Tag Archives: Handyman

Only Child lives in survival mode

Winter - will it ever end?

Winter – will it ever end?

I am tired beyond the proverbial eyeballs with living in survival mode. This has been going on for several months and it is eating into my writing time and well, any time to enjoy life. Not to mention the financial problems it is causing.

Last week’s post covered all these issues. The insurance one has been resolved and the ice jam in the eavestrough and one downspout area as well – for now. Didn’t need insulation. The cause? The awful winter (and whatever/whoever causes that). Lots of people are getting ice jams on the side of the roof where the sun shines – apparently caused when it’s cold and the sun shines there from the west (afternoon sun) as my handyman Mike found out from asking around. One of the roofers he spoke to had it happen at his house and he had his attic insulated to the max.

Not everyone is getting the added “blessing” of icicles forming on the outside of the downspout when it is cold and water dripping from the downspout joins when the temperature (plus sun shining) goes up a bit in the day. So, the water drips on the patio and when it freezes overnight – well you can imagine. That is also the corner where I have my rain barrel for summer use. Late fall I had shut off the downspout going to it and that part seemed to be working. So I’ve been busy trying to stop the ice and drips to no avail. Enter my handyman who had to remove the lower downspouts and one of the connections to the rain barrel and put in a very long extended “downspout” (sidespout?) out to the lawn where water can drip out. He also blow-torched the downspouts that remained, put roof melt pellets on the eavestroughs and cleared out the dangling icicles and the ice on the patio (salt in the area plus hacking the ice with my garden shovel).

Mike said he found no obstacles (leaves and branches) blocking the eavestroughs or downspouts. I told him the guy that cleans does a thorough job – three times because of the trees on the other side where there is no ice problem.

“You do what needs doing and then you get screwed,” was how I put it to Mike.

And all this begot unexpected financial hardship. Luckily my ex-husband sent me an e-transfer for part of the work. My April and May financial situation is very bad – property taxes just started up and then there are income taxes and a huge water bill in April. I will also need to get a new rain barrel (plus get a few other outside repairs not connected to the eavestroughs ice jam) done in the spring.

Gee, maybe it is good that spring will again be late and gradual this year – it will take April and May for it to become real spring weather, according to the weather network. Although I am fed up with all the excess snow shovelling and dealing with the city to get their d*** snow plough contractors to stop dumping the snow at the end of my driveway. Not to mention keeping downstairs taps dripping and insulating drains with newspapers to try to prevent frozen broken pipes when the temperature dips way way down.

I wonder how much damage to property and gardens God will have happen during March, April and May? We have snow falling down now and the weather forecast includes ice pellets and maybe some freezing rain in parts of Southern Ontario.

Remember I don’t believe in Mother Nature – no such person.

On a lighter note. Did anyone see (on the weather network, of course, my Bible) the video clip about Oklahoma US Senator James Inhofe who brought a huge snowball into the senate as a symbol that he doesn’t believe in global warming? Amen to him even though he got blasted for doing so. Watch it at http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/us-senator-fails-basic-science-tries-to-use-snowball-to-disprove-climate-change/46281/

And read some follow-up at http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/climate-skeptic-senator-burned-after-snowball-stunt/

With the past two winters in Canada and the US I also don’t believe in global warming. Climate change definitely. I just don’t believe in the cause given for it.

That’s my take anyway.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, finances, God, Life demands, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Snow, Snow Removal, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child’s good, bad and ugly 2014 list

Only Child's damaged evergreens and new growth

Only Child’s damaged evergreens and new growth

As 2014 soon ends, many people are making resolutions for 2015. Before I do that, I have to let go of 2014 with my summary of what I thought was good, bad and ugly. Here is a partial list. Some individuals/organizations/ things are on both because they behaved both well and badly. The ugly are the worst offenders – what I never want to see again.

