Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dry Out Day Two

Yesterday they returned to finish the downstairs and start the upstairs. I'm not entirely sure if they are done with the upstairs as I didn't get home in time to talk to them before they left.

Downstairs the flooring was removed into the dining room and they finished removing the flooring from the kitchen back to the hallway that leads to the garage. They also removed a small patch of vinyl flooring that was under the original vinyl that was covered with the laminate hardwood they ripped up.

Sadly, I really liked that laminate. I liked the wide boards vs. the smaller boards. And the cherry color went well with the trim. I realize it looks brown in the photos, but there was a slightly red cast that I really preferred to the light yellow wood, especially considering the color of the hardwood trim that I refuse to paint as it is one of the reasons I purchased this particular house.

I guess on New Years Day I will start trying to move things and get my house in some sort of order. Certainly I need to finish going through the clothes in my bedroom and getting more stuff ready for Goodwill.

Unfortunately this cleaning out of too much stuff was happening before the flooding so there was too much stuff in there initially and now there's even less space and everything is just a nightmare.

I will likely ask if they will be replacing all of the carpet and try to find out what the overall situation is. I'm a bit disturbed that they chose to cut the carpet in the bedroom as patching it will not be acceptable to me. When you have pets you really need to avoid carpet seams as a dog or cat can find a seam and rip that up in no time. It was something I specified when the carpet was laid and it needs to be replaced the same way.

My other concern is that all of the carpet upstairs and downstairs matched. Upstairs being especially important as my house is not particularly large and having different carpet colors in each of the rooms would only contribute to the small feeling upstairs. One of the reasons the downstairs feels so nice and open is the removal of the railing in front of the living room and the seamless laminate that wrapped through the kitchen, entry, halls and dining room.

If they do replace all of the carpet upstairs, which I really think they should if they cannot match the bedroom to the other carpet, I will want to be careful about what I put into the office as it will just need to be moved. I purchased a desk and bookcase at IKEA when I was in Florida to replace the current desk with no storage in the office. If they will be re-carpeting I will want to wait to assemble and install any new furniture.

There was an old wooden trunk against the wall in the bedroom that was standing in water for a few days. My dresser was up against the long wall (you can see it pushed out some) and part of it was also standing in water for at least two days. The dresser is solid wood similar to the furniture in the dining room. There is a furniture restoration company coming out today to look at the older furniture. I am concerned about long term water damage to many items, but especially these because they really are irreplaceable and the nicest things I own.

I can see from the water stain how far out the standing water went into the room. I figure if I did some measuring downstairs I could actually figure out where the light fixture that was gushing water is in relation to the floor. I haven't seen the room in it's entirety so I'm not sure where they have moved things to. I hate the fact that my room and house are not navigable. That contributes to my stress. In fact, while speaking to Dan I just realized that the champagne I purchased for tonight is still in my dining room on top of the wine fridge. I will need to take that to his house to chill for later as clearly my house is not suitable for guests at this time.
I asked Martha if she knew where the toilet was, she wasn't sure. I am not sure from that picture if that's a toilet in my shower or if they just hauled it out somewhere. I am wondering what will happen with the shower and if there was enough water leaked to justify the removal of the shower pan. It sure looks wet in that corner and I would guess that with all the standing water that the baseboards will need to be replaced in the bathroom. It appears they have already been removed, I'm not sure if they were saved or tossed.

It's sad to look at the place the tile used to be. I think I had that tile put in all of two years ago? Certainly it was very new. I wonder if I will be able to match the tile (as in does Lowe's still have it in stock) or should I change? And will it cost more if I choose to use a smaller tile?

I kind of wish I had more money saved up and we weren't on the edge of this recession so I could take this opportunity to do more upgrades - although I should really just think about resale value at this point. I like my house, but I'm looking for another location. Durham / Chapel Hill area would be nice. I just want to get rid of the Raleigh address. Maybe live a little further out and have a bigger house and yard.

