Sunday, December 14, 2008

Utter Frustration...

With the builder. What else is new. A couple of weeks ago builder rep called. They determined my house had not moved enough to warrant fixing the foundation. They would fix the "cosmetic" items and then re-survey in the three months. I'm not sure if I was happy or not to hear this. Honestly, I think they just bided their time to make me think they were really checking it out. Basically, if they re-survey in three months and determine no major movement, then any new damage is all mine to fix. Good for them. We all know the continuing damage would be due to the house shifting. To make matters worse, this is a man I literally cannot communicate with.

Two days after that phone conversation, he calls me mid-morning. He's with the bricklayer at my house to fix the exterior and no one is home. I asked if maybe they might be, I don't know, at work?! He says there is a truck in the drive way. I say so? Well, he has the bricklayer. I gave him the renter's phone number as they had agreed I could the day before. He asks if there was brick in the garage. I said yes, but that I doubted the renter could drop everything and head back out there. I also asked if he could give me/the renters advance notice. Well, I agreed to this on Wednesday. I said I wasn't arguing that, but I'd still like notice. As I've said, I can't communicate with nitwit, it escalated and he hung on me. Basically forced me to call him back to ask him to do the work.

After that incident, I decided e-mail was the best form of communication. Seems reasonable, right? If he reads it he can respond to it. Umm, no. Apparently he has no reading comprehension skills. He gives one word replies that address nothing in the e-mail or sends back a document while ignoring three forths of the rest of the e-mail. He implied the brick had been fixed. I asked for confirmation. I got a copy of the last survey in reply. I asked about several other things in the e-mail as well, all of which went unaddressed.

The kicker was a flyer left on the door advising me to call them. He knows I don't live there, but I figured a lackey did the delivery and let that slide. Then I find the builder has left a much more offical letter on the door (very professional way to communicate with home owners) advising they've sold the remaining lots to another builder (like I care) but rest assured they will still address all the problems with my house. How on earth does selling vacant lots to another builder imply in any fashion that they would no longer be responsible for the issues or warranties with my home? The one they built. They also let me know, about three months after the fact, who would be doing the repair work and that I would have a letter by Dec 15th outlining all the work to be done with a timeline, and advising this work would start January 5th. Nitwit had led me to believe it would be done this month. My renter will be gone next week, so I'm in a quandry on how to coordinate the interior stuff. I mentioned the letter to nitwit in an e-mail to make sure the letter is mailed to me and not delivered to the house. He advises that there was no such letter that went out. I advise him to contact the VP of the Dallas office because not only was there a letter, but he, nitwit, was copied on it (it appears via e-mail). I also copied the relevant paragraph in the e-mail (thank goodness renter PDF's these things for me). So far, no reply and no letter from nitwit.

The issues with the house are a small part of my frustration. I understand that soil conditions, weather, they all contribute to what can go wrong. It's the utter lack of communication from this company that has me spitting nails. Nitwit seems to believe since it's warranty work he doesn't need to let me know when he's going to do repair work. I keep trying to tell him it's still my house and I want to know what is being done. If anyone has any suggestions for dealing with nitwits, I'm all ears, because apparently I'm failing miserably at communicating with this one.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Something to remember...

Today's Bible verse (from Christ Notes) was:

Those who control their tongue will have a long life; a quick retort can ruin everything.

Proverbs 13:3 (New Living Translation)

Alas, it would have been nice if it came yesterday, before I spoke with builder rep guy. I've just about decided I'll have to communicate with him solely by e-mail because he just sends me through the roof every time I talk to him. More on that later, as I'm only half-way down from the ceiling.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

If it's not one thing, it's something else...

We all know that there are expenses that will eventually happen. If you own a car, once you pay for it (which, thank heavens, I can say mine is paid for), there are maintenance and insurance expenses and if you move, there's the cost of titling and tagging your car in the new state. Sadly, if more than some of these occur at the same, we'll you're spending money you know you need to, but dang it, holding on to the wallet as tight as you can cause it's wimpering.

About a month after I moved, I noticed one of my back tires was low. On closer inspection, I realized not only was it low, but the tire itself was dead. I mean, really dead. I knew there had to be something in the tire for it to go as low as it was as quick as it did, so I took it to get it repaired. Sure enough, there was a screw in it. They also informed me that I needed to replace my tires. Since I'd already figured this out, not a shocker. Well, the tires turned out to be $10 more per tire than I expected, add in mounting and alignment and well, the total bill was about $200 more than what I'd hoped. Not to mention the fact that I'd had my oil changed less than a month before I moved and asked them to check the tires! In reality, the tires should have been replaced before I drove 1500 miles. I thought I was more careful than that.

So, last week was pushing 60 days in Maryland, so I got organized to get Maryland title and tags and a Maryland driver's license. First, let me say, that I think having to title a car in every state you move to is a rip-off. There should be one title that you get when you pay it off and that's it. I find out that Maryland requires an inspection, one time, before you can title. Then I discover that Maryland will also charge you sales tax on the value of your car when you title. Double rip-off; I paid sales tax when I bought it (though if you live in Maryland and go to another state with lower sales tax to buy your car, I get it). Well, Texas charges more sales tax than Maryland (by .25 percent), so I only got charged a minimum fee. Add in the license plates, but at least they're for two years. Then add in driver's license. I paid more for it here than in Texas and it will expire at the same time my Texas one would have. All those costs together - close to $400. Yep, $400. For a car that is five years old. The only positive to me is that I don't have to renew tags for two years and the license is for 5 years. But, as with everything, it just seems like all the big expenses come at the same time. And, there's more for the house coming due next month, because, yes indeed, it's property tax time. Joy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

the good, the bad, and the odd....

I'm still settling in. I got all the boxes unpacked and things basically organized and then slowed way down. I'm still doing a little here and there. The biggest project left is hanging pictures. I don't think I'll be able to hang all of them, but that's okay. It's just a matter of deciding what to put where and then storing the others until such a time as I have more walls.

The good. Well, for the curious, I was able to rent my house in Texas. They moved in at the end of August. It wasn't planned, but my former place of work recently hired someone from Australia and she was still in a furnished apartment. So, I offered (which is so unlike me) and she accepted. Apparently Australia also has land that is prone to shifting, so my cracks weren't daunting to her. I expect sooner or later she'll find her own home, but until then, this benefits both of us.

