Archive | April, 2011

We Interrupt Our Normal Broadcast…

April 29, 2011

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I’m going to skip Find the Kitty Friday this week. We kinda have other things on our plates. We had flooding yesterday, and my house was hit.

oily

Good news is that all the water is out of the basement, and the oil spill is completely contained. Today, we have to scrub down the walls and floor, and haul all the damaged stuff away to the landfill.

All the water is out, and the next job is cleaning.

aftermath

watertank

The oil spill ruined everything in the basement, except the furnace! We were smart when we installed it after the last big flood in 2007– this time, we installed it on a metal stand, a good 2 feet up from the floor. The flood waters came within ONE INCH of the furnace! But it’s OK. Oh thank God!

But everything else is gone: my woodwork, my power saws, my maple flooring that was stored down there, various car parts and toys and patio furniture…. I’m not too sad, it’s just stuff and we can replace it. I’m sad about my power saws, though. I am hoping my insurance covers them.

So we have no hot water until we get a new tank. Looks like the insurance may not roll in a check until next week. I’ve convinced my husband that we can install it ourselves. šŸ™‚ The need for hot water is a great motivator. šŸ˜€

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I Told You We’ve Had Too Much Rain

April 28, 2011

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1flood2011

The husband woke me up at around 7:30 this morning, telling me he needed my help. The basement had flooded.

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you’ll remember that my area has severe flooding problems. It’s actually a sharp bone of contention in my town, as many of us think that super-over-development of surrounding rural areas has created a stormwater crisis. We suffered severe floods since 2000, with 2006 and 2007 being the worst. After the kids and I dug a dry well and we installed a second pump, the basement has rarely flooded in excess of a few inches for several years. We kinda hoped our flooding days were over. During last year’s renovation, I had to store a lot of stuff in the basement (we were using our garage as a living space): power tools, wood, everything from the garage, really. So while we always checked the basement when it rained, it has been dry thus far. And I haven’t had a chance to clean the basement and put the garage back together yet (I was going to do that as soon as the weather got warmer, which, incidentally, happened yesterday).

But we have had a heck of a lot of rain this month. Last I heard, the weather guy said that out of 28 days in April, we’ve had measurable rain for 26 of them. Earlier this week, we’ve had 6 inches of rain total for April. But last night’s torrential rains upped that a bit, I’d say.

2flood2011

To those who knew what was happening this morning: Thank you SO SO much for praying. I know it has helped. We had a complication this time, and I was very afraid of what would happen.

Unfortunately, we had stored in our basement–a lot of stuff: old engine oil waiting to go to the hazardous waste facility; paint; tools; etc. All that was washed up in the water that came surging in through our sump well. It coated everything and made water removal impossible.

3flood2011

The fire department came to help, but when they saw the oil, they had to call the DEC. It was pretty scary for a while, as I envisioned tens of thousands of dollars in bills from a HAZMAT team… but after it FINALLY stopped raining, we surveyed the damage. The DEC guy said that the oil spill was not large and therefore would not require a HAZMAT team (nor expensive bills). He said we could hire a professional cleanup crew to clean this up, or I could do it myself to save money. Guess which I chose…. he gave me a run down of what to get and how to clean it up, and how to dispose of the waste…. lots to do this week!

Anyway, we still have water in the basement. We have to control it carefully as we pump it out, because we cannot allow any oil to flow into the municipal water system (and the nearby creek). As the water goes down, we are mopping up the oil with large absorbent pads. Once the water is all gone, I begin the long process of shoveling out the sediment, removing the debris, junking the debris, and washing the walls and floor. My insurance will pay for a new water heater and for my ruined tools and power saws, thank God.

The yard is a disaster, filled with several layers of thick sediment from the flood waters. My house sits at a low spot in the general area, and seems to collect all the neighboring flood waters, so we bear the brunt of the flooding. I’ve got a lot of cleanup on my hands. I’ll have to take a few days off from work to care for this.

If you ask what we need pray for, it’s NO MORE RAIN. Please, no more rain. I know so many people have it worse off than us, so pray for them, too. God is a big God, and He cares even about my small problems. šŸ™‚

Thanks for your support, friends. It makes things like this more bearable. God bless you. šŸ™‚

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Evil Deer, the Continuing Saga

April 27, 2011

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My arborvitae are dead, me thinks. The deer had them for dinner over the winter, all 8 of them. $200 down the drain. šŸ™

Speaking of deer, they are absolutely fearless. I saw them out in my backyard, munching grass. I was a little fearful that they’d devour my new little willow tree back there, so I went to see if they’d done any damage.

