Friday, June 29, 2007

Homeowners Insurance Mess

Another reason I haven't been blogging much a of late. I'll just post the e-mail we sent today rather than try to rehash my pain again.

To all parties concerned regarding X claim,

First, thank you to Mr. M for taking the time to put A Inc.'s [restoration contractor] recommendations and concerns in writing.

We have experienced nothing but confusion and frustration since we made a water damage claim on the evening of May 6th 2007 . On the evening of May 6th, we returned home after being out of our home for the day. While looking for something, we discovered a pool of water under the kitchen sink and water running down the backside of the cold water pipe. We immediately went downstairs to turn off the water main, and upon doing so discovered that the laminate wood floor in the playroom was immersed in water.

We turned off the water and began further investigation to reduce the damage to our home. In a matter of minutes, we removed some of the saturated flooring, which revealed significant amounts of pooled water covering the playroom and extending to a drain in the storage room (as shown in previously shared photos). We hooked up two dehumidifiers and inspected the drywall. We continued our investigation upstairs, noting that the cabinet housing the kitchen sink (including sides, back, bottom shelf, and floorboard) was saturated, warped, and separated. What was visible of the subfloor was saturated.

After our inspection and attempts to halt any further damage, we contacted our LM [insurance company] agent Mr. N and were advised to contact the claims department for further guidance. We contacted the claims department and we were told that our loss was a covered peril and that someone would contact us. The following morning, we contacted a plumber who repaired both the hot and cold water pipes. This allowed us to restore water service to our home. We also requested the addition of shut-off valves under the kitchen sink as a precaution. On May 7th, we received an e-mail from Mr. W, the claims handler assigned to our claim, and Mr. W contacted us by telephone the next day. We discussed the events of the claim (as stated above) and we were told that our loss was a covered water damage loss. We also mentioned an uneducated concern regarding the possibility of mold due to the water saturation of various structures. We looked to Mr. W for further guidance. We were told that continuing to run the dehumidifiers was appropriate and to not use any circulating fans to err on the side of caution. It was also explained that we could choose to use a LM preferred contractor to begin assessing and repairing the damages. It was our understanding that the assessment and repair would begin within the next few days once A Inc. contacted us.

Mr. G of A Inc. came to our house on May 8th and did a thorough assessment of all damaged areas. We were under the impression that work would begin and that the process was seamless, meaning all details would be worked out between LM and A Inc. We would be responsible for our $1000 deductible, and the water damaged areas of the kitchen and basement would be repaired and/or replaced with comparable quality.

Shortly after, it was determined that a mold test should be conducted. The tests were conducted on May 15th. It appeared that air tests were conducted in the kitchen, in the basement, and on the covered wood deck (it was raining heavily at the time of the test). We were later told that both water damaged areas contained elevated levels of molds that are common in the environment. Please note we have not seen any reports on the said tests nor are we aware of any state or federal guidelines as to what constitutes an ‘unsafe’ elevated level of mold.

After the results of the mold testing, representatives from LM and A Inc. met at our home on May 23rd. A further assessment of the damages was completed by Mr. W. Documentation, pictures, and the damaged pipe were provided by us. We also clarified that the affected areas of our home were used daily. It was at this time Mr. W explained that our policy had a mold amendment with a limit of $5000. He also mentioned our right to leave our home if we felt the need, mentioning that the use of our $1000 deductible could be applied in this case. There was much discussion between all parties regarding remediation costs being categorized under water damage or mold damage. Our feelings on this categorization remain the same, and are restated below.

On June 9th, on our request, we received LM's cost proposal from Mr. W. The proposal was not finalized, and Mr. W noted that the removal and resetting of the cabinets along with the “possibility” of further testing was an open item. According to this written communication and a later phone conversation, it appeared that irregardless of the visible water damage of the kitchen cabinet that LM wished to pull out and reset the cabinet to determine how remediation should be classified. This seems pointless to us since, as just stated, the cabinet is currently visibly water damaged without visible mold. Shortly after, Mr. G of A Inc. returned to our home for additional assessment and to direct A Inc. staff to begin preparing for basement clean up. We were appreciative of the clean up as our basement was a safety risk for our children. The water damaged flooring was removed and taken off premises and barriers were put in place.

It has now been nearly two months since the original claim, and resolution has not been reached by all parties. Our functional living space has been reduced and the upheaval due to the water damage and the amount of time it is taking to resolve our claim has put our family under great strain. Based on an e-mail from A Inc. on June 27th, it appears that mold clean up can begin; however, there are uncertainties as to what damage might be directly or indirectly caused and who is responsible for additional costs. We have only received one early proposal from LM, and are unsure of the company’s exact breakdown of the remediation costs. We have received one cost proposal from A Inc. detailing the scope of work necessary only for the mold clean up.

