Before the kids were born, I used to walk about three miles a day almost every day after work. Husband and I or a friend and I would hike on the weekends regularly. Somehow, trying to convince a 4-year old to actually walk is a task upon itself. Then you have to make sure you have all the things a baby could need and a stroller and snacks... the list goes on and on. Sometimes spontaneity is a little more fun than actually having to think about and plan a hike. On MLK day, I left work early and after the workers came to the house, I insisted that the family and I take advantage of the afternoon and the sunshine and we rolled out to hike in Camarillo, just outside of the wastewater treatment plant of all things. It was glorious and therapeutic and just the best thing we could have done. There are few things a bit of fresh air, sunshine and dirt can't heal.
Remember that scene in ET when Elliott and his tiny alien friend are all sick and quarantined? Yeah. That's how I feel about my house.
Here's what's left of our bar/spare room. We'll be demolishing the actual bar shortly.
This is the door to the garage which is right next to Tutti's room.
This is the thing blowing out asbestos I guess. Neat.
This is what is left of the wall that had that hardly noticeable wet spot on the molding.
This is the other side that leads into our garage.
This is the garage.
Here's a spooky shot of the blow dryers.
And here's "Little Miss Into Everything" checking on what I'm doing under the drapery of plastic sheeting. Isn't she helpful?
My main problem with all of this, aside from the obvious inconvenience and cost, is that the left hand doesn't seem to know what the right hand is doing. They sent a guy to tell me about the wall removal and he told me to pack up the stuff in the bar - which was a bunch of tzotchkes, books, CDs and DVDs - so they could remove the furniture for wall removal the next day. I went home half day and packed like a mad woman and put everything in the garage. The next day the mover/packer people came and said they were supposed to do all of the packing, brought boxes and extra help and everything. Awesome.
So the furniture and washer and dryer were removed and on Saturday the guys came to quarantine the house and remove the walls that had the asbestos. They said the people would show up that afternoon to get the drying process done. No one called, no one showed. Sunday either. So on Monday I called at 10 a.m. and told them to send someone. Those guys showed up at 11 but probably wouldn't have if I hadn't called. Those guys then wondered why they were there to set up dryers because shouldn't that have been done already and I told
them I had no idea what the heck was going on. They left while we were
on our hike but when we came home those blowers were drying.
That night the company called and said they wanted to come at 8 a.m. to check on the dryers they had just set up. I'm taking a lot of time off work so I was not amused to have to do it again. Then on the way to work yesterday they called and realized they just set up the dryers so could they come Wednesday instead. Sigh. Whatever. Hopefully they take that stuff away today so I can set up my washer and dryer to do some laundry, the kids are down to their last pair of jammies.
And it's not just these folks that are disorganized. We had some furniture coming from Home Depot and the delivery window was from 11-3. When my mom showed up to wait for that stuff at 10:30? They'd already delivered and just left that stuff in my front yard! The plumber says he'll come Monday and is finally allegedly going to show up today. I am the most OCD person when it comes to being punctual and having a schedule so this shit is giving me a heart attack. I know I'll be happy with the finished results, I just hope it's over soon.
Well this little baby is just a month away from being 1; it's the first week of her eleventh month (JCPenney pictures here). She's not walking yet but steps are being taken. There's a lot of standing going on for sure. I think she just realizes she can crawl faster than she can walk someplace and this girl has no time for that! No, sir! She's got places to be, things to put in her mouth and stuff to destroy!
In the babycenter.com email I get weekly, it mentioned baby proofing and that is really something we clearly need to do. She actually went in to our kitchen cabinet and pulled out a full bag of flour, which weighs about 5 pounds, and proceeded to tear it apart with her beaver teeth. Silence is a warning sign because whenever it exists I generally find her eating a magazine or pulling toilet paper off the roll. She's very fast and if you blink, next thing you know it she's up about 5 stairs at my mom's house or you find yourself searching rooms to try and find where she has disappeared to. Christa spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E. But if you even hint (jokingly) that she is a bad girl, her brother will seriously ball up his fists and tell you that she is a good baby. We better watch out for him.
Words are being spoken! She can say Casey and "titi" for Betty. She says "nigh nigh" pretty clearly. There's a lot of "mama" going on for sure. If there is a pillow nearby, and you say "nigh nigh" she will lay her head right down and pretend to go to sleep. She's very proud of that little party trick, no doubt. And this is what it looks like:
And then there is the eating. Non-stop. Anything and everything. By the time I get her out of her chair, there is food everywhere: in her hair, on the floor, in her clothes and diapers... Yeah. I think she's going through a growth spurt and then there are the teeth coming so maybe the pressure of eating makes her gums feel better. Poor doll. At least she's sleeping well. Only wakes up about once a night now and quickly falls back to sleep. This baby thing is going by way too fast.
