I’ve been MIA on this blog for the last few weeks, mostly because things have been in complete uproar. Actually, they’ve been in uproar for months, but I’ve been keeping it mostly quiet online until it was settled down.
Long story short: we planned to add more insulation to our attic (thanks to the Mass Save program), and before we could have electrical cleanup work done in the attic we had an ice dam that caused minor water damage to our son’s room’s ceiling, which led to a hole cut in the ceiling, which EVENTUALLY (on the day the insulators came to the house) led to the discovery that we had vermiculite in our attic. (*pants* takes a breath)
Vermiculite is a mineral that–for many years prior to 1990–was primarily mined from a site in Montana that was contaminated with a highly toxic form of asbestos. Thus, the EPA says that once you discover vermiculite of unknown age, you have to get rid of it in the same manner as if it contains asbestos. Apparently, testing of vermiculite is inaccurate and produces too many false negatives, so you can’t just test it for asbestos and rule out the need for full-on remediation.
Thankfully, we’re insured by Amica (aka “THE BEST INSURER EVAR”) and they not only paid for the ice dam removal and water damage repair–they also paid for the asbestos remediation AND the hotel stay during the same. Since the asbestos remediation clocked in at $12,000, that’s no small investment in us and our house.
We’ve had new insulation put in, so we’re now all set–and actually insulated far more than we were to begin with, since the new stuff was done under the Mass Save program (to get us to the right level of insulation). But still…
Since the start of the year, we’ve been buried under nine feet of snow, had ice dams EVERYWHERE, had water damage, had a 2’x2′ hole cut in our ceiling, had electricians stomping all through the house and attic, had insulators come and go, had to leave our house while asbestos remediators carefully removed bag after bag of potentially hazardous material from our house, had insulators come in and re-insulate the attic…and, well, it’s all more than a little overwhelming.
When I say this was the Winter from Hell, I’m just not even exaggerating. There are few things that strike more fear in the heart of a homeowner than knowing they may have had asbestos floating around in their house. It also doesn’t help much that we lost a friend to mesothelioma not quite two years ago. Asbestos is the enemy.
So there you have it. And that’s what’s been going on. So if I’ve been too quiet, I apologize. Things have been…well, just a little busy, and sometimes I feel it’s better to share when the chaos has died down. This wasn’t a fast process, nor was it an inexpensive one, but thanks to Amica, at least we didn’t get ourselves dug into horrific debt on top of all the other stress it caused. And now, back to the normal level of chaos and stress…