It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It has felt like that around our house for the past few weeks. To kick it off, about three weeks ago, we had a bit of a miscommunication about who was in charge of making sure Elli's bathwater got turned off. In addition to the obvious problem in that situation, Elli had also managed to disable to the overflow safety pipe. The water basically poured through a hole in the tub onto the drywall ceiling below. Awesome! Once we got it stopped, we had two different disaster repair companies give us estimates in the $2,500 range. Not loving the thought of that, we cut holes in the drywall and used six fans for the next 5 days to dry things out. Not sure when we'll repair the drywall. As you'll see in a moment, I'm glad we didn't do it immediately!
The water in the basement was mostly in our exercise room which has an easily removable (and easily dryable) modular foam tile floor. We took out all of the tiles and let them dry. On the 5th day we put the floor back together and got the room cleaned up except for the holes in the ceiling. On the 6th day...Elli flooded the bath again. We had decided we would no longer use the bathtub as a babysitter. Usually, she loves the bath, which she actually uses as a shower. We have a disability showerhead in there, and she sits under it. As part of creating the first flood, she put the plug in the drain, which is unusual. For the second flood, Christi was hyperaware of the overflow danger, and went to check on her after just a few minutes. But sweet Elli had done something she had never done before. She had grabbed the disability showerhead (on the end of a hose) and threw it out of the tub and onto the bathroom floor. So this time, instead of all of the water overflowing directly onto the drywall below, the water pooled up on the main floor and went down through two air vents and any other cracks and crannies it could find. Which means it affected different areas than the first flood. And some of the same areas. Meaning it was great that we hadn't fixed the original holes in the exercise room ceiling and we were fortunate enough to need three more holes in the boys' room ceiling.
Now for a major up! A few days later, Christi and I anxiously watched a videoconference for my work. They were announcing the winners of the 2016 Pinnacle award. This fantastic award for the top 7.5% of the sales force each year takes a lot of hard work and a whole lot of luck to win. And I won! Which means in May, Christi and I get to go on an all expenses paid vacation to the beautiful island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos. We're staying at the Palms hotel and we are SOOOOOOO excited! Like I said, a major up!!!
About a week later I was at work and got a text from Christi: "Call when you are in a good mood." I hate that text! Of course I called immediately and tried to convince her that I was indeed in a fantastic mood and she could tell me whatever dire news she needed to share. The shower upstairs had been going (not Elli) and Xander noticed water dripping down from the holes in the exercise room ceiling again. Aaarrgghh! Fortunately, it was a very small leak. I think it was just the result of old caulk not sealing out the water around the tub. So I took two and a half hours, cleaned the old caulk and put in some new. Hopefully it will take care of the problem.
Other challenges and craziness over the past few weeks have included Elli losing track of her days and nights and screaming through much of the night, lots of parent conferences and IEP update meetings, a need to completely remove Elli's foam tile floor (due to many diapers leaking) and Christi and I replacing it with sheet vinyl. Xander had to spend the night at Primary Children's Hospital because the doctors weren't sure if his abdominal pain was an appendicitis or something to do with his CLOVES syndrome. (It was his CLOVES, but he's doing better at this point.) Xander also had minor surgery to remove a very ingrown toenail. We've had to go through medications for thrush, driver permit tests, evaluations for Cali to get hand controls added to a minivan (that we are in the process of shopping for) and many other crazy and exciting activities, illnesses and events.
Through all of this, we've had one overarching AMAZING thing that our entire family has been looking forward to. Over a year ago, we started planning and saving for a big family vacation. We have five kids graduating in the next three and a half years, so we wanted to do something super fun before we start losing control of their schedules. The kids have been working hard and putting most of their money towards this trip. All we asked for from Santa was help for this vacation. Through all of our adoption trips we have accumulated enough frequent flyer and hotel points that our airfare and hotel is free! So next month we are headed out on a trip of a lifetime. We are all (except Elli :( who does not travel well) flying to Orlando, spending a few days at the theme parks, then going on a Royal Caribbean cruise with ports of call in Cozumel, Costa Maya and Grand Cayman.
So I guess we can weather a few of those downs!