High winds, kitchen disaster: the universe wanted us to stay home last weekend

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know about the windstorm we had last weekend. Great big gusts tore through the area, knocking down trees, blowing over trash cans.

My friend Barb posted this hilarious photo to her Facebook page (and kindly gave me permission to share it here):



Meanwhile, people riding the ferries through the San Juan Islands ended up motoring through rolling, galumph-y swells that slid aboard to taste the cars (the good action starts at 2:50):



We had written to Dave to say that we were going to come no matter the weather, and just hole up in Everett for the night. Dave wrote back that, as a sailor, the worst thing is to let your trips get decided by a schedule rather than the weather. Wise words! When the weather  changed from an advisory for 20-knot winds to YOU’RE ALL GOING TO DIE (just kidding – but it was pretty dramatic), I decided we ought to heed his warning and go the next weekend. Everyone was so relieved.

It ended up being the right decision, not only because of the weather. On Friday night, it rained in our basement. We’d had some mysterious water appearing on the floor in front of the dishwasher. Mysterious water appearance should always be a concern, but we didn’t worry too much because a) we have a 10-week-old puppy who is leaving a lot of puddles, and b) the dishwasher has a tendency to leak.

But that night I was standing on the floor where the water had been, and realized the water was oozing out of the floor. Okay, now that can’t be good. I drew up a mental map of the bottom floor of the house, trying to pinpoint where that spot was in the floor below us. I walked downstairs and found my way into our dark storage room in the basement. I could hear dripping….uh oh. I reached into the darkness, fumbled for the switch, and flipped on the light. Water was dripping out of the ceiling from a few dozen places. I couldn’t immediately see a source. It was just….everywhere. Puddles shined up at me. Cardboard boxes sagged, soaked and bent over in pitiful defeat.

I leaned out of the doorway, and yelled up the stairs, “Uh, GUYS? WE HAVE A PROBLEM.”

Greg and Jason came running. And so it began. The Wettening, 2016. Did you know that an emergency plumber costs $100 just to show up at your door on a Friday night at 10:47pm, before he even sees the problem? Now you do.

Two long hours later, the source of the leak had been found. The culprit was a small, unassuming hose that connected the house’s water supply to the fridge.

Begin Refrigerator Water Rant:

You know, I’ve never thought that was a good idea. Why do we need to get water from a fridge? Why can’t we get it from the faucet, as nature intended? It’s true, some cities have questionable water supplies, and I don’t fault anyone in those areas for doing whatever it takes to get clean water. But Seattle has water born of snow-covered mountains and crystal clear glaciers. There’s no reason to have a water pipe hooked up to your fridge, to be pushed through a $25 plastic filter that is just filtering clean water and will end up wearing out and in a landfill in four months (to slowly break down over hundreds of years, ironically poisoning the water supply belonging to a dozen generations hence), so you can, what, not stand at the sink? How hard is it to stand at the sink?

My kids are like, “But Mom, it’s cold when it comes out of the fridge.”

“Hey you know what else makes cold water magically appear? Turning the faucet that says C on it!”

I know what you’re going to say. One needs ice cubes. You know what they had when I was a kid? Ice cube trays. And nobody died. The unassuming, ever-faithful ice cube tray has been responsible for flooding approximately no basements ever.

Sort of. (You can still hear the ranting if you read carefully).

Our plumber’s head and torso come out from underneath the sink. “Yep, that’s it,” he says. “I’ve turned it off.”

We all breathe a sigh of relief. One of the guys say, “How much will that cost to fix?”

“About a thousand dollars.”

“Wait,” I say. Surely he’s messing with us. “A thousand dollars to fix this whole thing?”

“No, I mean a thousand dollars to replace the tube that goes to your refrigerator.”

My jaw hits the floor. I shoot a look to the guys, that says, JUST GET OVER YOUR LOVE OF THE ICE MAKER RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE NO WAY ARE WE PAYING THAT.

Jason shoots me a pitiful look. BUT…..ICE! it says.

I look back. NO.

Even if you have Awesome, it won’t do you any good.

If only that thousand dollars was the worst of it. We are then informed that we no longer need our plumber, we need an ominous sounding thing called Fire and Flood Remediation Services. He hands us a pamphlet. “You need to call them right now,” he says,  more urgently than I’m entirely comfortable with. He gets ready to go. It’s late, and he has to drive back to Auburn. I give him a couple of lemon flavored Luna bars. “Thanks, I love these!” he says.

The next day, we meet our flood guys. They rip up the kitchen floor, a fascinating illustration of what we like to call, The Curse of the Browns. “The Browns” refers to the people who lived here before we did. Brown is not their real name.

