Archive for the ‘House’ Category
Despite the annoying fact that I could see my breath on the train this morning, I still believe this will be a good day. Snow blankets everything, making the city feel like a Disney movie set. And there is something about the sound of falling snow. It’s like silence… only aloud. Also, while shoveling out the mail box this morning, even the roar of our neighbors’ snow blowers sounded soothing (maybe that’s because we ordered our own snow blower after Mike spent hours shoveling last night…). Plus, no one appears to be in the office yet, so I can sit at my desk, actually accomplishing things, while listening to my collection of Christmas music (which has now reached 116 songs).
Mike and I trade off on holidays. In even years, my family “gets” us for Thanksgiving, and his for Christmas. In odd years, such as 2007, we do the reverse. This year’s Thanksgiving was not too unlike that of two years ago. The major changes being a reduction in the number of pies and the absence of Kate. After the traditional (though less exciting without Kate) shopping-of-crazy, Mike’s mom and I were heading south along 93 to our house. I called Mike to let him and his father know that we were on our way, and Mike gave me a heads up.
“The heat’s broken.”
He continued to give me some more details about the problem, and to tell me that he’d called the home warranty people. Thankfully we have that home warranty, which we might not have considered getting on our own. Thank you home sellers!
So we spent Friday night huddling under blankets, watching movies on HBO, and waiting patiently for the on-call plumber to come. That is, after being on hold with the warranty people approximately eight dozen times and finally getting the direct number to the plumbing company. He eventually did come after midnight, apprentice in tow.
They smelled of stale cigarettes and coffee, and looked just slightly more tired than I would prefer for someone who’s coming in to work on my house, but on the Friday after Thanksgiving, ones options are more than a little bit limited. We showed them the boiler, and went upstairs to watch more movies on HBO. Every few minutes, the apprentice would go by, go out the front door, and come back in carrying yet another tool. “New guy carries the tools.”
Suddenly, it started to get warmer. I stuck my hand behind the sofa, and felt the warmth of working heat. I did a little celebratory dance in my head, and looked forward to the guys leaving the house so I could sleep.
The big guy finally came upstairs and asked me to get the work order number from the warranty people. I acquired that, and their phone number, and handed it off to him. He went outside and came back in several minutes later with his cell phone on speaker. “Yeah, I’ve heard that hold music before.” He disappeared for a while back to the basement, presumably to clean up his crap.
When he came back upstairs, he handed me his phone, and I got our official “emergency approval number” or some such crap. Normally, I guess, they wouldn’t approve of paying overtime for the contractors, and would have made us wait until Monday. I took down the emergency number and rolled my eyes as they told me that I’d pay him and they’d reimburse me later. Lame! Even the plumber didn’t think it would work that way, and he went back out to his truck to make a different invoice. I wrote him a check, careful to make sure my carbon copy came out clean, and took our copy of the invoice.
The next morning, we woke up slowly. Well, everyone else did. I was up early because my brain refuses to sleep past 7:00. Lucky for me (and the people sleeping in our house), the new guitar for Rock Band has a silent strum bar :).
Eventually, breakfast was had, and we got in the car to go to Boston. Instead of a play this year, we went to the Museum of Science, and “Experienced” CSI. It was pretty cool, though not at all what I was expecting. And we never did find the miniatures. We topped off the night with a trip to my favorite restaurant, and were soon on our way back home.
Home, sweet… Damn! It’s effing freezing in here!
We repeated the shivering of the night before, while I called the warranty people again. Hold! I talked to a guy who mumbled and made no sense, but who seemed to eventually get that we should be approved for emergency again, as it was even colder than the day before. I asked if I should call the plumber myself, but he assured me that they would do it and follow their procedures.
So, we settled in for another evening of HBO movies. An hour into our second bank-robbery-related movie in as many days, Mike checked online. They still hadn’t updated our account with a new work order! So, back on hold. I swear, they have the most annoying hold music ever. And this time, I was on hold long enough to make it to the second (and even more annoying) song.
I made annoyed mutterings at the guy who finally answered, and he gave me “permission” to call the plumbers directly. The call-center person took our name, address, and phone number and said she’d page Dean, the plumber who came the day before. He called back shortly afterwards, sounding very annoyed that our heat only breaks at night. I apologized, telling him how the warranty company had screwed us both out of our proper sleep, but with his cranky attitude, I was afraid he’d never come.
After the movie was over, I called the call-center back again, because he hadn’t come. They took the name, address, and phone number again, saying they’d page him again. I made sure he was the one who was supposed to be on call – I would feel bad if they paged him on his true day off just because he had done the work the day before. But she assured me that Dean was the on-call guy for heat that day.
