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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Taking A Break From A Break

I'm still trying to catch up with house and yard work.  It's not going well.  But it's Friday night and there isn't much I can do right now and I just can't stay out of communication forever.  And not much I will be doing outside Saturday or Sunday.  It is going to reach 100F or close both days.

1.  My initial efforts to lever the broken cinderblock wall back into place failed.  Levers are great, but I can't seem to get enough pressure to move either side of the broken wall.  I have a scissor-jack on order to arrive tomorrow. 
your orders

I'll put it on its side and place a 4"x4" post against the post at the house foundation and see if that works.  It only cost $80 and it might save me several thousand.  If I am able to push the broken cinderblock wall back toward straight, I will cover all the broken edges with construction adhesive and make the final push to press the edges together.

If THAT works, I will drill holes in the top to secure a board on the top to help hold the wall straight and cement and bolt a brick on the bottom.  The one masonry repair person who visited said it wouldn't work.  But he wanted to rebuild the entire patio and walls for $15,000 (saying "I ONLY do quality work").  Well, congratulations to him for having enough work to be fussy, but I don't need a whole new patio.  I just need a repair job.

If my attempt doesn't work, I will hire a less-fussy repair mason.  I called 5 repair companies (through a centralized repair website) asking for email contact.   I had to provide a phone number to so.  I got 2 responses by phone.  Unfortunately, I could not understand what they were saying (which I expected and why I asked for email contact).  I do not have a good ear for foreign accents (and I blame myself).

So, if my own efforts fail, I have to start again with contractors.

2.  The 1/4 of the backyard that became a wild blackberry thicket after I removed a couple trees and that I cleared last Fall is driv8ng me crazy.  All Spring, I went around weekly spraying the blackberries that regrew.  It was a pleasure seeing them bend over and die a day later.  And I had some piles of tree saplings to remove.

But I also had gardening and flower-planting to do and poison ivy to fight.  And I did plant 4 specimen trees that would shade the area but not cast shade on my garden.  So one day, I noticed that the entire cleared area wasn't clear anymore!

Not many wild blackberries, but lots of OTHER stuff.  Some large plant with purple berries I can never remember the name of.  Wild grape vines.  Virginia Creeper vines.  So it was time to use the brush mower again.  Except I had to find the piles of sapling trunks and the garden hose buried under all the junk growth before I could use the brush mower.

I spent 3 days (30 minutes a day - it was HOT outside) using the cordless hedge trimmer to cut the junk down searching for the piles of saplings.  I knew approximately where they were, but it took a lot of cutting.  The hedge trimmer worked better than I expected.  I pulled 2 of the 4 piles out to the lawn.  Those are worth cutting into kindling for the fireplace.

The rest is too small to be worth burning and I started filling the 5'x8' trailer.  Its piled higher than the top.  The County has a site to deliver stuff like that and I can get free mulch (from mine and other residents' deliveries).  I can use the processed mulch on flowerbeds, my compost bins, and garden paths.  But I'm sure not going to attack the entire new overgrowth with a couple 100F days coming up.  So I'll be working in the house.

3.  My basement has become a clutterred mess!  Well, I've seen worse where people just used the basement for storage, but mine is supposed to be a functional work area.  Partly, I have stuff I need to get rid of.  Not junk, stuff that has some value.  Like an air compressor I haven't used in 10 years, the bicycle, the old shop vac I replaced with a better one, the boxes of newspapers I planned to use to smother weeds in the garden paths (more than I would ever need), an old refrigerator, etc, etc, etc.

There are also things down there for projects I've never gotten around to actually doing.  Things like metal shelf that fit around and above a bathroom toilet,  bolts for hanging heavy cast iron pans on a wall, shelves to install to hold seldom used kitchen appliances in the cat room (they won't mind), additional to-assemble bookcases for the computer room, etc.

The older I get, the harder these things are to do.  I think I will leave the car out of the garage for a few days and collect all the stuff to sell in the garage.  Craig's List works well for that.  But I need it all in one space to make a list for posting.

