Sunday, August 01, 2010

Halfway done

Well, I have my new glasses now, but I'm not sure I like them. I could write a whole post on I'm not sure that I like them, but it's been a while since I've posted anything, so I should probably write a catch-up post instead and write about the glasses later.

Okay, so the stuff on my bedroom wall did turn out to be some termite thing. So I guess that the place either had termites before I moved in, or else they showed up about the first year or two, but I just didn't know what they were. I didn't see anything when we moved in, but later there was this brown stuff coming out of a few spots where the wall and the ceiling meet. It wasn't any big deal, but I'd heard that several of the places had serious roof damage, and I figured that's what it was, and that I'd probably make it worse if I didn't leave it alone. The roof repair guys were coming, and I'd just have to wait my turn like everyone else. There was once a few drips that came down in a really bad storm on another spot in the room, but it never happened again, and when the brown stuff did not get worse I thought that was the end of it. The roof guys said that my roof did not need repairs yet. (We have sort of a rotation repair plan, and it wasn't my turn, and I wasn't having any problems to ask to have my roof replaced early.) So I just sort of forgot about the spots.

And then this spring, there was more of the brown stuff, only this time it seemed to have a pattern to it, and my husband is sure it's termites. I am not so sure. I try to find a picture of something like it online, but I only find pictures of holes, not stuff coming out of the wall. And again, this stuff is where the wall meets the ceiling, and I had thought that termites start at the ground and work their way up, not the other way around. But whatever it was, it did seem to me that it was insect related, even though I did not see any insects.

I thought for a while that it might be mold or fungus instead. It did rather look more like the type of mushroom that grows on the side of a tree. Only that wasn't quite it either. It also sort of resembles cauliflower, only not quite. It most looks like brown coral, which it can't be, since we're not underwater.

Okay, so it might be a fungus (which would explain why it seemed to just appear out of nothing overnight), or it might somehow be termites even though we did not find any "tubes" going up to the ceiling, or it might be ants or some other kind of bug damage.

After a while I got over being afraid. If it was somehow termites that got to the ceiling without any "tubes", that's not so bad. Termites don't eat people, they just make a mess. Ants, on the other hand, might attack me or do any number of things, as there are all kinds of problems with ants, depending on what kinds of ants you might have, and I just haven't kept up (except that I know there's a "new" ant that eats electronics). Termites have been around for a long time. There are people who know what to do about the termites. That might be better to have than some sort of fungus that makes people sick.

Anyway, I had to clear all this stuff out of the way to make room for the exterminator to come in and have a look around. He was very nice, and didn't seem to mind that I had two or three storage units worth of junk in my house. He just sprayed around the stuff. And then he looked at the bedroom, and he said it was definitely termites. He didn't even have to think about it. Termites. End of story.

But it was odd that the damage was up on the ceiling and that there were no "tubes". He said the tubes must either be outside (which there were not) or inside the walls. If the tubes were inside the walls, then my neighbor must have termites as well, even though he didn't see any. But he's only being paid to deal with termites that he can see, so my side of the duplex is getting treated and the other side is not.

Okay, so the brown stuff on the walls is apparently made of bug vomit. Which is not quite as bad as I thought it might be, as I imagined that it was bug shit. The stuff was vacuumed away, insecticide foam sprayed into the walls, a little trench dug around the house and holes drilled in the driveway. I'm told the stuff is more like a virus than regular bug spray, so it didn't smell bad. The other insecticide he used didn't smell bad either. So it wasn't near as bad as I feared. And it's supposed to keep the termites away for the next two years, but I wonder if that will work, since apparently there are termites all over the area, and he's only been paid to deal with the ones that we can see. So that was my place, plus the house two doors on my left and three doors down on the right, and that is also a duplex, so there's probably termites on the other side of those too.

Anyway, the office was offered two options, one was to treat only the houses where termites were visible and get a two-year warranty on that, or pay more and treat all the houses even where no termites were seen or even suspected, and we'd get a five-year warranty on that. The office chose the cheaper option, so the termites will probably come back. But at least I'll know what to look for now.

While most of this was going on, my husband was out of town. He was gone for a few days the week before last, and then he went out of town for a week, and then after looking at the schedule it seemed like a serious detour to come home for one night before heading out again, so he'll be gone for the whole two weeks this time. I got a lot done Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I didn't do much except wait for the exterminator and watch him work. Thursday I did some work, but not much, as I had convinced myself that I had nearly finished with the kitchen and there was no need to hurry when I had the place to myself for so long. Friday I mostly ran errands and watched Jonah Hex. Saturday I did some more work in the kitchen.

You might have guessed that I'm still working on the kitchen.

