Thursday, June 4, 2009

...and the Beat Goes On...

... the beat of hammers and crowbars and chain saws and stump grinders...and other miscellaneous noisy tools.

The latest episode in this saga has to do with the repair of the spare bedroom. Day before yesterday, Seth tore out the ceiling, and part of a wall came with it. He called me in to see it. "This is major termite damage. It's old damage and the good news is I don't see any evidence of current termite activity" He pointed it out to me, but it was easy to see.

In case you ever wondered what termites do to wood in a house, this is it. This is the section of wall above the window on the back side of the room. If you scratch the wood with a fingernail, it flakes off like dry cereal.

This is the wall next to the door of the bathroom that adjoins the spare bedroom.

When I bought the house 6 years ago, I had it inspected, of course, and old termite damage was found underneath. It had been repaired and there was no sign of active termites. I've had it inspected for termites every year since and no problems. Of course, when the underneath damage was found, they couldn't see into the walls. Apparently the original termite treatment killed all the little buggers, but the damage was done, hiding behind the wall, just waiting to be exposed--which the storm did.
Seth explained he would check all around the room to see how extensive the damage was. It turns out if affects the back and one inside wall--and the adjoining bathroom walls.

This is the gutted bathroom. Walls and flooring will be replaced. Total additional cost, about $2000, and not covered by insurance--I checked.

The roofers are here today too, ripping off the shingles and tarpaper. With the ceiling down and the outer layers removed, the holes show up really well. If I wanted a skylight, this would be the time to tell someone.

This is the view immediately outside my back door--which is obstructed by shingles and tarpaper. They asssure me this will all be removed today.

But then, the tree guys assured me the logs and other debris would all be removed yesterday--and they didn't show up at all!
At least one of the tree guys has a sense of humor. One of them found Madison's stuffed "Tigger" toy, which although now headless, is still recognizable, and placed it on one of the logs.

I stuck my arm outside the door and took this shot of the yard. (Due to falling debris, I was afraid to try to step out onto the back stoop.) The workers are stumbling over one another. The sawhorse is Seth's stuff, the ladder is the roofer's, and the logs....well, I guess until they're hauled off they are technically still mine. Too bad I don't have a really big wood burning stove! Note the huge pile of sawdust to the far left of the picture. That's where the stump of the pine was. The sawdust will make good mulch and cover for the path Madison beats running to the side gate. If I don't keep it covered with some kind of mulch, it becomes a muddy mess.

Right after the storm, people who do have woodburners were driving around with pickup trucks, picking up free firewood. Now they all have enough to last through the next 10 winters and don't want any more.

I called the chief tree guy at 8 am this morning and he "promised" they would get their act together (his words) and get the stuff chopped up and hauled off today. I figure Madison thinks he's been abandoned at the kennel, and I am sick of looking at all the crap in both front and back yards.

Yesterday evening I went online and found a website selling "fast growing trees". I ordered two dogwoods, a pink and a white, which will arrive in 2-3 weeks ready to put in the ground. They will be small saplings, but fast growers, and I already have a plan where to put them in the back and how to protect them until they are big enough to be safe from Madison's romping around. I felt a lot better after I ordered the trees, since I felt as if I had accomplished something positive.

The other day I went to the Neighborhood Co-op, which has a lot of organic stuff, natural remedies, etc., and I bought a defuser, some essential oil (lavender and chamomille) and tea candles. The defuser came with little crystals to put in the top area. You add a few drops of the oil, a couple of teaspoons of water, and then light a tea candle in the compartment at the bottom. Pretty soon the aroma of lavender and chamomille wafts up from the crystals. It really is a very soothing aroma. However, it's so noisy today, with hammering over my head and stuff falling both inside and outside, that I feel like I need to put the oil directly up my nose!

Ah, well, this too shall pass. I just hope we've reached the end of storm-related troubles, since my nerves have just about reached their limit. Tonight is the Small Group Storm Sharing meeting at church, and I know I can dump some of the stress there. So many people are going through this all over the area. You can practically feel the stress oozing out of everyone's pores.

At least my neighbor hasn't raised any complaints today--yet.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Storm Clean Up Continues

(All pictures on this entry were taken early this morning.)

