gerisullivan: (Zeppelin Hangar)
I moved into Toad Woods nearly 5.5 years ago. Thanks to ServiceMagic, I may have just found a handyman. Well, a handyman and then some, as you'll see if you visit the ServiceMagic profile for Chris Laurenzo and The Benzo Company.

The far from good )

Changing focus )

The bottom line is that I actually have been doing a reasonably respectable job of maintaining the Zeppelin Hangar on a limited budget and also doing a few, top-priority, home improvement projects as resources have allowed. Am I perfect? Of course not. But I'm not the hopeless homeowner bum I've been thinking I am, either. I've done as much in 5.5 years here as I did in 20 years at Toad Hall, and I haven't had a live-in partner to help with any of it.

Now I may even have found a good handyman. Wahoo!

Edited to add Susan's remarkable, delightful window treatments and related projects. They bring daily delight, which may have contributed to my not thinking about them when originally listing various one-time home improvement projects.
gerisullivan: (Default)
Huzzah! Boiler Guy Larry started Zone 1 heat this morning. The first good sign was water flowing full force when he checked the drain. That sure beat Thursday's tiny trickle. Oil Delivery Gal Cele came with Larry. She and I watched the edges of the basement ceilings for water leaks as Larry fired the boiler with Zone 1 open. Then I checked upstairs, making sure the floors were dry and feeling the beginning wisps of heat rising from the baseboard radiators.

Color me lucky. All appears to be fine. Fine as in no split pipes.

Temperatures are forecast to drop later this week through the beginning of next week. Before then, I'll put the pipe insulation back in place, but I'll probably leave the dropped ceiling titles open just to put a bit more warm air up near the pipes. There's no reason to think that's actually necessary, but I'm understandably a bit twitchy on the frozen pipe front and am playing it extra safe for the rest of this heating season.

I also talked with Boiler Guy about replacing the oil tank, which I've never been happy with. Larry strongly recommends a new location for it. As it turns out, the former owners put the current tank in themselves. Look Ma, no permits. That explains just how funky the entire set-up is. (The house originally had electric heat and was converted to oil; I knew the conversion job was a weak point in the house when I bought it.) Larry says the front corner of the toy room is the best location. That would involve carving a corner out of the room, then putting walls around the tank. Walls, and an access door. As in, more work (and expense) than simply swapping out the current tank, but it would also give me a lot more unfinished basement space, something the house is uncomfortably short on. And there's the fact that we probably can't get a permit to put a replacement tank in where the current one is; a tank should have never been put there in the first place.

Replacing the tank this summer may be overly optimistic from a budget standpoint, especially considering the additional expense associated with relocating it. But it's exciting to think of the increased functionality in the unfinished portion of the basement...and not all that daunting to contemplate changing the toy room. That's probably because the room is sheer chaos from the weekend's flooding problems. It's already a good time for me to rearrange the furniture and some of the shelves. Hmmmm....

[ profile] fredcritter, please tell Susan that the flooding didn't damage any of the circus! And the proposed new location for the oil tank wouldn't affect the circus -- we're talking about the corner where the drafting table is now.
gerisullivan: (Default)
I woke after 3.5 hours, the latter part of which was filled with a long, coherent dream that culminated in finding a ruby engagement ring and a ruby pinky ring -- the "Golden Ticket" in some SF Fandom / Convention / Hugo / Movie promotion. Finding the rings meant I won a $10,000 prize, in addition to getting to keep the rings, both of which fit! The dream had many other vivid details, most of which were greatly enjoying and none of which were uncomfortable or worrisome. Both I and the people around me were singing, "I found the Golden Ticket!" and "You found the Golden Ticket!" as I awoke.

Yep, that negative biopsy certainly relieved my mind.

The first thing I noticed was silence. There was NO drip-drip-drip of water falling from the back roof! I looked at the clock. Long enough that I'd really best check the basement. All the way downstairs, I was aware of just how quiet it wa.Still no drip-drip-drips. Silent and sunny. Huzzah!

No standing water under the door. Whatever seeped in after my final cleanup seeped back out on its own. "Flood 2 Lake" is all but dry and nothing is dripping from above! I took the dry towels into the fan room and sopped up water through the carpet. The towels didn't even have to go through the spin cycle. They're wet, but no more so than they usually are at the end of a wash cycle. Which says a lot about how little new water seeped through to the fan room last night.

I declare Flood 2 officially over. Thank Ghu!

I'm going back to sleep for what I hope is another 3.5 hours. Many thanks to all for their good wishes this morning. [ profile] cakmpls gave me a real Duh! moment when she mentioned the imminent use of the dreaded shop vac in her basement. I should have tried using the shop vac to empty my lake last night! It probably would have been a lot easier than using shovels, rakes, and implements of destruction. I thought of trying to siphon the water, but the lake was too shallow to maintain a siphon even if I managed to get one going. But I just didn't think of trying the power tool I was already using for flood control in the carpeted areas. I should have been using it to soak up water from the bare concrete floor, too. I bet it would have been a lot faster than my mop.

