Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Saga of The Child House

A monologue to remind me of where our money goes.  It makes me faint with angst!

This is about The Child House.  I named it that because it just keeps taking and taking, and just about the time I think it has "grown up", it comes up with a new request.

Short history here.  My husband passed away in 2000 and my children live in Oklahoma and with only Aud and I, (I am an only child), we were encouraged to move here so they could help us if they needed to. It all worked out as it should because I was laid off in early 2011 and we put our Texas house on the market, I accepted a job in Oklahoma, and Aud stayed in Texas to sell the house there.

It took a year to sell it, and when it finally sold, I had two weeks to find a house up here.  The movers were scheduled, etc, etc.  It was one of those moves from hell, so to speak.  I found the house, papers were signed, I was to fly down to drive Aud up, and had to have emergency gall bladder surgery.  So The Child House became ours. Since I was recovering from surgery I could not lift anything over 10 pounds, which didn't help, but that is another story.

Anyway, we had two days to get the carpets cleaned and the house cleaned before the movers arrived.  They unpacked, all was well, and the next morning we were washing dishes, and washing some clothes and the commode got flushed and all of a sudden we had water problems.

And those water problems have popped up periodically ever since. We could not wash dishes and clothes at the same time or use the front bathroom if any of those two items were being used.  The piping was too small. That was solved by buying a new washer and dryer that used less water.  3 months later the dishwasher was not usable, there was a short in the wiring that we didn't know about. so we purchased a new dishwasher.   The water heater was replaced 2 years later.

Then the main waste pipe going out of the house broke (cast iron, this house is 40 years old) and the floor in the master bedroom had to be dug up for about 15 feet and new piping put in. New valves
had to be put in in two of the three bathrooms which also required holes being dug in both of those.

By then we had found a decent plumber and we basically have had him on retainer since.   The next thing to go wrong was the outside sewer line which broke due to tree roots so we had the tree cut down, and new piping laid to the main sewer line that goes across the back of our backyard.

And then the a/c unit drain would clog up and water would spill out all over a side hall and we had to replace carpet and so on.  So, we replaced all of the carpet, put tile in the kitchen and bathrooms, wood laminate in the dining room, side hall and 2 bedrooms.  1 of which I used for sewing at one time.

About a year later, we redid the kitchen countertop, added a new cooktop ,oven units and sink.
In the process of doing a final installment tweak, the workman clipped a hose under the sink by
accident.  He left for the day, and a couple of hours later we were washing dishes and the nicked
pipe hose split the rest of the way, and all of a sudden the kitchen was full of water and it was
creeping in on the laminate floor and under the cabinets into the next room which also had laminate on it.
Couldn't find the cutoff valve in the house and didn't have a turn off tool for the outside, and none of the close neighbors had one either.  Called the fire department and they came out and cut off the water.

So, the contractor had to replace most of the laminate in the two rooms close to the kitchen and fix
the split hose.  It was a total nightmare for a couple of weeks.

Somewhere along the  way we have replaced all of the windows, the a/c and heating unit,  all commodes,  put in a walk in bathtub, a new "handicap" accessible shower setup and updated another shower, and put in a ton of insulation in the attic.

We have also put in a totally new kitchen, including all new appliances,  which is absolutely wonderful, and a pleasure to cook in because everything has it's own place.  We did add a wall in part of the kitchen
and open up another wall to give us a little more counter and cabinet area.  That greatly increased the flow of the kitchen and the house. At that time we also painted the inside and outside of the house.

And then we had a slab break which required rerouting the hot water in one area of the house.  It caused water damage to the laminate flooring again, which had to be replaced again.  Could no longer get what we had used originally, so we now have two separate areas of laminate, but surprisingly they look ok.

We had french drains put in in the yard due to water problems with heavy rains a couple of years after we moved in.   Also added a sprinkler system to take care of the watering. And just this month, we had to have a section of the back porch concrete replaced because it had sunk and water was getting in under the fireplace and getting the living room carpet wet.  We also had some of the back yard dug out some more to further facilitate the water not backing up onto the porch.  Now we have a swale in the back yard just off the middle of the back porch which is going to have to be fixed.

As to the yard, it was a total wreck when we moved in, and over the years I have finally gotten it to the point where it looks great most of the time, and this year finally had a full yard of fescue in the back which will stay green all year long.  That got dug up of course when the back yard was "regraded" a couple of weeks ago.  I have added lilies and other perennials slowly but surely and this year removed every plant that requires a lot of maintenance because it costs so much to maintain them and good gardening help is hard to find and very expensive.

