Glass half-full. I’m going with that.

The ice cream truck is playing Christmas songs and I’m getting mistaken trash dumping citations. It’s springtime in the city.

The trash citations are supposed to be for the house two homes north of me. Instead, some dolt who works for the city and doesn’t know north from south took all the requisite photos of proof and failed to understand in which direction the house numbers ascend. He’s got the front of my house in with three photos of the back of the house two doors up. He’s also got a photo of the rear of the house in between, which was also inexplicably cited, and it’s clear in that photo that the rear of my house is clean and the rear of the house to the north is where the trash is.

I expect this will be easy to fix, as I know the councilman for our district and I’m pretty confident he knows how to count and which way is north, and he is now in receipt of my email. As is someone in litigation for the city’s code enforcement division. If nothing else, I’m sure I can get the rats to send some emails, too.

Oh, relax. It’s a city. There’s water nearby and the trash gets picked up in the alley. Rats happen. You know you’ve grown impervious when you see one that’s multicolored and have no reaction whatsoever except to immediately characterize it as a brindle. Besides, the alley cats help control everything.

I love fighting the Man. Fortunately, it’s a lot easier when you know people. Of course, I’ll have to take care that city code enforcement doesn’t notice the sections of drywall propped up against the concrete wall behind my house, which are there because my guest bedroom got rained in. They used to comprise part of my ceiling. Those who have been reading me for a while know that this happened right before I bought my house, when Hurricane Sandy menaced the entire east coast. That time, there were stripes down the wall the day I was supposed to close, and I told the builder I wanted him to rip the wall out and redo it. He didn’t, but he seemed to have had a good reason. He said he’d fixed the problem on the roof and gave me a builder’s warranty.

Then he basically ignored me when I actually needed him to do something about water I was finding in the basement. Not a lot, but it’s still water – rain water, to be precise – and it comes through…

…wait for it…

…the electrical panel.

I think I know why it’s happening and how to fix it, but the builder is in the wind. He’s ignored me for 11 months now. He has ignored my realtor as well. I have looked up the records and discovered that he has been sued 40 times in the last 15 years, mostly for breach of contract, and he owes people millions of dollars.

Soooo that’s probably a fruitless pursuit.

Back to the guest bedroom… After a super-fun night of ignoring the paper I had to write so that I could, instead, help my former contractor friend and neighbor rip out an 11 1/2 x 3 1/2 foot section of my guest room ceiling to discover completely saturated fiberglass insulation, we figured we found the problem. The evidence hadn’t shown up in the ceiling, though it was just a matter of time. Rather, it had shown up halfway across the back wall. The water, having saturated the ceiling insulation, then found a path along beams and whatnot, and ran down that way.

Oh, physics. Oh, properties of liquid.

I gave the insulation a little time to dump its continual streams of fiberglass-flavored rain into buckets before I pulled it down. And looky what I found!


How nice of them to label it!

Yeah, nobody I know wrote that. That’s from the builder’s guy. Helpful, no?

You might think that, upon coming home from work after a rainfall of several inches and finding a puddle on the windowsill and then following context clues to discover that half of the back wall of your guest bedroom was a sopping mess, you would have a few choice words at this revelation. You might think that I, historically willing to document choice words, would not be at a loss.

I really just laughed.

Because seriously?

Anyway, I got a roofer to come out, and he told me with every bit of stereotypical city Italian affect that the actual problem is three-fold: there were holes worn in the roofing materials around two pipes that vent up through that ceiling to the roof (the one pictured is the bathroom plumbing vent pipe, and the other one, about 18 inches toward you if you’re looking at the picture, is the air vent pipe for the bathroom fan), allowing rainwater to collect there and then drip through around the pipe;. Also, the air vent pipe was not capped.

I’m going to give you a minute to process the fact that an aluminum pipe not fitted for any kind of moisture because it’s meant only for air was left just as open as you please on my roof, so that it could just rain directly into said vent pipe and then leak from the elbow fitting into my ceiling. Probably for a long time, and directly onto my head at one point, as I stood there staring at the pipe marked “roof leaks” during a subsequent rainfall, waiting for the marker’s prediction to come true.

