Posts tagged with "house"

Holiday Hell

Nightmare. The word almost every­one has been using to describe this hot water sit­u­a­tion. From my friends and cowork­ers, to the plumb­ing tech­ni­cians, to the sales reps, to the con­trac­tors.

When the con­trac­tor came over to make holes in my ceil­ing, he brushed against a pipe that went to the hot water tank, and since it was almost rust­ed com­plete­ly through, it snapped and start­ed leak­ing. Water shoots out of the hole any time I turn the water on, so I’ve had to shut off the main valve. Now I have no water. I can’t wash my hands, I can’t go to the bath­room.

The exhaust pipe that goes to my fur­nace isn’t up to code any­more either, so even if I get all this work done on the house, my ceil­ing would have to be ripped up again when the fur­nace goes. And since mine is 12-years-old and rat­ed for 15 years, it could die on me as soon as three years (or soon­er). So I’ll be get­ting the fur­nace pipe replaced too, which essen­tial­ly dou­bles my pipe instal­la­tion costs.

In addi­tion to mov­ing as much fur­ni­ture out of my room as pos­si­ble into my guest room (there­by rob­bing me of my pho­to stu­dio, Tai Chi prac­tice area, bed­room, and main com­put­er), I’ll have to cov­er the remain­ing things in sheets to pro­tect them from the dust. When the pip­ing is all replaced1, the con­trac­tor needs to come in and patch up the holes, scrape all the stip­ple off my ceil­ing, respray the stip­ple on, and repaint it. I don’t even have an esti­mate of how much that’s going to cost.

The house is my one area of sta­bil­i­ty. Where I retreat to when every­thing else is falling apart. The one place I need to be con­stant. I won’t feel set­tled until it’s all been resolved.

And to think that I was look­ing for­ward to the hol­i­days. I was pic­tur­ing myself enjoy­ing my well-earned time off, eat­ing bacon and eggs, play­ing a few games, and start­ing some new projects.

How far away the image seems now.

  1. And with luck, they won’t refuse to do the job because they don’t have enough clear­ance. []

Water Is Life, But Hot Water Is Living

Broken hot water tank

I have no hot water.

In the mid­dle of the week­end, my hot water tank broke down. I called the ener­gy com­pa­ny and was on hold for almost two hours. When I final­ly got through to some­one to trou­bleshoot my prob­lem, all he told me to do was unplug the tank and plug it back in again. Then he told me to wait an hour and call back to make an appoint­ment with a tech­ni­cian if it did­n’t work. I refused to do this (after being on hold for so long already), so I made an appoint­ment right there.

The tech­ni­cian came today and told me that the pipes were leak­ing water, and the black area under at the bot­tom sig­ni­fied a car­bon monox­ide leak1. The entire hot water tank has to be replaced.

The good news is that my hot water tank is rent­ed, so any repairs or replace­ments are cov­ered by the ener­gy com­pa­ny. The bad news is that the ven­ti­la­tion pipe that con­nects the tank to the out­side of the house is no longer up to code, and needs to be replaced before the hot water tank is replaced. The worse news is that my ceil­ing is fin­ished, so it needs to be ripped open for the new pip­ing to be installed then patched up again when it’s done, by an out­side con­struc­tion com­pa­ny. The cher­ry on top is that nei­ther the pipe instal­la­tion or the destruction/construction is cov­ered by my con­do or the ener­gy com­pa­ny, so I’ll have to shell out more mon­ey at a time I can’t afford it.

Until then, I can’t show­er2, I can’t shave, I can’t do my dish­es, I can’t do my laun­dry, I can’t rinse my mouth with­out using painful­ly cold ice water.

I can hon­est­ly say that I took hot water for grant­ed.

But I won’t after this.

  1. Thankfully low enough that the two car­bon monox­ide detec­tors did­n’t go off []
  2. which is one of my favourite ways to unwind at the end of the day []

Patterns in the Chaos

I hap­pen to have a chance to write now. It’s rain­ing, so nat­u­ral­ly the win­dows are all open.

