Monday, May 31, 2010

A Whine

Okay, since I got home my life has become ever more chaotic.  Actually, it's mostly the house's fault.  I've been okay with everything until today, and so you get the whine and hopefully I can go back to being okay.
  I came back and got the cast off, which was good, so now I can kind of hobble around, even without the crutches on good days, and I can drive the car, which is also good.  I hobble to the car, take the walking cast boot thing off, drive, put the boot back on, and get groceries or whatever.  It's a sign of how housebound I was feeling, that I actually want to go grocery shopping.
  We've been having a lot of rain here, which is unusual but seems to be part of the overall weather changes that are happening all over the planet.  Since the basement has been leaking for the last few years, it is continuing to flood, only with more water than before.
  . We'd tried smaller fixes in the past, making sure the land of all sides of the house sloped away, taking up the patio and getting someone in to put more sand and a water barrier in before putting the bricks back.  These things helped some, but not completely. 
  Jesse was getting the water out while I was away, but he went to Toronto for ten days, and it rained almost the whole time.  The whole room down there, the new basement, for those of you who've been here,  (The original basement, from 1912, has never had any problems.) was full of water to about two or three inches deep.  Since I can't haul buckets of water, I found some big containers, those tubs you can get for storage.  I found some waterproof boots that probably belong to Jesse, sat on the couch, watched several episodes of House and used a mop to move water from the floor to the tubs.    I moved a lot of water, but when I reached to point where my arms hurt, I couldn't tell that I'd done anything. 
   So I got smart and looked in the yellow pages under Flood.  I discovered there are a lot of 'didaster' companies, that will come in and take care of the problem from start to finish, acting as a contractor to bring in people with the different skills and areas of expertise that are needed. 
  I've had pretty good luck choosing services out of the phone book, and I'm very happy with the people who are here now.  I chose the ad that included the word 'smile' in it.  These guys are great and knowledgeable.  The only problem, in fact, is that they are getting things going too quickly.
  They brought in a carpet cleaning truck to suck out the water.  They left a dehumidifier running, and vented it out the small basement window.  They brought in a mould guy, who showed me all the areas with mould.  They tracked down possible suspects for how and why the water is getting in.  And after just a couple of days, they started tearing out the drywall in the basement.  I knew it was going to have to come out, since there has to be damage back there.  Even I could figure out that the water was coming in along the back of the house, going down mostly inside the wall, although sometimes along the floor above a little way and then dripping from the basement ceiling. 
  I wish I'd brought in these people years ago, when the problems first started.  I didn't, in part because it made sense to try the smaller, cheaper fixes first, and part because I trusted Carl when he said everything was fine, there was no need to do expensive work.  In the past when he was still here, we took water out, and sanded and painted over stains.  This, though, has become a much more serious problem, and the mould could well be a major component of the many allergies and other health problems we've experienced over the last few years.
  Anyway, while trust, and lack of trust, is an issue I'd like to whine about, I won't.  But it turns out that the walls, part of the ceiling, and probably my lovely tile floor are going to have to come out so the mould can be removed.  Riley, the mould guy, takes this seriously, and has put up good plastic barriers, several layers in places, so dust and mould won't spread to other parts of the house.  He tells me the spores, if they spread, could grow if they find moisture in other areas. 
   It rained again over the weekend, and so there is more water.  It was actually kind of nice to go downstairs and see the water and know I didn't have to deal with it, at least I don't as long as I don't think about all these things contributing to the final bill I'll have to pay.  The dehumidifier quit working Saturday night, though, and I thought, with my tiny bit of elctrical knowledge that there'd probably been a short because the unit was now sitting in water, and that the water might be dangerous. 
  I wasn't brave, or stupid, enough to find out for myself, and I started worrying that the guys, when they arrived to work on Monday morning, might get electrocuted.  I know this is silly, that they know far more than I do about all this, and they have a lot of experience, but I couldn't help it.  Since they might arrive early, before I got up, I wrote them a note.  They were very polite about it when I did talk to them, didn't snicker at all, but were totally not worried about being electrocuted.
  Anyway, this has resulted in lots of chaos, because everything in the new basement had to come out.  Riley took the couch away to clean and dry, and he said he'd tell me if he thinks it's worth keeping.  One end of it is falling off, and I was thinking about replacing it, but that will depend on how much all this costs.  The guys put all the books and dvds in boxes and extra strong huge plastic bags, which was great because packing and moving stuff is another thing my ankle prevents me doing.  all teh Tv boxes, dvd player, VCR, speakers, etc, also came up.  I know I have to pay for their time, but I'm trying to look at how great it is to have these good-looking guys around doing stuff for me, instead of worrying about money.  The shelving unit for the dvds had to come out and can't be salvaged.  The pink bookshelf, a relic from when Melissa was very young and actually liked pink, is also a write-off for the base is rotting from being wet some often.
