Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Blog in Four (completely unrelated) Acts

I thought it might be a good time to do a short blog with a collection of things I hadn't yet mentioned.. A few interesting pictures and a few boring updates. Kind of like a Christmas letter but the holidays are long over and there won't be any references to my kids.

Act 1: More Snow

My sister sent me this picture yesterday after she saw the snow post. I thought it was a really nice picture, certainly makes my fence look a lot prettier than it does on a daily basis.

This is looking out the side towards my evil neighbor's house. There would be more trees if the evil neighbor hadn't taken it upon himself to cut some of my trees down. But I digress.

It's really quite warm here today considering this snow fell just over a week ago. First nice snow fall in a few years. They are calling for some more snow showers next week but I would be terribly surprised if something managed to stick. I need to wash my car. Unfortunately the beauty of snow is very short lived.

Act 2: Wine

Tonight there is a wine class with Pamela. I'm not sure what the theme is, but it will be nice to get out again. It's been a month since the last class and I've been drinking swill as a result of my very tight budget. I enjoy the wine classes, learning about the wines and being able to taste the wines without having to commit to a whole bottle.

After class, Pamela is going to come over and I'm going to make some food for us. It will also be nice to cook for a foodie person. I'm thinking some nice oven roasted veggies and a lean meat. It won't be so homey around there but it will do...

Act 3: Vampire Cats or 'Catula'

My mother has a cat they call Puddy. Puddy is kind of a huge pasty orange cat with some white. He came from Key West and doesn't have much of a personality, but he's sweet. When they first took him home he was a thin boy. Turns out he had some dental problems and as soon as they got fixed he started eating. He hasn't stopped yet. When I visit he hangs out in my bedroom and eats my cat's food. He's also in love with Tsu but has learned to better keep his distance. She gets rather aggravated with him.

Anyway, Puddy has a massive overbite. Even larger than my cat Cosmo. And he looks like a vampire cat. I had to hold his head to keep him looking at the camera, but I assure you his lips are not pulled back in that photo. Those are some impressive fangs.

Act 4:

Augusta is getting her new kitten tomorrow. Persephone came from a co-worker whose boyfriend found the kitten under a car in the driveway. She has been staying at Alley Cats and Angels and was supposed to go home over a month ago but there was some ringworm and then a cold.

Despite the delay, she waited and Persephone will be going to live with Augusta, Jason and Kennedy tomorrow. Kennedy (Augusta's daughter) seems to think that you can just 'keep' a kitten in your room. Good luck.

Persephone is also very tiny. Kind of a mini kitty. And she appears to still be pretty small. I won't be able to go see her tomorrow but I plan to go to visit Augusta on Saturday and see the new baby at home!

Augusta and Jason already have a grouchy Siamese cat that they took from me about 2+ years ago. Pamela found her outside her house 3 years ago and Eno (the Siamese) doesn't care for other cats.

Lucky for her Jason and Augusta do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

floor redux

Today I met with the project manager from the restoration company, the flooring contractor and the project manager from the flooring company to discuss the - uh - piss poor job the installer did putting in my floor. (For a description of each of the following pictures you can hold your mouse over the picture - unless you have Firefox, in which case you're just going to have to figure it out on your own.)

Mismatched trim and filler
I really hate complaining and it causes me stress to have to go and show people the things they did wrong. In addition I really want them all out of my house so I can clean it and have my house back. I like my house. I've had it for 10 years and basically it's decorated the way I like, it's comfortable and homey.

I have a nice fireplace that would be nice to sit in front of in this chilly weather, I have a deck I enjoy and basically - I like my house. But recently it's been dusty and there have been errant staples, nails and razor blades lying around. Trash in the back yard, trash in the front yard, random holes appearing in the walls and people in and out at all hours.

It's no longer a sanctuary, it's a souce of stress. I might mention here how great Dan's been in letting me stay with him so much over the last 3+ weeks as I think I very well may have lost my mind being here all the time. There is clutter, there is chaos and all my storage is gone. I clean my kitchen at night and dust my shelves and get home from work the next day to another 1mil layer of dust and grime across everything.