In the meantime, home builder, Pulte, fired my Warranty rep and his manager, then created a spin off company, then hired one guy back to be in charge of the problems in my neighborhood. There are over 40 driveways to be repaired and probably four to six houses needing foundation work. I spoke with the warranty guy last week and the soil samples show that there has been movement on my foundation, so there will be repair work there. He also confirmed that they will fix all the damage, inside and outside, caused by the movement. Still don't have a time frame, but at least they are working on it and I guess having a guy focused on just this is for the good. Also, I'll come out of this with a lifetime warranty on the foundation, which should be a nice selling point when that time comes.

The bad. Not much really here except I've discovered I don't really like having no carpet. Really, I don't. Who knew? I could just carry the Swiffer around with me all the time. However, hopefully, once I find rugs or carpet remnants or something, it won't be as bad. I will say it's nicer to walk barefoot on that carpet after it's been down for a while. Also, I'm not real thrilled with the parking lot. But, that's life. For the most part the one I park in isn't crowded, but since visitor parking is street parking, it gets a little close on the street in front of my building. And, with the recent boat show (apparently a very big deal here), it was even tighter. I miss parking right in front of my door, but I keep telling myself that exercise never hurt anyone. Well see how that line goes down when there is snow and ice on the ground.

The odd. A couple of those. The stove being in the corner of the kitchen hasn't really posed a problem. Neither has the lack of drawers. I got a little four drawer cart and that's working out fine. The biggest odd is the dishwasher. I looked to make sure there was one. I even opened it. What I didn't notice is that when you open the dishwasher, you block the sink. So, if one is to rinse off dishes before putting them in, then one is leaning over to do it. Not a huge problem, but definitely something I'll pay attention to when looking for my next abode.

And then there's the heating and cooling. Apparently something needs to run all the time. The weather cooled off nicely, so I cut the air off. Got a nice musty smell, mostly in the bedroom, for my effort. My mom and several others have pointed out that this an old building. Okay. Then there's the humidity. If it gets humid outside, run something cause it will get humid inside. At one point I had 60 percent humidity inside. Ugh. Now it's cooled off, so I've kicked on the heat. Boy, does it work. It's gas heat and when it's running it blows some very hot air out of the vent in the living room! I got back from working out this morning and had to open a window a tad because it really warmed up the place. Really, if I say it's too hot, trust me it's too hot. I'm having to figure out exactly where to place the thermostat to not roast and to not freeze.

These are all minor and I'm sorta laughing at most of them. Mainly because every time I move I think I know what to look for based on previous moves and I'm finding that that ain't so.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

the Journey...

Most of this weekend has been rainy and gloomy, starting on Friday. Courtesy, I believe, of Hurricane Kyle. It's reminiscent of the drive to Maryland.

You might wonder why this reminds me of the drive. Well, I tried to cover all my bases - got a GPS to help with navigation, made lists of what to bring with me, and got a book to tell me which hotels would be pet friendly. The one thing I forgot to do was check the weather. It had just been so hot and dry in Texas that I just didn't even think about the weather.

The morning after all my stuff was picked up by the moving company, I loaded what I'd set aside, along with Kitty Cat, and headed to LA to pick up Mom. Kitty Cat turned out to be an awesome little traveler. She did well at Grandma's house (in the photo) as well as the hotels. The route mapped out from Louisiana was to take I-20 pretty much all the way. So, early Saturday afternoon, after lunching in LA, we headed out on I-20 and did pretty good. We didn't quite make it as far as we hoped, spending the night in Pearl, MS, which turned out to be a nice little town. We woke up to the weather gifts of Tropical Storm Fay. After checking the weather both on TV and online we realized that if we took the originally mapped out route we would be driving right into more of it. Not really what we wanted to do. Fortunately, from where we stayed, it was less than two miles back to the junction for I-55 which would take us into Memphis, where we could hook up with I-40 and come that way. So, armed with both printed directions and the GPS (which tends to lose connectivity in heavy rain) we set out for Day 2 of the trip. Blessedly, the rain wasn't bad and after we got to Memphis it was clear skies for the rest of the drive. Day 2 saw us making it as far as Farragut, TN. To my amazement, only one hotel around that exit ramp took pets. A Super 8. Not my first choice, but honestly, the mattresses were some of the most comfortable I've had in a hotel and there were food choices around. Considering it was 9:00 pm and we were exhausted, this was it. Very basic, but clean. And, let's face it, we weren't there that long.

We set out fairly early on Day 3 and managed to make it all the way to MD. Spent most of the trip driving through Tennessee I think, but it's a gorgeous state with very nice rest stops. It's actually now on my list for potential retirement spots. In MD we splurged and stayed at the Doubletree. Their chocolate chip cookies are still good and the room was just fun to stay in. Kitty Cat particularly liked the padded luggage rack. The following morning we headed to the apartment complex for me to sign paperwork and pick-up keys. It's now Tuesday and the driver (who picked up our stuff) said that they'd deliver on Friday. Among other things, we found camp chairs so we'd have something to sit on and got laundry detergent so we could do some wash.

All was going well except I was not doing well on the air mattress. I definitely prefer sleeping in a bed. On Wednesday, the moving company called to let me know that my stuff would be delivered on Sunday between 8:00 am and 9:00 am. We were crushed and trying to figure out what we were going to do. My cousin's friend came to our rescue. They were going sailing for 10 days and needed someone to house sit, even if only for a few days, so we could go stay at their house. Talk about blessings. Even Kitty Cat did okay, though I don't think she'd ever been in a house that big before.

The furniture was actually delivered Saturday, so I was able to have Sunday and Monday (Memorial Day) to do some unpacking before work. Mom flew back to LA on Sunday morning, so I left Kitty Cat enconsed at the friend's house and did a bit of unpacking and organizing (with much appreciated help from friend DB) before heading back to get her and bring her home (after a stop at my favorite new place, California Tortilla, for take out for dinner). It did take me a little over a week to get everything done, but all the boxes are gone now and it's just organizing for a smaller space that remains. But for right now, I'm not rushing anything. My goal is to finally organize what I have rather than haphazardly throw it in containers. And, that, I know takes time.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spiders... ick!

Yep, tonight, I was gazing out my patio door, enjoying the view, when it was marred by not one but two spiders! And, one had created the most ginormous spider web; the web of the other was running a close second. I swear it had to be the width of the patio.

If you've read this blog for any amount of time you know I don't like bugs, especially spiders. I thought drat, this is when one needs a husband, boyfriend, anyone not freaked out by spiders. I didn't want to leave them there. So, armed with Raid (which I regret isn't all that eco-friendly) I killed them, then knocked down the webs. I'm proud of myself about this, but now freely acknowledge that I'll be paranoid for quite some time. Hopefully, the winter will be really cold and kill any that could be just waiting to adorn my balcony.