Yesterday I talked about snowballs in regards to debt. Today I will talk about snowballs in regards to the shenanigans in my house. See this?
This little moisture here is what led me to discover there was a leak behind the washer and dryer.
This is what happens when your brother rips your wall open when you tell him there is a leak behind the washer and dryer. It seems harmless enough, nothing a little drywall and paint won't fix. But no. It's never that easy. See this?
This is the crack in the wall behind my shower that water was draining out of and on to the concrete in our back yard. It all looks so easy to fix but apparently it's not. Since there was some repair work that needed to be done and some visible damage, I decided to call the home insurance people to see if some of this was covered. They took a walk around and did their assessment and they determined I would be eligible for some funds. When they realized the house was built in 1974, around the same time asbestos use was being phased out of construction, they decided they needed to run some tests. On Tuesday night, some tests were run on our walls and yesterday I got a call confirming those tests were positive for asbestos.
Apparently tomorrow morning some environmental team is coming out to assess what needs to be done to get the walls and carpet dried and treated so things can be safely removed and replaced without exposing us to asbestos. Luckily this is all covered so I'm not going to have to pretend I have the money to pay for any of this. Also, the insurance company basically will be paying us the equivalent of rent to evacuate our house while this repair work is being done. It all makes me very nervous, you know? Because of the kids. And honestly, the idea of walls being torn down and all the repairs that need to be done all makes me kind of sick to my stomach. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it's getting taken care of but it's still very stressful. This is my home. My safe place. And currently it's all upside down.
I have to be honest, 2015 has started off as quite a challenge. On day two we found out Casey was going to need dental surgery in the $1200 range in April. Then, that afternoon, we discovered a leak in our spare room that originated from the laundry room. Since then pipes have been snaked, home insurance has been involved, a hazmat man came out and inspected for possible asbestos, and machines will have to come in to dry walls and carpet that will eventually have to be replaced. On top of that we had our master bathroom demolished and a remodel is currently in progress. I mean, wow, right? It's only the middle of January and enough has happened to last me a year.
In addition to all this home repair business, Husband's work cut his overtime and thus our income dropped quite significantly. We have Christa's first birthday party rapidly approaching. On Monday I went to the kindergarten Casey will attend in the fall to pick up enrollment paperwork. It just feels like if it's not one thing it's another and I know that this all goes hand in hand with being a parent and a homeowner but darn if I don't wish there was a day without some monumental event on the horizon. So as with any new year, there are resolutions to be made and I figure I will jot my single plan down here so it will become gospel.
2015 RESOLUTION: MONEY. Save some and pay off some debts! Luckily insurance sounds like they will give us some money to pay for the aforementioned disaster in our house. My mom is also helping so that's super nice and wonderful. Hopefully a nice tax return will pay for Casey's dentistry. Those are the two biggies. Here are a dozen steps I will take to make sure we don't end up destitute this year (that drama was specifically for you, BFF).
Automatic withdrawal monthly of $25 from checking to savings
Keeping a checkbook and rounding down deposits and rounding up withdrawals. Each time I hit $25, I put that in the savings account.
Tossing any and all loose change at the end of the day into a piggy bank. Once that thing is full, we usually use it for groceries but I'm tossing it in the savings account.
Keeping to a strict budget! I love my spreadsheet that maps every single cent we owe to anyone at any given time.
Husband is on call a lot so his paycheck can fluctuate. Any cent over his standard base pay will be used to go towards debt from this point on since the savings will be covered in the aforementioned steps.
That same "on call" requires he be sober. So I too shall be sober on those days in solidarity. We drink a lot of beer. Good beer. Costly beer. I foresee this having a huge impact on not only the money but our waistlines.
Not using credit cards unless it is a true emergency. I'm bad at this.
Start paying off the smallest debt completely while paying the minimum on the bigger stuff. Knocking those down snowball style.
Bringing lunch to work instead of eating out. Again with the waistline benefiting from money-saving.
Firing the cleaning lady and the gardener. Please let's tip a 40 in their memory. They will be missed most of all.
Explore the world of coupons.
MORAL OF THAT STORY: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."