A basement would be awfully nice but I imagine those flood. Water damage really seems to really be something that just keeps showing up in all kinds of little places. I figure the haste in drying and such is related to the danger of growing mold and mildew.

I am wondering how long this is all going to take? I guess it will be good once the contractors show up to start reviewing how everything will go back together. I don't know how they are going to come up with material selections at this point - or what will be repaired and what will be replaced. I need to work hard this weekend getting rid of things!! There are too many things in my house right now for all this to go smoothly. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Downstairs Demolition

The water damage downstairs had extended as far into the kitchen as the small island on the side of the fridge. All of the flooring had to be ripped out to start the drying process.

The de-humidifiers are about rib cage high and there is currently one in the living room and one in the kitchen.

I've run out of places to move furniture and other items. Everything furniture in the Living Room has been pushed back against the far wall. All of the personal items have been moved into the dining room for their protection. Anything else has also been put into the dining room.

Upstairs I've been forced to get things on the bed or as close to the far wall as possible. Other items have been moved into my office.

Dexter gets locked in the office during the day with the dogs. I am concerned that with all the coming and going that he might get outside.

This is the eating area of my kitchen. The water was coming down from the fixture in here and destroyed the table beneath it. It also seems to have destroyed all of the things sitting on that table.

Martha is continuing to investigate which of her items are damaged beyond repair.

Yesterday they were unable to finish the 'demolition' because there was so much work to do downstairs as far as floor and ceiling removal and pulling up carpet. When they left I had 5 fans and two dehumidifiers. The Dehumidifiers are pretty neat as they have these long clear hoses that are continually draining the water they remove from the air down the drain in the half bath. Here you can see one of the de-humidifiers in the living room and all of the living room furniture up against the far wall. There is a fan on either side of the living room blowing under the carpet. It is my understanding that the carpet pad that I pay extra for has been removed. Note to self: Make sure they replace that carpet pad with a pad as good as the one they took out!When you look at the exposed plywood it's pretty easy to see how wet the wood is. I am really surprised by how quickly it spread and how 'soaked' everything seemed to get. Granted I didn't actually see the standing water and the water pouring out of the ceiling since I wasn't in town - but it sure seems like a lot, especially with what those de-humidifiers are pouring down the sink. Finally here is a view from the far side of the kitchen. You see right through the eat in portion of the kitchen where I gather most of the water came down - all the way to the far wall in the living room. The de-humidifier is sitting in the center of the room.

On the counter you can see the library books that were on the table. Martha is trying to dry those, I don't have much hope. The spine is dissolved on one of them, I'm pretty sure the others will end up with some sticking pages. She is supposed to take them to the library and get the replacement costs in writing so I can submit those to the insurance company. She also had some electronics on the table that no longer work. I told her to get information on what it would cost to replace those as well.

Today they are finishing up downstairs and they should have been tearing out the tile in the bathroom and lifting the carpet in the master and spare room to start the drying. I'm sure the cats are ecstatic.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas?

Friday night my sister came home to find water all over the downstairs and coming from the light fixture in the kitchen. My friends husband, Ambiorix and my sister did their best to clean up the water they found, but by the time I got home last night it was clear the situation was bad.

The ceiling was sagging and I could feel that the entire living room carpet was wet, the laminate hardwood flooring was swelling at the seams from my dining room all the way around to my kitchen, there were dark spots on the ceiling that indicated that the spare room also had water damage and there was water, enough that it squished when I walked on it, in the master bedroom in what seems like a 6 foot radius from the bathroom.

This morning I called State Farm to file a claim. State Farm was great, and someone was here within an hour evaluating the damage. They told me that with State Farm they actually do the work to dry everything out and then submit the bill to State Farm, I only had to pay my deductible.
They are removing the ceiling in the kitchen under the bathroom and part of the bedroom. They will also be removing all the flooring downstairs. Upstairs the tile will be removed from the bathroom and the toilet detached. The carpet in the living room and bedrooms will need to be pulled back, the carpet pad removed and they carpet may need to be replaced.

