Of Plague and Flood

Things have been a bit quiet here on Folk Haven for the past two weeks. That’s because they have been anything but here in our household. On January 2nd we received what I am hoping is not just a taste of what 2013 has in store for us, but rather we are just getting all of the badness out of the way at once. When I was in high school the lunch ladies had a sign posted that read “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse can happen to you for the rest of the day.” I hope our current situation is just our proverbial frog.

Let me explain… On January 2nd, I threw a load of laundry in the wash and left the house with Eli for a walk to the park to enjoy the balmy mid 60 degree temperatures. While we were still at the playground I received a call from my husband who had just arrived home to find water all over the floor. He asked me to try to pick up an extra mop from the neighbor on the way home. I envisioned arriving home to maybe an hour’s worth of clean up.

Instead there was standing water about 3/4″ deep throughout almost every room in the house. We utilized every towel as well as our mop and the neighghbor’s. My husband hauled wet personal items like the bean bag chair into the sun to dry and eventually there was nothing else that could be done immediately. I took Eli and collapsed into bed for a much needed nap.

Less than an hour later Eli and I both were abruptly awakened as he began to vomit vigorously all over himself, me, the blankets, sheets, pillows and the one bed undamaged from the flood. It was the beginning of his third and most serious bout of the stomach flu in a month. He continued to be unable to keep anything down, and to soil many pairs of pajamas and various bedding items all afternoon and throughout the night. And since there we were without clean towels for bathing or a washing machine my husband spent the evening running multiple loads through the machines at the neighborhood coin laundry while I tended to one very miserable little feller. As he huddled over the toilet the light in the bathroom died… not the lightbulb, but the light, some electrical problem in the wall. Thankfully Eli isn’t afraid of the dark as we visited the dark bathroom many a time more that night.

We quickly got a replacement washing machine and after a couple of days Eli’s flu ran it’s course. As he had already had it twice before in the previous weeks (or so we’d thought) I thought I must be immune to this particular strain of the virus. Um,.. uh… NO. By Saturday evening I was definitely the next to play hostess to the bug. I was sick and losing fluids just about every way possible all night long and by morning the resulting dehydration had led to contractions. Sunday was spent in the hospital getting IV fluids and anti nausea medications. Thankfully the contractions subsided quickly and after about half a day I was released to rest at home.

By now we were 4 days post flooding and I was beginning to smell mildew. We had been unable to dry out the carpets at all and the laminate floor in most of the house was showing damage. With everything else going on we hadn’t been able to start the process of calling the insurance. Actually, initially we had thought we were uninsured for this type of damage. Fortunately, we do have coverage and Monday morning we began the process of taking action to address the damage.

We have to replace all flooring in our house except the tile in the dining room and kitchen. Walls in the two bathrooms have to be partially replaced as well. As our condo was built pre-1980, asbestos testing had to be done before any work could be started. We found that almost all of the samples collected tested positive for asbestos, so beginning this week an abatement company will have to come in and contain each room  in plastic and remove the mastic that covers the entire cement slab under our existing flooring. To allow them access to get the work done we have to pack up every room and clear it. As our insurance doesn’t cover this service we will be doing it “musical chairs” style, shifting everything from room to room until the work is finished. Obviously it will be impossible to live here while all of this is going on.

I am now dealing with all of this quite a bit better than I was a few days ago. It has been exhausting to say the least. I am in full nesting mode as I enter my 33rd week of pregnancy, but instead of getting everything ready for the baby we are packing up everything and shoving it to and fro. I sincerely doubt any more sewing for the baby will get done at this point. Eli gets more unnerved than many children by disruptions to his environment. This has all been quite challenging for him as his “house is broken”, he isn’t allowed into his room for safety’s sake, and we will soon be living away from home. We’ve been experiencing many more meltdowns that are of greater duration than we have before as he tries to regain some sense of control amidst the chaos.

I am trying to look on the positive side though. We do have insurance coverage, which is no small things as the bill for this laundry misadventure is looking to be over $10,000. This could have occurred while I was completely overcome by morning sickness, or during the time I was on bed rest. It could have occurred right when the baby was being born and we were bringing her home from the hospital. Instead this is the week that extended family is away on vacation and can offer to let us stay in their nearby condo. Another family from church has graciously offered to let us stay with them if we are still out of our home after this week. Although this has been a challenging time for Eli, it could be so much worse. I am proud of the adaptability he has shown, and in the moments when it is more challenging it is still a good learning opportunity for him in dealing with life when it is not as one would wish, and for us as we continue to hone our parenting skills. We also could have lost much more personal property than we did. Above all else, no one has been injured, and we have a home to call our own, no matter how damaged it might be.

As the old hymn says:

“When peace , like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

Horatio Spafford- It Is Well with My Soul (1873)

If though this all I can only learn to better live genuinely holding the attitude described in this hymn. The story behind it is actually quite amazing (and makes my personal circumstances seem trivial indeed).



  1. martifrances said,

    January 13, 2013 at 8:25 pm


    • January 13, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      I am sorry, but I don’t know how to unsubscribe you from my end. If you go into your wordpress account and go to the Reader tab at the top of the screen you should be able to edit the list of blogs you follow there. Just scroll down until you find Folkhaven and choose to unfollow and that should stop the emails from coming when I publish a new post. I am sorry for any inconvenience… you must have subscribed at one point or another and I don’t have any control over unsubscribing you from my end that I know of. If I am wrong and you can explain to me how to do it I’d be happy to, as I certainly don’t want to send out anything that is unsolicited. Thank you.