Funny thing is, on Saturday, I knocked down the same type of spider trying to build a web on the back of my car! I don't need a little spider beasty thing crawling up my leg while I'm driving. So, in three days, three spiders. This is not a good thing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Circles and cats.....

Well, I'm settling in. I've got all but two boxes unpacked and those have clothes. I'm not a fan of putting up clothes under normal circumstances, so it's the same with boxed up and moved clothes. But, I'll get there.

We're (me and kitty cat) settling in okay. However, kitty cat had tiny little sores in her bald spot, so today we headed for the vet. I figured I'd also let them give her a pedicure. Here's where the circles come in. This city has them in several places and they just scare me. If you've lived here for years and know which roads lead off of where, then you're good; but if you've just moved here, well, good luck. It's hard to know which lane to be in and street signs are hard to spot. And, so far, the GPS just says "enter roundabout and take second exit." I aim for the second street and suddenly it's "recalculating." Well, it's recalculated route got me there, but through one of the not so good neighborhoods. Oh, and have I mentioned the narrow streets? This is "town living" as my Mom calls it and it is the first time I've lived in "town" so to speak. It's older, narrow streets, one way streets...which I'm just not used to. I'm beginning to wonder if I ever will, but then it's only been about two weeks. Fortunately, I've figured out the circle I have to go through on the way to work so I shouldn't get crunched up there.

Finally, I got to the vet. At first I thought the GPS had goofed as I was in the middle of a neighborhood. Nope, it's off of the vet's house. Very nice technician and vet; thinks kitty cat's issues might be allergies, so we're trying an anti-histamine. In some wet food. She's a picky, picky kitty when it comes to wet food, so we'll see how that goes. She has finally nibbled some of it, but I'm not sure she got the part with the anti-histamine. I think I'll look for some of those treats that have pockets to put medicine. Who knows though, maybe the wet food will work. He also suggested she could lose about three pounds. I figured if I lost weight, then maybe it's her turn, so we'll try that as well. Of course, I had to navigate another circle to get home.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I'm here!

Finally! I'm just plain exhausted and I ache all over. There is quite a story, which I will write about. It took us (me and my Mom and Kitty Cat) three days of driving to get here, but we did. Tennessee - beautiful state with awesome rest areas. Kitty Cat was a real trooper and did wonderful on her first road trip.

My furniture was finally delivered yesterday. The mover only brought one helper so it took 8 HOURS for him to get it all up to my apartment. I basically got to do nothing yesterday except watch as more and more boxes were hauled up. In the end, though it seems to be a mountain of boxes, the move to AR was worse in the mountain of boxes category.

A friend helped today and we made a good sized dent in the unpacking. I knew the kitchen pantry would be a problem and I was right. But, I think I've got solutions, I just need to clear the space so I can do it. :)

I've met several of my neighbors, including the one in the apartment right next to me and they seem really nice.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Are we there yet?

One week from today I will begin my drive to Maryland. I'll swing through Louisiana and pick up my Mom and we'll go from there. It's almost 1,500 miles, so I'm anticipating a three day drive.

Yesterday, I picked up a AAA guide for traveling with your pet, so we should be able to identify pet friendly hotels (we'll have kitty cat with us). I've told her (kitty cat) all about the move and that she'll like the new apartment, but I don't think she's really excited about it.

To be honest, I'm not excited about the packing, the driving, or the unpacking, but I'm looking forward to basically starting over. I thought my return to Texas would be my last move, but God frequently has other plans for us. While this is hard, I think it's for the best. I just wish I didn't have to pack up my whole house and drive for three days.

And, moving, well, it will be expensive. But, since the distance is so great and I am moving to a 4th floor apartment and it's just me and my Mom, I felt it was best to get folks who know what the heck they are doing. Cause, while I can pack, hauling stuff from the truck to the apartment is not something I would do well. I think I've selected a decent mover, but things have certainly changed even in the almost two years since I last moved. What I will say is a) if they don't come to your house to give you an estimate, keep looking; b) if the estimate is non-binding, keep looking; c) if you're comfort level is off, keep looking.

The mover I eventually chose did come to my house, gave me a binding estimate/quote (which includes a stop at a storage unit) and delivered boxes and packing paper, which none of the other movers even offered, not even used boxes. Also, this mover will arrange for debris pick-up, also something none of the others even offered, and pack my mirror and large pictures, mattresses and do the wardrobe boxes the day of pick-up. So, while his estimate was higher, at least I know what I'm paying. There are horror stories about the cost being upped by thousands of dollars after pick-up and delivery and there is really no choice but to pay it.

My last day on the job here in Texas was yesterday. This has probably been the easiest job to leave. I will miss a few people, but really, there is nothing about this job that I will miss. Actually, there was nothing to get overly excited about, but that was more because the job was not the job I interviewed for. But, that's another story.

Now, we're packing and getting ready to hit the road.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Geotechnical Survey...

Which is probably a fancy term for getting soil samples, which is what took place at my house yesterday. I could have termed this post Vindication times 2. Originally, Head Warranty Guy told me they would go by the soil samples taken from the neighborhood for the driveway issue. I didn't think that would be good enough and since at least two other homes had soil samples taken from around their foundations I was a little puzzled as to why that wouldn't be the case with me. Turns out I was right. Last week I got a call from Warranty Guy to say those samples weren't good enough and they would need to get samples, though they probably couldn't get me on the schedule until next month. Sigh. Then I got another call. Lo and behold, they could do my house this week. Yesterday as it turns out. The company said they'd need access to the garage and the yard. Okay, no problem, I was scheduled to be off anyway. Access to the garage was to actually drill a hole through the garage floor to get the samples.

They arrived right on time yesterday morning - 8:30 am. The driller didn't leave until after 5:00 pm and he worked straight through. Builder really ought to be better coordinated as Head Warranty Guy called yesterday morning to tell me they would be doing this this week. I told him they were already here. He paused, then asked if he could talk to the guy. Sure. End result. They wanted a sample from inside the house as well. My master bedroom to be exact. That's the picture above. Yep, they pulled back the carpet and drilled a hole through the foundation in my master bedroom. Kudos to builder guys for getting the carpet guys out this morning to properly tuck the carpet back in.