We, the homeowners, believe that our property was water damaged first and foremost. This visibly includes the cabinet in the kitchen and the drywall and flooring in the basement. It is possible that drywall behind the kitchen cabinet, adjacent cabinets, and the subfloor were also water damaged. We believe the cabinets and all water damaged property should be repaired or replaced to comparable quality as stated in our policy. Our policy specifically states that the mold endorsement is an “additional coverage” of a covered peril. Thus far, it has been treated as exclusionary, which we do not believe is the intention of the coverage. Property that is initially water damaged should be classified as such, and remediation costs should reflect this classification.

Finally, we find it irresponsible and potentially disastrous for us to enter any type of contract until complete resolution is reached by all parties (see paragraph four of Mr. M’s previous e-mail). We will not agree to a “wait and see approach” to decide what is and isn’t covered. If LM feels the need for further investigation to determine how it should classify our claim, then that investigation along with any incurred damages and repair of such damages from the desired investigation should be the responsibility of LM. We as responsible homeowners should not be held liable after the fact for costs incurred while LM decides if and how it will treat our claim, especially since we were originally told by several LM representatives that our claim was water damage and a covered loss, and we began the process under that premise.

We cannot in good faith proceed until it is stated in writing and agreed to by all parties what investigation and remediation will be performed and how it will be paid for—this includes any unforeseen expenses incurred and additional living expenses. Meanwhile our family continues to live with this disruption in our lives. We suggest that all parties meet [...] in order to come to a resolution in a more timely manner than what has occurred thus far.



Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Iphone madness

I don't know anything about the Iphone, but I hate it. First off, anything that is ridiculously "hyped up" makes me want to puke. The Iphone definitely fits in that category. Second off, Hubby works for Cingular...or the new ATT...or as I refer to it often "that damn hellhole of a company." Hubby has been working from 9:45 until 8PM most days this week. He was off on Sunday and doesn't have another day off until next Wednesday. He has to work until 10PM on Friday.

So Friday, they will have security outside the door and only a limited number of people will be allowed into the store at a time. They also only have a small supply of iphones. He has to deal with all of the crabby, tired, over-hyped people who expect him to be courteous and happy even though he has worked 100 hours and most likely gets no meaningful compensation for selling them the Iphone. Yes, it's his job. But this week it's definitely a sucky job.

So if you want an Iphone, wait until the hype is over. Remember the Razor from a few years back when it went for around $500 or more? Not such a big deal now. Yeah, maybe the Iphone is cool, but I doubt it's going to drastically change your life overnight. Avoid the Iphone mania until things settle down a bit. I wish we could.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


So after today's spinning class I feel like I have been pounded in my ass with a dumbbell...I'd say about a 15 pounder. I seriously am about to vomit and my legs feel like jelly. But I made it through and signed up for next Tuesday. Time for some Ibuprofen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What do fart's look like?

Bubba was getting "dressed" for dining out. His typical handpicked outfit is shorts, t-shirt, and button down shirt. His outfits rarely match and often don't fit, but he takes great pride in his "cool" outfit selection.

Anyhow, he came out wearing large khaki green shorts, a smallish orange and blue t-shirt, and a very small long-sleeve yellow plaid button down shirt.

"Mom, is grandpa's fart still on this shirt?"


"Mom, is grandpa's fart still on this shirt?"


"What does a fart look like? Do you see it? Do you see it on my shirt?"

"What are you talking about?"

"Grandpa farted on this shirt at Mema's house. Remember? Remember Mom?!?!"

We haven't been to Mema's house in months and I don't remember Bubba wearing that shirt or my dad passing gas on it. But to be fair, my dad does emit obnoxious suffocating fumes on a regular basis, so even the remote possibility of one of his farts being left on my shirt would freak me out too.

Sensing his growing agitation over the possibility of not being able to wear the "perfect" shirt, I inspected the shirt carefully, and then confidently handed it back to Bubba.

"No farts. It is all clean. Grandpa's fart came out in the wash."

Bubba begrudgingly took the shirt and pushed his gangly arms through the slender sleeves. He did a quick once over, seemed content with my response, and dashed to the car. Another meltdown averted.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I'm Spun

The spinning classes were booked last week, so I signed up for today and Wednesday. I am happy to announce that I SURVIVED!!!! Not only that, but I actually enjoyed it. It was the fastest 55 minutes of cardio I've ever done (not that I've ever done more than 20 minutes, but...).

