The last day of his POM leave—the leave period given right before a deployment—the bathtub flooded. My daughter went up to get a bath, turned on the water, went back to her room while it ran, and fell asleep.
By the time we realized what was happening, we looked into the kitchen and saw water pouring out of the light fixtures. It was also running down the back window, pouring into cabinets, and dripping down the back interior and exterior wall.
The last few weeks he was home we spent making calls to home insurance, getting to know our new friends with the water mitigation and contracting company, and buying new cabinets, a new counter top, a new bathtub, and the other materials that would be needed for the repair.
Less than a week after he left for the deployment the water mitigation company came and pulled out my entire kitchen and upstairs bathroom. They were stripped down to the studs.
And here we are now, a month later, and not much further into the process. The kitchen is still stripped down, the bathroom is stripped down, and I have been learning the art of managing a project of this scope and magnitude.
I know that some people take on home improvement projects during a deployment, but this is kind of ridiculous.
These are just a few of the things I’ve learned so from the experience…
- Paper Plates, cups, bowls, and plastic silverware are perfectly valid options. Also they make for very light trash bags.
- There is a surprisingly large variety of microwave meals—and I have no shame in eating them.
- Never turn down an invitation to eat dinner at someone else’s house
- Friends will keep you going on the hard days
- There is an art to staying on top of a project. It’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page and that items that are supposed to be torn out at the appropriate time are torn out.
- Most things really are fixable.
- It is possible for one room to serve as a dining room, kitchen, school room, living room all at the same time.
- If you ask friends for Crockpot meal ideas you’ll get so may ideas you won’t know where to start
- That said cleaning a crock pot without the benefit of a deep kitchen sink is a challenge
- Doing dishes by hand can be relaxing
- It’s less relaxing when you have to do them by filling up bins of water and lugging them to your table.
- Just because you have one major home emergency doesn’t mean that you are immune from others. Just in the span of the first 3 weeks of deployment I called a plumber 3 times for 2 separate issues that had nothing to do with the flooding incident.
- Having a smaller space to occupy doesn’t necessarily mean less cleaning if you have doubled the amount of stuff in the smaller space.
- People can be immensely kind as you figure out how to put your world back together.
- Never base your deployment story on a Lemony Snicket Book. “A Series of Unfortunate Events” can really happen to you.
- You can make a lot of really fun toilet humor when your toilet is broken
- Water is powerful
- I am someone who misses baking more than cooking
- I actually find peace in cooking, and miss the peace I get from the ability to do it normally
- You can make a lot of meals with an electric skillet, crockpot, and griddle
- Incredibly abnormal circumstances can begin to feel normal
- It is possible for my husband to micromanage a project from an ocean away
- A hot shower can be the difference between a good day and a bad day
- Take-out food and pizza delivery can get old fast.
- Creativity, adaptability, and a sense of humor can get you through almost anything