Tuesday, February 15, 2011

and it drags on and on and on and on ... and on

Two more weeks and no progress, still...

... yes, I know these things can take years. We haven't heard about any of the houses we've applied to rent yet either.

Yay us, stuck. We may never make it back to Boulder City and that is a truly depressing thought.

So, walking into our old home today was horrid... it was literally like everyone there just up and left (we did). There are unwashed dishes, there is laundry in the baskets and our beds are unmade. I have half-finished projects in my craft room and I found a few of RJ's homework assignments and class projects waiting to be taken to Tae Kwon Do for credit.

We still don't have test results although they are expected (by us anyway) this week. Another $2000 we will be out of pocket and no end in sight.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Little Things

Going on our third week today it has been all of the little things that we miss the most. Sleeping in your own bed, not shushing your children 500 times not to annoy someone, cooking in your own kitchen. We catch ourselves saying "sure, let me just get the .... oh, no, sorry kids, that is at home" far too often.

Even though things haven't changed much, still ... we are trying to remain upbeat and are hoping to get into our own place again within the next week or two. Our host has been more than gracious, and hasn't complained about our crap everywhere or our loud and obnoxious children... but we still feel like we are imposing on her life. It is hard not to feel that way, not matter how much she loves us.

Not much progress, no test results, the waiting game continues ...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another week, another issue ... and some progress

Well it has been another week since we officially moved out of our apartment with little to no progress from the other side. I am not sure if their stalling will be good or bad for us, but eventually they will have to answer.

Our things are still there and will remain so until things are resolved... or at least until test results confirm just how bad things actually are. Our kids miss their beds, their friends and their toys still, very much so. We are trying to keep them entertained and they are comfortable where we are staying. They have their own rooms (for once) to play and watch TV in. They have dogs to play with (they've insisted we get some of our own ASAP -- but we are still hesitant!). Rent will be paid to the court if necessary and although we can hope things will be resolved in a timely fashion, we are not holding our breath.

RJ has been very, very, very ill. We had to take him to the emergency room on Monday night. He was diagnosed with a sinus infection and a severe double ear infection last Thursday and even on antibiotics he proceeded to get worse and worse. He has a hacking cough and the fever was 103.5 even after ibuprofen and acetaminophen. He was nauseous, delirious and felt so dizzy he screamed he was falling while laying flat on his back on the floor. His eyes were red, his cheeks were flushed and he cried out in pain anytime something brushed his skin. The doctors got his fever under control and gave him a shot of steroids. He had xrays to check if he had pneumonia or a mold infection, both of which showed negative (we found out this afternoon) thank goodness. We now have to have blood tests to determine if mycotoxins are present in any of us. We are hoping the full on exposure was short enough that none of us will experience any long term effects.

Long term we hope to be back on our feet by March. We await all the proper forms to file our taxes (to finish paying the mold inspector and hopefully everyone who has or will donate back), and my parents are going to help us with the deposit on a new place back in the BC (we are living about 20 miles away from home -- which doesn't seem like a lot until you make the round trip 3 times a day in a car with two pouting children).

Other than that, if you want the nitty gritty, you know what to do. Love to all, and yes -- those thoughts and prayers are carrying us through each day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Devastating Progress

I've been cautioned by some not to put too much out there in regards to exactly what is happening "just in case"

Well, yesterday after all the waiting was devastating news. Everything we own is possibly contaminated and we've been warned not to remove anything from the house. All my material, although cleanable is not currently available for use. Business wise, in our current situation, I stand to lose even more. I will have to re-buy a large amount of inventory just to fill outstanding orders, or refund outright and be out cost plus.

Aubrey still doesn't get it and he cries are pitiful. We hope to have new housing within the next week or two, but refurnishing will take some time.