Instead of trying to think of what various friends might suggest if they were there, I should have been wondering, "What would NESFA do?!"

Wishing you all a dry, sunny day....
gerisullivan: (Default)
...but it's now certain I'm not going to win the "It sucks to be me" sweepstakes after all.

Why? Because even though Saturday brought Basement Flood #2 (this time thanks to the melting lake o'ice underneath the back deck), it also brought the following wonderful news in the mail:

"Your biopsy results were negative."

And the bonus sentence: "No further tests are required at this time."

A bit of the backstory; nothing particularly graphic )

I'm glad the biopsy followed the expected script without any unwelcome plot twists right at that point. The rest of my life has more than enough plot twists these days, thank you very much.

Speaking of those, yes, I'm on Basement Flood #2. The warm weather is a mixed blessing. Yes, I hope it's thawing my frozen pipe. That'd be good. The not-so-good is that all of that drip-drip-dripping of melting snow and ice means there's a lot of water sitting on top of frozen ground and still-frozen ice underneath my back deck, and the flood plain includes the basement door. Water is seeping in under the edge of the door. More soggy details )

The Magic 8 Ball sez: "Answer wet; ask again later."

Or maybe that should be "Answer wet; mop again later."

Anyway, well...anyway. That's where things s/o/a/k/ stand.
gerisullivan: (Default)
When I closed last night's post by saying "Other trials, travails, adventures, and more can wait for other posts", I was referring to events of my recent past, not those awaiting in my soon-to-be-future. Really. Truly, I was.

Alas, Friday brought another homeowner's nightmare my way. Even though it was bitterly cold Thursday night, I'd turned off the basement space heaters before turning in around 3:30 am. I don't mind having them running downstairs when I'm awake in the living room, and can check on them every little while, but running them all night while sleeping two floors away just seemed to be inviting trouble.

So when I woke after sleeping for six hours, I immediately headed downstairs to start the heaters again. Only to be greeted by a flooded basement. Damn. )

It's supposed to warm up for the next several days; living without heat on the first floor is already much more comfortable than it was yesterday, and it's just going to get better. For a while, at least. Long enough for the pipe to thaw, I hope.

Boiler Guys are coming back Monday or Tuesday and we'll see whether or not Zone 1 works then. Well/Water Treatment Guy is coming back Wednesday morning -- the berm filter needs servicing and he's going to re-configure the system so water goes through the neutralizer first. That's unrelated to the flooding problem, but yet another issue we discovered when doing a test backwash to confirm the temporary drain was working correctly. I don't yet have a clue about how much all these service calls are going to cost, or how much more will be involved in resolving all of the problems on a long-term basis. I am deeply relieved this is my third winter here in the Zeppelin Hangar rather than my first. Experience has already proven I'm not in for this every winter. Now all I have to do is get through the rest of this mess.

Geri Sullivan, Girl Homeowner. Oh, the joys.

Current temperature: 64 (living room) Without a fire, even. I can live with that.
gerisullivan: (Default)
When you live alone, there's really no one to blame when the fireplace matches go missing. I didn't use the last of them -- they're here somewhere. But not in any of the obvious places.

Fortunately, I managed to light the fire with regular, short matches. Burn-free, even. Well, burn-free to me -- the fire's burning quite nicely, thank you very much. And that's a good thing, indeed, given that apparently the pipe feeding heat to the first floor of the Zeppelin Hanger is, um, somewhat frozen and has been for most of two days now. Joy. Now I'm hoping it doesn't split or burst before it thaws. Fun, fun, fun.

The frozen pipe is unfortunately indicative of how my life's been going of late, which has a lot to do with why it's been so long since I updated this journal. Fortunately, I've also had several dollops of good luck along the way, and I'm hoping for another over the next day or two. The space heaters could warm the pipe enough to thaw the frozen spot. (This would be an easier, faster process if I knew where the frozen bit is. That may well be frozen bits by now, given how much pipe has been sitting with cold water in it rather than hot water circulating through it since Tuesday night. I really should have figured out yesterday that it wasn't just taking the first floor a long time to warm up because of the bitter cold outside, but rather that it wasn't warming up at all.)

Other trials, travails, adventures, and more can wait for other posts. For now, I'm going to go make another cup of hot cocoa with cinnamon in it.

Current temperatures:
Geri's office (where I'm not): 54 F.
Living room (where I am): 62 F. (after about 30 minutes with the fire burning)
Nearer the fireplace: warmer. Maybe I should move to the other end of the sofa.
Upstairs: 70 F, or whatever I set the thermostat to. Thank ghu for zone heating!


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