Note the HUGE gap and irregular cutsAnyway, back to the floor. This is the laminate floor I am talking about here. There's no point in even addressing the carpet situation until later. The first issues with the laminate flooring involve lazy finishing, at least those were the most obvious issues that led to me recognize other issues. It seems that they may have made all the flooring cuts from the wrong side of the laminate? or at least with a saw blade that needed to be changed. The edges were all chipped and there was a big damaged spot on the pantry floor that should have been noticed when they put the next board in - in fact would have been impossible to miss so I'm sure they were hoping I didn't notice. The chipped edges wouldn't be such a major deal I suppose except that a number of them actually stick out beyond the edge of the quarter round. If that wasn't bad enough, there are actually GAPS that stick out from under the quarter round. Somehow they seemed to think that was OK? There are a few thresholds where they pieced them with three pieces of laminate and tried to fix the joints with filler. When you look at the cuts it's clear that they weren't even cut straight to begin with - so they would never line up! Filler isn't for poor installations, filler is for later damage - or maybe tiny mistakes that aren't worth replacing. But when you use filler, shouldn't the filler at least match the floor? I would think so.

Black plastic peeling under the counterUnder the counter the kick panel has some kind of black plastic on it. The rest of the kick panels are black, so that's not an issue - the issue is that some of it's peeled back and some of it isn't. It's looks sloppy and like scraps. The trim 'matches' the floor - but when I look at it I see two different colors of trim. The guy from the flooring store tries to tell me that wood varies - and I think yeah, oak does look different from birch. Geesh guys. Use the same wood at least... But the other thing is that I have wood moulding all over my house. The light trim looks stupid on my floor. Get a clue. They should have stained it. And the joints are terrible. Someone needs to give these guys a miter saw or teach them how to use it.

I installed the first flooring with an ex, and granted he was pretty skilled in the woodworking department but he wasn't a flooring professional. The job we did on that floor was absolutely beautiful. There was one spot at the bottom of the stairs with a gap under the size of a pencil eraser. There were no chips, no other gaps, the seams were great and the floor looked great. I would expect a professional could do a job at least as good as I did. Wouldn't you?

Several of the closets had these bad seams and jointsSo that leads me to another issue that I wouldn't have mentioned if there hadn't been all the other problems... they laid the floor in the opposite direction of the original floor.

I looked up the installation guide for the flooring which states clearly that the flooring should be laid parallell to any light coming into the house and if light is not an issue, parallell to the longest wall in the room. If they had used either of those guidelines the flooring would have been laid in the other direction. And, as I mentioned before, the flooring they were replacing was laid in that direction...why would they take it upon themselves to change that? Unless they just weren't paying attention. And considering the condition of the rest of the floor the 'not paying attention' theory has got my vote.

This is to the right of my stove, if you look close you can see a gap between the floor and the trim - or you can click to enlarge the pictureThere's also a soft spot on the edge of the dining room that goes down pretty far when you step there. They seem not to know what that could be.

It occurs to me that after all the complaining I should probably remove any valuables from the house. Sigh. That installer was giving me some dirty looks....

In the backyard were boxes from the installation and a can of stain and a brush. Good thing the dogs didn't get into that.

There is some good news. The project manager from the restoration company is having the entire floor ripped out and they are starting from scratch. And they are laying the floor in the other direction.
Note the chipping from bad cutting - either from the wrong side or with an old saw bladeThe bad news is that means we have to go through all of this again, the tear out and the install. The install should only take about two days even if they do it right. Hopefully they will. I really don't want to continue with this.

This gap is just out in the middle of the floorMy State Farm representative will be made aware of the situation just in case they try to double charge for flooring installation or materials. I can't imagine they would be able to get away with that but you never know. I'm sure they are ticked but heck, I'm paying this same company $1,500 of my own money to replace the carpet in my office and on the stairs. Maybe I should re-think that!I don't even know what they were thinking here...
This last picture is in the small closet off my entry. Yes, I know it's a closet but imagine what they are charging insurance. See that tiny piece? It isn't even attached to anything. I can't even imagine what they were thinking? Perhaps that they were installing a floor for a blind person? That's the most rational explaination I have even though it implies a certain amount of laziness or dishonesty.

I'm glad the people that were here today recognize that this is a problem and that a poor job was done. I'm happy they are going to fix it and that there was very little argument about that. I just really wish it had been done right the first time as the whole 'house flood' scenario is bad enough as it is.

Snow at the Horace House

Last Tuesday, Inauguration Day, the Raleigh area got something fairly unheard of in these parts - at least over the last few years - snow.

