What I didn't need, shortly before going away for three weeks, was a flood in our living room. But that is what we got last week when we woke up and found a little lake at the foot of our stairs and a giant water bubble on the adjacent living room ceiling.
At first I thought we'd had a leak in our bathroom but it turns out to have been a valve inside a closet which controls the water to the roof garden. Being in a closet, we never noticed that it had sprung a leak and that the water was working its way down between the walls.
What a mess! Although it was pointed out to me that it was lucky to have happened while we were still here, and not a week after our departure. So true.
We called our insurance company who sent someone that same day to have a look. The man very emphatically said that the entire ceiling (which was then still dripping into a bucket) would have to come down as mold would grow and possibly spread beyond the immediate area, one rippled wall would have to be replaced and the floor, where it had gotten wet, would also have to be replaced, re-sanded and varnished to match the colour. I explained that we were about to leave for an extended trip....not a problem, said he, we will do the work while you're gone and we will move all your furniture out!
The thought of having strangers in our house during our absence and more to the point, having them moving our personal things about, did not seem like a good idea to me. But before we could even object to that, the man told us that since we live in a condo, their insurance would also have to be involved. We waited three days for that representative to come and assess.
His evaluation was that repairing the floor would not be enough, the entire living and dining room floors would have to be pulled up and replaced, sanded and varnished....because there might be moisture underneath.
By now we were less than a week away from our departure and we still did not have a final decision on who was going to pay for what. And if we didn't want the work done while we were gone we would have to face living with the turmoil and plaster dust when we get back which made the idea of an extended holiday rather pointless.
With the weekend upon us we decided to take matters into our own hands. We called our own contractor. His assessment of the work is less dramatic than that of the insurance men. Because we know him and trust him, we feel confident in his opinion and in letting him work while we're gone.
Interestingly, with all the time that has elapsed since this first happened, our floor has had a chance to dry out nicely and now looks the same as before. Time really does bring counsel if one only has the patience to ride things out....
We have only made an insurance claim once in all the years we've been married and as I recall, we did not get the full value of our loss at that time. In our present predicament and with a hefty deductible, we have decided that it is in our best interest to repair the damages and pay for them out of our own pocket, during a time that suits us, than it is to wait for two insurance companies to come to an agreement. No doubt they will still be at it on the day of our departure.