My life has been some­what chaot­ic late­ly. Weekends spent being social have been turned into intro­vert­ed exile, a way of charg­ing my bat­ter­ies once again. The added ben­e­fit is that I have more time to tie up loose ends on my projects. I’m even get­ting back into the still pho­to medi­um again.

Dry erase boards

I installed these dry-erase mark­er boards next to my front door. I use them to keep track of my tasks, projects, and errands, so I can come home and imme­di­ate­ly decide what I feel like doing. The two sil­ver clips are used for hang­ing notes and let­ters.

Nothing feels bet­ter than putting that thick black line through a task. Writing on frost­ed glass is pret­ty tasty too.

Dry erase board closeup

I use the oth­er board for quotes, a way to keep myself moti­vat­ed — or ground­ed — every time I pass by on the way in or out of the house. It’s also a nice way for me to prac­tice my hand-drawn typog­ra­phy, by try­ing to bal­ance char­ac­ters, words, and lines on the board in dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions in an esthet­ic man­ner.

There’s some­thing famil­iar about this. A feel­ing like I’ve been here before, not in this sit­u­a­tion exact­ly, but in the mid­dle of the chaos.

All I know for sure is that I feel like I can han­dle it much bet­ter than if this was hap­pen­ing a year ago.

Holiday Stretch

Hi there.

I’m already in hol­i­day mode. Sure, I have one day of work left — Monday — but my brain has checked out. I even took the day off yes­ter­day and made it a long week­end because I have extra vaca­tion days left, and they can’t be car­ried for­ward.

The chaise lounge on which I do my writing

This is how I spend most of my time nowa­days: on my new chaise lounge from EQ3, with a mug of tea by my side, in a gen­er­al­ly unkempt man­ner. Unshaven, with the flour­ish of a cowlick in my hair.

Last year, in which I declared that Christmas is dead, I stayed home out of spite, not direct­ed at any­one but myself. This year, I’ve decid­ed to go to Shirley’s for Christmas Eve and Christmas, and Pat and Jen’s for New Year’s.

But there’s a stretch of a sev­er­al days in between in which I have no plans. Even though it’ll be a chance for me to do some extra writ­ing, work on my pho­to projects, maybe even relax a bit, part of me wish­es I was busy like every­one else.

I know I don’t have any­thing to com­plain about. I’m lucky enough to be spend­ing the “impor­tant” days with friends who are impor­tant to me. I’m even lucky enough to have a choice of where to go. But I know that dur­ing the stretch, when oth­er peo­ple has some­where to be, some­where to go, I’ll feel some­what for­lorn. They’ll have a place where they belong.

Maybe I’ll belong here, at home alone, on this won­der­ful chaise.

A Trip to Zone Closer to Perfection

On a whim, I went to Zone after work. I’ve been in a dec­o­rat­ing mood late­ly. I spent about an hour in there, just gath­er­ing design ideas with what they had.

Thumbnail: Potpourri plate

Thumbnail: Potpourri plate closeup

I picked up a pin­cush­ion plate and some pot­pour­ri for my cof­fee table, replac­ing the glass bowl I had before, and lined it up with the edge of the chaise lounge.

Decorating my house has always been impor­tant to me, but I’ve nev­er rushed into it. Part of the rea­son why it’s so emp­ty right now is because I want to put up my own pic­tures, and I nev­er had enough with which I was sat­is­fied to fill the walls. I don’t want pho­tos of mem­o­ries — what I have at work — I want pic­tures that set a cer­tain mood. Another thing that makes it hard is that I’ve nev­er liked non-func­tion­ing dec­o­ra­tions; can­dles you’d nev­er burn, baubles that don’t do any­thing, knick-knacks that clut­ter shelves don’t make sense to me.

Part of me wants to go out and buy every­thing at once and be set­tled, but anoth­er part of me nev­er wants to fin­ish.

Otherwise, I’d lose the thrill of the hunt, and the plea­sure of adding anoth­er thing that’s just right to the right place.