  Some of the this stuff could be put into the old basement, but it is already pretty full, because I cleared out my office and bedroom, and the third floor before I left for the cruise, to make room for the renters, and most of that stuff is down there.  So, lots of stuff came upstairs and is in my quilt room and office.
  I've always lived in a bit of chaos.  My desk is never neat, and usually there are piles of stuff on the floor.  It's organized chaos, though, and I can find things.  As I've grown older, I find I have less tolerance for too much stuff, and right now, with some piles blocking space between rooms and growing almost as tall as I am, I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed.
  Then yesterday, the phone stopped working.  I have a cell phone, and so this wasn't a big issue, but I guess it was the first last straw.  There were others, though.  Anupama had invited friends over for dinner, which was fine, but the table in the solarium was the only one that could reasonable be big enough, and it was covered with stuff.  I was invited for dinner, too, and so while she cooked a wonderful Indian meal, I moved it all into my quilt room and office, building piles upon piles.  She was able to use my cell to call people who needed to reach her and give them my number, and the dinner party went well, although, Monster, for some reason, has taken a dislike to all men and barks and growls at them nonstop unless you get very forceful with him.  Even then, he growls out of the side of his mouth when he thinks you're not looking.  He's fine with women.  The three women guests arrived first, and he was very cute.  When the two men arrived, well I guess he was still cute, he can't not be cute, but he was very noisy.  It's almost as if he's afraid of men, and with the work guys coming and going, he's finding plenty of opportunities to demonstrate his fight or flight impulses.
  Anyway, I called about the phone, and spent time as directed by the phone guy I spoke to on my cell.  Anupama helped, which was good, as we had to unplug all the phones and then plug them in one at a time and then I had to find the phone modem in the basement.  This was tricky because I knew about two boxes down there, but they are both internet related.  Fortunately the phone company had a note saying the phone box is near the electrical panel and thanks to the phone guy describing it, I found it. 
  All of this was complicated by my ankle, and by the fact Anupama hurt her back a week ago, lifting something heavy in her lab.  So she can't bend over or lift, and I can't crawl around to find cords.  We'd been joking about how useless we are are, even before all this began.
  Anyway, all this plugging and unplugging helped the phone guy on the phone figure out someone needed to come to the house.  He came today, and learned that the phone had shorted out from the water, which makes sense, I guess, although I didn't think any of its wires were low enough to get wet.
  The phone now works, but the work guys told me they need to take out the wall beneath the window in the solarium.  This means that everything in there has to be moved out, or at least well back, so they can put up the plastic barriers and give themselves enough room to work.  I was also shown how the tile floor along the base of that wall is beginning to crack, because of water.  Sigh.
  I've been doing pretty well dealing with all this, in fact I was pleased with how calm I've been.  I figured that as long as I could keep a pathway to my desk, to my sewing machine, and to my bedroom, I was okay.
  But, and this is a big but, tomorrow night Melissa and her friend Sarah arrive to stay, and her fiance Matt will be joining us in a few days, after his conference in Regina.  We will then have six people in the house, with no basement, no solarium, and with the usual room that Melissa uses, on the third floor, inhabited by Anupama.
  This is why way up near the beginning of this post I said it was bad that the guys were doing the work so quickly.  Still, I suppose no one would have appreciated sleeping in the basement if it meant having a snorkel handy, and I am glad that this problem will finally be taken care of.
  But today I am not calm.  I'm overwhelmed and stressed and I've been walking around in my cast without the crutches more than usual so it hurts, only it doesn't really because with my high pain tolerance I'm aware of pain but it doesn't bother me, but I always worry that I'm making things worse becasue Itlon't stop doing whatever is making it hurt becasue it doesn't bother me.
  Apparently I'm overwhelmed enough that I write run-on sentences, too.
  So, that's what I'm whining about.  I actually feel better, now that I've whined.  If my ankle wasn't a problem, I could also lie down and kick and scream, which would probably help, too, but I guess the whining is it for now.


  1. So sorry to hear about your water woes! I have been there and know how disheartening it is. Keep yer chin up. And excuse me while I go to the basement and flick the pump, which isn't working right and I had to go down and flick to start it every other hour last night or there would have been more water on the basement floor than there already is. Our area (Wadena, Sask) has been waterlogged for the past two years and homes that never had water in them do now. Our bed had a river running under it for two months, two or three years ago. It's survivable but a pain in the ass. Anyway, you are not alone! If that helps any... No, it doesn't. How about: You will survive! ... That doesn't either? I know. So I'll just send you a Big Sigh and all best wishes that it'll soon be over with and the bill manageable.

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