Because of the fact that I have seamless flooring in my downstairs and the ceiling downstairs is one piece, they will need to replace / refinish the entire downstairs and the entire floor will need to be replaced. They have also had to remove all the trim and crown moulding, will need to remove the baseboards upstairs.

I am told it will take approximately 3 to 5 days to dry. Drying involves these huge fans that I am told sound like a jet engine and dehumidifiers and so on. They will be running 24 hours a day and the company will come out to check the progress every day.

Once it is dry, the contractors come in and begin to make estimates and I will need to pick out replacement materials like tile, paint, flooring and possibly carpet. I have no idea how long that will take. Certainly it's going to be a pain, but I do have the option of paying for 'upgrades' like improved flooring, knock down ceilings etc. So even though it will be a major hassle that could last for weeks, it seems that at least I will get something out of it.

The guy that showed up today said that State Farm is the best company they work for. I hope he's right I also need to make an inventory of personal items to be replaced. One of those items may very well be my dining room table. There were some library books on the table that are soaking wet and Martha had some electronics up there that may not be salvageable. Unfortunately I also lost a few irreplaceable items including some Christmas ornaments that were my grandmothers, some I made as a child and several of my 'annual' Christmas ornaments. I'm sad, but it could be worse.

State Farm just called and got the details, I'm supposed to find a like / kind replacement price for my table and they gave me my claim ID# and some contact numbers. I hope this is less painful than I'm worried it will be.

They will still be ripping stuff up for the rest of the day, and as they find more water damage they will let me know what I need to move. We already had to get all the pictures off the wall because the fans are pretty powerful and can blow stuff off the walls. I've also moved all the pottery and other art so that it won't be damaged. They haven't gotten upstairs yet. That will another round of exciting surprises I suppose....

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dexter's first Christmas and a trip to Florida

Dexter came to Florida with me for his first Christmas. Christmas is a big deal for inside cats as for many of them it is the only time they will ever see a tree! Being in Florida my parents don't use a real tree. We had one only a few times when I grew up. It used to be something I wanted terribly and getting a real tree was like getting a treat. As an adult my view of the real tree has changed dramatically. What really did it was continuing to find needles in my house well through July - and then finding a whole mess of needles under the carpet when it was pulled up for the reflooring. In Florida most of our trees were cut over the summer. They are so close to dead by the time they get here you have little hope of their needles hanging on long. I remember a neighbor who had two trees one year that both lost their needles. For the third tree she oped for a tree with that white fake snow flocking sprayed all over it to hold the needles on.

Regardless, Dexter was happy to bite the fake tree and it's ornaments. He liked to inspect the packages beneath it and he also all the bits of ribbon and string lying about. He was actually pretty good in the car, mostly sleeping and only a few tragic 'meow's. Tsu has done this a few times before so she's pretty laid back about most things. I took a few pictures of her from her level. She's wearing her collar for the trip (safety first) and has her 'Jingle Cat' tag on. I have to say that when I can get a picture of her, she looks quite sleek and pretty. One of my favorites actually has her sitting in a chair at my kitchen table looking at a book on the table. In the pictures her coat looks sleek and black and she stands out well against most backgrounds.

Being a kitten, Dexter is rather oblivious to the cat hierarchy around him. My mothers cats come up to investigate, perhaps even hiss in his general direction, and he just bumbles through.

Certainly there have been some pretty good pictures of both of them. Dexter as he bites the Christmas tree and both as they stretch out on the sofa for a nap.

This is a picture my father took with his very excellent camera. The one's I have just show a washed out cat on a washed out sheet - He managed to get the shadows by not using a flash - something that would have been too dark with my little Canon Elph - but I really do love that camera. I'm not much of a photographer so quality isn't that important - but the resolution is high and it's the size of a deck of cards. That makes it easy to carry with me so I have it when I want it. It really comes down to volume. I take bad pictures in general, so I take as many as I can in hopes that at least a few of them will be decent.

In fact he just walked in here and gave me a squeaky meow as he hopped into my lap!