SOMEBODY in the area has been feeding them, domesticating them. Because as I drew nearer and nearer, they were not afraid. At one point, they started to bolt, but when I talked soothingly, they were willing to come right up to me. Oh, great.

closedeer2

closedeer

I live in a town, on a busy street. Deer are a growing problem, not only to us gardeners and the pets (deer spread Lyme disease through the scads of deer ticks they drop in our lawns), but cars hit them when the deer jump out into the roads. These deer were so docile that I could tell they were being domesticated, somehow. Not good. They should be driven out into their natural habitat, the forests in the back.

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Sticky Note Fun With Livvy

April 23, 2011

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Most of the time I tolerate Livvy’s antics pretty well. šŸ™‚ She has this very bad habit of climbing up on my desk and planting her big Siamese butt in front of my monitor. She then presses her wet nose on the screen– or even licks it!– so the monitor is speckled with slimy cat snot. *gag* Before I moved my keyboard into a keyboard desk tray, she’d lounge on the keyboard, too. If I was frittering away my time on the computer, that’d be one thing. But I work from home! I have scads of articles to write, and all she wants is ATTENTION! Who does she think she is, Cleopatra?? šŸ˜‰

Well, I had a little fun with Livvy yesterday. Yeah, I was a bit stir-crazy. Looks like it was contagious. šŸ˜€

She can be such a pain sometimes, but isn’t she adorable?!

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When Stuff Breaks

April 22, 2011

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Ugh, what do you do when the house falls apart faster than you can patch it up???

Yeah, it’s spring. Now that the snow has ebbed away, the busted up dregs of winter’s wrath has appeared. And blast it, I just can’t keep up.

First, there’s the front porch. Years ago now, I had to patch up the decking to put on a new roof. The decking was never properly supported (ever) and I didn’t have the know-how nor tools to dig below the frost line and support it. Now, the porch floor is tilting. A LOT. Ugh. I’m going to have to shore up the roof, remove the decking, and rebuild. NOT FUN.

To Secret Garden 1

Thank God the hydrangeas mask the slope and decrepit porch skirt trim!

 

Our garage door broke last year. The old cable and spring just gave way. We were in the house (thank GOD no one was in the garage) when we heard a huge slam. One of the cables that holds the door up on the track had split in half, like a weary rubber band. We tried to fix it then, but to no avail. This kind of work is a little beyond my capabilities, and the husband is concerned that the door may spring out or the other cable break while we’re trying to fix it. It’s just too dangerous.

Sad thing is, we don’t even use the room as a garage. Right now, it’s just a place where we keep our tools and junk (we have no storage space in the house, as the basement floods and there is no real attic). When we want to get the lawn mower or rakes out, we need a team of people to hoist the garage door and place a wooden post in the track to keep it up. :-p I have plans to eventually renovate the room into a media room or family room, but that’s not for a while yet. Nuts. I’m stuck.

So how’s your spring turning out as you survey your property? Is the to do list adding up? Still, even though there’s a lot to do with a home every spring, it’s SO worth it, owning your own home than renting. šŸ™‚

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Find the Kitty Friday 4/22

April 22, 2011

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Subtle, she is not.

TidyCat

Sorry I haven’t been around very much. Winter is long in tooth this year. We had a little reprise yesterday (and last week). With thunder! But as I suspected, nothing accumulated and the birds didn’t fly back south. The flowers took a bold stance and are still persistently blooming. But shame on me– I still have not ordered garden seeds! Growing season doesn’t “officially” begin in Upstate NY until Mother’s Day, when *they say* threat of frost has passed. I don’t know, though… last year we had a frost in June. We’ll see. I can confidentially report that the monster snowbanks are now all melted (although north of us, I’m sure they still have dregs).

My thoughts are turning more toward the land, now that I can see it again, haha! We’re starting to think about home projects, garden projects– maybe even a farm stay or a camping trip– and of course the regular work to do around here. Because the kitchen renovation consumed my time and energy last year, I totally ignored the gardens. They are in terrible disarray. And the deer literally devoured my hedge or young arborvitae this winter. šŸ™ I am still very angry at them about that. More about them, later. Today’s a good day and I don’t want to spoil it.

So spring really, really is here. It may take some time before it’s a consistent visitor, but winter IS over. It is! Honest! Hang in there!