So, yeah. Two leaks. Long time.

Blessedly, that roofer, who is totally legit and came with multiple recommendations, said he’d only charge me $150 for the fix. Which is $9,850 less than I expected. I haven’t gotten a bill yet, so we’ll see how that actually shakes out.

And it appears his fix has done the trick. We’ve had a couple of rainfalls since, and everything’s dry.

My guest bedroom is still rather… rustic. So the next step is to call in a contractor to tell me what it will cost to remodel the room to look exactly like it did before it got rained in.

For now, the door is closed and I’m pretending that room doesn’t exist. Fortunately, I have an appreciation for learning, which comes in handy when you’re standing at the top of a ladder waiting for drops and can instead wax kind of nostalgic about the gorgeous, wide beams that made up the original ceiling, above which, between gaps, you can see the original slate roof. Since my house is about 100 years old on the outside, that was kind of cool.

Glass half-full.

Of rainwater, but half-full.

Working Staycation

Week off, day one. I was supposed to paint the front door today. It’s at the top of my To Do List. I’m kind of excited about it, because my front door is white and boring and I don’t do white and boring. Except for management meetings. *Rimshot!*

But Mother Nature (or, as I believe she’s called in my urban environment, “All Y’all’s Mama”) decided that, on Earth Day, she would throw down some irony and make it too cold for me to put a coat of latex-based fume-producing paint on the door.

Well-played, Mama. I see you your temperature fluctuation that prevents my ozone-damaging efforts, and I raise you whatever chemicals are in a Swiffer wet cloth.

Your move, lady.

This week is all about the To Do List, bolstered by my attempt to reprogram my body to go to bed early and get up early, so I can be ready to start the new job with grown-up hours next Monday. I got up at 7:30, my mind full of the list’s items.

As of 11:30, I had moved the car, put a load of laundry in the washer, and pouted about the door.

None of those things were on the list.

I also read the internet. Not the whole thing, but kind of a lot of it. I had set up a TweetDeck account so I can keep track of goings-on for the new job. So I read the stuff that showed up there, and do you know what happens when you’re done doing that? You have to read the stuff that’s shown up since you started reading. It’s never-ending.

And then I looked at the Bed Bath & Beyond website because my 20% OFF online coupon is WAITING, hello, are you going to buy anything, bitch? And I found Mister Steamy’s Dryer Balls by accident.


Well, obviously that is either brilliant marketing or whoever came up with it has absolutely no idea what all those words put together will do to my brain.

So then I had to post that on my friend Alicia’s Facebook page because she’s dirty like I am and we don’t work together anymore so instead of being inappropriate in person I have to do it on the internet.

And then I had to look for some art that I’d seen a while ago for my upstairs hall, to see if the price had come down at all. Which it didn’t, but it reminded me that I wanted to check out the website for a woman I bought some stuff from at a wine festival yesterday (it wasn’t wine), because it occurred to me after I walked away that her stuff would look great in my upstairs bathroom.

I was supposed to be cleaning my kitchen, by the way.

Then I went to change the laundry from the washer to the dryer and found a gray plastic hose just free as you please in the washer. Which is funny because I don’t remember putting one in there to be washed. I had a good feel-around and even dug the flashlight out to see if I could figure out where this thing came from, but there were no openings I could see. And then I consulted the internet, which sucked unusually badly at getting me the information I needed. But in the process, I began to suspect this hose was part of the drain tube. Which means doing another load of laundry would be a verrrry bad idea. So then I had to call the place I bought the machine from.

He remembered me from the three times he had to come to my house because the machine wouldn’t spin. He asked if I was going to be home today and said he’d call me when he was on his way out. So then I had to take a shower. Usually he shows up, knocks first, then calls, while I’m in the shower.

He showed up without calling at all (but at least he showed up and at least I was out of the shower), and it turned out that it was a drain hose. Just not my drain hose. Apparently it was a spare that had been stored in the rubber that encircles the opening to the washer and worked itself free somehow during the cycle. No harm, no foul.