Last night mom started to work on the goose, remove the fat and get it braised for today. Dad dug up some of his childhood 'farm' skills and de-boned and cut up the goose (thank goodness because boy was that gross) and mom tried to render the fat in a frying pan but burned up the first lot - a truly liquid black mess. ewww.
Here you can see mom and dad trying to get a picture with their cats to send to a family friend. Mom has a string and Tsu is interested in being part of the picture. Dexter watched from the edge there for a while, but did end up going after the string himself - much to the dismay of Cricket who you can see in my father's lap. There were several of these pictures under the tree as their cats were not so very interested in being part of this event. The idea is to add these pictures to an email template that shows the pictures so when she gets the emails everything is very easy. There is some sort of odd email printer that actually prints these emails as they come. Mrs. Kelly (the family friend) used to live next door and now lives in Texas. She isn't really familiar with email and Internet and I believe this is an attempt by her children to get her to use email. Hopefully it works.

Last night I made Mahi Mahi on a steamed bulb of baby bok choy with a roasted tomato vinaigrette. Very tasty and certainly will use that vinaigrette for some other dishes! The recipe actually calls for Salmon but I'm a little off Salmon having had so much of it over the years. The firm white Mahi Mahi was really quite nice.

I tried for a few new pictures with Dexter for my 'profile pic'. The one I have up is cute and all but he's not looking at the camera and he has a few eye boogies. I cleaned out his eyes and took several over the course of the afternoon in hopes that we might both look OK in one of them.

My mother has pointed out that Dexter has rather short legs, something I hadn't noticed but I have to admit that she's right. Kind of like one of those Munchkin cats, but actually more in the middle - like his leg length falls right between Munchkin and regular. She keeps calling him the weasel or the ferret as when he first got here he was a little slinky and even lower to the ground. Personally I think he looks more like a lion with his little broad nose!

Tonight I am making a seared scallop over braised radicchio with a grapefruit beurre blanc sauce. That will be the first course and then we will have the goose with some roasted root vegetables. I've never had goose, so I hope it's good. There certainly isn't much of it in terms of actual meat but there was a lot of fat. Kind of makes me wonder how a goose gets around with so little muscle. I am also supposed to make a creme brulee but I got a backup from Trader Joe's on the way out of town just in case. Dessert isn't really my forte.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last night Dexter was up in my lap being as lovey as ever. He's chatty and has a funny little voice. I was noticing his feet and his extra toes and couldn't help but to think how they were just not as big as Horus's feet. Horus, even without the toes, just had huge feet and was a big cat. I could hear him clomping through the kitchen and knew exactly who it was.

Doing a search for some email a few nights ago I had an email I had sent the woman who found Horus's mom with a picture of him and I had made the comment that Horus was just the best cat and how I loved him so very very much. I wanted to cry.

I hope he's not dead, I hope he comes home. It will be 5 months he has been gone on the 26th.

Dexter is a great little cat, but his personality is very different from Horus. They are both quite well behaved and have funny voices, in fact all of my cats are very different and none of them can take the others place.

Dexter is my first longer haired cat and he has a sweet little smile and loves to just look at you. He's like a little lion with a squeeky roar. You can see his happy, handsome fact here. He'll be 6 months old soon and he's the baby of the house. I'm taking him to Florida for Christmas to meet my parents 3 orange cats and their black and white polydactyl. Horus didn't enjoy meeting other cats so much but Dexter is really laid back. I suspect it comes from living with Tia and her other cats as she nursed him over his first few months. He's also my only kittie prone to eye boogies!

Obligitory Christmas (Holiday) Cards

Last year I was feeling a bit down in the dumps for the holiday season - and I decided that I wasn't up for sending out holiday cards. So I didn't.

This year, I'm back on the Christmas Card bandwagon - and I can't help but to notice that this year I've received a lot more cards than last year. I can't imagine that everyone was having an off year...which brings me to my question.