I was at the Horace House with Dan and took some pictures. Sadly this remains about as much snow as I've ever seen... But it was awfully pretty. Take a look:
My car in the snow outside the Horace HouseSince my car was parked down the drive I think it got a bit more snow than it would have elsewhere. I remembered the following day that I didn't have an ice scraper or any kind of brush. I opted for a golf umbrella and the defrost. Unfortunately wherever the defrost gets its air intake from was covered with snow. So I got a little blast of the powdery stuff inside the car. Kind of a surprise.

I think the people riding around me were a bit pissed the next day as snow kept blowing off my car and obstructing their view. ((note to self: brush all snow off of car, not just what you need to see out the windows)) Give me a break here, I grew up in Florida and it doesn't exactly snow here regularly!

The snow laden omnious skyDan had been playing devils advocate and had done a fairly good job of convincing himself it wouldn't snow. He said he had been disappointed before and the weather people were always wrong. Mind you, he has a point. They often speak of snow that ends up being a flurry or a dusting. They even changed the forecast overnight to reduce the predicted snowfall by a few inches, but I think it caught up. It was snowing fairly briskly until well after noon in Chapel Hill.

Even when it stopped the sky continued to look fairly ominous. Here are some trees over the side lot of the Horace House. Looks more like Halloween than a snow day!

the Horace House bellSometime after it stopped snowing we ventured outside to check things out. The bell in the large side yard was well covered. A literal blanket of snow covered the lawn. Occasionally we saw animal tracks, but the animals were long gone. Deer I think, I am pretty sure I saw hooves. Funny thing is they seem to prefer the sidewalk to the yard itself.

Nothing had ventured through the side yard though, so there was this beautiful covering of untouched snow running over the hill into the next yard.

Dan walking up the drivewayDan walked up to check to see if the mailman had come (he also checked several times to see if the garbage had been picked up - apparently a comment had been made as Dan wheeled the trash cans to the curb on Tuesday evening. A woman walking past the drive told him that the 'trash wouldn't be picked up' which, understandably, put him off. Especially since at the time of the comment he had already wheeled the cans up there under the assumption this would be another dissapointing snowfall (better safe than sorry) and wasn't about to wheel them back to the house because some random and clarivoyant stranger 'knew' the trash wouldn't be picked up. I think he was hoping the trash would be picked up to prove the woman wrong...hoping this to the point that he checked cans even as he commented to me that if the trash actually had been picked up there wouldn't be snow on the lid...) At the side of the walk you could see where some sort of animal (again, I suspect deer) had walked through the yard and over to one of the basement windows. I couldn't help but to remember how Dan's tabby cat, Squiggy, had stared urgently at that window earlier in the day. The angle is such that it's really difficult to see anything and it opens basically under a porch so no large animal could have gotten that close - but I truly suspect she heard something. And the evidence was in the snow.

To the left of him as he walks up the driveway here you can see some small black tracks. Hard to tell in this pictures but they were definitely cloven and the path lead up the sidewalk with a slight diversion to the aforementioned window before heading back around the south side of the house and over to Franklin Street.

the red berried bushesOutside of Dan's door there are several bushes that are currently displaying bright red berries. My relationship with these bushes is one of love / hate. They are quite pretty, and even prettier in the snow - but the birds around the house rely on them for nourishment and rely on my car as a bathroom. Still, Tuesday morning they were quite nice and the birds were still huddled up in their nests. Even if there had been pooping I had a nice snow blanket over the car to keep the digested berries off.

After investigating the mail and various tracks we went on a walk around the neighborhood.weird shoe shrineThere's a circle of some sort and a park that Dan knows about but I am not particularly familiar with the area. On a lower street that ends up running into Boundary Rd. there is a park with lots of large rocks that is a memorial for some Chapel Hill local who was known for her gardens. On the wall to the side of this memorial garden there was a small vase with a 'silk' flower and a pair of decidedly unusual shoes. I'm not sure if this is somehow related to the woman that the park is named for or if there is some other Chapel Hill character being honored by this shrine, but it was certainly an unusual sight.

The shoes might be old? They might be new and styled in a retro sort of way. You be the judge.