In the five years we’ve since we’ve owned this house, we’ve repeatedly run into problems where the Browns repaired something, or built something, or un-built something, and did it as cheaply as possible. The neighbors like to tell of this one time, when Mr. Brown, the patriarch of the family, needed to put up a wall. Instead of hiring a contractor, he went to Home Depot and hired a few of the guys who stand around in the parking lot. Apparently one of them had a chicken with him. While these guys were off building the wall, the chicken got loose from the back of a truck, and everyone came out of the house and chased it up and down the street for two hours.

The neighbor who tells me this story is laughing. “Isn’t that funny?! A chicken!”

“WHICH WALL?” is all I want to know.

This has left us, the hapless new owners, to re-do it correctly when it inevitably breaks. See also: that time we had to replace one whole rotting corner of the house ($$$), or that time we had to re-do a bunch of wiring because otherwise the house would have burned down ($$$), or that time we had to re-level the deck because they didn’t build it right and water was pooling and running into the house (causing that rotted corner) ($$$), or the time we got new siding and discovered that there were seven (seven!) different types of siding on the house, and much of it covered areas that weren’t insulated ($$$), or the time they installed the sink disposal wrong and it broke and drained water all over the floor ($$).

And now we can add:

….that time they didn’t use the right size or fitting of hose for the water-to-fridge connection, and it began a slow leak that will cause us as-yet-unknown amounts of $’s.

After the flood guys ripped up part of the kitchen floor, we can add:

….that time they remodeled the kitchen, but instead of taking out the old flooring, they just built over it, so that when we had to rip out the flooring, we discovered that under our Pergo floors was:

  • a layer of plywood
  • a layer of linoleum
  • another layer of plywood
  • another layer of linoleum (this layer has tested positive for asbestos!)
  • the original wood floors


Goodbye, Pergo! Hello….asbestos.

Jason says, “I’m pretty sure I’ve lived in another house with this hideous linoleum. It’s following me.”

I tell him, “It looks like the kind of thing that would haunt someone.”

You want to know something, though? I still love this house. I love this house. It’s a hundred years old, it holds all seven of us (my mom and stepdad live in the mil apartment, and Greg, Jason, and the kids and I all live above on the top two floors). It keeps us warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and it makes a great house to entertain out of. It’s not its fault that it had to put up with the Browns for so long. When we all moved in, I named the house “Seven’s Rest”. Now I’ve joked I’m renaming it, “Brown’s Bane”.

The situation gets laid out for us. The simplified version goes like this:

  1. The plumber stopped the leak.
  2. The fire and flood guys will dry out everything that’s wet (so we can avoid black mold). This means we have fans running 24/7. It sounds like a plane is perpetually charging the runway. It’s really great for your sanity.
  3. The demolition guys will come and rip out our sink, dishwasher, countertops and cabinets along the wall where the water was leaking.
  4. The asbestos company will come rip out the remaining flooring.
  5. The fire and flood guys will come back and make sure everything is dry.
  6. We hire a construction company to put all of this back together, after everyone else leaves and the gaping bald crater that used to be our kitchen is now dry and ready to be built back up again.

We don’t know how long this will take. Thankfully, my parents have a working kitchen down in their MIL apartment, so my mom is cooking us meals and forcing me to eat vegetables. It’s just like the old days. I mean, THANKS, MOM! I love them so much. They help out with things all the time, and this is just the latest.

me-elskaThere was a silver lining to the weekend, though. Even though we didn’t get to bring Elska home (yep, I’m naming her Elska – it’s Icelandic for “love”), we did get to drive up Saturday, meet Dave and Sherrie, and sign over the boat to us. So, she’s officially ours! We brought up a lot of the equipment we were going to sail with, so we got to hang out on board for awhile and put everything away, and get used to her. Oh, heaven. I love this boat!


My sleeping bag fits great, there is plenty of room to stretch out and sleep! If I scooched over, Greg could sleep there too, although he thinks he’ll prefer the coffin quarter berth. I love that quilt! Greg’s mom, Julie, made us that when the kids were little. It’s an easy quilt, compared to the gorgeous masterpieces that she’s sewn. She said it was meant to be used as an everyday utility quilt – hey, a utiliquilt! It was supposed to be one that we could put on the grass, step on, get baby spit-up on, throw in the wash over and over. Now that the kids are older, I’m moving it to the boat, where it can be a comforting reminder of home, and add some color to the green and brown interior.



Charts are ready to go! I have Navionics on the iPad, then two copies of paper charts, and a handheld GPS. We won’t be getting lost.



That’s my girl! Twenty feet of spunk and charm.

This weekend, we finally get to sail her down. My aunt and uncle, who have offshore sailing experience and have been sailing for years and years, will be coming with us. My aunt reports that my Uncle Mark gets up “really early”, so we’re thinking if we leave at the crack of dawn we might not even need to sleep over in Everett. Fingers crossed we don’t have another storm. Or another flood.



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