I never thought, at almost 30, that I would have to start all over again. When things are this low, I pray it only goes up from here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just Like Home ... or NOT

So our home away from home for a night was rather, ummmm.... uh ....
The shower had zero water pressure, it literally just misted you. I was colder when I got out than when I went in. I didn't bother to wash my hair because I would have had soap in it all day. The window looked like it could have been opened, but it was screwed shut. Towels barely covered RJ and were so thin you could see through them.
We found out the mattresses were fairly new (thank goodness) because the sheets did not stay on well at all. We certainly needed the blankets since the ancient wall heater did nothing for warmth and was a huge safety hazard with young children. It was scorching hot to the touch while barely raising the temperature of the room more than a couple degrees.
The TV was so old it didn't even have a place to hook up the RCA cables to entertain the kids with video games or a movie. Add to it that the TV cabinet blocked half of the bathroom door, the refrigerator sounded like it was going to explode and the microwave took 18 minutes to warm water and you have a family vacation ala Griswold!
Seriously though, the lady gave us guff about how cheap it was ($66.08) and that we couldn't get a AAA discount because her price was from 2003 and that we didn't have to leave our apartment (until I asked her if she would be okay breathing in feces). Ahhhhh, heaven.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How Do You Explain It To a 2 Year Old?

Aubrey seems to be the one who has been affected by this change the most. She is whinier than normal, she is mean and she cries a lot. She asks over and over and over to go home. We tell her that we can't go home right now and she is inconsolable. She even wanted to go to her room when Matt made her stand with her nose in the corner (for bad behavior). What kid asks to go to their room as punishment and then bawls because they can't?

RJ is acting out in his own ways and slightly manipulating the situations. He plays more video games than usual because we feel bad.

We did have a few bright spots yesterday. The boys won their baseball game against the toughest team in our league. We were down 8-2 going into the 4th inning. We got 2 hits, a few walks and scored 3 runs. We were on our last out and the best hitter (who Matt calls Hollywood) steps up to the plate. The pitcher was all over the place and on a full count, Hollywood golf swings and hits a line drive down first base and way out of the park. He clears the bases and we are up by one. We were the away team so the club ball team comes up, with the top of their lineup (the best hitters). Hollywood is on the mound and he strikes out the side, one-two-three. The kids went NUTS, Matt and the other two coaches went NUTS and the other team stood there with their jaws on the floor -- the Cougars were beaten by some nobody team from Boulder City.

Then at five o'clock RJ was able to have his birthday party at Chuck E Cheese, with three of his best friends and his cousins. There was pizza and chocolate chocolate chocolate cake. He didn't like the "babyness" of the singing part, but the rest of it kept him smiling.

We spent the night with some friends in Boulder City because we couldn't bear the thought of driving away again last night. Today will be another hard day, but yesterday was amazing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thank you, and you, and you ....

We have a place to stay tonight, and hopefully will have something indefinite in the near future. We have seen so much generosity in the last few days that we are astounded. We are over halfway to the first hurdle ($1000) in just a few short days. We want everyone to know that every cent is appreciated and no small deed goes unnoticed or unappreciated. We plan to pay everyone back in some respect or another as soon as we are able.

A suit was filed today and I can email anyone details if they would like. We have an inspector coming on Tuesday and are really hoping that things progress in a timely matter. We are in it for the long haul at this point and are pleased to have documented so much in detail. My dad always said it is all in the details.

Please leave your email in the comment section if you'd like to be BCC'd in detail and let me know who you are... those who have donated will be automatically included unless you'd like to opt out.

Again, thank you a million times over. Even your thoughts and prayers are carrying us through.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Please help us? Every little dollar counts!!

We need to get mold testing done on our items and in our apartment to make sure our kids are ok. The problem is, it is very expensive and we don't have that kind of dough in the bank. If we can get every person we know to donate $1 we can get this done right. We've been more than cooperative with our complex and they are trying to evict us. Neither of our parents are currently in a position to help, Katie has had to close her shop, and Matt has had to take off work. If you know us at all, you know this is a last resort, but we need your help!!