      • Linne said,

        January 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm

        You are right, Karen; any reader can subscribe. If they choose to not receive the updates, they have only to unsubscribe again. Don’t worry about it; you have enough to think about right now, I’d say.
        ~ Linne

  2. LubbyGirl said,

    January 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this, but you’re right – there are lessons to be learned in how to deal with things that don’t go our way. Good for Eli in learning these and adapting!! And for you too!!

  3. nefermiw said,

    January 14, 2013 at 12:42 am

    I remember how hard it was to move house when I was 32 weeks pregnant, so to think you have to move all your stuff around and deal with ‘a broken house’ and at the same time be a strong and caring mother to Eli, amazes me that you can keep up and smile, but I guess the only way to get through something like this is to find the positive side. I hope the rest of your year will bring you easier times.

  4. blackpaws said,

    January 14, 2013 at 1:59 am

    Oh you have been having troubles, hopefully that is the end of it, troubles come in threes don’t they. We had that same misadventure with the washing machine and it isn’t fun, thankfully our clean up was only a couple of days living in a hotel covered by our insurance. I hope all goes well with you! God’s peace.

  5. January 14, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Please let us know if we can be of help. So sorry you are dealing with all of this. xxoo

  6. January 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I wish you were having an easier time. What an ordeal! Hope that after this you household will be healthy and accident free for the rest of the year.

  7. kelliefish13 said,

    January 14, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Hopefully this means the rest of the year will be smooth sailing… or at least feel like it after all that.

  8. Nina said,

    January 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Oh Karen, so sorry that you had all those troubles! I admire your positive attitude, at 33 weeks pregnant nonetheless. Hang in there mama; I’m sure this will pass soon enough.

  9. Maysem said,

    January 16, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Wow Karen, I’m sorry to hear about all the hardship you and your family have been going through. Just remember that God doesn’t give us more than what we can handle. I try to remind myself of that… even though it’s hard to remember. You seem to have come out of a champion. 🙂 I pray that all the hardships have passed and that the rest of 2013 is full of blessings for you and your family.

  10. faerylandmom said,

    January 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Wow! I have no words for you. What a January…incredible that your sanity seems to be intact. My prayers for your family…

  11. January 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Holy Cow Karen! I am so impressed with how you are handling this … in your 33rd week of pregnancy and with little Eli. But your perspective is perfect … this too shall pass and you will be snuggling that little girl soon when this is a distant memory!

  12. Linne said,

    January 21, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Karen, I sure feel for you and your family! It’s just a year ago that we had a mega-flood in our condo building (my 90 yr old Mum, my 93 yr old Aunty and one of her sons, and I all rent separate suites here; luckily only my suite was affected). Water gushed down the outside of the building for hours as well as inside. At least 15 suites were affected and water poured out onto the floor of the hallways on each of the five floors involved. I had to move much of my stuff into storage and the rest to my Mum’s place and onto her balcony; I read your story with awe and admiration; at least I wasn’t pregnant, and Mum hasn’t minded me living on her couch for the past year and more. It could have been so much worse! You have done a fantastic job of handling this challenge; I wish you all the best in getting your renovations done (at least the asbestos will be removed!); also with your new little one. Hope the return to your home goes smoothly. Blessings to you all. ~ Linne

    • January 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Thank you so much Linne! Wow, you’ve been displaced a whole year! I’m glad that your relatives were spared… And how nice that you all live in the same community. I will try to do an update post as soon as I find a place and time where I can upload photos and compose it.

      • Linne said,

        January 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

        Yes, it’s good to be near family, especially as the elders grow older. My Mum is nearly 90 and my Aunty 93. We live in a converted-to-condos apartment building; Mum and I on the 9th floor and my Aunty on the 2nd (my old suite was just down the hall from hers).

        I think the only other flood I’ve been through happened in a big log house over a hundred years old when we lived there. It is now a heritage building and community centre. We were away for a few days and returned to find the kitchen/dining area/mudroom floor awash in a couple of inches of water! We had leaking through the roof of the addition (that whole set of rooms), so therre were over 50 pots/cans/whatevers scattered everywhere. It rains a lot on the Wet Coast, in winter anyway! The owner was only hanging on to the building to use as a bargaining chip when negotiating to divide the rest of the 5 sqare miles property into smaller than 15 acre pieces – he got his way, of course, as the community wanted to keep the house and restore it. We offered to re-shake the roof (he owned a shake mill and could have written off the cost; plus my husband was an excellent shake layer), but the owner refused. In the end, the community did get the building and removed the addition as well as the porch with sleeping porch above. It no longer looks as I remember it, but that’s ok; in a strange way, it is now mine forever! I was married there and we lived there with the boys for around five years, so it was the best time of those years. I still miss the place and wish there had been a way to own it ourselves. I would still be living there . . . well, thanks for reminding me of some very good memories. The flood wasn’t exactly a good memory, I guess, but the rest is.

        I hope your renovations are going well and speedily. The bright side, I suppose, is that you get to make new choices with some of it. Hope you are enjoying that, too. ~ Linne

  13. Inder said,

    January 23, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Oh my goodness. You poor thing! This is terrible! Lordy. But, as you say, there are worse things. One day you will look back on this and laugh. What a story to tell your grandkids. GAH.

  14. January 24, 2013 at 10:50 am

    […] repairs to our recent flooding damage could begin, since our condo was built in the early 1970′s, we had to have the damaged areas […]

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