Up From Below

Yesterday I left the office a little late and was heading down into the underground train station to head home.  As I was getting on the train I glanced at my phone and saw there was a message from home both on my cell and a notice about a message left on my work voicemail (gotta love technology) I knew immediately there was trouble.

The hard part was I couldn’t actually pick up the voicemail or call home until the train got out of the tunnel three stations later. It isn’t a LONG time but it sure felt like it. When the train finally emerged and elevated I called home only to hear a panicked Sean on the other end.

Three words came out “KITCHEN, WATER, EVERYWHERE!” immediately my imagination conjured up images of the appliances floating but I stayed calm and asked some questions.  Sean is so stressed saying he didn’t know what to DOOO WHAT DO I DOOOOOO.

Where was the water coming from? “Underneath” he said. I asked him to go under the sink and turn the spigots thinking maybe it was water gushing from the fresh water source.  Then I asked him how far the water had gotten “halfway through the kitchen and heading out along the wall in the living room” where the kitchen divider wall is. He then said the water was starting to go down in the sink…

That is when I clued in it wasn’t from the fresh water source,  UNDERNEATH meant the drain.

He asked how to clean it up and I told him to get towels “YOUR TOWELS?” he asked knowing I’m pretty attached to our bath sheets. YESSS YESS GOOOO

He ran and got them and said “but they will get covered in food!” Ahhh shudder. Alas we lost three towels but were about to end up losing a lot more.

I called Tom on his cell to fill him in but got voicemail. I wasn’t sure what shows he was working that night, turns out I called during the show so he couldn’t answer.

I all but ran from the station to my car and par for the course traffic home was stop and go, rush hour never fails to deliver. Nothing longer than the drive home to something bad. Tom called me when I was almost home and I filled him in and told him I was almost there, he said he would call me after I got a chance to see what was up.

I got home to find balls of towels on the floor, a damp but not soaking wet counter with floating bits of green vegetation and the drawers where our cutlery was kept filled with varying depths of water.  The dishwasher also had some water in the bottom not quite up to the lower  rack. The floor boards were already starting to curl and warp.  This was not pretty.

I called the Strata president, I just happened to have his number handy as he had called us the other day and filled him in on what was going on. He said he was just sitting down to dinner and would be over shortly. I had to drive Sean over to his Father’s so we agreed to meet after a half hour. There was no NEW water coming in and the damage was done already.

When I got home I grabbed my camera and started shooting video and taking pictures. I figured just in case insurance needed to see I would be prepared….

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Kitchen Flood on Vimeo”, posted with vodpod

The knock at the end of the video is the Statra Prez arriving. He had already engaged the property manager and after seeing for himself had called in the clean up crew and a plumber. He had the people above us stop using their sinks.

The plumber arrived and he went off with him to see if they could find out where the blockage was that caused the sewer back up. A short while after that the clean up crew arrived with their giant shop vac, anti-bacterial spray and de-humidifier. There goal for the night was to stop further damage, it would have to run overnight and he would come back in the morning to rip up the floor. He had immediately thrown out all the soft surfaced stuff but said we could easily bleach and wash the cutlery and stuff. I just nodded but in my mind I couldn’t get past the thought they were sitting stewing in e-coli or salmonella tainted water and these things go in our MOUTHS. So yeah they were going to go. He was a super guy, thorough and friendly. He chatted with me while he worked.

Kitchen Flood

This morning they were back and started to rip up the floor, I was hoping that the water would have not come out of the kitchen but turns out it traveled as far as a couple of feet outside the kitchen doorway and had soaked a portion of the drywall and baseboards on the doorway and round the corner. Crap!


The restoration crew warned that there may be a need to rip out the cabinets due to the water ingress. He was told to hold off until the property manager arrived. The also pointed out that under the laminate in the kitchen was the old lino floor…IMG_0514


The property manager arrived and he had a look, told the crew to hold off and they would send their own claims adjuster. He also said that as the laminate flooring was an improvement and the strata policy would only take the fix back to the original condition of lino floor and what it would have cost them if carpet had been in the dining room/entry. Since there was a floor there, even as scarred up and gross as it is, they would only pay for the clean up and plumbing costs and drying of the floor and what it would have cost to replace the carpet underpad and shampoo of the carpet. Um yeah okay, so basically not much.

The fellows packed up the last of the junk, set the de-humidifier back up again to continue working, the doorway of the kitchen for the next four days or so….IMG_0519

I called our insurance agent (who rocks) and he put in the report and said the insurance company should be calling within two hours. He said as our kitchen could be unusable for a while, especially if the cabinets come out we could take advantage of the loss of use coverage and be put up elsewhere but we would much rather stay. Too much upheaval. Our insurance company called as promised and dispatched the claim to a restoration estimator and he called and came out an hour later.

He took photos and did his measuring and said that sure enough the way the laminate is laid (continuous) they would have to replace the whole kit and kaboodle from the boys to our room and all in between. The two that don’t need doing are the bathrooms as they are tile and behind a transition.

He said good news they would replace it all, insurance would pay to have our stuff moved out and back in again while the job is done (damage was limited to a small area but ended up making it a big job as the floor continues through all rooms.) They would come take a sample, provide same quality and let us pick the colour of the replacement floor. Bad news however, we will be living with it the way it is for a while, they are so busy trying to get jobs done before Xmas and even if the approvals etc were done we’re waiting for the availability of the flooring and the crew. So at least January at this point.

While he was here the insurance adjuster for the Strata policy called and arranged to come here Monday morning. Once he’s done his thing he can advise what will happen with the cupboards and if they are staying we can bleach and anti-bacterial the heck out of them, if they go, well I guess we can do that too, until they are ripped out anyway.

I’ve started my big book of details on the incident, uploaded the photos and working on the video so the records are in the cloud. Nothing like falling into my habitual hyper-organized ways to get me through it.

So, disruptive and traumatizing yes, but we’re trying to look on the bright side… it wasn’t POO water and it was localized, though the effect is wider spread. At least we can sleep in our own bed Tom pointed out. Others who go through a lot worse can’t say the same thing.

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