Here is the back story:

Tuesday, Dec. 28th, 2010 around 10:30pm
We notice some water underneath the trash can, on the carpet in the kitchen. I think maybe the kids spilled something and put a towel down to try and clean up. A few hours later the spot is bigger.

Wednesday, Dec. 29th 2010
Notify Manager (office manager) of the problem and she calls out Orchard Plumbing, who come out and cut 5 holes in the wall (and ceiling) to try and assess the leak. He informs Scott (the apartment maintenance man) that the cabinets need to be taken out so that he can access the pipes in the wall and he leaves. The carpet cleaning company (Ultimate Choice) comes out and removes some of the damaged padding and sucks up the excess water. Everyone leaves it at that.

Thursday, Dec. 30th 2010
Scott comes back with the district maintenance supervisor to remove our cabinets. They decide it will be just as easy to cut a hole in the upper cabinets above the refrigerator and a few more exploratory holes. They can not seem to pinpoint a leak in any of the pipes and they go to the roof, where they discover something has collapsed and that the water has leaked down through the walls around the opening where the hoods connect in a “T“ shape. They assume this is the problem and there is nothing they can do to extract the water so we “deal with it”. The plumber also agrees it is a roof leak and leaves. The water now starts coming though the kitchen from underneath the stove. The carpet and house are smelling musty. (Ultimate Choice comes out to remove water). We are given a $50 gift certificate to Tony’s Pizza in Boulder City and a 3 day ($75) rent concession which we use in addition to our $50 Christmas decoration prize. Rent is paid in the amount of $790 via money order.

Friday, Dec. 31st 2010
The water has progressed through the kitchen from under the stove and we call Manager on her personal cell phone to have Ultimate Choice come out and do another extraction.

Saturday, Jan 1st 2011
The water progresses all day, Manager again sends out Ultimate Choice to extract water from the kitchen and dining room. She also sends out the plumber to see if water is coming from underneath the stove, again he says it is just roof water and with 4 days of rain we should expect it to continue (essentially “wait it out“). Manager purchases a Shap-Vac Air MoverÔ and brings it to the apartment to help dry out the sopping wet carpet and kitchen floor. She also beings over food from her personal pantry for dinner.

Sunday, Jan 2nd 2011
We keep the shop vac pointed into the kitchen to keep the water at bay, which works temporarily, or until the deafening noise becomes too much to handle. The carpet is still wet in the corner by the kitchen, but it seems the leak has slowed some.

Monday, Jan. 3rd 2011
Ultimate Choice comes out again to extract water. They point the shop vac underneath the carpet and blow water into the rest of the room because the leak is continuous. We are still waiting it out. I ask Manager when the roofers are coming and she says she will get back to me when she knows, that there is no one in the office (roofers) that can give her an answer. Scott comes out to patch the holes from the previous week, but leaves the one over the fridge open.

Tuesday, Jan. 4th 2011
Ultimate Choice comes out to extract more water.

Wednesday, Jan. 5th 2011
Ultimate Choice comes out to extract more water. We are finally told the roofers will be out to look at the leak on the 10th (Monday).

Thursday, Jan. 6th 2011
Ultimate Choice comes out to extract more water

Friday, Jan. 7th 2011
Manager sees that the water has not stopped coming into the apartment and brings out another plumbing company (J and J). This plumber tells us that the leak is coming from the drain that runs under our sink and is leaking up through the sub flooring after he cut a small hole underneath the sink. He explains that the water is finding the path of least resistance and is coming up through studs driven into the ground and leaking into our apartment. He takes some pictures (as do I, finally) and he leaves at 3:30pm. Ultimate Choice comes out and extracts more water.

Saturday, Jan. 8th, 2011
Ultimate Choice comes out and extracts more water and removes the rotting tack strip. RJ and Aubrey spend the night elsewhere.

