Tag Archives: Learning from Experience

Only Child says 2014 is another 2013

Outside of Only Child's home in summer - a far cry from this winter and the mess coming from outside to inside.

Outside of Only Child’s home in summer – a far cry from this winter and the mess coming from outside to inside.

This year is not any better than 2014. Despite all my positive attitude and some hope with work and finances in January, I guess I read it wrong. I should remember that hope is a four-letter word.

The straw that broke my back was the quick winter thaw with all the rain. You guessed it. Water poured into my basement – in two areas of my rec room.

The “new” area is the corner and part of the adjacent walls where on the outside the downspout and rain barrel sit outside on my backyard patio. In  the fall, I took proper preventative measures – had the eavestroughs checked and cleaned out, drained the rain barrel, and closed that fork of the downspout entering the rain barrel so water wouldn’t get in and do the expand/contract with the weather nonsense. I left the bottom hose (which is used for watering plants in the summer) extended out – just in case. Put in place a few years ago was an extended downspout so water would drain away from the house and into the garden. I periodically checked this throughout this winter. Too many cold spells caused water in the eavestrough and downspouts to freeze – including big icicles hanging from the eavestrough and the downspout before the extended part, and a big wad of ice at least three inches deep on the pavement at the corner which defied any salt poured on it. I knocked off what ice I could.

Then old man winter (read God) struck. The slow thaw start caused some of this eavestrough ice to thaw – but not inside the downspout. You guessed it – the water sneaked through the rain barrel closing and started flowing in there. Oh well, the bottom hose would drain it. Right?

Wrong. The bottom hose was so hard from the extremely cold weather it broke. I grabbed a downspout extension not being used from the front and had my next door neighbour manoeuvre it into shape so now the rain barrel downspout extended away from the house.

Then the rain came – more thawing of all the ice mess with water landing in my basement. That one is on God.

Not the other sometimes re-occurring water leak on the far side of the house. Well, maybe God for letting it happen (and not just to my place – to many others in Toronto and I am well aware of the flooding mess in southern England). But this water intrusion is mainly on the back of Nigel Appelwaite, the excavation fellow who messed up in April 2011. He didn’t dig far enough down. Despite the written agreement and list of what he would do (which stated he would dig down to the weeping tiles), he dug only four feet. I remember him saying, as he started to dig, that was as far as he needed to go to take care of the current leaks. Unfortunately I wasn’t very knowledgeable in these things, and I trusted the guy, so…

Trust is the big word here. I need to continue learning not to trust – or to trust very few people and to trust myself first and foremost. I notice I am much more suspicious than I used to be – blame it on being a former journalist, age, and experience. It’s the last I must factor in more.

I have blogged about this leak and Nigel last year – as that’s when the first of the leaks after the big excavation occurred– when the rain and wind blows in hard from the east – water pours into the basement – either that corner of the laundry room (not last Thursday night into Friday) and/or the other corner side and under the window in the rec room. That’s where Nigel supposedly “fixed” it.

Of course I called him Friday – but he never showed up as he said he would.

Friday I spent in a panic, filled with anger and fear, literally mopping up and phoning around for friends to help. Elinor down the street took a look and suggested a twist mop and pail set like the school caretakers use and wrote down exactly what. Tanya drove me to Canadian Tire to get the mop set and a Shop-Vac on sale and then to Value Village to get more thick towels. My boarder helped me set up the Shop-Vac (I figured out the mop setup) and Paul down the street showed me how to use the Shop-Vac properly so it actually did the job. I alternated using the mop and Shop-Vac – some areas worked better with the mop and some with the Shop-Vac.

I am grateful for all their help.

So what does all the above tell me? Once you’ve had water in the basement you never get over it. It teaches you to live in fear.There are a few I can trust to help in a panic situation. But those trustworthy people are not God or Nigel.

Now I will have to get another excavation done by someone who can do a proper job. I am canvassing friends who have had basement waterproofing done to their satisfaction. But the price is high. Even with my ex-husband paying half (which he say he will), it will probably clean me out of whatever little savings I have and was slowly adding to. I was even managing to pay down my line of credit.

Well, I guess it’s tin-can-on-the-street time. Lottery ticket purchase time.

And making those responsible pay.

Nigel better watch out. I will talk to my lawyer friend about options. Realistically Nigel should pay 100 per cent for whatever needs to be done by whomever to remedy his mess-up plus a few thousand extra from my pain and suffering. I am also brainstorming what to do that is legal. Meantime, I make sure everyone knows not to hire Nigel.

That latter is what I have been practicing when some so-called professional screws up. I just did it again when my friend Carol was talking about needing a new roof. The company (Extreme Roofing in Ajax, Ontario) I hired in 2009 did a good job in putting up the new roof – and I make sure I say that – but the owner messed up in the assessment – didn’t notice there were three (not two) old shingle layers – the work crew foreman did – so I got charged an extra $800.  My ex and I shouldn’t have paid it but I was afraid if I didn’t agree they wouldn’t replace the roof.

Putting it out there for things to be okay just doesn’t cut it for me. I should remember the four letter words – besides damn and hell, there are snow, rain, and pray.

Now I really want to go back to the 1950s and 1960s – my Mom and Dad never had basement and eavestrough problems like this. But the weather was different then.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Consumer action, Floods, God, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child’s new look fosters new attitude

Only Child and son, Martin. Same photo as on my first blog post

Only Child and son, Martin. Same photo as on my first blog post

In case you didn’t notice before, Only Child Writes has a new design and logo. It wasn’t planned.

Last Thursday my blog header logo disappeared from my blog. Instead I was staring at white space at the top of every post – but the posts were all there. On my dashboard it was a different story – the specifics for this design were there but even when I tried to restore the header, it just wouldn’t connect to the actual blog.

Was this somehow connected to what’s going on in my life?

First the technicalities: After checking out WordPress’s “Help and Support” under Headers, I found that none of the possibilities listed was the cause. So I filled in the Support form and sent it through cyberspace. I received one of those “flying through cyberspace” emails back – so I know it arrived. Two days later I had heard nothing, so emailed my son for help and he said he would take a look at it.

Here’s where it gets interesting almost to the point of serendipity – I heard back from someone at WordPress. She attached a screenshot of what she could see at her end and it showed the original blue-coloured header. She asked if that was what I saw at my end. So I checked the blog site and found a completely different header and blog design for OnlyChildWrites.

I also found an email from my son, Martin.

Martin had taken a look – he couldn’t see the header on the post either. So, he set me up with a new design, emailing me about this plus instructions to change it if I didn’t like it.

I love it and emailed him back with thanks. Also emailed the WordPress support lady and thanked her but added my son had just changed the design and he figured the flaw was something at their end for the original design.

Going by the email times, it looks like WordPress took the screen shot about an hour before Martin made the changes.

Sometimes a change is for the better, especially when it comes serendipitously. Which got me thinking about life. Over the years, going way back to growing up an only child, I’ve learned to, well learn from my experiences. Past occurrences tell me how to approach new ones. Sometimes I’ve made exceptions, mainly in my writing, gardening and reading, but sometimes with friends and relationships with men. Often when I have done the latter, I’ve had the rug pulled from underneath me. Those of you who have been following this blog, will see a few posts that touch on this topic in some way.

Maybe I need to trust in serendipity more. The key word is “trust.” A former boyfriend once said, “Life is unfair,” and he is right. But life is also supposed to be a combination of good and bad, but when the bad seems to override the good in numbers, well…

It’s a dilemma. Somehow there must be a way to be wary and trusting.

Anyone have any answers here?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Bloggimg, Family, Help and Support, Learning Experience, Life demands, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Trust