The Mold Saga

You guys.
If you’ve been following along on Instagram for the past month then you probably know the saga about finding mold in our home. If this is news to you then you’re about to get the entire stinky scoop.

A while back Ben kept complaining about a mildew smell over by his side of the bed–he was having trouble sleeping because of the odor but for some reason I could barely smell it.  You must have left a wet towel on the ground too long, I kept telling him.  About a week passed before I could smell it too.  The floor wasn’t wet and there were no visible signs of water damage anywhere–strange.  Confused but determined to discover the source of the smell, we pulled back a corner of the carpet.  There was still no visible mold or water damage but the smell was now 100 times worse.  Something was wrong and we couldn’t get that stinky carpet out of our room fast enough.  We immediately pulled all the furniture out of our room and began to rip out the carpet.  It wasn’t until we reached the other side of the room (strangely, the side of the room with no mildew odor) that we pulled back the carpet to reveal mold. Not a ton, but enough to freak a person out.

mold 3
mold 1

We panicked–quickly put the carpet back down over the mold, got out of the room, shut the door and called a mold inspector to come over immediately.  The inspector came by and determined that the mold was not toxic and so long as we wore masks we were okay to remove it ourselves.  He said it likely hadn’t been there for long (sigh of relief) but that we should dump all the carpet and cut out the bottom half of the dry wall all around the room to get out all the moisture.

mold 2

Needless to say, this entire process took weeks because we had to wait for the concrete to be completely dry before we could lay floor again, and the moisture reading was unusually high every time they came to test.  Meanwhile, we were sharing bunk beds with our kids in the other room and getting dressed from our dressers out in the garage–not fun.mold 6

The day before we were scheduled to have floor laid back in our room and a return to normalcy, Ben noticed a strange smell in the kitchen.  We had become like mold blood hounds over the passing weeks.  I smelled it too and we quickly got to work sanitizing everything in the kitchen and the cupboards to see if the smell would go away (because, again, there were no visible signs of water damage).  Every dish and cup and pan was sparkling clean, but the smell was still strong.  In a moment of frustration Ben hammered into the bottom of our kitchen cabinets where the smell was the strongest…and out flew water and mold–even more than the bedroom.

mold 7

By some miracle, I didn’t cry.
I just laughed.
In fact, I’ve been laughing a lot.
And not even that crazy lady whose about to lose her mind cackle…
but rather a sane, trying to see the humor and best of the situation kind of laughter–which isn’t quite like me.

Long story short,  plumbers discovered a leak in a hot water pipe below our slab under the kitchen.  The mold grew very quickly because the water temperature was so hot and seeping in slowly like steam. Yuck!  Since discovery of the mold, half our house has been tented and all of our possessions packed away in boxes.  Our entire kitchen has been demolished and flooring ripped up throughout most of the down stairs.  There is still so much work left to do before we can move back in.

mold 4

In the meantime…

We’ve been settling into hotel life.
Our first week was a bit rough.  We stayed at a hotel that shall not be named and the experience was just “bleh”. Perhaps, because they saw us as long term guests it seemed they forgot about us–towels not restocked, housekeeping skipped, trash cans left filled, no warm smiles or “how are yous”.  And when you’re trying to keep life as normal as possible for your children…and do homework and pack lunches and eat dinner and do art projects and live every day “non-vacation” life from a hotel, you can use all the support you can get.  We were hanging on by a thread while still trying to maintain a “count our blessings” attitude.

And then we caught a break.
We called our friends at the Four Seasons and they welcomed us with open arms (literally, open arms–they were waiting for us in the lobby with a big hug).  To say the kids were excited is an understatement.  So while life is anything but normal or predictable or consistent right now, we’re doing our best to treat each day like an adventure.

four seasons boysAnd I’ve got to say, our positive attitudes combined with the overflowing hospitality and warmth has made this adventure one our family will never forget.  Also, I’ve gotten really good at rotating through the same two pairs of pants all week…

Stay tuned as I document our Mold Saga Adventures…

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  • Reply
    Tami Washenko
    September 15, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Hi Ashley! I’m a long long time reader! I started reading your blog all the way back in 2010. I stumbled across your “How we met” stories and I was so sucked in! Since then I’ve been keeping up with you guys!

    I’m so sorry you guys are going through this mold saga! Ugh! How stressful! You seem to be handling it so well!!! We have an older home and pretty much every time we try to do a project in our house we find something crazy under the surface. And every time I cry. Haha.

    Good luck to you guys! I’m glad you’re comfortable in the mean time! That has to be a relief with two little ones!!!

  • Reply
    September 15, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Oh what a nightmare! I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I hope it’s fixed soon!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2015 at 1:46 am

    So sorry that all this is happened, but on the bright side:before and afters!! Cant wait to see the new room & kitchen. The Four Seasons is a gorgeous place, my husband helped to build it, and one of my good friends had her wedding there. I love it!!! Sending love and good vibes.



  • Reply
    September 16, 2015 at 2:43 am

    Oh girl… 🙁 I’m so sorry! Way to make the most of an awful situation though!!! You’re basically Eloise!!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2015 at 9:45 am

    this is exactly like my sister and her house. dangit!! they found leaking water from their dishwasher, down the back wall and into the basement bedroom below…..they had struggles with it for MONTHS. finally have a brand new beautifully finished kitchen/dining and bedroom downstairs. they have still found one or two more water-related issues since then, and it’s just like are you serious?! so sorry you’re going through it too!! crappy!!! good luck with hotel life, i hope you get your house back soon!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 8:54 am

    So sorry to hear this. Mold is awful and potentially so dangerous. Glad you are having it taken care of. We had a second floor plumbing issue flood our first floor and completely destroy our kitchen in June…completely gutted down to the studs. We spent 2 months in a hotel with our two children and 70 pound golden doodle. NO fun:/. I think you have a great attitude! We are finally back in our home and our house is more beautiful then ever. Good luck to you. Hope the cleanup and renovation moves along quickly.

  • Reply
    September 19, 2015 at 4:28 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mold!

    The way you are handling it though seem so positive! Congrats on choosing to see the good in a bad situation

  • Reply
    September 24, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Hi Ashley,

    I am very sorry to read what you and your family are going through. This time last year my home suffered a bed bug infestation after weeks of being bitten and not figuring out why (doctors useless!), I had to move all our upstairs to the downstairs and wash and clean everything and a man in a space suit came and sprayed everywhere. It was so tough and I pray that we never have to endure anything like that again. To have just read what you are experiencing and to actually have to move into a hotel and try to maintain a normal life for your sweet boys – well, you and your husband are incredibly strong and I respect you so much for that. In time to come, when your home is newly decorated and looks all shiny new, this will be a memory that has made you tougher, but a memory nonetheless and you can live life again. Meanwhile, I hope the lovely people at the Four Seasons keep you feeling invited and happy there. Take care, Margaret, UK.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Hi! I’m glad to see that you are all moved back in! I was wondering, before you found the mold, did you or anyone in your family get sick? I’m asking because I’m afraid that we might have a mold problem and that’s why we can’t get over this “sinus infection” that’s terrorizing my family. I’m gonna have someone come test for it soon but was wondering if you had any experience with it.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Faith Carrillo
    May 29, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    How familiar to me! I had the same problem. But this site helped me deal with mold. Here you will find plenty of cleaning, construction, and design tips. In general, about everything related to housing care.

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