I couldn't do the lifts at the beginning because of my height and lack of control, but by the end I was getting the hang of it. I love that it is dark and the music is loud so I can push myself and get in the zone.

Right now I feel like I have been porn-screwed in the ass by something so disgustingly huge that it can only be purchased online...but I hear that gets better. At least I really really hope it does.

Friday, June 15, 2007


I saw this on another blog. Hours of fun if you are a professional procrastinator like me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Everyone Poops

We love this book at our house. Bubba knows it by heart even though he is still having retention issues. But apparently Moosie absorbed some of the message. He has started asking to go "ooo ooo," but must set the stage before he will attend to the task. Today he surrounded himself with an old stuffed football, some dinosaurs, and don't forget his stroller piled high with trains.

His big reinforcer is to flush the toilet and do the "happy dance" as it all swirls around. I knew last year that this supposedly "self-stim behavior" would benefit me some day...When we attempted potty training Bubba, it cost us a ton of money in "rewards." Who knows when Moosie will be potty trained (Bubba stopped wearing diapers at 4.5 or so), but I'll take what I can get when I can get it.

Shiny Teeth

Bubba had some dental work done yesterday. He is now the reluctant owner of 4 silver crowns. He also had a root canal and sealants applied. Mommy and daddy are now $700 poorer, but thankfully we have dental insurance and health insurance that covered the rest. Maybe when the teeth fall out (yes, they're baby teeth) we can cash in and get some of that money back!

Bubba got his happy medicine (puppy and lamby did not) around 1PM...

...out of the OR at 3:30PM...

...and he was awake and home by 6:30PM.

Bubba is still upset today...he is not happy with his "gray teeth" and wants to know when his "teeth will be small again."

I've been assured that Bubba will not be able to remove the crowns. We'll see.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Weight Update

Unfortunately I gained a few pounds a month after I wrote this. Then I had some blood tests done and found out that my cholesterol is high as is my fasting glucose. So that kicked my butt into gear. So far I have lost about 8 pounds. I don't believe in diets where you have to completely give up any one thing. I've basically been following the principles of a low glycemic index diet for 3 weeks now. My cravings are going down (as long as the bad foods aren't in my house) as are my portions. I have lost about 8 pounds. Of course Hubby has lost at least 10. Tomorrow I am trying 'spinning' for the first time. That should be interesting. I hope I don't die.

May Flowers

Yes I know it is June, but I've been busy. Warm weather means me and the boys are outside A LOT. And it's not always by choice (at least not mine). But I don't protest too much, especially if it involves swimming. I don't look too swell (just swollen) in a swimsuit, but you just can't beat feeling cool and weightless when it's over 80 degrees outside.

Anyhow, I started experiencing the warm weather by redoing our front landscaping. I hadn't touched it much since pre-Moosie, so I dug out all of the perennials (except for the shrubs) and split them (if necessary), Hubby unloaded new topsoil, and we got to work replanting our refurbished plants and adding some new ones. We even went as far as mulching everything and laying down soaker hoses.

I learned a few things:

1) I cannot sustain roses. Oddly enough the only rose bush I have left out of the four I planted four years ago is named after John F. Kennedy. I also had a Dolly Parton rose bush (yes the blooms were potent and big) but it was one of the ones that didn't survive.

2) Never hang a bird feeder over your landscaping. OK, I knew it was 'seed' since it is called 'bird seed,' but I seriously had no idea it would grow things when mixed with bird poop, sun, and water. Now I have ugly weed mat over the affected area trying to kill whatever it is I am growing there. I'm pretty sure I am not growing birds.

3) The ugly, big, annoying black and iridescent birds that preferred the seed by my front door are called Grackles. They give me the willies. Since I have since removed the seed because of number 2 above, the Grackles have gone elsewhere.

4) Apparently rabbits like my favorite flower as much as I do.

5) My flowers don't look as nice when they are all green! That doesn't seem to bother the birds, squirrels, rabbits, and resident groundhog one bit.

6) I finally know the difference between annuals and perennials.

7) Hanging baskets dry out fast. I have as much luck with them as I do with the roses.

8) Children do not understand the difference between weeds and flowers. Never attempt to weed your garden while your children are around.

9) Gardening is great exercise! And I love it.

10) Oh, I'm sure Hubby would like me to mention that I can't properly trim shrubs.