We were doing the walk-through with the lady from the rental agency when I stepped in a puddle in the middle of the kitchen floor.
Kitchens that have been empty and unused for months should not have puddles on the floor.
Upon investigation, it was discovered that the water was coming from under the dishwasher. So was that funky moldy smell.
The dishwasher was installed right before the owners left the house, and apparently the installer neglected to tighten the water hoses properly. No one knows how long it leaked before the water to the house was shut off.
The house sat empty for three or more months, waiting for us to find it and rent it. And while it sat, the water seeped under the four layers of old vinyl flooring and permeated the sub-flooring with moldy, stagnant water. The mold spores had a little party on the floor, too, and they didn't leave out the wall or cupboards. Generous, those mold spores are.
For a week, I cleaned and unpacked around a disconnected dishwasher in the center of my kitchen, and I dodged fans, heaters, and bottles of bleach while I washed dishes by hand. (Mike took care of the gross moldy work, so I couldn't complain too loud!) We let the mess air out and dry while we were gone for Christmas, and were given the go-ahead to reinstall the dishwasher when we got home.
It was a wonderful few days.
The kitchen still had that funky smell, and the floor was feeling warped and getting spongier where it hadn't been spongy before. We called the rental agency and insisted that they have a contractor come look at it.
The contractor came and looked at everything and submitted a bid for the work. The owners approved it, and work began.
The first thing they did was take out the dishwasher and set it on the back deck.
It sat out there for over two weeks.
The first day they were here, the guys tore out the floor. All four layers of vinyl and the nasty wet sub-flooring. They put in new sub-flooring in the dry parts of the kitchen, and then, mid-morning everything came to a screeching halt.
The damage went farther than the contractor had suspected, and until there had been much conversation between the contractor, the rental agency, and the owners (who are out of the country), he couldn't do anything more.
Of course not. Because now, not only was the dishwasher outside and unusable, but the kitchen floor was rough, uneven, and highly susceptible to spills. And the counters, dining room furniture, and contents of the open pantry were covered in a fine layer of really gross dust.
The insurance adjuster was a no-show for the first appointment (the existence of which we were completely unaware of), and when everyone showed up for the (also unannounced) meeting the next morning, he was over half an hour late. And he was extremely rude and defensive before he even looked at anything.
After a highly tense conversation in my kitchen, everyone left, the insurance adjuster promising to call the rental agency that afternoon, and the rental agency promising to contact us as soon as they knew anything.
Over a week later, we gave up and contacted them.
Still, nothing happened.
Until finally, we were told the contractor would contact us to see when he could come. We made an appointment for the next Monday.
Late that Monday morning he called and postponed it until Tuesday morning.
It was almost not morning anymore when they got here on Tuesday, but they got right to work tearing out and rebuilding the affected cabinet and prepping the floor for a new layer of vinyl.
There was now a thick layer of sawdust over my entire kitchen and dining room.
Wednesday morning brought final preparations and the cutting and laying out of the new vinyl. By lunch time, the new floor was glued into place. As they were moving the fridge back into place a few hours later, the kitchen got very quiet. For a very long time. They'd torn a huge hole in the brand-new vinyl. So they went to Home Depot and bought some thin plywood, which they laid down over the vinyl and told me they'd see me in the morning.
On Thursday morning, the actions of Wednesday morning were repeated, and after the second installation of brand-new vinyl, they successfully maneuvered the fridge into place without damaging anything and got around to finally reinstalling the dishwasher.
And it's been running almost non-stop ever since!