Monday, June 18, 2012

We found brick!

One of the fun things about this project (trying to keep on the bright side here) is pulling out walls and making discoveries about how the room is built.  I've learned a few things such as why there was black paint striped along the walls (it's so that the white drywall doesn't show through the seams of paneling).  Today we decided to pull out a section of wall to see how it was constructed and we found our outside brick wall.  It's a bit funny to see and we found a pipe sticking out of the wall.  Not sure what it is for but we found it.  Fortunately the insect infestation seems to stop at the brick which is a very good thing (yet again my attempt at remaining positive).

I think we have come to an agreement on what we want to do with the room in terms of rebuilding (although there still seems to be some argument as to ownership of the room once it is built).  The room currently has six large (4'x4') windows and an exterior door.  We are planning on leaving the exterior door but cutting the windows back to three windows, putting one window in the upper right hand corner of the room and the other two windows starting at that corner and coming out towards the center of the yard side wall.  That will leave three perfectly good corners for putting in shelves, adding counters and arranging furniture (such as some comfy couches for inviting friends over to sit and knit or quilt or simply to chat).  Although, there is this argument of ownership.  I see the room as a perfect knitting, spinning and quilting space.  Mr. KCW sees it as a perfect brewing space.  I think it is far too large of a room for simply brewing and he would be better served using the current room which we call a hobby room, but could easily be converted into his perfect little brew spot. 

In the news of knitting I'm working on (yet again) the Clapotis by Kate Gilbert.  Hopefully this one will not have any mistakes so the dropped stitches will truly drop.  So far I am finding it very soothing as the rhythm is almost waltz-like.  I've finished 3 repeats of the straight section and I'm loving dropping stitches. This is helping me keep my calm in the evenings and isn't making me think too much (as I have to with my Pea Vine Shawl by Anne Hanson).  I'm working the Clapotis using Madeline Tosh Merino Light in the gorgeous shade of Ink (I think it's appropriate for me). Hopefully I'll post pictures soon.

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's perfectly safe

Yesterday we had another termite control company out to give us an estimate on treatment and re-infestation.  I could tell he was a high pressure salesman and was doing anything he could to seal the sale.  That's fine.  That's his job.  I work in retail and I know that we, too, are supposed to work for the sale.  He was going into his big spiel about how invasive they would be with the chemicals to keep our home safe and was talking in terms of gallons of termitacide per square foot.  This sounded fairly frightening and toxic to me.  Being the good consumer that I am I decided to ask an intelligent question.

"So ... What is the risk to humans and our pets with all these chemicals you are going to be spreading over our property and home?"

The answer?  "None.  You see (missy - and I swear there was the unsaid missy in his voice) termites are very small so they don't need to ingest a lot of this chemical in order to kill them.  We are bigger.  We would have to drink gallons of this stuff in order for it to do anything to us." (Now run along back to your kitchen and let us men-folk discuss this.)

Of course I don't believe that answer in the least because ants are pretty small, but the chemicals we use to get rid of them have a skull and cross bones on the packaging.  I did what every average person does when they need an answer and went to the Internet.  And what did I find?  That all termitacides are listed as possible carcinogens with the EPA.  You can rest assured that this little missy isn't going to be drinking gallons of the stuff and I'm going to be pretty careful around places that I know it is put.

I can think of so many different ways that he could have talked about the risks of termitacide other than "termites are tiny and we are big."  He could have acknowledged that termitacide has its risks but that they do everything in their power to limit the exposure of those chemicals to humans and their beloved pets.  That would have at least made him sound credible.  Fortunately, Mr. KCW didn't like this company's representative any better than I did and his bid was higher for less work.

In other news, it rained heavily again last night, but nowhere near the twenty-one inches that we had on Saturday.  The room remains dry.  This is good news.  At least there is a little good news.  Keep your fingers crossed for the insurance inspection today.  Hopefully we will find out that we actually have some sort of insect protection.   In the meantime I'm going to cook up some blueberry pancakes. 

My favorite recipe for blueberry pancakes:

Get in the car and go to Cracker Barrel.  Make sure to get a side of turkey sausage to go with them.  And skip the Main Blueberry syrup.  It's just corn syrup with some blueberries thrown in.  Just butter them so you can taste the fabulous blueberries.

My second favorite recipe for blueberry pancakes:

Make Krusteaz Complete pancakes and throw blueberries in them. (That's for days when you are short on time and don't want to pay $8 for blueberry pancakes)

My third favorite recipe for blueberry pancakes is my dad's recipe for pancakes to which I add blueberries.  He called them Hank Snow's Favorite Pancakes. (I have no idea if that claim is actually true. I don't even know if my dad ever met Hank Snow, but Hank Snow's name was evoked often in my house growing up.) 