Eventually, we heard the welcome sounds of their truck from the street. Mike’s parents had both gone to bed, and it was once again after midnight. They went downstairs and the same ritual of running tools commenced. After quite some time, they came up and said they needed to go out for a smoke. Less than promising, because that implied to me that they had not yet determined the problem.
After another hour or so of them clanking on things in the basement, he came up. I looked up hopefully from my blanket cocoon, but he told us he had bad news. The “computer board” was fried. He suspected that it had shorted the part he’d replaced the night before, and had finally given up itself. Unfortunately, they don’t carry around circuit boards for every make and model of boiler, so we’d have to wait until Monday for him to track one down. And even if he found one then, it might need to be shipped. So in reality, we’d be heat-free until Tuesday at the earliest. He advised us to get space heaters first thing in the morning.
So, we blew up the air mattress upstairs, where it was still warm due to the remaining electric heat (suddenly, it doesn’t seem so bad to have mixed heat). We huddled under blankets and slept fitfully until my cell phone alarm went off at 7:00. I ventured downstairs to find that the temperature had dropped almost down to 50. Shivering, I gathered some clothes and went back upstairs. Mike did the same and we waited for a few minutes before putting them on, so they would warm up.
We bought three space heaters, two large and one small. When we got home, Mike’s mom was up and wondering why the guy never came. We explained that that wasn’t the case, and went on to get the devices running. By noon, the temperature was a much more moderate 68, and by the time Mike’s parents left in the afternoon, we had to turn the space heaters down because it was getting to be too warm.
So, we wait. Wait for word from Dean the plumber. Please call us. Please say you’ll bring by the part today and install it. We like heat. And we like not paying through the nose for our electric bill…
Yesterday was quite eventful. Like ridiculously so. I woke up with the sun and started laundry (boring!) and bundled up in sweats, a bandanna for my head, gloves for my hands, and a jacket. Out the basement door I went, gathering random tools I’d left around the yard. It had been 3 weeks since I last raked leaves, but I was a slacker and never really cleaned up… Luckily, more leaves had made their appearance in that time.
I should have raked last week. It was crisp out, and the leaves were dry. But I looked up at the tress and seeing many full limbs, decided to put it off. The weather gadget on the fridge told me that I would be okay to leave them. It showed rain-free weather for the week.
So, in my sweats and things, I clanked about the yard piling up wet leaves and wheeling them to the compost heap in the far corner of the yard behind the fence. The front yard was a pain in the ass, as there is no ramp-like device leading to the back yard, only a half-flight of cement stairs. The progress was slow, but once I finished with the front yard, I went in for breakfast and a moving of laundry.
Yeah, yeah, okay, fast forward. Breakfast, more laundry, more leafs, more laundry, swiffering of the floor to remove the dirt I tracked in on my shoes, a shower, and lunch.
Coming out of the shower, I had made the list for the remains of the day:
- Get Dressed
- Eat lunch
- Clean up the kitchen
- Make a list
- Go to the grocery store
- Bake pie
But I got distracted by the soccer game. Stupid Revolution! Every time I bother to get interested in you, you lose an important game in ridiculous fashion. Come on!
I did eventually make it through that list, though while making the list, the phone rang. It was Mike’s mom. We briefly discussed Thanksgiving plans (who, what, where, and when – the why is obviously pre-established). But the gist of what mattered to me was that there would only be 10 people for Thanksgiving, someone else is already bringing an apple pie, and I shouldn’t bring 12 pies. Not that I would have, but I was going to bring 5. Six pies for 10 people is probably too many. So I cut back, crossing things off my in-progress shopping list.
It took all of the power in my being (and a failed attempt at a fourth pie) to bring myself to 3. That is, three I would bring. I was still intending to make a double batch of pumpkin, as Mike and I both love it, and pie dough recipes come in twos. So, pie dough, pressed cookie crusts, etc., etc.
Man, I can’t believe how boring this post is. I hope I haven’t put you to sleep. Go on, get. Read something else. This is silly.
Oh, and after pie, we had dinner and watched the Patriots trounce the Bills. Silly Bills.
Tomorrow I will finish pie-making by concocting many puddings and whipped creams. Okay, just two of each. Such an easy pie day!
Get it? Get it?
