Thursday, January 21, 2010

One Thing Leads to Another

A few days ago (like around Jan 1)...I said I was going to try to work 10 minutes a day tackling some little de-clutter task that needs my attention. It hasn't taken long to realize why those tasks don't get done. Because by the time you cook the dinner, do the dishes, help with the homework, attend to the dogs, do / fold / and put away the laundry...well it just keeps going...and going. And at the end, there's not much left.

But here and there I have had some success - it's just lead to other problems.
Example #1. I was cleaning out my mail / crap holder - you know, one of those things that is meant to help avoid clutter - until you stuff it so full that it's holding the equivalent of an entire filing cabinet. And you need none of it now, but all of it at some point? So it lives it's "temporary" home.

So I was sorting through these papers. Giving my shredder a workout. And wondering where on earth this is all going to "live" when I don't put it back into this holder. And I touched the wall. The wall in my kitchen, by my desk, in my house - where I've lived for a number of years. And the wall is HOT. I mean like it measures around 106 degress - hot. Crazy right?

Phone calls later - paranoia growing, I'm pretty sure I've got an electrical problem. And I'm pretty sure this is going to involve the trauma of holes in walls, large bills, and home owner nightmares. Not to mention, I'm feeling pretty guilty about the thought of leaving the puppies at home by themselves - what if the place burst into flames? A quick jog in my memory and I feel a little better - b/c isn't it 451 degress that paper burns (thank you Ray Bradbury) - so surely there will be no fire with a mere 106 degrees.

Well, much worry and a short visit from a lovely contracted electrician who came to my rescue for a small price - it's not an electrical issue. It's a stupid-owner issue. Apparently, it's likely been like this forever - b/c it has to do with the venting of the hot water heater and furnace. No danger, nothing to fix, nothing is wrong.

Do you see how the Universe tries to derail me? I clean a little pile of papers and end up with fears of flames! It doesn't seem fair, does it? What would happen if I actually cleaned out a closet? I don't know that I should risk such dangers...

Example #2. And then I went downstairs. After standing by the wall of flames - it didn't take long to realize there was a serious draft from the fireplace. Really cold. I'm kind of a push button fire-place kind of gal. So I've never really used this for a real fire. Messy, stinky, and a bit frightening to openly allow flames to live in your house...maybe that's just me. Anyway, I peek in there to see what's going on - and quickly realize I don't know WHAT it SHOULD look like. Really, where is the homeowners 101 class?

Much worry, a few phone calls, 378 additional examinations of the fireplace (never with me having ANY more clue about WHAT I was looking for) and a visit from a very nice chimney sweeper dude who didn't charge me an amount that would make me cry....the problem is pretty simple. There's a whole - you know, it's a chimney - and there's NOTHING blocking the air in there. So basically, I've been heating the world for the birds or any other wildlife that cared to hang out near my chimney top. And maybe I've been cooling it in the summer. For YEARS!

A quick slice of some insulation and the problem is solved. I'm expecting a sympathy card from the gas company within a few months - they will likely think we've stopped heating the house. Or at least I hope that we see that much progress on the bill.

There are certainly joys to home ownership - but the list of fixes and projects and improvements never ends. What is the craziest thing you've learned as a home owner?


Janet said...

I'm sure I've had many stupid moments as a homeowner. My previous house was a wreck from all the "do-it-yourself" stuff the previous owner had done, and periodically we'd discover some crazy thing. Like that he'd welded different sizes of pipe together to hook up the tub. Which, of course, resulted in a massive leak that required nearly the entire bathroom to be replaced.

And I too had a fireplace with no floo (flew? Flue?), but it had a stove in it, and I pulled that out, so maybe it wasn't made for a real fire? I don't know. It's pretty now, but it's not really used. I have it full of candles.

Michelle said...

I shouldn't giggle, but I have to. You just described my life. And I need to go spend those 10 minutes shortly myself! Just ten minutes a day....

I learned that where the water is hard 27.8ppm (hard water is anything over 10, I believe), if your water softener has no power, eventually everything you own will be covered by a white grit. Ewwww.