Archive for January, 2009

Drip Drip Drip

Damn, we have an ice dam!

Dripping inside the house – not good!

The widow, wet, very wet.

Ice dam melting socks, okay stockings.

The gutters will have the sexiest ice melting stockings in the hood.


Fences Make Good Neighbors Part 2

The fence was going in no ifs, no ands, no buts about it. Permit pulled, materials purchased and the peace maker would be in by Saturday prior to band practice.

The little ass-wipes decided it was a good idea to play a game of hoop it up. Imagine that, when we started to remove the landscaping basketballs were flying through the air. For some strange reason it was all important to make that shot 20 feet from the middle of the driveway to the hoop. It turned into a game of intimidation and we were not going to be the ones who lost. The fence was going in.

Even with the additional fencing, our patience were still being tested. Sometimes the patience runs thin and time runs out.

Sitting at the kitchen table one morning, just happened to be off that day, I see something come flying in the yard and then heard a smash. Our lot is 100 feet plus from the back of the house. I immediately looked to the neighbors house, guess which one, and there is Satan’s Spawn out on their back upper porch. I ran to the back yard and low and behold a broken liquor bottle. Now we have 2 dogs at this time, which had full run of the yard, had we not been home and unaware of what had happened – can we say vet bills?  Who would be stuck with the vet bills, us! That was it, I was done and I wanted to knock the living piss out Satan’s Spawn once and for all.

Continue reading ‘Fences Make Good Neighbors Part 2’

Fences make Great Neighbors – Part 1

There was a time when ignorance was bliss. Oh yes, it was the most relaxing time of living in this city.

Now don’t get me wrong, there were times when we would say “that is just f*ed up”. Why do people park their cars on their front lawns? Why do people have trash everywhere in their yards and not pick it up?  What is up with these kids? Why must people blast there car stereos and rattle the windows of our home? But like a strike of lighting you push all those thoughts out of your head and proceed forward. Yes, ignorance is bliss and one thinks “we’ll show them the way”. Dumb, dumb thinking.

Eight years ago all that changed, we had the neighbors from hell. Satan’s Spawn, his brother and all his followers who accompanied him came and took residence right next door.

Continue reading ‘Fences make Great Neighbors – Part 1’

What lurks Below

A foundation must be solid, no? Well, the house actually had one make that FOUR bad walls. Her bones – not so good after all.

Trying to find the right contractor in this city.

The contractor line up:

Contractor One – actually told us that we were not going to rebuild the wall – WHAT have you lost your mind dude; the block is cracked and shifting out of place. We were not going to replace the storm drain and instead we were going to install french drains. I don’t think so – what an ass, next.

Contractor Number Two – told us $7,800.00 and that was just the one wall, drain tiles, sump and 2-4 feet of lag – next.

Contractor Number Three – this guy was way over priced. “Why did you Mr Contractor Number Three waste our time?” Just tell us that you didn’t want the job. Next.

Husband and I almost blew the last guy off, we figured either it would be more of the same or he would say the key words we were looking for. Yes, we spoke with a trusted contractor friend from another city to get information on what to look for as we interviewed possible contenders. A side note, Contractors from other city’s do not like to work in my city due all the nonsense that is involved.

Contractor Number Four – showed up on time, he starts to measure, looks down the walls, gets up on a chair and starts to diagnose what we really have going on. It isn’t pretty, every one of the walls are going, every single one of them – just that the east wall is the worst one – I could actually stick my pinkie in it. He was the 1st contractor to even point this out and he was correct in the diagnoses  – we are looking at a huge expense.

Well, not really that huge, if you add inflation over a period of 3-5 years. We saved huge money by doing the whole job at once. I already knew this from remembering a customer who spent over $15,000 in 10 years to fix the same wall. The beauty of this was we paid a little more, got a sump, glass block windows, new drain tiles, a new porch, water sealed, trucks full of lag, compliant with building code and a mildew free basement.

Priceless, just priceless.

I would suggest however that if you have a dog or dogs, medium to large in size take them to a kennel and board them. Trust me on this.

