Adventures in Mold

Here’s a little story I like to call “The Missing Grout Disaster”.
About a year ago we moved into a rental apartment.  The place is beautiful and has great amenities.  Everything was shipshape except that we noticed a tiny bit of grout missing in the shower.
We’ve all seen enough HGTV shows to know that missing grout = water behind the tiles = potentially bigger problems now or sometime in the future.  Being conscientious tenants we mentioned this little issue to our landlord.   Months and months passed but we really didn’t care.  The shower worked just fine and we went on our merry way. Peacefully co-existing with the spores we suspected were lurking behind the lovely travertine tiles.
Finally a crew was sent to check out the situation.  They arrived at 8 am and by 8:30 it was quite clear something was up.  Whispered conversations, phone calls, guys traipsing in and out…. Hmmmm…
The crew chief finally came out of the bathroom and announced: “There’s mold behind them there tiles.”
Well, DUH!  Isn’t that the exact thing that derails all bathroom renovation on “Income Property” or “Love It or List It”?  Unlike renovator Scott and designer Hilary, there was no wailing or gnashing of teeth by us over the cost.  HA!! The beauty of being a renter.  Hello, Mr. Landlord dude.  We’ll take a completely sanitized and remodeled bathroom please.
Unfortunately, when crew chief broke the moldy news, he also dropped the bomb that we would have to immediately relocate anything from the bathroom, closet AND bedroom that we might need for the foreseeable future because the room had to be sealed off – tout de suite!  And, they were not sure if “the foreseeable future” meant 4 weeks or 4 months.  YIKES!
skull and crossbones
I felt like I was on some sort of a game show with a timer ticking off in the background and I had to grab everything I could before the buzzer went off.  Then there was the challenge of finding where to put everything, ultimately jamming our belongings into an already full guest room closet. Now we were the guests occupying the guest room.
The crew must have sensed that I was overwhelmed because they kindly offered to help carry clothes and shoes across the hall.  They even started opening drawers in the bathroom to start relocating our toiletries.  SCREEEEEEEECH.  Hit the brakes.  While I appreciate your assistance, I believe I will handle my own toothbrush and feminine products, thank you very much.
Fifteen minutes later our comfy two bedroom, two bath apartment had effectively become a “cozy” one bedroom, one bath.
It has taken about a month of quarantine, tear-down, inspections, sanitizing, and rebuilding from the studs but today – finally – will mark the end of the project.  No offense, but I will be delighted to be free of the parade of inspectors (California EPA), lawyers (apparently our problem was part of a bigger, building wide issue – don’t ask…) and even the exceedingly friendly and helpful construction crew.
The most remarkable part: we have managed this month of cozy living without killing each other even once.

© 2013 Mocadeaux

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