I was totally fascinated by this process. Most of what they are finding - fill dirt. And, apparently there is a clay around here that expands tremendously when it gets wet. Which would explain my problems. Also, it appears that one of the other houses that got tested about a month ago has a lot more problems than mine, including windows that have cracked due to the movement. Thank heavens I've not had that yet.

Today, a guy shows up and says they are doing more testing - apparently testing the moisture levels. So, I've got strange guys running around my house taking more samples. I'll be interested to see those results as the outside soil sample taking accidentally nicked one of the sprinkler lines, so it's been turned off. Of course, they'll fix it, but in the meantime, I can't run the sprinklers. And, we are in Texas in summer when here lately threats of rain are just that - threats. Not a lot of rain to speak off and it's been hot.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Future home found....

Well, future condo/rental home found. I house hunted last weekend. On Friday afternoon I looked at several rentals I had found online, with the help of a realtor. Only one really stood out. Good windows and very nice kitchen. I thought it was the one. But, I had time to think on Friday night. Couldn't get past the lack of storage. No outside storage at all. Two small balconies. I like it, but not enough to rush right out and sign the lease. Plus, a LOT of money upfront to move in and no window treatments.

A friend was kind enough to drive out and take a look at it and one other potential condo with me. We agreed that the one I liked was the best of the two. Still, I hesitated. So, we looked at the traditional apartments. Loved the access to a fitness center and the storage in the apartment. But, it felt like a cave. Good space, older trees, few windows. Also, TINY kitchen with much older appliances. I looked at a much newer complex. Very updated, but it didn't do a lot for me either. So, friend headed home and I drove back out to the one that stood out to get a feel for the drive. Since it had no access to fitness (I've found out that it did, the realtor just didn't know), I stopped at a local gym to get an idea of their monthly fees. Way too much for me. I also saw signs for an apartment complex that for some reason I felt I should go look at, but I didn't have time as I was due to meet my cousin for dinner. I'd purposely scheduled a late flight out on Sunday, so I still had time to think.

Dinner was great. I had Maryland Crabcakes for the first time and they were very good. At dinner I met my cousin's long time friend, who lives in Annapolis. She offered to go out with me Sunday morning to see what we could see. Oddly enough, she suggested the apartment complex I wanted to look at but didn't have time to. We thought they were closed, but they weren't. So, we looked. Judging by the floor plans I figured they'd be too small, but since we were there and they'd been newly renovated (it's an older complex; I figure built in the 60's, which does give it a bit of character). They have garden units and high-rise units, all with secure entry buildings. The garden unit was just a tad small. The leasing rep suggested we look at a unit in the high rise building. I didn't think I wanted to live in a high rise, but since I was there, I looked. Wow. The unit felt right. The picture shows a view of the living room from the front door. I will be on the 4th floor. And, yes, it has an elevator.

I've become a bit retrospective with this move. It's seems to be almost everything I didn't think I'd do or wanted, yet it all feels perfectly right. The apartment is a high rise and obviously much smaller than my house, but oddly, the layout is very similar and it feels roomy. It has a TINY kitchen though, something I swore I wouldn't do, and no laundry, another thing I thought I had to have. However, the laundry room is literally right next to my apartment. Plus, I line dry most of my clothes, so while I know I'll mourn the loss of my washer and dryer I think I'll be okay. (With these you can load money on a card, so you're not digging for change). It has good storage and a lovely balcony and awesome windows and light. I looked at townhomes and realized they are not suited to how I live. I'm one person and basically don't need/want a living space that is on three floors. This apartment is two bedroom, one bath. The one bath is actually very fine by me, but I will miss access from the master bedroom. Again, I'm one person and I think I can learn to deal with that.

It will be very different from what I'm used to. I used to to tease my Dad about his not wanting to change. Well, I realized last weekend that if I become too set in my ways someone could accuse me of the same thing. So, I'll embrace the new and move forward.

As for the house here, I think I'd just prefer to sell it. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What to do, what to do....

Given that I've accepted another job in another state (some 1400 miles away), I've remained very calm about the house. Especially, considering that it's got foundation problems. I'm still basically calm. However, on Tuesday, I talked with the Head Warranty Guy. Now, I'm just plain po'd. He was a condescending, patronizing jerk, who freely acknowledged that I was ticked and that he wasn't going to try and change my attitude about him or the builder. He did add the company line - they'll fix it. So, I asked how long. I can't give you a time frame he says. I say based on information I have from the engineer (he didn't review anything with my current Warranty Manager because he was unaware the Engineering firm had been to my house once, let alone twice) and their general slowness it's looking like it will take six months. No he says, it won't take that long. Okay, how long I ask. I can't tell you he says.

I think he was more focused on the driveway situation than the house. And, that my friends has taken over 9 months to get any kind of response from the builder and we still don't have a game plan. He was darn proud of himself when he told me a guy would be out testing soil for the driveways so they could fix them. I'm wondering why they didn't do that 9 or 10 months ago when driveways were cracking left and right. Pretty much every house on my street needs a new driveway.

My house continues to have existing cracks which get worse, new cracks and seam bulges appear almost daily, and the sidewalk from my driveway to my front porch continues to sink lower and lower on the left side.

I think I've played nice for long enough. I called a Realtor friend. She was flabbergasted that it had gone on this long and nothing from the builder. She knows a Real Estate attorney and she gave me his information. My dilemma is how much do I want to spend pursing this? Would it be better just to sell at a loss and let someone else bully the builder. Since all of the repair work is covered my Warranty and must be done by the builder, a really strong person could get the house at a reduced price (not too reduced) and just have the frustration of dealing with the builder and living through the repairs. I just want to move on. And, honestly, I'm not sure I want to deal with it.

So, now, I'm trying to come up with some type of game plan. Which will probably involve at least one conversation with the attorney to find if I have any options and if it would be worth it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's Official!

Well, after two weeks of waiting, it's offical. The job in Annapolis, MD is mine. And, with a much better salary than I had hoped. God does have a plan. Given the problems with the house (I can't sell or lease it right now), having the extra money will make it a lot easier for me to carry the house if I have to while the builder makes all of the repairs.

I'm stoked. When I moved back to Texas, I planned on retiring here. But, there were things about the move in general, that in hindsight, I realize I had some major doubts that were not just about buying the house, but about the job and the move as a whole. I just didn't know it. I don't have those doubts this time. I'm looking forward to it. I've got a lot to do to prepare for the move, which will probably drive me insane, because I'm ready to go.

