Tag Archives: leaky dishwasher

Kitchen Accomplished

The kitchen repairs are finally finished! We used this opportunity to upgrade the kitchen. I’ve never had a nice one before. In our last house (800 square feet), we remodeled the kitchen, but everything we put in was salvaged from my mother’s old kitchen. It was nicer that what was originally there, but not our style. To jog your memory, here’s the before/after side-by-side.


We extended the counter on that side of the U, adding cabinet on the other side of the drawers. Additionally, we found a bonus cabinet that opens on the dining room side. Previous owners had paneled over it. With the money we saved doing the work ourselves, we were able to afford granite countertops, which were a huge upgrade from Formica-covered plywood with painted molding on the edges. The back splash, we also found, was a sheet of Formica (originally fire-orange and painted over.)

In the ‘before’ photo, you see we had a pink-and-white kitchen, which wasn’t by choice. Underneath all that white paint, we found beautiful oak, and so we refinished (and reconfigured) the cabinets.

Lastly is a full picture view, including the new lighting, which was a pain in the ass to install. Whoever originally wired the house just ran wire across the attic with no thought to rhyme or reason.

20141009_054627 The old ceiling was a white-painted lattice with florescent lighting hidden behind plastic panels. The whole thing might have looked cool in the 90’s, but it ended up being a giant bug-catcher. We had to re-wire after we found 24 outlets on one circuit (maximum is supposed to be 6.) This does explain some of the electrical problems, like why we lose power in half of our bedroom and not the other half.

It’s not a huge kitchen (and we’re missing the panels for below the sink), but we like it. Twin #1 picked out the backsplash to match the counter and the stain on the cabinets. We put a lazy Susan in the right corner where there had previously been half a cabinet. The other half had been boarded over. I don’t understand why people board over cabinets. I like having the extra storage space!

It wasn’t horrible to live through this repair. We had use of our kitchen most of the time, and it’s gorgeous now. BTW–when I say “we,” I mean “the wife.” As she says, I’m good at writing, so I should stick to that and leave the fixing stuff to her!



Kitchen Update

Apparently it’s best to look for new insurance companies when your claim is denied–site unseen–and closed out. I spent the better part of last week researching insurance companies and getting quotes. My email exchange with the rep who had two first names bore fruit. He reordered the claim reopened. They sent an adjuster to the house to look over the damage. He confirmed we definitely had grounds for a claim. He took measurements, computed figures, and got back to us Monday with an estimate.

Under the cabinets is now wood floor instead of subfloor
Under the cabinets is now wood floor instead of subfloor

Did you know they pay for a contractor to do the work even when you say you’re going to do it yourself? $20/hour. I have a Masters degree and I’m pretty sure I don’t even make that much money. It just does not pay to go into education. (If you have loved ones pursuing a degree in education, then encourage them to do something else with their talents. But I digress.) Wife has been working on the floor. She had to pull back some of the original floor, dry or replace the subfloor, refinish the original flooring, put it back down, and then she had to extend the flooring under the cabinets. If this happens again, we want it to flood the floor, not seep into the subfloor. Her work is to the right.

The adjuster confirmed that our flooring is original, which makes it almost 30 years old. It looks great, but we can’t find stain to match, meaning the entire floor needs to be stripped and refinished. On the plus side? The color we used for the dining room (floorboards running vertically) which matches the color by the front door is available, so we only have to refinish the kitchen area. My kitchen currently looks like a tent city in a dump.


On the plus side, we’re saving so much money doing it ourselves, that we’re going to be able to replace the pink and white laminate countertop. I don’t have anything against laminate, but the pink is a bit much. The backsplash is pink, and the cupboards are painted white. It’s a dollhouse kitchen, and I’m not a dollhouse kind of girl. (Okay, maybe I sort of am.) I don’t know what we’re going to choose, but I want enough money left over to redo the backsplash too. Just not subway tiles. I don’t get the subway tile trend. It looks like a gas station bathroom, and that’s not a look I want in my kitchen.

We’re also refinishing the cabinets, which are oak under that horrid white paint that shows every single fingerprint from my dirty kids. The basement (finished) is also in need of repair. When the kitchen is finished, I’ll post more pictures!


Here are some pictures of the basement:

Basement ceiling
Basement floor

Insurance, Take Two

There’s been more drama on the insurance front. After having my claim denied because there may or may not have been mold–Wife is telling me that what I thought was black mold was actually felt paper that had disintegrated. I wasn’t aware that FELT paper was used under flooring. My bad–I filled out one of those form contact things for my insurance agent. You see, my representative (Brian) never calls us back. Ever. We’ve been trying to review our policies for the past several years, and he’s always in meetings or unavailable. My interpretation of that is either 1) his office staff sucks (which I don’t think is the case) or 2) he has bowel problems. He might want to see a gastroenterologist. My uncle is an awesome one. Everybody likes getting him poop-themed gifts. I guess when you choose that major, you know you’re going to put up with a certain amount of shit.

