In early May, I came home from work to what appeared to be a rain storm swirling in our living room. An inch of water flooded the length of our first floor. Water dripped from the ceiling and poured like a waterfall from a light fixture that hung above the kitchen island.
The tank of an upstairs toilet had cracked spontaneously. As the tank kept trying to refill itself, water leaked through the crack and ran across two upstairs bedrooms down to the first floor. The restoration company we hired set up 24 industrial fans and dehumidifiers to suck up the water and dry out the house. We hired a separate contractor to install new floors, drywall, ceilings and basically make the house new again.
During the construction phase, our insurance company put us up at an extended stay hotel which become our home for nearly three months. Whenever friends or co-workers learned about our misfortune one of their first questions was how our 2-year-old son was faring at the hotel.
“He must be bored,” they’d speculate. We thought that too at first. But in actuality he relished it.
Each day, he would race to the elevator to push the button. He insisted on opening our room door himself using the hotel key. He volunteered each night to carry the ice bucket to go to the ice dispenser down the hall. The hotel staff began to greet him by his name and the housekeepers would leave him little “hello” notes whenever they serviced our room.
One of his is favorite past times was staring out of the fifth-floor window from his travel crib. He liked nothing better than watching people stroll down the sidewalk, cars zip across the main thoroughfare and delivery trucks pull in front of businesses to drop off goods.
“Oh, there’s a truck,” he would exclaim. “Oh, there’s a dog,” he would marvel.
In and the around the hotel, there was a great deal of construction going on so every morning he would wave hello to the cranes, bulldozers and dump trucks as we walked through the parking lot. For him, it was like living in an episode of “Bob the Builder.”
We’ve been home for several weeks now. Our home is better than new in a lot of ways, and we couldn’t be happier to be back. But the other night at dinner, he said, “I want to go to the hotel.” I smiled at him and said, “You know what, sometimes I do too.”