Look Up Lesson for the Holidays

Author Heidi Siefkas and Father Looking Up for the Holidays 

After a two-week work trip, I returned home for the holidays. I was eager to sleep in my bed, drink from my favorite coffee mug, and even take a long, warm bath. However, this year’s holidays reminded me more of hurricane season than holiday season.

Holiday Season Turned Hurricane Season

Upon dragging my luggage into the house, my father invited me to sit and have a cup of coffee in my favorite mug. After some chitchat about my trip, he alerted me of a little problem. He said, “In your bathroom, there is some mold as well as in your adjacent office.” I immediately went toinvestigate the said little problem.

A Bad Four-Letter Word – MOLD

The amount of mold that I found in the bathroom was concerning, but the real issue was on the adjacent wall in my office. Everything was pointing towards a BIG problem and the need to call a plumber right before the holiday weekend.

Press Fast Forward to Diagnosis

After filing a claim with our insurance company and having numerous contractors from plumbers to mold specialists in our home over the last week, the culprit was found, a pinhole-sized leak in the hot water line.It was located behind the vanity, which allowed the leak to affect not only thebathroom, but also the connecting walls. The clue to the leak was the mold.

Stop the Leak and Assess

In order to stop the leak, the plumber needed to cut into closets, the bathroom vanity, and more, which uncovered more mold. Once the leak was found and the water line shut off, the mold specialists came in to close off my wing of the house. My office was off limits. My bathroom was off limits. The entire house would be without hot water until an adjuster could assess the damage and repairs started.

Holidays Music Exchanged for Air Scrubbers & Dehumidifiers

The typical, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas was exchanged for the noise of air scrubbers in the hallway and living room to remove any mold from our environment, while in my office and bathroom two dehumidifiers would remove the moisture from the walls.

Look Up Lesson for the Holidays

Look Up Picture Taken in the Bahamas on that Two-Week Work Trip

Although we are still in the midst of the mess, this life hiccup reminded us to Look Up: 1) Be in the moment & 2) Find the upside. There was very little that we could do to control the situation. In fact, one of the first things I did was joke with the first contractor about the timing of the mini fiasco singing, “I’m dreaming of a moldy Christmas.” The immediate upside would be a little Christmas cleaning of the closets that needed to be emptied of stuff that is rarely used like old books, winter coats, and souvenirs of trips decades ago.

Hurricane Experience Helped this Holiday Season

Having lived through various South Florida hurricanes in the last fifteen years, we have the tools to deal with zero water and power for a while. With a roof over our heads, electricity, and cool outdoor temperatures, we only had to deal with the hot water issue. Like you would guess, we used our daily workout as a way to get a good shower at our gym. You may wonder about clean up after the holiday meal? I warmed water on the stove to wash dishes the old fashioned way, using the dishwasher as the drying rack.  It was very Little Home of the Prairie-esque.

Eager to Get Back on the Road

Author Heidi Siefkas in Old Havana, Cuba

Although I was happy to return home for the holiday, I’meager to get back to a bit of normal. I’m hoping that we will have hot water and the construction done by the New Year. However, if not, I’ll be heading backout on the road, or better said, the seas cruising to Cuba. There I will have a cabin with a bathroom and good hot water.

Until our paths cross…..

Here’s to looking up!


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