This is what's left of the 115 foot pine tree on the south side of my back yard. The tree guys have been working on it for two days to get to this point and today the rest will come down. For a while I was feeling like a "murderer", having the tree cut down, although I knew it had to be done. Then the chief tree guy told me the tree was essentially dead anyway, and would have come down on its own, sooner or later, and probably on my house, my neighbor's house, or both. So I don't feel like a "murderer" any more.

This truck was left overnight smack in the middle of my back yard. They use it to pull around the lift (pictured below), and the weight of the truck and lift is tearing up the yard something fierce. But again, it can't be helped.

This is the lift that the tree guys use to get up into the tree and attach ropes so they can guide the limbs down as they cut them. It's parked in my south next door neighbor's driveway at present. These neighbors have been super cooperative, since they realized their property was threatened by the tree just as much, if not more, than mine. Some of the limbs had to come down in their yard, but they had no problem with that. (Wish that were the case with the neighbor on the other side.) Notice the fencing on the far right side of the picture--part of my backyard fence that had to be removed to get the equipment in.

This is the maple on the north side of my back yard. While not as tall as the pine, it's badly damaged, and probably would also die--but most likely would come down in pieces with the next storm of any strength. Several large limbs are already severed from the truck and just hanging in the tree. At least one of those is poised to come down on my north next door neighbor's house. As soon as the tree guys finish with the pine, they will start on the maple. But... neighbor is not being cooperative. She called me last night around 8 pm and read me the riot act about the tree, the tree guys, etc. Apparently the chief tree guy made the mistake of talking to her yesterday, trying to explain that at least one limb would need to come down on her side of the fence, but that they would remove it immediately and clean up any debris. She threw a fit and threatened to call the police!!! She raged at me on the phone for 10 minutes and I couldn't get her to accept that it was for her protection as much as my own that the tree had to come down--and it needed to come down in the safest, most efficient way possible. No go. She's still threatening to call the police. The chief tree guy says, "Let her call them. I'll deal with it."
I find it interesting that she is reacting this way in view of the fact that her home was only minimally damaged during the storm--a small section of guttering bent, and her back yard swing slightly damaged. Part of a tree belonging to her other next door neighbor came down in her yard, causing no damage, but she gave them fits until they had it removed. They were dealing with some severe damage to their own home, plus they have three small children, but she pitched such a fit that they had someone get the limbs out of her yard. (Legally, if a tree or other debris fall onto your property during a storm, you are the one who is supposed to deal with and pay for the removal--not the person whose property the tree was on to begin with--unless the tree was clearly already dead and had not been dealt with by the owner. She was the same way with me last year when the ice storm took down part of the maple onto both our fences. I paid for the repair of both fences, because she was going on and on about it, and I just wanted her to get off my case.)
This is my lovely temporary blue roof. So far it's working well keeping out the rain. I've got fans running and several dessicant products in the spare bedroom to keep the moisture level down until Seth can begin repairs. He's coming over this afternoon to give me a quote on the interior work. (I just realized I caught myslef in this picture in the reflection from the diningroom window. I have on a white tee shirt and was holding the camera up high to get the roof.)

This is the front yard, and just a small portion of the pine tree limbs. They have already hauled off two large truck loads of limbs. They use a big scoop-like thing to pick up the big limbs--and it takes a bite of yard along with it. Too bad, but another thing that can't be helped. Grass seed is cheap.

I'm hoping the tree work will be wrapped up by tomorrow afternoon and the fence put back in place so I can bring Madison home. I miss him soooooo much! I talked to the lady at the kennel this morning and she said he's doing fine. It's ME who isn't doing fine without him!

I slept poorly last night, mostly because of my neighbor's phone call. It's one thing to tell myself not to let it upset me, and quite another to act on that thought. Hopefully, after all the tree work is done, she'll settle down and things will get back to normal. I'd prefer to get along with her--but at this point that's pretty much up to her.

Well, there's lots of shouting and vehicle movement outside, so I think they're getting ready to pull the top down. I expect it will shake the ground. Even though I will expect it, I imagine I'll still jump. Been pretty jumpy in general lately. PTSD for sure!!