My shoes for the occasion were decidedly boring. I was fortunate enough to have brought my black boots although I changed into some walking shoes for our actual walk. The boots did a good job of keeping the snow out of my shoes for the first inspection of the snow. I learned that cuffed trousers are not the best wardrobe choice for a snowfall as snow filled up the cuffs quickly as I walked and melted almost as quickly as I prepared to return feet

The snow turned out to be a stroke of good fortune for those of us that were hoping to watch the inauguration. I was able to do some work from 'home' - (bless the Internet) and still see the Obama's officially come into office.

There was warm apple cider and later there was baked pasta.

Sadly I would have liked to see my house during the snowfall as well, but Dan and I live pretty far apart and driving was not recommended. My sister was at home with the critters and sent over a few pictures off the deck including this hanging the Halloween skull decoration on my deck in Raleighskull decoration that gives away the fact that I still haven't cleaned the Halloween decorations off the back deck. Oops. I need to change those lights too. Shoot. Out of sight, out of mind.

The picture is actually pretty funny? ironic? and I think Dan still has it as his desktop.

I should probably look into taking down the rest of those decorations and cleaning up the backyard this weekend. Since my sister spends most of her time out there smoking I really haven't been out there much as it seems kind of like a place for her to have some privacy. Certainly I need that with the two of us on top of each other around here. Seems fair she should get some too.

a snow covered backyard before the dogs dirty it up...She took a few other pictures of the yard, the back yard looks rather pretty I think. The yard is only partially fenced with a low picket fence but it does fine for a Corgi and a really dumb Blue Heeler.

The benches around the fire pit are covered with snow and the fire pit is full of snow. As I look at this picture I realize that the top of one of the benches isn't on the blocks and I might need to address that this weekend as well. Thankfully that's an easy fix. Changing out those Halloween string lights won't be quite so easy. Hopefully Dan will be kind enough to take them down. Dan and my friend's husband, Jason, can both reach the lights without a stool or ladder which makes the task considerably less complicated and time consuming.

snow on the solar lights bordering the slate path around the Japanese MapleOut the front door there is a picture of the solar lights that border the slate path that borders my Japanese Maple. From the looks of things we got a few inches at my house. I live pretty close to US1 and the weather forecast said the US1 corridor was expected to get the heaviest snowfall. Certainly the snow stuck around my house for a few days. My house faces north and is fairly well surrounded by trees (one of the main reasons I purchased this house) so the snow melts off rather slowly. If it stays cold enough it can linger for a week.

True northerners might chuckle at this revelation but I tell you that in NC we get A SNOWFALL. And we might get another in a few weeks or next month but I cannot tell you the last time we had a second snowfall before the first had melted off.

the house across the streetThis final picture is diagonally out my front yard at a house across the street.

The view is through the snow-covered dogwood tree. Quite a pretty picture if you ask me. The neighbor is having some painting done so the maroon shutters have been removed from her house giving the entire picture a sort of 'black and white' look. At the bottom of the shot you can see part of the road and some tire marks. We joke that Raleigh only has one snowplow and that may be true. I know I've only seen it once and it was right after I had shoveled the driveway...and it piled up all of it's freshly plowed snow in a two foot drift at the base of my drive. Thanks Raleigh. Really appreciate that. I suppose someone thought I could use the exercise.

Monday, January 26, 2009

installing Cat Genie

So, after the Cat Genie arrives I am reminded of the rusted / frozen water connection in my laundry room that kept them from changing the hose when I had my washing machine installed. It also turns out that my drain pipe for the washing machine wouldn't fit both the washing machine drain hose and the Cat Genie drain hose. "crap."

The other issue is that the entire laundry room needed a thorough cleaning as Cosmo and some other cats have taken it upon themselves to urinate on the laundry room floor. I now keep sheets down to absorb any grossness, but initially it ran under the washer / dryer and that needed to be cleaned after some things were moved out of the room to make space.

On Saturday I took to assembling the Cat Genie, had some issues with the bowl turning and needed to do some investigation to figure that out. Overall though the installation process was pretty simple...but a better picture of the bottom of the bowl and where that white grid thing-a-ma-bob that helps it turn resides wouldn't hurt anyone.

In order to remove the rusted hose I needed to purchase a hack saw and borrow some WD40 from my sister (I have some in the garage somewhere but with the other house construction it's pretty hard to get in the garage to find anything). Following some instructions I found on the Internet I hack sawed the hose connector at an angle and used needle nosed pliers to peel back the edge. Not easy, but manageable.
The WD40 was essential at this point. The peeled edge made it possible for the WD40 to ooze into the grooves and eventually made it possible for me to unscrew the hose. You can see the pool of rust and the metal dust from the hack saw in this picture.