The Good:

  1. My son Martin – he is at the top – for helping his old mom out so much, not just helping with computer stuff, but helping with house stuff, including offering to pay for a much-needed living room chesterfield when I get one this coming spring. Hot on his heels is his girlfriend, Juni, for helping me sort out my digital camera usage and photos. More on Martin’s goodness in last week’s post (for what he did in December 2013). See https://onlychildwrites.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/only-childs-meaning-of-christmas-2/
  2. My garden (spring, summer and fall) for providing a sanctuary of colour, fragrance and creativity.
  3. My health – what is good about it. I can still walk most days and garden and still am able to live in my home.
  4. My home, especially now that the boarder has moved out and I have my home back.
  5. God, for when he does listen to me – on a few big things such as getting the boarder out and making my new novel publication and book launch, etc. happen.
  6. My city councillor, Janet Davis and her staff for helping me out when city departments don’t do their job and/or are rude.
  7. The incredible Grace in Bell Canada’s resolution department for straightening out bad service issues including incompetent, unfriendly and rude technicians and call centre and billing department staff. And for taking $50 off on my Bell bill for the company’s screw-up and bad service.
  8. My bank branch for being so helpful, especially when one of their tellers screwed up when I paid a bill and took it from Utility (water and waste) instead of Property Taxes. The manager went out of her way to get the funds transferred back to me, including the interest charges for “late payment” and wrote a letter to the City of Toronto Property Tax Department about teller error not any non-payment on my part. So I still have my stellar paying-on-time status here.
  9. Mike, the handyman, for being top-notch and quick in repairing/upgrading in plumbing, electrical and also painting, etc.
  10. My friends who help me, especially Bob (who recommended Mike), Tanya and Alex, Marlene, Kathy, Carol and Al, and the librarians at the Toronto Public Library branches who are supportive of my books, doing readings and teaching workshops at library branches.

The Bad:

  1. God, for the too many times when he doesn’t listen, for the horrible weather he brought us worldwide in 2014 (and December 2013 too) and not repairing all the damage he caused to all our trees and gardens from the December 2013 ice storm in southern Ontario, Canada .
  2. The boarder for turning into a pain in the ass, taking over rooms in the house she wasn’t entitled to, leaving a dirty mess when she moved out – she was a boarder, not a renter.  Note here: I did take her in when she had nowhere else affordable to go. She overstayed her “welcome.”
  3. Any of the six utilities and their staff who screwed up with service.
  4. Toronto 311 call centre for one person’s rudeness and patronization and at first not even going to put in a complaint and request. I sicced Janet Davis’ staff on him.
  5. Toronto’s garbage collectors – or two from the garbage truck that picks up the green bin (veggie and the like scraps, used facial tissues) who missed one bag (not the same bag each time) three times in October and even after my complaint, did it again in December. Don’t have these problems with the actual garbage bins and recycling bins as they are handled by machine from the garbage truck.
  6. Telemarketers and their comrades in email. The pox on them.
  7. The weather itself – it is extreme all over. Nowhere on earth is good and safe to live.
  8. Time for running off at more than the mouth with the result we are running around in circles.
  9. Any stressors who interfere with people’s health.
  10. Health again – not just mine but many of my female friends between 50 and 70 have so many health problems, some big, some not. But all interfere with our quality of life. I don’t believe this is just from getting old.

The Ugly:

(the worst from the Bad list): the extreme weather, God (the bad parts), the former boarder, health issues and time-stealers.

So, what will 2015 bring? We shall see. I’m planning on tackling the time issue and will be deleting and delaying as much as I can. And focusing on what is important.

Happy, prosperous and healthy 2015 to all.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Bank service, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Garden Destruction, God, Health, Health Seniors, Home and Garden, Ice Storm Southern Ontario, Ice storm Toronto, Martin Crawford, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Stress, Time, Time management, Toronto

Only Child going crazy with little time

One of Only Child's teddy bears sits on time to try to tame it

One of Only Child’s teddy bears sits on time to try to tame it

My late father was a master with time. His work – railway timekeeper-  probably helped him although it drove Mom crazy sometimes. Dad would get his watch regulated at Birks and always insisted Mom, he and I arrive at Union Station in Toronto an hour and a half early for our train. I’m sure he had other time tricks that he used.