How many of us quickly send out a card to the people that we receive cards from? Maybe you didn't send a card to Aunt Elsie, but when you receive her card do you quickly run to pop a signed card in the mailbox for her?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A little house cleaning

When my sister moved in I needed to remove all of my personal items from the spare bedroom and hall bathroom. This has resulted in an office that is packed with 'things' and a bedroom that is packed with baskets of yarn (I'm a knitter). Today I started to FINALLY tackle the office.

Seems there were a number of items left over from previous jobs. I've also discovered that even with the elimination of what must have been 8 boxes of books, I still have too many books for my bookshelves.

Phonebooks, old papers, magazines - it all has to go. And right now a significant portion of it is sitting outside the office door in two large garbage bags and a box. I sure hope I can get them downstairs..

The dog crates have also come to reside in the office. For about two months they have been in the middle of the room taking up what felt like all of the free space. I brought them up here the day of Halloween party to get them out of the living room and decided I really prefer the look of my living room WITHOUT the crates. I'm not sure the bulldog will be real thrilled but I suspect I'm going to need to use the space above the crates as a sort of shelf.

This is all quite daunting and that leads to procrastination. (Which is why I'm here writing this instead of feverishly working on the rest of the office or moving my clean up project into the bedroom. I hate clutter, I hate living in it and this is really driving me crazy but I'm almost out of room which makes the work really difficult.

I bought this house from a family with two kids. I can't imagine how they managed to live here. Sometimes it just seems so very small.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

And so the Stray Cat Dies...

When Martha and I were cleaning up Declann's anal sack abcess last night it became clear that things were not quite right and certainly more severe than the average anal sack rupture.

I had him at the vet when they opened this morning. Dr. Jon took a look and Martha had been right - his colon had ruptured and was leaking out in this was what was in the anal sack. This is something that can be fixed under most circumstances, but considering that he was already malnourished (one of the reason's his colon skin was so thin and tore), not eating on his own and having liver problems - the most humane thing to do was to put him down.

He went very quickly once he had the shot which made me feel like he was ready to go. A few years ago when it was time to put down my childhood pet Dervish after a year long battle with cancer it took several shots before her heart stopped beating.

It's very hard for me to believe that this would have happened to a cat with claws since everything seems to be related to his inability to catch and eat food after he was 'lost'.

Shame this had to happen to such a nice cat. He really deserved better.

Friday, December 5, 2008

More cat nursing

Declann has his tube in now. We need to give him 4 to 6 feedings a day. Right now that feeding consists of just one tube. His belly is so tiny we can't start feeding him too much too fast. Eventually Dr. Jon says we should be up to 6 to 8 tubes in each feeding. The tube doesn't seem to bother him too much and he hasn't thrown up any of his meals so that part of it seems to be going well.

The tube goes in under his mandible and into his esophagus. It has been taped securely around his neck so that access is on the back of his neck. The food we give him is a high calorie food watered down to the consistence of a slurry.

What's unfortunate is that what I thought was diarrhea was actually an impacted anal gland that has now ruptured. But that does explain the revolting smell. When Martha gets home tonight I'm going to need her help to wash and flush it. There's really nothing that can be done except to keep him on antibiotics, clean it out and let it heal. He really is the most wonderful cat though, all this going on and he's still pleasant and purring. I'm sure he's uncomfortable - likely even great pain. I just hope he makes it through this, he will be a great lovey pet.

You can see from this picture that he really isn't looking so good. He lost a lot of weight in the last week of not eating, I wish we had put the tube in a week ago. His left eye is a little closed up with that inner eyelid. I expect that's from his anesthesia yesterday and it should go away soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bees Attack Stupid Guys

Yesterday I mentioned a commercial I have been hunting for on YouTube. A friend of mine sent me the link, clearly Pamela is the queen of Google / searching and I relinquish my title.


Nice huh?

The Stray Kitty Gets a Feeding Tube

I took Declann to the vet this morning. He seems pretty dehydrated, has diareahha and is just much skinnier than he was originally. He won't make it without 'agressive nutritional support' and I suspect that he should have been tubed a week ago. I am hoping he responds well and fairly quickly. Dr. Jon says we should know in two weeks. It sounds like his tube will need to stay in for 4 to 6 weeks in order to be successful.

