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The Fallout before the Fall- Part 2~ The Flood

Updated: Apr 26

What led to my decision to come to Thailand and check out of my life as I knew it? In early June 2021, I returned from Honduras feeling refreshed and relaxed, excited to return to some sort of normal life. I thought maybe the chaos of the past year and a half was over and we could all start moving on with our lives.

It Started with a Simple Kitchen Remodel

What happened that made me decide to leave my old life behind and come to Thailand? I came back from Honduras in early June 2021, feeling rejuvenated and stress-free, and looking forward to resuming a normal life. I thought that perhaps the chaos of the past year and a half had come to an end, and we could all finally move on with our lives.

I collaborated with Cutting Edge Kitchens for the design of my kitchen and the demo part of the job had been successfully completed. At that time, the only thing I had in my kitchen was my fridge. The day before the installation of the cabinets, I decided to paint the walls myself while everything was empty. It was quite late at night and all I had left to do was paint around the fridge area. While moving the fridge, the copper water line that served the ice maker suddenly snapped and water started gushing out of the line. I spent the next two hours trying to contain the flood and shut off the water main on the street. It was dark outside, and I had no idea what I was doing. I eventually had to call the emergency number for the water company to come out and handle it. We finally managed to turn off the water at 1:30 am, but the damage had already been done.

I awoke the next morning to the entire left side of my home completely flooded. The cabinet installer, Tom, arrived to find me in tears. He was so kind, gave me a big hug, and told me to call my insurance company. I had a disaster restoration company come and assess the damage. I had 6 huge fans blowing (as well as other equipment) running 24/7 for 5 days.

I had to go back to work at my remote job, but it wasn't possible to work in my home due to the noise and destruction caused by the renovation work. So, I decided to take my dogs and work laptop and head off in my campervan for a few days. I planned to work from my van in the mountains while the floors dried. I was determined to handle the situation and keep up with my job, but my stress level was through the roof. To make matters worse, Idaho was experiencing an early heatwave, and my van didn't have AC unless the engine was running. So, I tried to work in the early morning hours before it got too unbearably hot. However, I had forgotten that I needed access to a landline for my job-related phone calls, and my cell phone was all I had. So, I decided to return to Boise to find a solution for work. Although my bedroom was still intact, I wondered if I could run a long phone cord and work from there.

The Straw that Broke Me

The flooring, which I was not planning on replacing, was completely ruined and needed to be removed. My home was originally built in 1976 and therefore needed to be tested for asbestos before the floorboards could be removed. I got the test results for the asbestos the morning I returned from the van trip, and they were not what I had hoped for. The original layer of vinyl tested positive for asbestos, so I had to vacate my home for a few days while it was removed. This was the final straw that broke my mental health, and I realized I was not able to do my job in the mental health field effectively until I got my house back in some sort of working order. I contacted my supervisor and took unpaid time off.

The next few months were a blur of restoration, contractors, and stress. I had a pod delivered and the entire content of the left side of my house was placed in the pod while the floors were replaced. I was basically living in my bedroom or on my patio in the back with no kitchen, sink, etc. I set up a makeshift kitchen in my campervan and lived the “driveway van life.”

Stress Upon Stress

My adult child was living with me at the time and did not lift a finger to help. I begged them to at least clean their room which was a total disaster area already covered in pizza boxes, dirty bowls, half-drunk pop cans, etc. To be fair, they were already going through their own struggles with mental health, but their lack of empathy and respect for the reality of our living situation was overwhelming. One day I snapped, went into their room, filled it with 3 extra-large garbage bags full of trash, and told them they had to find another place to live while the house was getting put back together. They moved in with their partner for the rest of the summer and I was filled with sadness and guilt.

Hard Choices

By late July I at least had running water in my kitchen, and it was time to make a decision about my job. After a lot of soul searching, therapy sessions with my counselor as well as a consultation with my Physician, I made the tough choice to resign. I could have extended my FMLA for a few more months but didn't feel it was fair to my team who had already been covering my job for a few months. I was in a deep depression and there was no guarantee of when I would recover. Using the decision tree and the core values of the company of integrity, teamwork, initiative, and good judgment, I voluntarily left my beloved job that I had been extremely successful at for the past 5 years. The future was completely wide open and unknown.

Big shout out to friends and family who helped with reconstruction and kept me sane.

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