I figure it'll take about two days to drive from here to there. So, if anyone has any tips for traveling two days in a car with a cat, please share!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Today, the drywall guys were supposed to come fix the damage that has occurred to my house due to the movement. I was hesitant about this as the house is still moving, which means more damage will occur. Whether he planned to or not (I was pretty strong in my suggestion that he come out today not just for the inside, but the outside as well), new Warranty Guy came out as well. Thank heavens he did. He's got 15 years experience with the builder, plus he's built homes in the past. He's gotten a lot of mixed information (and told me that previous Warranty Guy had resigned, which didn't surprise me as this is a lot more than I'm sure he thought it would be).

He had a copy of the most recent engineers report; the engineer was back out about two weeks ago. Based on that and the damage he saw, he knew immediately that the house is still moving and repairing anything would be somewhat futile. I said I was fine if he wanted to call the drywallers off. He was happy about that as that is exactly what he was thinking. Finally a guy who is not just spouting the company line of "don't worry we'll fix it." His words to the drywaller: "there is a boatload of work to do out here, including possibly some re-sheet rocking." Ya think? I'd been trying to tell him that, the drywaller that, even previous Warranty Guy. But, now that he's seen it, Warranty Guy knows there is a lot that will have to be done.

And, what did the engineer's report recommend. A geotechnical investigation to determine the potential and likelihood of future movement. Basically, it means they'll test the soil in and around the foundation.

They were doing two houses today up the street and there is a third on my street as well. I don't feel quite as bad about my house now that I know I'm not alone, though I'm sorry it's happening to others.

End result is I can't sell my house as it is. I think I knew this. I'm still calm. By the time it's been fixed and ready for repair on the inside, I should be moved out. Which, in my opinion, will make it easier for them (and me) to repair. I won't have to worry about moving my stuff and they'll be able to see everything that needs repairs. The good thing is once it's fixed, there will be a 20 year warranty for the new owners. And, hopefully, there will be new owners. I'd really rather not lease. I'd like to just be in my new place without any ties to the old. A clean break so to speak. Except for my friends. No breaks with friends; just property and state.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Embracing the wanderlust....

Well, sorta. As many of you know, my current job has been less than good. I may write more about that later, but it was far from a good fit. I think I knew this before I moved, but attributed it to cold feet about buying the house. Always, always listen to your little voice.

So, I've looked at jobs off and on, but sorta told myself I'd try really hard to make my next job a return to Civil Service in my current profession. I'd seen postings here and there, but most weren't good fits or were in areas I didn't really want. Well, I've accepted a Civil Service job in an area that wasn't on the list, but I think it will be fine. It's a tentative offer and I'm waiting on the official, so I guess it could go belly up. Assuming it doesn't, I'll be headed for Annapolis, MD and a job with the Navy. I'm scared and excited at the same time. No, I won't be buying a house anytime soon, basically for the "escape fast if you need to" card. I don't think that will be the case, but I didn't think that a year and a half ago either. My goal is to settle in there for many years. I've moved a lot, but I also settled once before. Hopefully, it will happen again.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


For some time now, I've wanted something outside the standard Blogger templates. Namely, three columns. I've got a lot of tags and they took up a lot of column space. Then this week, another blog turned me on too Blogger Buster, a blog with news on templates, hacks to try, etc. After spending hours culling through various templates and trying a few (someone which didn't work), I settled on this theme. Oddly, it's a three column version of an existing template, one I didn't think I'd use.

I toyed with a label cloud, which I decided I didn't like. I toyed with a label drop-down, which I decided I didn't like either. So, the long list of labels is still there. But, with the extra column on the right, it's not so bad. Eventually, I'll probably try something else, but for now I think this is it.

I will say, I tried the two label hacks and was successful, so that made me happy. There are ton of templates out there. I realized that Girly generally means it's more frilly than I want. Some, the columns were two narrow and my existing posts didn't look right. There is is also a hack for not losing widgets, but I decided to use this experiment as a way to evaluate the widgets that were on my blog and some are now gone. They may reappear, but for now, I'm going with this. I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Did a little traveling...

Almost a month ago, I took a short trip to Spokane, WA. I was considering a job there and wanted to look the place over - again. I also got to visit with a friend, DR, that I hadn't seen in just about 10 years. I splurged a bit on the hotel, but it was worth it. I hadn't truly been on a trip, aside from visiting my Mom, in a couple of years. It was nice to go away, even if just for three days.

DR picked me up at the airport and chauffeured me practically everywhere, something for which I am eternally grateful. We also had some very good food. I'm a huge muffin fan and can attest that Perkin's makes really good ones - or at least the Peaches and Cream was really good. One of the places he took me was a drive up in the mountains. We were also seeing how far we could go before we were blocked by snow. He's ready to go camping, but alas, we couldn't get as far as he needs to for the camping. Bonus, though, was I got to see some of Idaho in the process. Shortly after our turn-around spot, I took this picture. So, while I'm tempted to say this is from Washington state it's actually Idaho. Gorgeous drive.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What kitty cats do...

Or at least what mine does. This is what it looked like one day when I came home and I just had to take a picture. Generally, it's one toy in the food bowl, but apparently on this day she was energized.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Another key adventure...

Or you can't plan for everything. Friday nights a friend, L, and I have dinner. It's a great way to finish out the week. And, who doesn't enjoy having not to cook. A week ago this past Friday we were both exhausted and I was getting ready to go out of town on Sunday for three days. Had a lot on my mind. Since L uses a scooter, we frequently make a Target or Wal-Mart run as it's easier on her and I don't mind. So, even as tired as we were, for me it was either Friday or Saturday for the Target run and I didn't want to go on Saturday. So, we fortified ourselves with dinner and then headed for the Target. So far, so good. Now, I've lost a good deal of weight and most of my pants are loose, really loose. I usually hang my keys in the watch pocket part, easier to keep up with them. Except in these pants the pocket was a little bigger and of course, I'm yanking them up every time I turn around. I put my stuff in my car and then I go put her stuff in her car. Well, I send her on her way and go to get in my car, only to discover I don't have my keys. They fell out in her van. To make matters worse, for some reason, I locked my car. Probably out of habit. If I hadn't been so tired, I think I would have cried. It's after 8:00 pm and all of my stuff - purse, phone, spare car key, everything, is locked in my car. And, my keys are in L's van. And, she's practically out of the parking lot by the time I realize this. I gave serious consideration to chasing after her, but I'm just not that fast.