Anyway, I wanted to look up my claim to see how they wrote it up, but it was GONE. Erased. Nonexistent. Since my agent’s picture was on the left side of the screen, taunting me with his Glamour Shots portrait, I decided to tell Brian that I wasn’t pleased and that I was shopping elsewhere for insurance. I spent the majority of this week researching and giving my information to various companies in exchange for quotes. Did you know they don’t actually let you read the policy until you buy it? There should be an Angie’s List for that–a place where people can scan and upload their policies (blocking out personal information) so we can truly comparison shop. I guess transparency only applies to panties and bras.

I was going to print out the emails just so I could black out the personal information (because I thought the effect would be cool), but I opted to do the old-fashioned cut-and-paste.

So here’s the response I got from a guy with two first names. Since it was backward and I didn’t notice it was separated with a comma until later, I addressed it to his last name on accident. He’s got to be used to it, right?

I’ve received your e-mail you recently sent the agency regarding the outcome of your homeowners claim.  I am sorry to hear that you are dissatisfied with Allstate.  Unfortunately, insurance does not cover this type of incident.  Insurance is for accidental damage that occurs suddenly or within a short period of time.  Mold growth and damage caused by mold isn’t something that occurs suddenly.

 You have an excellent Allstate homeowners policy, one that is actually not sold to new customers any longer.  The renewal of your policy is “grandfathered” because you purchased it so long ago.  The most common types of covered losses or accidents are Fire, Smoke, Windstorm and Hail, Falling Objects, Vehicles, Vandalism, Burglary, Lightning, and Freezing of Plumbing.  The policy includes other types of financially devastating losses as well.  However, the definition of whether something is covered is not based on the tenure of the policy, previous claims history, or financial status.  If you’d like a complete copy of your insurance contract sent to you, let me know.

 Insurance policies sold by different companies will vary.  However, regardless of what insurance company you choose, coverage for damage done by mold is seldom included.  My hope is that you will continue to use Allstate for your insurance needs.  I truly do appreciate the business you have done with us. 


[Two First Names Guy]

Customer Relationship Manager

Hickman Agency, Inc.

Allstate Insurance Co.

Please note: Allstate may be sending you an e-mail survey. Your input is important to me.  I know your time is valuable and my hope is that you will complete the survey and be able to give me a score of 9-10 “completely satisfied.”  If you are unable to provide me with a 9-10 please contact my office to discuss how I can better improve my service.  Additionally, if at any time you would like a policy review, Please do not hesitate to contact me.  Thank you for your business!

I did notice the irony that he’s offering a policy review, something we’ve been trying to get for months. Nice email, but a few inconsistencies. We’d called about the water damage. The next email is my response.

The mold was light, sparse, and easy to remove. It’s a non-issue, and it’s gone. The water damage was none of those things. We are still dealing with the repairs and unexpected costs incurred. I would like a copy of the policy, as was already promised and not delivered, and I would like to know what features were “grandfathered” in. I have spent the last 4 days researching other companies and speaking with representatives. I have even found savings through State Farm and other companies. I am on the cusp of making a decision, and I will weigh any data you send.

Okay, that was me when I wasn’t tired or cranky from spending way too many hours doing crap I didn’t want to do. Here’s what I sent at 10:10 pm (and for me, that’s staying up extra late.)

Let me reiterate: the damage is from WATER from a leaky dishwasher hose, NOT mold. We said this to your rep, but it appears they leapt for a non-issue to get out of delivering on much-needed help. In 15 years, we’re taken care of all other issues ourselves. We reached out to insurance only when we became desperate, and that’s when Allstate decided to screw us over. They were NOT there when we most needed them. (And I’ve seen mold spring up overnight. Given the way the hose leaked when the repair person tested it, the leak could have been less than a week old.) An investigation was not conducted, but a snap decision was issued. We have photos of the damage that nobody wanted to see. This is not the way a reputable company conducts business. I am not happy at all with the unprofessional handling of this case.

That’s me being very mean. If you listen closely, you can hear the snarky side of my “teacher voice” coming through. Today, we got a call. They’re sending someone out to assess the damage. Oh–the person on the phone was very courteous, but she asked why we waited two weeks to file a claim. We didn’t wait two weeks. We waited a week because we tried to dry it out and fix it ourselves. And because Wife didn’t want to deal with the insurance company. She asked the size and number of fans and heat lamps, and how long did we leave them on?  I said: A week.

So tomorrow someone actually visits. We have the invoice from the dishwasher repair person, photos he took, photos I took, and all the damaged wood, cabinets, subfloor, and drywall. Good thing they called before trash day–tomorrow! The only problem? Since they denied the claim, we went ahead with repairs. The floor is almost finished. The cabinets have been stripped so they can be sanded and refinished. The countertop hasn’t fared so well during construction, but we’ve replaced those before. Besides, I hate what we currently have. It might have wowed people in 1987, but so did the fact that I had long, naturally curly hair.

They made no promises, and neither did I. I’ll let you know how it goes and whether I change insurance companies.

In the midst of all this, I’m working on final edits and formatting for Master Eddie’s Sub. And if you haven’t picked up Kiss Me By Moonlight, you are missing out!