The only time techniques I’ve inherited from Dad (besides the arriving early for trains) are the awareness of how important time is and trying all sorts of ways to fit things into time – regularly and otherwise.

Not working. Not sure if it is today’s complexity – too much information, too much technology and in my case (and many others I’m sure)  too much crap shoved unexpectedly at us. I get this in spades. Sometimes I feel like taking the spade and just smashing the source of the problem. (I’m a gardener so have a spade – a pitchfork, too). But I don’t. So I vent verbally out at the Universe, God  – in many instances for not even hearing me.

That happened twice in the last 24 hours. First, with yesterday’s rainfall when I specifically put it out there that I didn’t want any water getting into the basement – it did – not from the ground but through the window – it poured down from the eavestrough above from one spot there. I suspect the cause has something to do with F., the “repair” guy when he nailed down the netting (to catch the leaves) in the eavestrough a month ago (We didn’t get much rain after that).  So, I had to call F. (that’s his first initial although a four-letter word comes to mind to better describe him) to make a return visit. This rain shower from the eavestrough had happened a few other times since he “fixed” the falling out eavestrough netting. His answer then? Call him when it is actually raining so he can see it when it happens. Newsflash F. – the rain will have stopped by the time you get here. So, yesterday I told him this and to check it out Friday morning. His answer? Take a picture of it? I don’t have a digital camera I told him and it had already stopped. And I can show him exactly where it cascaded down.

Today, it’s the anti-virus program on my laptop. When I first turned it on I did the usual updating the protection and the quick active scan. Well, the latter was quick – it scanned only half the loading-point files – every time I tried it – and I shut down the computer twice and started it up again before trying. Now, it’s doing the full scan, so we’ll shall see how that goes and how that affects (or doesn’t) the active scan. And like not wanting any water getting in from the rain, I also put it out there for all computer programs, etc. to work. The techie is coming tomorrow to see what’s what. Good thing he will take a post-dated cheque into September.

Guess I’m not shouting loud enough.

All this wastes my time and I’m already on a time roller-coaster trying to get things done before I go on holidays in the near future. I will not be cheated from my train trip and visiting my cousins.

Am I shouting loud enough here?

I’ve been trying varying techniques to try to get things done – even the dreaded multi-tasking which I’m against doing (except maybe thinking while riding the subway) Last Friday while on hold for one of the utilities (yet another problem – money-based) I decided to finally fill in the form to update an insurance document. But I needed the original and previous update. Guess what? No time to dig them out, although I know which file they are in.

And I have a “to-do list for what must be done  (besides the obvious, packing) before I travel. Here I’m doing a little of one thing, then a little of another, etc. However, I feel like I’m doing a variation of a Jill-of-all trades and master of none.

I know I have to rein in some of what I do – too much time with business email (forget the personal, only family stuff gets done). Already I’ve removed myself from several lists. (Don’t you like it when they ask why? I just say “no time/email overload). I think the delete button will become my new best friend.

Once I finally drag my weary body onto the train I’ll probably fall asleep looking out the window. That won’t work – I’ll miss my station and my cousin standing outside the train station will wonder what’s going on.

So do I wonder what’s going on. But that is fodder for another post.

Meantime, Dad, if your spirit is out there, please tell me some of your time-mastering tricks. Your daughter is running out of time…literally.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

The time challenged

Only Child Writes

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Filed under email overload, Family and Friends, Life demands, Lists, Mom and Dad, Prioritizing, Rain, Sharon A. Crawford, Time management, to do list, Uncategorized

Only Child – as I see it with many more crises

Only Child's sanctuary - again threatened by negative destructive curses

Only Child’s sanctuary – again threatened by negative destructive curses

The list of crises keeps growing – some repeats and some new. Another world, another life looks awfully tempting. It is not fun having to deal with all the crap coming your way when you have to do it on your own. At least the old air conditioner seems to be working at this point.