I cleaned up the rusty edge and the metal dust and then replaced the cold water hose with the new one and hooked up the T connector Cat Genie supplies for such things. I also needed to purchase a new drain hose for my washing machine. (Getting frustrated and creative on Saturday night I bore a hole in the drain hose I had. Just the goose neck connector, but it turns out I was unable to buy this on its own.) Luckily the new hose had a slightly smaller goose neck hose.

By chipping away at the edge of the opening with a screwdriver and hammer (think chisel here) I was able to get the opening a bit larger (the actual drain pipe below was larger and would accommodate both hoses) so that both hoses would actually go through the opening of the fancy wall insert.

So here you can see the final product, cold water is hooked up using the fancy T connector. That's the water input hose for the Cat Genie with the plastic white connector sticking out of the top. In the middle you can see the gray washing machine drain hose and the white Cat Genie drain hose going into the same drain pipe in the laundry room.

Now the fun part. At least for some of the kitties. The younger ones anyway. I hear one of my sisters cats is afraid of the Cat Genie.

Dexter finds the Cat Genie fascinating. He also likes to watch it when it's running. And dip his dainty paw in the water. I know he's peed in there a few times, but my sister tells me no pooping yet. It also seems that another cat peed in there sometime today. Go kitties! Let's use the expensive self cleaning toilet!!

My sister suggested training Dexter to flush the toilet but I suspect that could be an expensive enterprise as he might just flush it to watch it run. Not only that, but the cycle is around 30 minutes total. 3 washes and then a drying cycle so I would sure hate for it to be running for Dexter's amusement when another cat wanted to use it. I suspect the others would be afraid of the noise and motion of the cycle. Such interests are typically exclusive to kittens.

He also seems to like water. This is something that has come to my sister's attention and also to mine. He has the same tendency that some cats do to drop things into the water dish. He also was fairly fascinated with the Jacuzzi tub that my parents have put into their hall bathroom. At any given time you could walk by that door and a speedy orange kitten would come shooting out over the edge and down the hall in an ever so guilty sort of way.

Last night I took a short video of Dexter enjoying the game that is his new potty:

He's pretty darn cute. But I might just be a bit biased here. Judge for yourself.

Monday, January 19, 2009

introducing CatGenie

I have purchased a CatGenie.

The reviews seem pretty good and certainly the issues that people have seem to have been resolved with new versions of the unit.

The CatGenie seems to function much like a real toilet. and it's not something you have to scoop or change. It actually hooks into a water line and a waste line in your home. I plan to put the one I purchased in the laundry room and see how it does.

I read that the customer service is excellent.

But one more expensive step on the road to a horde of cats that don't use my floor as a potty. Here's hoping a clean potty will be inspiring.

I purchased it on Friday since Amazon had it on their Friday sale. Free shipping and the lowest price I saw. I can deal with accessories and hook up later....

paint fumes

When I saw the ceiling last week I thought that it had been painted. At least I had been told by the Project Manager that there would be painting. I inspected the walls downstairs and looked for signs of painting but really didn't see anything that indicated to me that painting was occurring.
It seems that perhaps all they painted last week was the hallway and the bathroom. Today they showed up and started masking off all the walls as they painted the ceilings. My sister is home today and it seems that the ceiling painting occurred mostly before they went to lunch. She sent some more pictures after they were out of house that show the wall preparation that has been done. My coat hooks and my organizer by the front door have been taken down. Looks like they are doing a pretty thorough job. There were some funky patches on the wall facing the stairs that have been there as long as I have lived in the house. From the looks of this picture they are fixing those spots.
I have also asked that they repair a spot beneath my telephone that I tried to patch and did a really poor job fixing. You can actually push on the wall and it kind of That hadn't been done yet so I called the Project Manager this morning to ask that he mention that to the contractor again.
This weekend I did some more cleaning that will probably be undetectable by the end of the day. Lots of dust everywhere again, even a thin coat of grime on my fridge. I wiped down the front and sides I could get to, but surely I will need to do something on the top and pull it out to get the rest. I would like to get the walls in the kitchen painted too at some point I will need to pull out the fridge to get to those anyway.
I cleaned some major dust / grime off the ceiling fans. I swept the underlayment and cleaned up a lot in the laundry room. Cosmo and Tsu are still basically living in the laundry room. Tsu keeps running into the garage and camping out in heated cat cup in front of the heater I put out there to make things more comfortable for Cosmo. Unfortunately Cosmo really doesn't want to go out there... which is a shame since Tsu is the "good cat" and Cosmo is "not the good cat".
Dishes are run, counters are clean and I moved stuff back onto the book cases in the living room since it will be a month before there is new carpet. Sometime in the next few weeks I will need to move stuff out of the laundry room and clean under the washer and dryer in preparation for the new kitty toilet. I'm not exactly sure where I am going to put things from the office when the new carpet goes in there. Certainly it's an opportunity to organize and get rid of the junk. Like that huge ugly desk....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

