Saturday, October 18, 2008

18 October 2008

We're in the middle of winterizing and trying to get rid of the field mice.
Think we're fighting a losing battle. 2 cats, and they love playing with the mice but don't understand killing...

But we have those sonic repellers out in every room, so mostly, we just hear the scurrying in the attic and hear some scuffling in the garage/kitchen wall area.
We have traps out, but they don't seem to be as popular with this new bunch of mice as they were with the troop that was here when we moved in.
As to where they're getting in...
The aluminum siding is attached over the wood siding, but it's loose, so crawling vines get under there periodically.
There are burrows in the crawl space under our bedroom that we think may allow for it.
The basement is cinder block, and the openings from the basement into the crawl spaces are open cinder blocks
And the garage doors don't close all that tightly.
And we know that the previous group of mice liked to come through the garage and into the kitchen stove.
So, it's more a question of where they AREN'T getting in.
But we're getting things cleaned up and slowly getting them into shape, so we probably won't have as bad a problem next year.
But we're surrounded by corn fields, and the mice like to run into the houses when it's harvest season and they get chased out of the fields.
We had one drop from the ceiling a couple of weeks ago.
It did a swan dive from the top of my 6' curio cabinet into a vent.
We heard if for a couple of hours afterward in the ductwork, trying to find its way out.
So we're looking into getting some wire mesh that's made for ductwork.
And we're going to be insulating our ducts, so that'll help keep the little buggers out of there.
And during the winter, we're going to go room by room to find the holes in the walls and ceilings and such where they might be coming in, so we can plaster and caulk and such.
But right now, we're winterizing--covering the single-pane windows with plastic to keep our heat loss down, insulating the pipes and ductwork, tilling the garden under, washing the siding and cleaning the garage so we can park our cars in it again...

Work's pretty good. Busy as hell, but that's good. And my boss is trying to get me on as a full-time employee instead of just a contractor.
Hubby just finished putting the insulation on some windows, he's still working, too. And stressing about money.
So, you know, business as usual.
New windows:
We're going to get them eventually, but with the break in and storm damage, our money had to go other places.
We're hoping to replace the windows next year if we are both employed.
But first... We have to have some more roof work done, and we got locks put on the garage doors.
Fallen tree bits:
Plus, we had a guy come out and cut down one of the rotten trees.
The one that we thought was most likely to fall on the house.
We have 2 more of those to get down before the spring storms get here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

13 July 2008 Update

Flooded basement. Draining it out through a window with a hose taped into a pvc pipe attached to the sump pump. Standing in the fucking cold water and holding crap up. Fucking headache, fucking poor, fucking troubles that require money. It's been more money than we have in the past two months--robbery, storm damage, flooded basement.

The robbery was about a month ago, a week after we suffered storm damage. New fucking insurance auditor still hasn't contacted us about looking at the storm damage so we can get it fixed. Stuff taken was enough, but not a lot... My jewelry box (mostly sentimental jewelry and costume jewelry), a small chest of some stuff, mike's swords and bows. Sheriff found some of the stuff, but it's been 3 weeks since they told us that, and we haven't heard more since.

Tired. Tired of every fucking thing. I'm broken.
Won't get better if M and I don't get full time jobs instead of contract jobs. Don't have money for this shit. We're so busy bailing out the water that we can't fix the ship. The problem had started before. Whoever put in the sump pump has it draining into our septic tank. And then the guy who converted our laundry room had the drainage from the washing machine tied in to the same line. And then that feeds into the main line from the kitchen and bathroom that goes to the septic system. There's a valve in there that's supposed to keep the sump pump water from feeding into our drainage pipe from the laundry room, but that was being overridden, and we came home last Sunday to find our laundry room flooded.

It's too much. Seriously, I'm defeated. WE are actually CARING FOR and MAINTAINING the house, and all this happens.