We used to be able to donate that kind of stuff to charities, but the new tax laws don't count donations unless the get to many thousands of dollars, so it just makes sense to sell them for "something".  I don't have enough for a yard sale, so individual sales are the only way I can get anything for them.

4.  The house needs work.  The computer room and cat room have cheap carpet from 32 years ago.  I want linoleum for ease of rolling my office chair around and cleaning the cat fur.  But to do that, I have to empty the rooms.  So I've been saving wine boxes to put my books in (about as heavy as I want to lift and they are all the same size so stacking them is easy).  Other boxes will hold original software disks and computer books.  Others will hold random stuff.

The kitchen light fixture has got to go.  It is tight to the ceiling and the heat from the attic makes it not work after a week of 90F.  The TV room ceiling fan stopped working a few years ago.  The Living room 2-bulb ceiling light is too dim and I have a nice stained glass replacement 3-bulb light.  But the last time I messed with a ceiling light I almost electrocuted myself (only felt "pulses" as I was sitting on a wooden ladder, fortunately).  And the kitchen faucet is leaking...

I want to tile the kitchen walls.  And I'm not going to do that myself.  20 years ago, I would have.  Not today.  There are things I CAN'T do (plumbing).  There are things I CAN do (most other things).  And there are things I can do but just don't want do anymore (anything electrical).

I'm spending time trying to create a detailed list of things that need to be done.  Some will be things I could do myself, but most are things I can't or don't want to do myself.  I would be very happy if all the things on my list were done.  I would like my home better and be happier here for another decade at least.

5.  The drainage easement...  In past years, the drainage easement (the water drainage from upper properties to the swamp below me) have brought tree debris and odd yard junk.  This is usually clearable though sometimes the County has come out for serious intertwined branches and silt.

But Monday last week, we got something new.  The storm drain was covered with gravel and clay and debris and the entire easement filled with gravel 40' up.  Essentially, it no longer flows much and is almost at yar level.  A future strorm would leave me with standing water in the front yard.  And that is after having soil added to my front yard several years ago to raise it 1'.

The easement is a shared responsibility of my neighbor and I (8-12' not sure) from the storm drain.  We need to have the easement dredged, but we can't tell what area until the County comes and does whatever they will around the storm drain (some crews do more than others).  And I can't get them to tell me when they will come and do their part first.

So I'm frozen in place waiting for them to do their part.  I've emailed them asking A) Are we currently on your schedule?  B)  If so, what is the scheduled date?  C)  If not, when will we be on your schedule?  D)  When our repair is scheduled, will we be advised of the scheduled date?

So I'm mostly doing inside stuff for a couple days but also outside stuff and I feel exhausted sometimes...

I'm letting the Mews outside at times in this hot weather (briefly), but calling them back inside after about 15 minutes and making sure they get water.  The next couple days at 100F, they aren't going out at all.  They'll hate that, but it is too hot for furries.


Megan said...

Not a lot of fun, Mark - and especially not in such hot weather. I guess it's just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and breaking the projects down into bite-size chunks. I don't envy you though.

Thanks for the update.

Sydney, Australia

William’s Kith & Kin said...

OMC, sounds like our mom. These days she can't get enthused about anything, and she's got a slew of things to fix/do too. At least we still get our regular service out of her!

pilch92 said...

You sure have a lot going on. It sounds overwhelming. I know my hubby is having a tough time keeping up with the outdoor projects now that he is older and I am of no use. I am like dracula and keep out of the sun.
We use our air compressor to clean out the shop vac filter so we don't have to buy them as often.
Good luck with everything, especially the wall.

Mickey's Musings said...

We purr very hard that you manage to catch a break soon.
It sounds like you have a lot going on and none of it fun.
Mum also says things get harder as you get older :/
Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

Meezer's Mews & Terrieristical Woofs said...

I am feeling really tired and hot just reading these words...hope you can make some headway, a little at a time...