restoration begins

I haven't been home since Tuesday morning. A lot has changed, not as much as I would have hoped - but at least the place looks better and cleaner.
They have put down the underlayment on the first floor. The plywood being covered is a vast improvement. Not to mention I am hoping that will take care of the downstairs nail and staple problem. It doesn't appear that anything downstairs has been painted including the ceiling, which, upon examination seems to look pretty good. Certainly it doesn't seem like it has been patched.

But, regarding patching, they haven't done anything on the inside wall of the living room and that stupid light switch on the fan is still buzzing and sparking. I suspect I am going to have to address that myself tonight. I don't know what electrician told them he had fixed things but he must be really oblivious. There is fire and smoke coming from the switch when it's turned on. How much clearer does it have to be?
My sister says they painted the hallway - that explains the plastic on the stair railings. Certainly it looks that all the painting that occurred was in the hallway or the bathroom. I get the feeling that contractors work really short days. At least all of their day isn't spent at the site in question. They arrive after I leave for work and are gone long before I get home. Seems kind of like a 6 hour day actually. I guess there is time spent picking up materials and so on. I find it interesting that they covered my railings but not my stair carpet. I should inspect it. If I'm lucky they spilled some paint - but that really is too much to hope for I guess.
The master bath is looking much better. My toilet is no longer in my shower and it is attached and working.

I like the color of the tile and I like it with the wood. I'm glad I selected it. I'm still glad that I have the white in the other two bathrooms and laundry room (just the way they are decorated - although it would probably be nice in the half bath) but it's nice to have something slightly different in the master.

It appears that when putting in the baseboards or painting or whatever today that they broke a few tiles off my wall. These are the gray shower tiles that actually wrap slightly outside the door. Also, I'm also not terribly impressed with the toilet to wall hose their plumbing contractor chose.

Ironic since that's where this whole mess started.

On my spreadsheet of things to watch I am noting the tile, the place where the tile is missing grout and the place under the cabinet that is either missing tile or grout. Not sure what needs to be done to fix it, but it sure wasn't like that before now.
There's a little hole where you can see under the wall there. It looks like the wood, but that small brown line there where the wall meets the floor is actually the wall NOT meeting the floor. That's something we will have to discuss if they don't take care of it on their own. I can't imagine what kind of funk could get under there in a bathroom. I sure don't want to figure out how to get it out of there.

No sign of carpet. No sign of flooring. I'm taking a wild guess, but I'm thinking there won't be any tomorrow either.

Cosmo and Tsu were crammed into the wicker cat basket together. This is actually an improvement as the last time I was here they were fighting over it. The basket is sitting on top of the dryer and they appear to be fine with that as long as I don't use the washer or the dryer. Bad news for them but I'm going to have to use them tonight and it's their own fault since I need to use them to wash the sheets that they have taken to piddling on in front of the washer / dryer.
The new underlament in the dining room is all down. I kind of wonder what they found when they pulled up the last of the laminate floor as that was Cosmo's favorite pee spot - and I think it became a favorite of Widget's too. On the other hand, I don't really want to know and I rather think I would be quite embarrassed.

This is one of those times that it's good that a lot of the workers don't speak English. They can talk about the smell amongst themselves but most of the supervisors can't understand them. right?

between dryout, demolition and restoration...

It's the 15th, which means that this has been going on for 18 days. 3 weeks since the initial damage.

I've been mostly staying with Dan (who, it turns out is a Saint) and living out of a suitcase in my car which I wash weekly. My clothes are mostly packed in these plastic storage bags (see left) as my dresser is gone. There is still clothing hanging in my closet, but suits and dresses don't travel well when you're living out of your car and I suspect none of those pants fit - but that's another story.

