Monday, September 28, 2009

Older House Curse Part II

Let me start off by saying, "Blech!" Saturday morning my brother in law and father in law came to work on an estimate for fixing our leaky bathroom. Since they don't have x-ray vision and we wouldn't let them just start ripping into the flooring, they had to guess what the problem was. By guess I mean, make educated assumptions based on a process of elimination.

After a couple of guesses, they were able to figure out that our problem is one of two things. To be honest, I have no clue what those two things are! I didn't ask. I think I would rather not know. Send me to the store to pick out paint and tiles and I'll be good! Phil also decided to take up the carpet in the hallway (where the water leaks up through the foundation) and discovered that the padding is moldy. I could have told you that, but that's another story. So they were curious and cut two small patches out of two walls in the bathroom and guess what, mold. Freaking fantastic. No wonder my allergies have been nasty even with daily meds!

I now get to pick out new paint for the bathroom, tile for the bathroom, a color of paint for the vanity (just going to fix it and paint it), and now carpet. I am glad that this is all getting done, but blech. I have no clue what color or "theme" to go with in our "new" bathroom. Any suggestions?

So they are now going to have to take out our toilet, washer, dryer, vanity, and cupboard. Then rip out the drywall, take down the rest of the wallpaper, jack hammer up the slab. Then they must fix the pipe (the only part of the ordeal our insurance won't cover bc they say it is a maintenance problem. How I am supposed to maintain a pipe buried in cement is beyond me!). After the pipe is fixed, new cement will be poured and then we have to wait for it to cure. While we are waiting we will paint and redo the vanity. Then comes the new paint, window treatment, tile. Then back comes the washer, dryer, and toilet. Then the vanity and cupboard will be re-installed. Then comes carpet. Blech, just thinking about it makes me tired!

So this morning I get a call from a lady at our insurance office. This was not the person we normally deal with. She wanted to know where our estimate was. I informed her that after our contractor looked at it, he decided to call our flooring company to get a better estimate (they are at my house right now). She seemed annoyed that we hadn't sent our estimate yet. Well, we wanted it to be accurate. I told her as soon as I got the estimate I would fax them a copy. She was genuinely annoyed that I couldn't fax her an estimate now. I didn't know what to say so I just said, "As soon as my contractor gets the estimate written, I will send it to you!" You would think they would be happy about not having to cut me a check!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Older House Curse

I love my house. It has it's issues, but most older homes do. I fell in love with my house the instant we stepped inside. I think I liked it so much because it is very much like the house I grew up in. I also love the neighborhood and my back yard is HUGE for being in town. I love the "climbing" tree in the front yard. I love the fact that the Sheriff lives across the street and that someone from dispatch lives next door. I love that it is a semi-quiet (stupid ppl do drive a bit to fast down our street) neighborhood.

Now to the issues with our house. We moved in November of 2007. In January of 2008, we began having issues. You'd flush the toilet and water (it was clean water, not the dirty toilet water) would come up in the shower (the lady we bought the house from was older and had her bath tub converted to a shower type thingy with bench). After months of trying different things, we decided to tear into the pipe that takes the dirty water away from our house and into the city's pipes. Our "drain pipe" runs right between the two trees in our front yard. Low and behold, we found that a piece of the old clay pipe was busted, causing the back up. So, Ayron used a saw and made a clean cut on the old pipe, he also managed to cut the water line. We did have them come and mark before we began our little excavation, but they marked wrong. So poor Ayron and Josh O. were stuck in a huge hole while water shot out of the ground like a fountain, turning our front yard into a mud pit. They managed to get everything fixed and all was well. This spring we were finally able to get grass to grow around our trees again!

About a month ago, I decided to run a load of laundry. I started the washer and took the boys (TJ and Scooter) outside. When we came in, and I was walking down the hallway I heard a "squish" and realized that our hallway carpet was soaked. I thought that maybe I had just overfilled the washer. Well after a panicked phone call to Ayron and some talking with Tom (my father in law) we have come to the conclusion that the pipe under the bathroom floor (our house is on a slab) is cracked and water is seeping up and into our bathroom. Freaking great! You can see the water come up between the tile (I think it's just the peel and stick linoleum). I have stopped doing laundry at home and thus, the wet spot in the hallway is gone, but you can see where it was at.

