And then the ceiling caved in...

It's been an interesting month.  We seem to have stumbled into a run of bad luck that is encompassing just about every area of our life.  First, our dog Ares managed to somehow cut off half of one of his toe pads while playing in the backyard.  We have no glass or metal laying around, but a nice, clean chunk was missing.  Shayne called him to come inside, and the poor dog was leaving bloody tracks everywhere.  7 stitches and $350 later, he was all patched up and unhappily wearing an Elizabethan collar (or at least a baby sock to cover his bandage) for 2 weeks. 

Several days later it was the cat's turn.  She had been hacking up little spit balls all over the place, so I called the vet.  Kitty is very nice at home, and she often sits on my lap or crawls under the bed covers when I'm reading at night.  She's not so nice at the vet.  In fact, she won't let anyone come near her.  She hisses, growls, spits, pees, scratches, and bites.  They have to use a device called the Cat Nabber to even give her shots.  A physical exam is impossible.  So...  The vet sedated her ($75!), examined her ($40!), and reversed the sedation ($30!) in order to diagnose her.  And it turns out that she has raging gum disease.  This doesn't surprise me, as she is 13 years old, does not chew her food, and has never been examined in the 12 years I've had her.  Vet recommended a dental cleaning ($255, including blood work and anesthesia), with extractions to be determined (2 at $25 each).  While she was there I got her rabies vaccination, which was on the verge of expiration ($30).  Expensive freakin cat.  Thankfully, because she's such a bitch, no follow-up appointment was deemed necessary.

Right before this, Shayne had an outpatient surgery.  Nothing major, but still not pleasant.

My mom slammed her finger in the storm door at her house and had to get 4 stitches.  Ouch!

And then, the kitchen ceiling caved in.

The night before, I had used the upstairs bathroom.  I flushed, but nothing went down.  In fact, the water level in the bowl rose dramatically.  I plunged frantically, to no avail, then decided it was best left alone.  I called Shayne to ask him to buy a better plunger while he was out.  When I went back upstairs an hour or so later, the water level was back to normal.  I thought this was a sign that maybe it wasn't completely clogged, just running a bit slow...  I plunged some more, then flushed again.  Water level rose to the top of the bowl.  Yeek.  I decided to let it be again, and Shayne could try to plunge with the new plunger when he got home.  So I went to bed.

Shayne came home two hours later to a flood.  In the kitchen.  Apparently, at some point after I went to bed, the toilet had decided it needed more water in the bowl and started running.  It overflowed onto the bathroom floor, through the bathroom floor, and through the kitchen ceiling.  The countertop was flooded, and there was standing water on the kitchen floor.  Ick.

My wonderful hubby cleaned up the entire mess without even bothering to wake me up (He gets major brownie points for this.  I can't honestly say I'd have done the same in his position.  I'd have probably come shrieking into the bedroom and demanded he clean up his own shit.  I'm not proud of this, but...  yeah.).  When he came to bed, all he said that the toilet had flooded and that some ceiling tiles needed to be taken down in the morning.

Morning came.  We took down 6 or 7 soggy ceiling tiles.  And then the plaster, which hadn't been in great shape anyways, came down with it.  There had been a water leak at some time in the past, which we knew about from the several small water spots on the kitchen ceiling tiles.  Since the bathroom had almost certainly been redone after the ceiling tiles were installed, we knew the damage was old and planned on taking care of it when we remodeled the kitchen.  Now that some tiles were off, we could see that the remaining visible plaster was just barely hanging on.  Joy.

Because the flood waters pooled near the bathtub before leaking down into the kitchen, we're concerned that there may be lots of dampness under there that we have no way of getting to.  Plus, the fact that it was a "blackwater" flood...  Eew.  In our non-professional opinions, the ceiling in the kitchen needs to go, as well as the underlayment and maybe subfloor in the bathroom.  Since the subfloor is really just the tongue-and-groove pine, I would feel awful ripping it out.  I'd probably be happy with just sealing it.  There is no way to just cover up or patch the damaged portion of the ceiling, short of buying new ceiling tiles (no way).  So....  We decided to file an insurance claim.

To be continued...


Kate said...

I just wanted to share your misery -- we are going through something similar in our 1903 Foursquare. We had a feed pipe under the upstairs vanity break while we were sleeping. The water ran across the upstairs bathroom floor, down through the floor and walls into the kitchen, dining room, pantry, and ultimately down to the basement. Not fun. We also filed a homeowner's claim straightaway. Not an easy move for DIYers, but probably the right thing to do in the long run. We are one month in. The demo is done. Good luck. I hope we will both look back on this and say, "Man, that sucked. But it's sure better now!"

Kristin and Rob said...

In spite of your misfortune recently, I do have to say that I laughed out loud at the way you described everything...the cat, the flood...you have a way with words.

When we gutted our bathroom (right after we bought the house), we had a similar incident when our waste pipe backed up after all of the other plumbing had been replaced. I am happy to report, over 4 years later, it functions just fine. I wish you the same luck!

My cat has also been sick lately...she is 14. I feel your pain with the vet bill. The vet put his hands on my cat for less than 30 seconds (physical exam, then thyroid exam) and it cost me $110 for less than 30 seconds. Nice. Clearly, I am in the wrong field!

Best of luck to you!