Today was supposed to be a happy day.
Mom's tenants moved into her other house this weekend, and Ted and I were over there this evening to pick up the last of our possessions: a desk, a dollhouse, and an old file cabinet. After more than a year of moving stuff (we had rented out our condo, moved to Mom's, put some of our stuff in storage, closed on The Box House, moved our stuff from storage to Evanston, and moved Mom's stuff here) we were done. Now we had tenants for both the extra properties, and could wait out the housing crisis and bad economy until we could sell them.
We were actually in high spirits as we drove to the Western suburbs, knowing that we wouldn't have to make the trek out there as frequently. I was even okay this time having to ring the doorbell to be let in.
And then I made the mistake of asking how things were going, and if they were all settled in.
They were settling in nicely, they assured us, but wanted to let us know that there was water in the basement.
The only time there was ever water in the basement was when the sump pump failed, and we didn't have a battery back up. The sump was working now--our handy man we sometimes use when we can't get out to the house had even checked it a few days before--but there was a small amount of water pooled in the middle of the basement and along all the edges. We could actually see it seeping in on the western edge, where wall met floor. My mouth literally dropped open, I was so surprised.
Seriously, what the heck?
The best we can figure, since the sump was working, is that the rapid freeze and thaw of last week, in which the temperature went up forty degrees and then back down within 12 hours, had somehow shifted or nudged or did some damage to the slab.
In more than 30 years of occupying the house, we had never had water seepage. What are the odds it happens on the weekend we get new tenants?
I broke the news to Mom as gently as I could, but it's a bitter pill to swallow. And checking the insurance policy yielded little hope. It doesn't look like they cover this type of damage, or, as clause 12 puts it, movement, settling, cracking, bulging, shrinking, heaving, or expanding, whether natural or otherwise. And clause 36 says they do not cover loss from extremes of temperature, including freezing.
It is speculation on our part regarding what exactly is happening in the basement, and we won't know more until we can call the insurance company and a few contractors to come out and look at it. But gee whiz, this sucks.