November 30th, 2011:
Theater is done… then we flood

In late October, our theater was completed after 5 years of saving, working, and waiting. While we haven’t been able to afford the anamorphic lens to complete the "movie theater" experience, it’s darn close. We’ve been able to watch a handful of movies in the past few weeks, but our schedules haven’t afforded us much time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

While Gina watched a movie last Saturday night (actually Sunday morning around 1 a.m.), it started to rain… indoors. Meanwhile, while playing a few rounds of Battlefield 3 in my office upstairs, I heard screaming. Loud… Shrill… Panicked screaming. I assumed that several ninja had interrupted Gina’s movie watching and were now paying the price for their indiscretions.

I ran downstairs to find Gina running in a 2-foot-diameter circle in the kitchen while the sink overflowed, waterfall-style. I dove under the sink and unplugged the food disposal, when that illogical maneuver yielded no results, I ran downstairs and turned off our well pump. The water flow stopped, but not before dozens of gallons of water had filled the sink, flooded the kitchen, and emptied into our new basement theater.

We scrambled to clean up the mess and dry things up. The ceiling tiles in the basement had already turned into mush. They fell apart in small black chunks onto the floor while water streamed from the can lights. Gina started applying towels to the basement floor, while I began to suck up as much water from the kitchen with out wet/dry vac.

Things already looked grim for our kitchen floor. The laminated wood planks buckled and curled as they soaked up the water. Our (also) laminated countertop showed similar signs of distress. Checking on Gina, things looked more promising in the basement. She had made a lot of progress soaking up water with the towels. While water was in the soffet, no other drywall looked affected. The ceiling was ruined… but, apart from a dangling light fixture, the electrical looked o.k.

After two hours of clean-up, we decided to call our insurance company. Water squeezed up through the seams in our kitchen floor when we walked on it and the basement was still very damp. They were very helpful and scheduled a clean up crew for the morning. After arranging several box fans and placing our de-humidifier in the theater, we went to bed, defeated and depressed.

Before 9 a.m. Gina’s parents were at our house offering moral support and diagnostic assistance. We still had not figured out why clean water would come pouring out of our kitchen sink. Shortly afterwards, the awesome folks from JCG Disaster Recovery were on site, evaluating the damage, tearing our kitchen floor out and placing industrial fans and dehumidifiers in the affected areas. After a few hours of guessing and experimenting, Glenn (my father-in-law) helped us determine that our 2nd-story guest bathroom toilet was running constantly with the flapper-valve stuck open. Combined with a block drain channel, we had the perfect combination of conditions for a kitchen waterfall.

Pete Black Plumbing was at our house on Monday morning to clean out our drain and today, JCG returned to remove all of their equipment. Gina and I finally sat down to enjoy the quiet, do a little work… and write this blog post. Hopefully, we’ll be able to start work on repairs.

Pics here.

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