The problem with coming home is that I don't end up sleeping much. As I look around my house all I see are things that need to be done, things that are dirty, things that are out of order. Cat potties to police, counters to wipe, dishes to do, things to dust (those terrible fans put a nasty, thick layer of dust on about everything in the house from what I can tell).

There is still too much stuff in the kitchen but the other night I cleaned the kitchen when I was home. As my sister will gladly admit, she's not much of a housekeeper. Counters wiped, dishes done, things sorted and placed against the walls. Sink scrubbed, trash out, stove cleaned, microwave and toaster oven wiped free of the afore mentioned nasty dust layer...

If you didn't look at the floor, it didn't actually look so bad. Note I've been meaning to repaint my kitchen for years now. The purple doesn't really go with anything anymore, but I just haven't ever managed to get around to it. I had planned to last weekend but Dan had his first Saturday off in months and honestly, I wasn't that inspired when it came down to it.

At least things were clean(er).

I was down in the kitchen earlier tonight and it appears that a cleaning is in order again. Apparently they moved the fridge today and laid a lot of 1/4" wood to prepare for the flooring. That resulted in all the baskets I keep with medicine and such being moved on to my counters. Which I doubt have been wiped since I did it a week ago.... I haven't been home in two days - a lot has changed, but not really enough I think. I'm starting a spreadsheet with outstanding items so I don't forget to point various things out.

My sister says that Dexter, the kitten, has been very upset by being locked up every day. It's a shame and I hate it for all of them, but none of them need to get outside. Especially considering someone around here has taken it upon themselves to shoot my pets with BB's.

Tucker seems unfazed by Sadie's absence. It might help that Ash is around. But, after 5 1/2 years she might have been sick of fighting with Sadie for attention. On Monday some friends were over and she was jumping on the couch and getting her belly rubbed and basically everything she wanted without the worry of Sadie sticking her head in the middle of things.

Cosmo seems OK, after his ordeal. He finally moved out of his apartment and is now living in the laundry room with Tsu during the day. The wicker basket my parents sent home at the holidays is now living on top of the dryer and provides a sheltered hole to hide in. Unfortunately the sheets at the base of the washing machine and the dryer seem to provide an alternative to the litter least in their opinion. I even suspect my good girl Tsu is using the sheets. I'm not sure how to deal with the inappropriate elimination issue in regards to the new floor. I hate locking Cosmo up - but I'm really sick of him ruining my house. Unfortunately I can't let him outside with the BB guy around here somewhere and I feel that leaving him in the garage isn't the best solution for him either. But that may end up being his daytime option. Here he is eating and drinking on the coffee table. The other night we pulled out the sofa in front of the TV and made things workable, at least for that night. I can't put food on the floor because the dogs eat it - and Tsu and Cosmo are definitely cautious around the dogs these days. I can't blame them.

On Tuesday I made my final selections for flooring and carpet. Carpet was pretty easy as I just needed it to match what I already have as closely as possible since all the upstairs rooms aren't being replaced. The flooring was more of an issue, especially since they no longer make my flooring and the exact color didn't seem to be available. The cherry was a little darker and the beech a little lighter. I took a few pictures with the shelf that usually sits on top of one of the dining room credenza's next to each sample with a piece of trim and a piece of the old flooring next to it. Ultimately I ended up at the flooring store to look at the larger sample of beech.

See, my house doesn't get a lot of light, but I love my wood trim and the cosy feeling of the house. Yet, I want it to feel larger and open and the lighter color seemed a safer bet as I think the cherry would have just added to the whole 'cherry cave' thing my downstairs seems to have going for it.

I've selected the beech. Not sure how long it will take to get here. I don't know if it was in stock or if it had to be ordered. I think it will look good, I hope it will look good. I hope. At least it will be new....

Friday, January 9, 2009

and the emotional damage not covered by your homeowner's poicy..

On Tuesday they finally took the last of the fans. Later that morning I met with the project manager that would be managing the rebuild. They have taken samples of flooring and carpet and are waiting for results on the value so that I can select materials. I went to Lowe's to look at tile and there really isn't anything I like more than what I already have - but I'm going to try it in a beige instead of a white and use a light gray grout instead of the marble.

Unfortunately this hasn't progressed quickly enough and the pets have all been in varying difficult moods.