So, I head to the restaurant we ate at and ask if they have a phone book. Since my phone is in my car, I have no idea what L's number is but figured I'd look it up and call her so she'd know and come back. No phone book, but they kindly called 411. Her number wasn't listed. I know she'll come back if she finds the keys, but what if she doesn't find them? So, they help find the number for Pop-a-Lock and we call them. It's a toss up - if I don't call them, L won't find the keys until tomorrow, if I do call, she'll find them and come back. Pop-a-Lock estimates a 30 minute time frame and I head to my car.

Pop-a-Lock finally gets there (cool thing about them is if there is a child locked in the vehicle, they don't charge). And, about five minutes later, L arrives. She found my keys. Pop-a-Lock didn't charge me the full fee because they didn't actually open the car, which I was especially grateful for.

Lesson here is that no matter what you plan for, short of keeping all items on your person, you can't plan for everything. However, the big lesson we learned is we make sure each other is in their vehicle and headed out before leaving. Why we didn't do it that night, as we usually do, I'll never know. I could laugh about it when L got there, but when I realized what happened, I wished I'd just stayed in bed that morning.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Slide show....

One of the things I've been doing lately is experimenting with photography. I find I'm really enjoying taking photos of plants, in particular flowers. So, in the left hand column you'll find a slide show of several of my recent photos. This slide show feature will probably rotate with another album, but I had fun taking the pictures and adding the slide show. So, enjoy the show!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

In under the wire....

Well, today, I finally filed my income taxes - Federal and Arkansas. I seriously considered saving my money and filing the federal by mail, but finally filed it electronically. I did mail Arkansas. I do get a refund, a whole $4. I think it will cost them more money to process. I moved from there on Jan 3rd. All that work on my part and their part for a one week paycheck in 2007. Many states don't require you to file if you lived there less than a certain amount of time or earned less than certain amount. Louisiana isn't one of them and neither is Arkansas. Thing is, I would have let them keep the $4. It's really not worth the time and effort, on my part or theirs, but they require it, so I filed. My federal refund with the house this year is much better, so that's nice. I'm never sure why I want till the last minute to file, but I'm glad it's done.

The picture to the right is an Amaryllis (I think). I planted the bulb last year and got a bloom, though the stalk was no where near as tall. But, look at the bottom, there's another bloom! I didn't notice that till today when I was taking the picture. I'm looking forward to them opening up. I planted several bulbs last year and this was the only one to bloom. You're supposed to dig them up in the fall, so I'm told, but I didn't. Apparently, this one didn't mind. Course, we had a mild winter, too. And, one of the other bulbs, that didn't bloom last year has a bloom on it as well. Fun.
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Sunday, March 30, 2008


The picture is of my peach tree in bloom! It didn't die! I'm so very happy that it survived the winter and is coming alive with the rest of nature. Even the rose bush that I thought I might have killed is coming out in fine form.

The past couple of weeks have been hectic. My Mom paid her second visit to my house over the Easter weekend. But, we worked. New carpet was laid in the living/dining room and the master bedroom. It was about as I expected. We had all the breakables packed away though and most of the small stuff out of the way. The carpet layers (whose English wasn't good as was expected) did a great job. I've never seen carpet being laid before and it was interesting. And, there is a carpet pad under there. I wasn't really sure. The best part though, is there is no longer a stripe in my living room where the carpet pieces didn't match. And, for some reason, which neither my Mom nor I can figure out, this carpet looks better and feels better. It's supposed to be the exact same carpet, but it just seems to be of a better quality. I'm not complaining, though. I'm just terribly pleased to not have to look at that stripe anymore.

Then this past Friday, the drainage was fixed! I finally contacted the Warranty Manager (builder rep guy) and asked what the deal was. I knew they'd been out to look at the yard a month ago, but I'd heard nothing. So, he and the irrigation guy came out the Thursday before last, drew up the sketch for the drainage and it was done last Friday. I got home at three and they had dug the trench for the left side of the house, which was the worst. The crew leader recognized this right away. He also asked me, almost immediately, if they were going to fix the driveway. They tell me they will, but apparently they haven't figured out how yet because I haven't heard anything on that. Though, honestly, until the drainage was fixed, it was probably best not to fix the driveway. Now it can rain all it wants.

Then the really interesting thing. A week ago Thursday the foundation repair guys also showed up to cut the post tension cable that wasn't. Their English wasn't good either and I couldn't understand what they were trying to tell me. Finally, they called their manager and he explained it to me. According to him, the cable was cut when the house was built. Something happened and it "popped out." There was no tension on it. So, they were supposed to come the next day (same day as the carpet guys) to pull the cable and put in a new one. They were also supposed to call before they came. Well, they didn't. After the carpet guys left, we were starving, so we went to eat. While we were gone, they came and apparently pulled the cable (I could see the trail from the cable). Since I wasn't here, I have to go on faith that they put in a new cable, because it is now sealed. I've asked Warranty manager for a letter stating what exactly they did. I'm concerned for when I sell the house. I need to be able to disclose these things.

Apparently, I've scared off Warranty Manager. He's assigning me to another Warranty Manager. I finally got fed up and said if folks were sent to my house and I wasn't here I wanted a letter or some other documentation saying who was here, what they did, and what actions would or would not be taken. I'm still waiting to get a report from the roofing company; apparently they were here the week of Feb 13th, but I wouldn't know for sure since I wasn't told they were coming so I was at work. We'll see how new Warranty Manager handles things. Hopefully a little speedier than old Warranty Manager.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kitty Cat....

Tomorrow is Kitty Cat's birthday. She'll be 9. I got her when she was a little over a year old. Hard to believe we've been together for 8 years. Seems like just yesterday that I brought her home. She settled in quickly and has trained me well.

Here she's checking out my new dining room buffet.

In case you're curious...

This is my driveway, or half of it anyway. The crack goes all the way across. And, with each rain it gets worse. It's quite uneven now. Many of the driveways have cracks, but they are at the joints. Mine seems to be the only one that has cracked this way. The builder is trying to figure out the best way to fix this so it doesn't happen again. They've been at this for at least 4 months. Doesn't give one a lot of faith in the builder.

And, I haven't heard from the builder rep guy in a month, so this week I'll e-mail him again. We're supposed to get more rain tomorrow and Tuesday which just means all the various cracks and problems I have will continue to get worse. And, I've come to realize that unless I constantly nag, this guy isn't going to do anything. I'm fairly sure he's got a lot on his plate, but I don't think I should have to nag him. But, I will. I'm guessing he'll soon get very tired of me. That's okay. I figure I paid good money for this house, they can uphold their end of the bargain.

Another backyard visitor...

