Ian and Margaret's RV Adventures travel blog

As it dried, the floor started buckling, making "speed bumps" like this...

This is our front door, stuck on a speed bump.

Note the less-than-neat job done in removing the baseboards -- I guess...

My first sight when we walked in -- I was mad that...

Max explores the situation -- we put the plastic down when we...

Just a note to update everyone on our current situation. On Sunday we drove 570 miles in 11 hours (which I don’t recommend to anyone, especially hauling a 10-ton trailer), to get back to our loft in Phoenix. We had, of course, imagined all sorts of things that had happened – or could happen, given what we understood to be the scope of the damage caused by a leaking hot water heater in our fourth-floor loft. All this wasn’t made any easier by the fact that, for most of the distance, we were out of cell-phone coverage or had such weak service that making calls or even listening to messages was impossible.

We arrived home about 10:30 to find that our neighbors (to whom we are eternally grateful and owe much more than we can ever repay) had mopped, wrung, hauled and swept much of the water away and, importantly, gotten a professional damage restoration crew in as quickly as possible to do whatever it is they do. In our case it involved ripping off baseboards in many places and setting up 15 large fans and 3 industrial-strength dehumidifiers to begin the drying-out process. It was like living in a wind tunnel, but it was getting the job done.

Because Monday was a holiday, we weren’t able to get much of anything done except an initial call to our insurance company. Even then the guy manning the phones on Memorial Day, clearly not at the top of the food chain, wasn’t much help, although he was able to start the process moving. But, boy, the difference 24 hours makes! By 11:00 on Monday morning we had the insurance adjuster, the damage restoration crew and the plumber tripping over each other, us, the cats and the fan cords and drainage tubes and everyone being helpful, cooperative and efficient.

As I write this, roughly 56 hours from discovery of the “event”, we have a new hot water heater; the old one is on its way to an engineer to figure out the source of the problem; the insurance company’s general contractor has been here and mapped and assessed all repair work that needs to be done; the furniture and cabinetwork restoration guy has been here and will come back tomorrow to take away furniture that needs to be repaired or reupholstered; the damage restoration crew has been here twice assessing the progress of the drying-out process and removing fans accordingly; the flooring guy will be here tomorrow and we’ll be making arrangements for a pack-out company to come in and pack up all our valuables and move furniture around so that the floors can be ripped out and – maybe – replaced before we get back here at the end of the summer. We’re down to, I think, 4 fans and 3 dehumidifiers, I no longer have to shut myself in a closet to make phone calls and we can actually hear when someone knocks on the door.

Yes, we’ll be back on the road soon – we hope early next week – and are “recalculating our route”, as the GPS lady says, to figure out where we can intersect our previously planned itinerary to get to Wisconsin on something approaching our original schedule. We have been so pleased with the insurance adjuster and his general contractor that we feel comfortable making arrangements for them to do the work while we’re gone, knowing that if we have any problems with it when we come back, they will make it right.

Although this has been traumatic for us (and for the cats!), it is so much less horrible than it could have been (and, in fact, is for the guy with the unit below us). But the bottom line is that no one was injured, it’s nothing life-threatening and, even as regards our “stuff”, we didn’t lose anything that can’t be replaced. I have thought often in the last couple of days about flood victims from Katrina or any of the other major (although I guess they’re all “major” if your house is involved!) flood events we’ve seen and heard about – and how insignificant our problems have been compared to what they have gone through. We’re blessed, because ultimately it’s the luck of the draw, to some extent, with an insurance company who has come through for us big-time (at least so far, says my innate cynic!) and who hires people who seem to be prepared to continue the good experience. And, above all, we are blessed with wonderful neighbors (including the guys who live in the two units below us and who had their own damage to contend with) who responded in the wee hours of the morning to mop and haul water and wet stuff, who made sure we were notified as soon as possible, who offered us food and a quiet place to which we could retreat when the noise of the fans drove us nuts, who allowed us to use their showers when we couldn’t stand ourselves any more and didn’t yet have hot water, and who, generally, just encouraged us and helped us keep our sense of humor. And we’ve learned a huge lesson: Next time when we leave, we’ll SHUT OFF THE WATER!

Thank you to all our Journal readers and friends who sent messages of support and concern – things can happen to anyone, anywhere and it always comes down to having to depend on the support of friends and even strangers.

See you back on the road next week sometime (fingers crossed!)

An explanatory PS to those of you who don't know our Phoenix living situation -- we live in a downtown loft condo, with no place to park our RV anywhere near. It is stored about 20 miles from where we live and we had to leave it there when we came back, so there was no way we could live in the RV while we dealt with the loft problems. We had begun to research local RV parks as a back-up plan to move to if things got too bad with no immediate hope of relief -- but fortunately we didn't have to go that back-up plan as we can reasonably comfortably stay in the loft while we make arrangements for repairs.

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