So here we go again with more negative destructive curses (not challenges as others might see them).

Repeat: a bit of water in the basement – not to see but the floor in a couple of areas by the same outside wall was damp this morning. So I called the a****** who did the excavation, sealing, etc. two years ago (again – he didn’t return my last call last week.) He’s supposed to continue doing testing – heavy hosing of various parts of that outside wall – one area at a time, but has only done the window and that’s not it. He called me back this morning but refuses to come until I get the city and some private professional to check the drains from the city end and the house end. He went on and on about problems the drains could cause if that is it until I interjected with I’m tired of dealing with all this crap coming at me and reminded him that it is only me who is stuck doing so. I finally said I’d call the city. But I haven’t yet because…

I had to call Direct Energy – I rent my water heater (gas) from them and I had no hot water coming out of the tap this moenin. True, I had run the bathroom hot water taps for a bit to clear a hunk of soap that got down the drain (the idiot handyman had not put a catch at the top of the new drain setup) but that shouldn’t be enough to finish the hot water in the tank. The Pilot light is still on; I turned the water heater thermostat up to high and there appears to be some noise indication that it might be working. I still booked an appointment with them to check it out tomorrow if the hot water doesn’t come back in a few hours. Couldn’t get an appointment for later today but that’s partly because…

My sinuses are acting up – I get periods of sinusitis for various reasons – allergies and a compromised immune system and the big factor – too much stress in my life. This time it’s bothering my left eye – with odd periods of some blurriness when at the computer. The sinus stuff started on Saturday when I felt extremely tired and just wanted to crawl into a hole. A nap helped here but my eye was still sore. However, it was getting much better until I woke up this a.m. Now it seems to be somewhat better again but I made an appointment with my optometrist for this afternoon and hope all that will be needed is some anti-biotic eye drops. Because of my compromised immune system and digestive-gastro medical condition, I can’t take oral anti-biotics.

And the weird one. Last evening when watching TV, the screen suddenly went to that black and white snow static. I figured it was the digital cable adapter – the cable company had already been in a couple of months ago to fix some worn-out cables. But the TV came back a few minutes later and provided it doesn’t occur again I can only conclude it was something at “their” end.

I think I mentioned in previous posts that these are negative destructive curses – not positive challenges. Had quite a discussion with a friend who believes even the bad things happening are challenges. She says that if I got very sick I wouldn’t make it with my attitude. Not quite. Just because I see something as a negative destructive curse doesn’t mean I just sit back, moan and let it destroy me. No. The bottom line for me is when a challenge or a curse arrives inside my doorstep, the problem or challenge has to be solved – either by me or experts – and the sooner the better. But it is all very scary when you have to go it alone.

However, except for the Sears guys for the blinds installations (one even sent me a thank you note. Very good and heart-warming), some help from some friends and family, and (grudgingly said here) even the incompetent new handyman for doing a few things right (fixing air conditioner – so far – and the eavestrough and tree branch stuff), it’s me I have to depend on.

So I reserve my right to be cranky. And when all these off and on rainstorms/thunderstorms are done for a bit, I will get back out in the garden and yank more weeds. Guess whose names will be invisibly on the weeds?

That is if I can – Bell Canada is doing conduit work underground at the end of the property – if I’m lucky it will only be part of the driveway and not part of my rose garden at the end of my property by the driveway (see photo at top) . I’m still waiting to hear back from my city councillor’s office on that situation. Meantime, I have been slowly cutting back the overhanging rose bush branches so the “conduit” workers can do their job – as long as they stay out of the garden.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aloneness, Family and Friends, Gardening, Health, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Only child, Problems, Stress