Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The mystery of the water

I love a mystery, a puzzle; finding a lost item, discovering the root. I sure had a challenge on my hands here in my new home. It began with some water damage in the 3rd bedroom. When I first discovered it, it was shortly after a day and a half of very heavy rain. There is one good-sized window in this room, and the cill is only about a foot from the floor. I had placed a desk in front of the window, and it was nearly 2 weeks after moving in that I was sitting at the desk and realized my foot was tapping a soggy carpet. My first thought was that the rain water had come in through the open window. I shut the window, sopped the moisture up with a towel, turned the ceiling fan on and didn't give it much further thought.
About a week or so later, after having had the window closed and the fan on, I decided to check on the dampness of the carpet. I was aghast to discover that the carpet was even wetter than it had been before. I called in sick to work (although I did have a physical ailment: I must've scratched my eye in my sleep and it was swollen!) and then hauled out the shop-vac. I vacuumed up in excess of 6 gallons of water. I called brother Ken and asked him to help me trouble shoot.
It was 9 AM on a Friday morn, and I'm sure Kenny had his hands full of a dozen or so other projects. He was kind and patient and walked me through the steps: was it the exterior wall, was the ceiling wet, drywall, etc. The first thing to look at was a gap in the outside wall where the air conditioning pipes entered the house. " A little water goes a long way with carpet and drywall" Kenny had said. I bought a tube of silicone and a gun ( later to find a half-dozen of same here in the garage) and Lauren's boyfriend, Kevin, helped me caulk the gap. I was feelin' good.
To Be Continued......

Sunday, December 20, 2009

One of those days

What a fast week! This time of year does go so quickly, however it seems time as we know it accelerates with each year of life as we know it. The tree is up and decorated, all the gifts are all shining in their wraps with flows of bows of red and gold. Friday was our office holiday party. It was pleasant. We had it at Town Hall and during working hours, so there was no alcohol and anyone not wishing to participate could continue working. Every year it's different, because every year we have a new town manager, it seems. As long as I get a paycheck.....

This morning was one of those mornings in which I don't know what to do first. A cold front came through earlier this week, and forecasts are for tomorrow to be in the 40s. I started the day by closing all of the windows in the house, putting on long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, sox and slippers. I was craving hot chocolate or hot cider. Instead, I ran several large golden delicious apples through the juicer and downed 12 onces of fresh apple juice. It was delicious. I baked some spiced pecans, wanting the oven to warm the house a bit, and the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg to fill the air. I don't know how folks in the great white north can stand it. Gracie has the right idea: she's outside laying in the sun.

Speaking of Gracie, she saw Dr. Patterson yesterday for her booster shots. He said she was AWESOME! Sleek, lean with well developed muscles, built for speed. He asked if I ever take her to any of the dog parks, and ventured a guess that other dogs'd have a hard time keeping up with her. That's true. She's like a bullet. Her weight is just under 50 lbs., which is small for the breed, but I'm OK with that. The vet's office carried on a bit about getting her spayed and chipped. Their angle is the cost the county imposes on unspayed, un-chipped dogs; it's exhorbinant. I guess I'll have to figure that into my plans in the course of the next several months. It'll require both time and money; time at home with her after the surgery and several hundred dollars. Cha-ching.

I still don't know whether to go grocery shopping, attack the clutter of partially unpacked boxes, put some trees in the ground, give the dog a bath or take a walk around the lake. It's one of those days when I just don't know where to begin.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Well yes indeed, it's been quite some time since my last writing. To say I've been busier'n a one-armed paper hanger would be an understatement. But it's been a good busy. I love my new home, and I love the neighborhood. I'm quite far from settled in, as I still have boxes galore; unfortunately, the majority of those unpacked boxes are stacked in my bedroom. It may have to stay this way for awhile, yet, as the next task on my list is buying and setting up a christmas tree, decorating for christmas, and baking cookies - lots of cookies!
Yesterday was the first day I took Gracie for a walk around the lake since the Invisble Fence was installed on 11/17. The invisible fence folks advise to develop a routine of placing a small rug, towel, or some other symbolic "path" to exit the property, so that the dog isn't confused about why it's OK to leave the yard sometimes and not others. So I took a small area rug, placed it along the driveway by the mailbox, put her harness on (and cleverly removed the "correction" collar) and walked her toward the rug. NO WAY she said with her very strong body language. She wanted nothing to do with going off the yard - rug or not! So I had to pick her up and place her on the rug to exit. Once out of the yard, she was fine - had a ball sniffing all the new scents. This really is a very beautiful community, with lots of mature trees. All the lawns are meticulously landscaped, many very beautiful holiday decorations. When we returned, again Gracie wanted nothing to do with coming back over the "fence", even though her collar was not on. Once again I had to pick her up and carry her into the yard. Perhaps we need to go for more walks, so she gets used to the idea. As an aside, if you or anyone you know is considering getting the Invisible Fence, I say go for it. It's marvelous! I am quite an advocate!
Just as I returned from my walk, a car pulled up with an elderly woman at the wheel. I had seen her out in her driveway as I walked past. She came by to introduce herself and welcome me to the neighborhood. I have to add, here, that this community was built in the early 1980's - my house was one of the first built in 1981. It's deed restricted, but it's not gated. There is very little turn over here; the homes are very upscale (mine is one of the few exceptions!) and there is very little, to no crime. Everyone knows everyone. Earlier this week, I was out in the front yard trying to figure out what kind of trees are growing there, when a white cadillac SUV pulled up, and a nice gentleman introduced himself and welcomed me to the neighborhood. The woman I met yesterday caused me to have a song in my head ever since: Eleanor Rigby. She told me that her husband passed away 2 years ago, that she's from Buffalo NY, goes there from May to October, and wanted to know was I "by myself." She even told me that she'd asked other neighbors whether "the woman that moved into Jack's house, was she by herself? Find out if she's by herself!" She told me of a holiday gathering at the community center this Friday evening. Everyone brings a dish to share, and if you want a drink, bring your beverage. Her face seemed to drop when I mentioned that I work full time (was it during the day?), as I think she is looking for someone to spend time with (since her husband passed away two years ago). All the lonely people - where do they all belong?
After my walk, I decided I needed to do something with the front yard landscaping (geeze - all the Joneses have great yards!) so I went and took a picture of the front of the house.

There's Gracie, standing in the driveway. Those white flags are the "fence" - it gives Gracie a visual of her boundaries, and will be coming down this week. Here's from another angle:

The backyard is full of all the potted plants I moved here from the beach; you can see the areca palm in the terra cotta pot. I am considering putting that in the ground just about where it is. The soil is rock and clay, quite a surprise to me from the sandy beach I'm used to. So every day off I toss up whether to do stuff inside or outside. There's just so much.....
but I love it!