Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I got something shiny and new today!

I was so very excited when there was a ring at my doorbell and I opened it to discover a hot guy plumber holding a box containing a shiny new diamond ring faucet.  In all seriousness, you would think somebody had brought me a shiny new piece of jewelry.  I could hardly contain my excitement!!  It's shiny (stainless), and pretty much looks alot like a new version of our old one would.  Did that make any sense?

[caption id="attachment_336" align="aligncenter" width="250" caption="For me? It's not even my birthday yet!"][/caption]

I may have to consider getting on tranquilizers should we ever replace our washer/dryer set.  I don't know if my heart could take all that excitement!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Dog Days (of summer) are *almost* over

Boy, this summer is sure winding down quickly.  I'll be taking the kids back to Maryland in less than 3 weeks, and they'll start school just a mere 10 days later!  The time has flown by again this year.  I've got a list a mile long of things that we need to do before they go back appointments, clothes shopping, visits to the library, and hopefully squeezing in a couple or three more beach visits before they leave.  I've started on this list...Karissa wanted these "design your own" Converse All Stars, so they've been ordered.  She's been poring over the Justice for Girls website all summer, carefully selecting all the clothing she *needs* for her first year of middle school.  The boys are SO much easier.  They honestly could care less about clothes and shoes.  However, Nathan has been hovering around the front door all day, waiting for the Fed Ex man to show up with his iPod Touch (his only wish for his birthday...which is August 19th).  Jacob...well...Jacob would be content with some new legos or some sort of action figurine.

I remember when it was back to school time when I was young.  I couldn't wait to pick out my new set of clothes from the JCPenney fall catalog (I'm talking EVEN into my high school I showing my age??).  It might've been 90 degrees on the first day of school, but gosh darn it, I HAD to wear those new jeans and new sweater on the first day!  I got giddy over new pencils, pens and notebooks!  I remember the swarm of people that would flood Peoples Drug and Dart Drug (ok, now I really AM showing my age) to pick up their packets of loose leaf paper, bottles of glue, and 3-ring binders the evening after the first day of school.  One thing that has changed for the better is that schools typically hand out supply lists before school starts, some as early as the last day of school prior to the new school year.  This at least gives parents some time to plan ahead and prepare!

Along with the end of summer also comes the end of my peace and quiet...since school is starting, so will the phone calls riddled with complaints about how "expensive these kids are", "Don't you know how much school supplies cost?", and the "You really need to send me more money, who cares if you pay your child support?"  I usually just chuckle under my breath and say..."Welcome to my does it feel"...etc., etc., etc.

I think the video says it this song by Florence and the Machine.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Woes of Being a Tenant

We are really fortunate to live where we do.  I love the neighborhood, and the entire area really.  We rent a nice house located about 1000 yards from a beach access.  When we first looked at the house, I felt at home instantly.  Everything about the house was aesthetically pleasing.  It was evident that the home had been remodeled.  All the bathrooms were nicely updated, and the kitchen had been updated as well.  All the floors are tiled, there's a big pool out back, and the yard is HUGE!  There were a few minor issues that we saw upon move in that needed some attention.  Some of the window screens are missing, there was a broken pane of glass (double-paned window), the sink faucet in the kitchen was missing a piece...mostly minor things.  We've been here now for two years, and just re-signed on for another year.  I feel like we've sometimes been a "pain in the butt" to the homeowner and to our property manager because it seems we are constantly calling because something needs to be fixed.

These are the things that have had to be fixed so far (that I can remember):

-A/C - TWICE!  The first time, a couple of estimates were done to try to "fix" the cause of no air flow to the west side of the house.  One estimate said the ducting system and the blower needed to be replaced, the second estimate said it needed to just be cleaned.  Guess who won the first time?  You guessed it!  The cheaper guy, who wanted to just clean out our unit.  By the way, cleaning the unit did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for the performance of the A/C.  It wasn't long before the other company was back out here to replace the blower in the A/C.  When that helped, but didn't actually fix the issue, another company was out here removing all the insulation out of the attic, removing all the duct work, fixing all the electrical wiring in the attic, replacing the duct work, and then re-blowing in all new insulation.  Finally, we had some relief from this Florida heat!  And just in time since I was pregnant and summer was fast approaching.

Master Toilet - Whenever the "remodel" was done on this house, whoever installed the toilet didn't actually anchor it to the floor.  Nice job.   We had a handyman come out and fix this issue.  This is something that my husband is fully capable of fixing,'s not our house, not our responsibility.

Master Bathtub - Another goof on the remodel is that when the tub was installed, the electricity that causes the tub jets to run wasn't put on a GFI.  You would think that common sense would tell you...bathroom = water = a NEED for a GFI outlet.  Pffftt.  Who cares about code or safety as long as you're saving money!!  Cha ching!  Anyhow, a GFI was installed, but everytime we want to run the jets, my husband has to rig the tub to turn on, and then he has to come back to turn it off.  It's certainly not user friendly as it should be.

Slider door screens - What is the point of having screens if you can't open your doors and use them as they were intended?  All of the screens had massive holes in them.  These were eventually re-screened (during year 2).

Pool pump - This has had lots of work done to it.  So many times that I've lost track.  What needs to be done is the whole thing to be replaced, instead of just putting band-aids on the issue.  We also suspect that there is a big leakage problem, causing us to lose lots of water in the pool...thereby causing us to have to fill up the pool at LEAST once a week...thereby equaling a huge water bill every month.

Solar Pool Heater Panels - This has also been looked at several times.  Despite being "fixed", the issue of it leaking still occurs.  We give up.  The pool water is currently about 100 degrees anyways, so I'll worry about this later.