And then there is the electricity. We have replaced the majority of it and added some capacity also.  Replaced all light bulbs with curlies when they first came out, which really saves on electric, and have now replaced all of the lights in the living room with leds on dimmers.  These are wonderful and not hot.  Also replaced outside security light fixtures and put in led bulbs on dawn to dusk cells.  Our electric bill has dropped another 30 a month.

AND, I must not forget the fireplace.  We called a chimney sweep to clean out the fireplace when we first moved in.  It needed a new "cover" on it, BUT, there were baby birds inside the chimney and since
they were protected, we could not put the cover on.  So, we had to wait until the silly things grew up and flew away.  I remember at night they would start yelling and I would holler "shut up" into the fireplace and they would, lol.  After they left, we converted the fireplace to gas logs and things were good until about 3 years ago when the turn on valve started leaking gas.  And our good friend the plumber had to
put in a new turn off valve, lol.  Of course it proved to be a royal pita, but he got it done.

ALSO,  there was a hole in the eaves of the house and a squirrel family had set up shop in there and had a baby.  I kept telling Aud we had some animal in the attic and she never believed me until one day I was outside and looked up and there was a squirrel staring at me through one of the screened openings in the eaves. We had to have it trapped and that was another whole adventure.  My son-in-law came over and covered up the hole and when the roof had to be replaced because of hail damage somewhere during this journey, that was taken care of.

The past two weeks we have endured the installing of a soft water system.  Our dishwasher, which was installed when we redid the kitchen 2 years ago, was not acting right.  It was under warranty so I called the technician to fix it, and was informed that hard water was eating it up and he told me we needed to get a water softener system in or we would have to replace the dishwasher in another year.  If you have priced dishwashers lately, they are not cheap.  Also, a month ago, we had to replace the faucets in the bathtub for the same reason.  The soft water system was installed a week ago Monday.  This morning at 4 am I hear this ungodly noise coming from the garage.  I go out there and there is water gurgling out of
the water heater drain.  I call the soft water person, leave a message on his answering machine, send a text to the plumber and literally set in a chair for the next few hours with my stomach in a knot listening for the sound of water.

The soft water person came by about 8:30, informed me there was no problem with the unit, and the plumber arrived around 11.  He has run the snake down the drain, there was 40 years of calcium in it I am sure, and now the soft water is working again, and there is no water coming out of the drain.  When I found out he was coming I ran to Home Depot and picked up 4 new faucets to change out in the bathrooms.   We had changed them out several years ago and put in the "one handle" variety.  Both Aud and I have trouble turning them to the right temperature, and they seem to drip back onto the countertop and since he was going to be here anyway, it would save another service call expense.  They are beautiful.

Last fall when we had the a/c unit checked, the motor on the heat part of the a/c had to be replaced.
When the plumber and I were throwing out the trash from today he said to me "it sounds like the motor on the a/c unit needs to be replaced.  It is whining some."  It is due for service in April. 

One bright piece of news, we have been told in the past month that we do not need any piers!
Are  you listening, Child House?

As Aud is so fond of saying, and I think the house hears her and giggles, "surely there is nothing else that can go wrong now.  Don't we have it all taken care of? "

Don't think I will tell her about the a/c right now, lol. Give her a couple of days to feel secure.


Carol said...

OH my...your house gives a whole new meaning to "The Money Pit"...bless your heart.

Glenda in Florida said...

Just wanted to say that I'm glad to see you blogging again. I've been checking every couple weeks, and today I hit the jackpot with a weeks worth of posts. Sorry about the money pit house, but so glad to hear that you and your mother are well.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Oh, Perry, I had misplaced my bookmark to your blog and not been here in such a very long time and to hear all about this just blows my mind! I have had some unbelievable challenges in my life..but they are more about people and illnesses than water pipes and such! My heart goes out to unbelievable woman! I to discover that Aud is still here, too. Oh my...prayers and blessings and good energy that our lives will please, please go on an up swing!!! (((Hugs!)))

Sharie - Moss Bluff said...

Hi Perry,
And I thought I had problems.... Houses can really cost money. I am just praying that I don't have to put another dime into the one in Sulphur. It goes on the market(I hope) in about 10 days. It has cost me a bundle. I have cosmetic things I would like to do to the house I live in. Hopefully nothing serious will happen while I own it.

How is the basket quilt coming? I have to write my guilds newsletter tomorrow. I hope to blog on Monday. Sharie

Chris H said...

That is not a 'Child House' dat is the HOUSE FROM HELL!!!
OMG I can't believe how much trouble that house has given you... you must be so over it all now... and let's not even think about how much money you have had to spend!!!

AnnieO said...

Wow, how many new cars has the plumber been able to buy since meeting you? It sounds like you have a house on a lake, with all that water troubl you've had! Hope you're finally getting to the end of the "what could possibly go wrong" phase. Right, Child House?