Well, I just don't know what else to do about it. I just don't have places to put things. I realize that I just buy too much stuff, and that is what is wrong with the rest of the house. But in the kitchen I just really do not have places to put the things that people normally have to cook with. I have some storage space under the sink (which I think people usually just keep cleaning supplies), where I try to keep the stock pots and the cookie sheets and the larger things that just don't fit anywhere else. I have four doors of cabinets on the wall over the stove where I mostly keep canned goods and such. I have two more doors on the other wall over the sink and the washing machine, and that is where I keep most of the dishes. I have one cabinet door on the ground, which holds a few small appliances, and above that is my one and only kitchen drawer, which will hold a few small things or the silverware tray, but not both.

So, I have no place for things like serving spoons and cheese graters and spatulas. And there's no place for stuff like plastic bags and aluminum foil. And these are things that a person needs to have in the kitchen. This is not stuff that I should just give up and throw away or give to Goodwill. People need spatulas and such.

I've thrown away a lot of food. I still have more things to throw away, but I did not think it fair to the trash guys to put so much heavy stuff out all at once. But I have all these canned things that either have gone out of date or I just can't find a date, so I'm throwing it out. So now everything is clean (except maybe I should still clean off the top of the cabinets, but I'd rather wait til I'm not the only one here in case I fall off of the ladder), but I still have all this stuff that I don't know what to do with, so that it just clutters up the tiny counter space I have or the top of the washing machine (which then prevents me from doing the laundry until I find someplace else to put the stuff). I also have no place for tall things such as bottles of oil or boxes of cereal, so those go on top of the fridge, and then I forget they are there and they go out of date.

So except for the boxes of stuff I don't know what to do with, I have a clean kitchen. Not that I have a clean dining area. There's still more there, and the laundry is there, and some of the photography stuff is there.

Okay, it isn't normal to have all this photography stuff, but I still think the kitchen just doesn't work for a normal person. Normal people need aluminum foil and spatulas.

I did manage to clean out the back closet, which I haven't done since I moved here. And I threw away a shelf unit that was too rusty. I've wanted to get rid of it for about two years, but there was too much other stuff in the way for me to move it. So, shelf unit gone, and closet mostly cleaned out, except that there's a few things that I don't want to put back in but I don't know where else they should go. So, half of a clean bedroom, a clear hallway, a mostly clean kitchen with a couple of boxes of stuff that I don't know where to put, and a mostly cleaned out back closet, with the rest of the house in it's usual state of chaos.

Oh, and there's still this hole in my kitchen wall. The exterminator took a picture of it while he was taking pictures of termite stuff/damage, cause the maintenance guys might have to come but later and do repairs. So he took a picture of my wall to remind them that they were supposed to do that too. I've been trying to remember when they did this to my wall and did not come back to finish. I was thinking it was a year or two, but now that I'm thinking of who was manager when that happened, and now I'm thinking it's been four years or more. And it isn't like a little hole in the wall. They removed half of the wall to do repairs and just left to work on something else and never came back. So I thought that maybe it was somehow an honest mistake, and with this little reminder they would rush right over and fix it, but no. They haven't even called to apologize or anything.

I am back to thinking that I should just fix it myself, and "upgrade" it somehow. At first I was looking at the pictures where there are little sections of wall cut out to make space for things like spice racks. I have a saw now, so I could do that, but there's so much plumbing and stuff on that wall I couldn't do much with that, and I'd worry about hitting a pipe or cutting a wire or something. And then I was thinking pegboard, and then I could have just hooks and such wherever I wanted. But then I'd be left with a zillion holes to fill in or cover up somehow. Now I'm thinking a few removable hooks at the upper part, and attaching a bunch of magnets on the lower part that I'd have to replace. Then maybe the magnets could hold things like cookie sheets.

Anyway, I'm still thinking.

I have run out of money. I have decided that I should probably buy a three dollar saw blade in an attempt to hand cut a few bathroom tiles. (The tiles are not going in the bathroom, but under the kitchen sink.) Anyway, I had a bit of a splurge on Chinese food Monday. Not a really bad splurge, just about eight dollars, and I got four meals out of it by cooking noodles and rice to go with the leftovers. Then I bought the major expenses, pills, twenty bucks of gas, lottery tickets, etc.... I spent another eight dollars or so on fast food for the week. And then Friday I had money left over and bought a few things that I needed, and a few things that I didn't need, like three dollars for nachos and an extra box of cookies.

And then I realized that I only had ten dollars left, and I have another week by myself, so now I can't decide if I want to spend three dollars on a saw blade.

Okay, I've found Jeremiah on Hulu, and I'm going to go back to watching that while I try to figure out a better place to put the spatulas and such.


dmarks said...

Unarrangable kitchens. I know the feeling.

As for heavy trash, we tend to get rid of it. I guess the trashmen must have high chiropractic bills.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I was just actually researching this "brown stuff" that I recently came across in my home. I wasn't looking for any blog. Come to think of it, I've never even read a blog. But I'm glad I read this. It made me laugh. My day is better now from having read it. It's nice to know that there are other women out there that have a million things running through their head at once.