I am told that the feeding tube is not particularly traumatic for the cat. With the tube he will also be able to get the hydration he needs. I'm going to set him up with a very specific diet plan and feeding schedule.

I'm also going to give him some pumpkin. I hear that most cats love the taste, and it's loaded with vitamins and fiber.

Mom seems to be considering taking him if he recovers. She's even given him a new name 'Raleigh'. I hope he makes it, I suspect I will know how he's doing by the end of the weekend.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cleaning the 'favorites' and finding a hilarious commercial...

Cleaning up my 'favorites' at work today I found this commercial - which for some reason I just absolutely love. Perhaps it's because I used to fly a lot?

On the other hand, one of my dogs tends to act like that man. You tell her not to do something, and she knows she's not supposed to do it - so she does as much of it as she can as quickly as she can until you stop her. Give me a dumb dog any day.

I just had to share that. It still makes me laugh. Actually, I'm laughing just thinking about it.

Another commercial I am looking for is the one where the two men are trying to cut down the bee hive hanging in a tree. The plan is for one man to cut it out of the tree so it drops straight down into the open trash can below the ladder while the second man secures the lid of the trash can.

As you might imagine, the plan goes awry. Problem is, I cannot remember who or what it's a commercial for and every search I have done has been unsuccessful. If you know it, PLEASE let me know!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The other night Dan played this for me, and now it's kind of stuck in my head. I figure most people have seen it at this point -

But it's the holiday season, so here it is:

Rock Out Schroder!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Icky things cats eat

Tonight I managed to get Declann to eat his first solid food.
Tender moments cat treats:

They have a really revolting smell that seems to appeal to him. He also drank water out of a dish. I did have to hold it up to him, but my sister had indicated that all he was interested in drinking was clam juice. I'm happy to say that he seems to be getting more motivated to eat. Unfortunately he's looking particularly sunken and I suspect he continues to be dehydrated. Certainly the intestinal difficulties can't be helping the hydration.

The other cats are fit to be tied that they don't get to feast on these delicacies that Declann is being offered.


About 4 months ago my orange tabby cat 'Horus' disappeared. I've been looking for him and occasionally get calls from people who think they may have found my cat.

Last Monday I received a call from a man that actually had a polydactyl (extra toes) cat like Horus. When I went to see the cat a few things were clear. #1 - Sadly, it was not Horus. and #2 - this cat was sick.

This stray had been declawed.

Mind you declawing is a pretty horrible practice on its own. To 'declaw' a cat the last bone of the cats toe actually has to be removed. An amputation of the last joint of your cats toes.

What ends up being particularly horrible here is that this declawed cat - either by accident or intent - ended up outside. And outside there wasn't any kibble. And without his claws he had no way to catch any.

His belly was full of nothing but fur and he has 'hepatic lipidosis' where his body eats his liver for nourishment and replaces the liver with fat.

The vet has been calling him '21' for the number of toes he has. We're calling him Declann. He is very loving and friendly, quite vocal too. And the good news for him is that the feline liver has the remarkable ability to regenerate. Therefore, in cats with idiopathic hepatic lipidosis recurrence is rare, and the cats that recover go on to live normal lives.

But, if you're considering declawing your cat just to keep the furniture intact, I might remind you that not only can cats be trained not to scratch the furniture but other options are available including products like 'Soft Paws'. And while you may think your cat will never go out, things happen. Things change. Do you really want to give your pet a death sentence just to keep the arm of the couch from being scratched?

B.B. King

Went with Dan to see B.B. King at the new Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) last night. You can see him perform 'The Thrill is Gone' on this video:

DPAC is a pretty nice place. They advertised that there wasn't a bad seat in the house and they may be right. We have tickets to several other upcoming events: Cirque Dreams, Bill Cosby and David Sedaris.