In the spirit of suggestions, also line up a Electrician and a plumber unless otherwise stated in your contract.

So here are some pictures for your amusement of living in your home while your basement is being rebuilt below your feet. By the way the crew was in and out of here in 7 days. That has been the largest job we have done to this house so far.

head contractor guy

head contractor guy

The Little City that Couldn’t

Got that stiff drink?

My city is dying!

I wish I had something good to say, but in reality I just don’t. I am a hostage in my own city. I thought it was just me being an outsider and all, but after talking to some other transplants I found out that this city is the master of lies.

I refer to my city as an addict; it attempts to do the same things over and over expecting a different result. An addict’s primary goal is to seek out that old first time feeling. Ah, when life was good, when a simple fix did the job.

Well, there are no simple fixes, life is not good, and the industry is gone. Its time to go to rehab and learn to live a different way of life.

The old way no longer works, has not worked and will never work again. For some strange reason they just don’t seem to grasp this idea. So to break it down further with a plan included, it goes something like this:

Continue reading ‘The Little City that Couldn’t’

The Neighbor – HOOD

How do I describe this rust belt neighborhood, it didn’t always look like this.

We live on a main road in the hood. The last 10 years this area has changed and not for the best. We accessed the neighborhood when the husband moved back here 12 years ago. The thought of purchasing the house hadn’t even crossed our minds at that time. It was at the tipping point so we waited and watched.

The house needed to be cleaned out, the yard was so over grown that one could not tell where flowerbeds started and ended. Now as naive as this may sound we started to do some major landscaping in the front yard and side yard – we thought “we’ll set the example and see if anyone follows”. They did, yards were getting cleaned up, people were fixing up their homes and the street/ neighborhood was starting to look good. So a couple of months after we became married we decided to purchase the house and keep it in the family.

What the hell were we thinking! This beautiful relationship with our neighborhood lasted for about 2 years and then all hell broke loose.

Satan’s spawn moved in next door (have a special post about him) which would be the foreshadowing of things to come. From that day forward we coined our neighborhood as the “Hood” and she still hasn’t recovered.

We have 9 vacant houses on our block, which consist of about 31 houses, 10 of the homes are rentals and 12 are owner occupied – this is just one street. The neighborhood in which I reside has 7 streets in all, shows the tell-tale sign of economic loss. Lack of home ownership, increased rental properties with no garages/garages falling down, boarded up vacant homes with jungles of vegetation, and building code violations galore. Nothing beats a nice relaxing walk in the neighborhood. Watch out for the broken glass.

There is one thing that is very cool here, is that this neighborhood is multicultural. This is the only positive (some of the time) aspect of living here.

I know some are wondering why doesn’t the city do something – that will be a discussion for another time where that stiff drink will be in order.

She has good bones

The house, well – what can I say we decided to keep a family home in the family and so we purchased it. This house was built by my husband’s family; actually the husband’s family built many homes in this area and even started a local bank.

Now, let’s get to the real deal about this house.

There are many times we ask ourselves “what were they thinking?” We shake our heads in disbelief and just deal with the issues that have been presented. I am still dealing with the issue of the kitchen floor, the kitchen in general, and found hope in some of the other rehab blogs in getting motivated to finish dealing with that damn floor/kitchen.

Back to the house, this 63 year old house is one very stripped out, no bells no whistles bungalow. There is no beautiful woodwork, no arts and craft nothing, no built in cabinet anywhere, no window seat, no beautiful craftsmanship of any kind anywhere in or about this house internally or externally. Hell we are still trying to figure out what material was used as “drywall” in the upstairs dormer. Not even our Contractor knows what this stuff is except he has never seen it in a house.

So the whole concept of “wow a family home built by family builders must be so cool” has just been trashed. This puppy was slapped up my friends and to really drive this point home they used scrap pieces parts of other builds’ to make it.

The dream is to give her the bells and whistles she deserves with her own identity. She should stand out, be an example of what could be – with just a little imagination, patience and money.

January 2009
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