1-1/2 c. flour (just regular all-purpose - nothing fancy here, although I like unbleached)
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 T sugar
(Sift all those things together)
Blend together 1-1/4 c milk and 1 egg.
Mix your dry and your wet and then mix in 3 T melted butter or shortening. (My dad always used shortening, I use butter.)

Pour about 1/4 c of batter on a hot griddle then add a generous handful of blueberries right before flipping the first time.  The blueberries will most likely split open when you flip your pancakes, but that's ok.  I use frozen blueberries and run them under some warm water prior to cooking the pancakes.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Damage

I finally got around to sending pictures from my phone to my e-mail so I could put them on my computer so I could share them with you.  (Aren't you just so excited?)  So in case you have never seen a house that has been eaten from the inside out by termites, the picture on the right is what it looks like.  Not very pretty.  And this is one of the better parts. 

About the only thing that is usable from the entire room are the windows and the doors.  As far as we can tell the roof structure is still in good condition and isn't infested.  We'll find out as we dig into it.  but all the walls, siding, insulation and weather barrier is completely shot. 

Here's a picture of where we have started the demolition process.

For now the plan is to get down to where we can start over.  We are thinking about moving one of the windows down to the end you are currently looking at.  That will give us windows on all three sides.  We'll have to see, though.  Essentially we have a 12'x21' space that we get to play with.

I'll post more later as we get moving on this venture.  For now I get to go talk to another contractor.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Floods and bugs and tears

Hi.  I'm not sure what to say about being disconnected for over six months.  I had all these fabulous intentions at the beginning of the year to write on my blog more frequently, but now it's mid-year and this is my first post.  (Bows flamboyantly.)  So, hi.

I'm not going to spend an hour catching you up on everything that has happened in my life since my last post.  Suffice to say it wasn't anything too thrilling or I would have posted about it.  So why the post now? Simply because I feel like I'm drowning and this is the safest way to pour out that stress.  See the picture of Noah's steadfast little ark?  That's what was floating through Pensacola this past weekend.  In a 24 hour period our little city had between 17 and 21 inches of rain.  From a sit around the house and read and knit standpoint it was fabulous.  From a "holy shit my house is flooding" standpoint, not so much.  To be honest we only got about 3 inches of water in one rarely used room in our house.  In the grand scheme of things it wasn't that big of a deal.  Although cleaning everything up wasn't and I did have to make a "large item pick up request" from my local garbage service to take all the icky sodden ruined books (yes I lost quite a few books), fabric (nothing too special), clothes intended for Goodwill (which also went under water), and boxes that formerly held homebrew beer (rest assured all the beer was saved as was the majority of the yarn). 

It doesn't sound too bad, right?  Wrong!  In the course of cleaning the room we noticed some odd-looking sawdust around one of the window sills.  After the use of a crow bar and a little muscle we discovered that this "sawdust" was actually residue from termites!  The entire room is being eaten away from the inside out.  It's horrid and sickening and I just want to cry.  Today we are having a specialist come out and inspect the house to see how invasive the little  fuckers buggers are.  I'm hoping against all hope that they are confined to this one room.  In the meantime I'm fearing that they are in every joist and beam in my house and at any moment the house will collapse on top of me and bury me and my lovely stash. 

We also have a carpenter due out today to look at the damage and give us a quote on what it will take to fix things (if indeed things can be fixed).  And of course we have filed an insurance claim, but neither of us can find our insurance policy to verify if we actually have termite protection.  Most likely we don't as most home owner's policies consider termite control part of home maintenance and will only cover things if the house has collapsed or in imminent concern for collapse (see previous paragraph about my not-so-irrational fear). 

Now in the perfect cheerful optimistic world I could look at this and see the silver lining such as:
1. Ta-da! You get a brand new creating space with electric outlets that work on every wall!
2. You've got the opportunity to remake your house the way you want it!
3. You get to start over from scratch!
4. You've been wanting to purge and reclaim space, so here's your chance!

Yeah, no.  None of those things help at all.  All I can see is all of our savings (and then some) being swooped away into the pockets of other people while I am up to my neck drowning in all the stuff that was salvaged from the spare room (or as we say in our house the Spare Oom).  Even though the waters have subsided, I still feel like that ark is towering over me with its closely guarded collection of animals.  Meanwhile in other news, rain is forecast for today.