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Snow?! Huh?!

April 18, 2011

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The kids reported to me this afternoon that it’s snowing outside. I checked the weather forecast, and they say we *may* even get some accumulation, although it will mainly affect grassy areas.

STILL.

IT’S SNOW!

:-p

Here I was, thinking I’d be able to shut off the heaters by now. Eek, we’re cranking ’em up again. And here I was dreaming that I could finally ditch the mudroom clutter of boots and coats and break out the slick brands. No go.

Haha! Oh well, at least it gives me another opportunity to make roast chicken. Mmmm nothing beats that on a cold, damp day.

funny pictures - From the depths of a snowy prison, Basement Cat plots revenge.

P.S. Is it just me, or does the LOLCat site now add two billion links to the photo you link to? I had to remove some lest my post be filled with links. Sheesh!

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Find the Kitty Friday 4/15

April 15, 2011

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Forget the meaningless Ides of March, today is the Ides of April. TAX DAY. I’m so glad the feds extended the deadline. Good thing. We’re up to our eyeballs in paperwork (still). Which reminds me of this week’s Find the Kitty:

FTK4.15.11

Sorry posts have been slim. I haven’t been in a gardening or renovating mood just yet. I’m sure it will happen soon. It had BETTER happen soon. I haven’t even ordered garden seeds yet! :-O

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Those Moldy Oldie Appliances

April 8, 2011

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Would you believe that some folks are still hanging on to their old appliances? There’s a huge Internet market for repair parts and manuals for older appliances. It sure surprised me! I thought that those old fridges from I Love Lucy and Hazel and even The Brady Bunch had cluttered landfills eons ago. Nope. Some folks still have their old ice boxes and washing tubs!

My fridge is about… maybe 8 years old now. Before then, our fridge was an old “pick me up” from the curb (some neighbors had dumped theirs out there, but we spotted it and brought it in).

Old fridges had colors, too! Why are new fridges so boring?

It was one of those nice bottom-freezer kinds. Oh, those are so convenient! But YOW they are expensive, brand new. I don’t know how old that pick-me-up fridge was. Pretty old. When it ran, it ran well. But something happened (to the motor, maybe? can’t remember), and we decided to get a new one. Unfortunately, the brand new one is not nearly as good as the old clunker. Oh, it has more space inside, and the shelves are fancy glass instead of metal rungs… but the seal is lousy and the design of the door is poor.I had high expectations, since the new one was, well, NEW, and it was about $700 more expensive than the old one we’d had!

Do you have old appliances, still? Do you think the old ones work better than the new ones?

I have a clothes dryer that, after 18 years, is not very efficient anymore. But we have a very old TV that works fine; all my old computers work fine. And refrigerators work fine, too, as long as you keep the coolant level and the motor oiled.

Every once in a while, I like to surf the retail stores or the web and see what new gadgets they are adding to appliances. Honestly, the basic design of the refrigerator, stove, etc, hasn’t changed much in many years. The only thing manufacturers are doing is adding electronic panels to them, to appeal to Digital Women who want to check email, watch the weather AND chop the veggies at the same time.

OH my goodness, I just had a great idea– incorporate a small TV or computer monitor into the side or door of the fridge! Wouldn’t that be a space saver?! I’m sure the geeks could figure out a way to rig up a monitor. šŸ™‚ I think it’s a cool idea.

Anyway, when it comes to appliances, I’m not a fan of the massively gadgetized electronics. I’m rough on my washer and dryer and fridge– they are my work horses. The last thing I want is delicate circuitry in them to break down all the time.

Do you have a fancy appliance? Do you think it works well? If you had your choice, would you rather have a new appliance or a retro kind?

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Find the Kitty Friday 4/07

April 7, 2011

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We’re in the middle of spring cleaning, tax returns, and yard work. Spring is always such a busy time. Livvy likes it because she finds all sorts of new hiding places as we move out the furniture. I was cleaning out the computer stuff in my home office area, and was surprised to see a tail disappear. As soon as I reached for the camera and she heard the familiar click, she was back out to see what I was doing. What a funny cat!

FTK4.07.11

Oh yeah, tax time. UGH. I hate it. I’m self employed, so I’m really hammered with forms, nitpicky questions, and lots of taxes. :-p Still, I’d rather be self employed. I like the freedom of working at home. And, at home, I can snap photos of my baby skulking in between the furniture. šŸ˜€

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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