No Snippet today, I'm afraid: I've been running my patootie off trying to get ready for home repairs following our water damage a few weeks ago. That didn't leave me enough time to transcribe a chapter or so from a volume, as I usually do. Instead, I'll tell you about the fun and games of fixing things - or trying to.
After a few weeks of trying to find a contractor willing to take on our drywall repairs and other minor fixes, I found one this week - and even at a reasonable rate, mirabile dictu! I hope I can get him to do the work before Christmas, but that'll depend on the pressure of other work and the availability of staff. He'll fit us in between larger, more complicated jobs.
Meanwhile, our insurers (USAA) have approved the quotes for repair and refurbishment that we obtained, and have cut a check for us. (We prefer to pay the contractors ourselves, on the principle that "he who pays the piper calls the tune". If they're being paid by a distant insurer, we have less leverage over them and the quality of their work than we want. Doing it this way gives us greater control.) Unfortunately, we now hit the bureaucracy stage. The check should reach us sometime next week, God and the US Postal Service willing: then we have to take it to our bondholder (a local bank) to get them to countersign it. (Due to the relatively high cost of the repairs, and their financial interest in the house, they have to be notified and approve things for themselves.) Assuming we can get that done quickly, we can then deposit the check and start paying contractors. Here's hoping there are no further delays.
There have been distractions, though. I took my wife's car in for a service this week . . . and hit a dog that darted out from the side of the road. It was so close, and so sudden, I didn't even have time to brake. The poor thing was killed instantly, as I was doing 60 mph on a rural road at the time (yes, that's the speed limit there). Unfortunately, it also caused a couple of thousand dollars in damage to the car, which did not please my wife. (Understatement!) Modern vehicles may have front ends made largely of plastic and glue, but replacing bits and pieces is no cheaper for that. Our insurers probably weren't pleased either, since they're already paying out for damage to our home, but they accepted the claim with no overt complaint. However, I expect our rates to go up in the New Year . . . (sigh). A local repair shop, contracted to the insurers, has already examined the car and estimated the repair costs, but they can't do the work before the end of January - they're booked solid. I guess Christmas must be a bumper season for car damage! We'll just have to possess ourselves (and the car) in patience until then.
I did some domestic rearrangement while my wife was at work, so we now have more space to walk around, sit down and relax in our living room (where the furniture from the damaged portion of the house ended up after all was said and done). I'm going to spend a lot of time this weekend and next week, clearing out space in our garage to store much of our furniture and fittings while repairs and refurbishment are carried out. It's at times like these that one regrets having a sizable personal library. Moving all those books and bookcases is not going to be fun! I'll hire outside help as necessary - after two heart attacks, and with a fused spine, and no longer being 21 years old, I'm not fool enough to try to do it all myself. There are easier ways to commit suicide, if one's so inclined (which I'm not).
Finally, yesterday morning, my wife and I went to a couple of local flooring dealers to make a choice of what tile to put down in our kitchen and dining area. We'd agreed in broad terms on what we wanted, and I'd identified about a dozen examples that might do; but obviously I wasn't going to make the final choice on my own. We've identified one we both like, a marble-patterned vinyl tile that's a little darker than we had before, but has a nicely warm tone that should look good in the sunlight coming in our house's French doors, and should be wear-resistant for many years. As soon as the drywall repairs are done, the flooring contractor can install it; then the repair contractor will return to install skirting board. I hope that by the end of January, all will be over and done - but that's up to many other factors coming together. We'll see.
I'm looking forward to having more time to write in the not too distant future. Since the flooding, I've not had time to do any, being busy most days with cleaning up, lining up contractors, dealing with insurers, and generally running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I may move slowly and painfully, thanks to my old injury, but at least I can still move, and I have time available during the day while my wife is at work. Right now, that's invaluable. If we were both working a normal day, we'd find it hard to get much done on the repairs during the week.
Well, on with the day. Since events prevented me from finalizing a bulk waste pickup last Monday, I have to get all that done over this weekend, so that they can collect everything this coming Monday. No peace for the wicked, as the Good Book warns us - and the way things are going, that might be a sign that I'm not as holy as I should be . . .