Things we’ve done:
- Signed a pile of papers;
- Ordered new floors;
- Ripped out half the counter tops and the sink;
- Pulled approximately eight trillion glass shelves out of the walls;
- Spackled the holes left by the shelves and about twelve trillion hanging nails, hooks, and push-pins;
- Ripped out an old security system;
- Patched the holes in the walls left by said security system;
- Ordered a dish washer, washing machine, and dryer;
- Sanded down the walls;
- Primed and painted;
- Ordered a different dish washer because the first one wasn’t actually available;
- Ordered some new counter top;
- More painting;
- Rescheduled delivery of the appliances;
- Had hardwood floors installed;
- Had carpet installed;
- Had hardwood floors ripped up and reinstalled;
- Canceled one counter top order and selected another;
- Rescheduled delivery of the appliances, again;
- Mowed the lawn;
- Trimmed the hedges;
- Put in a good-sized, water-proof mail box;
- More painting;
- Plumbed the new sink;
- Cut a piece of overpriced plywood into a temporary counter top;
- Installed faux-counter, sink, and garbage disposal;
- More painting;
- A fair amount of packing;
- More painting;
- Yet more packing;
- More painting;
- Still more packing;
- Wired for the dishwasher;
- Changed out some outlets and dimmer switches;
- Changed out all of the wall plates;
- Installed better thermostats; and
- More painting.
Things we still need to do:
- Finish packing;
- FiOs installation;
- Appliance delivery (for the love of everything ever please come…);
- Install the dish washer;
- Install the washer/dryer;
- Clean up the disaster area that is currently in place of the living room; and
- Touch up the paint in the living room.
Things we’ll do after we move:
- Peal-n-stick tile for the currently carpeted second bathroom;
- Touch up the paint on the cabinets;
- Counter top deliver (man, I wish it were sooner, but it won’t be);
- Put up some chair rail;
- Take care of the overgrown bushes in the back yard;
- …; and
Of course, I understand that it never ends.
It was good for me to get that all out though. I feel as if we are quite accomplished. Much due to our very helpful friends. I’d really like to thank you guys so much. Thank you to the people who offered to help without being asked. And even more thanks to the people who we asked, and who didn’t spit in our faces and tell us to pound sand. You are all very kind. We may have been able to move in without your help, but it would have involved some all nighters and probably tense conversation.
I can’t wait until next week. I’ll be moved in, and walking to the train. Luscious.
Because I’m not in the best of moods, I’m not feeling well-thought blog post. There are some things of note going on around our house though, which seems to be my favorite… only… thing to blog about, so… here:
- The cat isn’t feral, she’s just shy. She lives two doors down.
- I know this because we met our across the street neighbors last night. They’re really nice, and their kids are bright, which is great, because smart kids are fun.
- The smartness seems to come from all angles of our neighborhood, because these neighbors listed at least 5 other houses where at least one of the couple works in software, many as engineers. Yay for being surrounded by geeks!
- Our neighborhood even has block parties. This is a foreign concept for Mike. I think it’s awesome.
- We have carpets installed in the bedroom and on the stairs. They are pretty.
- I only screwed up the paint in 3 places, all of which are on the wall that was painted with a relatively dark color. (I generally say that you shouldn’t need a second coat if the color was mixed in to white. This was mixed into “pastel base” so there are a couple of visible brush strokes. No, even the master paintress is not always perfect, much to her dismay.)
- The bamboo floors are half installed, and mostly wrong. This is why I am in a sour mood. I hope these guys don’t try to screw me over. We’ll see.
- But the color was right, so at least we know that the living room is going to look spectacular, which is exciting.
- The cabinet doors and drawers are all off and on a tarp in the basement. Mike discovered random holes in them, though, so he had to putty them.
- Owning a house is weird. You care about things you used to ignore. Like, how do you want your steps wrapped in carpet. Do you want to see the lip or not. We chose yes.
Okay, bored now, working instead.
Our neighbors at our new house all seem friendly. Or at least, cautiously friendly. We haven’t really talked to anyone yet, mostly because we only come to the house to work. But everyone I see, I wave to, or they wave to me, and the wave returns along with a happy “hello!”
Actually, we were officially welcomed by #4 in the form of a card, which is super sweet. I am, however, slightly shy, so I haven’t gone over to introduce myself yet. I figure once we actually have moving trucks and cars parked overnight, we’ll all feel a bit more comfortable introducing ourselves.
But the best welcome so far has been from the neighborhood’s official feral cat. We’ve seen her around quite a bit, even while we were looking at the house before we made an offer. We were initially afraid that she might, you know, come with the house. But it seems she doesn’t have a collar, and when Mike tried to approach her, she bolted in that “I hate people!” kind of way.
Anyway, yesterday while I was talking to a slightly over-pushy gutter salesman/estimator, he pointed something out to me. It wasn’t the slope of the roof (though he commented on that later). It wasn’t the fact that there are two layers of shingles on the roof (though he commented on that earlier). It was the mouse. The dead mouse. Sitting square in the middle of the first cement block after the front stoop.
I feel as though we have now officially been welcomed to the neighborhood by the official welcome wagon – the feral kitty.