Early this afternoon, I headed to my backyard with a bottle of Round-up to kill the thistle weeds threatening to take over the back fence row. It's a shame the bottom half is so ugly cause the blooms are actually kind of pretty. Make a note - get the large size next time. I had a lot of them. I hit the side of the yard where big green grassy weeds are growing. These aren't really bothering me too much; I was checking for lurking thistle thingys. I almost missed my little visitor. But, there it was, nestled among the tall grass - a young rabbit. To my amazement it didn't do anything. Just stayed put. Naturally I didn't spray that area and I kept a close eye along the rest of the fence for little rabbit buddies. Alas I didn't see any.

And, birds seemed to have found one bird feeder. For some reason they don't like the other one. I think they might be Robins as they have red breasts, but I can't tell for sure. I'm just happy to see a little wildlife back there.

I spoke with an independent yard guy last Friday and he should do the initial cut and weed and feed next week. Thank heavens - an yard intervention won't be required.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Civic Duty....

Well, yesterday was primary day in Texas. I had a meeting in the morning or I would have gone on my way to work. As it is, I went after work. It's my first time to vote since being back in Texas, so I'd never been to this particular polling place before. When I lived here before, the polling places were in schools, usually elementary schools. I looked up my voting location and got X Community Center, then looked up directions. Not too far from my house, though not as convenient as Arkansas, where I simply walked across the street. I kept thinking I'd passed it up, but then I found it. I actually wound up following a couple of cars down a very dilapidated road to what is a very dilapidated community center. Actually, it's a small cinder block building, with no where close to adequate parking for this type of event. Good thing the weather was nice because the line backed up all the way to the end of the street. I grabbed a cereal bar and my book cause I figured I'd be in that line until midnight. Shortly after getting in line, someone mentioned they had two lines - one for Democratic and one for Republican. I got to go to the short line, well actually I walked right in and voted and left. I'll leave it to your imagination as to which line was long and which line was short. I was just extremely happy to not have to hang around for hours to vote.

Texas also has something to do with voting in the caucus later in the evening (I'm still trying to wrap my tired brain around this as I don't remember if from before). I'll admit, I didn't attend. I went home and did yoga. Come to find out this morning, all the caucusing places were no where near big enough for the folks that turned out, so it would probably have been a miserable experience anyway.

I knew Texas would be close and it was - HC squeaked by, but BO was close on her heals. I've talked with friends and we're just puzzled. It seems to me like several of the candidates just aren't over loaded with experience. This morning it dawned on me that it's not that the parties can't find folks with experience to run but it's probably that the folks with the experience don't want the job. Can't say as I blame them. This country is expecting a lot from the new President and I'm thinking whoever is elected is going to have a hard time meeting those expectations.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Just odd....

It seems like this year we've gone without a winter. It's nice and balmy one day and then cold the next. Or the humidity is over the top (wreaking havoc with my hair) one day and non-existent the next. The coming week will be like that. Nice weekend - in the 70's, balmy. It is cloudy today, but still warm. Our high today - 72. Our high tomorrow - 48. Ugh. I wish it would pick a season and stick with it.

But, that's not the really odd thing - weather is wonky everywhere. I recently re-hooked up my Canon BubbleJet printer to my computer. I love my HP Photo printer, but the Canon is a great little everyday printer. Nice and speedy and the ink cartridges aren't expensive. So, I'm all set to go, only to discover that it won't print in black. It will print in color, so no problem with the Christmas letter way back in December. It thought maybe since it had been about six 6 months since last use that maybe it was the ink cartridge, so I got a new one. Not it. Well, printing in black would be nice, so last night I start searching to see what I can come up with. Big thing seems to be cleaning the print heads. Tried that, nada, nothing, zilch. I can line up the print heads and get black, but it still won't print black. Then I come across a message board, which is several years old. One poster said they changed the paper from letter to photo and it worked (yes, there are variations on this theme it seems). So, I tried this and it worked. Just for grins, today I tried it again with the paper selection equals letter. Nothing. Changed it back to photo paper and it works just fine. I'm still going to explore the printer heads and nozzles, but if it works for one paper type, you'd think it would work for another. I'm totally puzzled, but happy that I can get it to print.

And, this weeks picture is a one of the shrubs in front of my house. It doesn't look like much most of the time, but it's really kind of pretty when it's in bloom.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Morning visitors....

I opened my back door this morning to test the temperature and realized I had visitors - birds! At the bird feeder. Finally! It's only taken MONTHS for them to find me. I had to take the pictures through the window, so I hope the it shows up okay on the blog.

It seems like there are millions of birds around here. Leaving dinner one night in town, a "swarm" was looking for a place to land. Birds everywhere... parts of the sky were black with them. The power lines were solid with them, the trees, and even spots of grass. It was really interesting to watch. And, I've seen it more than once.

Given that there are millions of birds, I was wondering why they weren't checking out the feeders in my back yard. So, I was thrilled to see them. I pointed them out to kitty cat, but she seemed unimpressed. Eventually she did realize what I was pointing out and settled in the window to watch.
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Friday, February 22, 2008

A little progress...

I just spoke with the flooring company. They are coming out next Friday to measure the living room and bedroom for new carpet. Yes, they will be replacing the carpet in both rooms. Which is quite a bit, as the living room is actually a living/dining room combination and includes part of the entry way.

I didn't think they could just replace the part that was off - too much time has passed. Then when I realized that the same problem was in the master bedroom (to a lesser degree) as well, I knew there were two options: replace all of it or replace none of it.

I'm thinking the actual install, with furniture moving, etc, is going to be a big pain in the rear, but, it will be nice not to have a stripe in the living room carpet.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Really irked...

This past weekend, I placed an order. My order qualified for free shipping, which is supposed to be 5-9 business days. I've done this for years and usually receive the order quickly. Not so this time. Today, I checked to see when I could expect to receive my order. Estimated shipping date was March 17 - 24, with estimated arrival between March 24 - April 10th. Over a month to receive my order.

You can change the shipping method, which after some debate, I did. Now, I'm paying $8.00 more, but I should receive it by this Saturday. My take on this - this is Amazon's way of getting more people to pay for shipping rather than opt for the free shipping. They run neck and neck with Barnes & Noble in my opinion and so far I've not encountered this problem with B&N. I'm not sure how this will affect my future orders from Amazon, but I'm not happy about this. Who wants to wait over a month to receive an order? Grrrr....

Update: I placed a B&N order, a smaller one, the same day as the Amazon order, and got free shipping as well. It arrived tonight. Hmmm.....