Irrigation System - In the words of the plumber that was JUST here, the whole system is a "hot mess".  There are busted lines, many broken sprinkler heads, and the entire control panel is blown.  My husband has put several hours and at least a hundred bucks into attempting to fix it on his own because he does want the yard to look nice.  Everytime he'd get one head replaced, he discovered another busted.  Everytime he fixed an entire section of line, another one would bust.  He kept working on it until the control panel busted, then he gave up.  Why should we give a crap about the yard if the owner obviously doesn't?  Don't get me wrong, we still have the grass cut regularly by a landscaper, but that is ALL we will be doing to maintain the yard from now on.

1/2 Bath Toilet - About 6 weeks ago, I flushed this toilet and it just kept running.  And running.  We turned the water off to the toilet.  This is another fix that my husband could probably have managed on his own.  However, I think we are both just tired of fixing things, paying out of our pocket, etc.  Today, finally, a plumber arrived to fix the issue.  He says its fixed now.  I haven't checked behind him yet.

Kitchen Sink Faucet - Just Thursday evening the faucet quit on us.  No water was coming out of the faucet.  None.  My husband worked on it a little to try to get some flow because we were told that nobody could come until Monday.  I called the property manager at 9 am on Friday morning, didn't get a callback from a plumber until 2 pm (but didn't get the message until 4 pm).  Apparently not having water in your kitchen isn't deemed an "emergency".  I guess when they have to unclog my bathtub drain because of all the food particles in it due to washing dishes in the tub won't be considered an emergency either?

Cracks in the ceiling - I ALMOST forgot. But not quite.  When the attic was being re-insulated, the workers moving around in the attic caused several cracks in the ceiling drywall.  These were fixed at cost to the insulation company.  This was actually one of the quickest, no fuss fixes since we've been here.

Perimeter fence - This has also had to be fixed several times.  There's nothing like letting your dogs out in the morning to do their business, then noticing about 15 minutes later that they're not in your *fenced* backyard.  Our gate kept blowing open, despite being locked with a padlock.  I'd go running out the front door, only to look about a block down and see my dogs doing their boxer wiggles around some poor unsuspecting neighbor, out for their early morning walk or run.  This happened at least three times.  Sometimes it was due to the gate, other times it was due to the collapse of entire sections of fence.  This is what happens when your wooden fence gets old and rots.  This was "fixed" by a handyman (not a fence company) building new gates that can no longer be opened from the outside.  Also, the gate doesn't stand up straight now...if a fence gate could be deemed bow-legged, this would be the one!

With any home, there are going to be things that need to be repaired.  Living here has shown us that there is always something!  With that being said, the up-side to being a tenant is that the financial responsibility of fixing these things isn't on our shoulders.  Lucky us!  However, while we can live comfortably with a few missing screens and a single toilet out of three out of commission for six weeks, it's hard to take pride in something when the owner doesn't seem to.

One day, when Tommy and I decide where and what we want to buy for ourselves, we'll look back at these days and laugh.  Or cry, all the while wishing that we had remained tenants forever!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Take two Midols and call me in the morning

With my daughter fast approaching her teen years, and right smack in the middle of her "tweens", the drama is ever ensuing at our house.  This morning, I walk into my bathroom to find a host of toiletries belonging to her on the countertop, accompanied by her used bath towel lying on the floor, and a trail of her discarded pajamas and underclothes.

"Karissa!!", I yelled across the house.

"What?", she yells back.

And, so the drama begins.  I ask her what all that stuff is doing there, she gives me her answer with a sprinkle of tweenage attitude, and then I. Get. ANGRY.  My head starts to roll and bob at the same time.  Then I breathe.  I'm still upset with her, but rather than yelling, I try to reason with her, and a lecture begins.  Bad move on my part.  More attitude is spewing from every pore on her body.  She is rolling her eyes, about to cry, bobbing HER head.  It is a battle of wise estrogen versus the novice estrogen.  Girl, I brought you into this world...yadda yadda yadda.  Meanwhile, had my mother not been in the other bathroom blowdrying her own hair and could've seen/heard what was going on...she would have been LAUGHING!  At ME!  Ha!  I think she would have called that karma.  Or paybacks.  Either way it's a witch with a "b".

Later (like 20 minutes later), my daughter is walking through the kitchen and proceeds to drop her iPod Touch on the floor.  Given, it was a complete accident, but it still cracked the entire screen to the point it's not usable.  In the process, she gets a pin prick amount of blood on the tip of her finger, and you would've thought somebody just stabbed the poor child.  She needs a Band-Aid, I absolutely have to get her a new iPod Touch because CLEARLY it's my fault that a) she dropped it, b) Apple didn't make it with a stronger  screen to begin with, and c) pretty much everything is Mom's fault, so this must be too.  So, as I am telling her that I am in NO way going to fix it for her, I'm looking online to find the info for Apple repair.  This is otherwise known as "caving".  I'm famous for this.  Yes, I totally caved.  I started thinking that I had paid almost $250 for this product just 3 short months ago for her birthday.  It's an investment.  I actually just ordered another one for my soon to be 9 year old for his upcoming birthday yesterday.  I can't just let it be trash.

However, this behavior on my part has created what looms in my daughter as her sense of entitlement.  I really need to learn to stand my ground.  I have a hard time with that, mostly because I am only with them for such a short time and I want our time together to be as peaceful and enjoyable as possible.    I will be working on that.

And so begins what will be a series of dramatic mornings, that rollover into afternoons and evenings.  This will be the story of my life, so long as she is with me (and probably alot of the time she is not) until she is at least 30.  Thank goodness I've only got one far!