There has been a little break in action here at Swamp
Central. By that I mean, there are no workers under my house, performing
inscrutable procedures. I’ve had the time to re-examine what has gone on, and
how, quite possibly, my own distress taken advantage of.
First of all, standing water under one’s house is no joke. Specters of mold,
mosquitoes, collapsing foundation walls and dollar bills being sucked down the
drain at hyper speed are not crazy panic-induced illusions. They are all
possible. However, they are not inevitable.
I realize now that the word “mold” was used by a man purposely wearing
a for-real, I-mean-business respirator. I realize now, that the workers who
spent hours in that same environment wore the same kind of mask I wear to clean
out the bottom of my birdcage. I realize now, that the people I hired did
not have proper equipment for removing the water, despite " flood clean-up" being their business. I realize now, that two dehumidifiers, left running under
my house for more than a week, were not discharging water to the outside of the
house, or the sump pump pit. Quite possibly, they were just discharging the
water right back into. the crawl space. And, I realize now, that I know where
the abundance of mosquitoes around my deck is coming from.
A correction is needed for sure, and no independent inspectors seem to exist. So, decided to get at least three estimates from local water
proofers chosen by an online web service that purports to list reputable
companies. I arranged appointments over a day and a half,
looking to make a decision immediately following. I gave very detailed
information about wanting an inspection and quote. For a crawl space. With a three-foot clearance. And standing water. I purposefully did not mention the “m”
word, now convinced, that if you mention it as a concern, they will play on that and tell
you it exists, whether it does or not.
Contractor/salesman #1 arrives. He pauses as I open the
hatch. “Oh, this is a crawl space,” he says. “Oh, it has water in it?” he asks.
“Nobody told me, and, anyway, I am not dressed for that,” he concludes. “How about I
come back tomorrow, or first thing Saturday morning?” He had been at my house
about 3 minutes.
He left, and I immediately went on the online web service,
and gave his outfit a poor review, indicating that they were being dinged for
wasting my time (time I had taken off from work) and that they lost my business no matter how many good reviews
Then I decided I better call the other two bidders to make
sure they were coming prepared. Contractor #2 put me on hold. Then another
person came on the line and said, “Oh, our inspector just called out sick for
tomorrow. Can we reschedule for next week?” No second chance for them.
Contractor #3 was almost surprised when I asked if their
representative would be prepared to go under my house. They assured me he would
be. But, actually, he wasn’t. However, he at least jumped down into the pit,
shone a flashlight into the crawlspace, took measurements with a laser ruler,
and examined the sump pump system and new pump that had been improperly
installed. We walked around the outside of the house and he determined that
grading was NOT contributing to the water. I felt a little better about taking
a quote from him. This was the only place that I had an actual personal
recommendation for, and I made sure to name drop. However, I think they need to
come again, with a clean suit and a mask, to crawl around down there and give
me a better assessment.
Of course all things halted for the Independence Day
weekend. But that didn’t mean things got quiet here. The LOML was mowing the
grass in the front yard and I was inside the house. I heard him cry out and the
lawnmower stop. All the DuPont Safety Magazine gory articles about lawn mower
accidents ran through my head, and I ran outside – running into the LOML
heading into the house, pulling off his shirt. Apparently, he brushed up
against the yews in the front yard, and had gotten attacked by wasps. After
finding all the stings and administering AfterBite and Benadryl, I went to peek
at the bush. A fairly large amount of angry wasps were flying around. From
behind the safety of the living room window, I could see a paper wasp nest –
not as big as the basketball-sized ones I have seen in trees – but bigger than
a softball for sure.
Friends had all sorts of ideas, from burning them, to sneak
stomping the nest after dark. I decided that discretion is the better part of
valor, and we called in a professional.
And he never once mentioned mold.
|The real WaspMan at work in my front yard.|
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