Every other day, I have a mini breakdown. And the days that I don't, M does. It's at least nice that we can swap. Well, really, it's not, but I'm exhausted, I have a migraine, and I'm freaking out. I'll be like this for about an hour, then I'll be either clearheaded or will have absolutely nothing in my mind moving.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stringham-high, Stringham-low: An Update on the Stringham Household (email from 6/16/08)

1. Just a month after moving into our house, Mike and I have to file an insurance claim...we had some 80- to 90-mph straightline winds a week and a half ago that knocked half of one of our trees onto the ground (brushing our house, but not doing more than clipping the gutter) and knocking out a huge limb from another tree and onto our roof. We have some dents in the roof and destroyed gutters, but a pretty structurally sound roof is left with no holes (thanks be to all that's holy). A nice neighbor came and cleaned those up for us for a decent price a few days ago and let us know about the dents in the roof.

2. I left my job at Lilly to take a contract job with the government as a contractor (4 months, but it pays far better than Lilly did, and well worth it, knowing as we did that my job at Lilly was likely going to be gone by the end of the year). Today was my first day. It looks interesting, but challenging. I get to work with my boss to revise the publishing and document-creation process in place for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

3. Yesterday, during a (somewhat) surprise visit from my parents, we were moving a few things from the apartment in Indy, and while Mom and I were driving back from getting groceries, Dad and Mike were unloading things from the Montero when a guy in a car drove up and asked to use the phone. Right behind him pulled in a state policeman. Turns out the policeman had been trying to pull the guy over on the interstate (a mile from our house), and the guy tried to run. From what I remember of the story, Dad and Mike got treated to a show as the policeman told the young gentleman to get out of his car and put out his cigarette and then chided the young man for littering because he put his cigarette out on our driveway. The young man had been driving on a suspended license. Not much happened, but it was apparent that the young man was pretty shaken up and wasn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. The cop ended up letting him off with just a warning after taking him away in the patrol car for a little ride, and the man and his friends came back a little after Mom and I got to the house to pick up his car, which had been left in the driveway.

4. When Mike got home this afternoon from work, he was walking through the house when he noticed a couple of things amiss. We were robbed. It looks as though whoever did it tried to pry open the front door, had no luck, and went to the back door and kicked it open. The door frame is torn to pieces, the wallplate and screws were completely torn out, etc. The thief walked down the hall to our bedroom, turned on the light in there and the bathroom, and walked out with my jewelry box, a chest full of craft items and a few sentimental items, and Mike's 2 bows and 2 of his swords. An old credit card of mine, a camera, the Wii, the DVDs, the Wii games, those things weren't touched. Apparently, he also didn't open the door to the office, which Mike just closed last night to keep the cats out, so the thief didn't get the laptop, any of the printers, or any of our desktop computer equipment. He also didn't take our digital camera, which was sitting on the coffee table. So all things considered, we got very lucky. The cats were okay, and no one was home when it happened, and aside from a few sentimental jewelry items that can't be replaced, we're doing well.

Another not-so-bright guy, this thief--didn't even go into the garage, which doesn't have locks on the doors yet, to get gas cans or anything like that.

The sheriff's deputy who came by said he didn't have much to go on, seeing as how we're new to the area, just moved in, so we don't think it's motivated by anyone who knows what we have, and we were shaken up at the time, so we didn't have much description of the items. I have since made a detailed list of all the items and descriptions (I have some personalized and one-of-a-kind jewelry, so we should have some luck if the bastard...I'm sorry, the thief...tries to sell anything). All told, we're out about $3500 in jewelry (I didn't realize I had so much, but it's a few key spendy items) and about $1000 in the other things, I think.

So, we are both staying home from work tomorrow so we can take care of everything--going to the insurance company and take care of this claim AND the damage claim from the storm, calling a locksmith to to install deadbolts, fixing the door, and installing locks on our garage doors. And we've made an appointment with ADT to install a security system on Saturday, tomorrow if they have any cancellations or reschedules. All these are things we were trying to do gradually to not go broke, but now, everything is going on a credit card to protect us even more, and since I have a nice-paying job for a short while, we'll cover that and just not have as much to put toward our debt that we've been trying so diligently to get rid of. But we have our health, we have our kitties, and we have each other and all of you, so we're pretty damn lucky.