On Life

I am seriously overdue on an update for y’all.  Please accept my apologies.  I’ve been busy.

I mentioned a while back that I bought a house in the same jurisdiction as my new place of employment.  What I think I failed to mention is that it is in need of a massive remodel.  It is a ~1000sf 3/1 built in the 1950’s.  The roof was at least fifteen years old, with multiple leaks in one particular area.  It had the original single pane windows, most of which had at least one broken pane.  The copper plumbing was fed from a 1/2″ line, and everything was 3/8″ or smaller past that.  There were multiple plumbing leaks, with the expected mold and water damage to the floor that tends to result from such things.  The bathtub is so nasty that I wouldn’t wash my worst enemy’s dog in it.  There were holes in the drywall in pretty much every room and damage to every door, both interior and exterior.  There is no HVAC system.  Well, there is an oil furnace, but it doesn’t appear to have been functional for at least a decade.  It’s in the middle of nigger town.  A previous occupant is now serving time for selling drugs out of it.  The main electrical panel was buried in a bedroom closet, and had wires running both behind the wall (normal), and outside the wall (not so normal).  Electrical was mostly original, ungrounded, two prong outlets.  There were a few three prong outlets with open grounds.  Not a fucking bit of insulation to be found.

But, it is structurally sound, with only the expected imperfections due to its age.  The neighborhood, although nearly all minority, has minimal crime (at least within five blocks, anyway), and the worst things I’ve noticed so far are some loose dogs.  Not feral, and not apparently aggressive, just running loose.  Maybe there is no leash law.  The neighbors seem to be reasonably friendly.  That, or they’re just leery of the crazy, gun-toting saltine who is moving into their ‘hood, and are trying to be nice to him.  The best part?  It was a bank foreclosure that I was able to purchase it for less than the sticker price of a new Corolla.

I paid a contractor to put on a new roof, and to replace the windows.  This added over 25% to my investment, but he was able to do in two days what would have taken me months or more.  The rest is on me.

So far, I have knocked out the drywall that made up the wall and ceiling of the living room, dining room, kitchen, one of the bedrooms, and about half of the bathroom.  I installed a new electrical panel, that I properly grounded.  I even buried an eight foot copper ground rod instead of using one that I found already in place, just to be sure.  That was a royal pain in the ass.  I’ve wired the living room and ran power to the water heater, which has proven able to produce tepid water.  I need to check the thermostat settings to see if that can be improved, or if that is another piece that must be replaced.

I have purchased a new kitchen sink, countertop and cabinets.  I also bought a new toilet, tub, vanity, and fixtures for the bathroom.  I will install all these things as soon as I repair the floors and re-run the plumbing to those areas.  I had eleven days off during the holiday, but I didn’t get nearly as much accomplished as I had hoped.  First of all, I’m a pussy when it comes to cold.  I know, mid 20’s and above isn’t cold, but tell my body that.  Plus, LadyFriend wanted my attention during this time.

Not that I understand why.  I frustrate her.  Or so she says.  She hasn’t expounded on that subject much.  She did ask for my patience during the holiday season since this is her first without her mother, and the reminder of her loss along with the added stress of having to do the things that her mother had always done stretched her pretty thin.  Plus, her father has a new fiancée several states away, whom he plans to wed this Spring, and the couple will be taking up residence in said other state.  So, in her eyes, she has lost both her parents in less than a year.  Plus holidays (if you’re crazy enough to celebrate them) are stressful in the first place.

Well, I tried to accommodate her request.  I bit my tongue instead of making my normal smartass comments.  When I made suggestions that were meant to help but were not taken that way, I dropped the subject.  Unfortunately, this led to a lot of silence on my part.  Unfortunate, because I have the worst poker face in the world, and when I declined to share what was on my mind, she assumed something way worse than what I was actually thinking.

Now, I have been deemed a pouty little boy who didn’t get his way, presumably due to my uncharacteristic silence.  When I tried to explain my thoughts on a given subject, I was accused of insulting her intelligence.  She has admitted that it now bothers her that I don’t have and never wanted children, although she has yet to point out anything that I’ve done wrong in relation to her daughter.  In fact, I’ve asked several times how I was doing, and she always responded in a positive manner.

When we have time alone together, we are fine.  Except that, those times are very rare since I met her daughter.  She abhors planning, so it is nearly possible to schedule a “date”.  When we have gotten one-on-one time recently, it is almost always at the end of a very busy day.  If I try to talk about anything serious, she asks Do we have to have this conversation now? but when I try to schedule a time when we are both less than exhausted, I get You want me to plan ahead?  She asks it as a joke, but it is more serious than she is willing to admit.

Daughter is jealous, and demanding of attention – both mine and LadyFriend’s.  I have declined to suggest any changes, and have attempted to give the little girl the attention that she demands.  I have no right to comment on anything parental, since I have no children.  It’s not like I was ever a child.  Or had any nieces or nephews that I saw raised.  Or had the opportunity to watch them raise their kids now.  I let Momma be Momma, and when she does (or doesn’t do) things that I disagree with, I simply try to hide my feelings.  I know not every issue is worth fighting over, but some are, even if they seem small at the time.  Otherwise, one will simply have a spoiled brat on their hands.  Wait, I can’t say that.  I don’t have any experience with kids.

I’m trying to be an accommodating, nice guy, accepting of her life and routines, but we’re going to have to have some of these conversations, and come to mutually agreeable solutions, or paradise may be lost.  I adore her, and when she’s not stressed out and/or exhausted, she’s great to be around.  I’m hoping that once the dust settles on the holidays, things will get back to something resembling some of our earlier times together.

Well, those are the highlights.  Plus, I have to get to work.

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4 Responses to On Life

  1. Larry says:

    Mid 20’s isn’t cold. It’s FUCKING cold. Anything below about 70 is cold.

    The only suggestion I have is for the water heater.

    If it isn’t rusted up inside and the thermostat is OK you very likely have a bad element. They aren’t hard to change at all.

    As for the rest of it…if it is worth it, it will work out.

    • alaskan454 says:

      Nice to know my lack of tolerance for the cold isn’t exactly a unique characteristic.

      As for the hot water heater, I’ll probably replace it anyway. It’s dated 2004, and is in the crawl space under the house. The outside looks nearly pristine, but I hate the three minute wait for hot water, even if relocating it will cost me some valuable floor space.

  2. GarandGal says:

    Try installing an instant water heater to feed the areas where it bothers you most to wait for hot water?

    • alaskan454 says:

      Assuming the heater itself can be made serviceable for significantly less than a new one would cost, I plan to do that. I’ve already looked at 2-7 gallon point-of-use models as well as an electric tankless. If I end up going with a new one, where I plan to put it will be central to everywhere that gets water except the kitchen, which can either wait or get a POU unit.

      I’m a little handicapped by the 100A electric service, though. Electrician wanted $7-10K to upgrade it to the point that it would pass inspection, allowing the power company to connect. Fuck ’em, I’ll live with 100A. I’ll just rewire the place right on my own.

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