Monday, January 24, 2011

unexpected weekend disaster

I wrote my last post Saturday morning just before disaster hit.

Little did we know that instead of the 2 hours of cleaning/chores we wanted to do Saturday afternoon before playing outside in the beautiful 78 degree weather, we would spend 14+ hrs over the weekend cleaning.
Our predicament might not strike homeowners as too terrible (I'm always really impressed with how much the Nodakademics can tackle in their house!), but we are renting, and were certainly not expecting to have something like this happen.

On Saturday morning we discovered an unwelcome substance in the closet: Mold.

E had an old belt on the floor of his closet that was just coated in it. It had turned green and white, and was so disgusting we were gagging. You guys can all thank me that we threw it out so fast I wasn't able to take a photo of it.

Commence freak out.
And begin to empty entire closet. and find more mold.
(if you don't want to see any of these pictures, you may want to skip the rest of this post)

We ripped out the carpet pieces laid in the closet (our closets are about an inch raised off the bedroom carpeted floor and extra pieces of carpeting were cut for the closet floors and just laid in them), only to find this:


From then on it was just like a bad movie. We started pulling out things from our other closets, in our bedroom and office. And wouldn't you know. Every single closet was infested.
Things we don't often pull out--like luggage, old school books, board games, and old clothes. Everything smelled gross and musty, and a lot of things had mold spores on them.


Somewhere in the midst of this, we called our landlord. He said he'd have an inspector come out early this week (hopefully today?) to see if he could figure out where moisture was getting in.

Most of this mold has to be somewhat recent because it wasn't all on old/unused stuff.
Bu it just seemed like once we started looking, we found in places we couldn't believe we hadn't noticed it before (inside a kitchen closet, on the baseboards).



E's blazer


E was pretty upset that so much of our stuff was ruined, and wondering how it could have happened (we are sure it is nothing we did) and how we hadn't noticed it.
I got into "I'm a big girl, we can handle this" mode. E started unloading the contents of every closet, inspecting items. We started throwing things in piles: garbage, try-to-salvage, just needs a wash, and seems ok.

Anything that smelled I set out in the sun.


I started the laundry, adding baking soda and vinegar to each load, and hung things to dry:

(SO thankful for a sunny day!)

Then I made a bleach and hot water solution and we started sponging down every surface in the closets. Looking back, we probably should have gotten gloves and a mask, but I just wanted to get it done. Every fan on in the house, every window open.

I can't believe I'm going to share these pictures, but this is what the house looked like in process.




5 hours of emptying, scrubbing, bleaching, laundrying, sunning.
I had done about 6 loads of laundry at this point and sometime after dinner (E's mom brought us In 'n Out--life saving!) we just quit.

Which means yesterday was left to put our lives back together.

Apparently you can't find dehumidifiers in SoCal (who would expect humidity?) so we stocked every closet with cedar blocks and moisture absorbing crystals something like this.

I did more laundry and we started to carefully restock (it was a good opportunity to purge!), leaving the floors clear, doors open, and still running fans. Not everything is put back together, but we're getting there.

I imagine we'll be paranoid for a while(even if it turns out to be a fixable problem). E rotates the fans every night and leaves the ceiling fans on all day.

I feel like this is only a tiny taste of what home ownership will be like.
Have you had major home disasters recently? I would love to hear stories to make me feel a little better about ours!


Natalie | Make Today Great said...

Oh my goodness. Worst nightmare. Makes me want to go check our closets. We can see the bottoms though, and I know they are OK. We do have a mold issue in our sink -- as long as we stay on top of it everything is OK.

beka said...

Oh my! I'm so sorry to hear about this, what a mess. I can't imagine how frustrating that would have been, to find your stuff all moldy! I hope your landlord gets it taken care of right away! If it makes you feel better, I'm not at work yet this morning because I'm hanging out in the house with an electrician who's been here THREE separate times to work on the same problem (lights/outlets not working in the living room) and he still hasn't gotten it fixed...

Laura @ Wine and Cheese, Please said...

Holy crap!! That SUCKS. What a horrible nightmare. What a pain in the ass. Good luck with this :(

Tiffany said...

Eeee! Scary! Mold is like termites! Once you find a little, you just know it's everywhere! Good luck with getting all the mold eradicated!

Katie said...

Oh my goodness! I'm SO sorry! What a nightmare! Thankfully, as you said, you had nice sunny day and warm weather to air everything out. I can't believe how widespread it was! Best wishes! I hope it's an easy fix!

Sara McCarty said...

Oh honey, I'm so so sorry! I can't believe that! That sucks! Hopefully the landlord will take care of this for you and get things fixed. Yikes!

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