Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I am a hostage in my own home

The house renovations are in FULL swing. And by renovations, I mean ripping everything out, disrupting my life, never listening to the person who actually lives in this house and making things far worse before they can get near better. And they call that "renovations".

This is forcing heat under the house and up inside the walls to dry out the studs and drywall. The drywall is "not so dry". It will be ripped out later.

On Friday at the end of the day, the electrician that came to install the "spider box" for extra power to warm and dehumidify the water damaged back bedroom. Lyle pointed out exactly which fuses were empty and available, so the electrician used one NOT pointed out and disconnected the garage, fish pond and dishwasher. For the entire weekend. He came back on Monday and fixed that.

A spider box in my house! This is in the bathroom.
The flooring tiles are all gone. So is the toilet.

These floor sucking dryers were taken away on Sunday (I think). The heater/dehumidifier has remained.
The large 2'x3' plastic mats are water suckers.
The big aluminum box is the dehumidifier.

The roofing people came on Saturday (four hours later than they said) tore off all the tar and paper and said instead of being three days to complete the job, they'd be back on Sunday and it would be finished. Of course that meant they didn't come back until Tuesday. And probably only because it was supposed to rain THAT NIGHT (It did but only a little).

The electrician came back on Monday and reconnected the fuse that works the dishwasher and garage and pond pump. On Tuesday, the roofers unplugged the pond pump to plug in their equipment.

While fixing the roof, they managed to shatter the skylight in the hallway.
Skylight on the ground.
Shouldn't that be up in the sky?

Glass went EVERYWHERE. Up and down the hallway more than 6 feet in each direction, and to the sides, into the office where the dogs and I were sitting and into the guest room where we are living during all the renovations. I did not ask them to come in and clean this up. I didn't want anyone dumb enough to break a skylight inside my house to clean it, so I cleaned all that up. The wooden box the glass hit hardest will need to be refinished. I shudder to think what would have happened to me or a dog if we'd been in the hallway.

They had to put a board over the broken skylight overnight. It was so dark in my hallway this morning! I can't believe they did not take out the glass remnants until today. Lyle placed carpets under the danger zone and no one was allowed to polka in the hallway over night. They are back today to fix all that.

Today's interior destruction: we have the workers tearing out the hardwood floor of the bedroom and closet.

Now, instead of working I am keeping the dogs calm and working on a massive headache each day, while the hammers pound all over the roof at the back of the house. The joyful sound of sawing and nail pulling ripping out the floor boards in the room next to me. I can't go into the hallway for fear of falling glass remnants. I worry that pictures may fall off the walls. I’m not sleeping well because there is a constant humming of dryers that can be heard (and felt) throughout the house. When I do start to fall asleep, in the back of my mind I wonder, who is paying this electricity bill?

I just want to shout, “I’M A RENTER! I AM NOT IN CHARGE OF THIS!!!” but then, we’d probably still not have a roof over the back of the house.

I am keeping my eyes on the prize: no more fountains of Versailles.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Never a dull moment

I am very angry with whoever started the rumor that my life was boring or dull and that I needed constant excitement.

Our roof has been leaking. Lyle thought he could fix it by going up on the roof and applying tar. It helped, but didn't hold. A few storms back, the ceiling in the bedroom became the fountains at Versailles and we placed large Tupperware containers all over the floor to collect the deluge.

The water was tricky and moved about eventually finding even a closet location to drop water in, and I mean inside the actual closet, not just a secret place. Although to be fair, weeks later, I did discover a secret place that was leaking (ironically also inside the closet) and because we weren't aware of it, we found some slight mold.

The landlord was notified and within days we had the insurance adjuster in to see what kind of damage there was. That was Monday. On Wednesday the "water damage" specialists were here. Today is Friday. We have officially moved to the guest room.

They are sealing off the master bedroom, master bathroom, master closet and the hallway that leads to all things masterful. Tomorrow they will tear open all the walls of the master bedroom, master bathroom, master closet and hallway leading to all things masterful to begin the drying process. That will take approximately 5 days.

After the inside of the walls are dry, they will sand the floor for water damage and take out all the bathroom tile (which cracked due to water damage). Then those items will be repaired, then the walls will be put back in place.

The actual roof that leaks will be replaced this weekend from the outside. Why fix all that inside if the roof still leaked, right?

So the upshot is, the closet is emptied. All our folded clothes are stuffed into the bookshelves in the guestroom. All Lyle's hanging clothes are hanging in the laundry area and all of my hanging clothes are on a rolling rack in the dining room.

Furniture has been shifted from room to room, every secret crack and crevice in the rest of the house is now hiding stashes of artwork, bedding and anything else that once lived in the master bedroom or guest room. In short, DON'T OPEN THAT CLOSET!

And this is how we will be living for.... A MONTH.

All I keep repeating to the workers is this: "Memorize this closet. Put this closet back the way you found it."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am in excellent company

About five years ago, Lyle and I discovered Fran's Sea Salt Caramels at Christmastime at Sur La Table in Los Angeles. Blissfully for my waistline, they were only available during the holiday frenzy. TO be completely honest, we bought two boxes, ate them, and went back for more before Christmas had even arrived. Believe me when I say, I was glad I couldn't get them more often.

The next year, we went back for more holiday deliciousness and we were horrified to find out they were not carrying them that year. But in a evil twist of genius, they told me where to find them... Seattle.

Fran's Chocolates is located in Seattle. There is a location in University Village that is quite accessible when I am in Seattle visiting family and friends. On my next visit North, I went in and was delighted to find my holy grail of chocolates, and so much more!

Lately, I seem to be flying over Seattle to get to my parents in Bellingham. At first I considered stopping in Seattle, renting a car and driving the hour and half to Bellingham so I would be able to stop at Fran's and get my fix. Schedules and timing and exiting off the freeway just to get chocolates wouldn't always permit this plan and seriously, I hate that drive due to worse traffic than we have in Los Angeles.

I will now reveal all that is perfect in the world. There is a shop in the SeaTac airport called Made In Washington and they carry both grey salt and smoked salt caramels. I pick up one box of each kind and bring them home.

Now i am thrilled to let you in on another tidbit about my favorite chocolate, someone else is a fan.
Fran's Smoked Salt Caramels are President Obama's Favorite Candy

Great. Now they're going to be harder to come by!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I've been stuck. After the exhilaration of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, my mind was on overload. How could I come down from all that excitement and fullness of life?

Odd how the universe had an answer waiting for me that involved the passing of my uncle. The time I spent with my family and my Uncle before he passed away gave me an entirely different overload of my mind. Who would have guessed such a sad occasion would give me such inner growth.

I don't know how I will place into words what I've gone through, or if I will ever be able to. I've sat down and tried to figure all this out for over two weeks now. Mostly, I find myself just sitting, not much figuring. Then on Facebook today, my friend Deanna had a quote that leapt off the page and spoke to me.

This quote sums me up, and I don't feel like it's boasting to say that. I've worked hard to balance a lot of areas in my life. I've worked hard to recognize my strengths and weaknesses. I am still processing all I've been through in the last months. I expect to have some tough days ahead of me. But I still laugh, I still love, I still make a difference in the world that I live in. I'm going to be more than alright. I plan on continuing to succeed.

To Laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children... to leave the world a better place... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson