Homeownership a Year Later: The Main [Flood] Event

Homeownership is a sought-after status in our society today, and Aaron and I settled into this when we were ready, finally ready. We had our downpayment, we had our debt paid off (yaaassss! be gone student loans!) and we knew we’d be in the area for a long enough time to justify buying a home. It had been something we’d looked forward to for nearly our entire relationship.

Closing. We closed on our house on April 24 of last year, so we joke around that Aaron bought me a house for my birthday (the 22nd). Closing would be at 5pm on that Monday, so we rushed to the realtor’s office and signed more paper than we’d ever signed in our lives. Even more than Aaron signed to go into the military. Our lender was there (found him through Churchill Mortgage – amazing people to work with) and he came ready with shrimp salad sandwiches from well-know gas-station-turned-crab-shack Richard’s here in Harford County. Thank goodness because I was hungry, and certainly didn’t want to be hangry!

We were happy that the inspection went well and the house appraised for what we had settled for. We were shelling out a chunk ‘o change, but felt good about it. We went to our rental house that night to pick up some things and we slept in our new home that first night on blankets on the floor. No way we were waiting any longer!

The goal. I’d like to recap some of the main events of the year, some regrets, and some pictures. We sure are happy about our purchase a year later, and hope to be here for a long time. We fell in love with our town before we moved here, and that hasn’t changed. The neighborliness of people, the small-town but progressive feel, and the lovely restaurant/bar choices have helped make so-called HdG feel like home.

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The Main [Flood] Event. On the Friday after we moved in, literally 4 days, I was doing laundry and running the dishwasher at the same time and we heard water running somewhere else. The toilet in the downstairs half bath had flooded, and we thought it was just a clogged toilet. It wouldn’t go down despite much plunging and two trips to get plungers. I had, um, used the bathroom, and Aaron told me months later that he was mad at me because he thought it was my fault! Turns out, it wasn’t.

We had a large deductible because hey, we just moved into this nicely rehabbed home so what could go wrong, right? Wrong! Roto Rooter was the only company that would come out on a Friday night. Water mitigation began the next day, and imagine our surprise when the plumber still couldn’t find the problem and the bathroom sink ended up overflowing (yes, with poop water).

Sections of the beautiful hardwood were cut out and we learned that it might be impossible to find the same hardwood again. Thankfully our realtor was able to get in contact with the guy who did the house and we didn’t have to replace the entire first floor floor.

After time spent trying to send a small camera into the sewer pipe, they started excavating the concrete floor of the sunroom to the left of what you see above. I thought they might have to dig into the kitchen too. Instead, they pulled out a piece of old terra cotta sewer line (the rest of the house is PVC) and found a die-cast toy car that had been blocking the line.

See it there in the middle? Yellow and covered with… well…. you know.

We thought about framing it and titling it “the most expensive car we’ve ever owned”. But it got buried with the new PVC pipe (no, not in it). Thankfully because of the nature of the blockage (i.e. NOT OUR FAULT) insurance picked up most of the repairs minus our (high) deductible and some of the plumbing cost. Needless to say, we lowered our deductible shortly after this event.

In June, the contractors finally got everything done – new hardwood installed, new walls, new paint, new tile. We still had people over for a Memorial Day cookout, and the ripped up floor and bathroom certainly made for an interesting conversation starter. And for months anytime we heard water running our heart rates spiked a little bit.

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