After four wonderful days in Atlanta with old friends, Alex oniugnip and I got home yesterday to discover that a pipe had frozen and burst in our upstairs bathroom, causing water to collect in the space between the first and second floors directly over the kitchen and eventually burst through the kitchen ceiling and cabinets and drip down the walls.
The good news is that the damage is limited entirely to the kitchen -- all of our other stuff is okay, and the cats are a little freaked out but otherwise fine -- and that our landlord's insurance will foot the $2800 bill for repairing the water damage. The bad news is that the kitchen is basically destroyed. State Farm sent over some guys who specialize in water damage restoration, and they ripped out the drywall and insulation from the kitchen ceiling yesterday. When we left today, they were removing the cabinets on one wall and doing something with the floor. It sounds like the kitchen window and surrounding drywall and insulation will have to come out, too. I'm not sure exactly what is going on, but it's safe to say we won't have a kitchen for a while. The living room is also unusable at the moment, because it's filled with industrial drying and dehumidification equipment, and in any case it's not too pleasant to be in the house right now because all of said equipment is currently on and roaring at full blast. It remains to be seen whether the music stuff in the basement -- Alex's drums and my keyboards -- are okay or not, because they were probably dripped on. Those things are replaceable, though. Mostly, I'm just glad that the water didn't get on any of our books, furniture, papers, computers, or art. I'm rattled about the fact that, you know, it's 20 degrees outside and there's basically a hole in our house, but it actually doesn't feel cold in the intact part of the house. And the silver lining is that I guess we might get a new kitchen out of the deal. Our landlord is already speaking of recessed lighting.
If you live in a place with below-freezing weather and you're planning to leave the heat turned down for an extended period of time, please, please make sure you leave your faucets running a trickle of water. This will keep the water circulating and prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. I was raised in the frozen northlands and should know these things, but apparently I hadn't learned my lesson yet.
For now, we've got Alex's trusty toaster oven set up in our bedroom, and that worked pretty okay for toast and peanut butter last night. But, you know, if anyone feels like inviting us over for food any time in the next few days, we would appreciate it more than you know.