Saturday, January 7, 2012

Home Improvement

Well, what to write about? Busy doesn’t come close to describing my life as of late but I really don’t know if any of it is of interest to all of you out there in blog world! Still, I have mentioned many of the things that we are going through, so I suppose it’s only fair to keep you up to date with events.

I believe that I mentioned that we just had our homes foundation repaired. This involved ripping up our wood and carpet floors, knocking about a dozen three to four foot holes in our concrete floors, and then digging them four feet deep to install concrete pads, piers, and jacks. After that $8,000 in work, they then tested our drain plumbing and told us that almost all of it was shattered and broken, and quoted us an additional $12,000 to repair it! I was on a service call at the time and so my wife was dealing with all of this on her own, and called me on multiple occasions crying and sobbing. See, we had taken a 401K loan out to pay for the work, and there was just no way at all that we were going to be able to come up with another $12,000 to cover the plumbing. We just didn’t see any possible way to make it through the situation. Fortunately, something about the plumber that the foundation people were using gave my wife the creeps, and so she decided to get a second opinion from S & D Plumbing out of Taylor Texas and thank goodness that she did! It turns out that the first plumber was either incompetent or a thief, because instead of the dozen breaks that he had told us existed under our floors, the new plumber found only two damaged pipes, and quickly repaired them at a charge of only $5,000. If you had seen the work that they had to go through to get to these breaks under our concrete floors, you would know that the $5,000 fee was not as unreasonable as you might at first think.

A lot of heart ache, tears, and dust later, our home was now level and had working drain lines and plumbing. Now the only problem was that we were pretty much outta money and had only bare concrete floors for Christmas. Sigh . . .
Still, you gotta count your blessings, because things could have been SO much worse. As it was, we had a house full for Christmas – ourselves, my oldest son with his wife and daughter, my daughter-in-laws parents, and my father-in-law. The floors might be bare and patched concrete, but we had a full house and home for Christmas!

Christmas 2011 014

In a rare event (this is the first time in the last 16 years) I had almost two entire weeks off from work, and so we started working on repairing our floors. We chose not to install wood floors, because they had suffered badly and we didn’t want a repeat of that. We also chose not to go with carpet, because all of the doctors had told us that carpet is bad for my daughters’ asthma because it collects dust. In the end we settled on rock tile, and got busy buying, prepping, and installing it.

Tile Floor 007

Let me tell you, a rock tile eighteen square inches and about half an inch thick might not seem too heavy at first, but spend two entire days on your knees holding these tiles out in front of you to set them in place, and I guarantee you some major aches and pains are in your immediate future. After getting all of the living room tiled, I spent pretty much the next two days hunched over and moaning and groaning every time I had to move. It makes me really look forward to doing the rest of our home – NOT.  Suffice it to say that by the time I headed back out on my first service call of the year, it was a relief to get back to work just so I could get some rest!

Tile Floor 043

My service call was in Tulsa OK, and so I decided to just drive there instead of getting a flight. It was either spend ten hours in the airport system, or spend seven to eight hours driving AND get to pocket a bit of money, so to me it seemed like a no-brainer. After all of the work on the floors, I honestly hurt too bad, and all of our things were far to covered in dust for me to even consider making the trip "pretty", so "Matt" made the drive while watching/listening to season two of "Torchwood" on my Ipod.

I’d have to admit that my year has started with a fair amount of good luck, because while I did get a flat tire on the drive, I got it as I arrived in Tulsa and just as I was driving by a mom and pop tire repair shop! I just drove off of the highway, into the repair shop, and paid a young man $10 to install new guts into one of my tire stems. Fifteen minutes later and I was on the way to my hotel without ever having to get my hands dirty! A little more good luck was found on my drive home when I stopped for gas just north of the Texas – Oklahoma border. As is fairly common in that area, the gas station had a small Casino attached to it, with one small room full of slot machines, and I figured “what the hell, let’s give it a whirl!”  I put $10 in the quarter slot machine and very quickly lost it all. I then put another $10 into a dollar machine, and after spending $5 of it, I hit a jackpot and won $88! I decided that I would go ahead and gamble until I was down to $80, and so played for a couple of more spins. Imagine my delight when I again won, this time about $40! With about $100 more than I had entered with, I took the money and ran for the border!

Well, next week I am off to Detroit and I had planned to make the trip “pretty”. It might be that the joke is on me though, because my wife and children were sick when I got home and they have been kind enough to share it with me. At the moment I am coughing, choking, and am a very active snot factory, so I kind of figure that odds are good I will end up making Monday’s trip the old fashioned and ugly way. Sigh . . .


  1. Now about that money you owe me...


    I'm glad you had family for Xmas! :)

  2. Never a dull moment, - sharing is what family is all about

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. my heart goes out to you on both the repairs and the floor you had to replace.
    but as you said at least you still had a house and a roof over your head to celebrate Christmas in

    of course with all those people there... you could have handed each one a floor stone as they came in the door and threatened to withhold dinner until the floor was finished LOL

    feel better and thanks for the update.