Sunday, Jan 9th, 2011
Ultimate Choice comes out (in the late evening, after dark) and extracts more water. Everyone in the house (Aubrey, 2 years old; RJ, 6 years old; Katie, 29 years old; Matt, 37 years old) begins suffering from a stomach sickness.

Monday, Jan 10th 2011 (our son’s seventh birthday and our wedding anniversary)
J and J plumbing returns to our home with the district maintenance supervisor, they cut small holes to the right of the kitchen in the dining room to see if they can locate the leak. They determine the water is flowing from the left and cut a large hole behind the refrigerator. The maintenance supervisor goes to the upstairs unit and turns their kitchen sink on. They determine the leak is coming from a large diameter pipe running behind the refrigerator. The pipe is cut and replaced and the maintenance supervisor and plumber from J and J leave the premises. The roofer comes to the door and asks to inspect the unit, which I refuse as the leak is not related to the roof (as had been determined). Ultimate Choice is present and are in the process of removing the under padding from the carpet in the dining room area. Manager enters the building and goes into the kitchen. She asks one of the workers from Ultimate Choice to use his hose to suction some of the water in the open cavity. It is seen that the water is continuing to flow from the left, so she again calls J and J plumbing to come back out again. In the meantime, a worker from Ultimate Choice removes some of the dry wall along with the padding from the carpet and I (Katie) notice there are some mold spots. I ask him to leave the drywall on the porch. The plumber enters the unit next door (C7) to determine if the leak is coming from there. They enter our apartment again and cut another hole above the cabinet in the kitchen and fix another leak. All holes are left open and nothing else is said. I (Katie) go to the office on the way to get food for everyone (who are all still sick) and ask Manager about mold, in general. I ask if it has anything to do with the water and she tells me the smell is mildew, not mold. She also informs me that if the mold were of the dangerous variety, both the plumber and the maintenance supervisor would have cordoned off the area, put on masks and gloves and told us to leave. When I return, she asks me to come into the office. She and Assistant Managerberly (the assistant manager) tell me I need to take $100 and leave the apartment immediately as a precaution. I inform them that I just can not deal with it at the moment and leave. They both come to our apartment at 4:43pm and tell us we have to sign a waiver to stay in the apartment for the evening. Feeling like we had no choice, we signed the waiver. Matt was too ill to leave the bed all day, much less collect items for an indefinite leave from the house. In the waiver we signed was a bit about having Dennis from Cam Air come out to inspect for mold at 10:00am the next day

Tuesday, Jan 11th 2011
10:00am came and went and there was no call from the office, nor was there a call from Dennis. Dennis finally arrives around 2:00pm and walks into the house. He looks into the lower cavity in the dining room wall and as he is walking out, I point him to the bit of drywall on our patio and he informs me that it is just the common mold that grows on bread and leaves. The whole visit lasted less than 3 minutes. Assuming everything was fine (due to bread type mold) we continued on with our day. Around 4:45pm again, Manager and Assistant Manager came to the house and told us we had no option but to leave the apartment this time, since we had reported mold and it was precautionary on their part (and part of the law). She forced a $100 bill into my (Katie’s) hand. She then told us we had to move to the unit next door as soon as possible (starting Wednesday, January 12th, 2011) and that it would be cleaned and patched the following morning. We were offered $200 to pay our moving expenses (but the issue was never pressed further). We asked to be let out of our lease completely, which her management company refused (we were told that we would be responsible for all fines and penalties related to breaking the lease, but that it was our choice). Again, we felt we were had no other options and told her we would do what we had to do. We left the apartment and decided to seek legal counsel. We did not spend the $100 bill we were given

Wednesday, Jan. 12th 2010
We collect a copy of our lease agreement and the waiver we signed on the 10th and proceed to the lawyers office to discuss our options regarding the whole situation. When we returned home, the hole above the refrigerator had been sealed (finally) and there was a 3-day Constables Notice on our door to vacate the premises.