On Monday, Sadie attacked Tsu. Tsu was in shock, hyperventilating and all of her lower teeth had been knocked out. There was blood. I rushed her to the emergency hospital where they started to work on managing her pain and making sure she had no internal injuries. She has 3 teeth left. She probably needs to go back for a little dentist surgery about a week from now. You can get the idea from the picture.
When it first happened no one was there to witness what led to the attack. Sadie is 5 1/2 years old and was raised with cats, including Tsu. Tsu is 14+. They have always gotten along well to the point where they could share a sofa cushion. So I assumed that something else had happened, perhaps another injury like the staple she got in her foot over the weekend? On Tuesday I moved Tsu to her regular vet.

On Wednesday night I got home from work and immediately went upstairs to let the dogs out of their crates. As usually they came running out of their crates and down the stairs. I was behind them. At the bottom of the stairs Sadie made a beeline for Cosmo.

Cosmo is 13 years old and was also here when Sadie was just a puppy. I couldn't get her off him, she wouldn't listen to me when I told her to stop, sit, crate...she broke away when I grabbed her collar...she chased him all over downstairs and had him in her mouth several times even with me twisting her collar.

Sadie is an English Bulldog / Boxer mix. She's a strong dog. Cosmo was crying out and there was blood in the dining room. I finally managed to get the dogs outside. Sadie looked as sweet and happy as always. But, suddenly I knew that Tsu had been attacked and it wasn't just an accident.

There has been a lot of stress here. Cosmo and Tsu had been 'living' on the dining room table until the furniture re finishers cAdd Imageame and picked up the furniture on Tuesday morning. There had been fans and dehumidifiers on for over a week. There is no flooring. Dust is everywhere. The ceiling has been cut away.
Add to this the dogs next door that keep getting out and breaking into my fence. They have also chased me from my car, trapped me in my house and cornered my dogs under the deck furniture.
I know that these things all contributed to Sadie's snap.

But, I could never trust again that if she was left alone and under stress that she wouldn't go after another animal. Or even a person. I was afraid I was going to have to put her down. I had my sister contact my ex and ask if he would take her (she was originally his dog even though we haven't spoken in a year and a half). He agreed and my sister arranged to drive her to his house after she got home.
I packed up all her things. I did my best to say goodbye. She was just excited that she was going for a ride in the car and had no idea that I would never see her again. She was my sweet lovey dog with the doe eyes. She would lie with me on the couch, put her head in my lap. I cried all last night, I kept breaking down at work today and I am crying now. But it was the right thing to do. But I blame the leak. And insurance can't cover the fact that I had to give up my dog because this situation became too much for her.
Tsu came home on Thursday. She's having some trouble walking but her x-rays were good so right now I have to assume it's just bruising. I know she's in a great deal of pain. She only has 3 teeth left so I was feeding her canned food but in the last few hours she has taken to gumming dry kibble. I can see it's hard for her to lie down, I hope she heals quickly.

Cosmo isn't bleeding and he finally came out of the closet he had moved into on his own. My sister said that he was fine, but had decided that he had a new kitty condo and liked room service. I hate to break it to him but they will need him out of there to put the new flooring in.
Before the last humidifier went away Dexter had taken to sitting on it. He seems to be the only member of the household not affected by all this disorder. Personally it's wearing hard on me. I had to give up a dog I love because it caused her to snap. I almost lost two cats I love because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've been staying with Dan for a week and I am sure that is wearing on him.

Tonight I am at home. I haven't been able to sleep. First, my bedroom is rather in disorder, at least it is without carpet or a bathroom. Second I've been obsessed with cleaning up what I can control. There is a thick layer of nasty dust on everything and this included the kitchen (which also had a fair amount of gross food stuff that should have been wiped up when it was spilled). I gave the kitchen as thorough a cleaning as I could and removed a lot of trash. It does look better down there and I am feeling a tad more relaxed.

I am told that drywall can begin on Monday, so I guess that means ceilings and walls will be repaired. Hopefully they will finally look at that light switch in the living room that was smoking. I have been planning to paint my kitchen for years and I am trying to make sure I do that on Saturday. It would be preferable to paint it while the floor is up in case there are spills. I need to remember to speak to the contractor about repairing the hole I made in the wall while he is here. I will have to cover that myself, but I've been meaning to have someone do it and this sure seems like the time.