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blooming Plants... among other things

After over a year, maybe even two, my African Violet has decided to bloom again! I got the camera out and did a little experimenting and came up with what I think is a pretty good photo. I'm hoping the second bud opens soon so I can try it again with the two blooms.

On the home front, it continues to move slowly. I got a call last weekend from someone wanting to schedule an independent carpet inspector to come to my house and check out the carpet. I didn't know there was such a thing or that one needed to come to my house. I thought the carpet guy had already been here. It appears that the flooring company that installed the carpet filed a claim with the mill and the mill requested the carpet inspector. Takes more time away from work, but it's gotta be done. She came out Wednesday. Nice lady. Apparently it was installed wrong; it's a dye problem with the carpet. And, if you look carefully, it's also present in the master bedroom. She says it's fairly common and that she sees it a lot. In all my years, I've never seen anything like the stripe you see in my living room where the two carpet pieces were put in. So, I guess I'll take her word for it. At any rate, she said her report would be turned in by yesterday (Friday) and I should hear something within the next couple of weeks. We'll see how quick builder rep is at getting that information to me.

It's been cold and rainy and just icky today, so I've pretty much holed up in the house. However, when I looked out the window at the rain earlier today, I noticed my driveway is much worse. One side of the crack is now noticeably higher than the other. And the rain won't make it any better. Builder rep supposedly has been out to my house with the folks who are going to correct the drainage. I hope it's soon. But, according to rep guy, they are still in discussion on the best way to fix the driveway. Ummm... rebar maybe?

I had a landscaper out to the house for ideas on the front flower bed and the back yard. His first question though was what was up with the driveway. He's done home construction before and has never seen anything like that. He got down and peered into the crack. Couldn't see any steel. The rebar comment was his. But, he's like the third person to say that. I looked at the driveway across the street, which was poured recently. They put steel in the end of the driveway but not in the part above the sidewalk. Maybe that explains why they've had to replace so many. At any rate, the builder has been debating since December on the best way to fix mine and the others. I'm ready for them to make a decision.

Back to the landscaper. I gave him my budget after we talked. He didn't seem scared off. He actually suggested that we focus on the front flower bed and the back patio, which I agree with and which was my get started plan. So, hopefully, this one will follow through.
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Sunday, February 3, 2008

New stuff....

The past month has been full of new stuff. First, a new vacuum cleaner. Yes, those of us with basically no life enjoy getting a new vacuum cleaner. Especially when the new one works! I don't know why it took me months to realize that the one I had wasn't working. I'd vacuum and you couldn't really tell. Of everything to do with house cleaning, I'm the pickiest about floors; I hate dirty floors or natty looking carpet. So, I did a bit of research. Consumer Reports now rates vacuums on how well they pick up pet hair in addition to their other factors. Having a cat that sheds just cause, I wanted a vacuum sure to get the pet hair up. Their highest rated was a Kenmore of all things. I'd just about decided on another high end brand (with awesome customer reviews), but CR rated it pretty low. So, I checked out the user comments for the Kenmore. Over the top. Well, it was cheaper than the other brand and that weekend was on sale, $100 off. So, I got it. Oh, gosh. How lovely to have a vacuum cleaner that actually picks up lint off the floor and the pet hair and the kitty litter. After my first run through the house, I checked the bag - it was full! Since I wasn't sure about the vacuum, I didn't get extra bags. I have extra bags now.

Last weekend, my new furniture arrived. I love the buffet! It's perfect where it sits and will provide awesome storage. I'm just tickled every time I look at it. The TV credenza and coffee table are great, too. Again, great storage. I'm put all my video's in the credenza and only used half the space! However, my bookcase and the TV credenza on the same wall is just too much, so I'll be re-arranging furniture. Probably going to move the bookcase into my home office, which I had given thought to doing off and for the past year.

My last new item is kinda little, but one I'm also throughly enjoying. A rice cooker, with a steamer tray. I debated on this off and on for quite a while and finally got one. Oh, gosh, it's great. Just put the rice and water in and it cooks up wonderful rice. This has been really good because with my move toward better, more healthy eating, I've been eating more rice and including it in the dishes I take to work for lunch. Being able to dump the stuff in and leave it is great. I'm hoping to try more varieties of rice as well.

And, speaking of the new, healthy me. It's not going as fast as I'd like, but so far I've lost 18 pounds. Some weeks are slower than others, but fortunately there has been no gain. And that makes me happy. Some of my clothes are getting very droopy, but I'm hoping to wait until I lose at least 10 more pounds before shopping for new clothes. Spin class is still the longest hour of the week, but I like the results, so I'm still going on Saturday mornings.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Verdict...

I'm a little behind on this post, but I thought I'd have more to post. I spent the morning of December 27th dealing with various house issues, including getting the engineer's report from the builder's rep. Big surprise, the drainage needs to be fixed. The house isn't level, but it's not structural yet. So, the builder's going to fix the drainage. The recommendations were pretty much in line with what I'd been told by someone else. Course, I've not heard anything from builder rep guy since and he's out of the office until the 28th. Sigh.

There were some other things. Two were complaints I'd lodged when I first moved in - the water pressure and the carpet in the living room. The water pressure was low, but builder rep said it was the city. The inspector picked up on it again. So, since toilet issues in the guest bath, he had the plumber look at it. Well, it was set at almost half of what it was supposed to be! I have water pressure now! I'm thrilled and more than a little peeved that when I reported it in January he just blew it off. Then the carpet. There's a line where the two pieces meet in the living room. Kind of hard to miss. Last January's reply, Oh well. Reply in December was that the seams just needed smoothing. Carpet guy came out. Carpet guy took pictures. He has no idea how they laid the carpet the way they did. The naps for the two pieces are running in two different directions (i.e. one runs N-S and one runs E-W). One piece will have to be replaced. My question: this carpet has been in the house a year - how do you match it after a year? Still waiting to hear.

Guys also came to adjust the sprinklers. Very little English, but they did a great job. A/C guy stopped by to check the study, which is hard to heat and cool due to 12 ft ceilings. End result - they came back out and ran duct work to put that room on it's own duct. I was impressed and it's helped a bit. Some other minor issues were taken care of as well.

However, the driveway is still cracked (almost in two pieces), the roof and gutters haven't been looked at, and no one has addressed the drainage. The post tension cable that wasn't cut still isn't cut. And, of course, none of the interior damage from the shifting has been fixed because I'd like to have the cause fixed first. And, now I get to wait another week to hear from the builder rep. I'm getting more than a little peeved.