Looking for an excuse to tear into the bathroom, I called our insurance agent this morning. It seems that our policy has an endorsement that would allow us, at no cost, to have up to $5k of "clean up" done. That would cover mold removal (if we have it...I hope we don't). We have a $500 deductible for the rest of the work (jackhammering up the slab, pouring new cement, retile, etc). What gets me is that our insurance doesn't actually cover the cost of repairing the pipe because they say that is "maintenance." I had to laugh. How am I supposed to maintain a pipe that is buried in cement? I asked my insurance agent that and he laughed too. He said he thought it was asinine as well. The good thing is, we just need to get a formal estimate and send it into our agent. Seeing as how I married into a construction business....I think I know who I'll call for our estimate. I also found out that we wouldn't actually pay the $500 deductible. Let's say that Tom says the job will cost $10,000 (these are the #'s our agent used, I have no clue how much it could cost!). We send in the estimate and the insurance company would send us a check for $9,500. They would keep out that $500 and treat it like we paid our deductible.

I don't really know much about insurance, but I think that we wouldn't really have any out of pocket expense. Sure, we would be inconvenienced for a while, but we can easily figure that out.

I guess I am looking for thoughts, ideas, suggestions? Anyone else have any "old house" horror stories that makes my situation look silly?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rest In Peace Mark Wilmes

This weekend the DeKalb High School Class of 2001 lost another classmate. Mark Wilmes was killed in a two car accident in Lagrange County on Saturday. After over correcting, his car was in the path of an oncoming car, and the collision occurred.

This is the second classmate that we have lost (that I know of, and I hope there aren't any more). We lost Jerry C. the summer before our Senior year in a car accident, and now Mark has passed as well.

While I didn't really "know" Mark, I know we had a few classes together. We attended the same school from 1st grade through graduation. I was driving to work this morning when I heard about the accident (on the radio), and I immediately felt my stomach churn. I can only imagine the loss his family and friends are feeling at this moment. No one wants to bury their child, and now they must. He was 8 credits shy of graduating from IPFW with his mechanical engineering degree. I think that broke my heart a little more. To be so close, and then not be able to complete something you have worked so hard for.

I didn't really know Mark, but I do remember a funny story. We had Mr. Howard for Math our 6th grade year. I think it was 4th or 5th period. Mark always had several questions, and we all know that Mr. Howard's patience level was not the greatest. One day, after seeing Mark's hand shoot up for the millionth time Mr. Howard nicknamed Mark "Question Mark." I don't know why, but that is the first memory that popped into my head this morning when I heard about the accident.

What do you remember about Mark or Jerry? Am I correct in saying that those are the only 2 classmates we have lost?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Encouraging Words

So I have received several encouraging comments about my previous note. I tend to be a bit pessimistic by nature so I have to wonder if that is why my mood is the way it is.

I can't help but think, "Easier said than done." It is really easy to offer people words of encouragement, etc. It is easy to say that it will all work out. It is harder to believe it. At least it is for me.

I know that I need to trust and pray, but I like big obvious signs from God. I don't do subtle. When I do start to look for signs that He is listening and taking care of me, I turn every small thing into a sign. Was the robin in my tree a sign from Him? I get paranoid and I cannot let myself get that way.

I just talked with Ayron on the phone and they are continuing their hourly wages for the rest of the week and the change will happen on Monday. One of the marketers who has been with the company the longest comes back tomorrow and she has not been told (to our knowledge) of the change. We are hoping that they can all ban together and present a united front and present their side of the situation.

I just wish that I could sit outside and talk with Him, but alas I am chained to my laptop in an office built with cinder block and cement. It is very hard to be encouraged by Him when all you see is the dimples in cinder block, and the dead computers next to you.

Seeking Prayers and Advice

So yesterday some life changing news was dropped on Ayron at work. They are taking away the marketing departments hourly wages and going to commission only. This is a big blow to many people. They also fired 4 people. While I do recognize that he still has a job and I am fortunate enough to have a secure job, it is still a blow.

We are looking into several options and wondering if Ayron could get some kind of unemployment compensation to make up for losing his hourly pay. He will be considered an independent contractor now. We are hoping he can then set his own hours and possibly do some work from home. That could help with child care costs.

We have already decided to stop all unnecessary spending. We had already cut way back, but now we are stopping it. Maybe I am jumping the gun a bit, but I would rather be prepared than caught off guard.

Ayron keeps saying he has a calm feeling about everything and I wish I could say that I did. I am not really worried, I just want to know what is going to happen. I want God to send a skywriter to spell it out for me. Maybe an email or text message? Something?

We did pray together for the first time in a long time last night (I am ashamed to admit that) and that did ease my mind and I was able to sleep some. We have already asked some people for advice and I have to wonder why 3 people suggested he go out for the police department.

I know that I need to be grateful for what I have and I am continuing to pray for everyone else effected by this change. I know that others are struggling worse that we are and I pray for them everyday. I just wish I knew His plan.