every other day or so while we are gone, shovel the walks if it snows, will start the generator if the power goes out... I still get nervous, though. I guess the stress and agony of recovery from the big freeze will never leave me. I even have a section of burst pipe that I keep as some sort of morbid memento.

1 comment:

Michelle L. said...

If that had happened to me, something would have snapped in my head and I would never be the same again! I can't believe you stayed collected through it all!