“Is that… MOLD??!!” – Travel and Home Ownership

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I’m home for a couple of days before I hit the road again for my infamously busy fall travel schedule.  Those precious days at home mean a combination of time in my office and a bit of work from my comfortable perch on my sectional at the homestead.

But my perch wasn’t always so comfy… in fact, back in 2008 I had a brief interlude from an early fall business trip that quickly dove into a bit of chaos.  Don’t forget to read to the end for an update on how it turned out.

To set this up… I was a year into my time at the homestead (a 1924 Craftsman bungalow) and I had already dubbed her “the money pit”.  If it was possible for a house to eat cash, this one was doing it.  I had grand plans when I bought the house for remodeling in the first year, all originally budgeted for.  Instead it was one thing after another (plumbing, gas lines,… you name it!)

When this story started, I had finally gotten some of that out of the way and I was back to tackling the UGLY second living area in my house (that flows through to an outdoor living area) that I decided would make a perfect media room.  The room had been painted a very dark “poop” brown and covered in shag carpet.  I’d already ripped that out and tiled the room and the contractor was getting ready to paint when I came home from a business trip….

originally posted October 2008

It was all due to me deciding to wire for surround sound.

The contractors arrived around 10 am to tape for painting (which needed to be done by Friday night as my new sectional was to arrive at 10 am on Saturday).

There were four covered outlet plates in the ceiling in the corners of the room that turned out to contain speaker wire. They had found the lead in and we decided to go ahead and extend the wiring to where I’ll be putting my receivers and put HD wire in for my media room. To run it seamlessly since there is no carpet in the room and that part is slab foundation (not pier & beam like the front of the house), they figured that taking the baseboards out would be the easy way to access the walls.

So they began popping the baseboards off.

Baseboard #1 comes off… mold.

Baseboard #2 comes off… mold.

Mold all around the base of the room.

They pull the boards off around the door frame.  Great… the mold goes up a couple of feet.

That is going to mean new walls and mold removal.

Oh boy.

I already had a claim open from calling earlier that day about the roof/attic damage. So we quickly walked the rest of the house and found that there may be other mold in the ceilings where the roof is leaking. And possibly around the entire back (new addition) of the house due to brick/siding holes.

So now I’m waiting for an adjuster to call me… alas, they (all the licensed adjusters in Texas) are all in South Texas dealing with hurricane claims so it may be a while.

Now furniture delivery is on hold, my contractors are gone, my back room is empty (and torn up), and I’ve got crap EVERYWHERE in my house.

I’m very thankful right now that I paid $550 extra to have a very large mold rider put on my insurance (just because you never know with new houses and I’ve had friends who’ve been burned there before) and I’ve also got “loss of use” coverage that (according to the guy who wrote the policy) will cover me having to live in a very decent hotel should I be displaced (which I’ve been told is very likely while they go through mold removal).

What I don’t know yet is how extensive it will be.

and back to present day (October 2014)

So as it turns out… it was sort of extensive.

The bad news – enough mold that the walls had to be stripped down to the studs.

The silver lining – it wasn’t black mold.

The bad news – I needed a new roof and due to the age of the existing roof, most of it came out of my own pocket.

The silver lining – I got to change the color of my shingles to something less atrocious than the light brown that clashed with the paint/trim I’d redone the exterior in.

In the end, a project that should taken only a couple more days took weeks more.  But I ended up with a new roof, brand new drywall after the mold treatment was done, and a nice HD wired media room wired through those walls!

And a few nights in local hotels that added to my points accumulation.  And it turned out quite cozy, in my opinion.

Sectional in media room (where a lot of my blogging gets done).
Sectional in media room (where a lot of my blogging gets done).
Old auditorium seats (found in an Omaha antique store and shipped back to Texas) provide moveable seating I can use for entertaining.


For those who wonder why I drive for UberX on the side (and also how I use any revenue I earn from the blog) – I’m raising money for the phase four of my home renovations.  I simply don’t want to dig deeply into my savings and can’t give up my travel habit… so I’ve decided to hustle for the money instead.

After all the 2007 and 2008 work, I took a bit of a break and was able to concentrate on decorating, paining, and other minor things.  Along the way, there was also a raccoon removal from my attic (and associated costs to seal off all the access points), a new hot water heater, burst pipes/flooding that resulted in a closet wall being torn out and rebuilt… it never ended.

But now I’m back to the BIG stuff.  I’ve got a beam cracking under the kitchen (which will require not only repair but also retiling of the kitchen), need a new driveway due to the damage from the winter icing/summer flooding cycle we’ve had here, and have to put a new sprinkler system in next year (but only after the city digs up my backyard to reroute my sewer lines.  *sigh*  And then there are the two separate HVAC systems that both threaten to go out any summer or winter and the new windows I need.  The garage wall that looks like it might eventually collapse if it isn’t rebuilt, etc.

Owning an old house is a full-time job.  Owning that house and traveling 200+ days a year – well, that’s a sitcom in the making.  But I am blessed to have an incredibly cozy home to come back to from my travels… and that I can’t put a price tag onto, no matter how crazy it may get!

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