Oh, also? When I discovered the hose in the washer? I smelled the tell-tale sign that the cat had, for some reason, chosen to pee on the basement carpet. It was dry, so who knows when this happened. Now, can someone please tell me why a spray bottle of Resolve is completely inoperable once more than half the bottle is gone? Here’s a product made to be sprayed on things like carpets and furniture. Which means it’s got to be pointed downward. Why on earth, then, do I have to hold it straight up to make it go?


Eventually I did clean the kitchen, and the floors, and finish the laundry. None of these things were on the To Do List. Oh, but calling the hospital for which my shrinkapist works and figuring out exactly how much money I really do owe them now that they’ve figured out who to bill first was. And I did that. Yay me.

Writing thank you notes was not on the list, but it should have been, and I did that, too.

And I paid bills. Also not on the list. But clearly something that must be done. Paying bills is a little terrifying right now because I am allegedly getting my final paycheck in the mail from my old job, which will allegedly include payout for the vacation days I hadn’t taken yet… but then after that I will not see a paycheck until June.

June, bitches.

Because apparently it takes the state a whole entire month to get you into the system.

Which reminds me: create website whereby I will make lots more money on the side was supposed to be on the To Do list.

So as of cocktail hour on Day One, three of the 19 things on the list have been crossed off, and four things that weren’t on the list got added and crossed off.

And then I remembered I need a screen for the kitchen window, so I added that.

Math sucks.

Sweaty Equity

I can’t figure out if I’m in appliance heaven or appliance hell.

Maybe it’s appliance limbo. Yeah, that seems more like it. I’m Catholic.

The washing machine I bought? The one with the stacking dryer, the one that barely fit in the house or the laundry room, the one that required that the doors come off the hinges again?

Well, the good news is, after I bought the machines on Nov. 26th and they were delivered the 28th, and after I waited until Dec. 10th for the stacking kit to come in so they could install that on the 11th: it washed the clothes.

The bad news is: it didn’t spin or drain. I’ve done four loads of laundry in a month (or a week – or actually two days), and three of them had to be wrung out before they could go in the dryer. I may as well have been down by the river, beating them on a rock.

So the guy came to try to fix it. Since the machine is used, he cleaned out the (disgusting) filter, drained the standing water (all over my basement floor, using every towel I had including fingertip towels bearing the smiling face of the Creepster Bunny) and replaced the computer board. He sat on the floor playing Angry Birds on his phone while he waited through the rinse & spin cycle to see if his repairs had worked.


No dice.

So now there is a pile of nasty dirty smelly towels in my basement shower, and there are three guys down there taking the dryer down off the washer, taking out the (three-week) old washer and putting in the new one. They were supposed to call when they were on their way, so I hopped in the shower thinking they’d probably call while I was in there. I was right. I had just wet down my hair when there was a knock at the door. And then a phone call.

I let them in fully clothed, but I hadn’t combed my wet hair. I made sure they got the machines in and out without wrecking my walls or my floor (again). I left them alone for three minutes and they broke the light fixture in the ceiling. I’ve just been informed that the valve for the water line is leaking, shooting a stream of H2O all over my laundry room. “But it’s okay. It’s working.”

Oh, okay then. Good, because I’m out of towels.

This is after two guys who work for the builder were here earlier this morning replacing my non-draining dishwasher and installing the water line for my refrigerator so I could have ice and such. The one guy refused my offer of coffee when they arrived, saying he wasn’t man enough for it, and then complained that he broke a nail while installing the machine. But he possessed the prerequisite visible underwear and holey jeans. And he cut a live wire without flinching, despite the bright flash, the loud pop and the quick whiff of ozone.

Interesting fella.

So my house smells like a bunch of sweaty unwashed men instead of the cookies I’m supposed to be baking. Which isn’t to say the oven doesn’t work. It does. I’m just afraid that the second I’m up to my elbows in butter and flour, I’ll hear water trickling somewhere it isn’t supposed to trickle.

Fortunately, I’m not paying for any of this work. The dishwasher and fridge line were part of the builder’s responsibility, and the washer and dryer don’t cost me anything for 60 days. After that, I pay for parts.

I’m hoping I can get some laundry done between now and then.