Tag Archives: rain barrel

Only Child deals with multiple snafus

Only Child down from running in circles

Only Child rests after running in circles

I’ve been running in circles today. Not only too much to do, but too many snafus to deal with at the same time. The worst part may be they are caused by others. Bad enough dealing with your own mistakes. And that’s why I’m late with this blog post. At least I made the day in posting.

Not going into a big long rundown of them all – but just for a taste here’s the really stupid one. There ought to be a string of jokes about bad banking deeds. Or maybe there is. The latest one to happen is on Friday I withdrew $30 from the bank – my bank, but not my branch. The teller gave me $30 cash but took it off my account twice. Sorting it out isn’t simple. When I caught it early Friday evening online back home, the bank branch was closed, so I had to call the main bank line for all branches. Nothing could be done because that branch is closed weekends but I got the Customer Services supervisor’s name and phone number plus the person from the main bank line said she was sending the info to that person now.

Yeah right. Not according to the Customer Service Super when I called her Monday morning. The latter might just be covering her ass because she hadn’t checked yet. So, once more I launched into my spiel and she said she would investigate and get back to me no later than Wednesday morning.

Today it was telephone tag. Her first call to me went into voice mail because I was outside dealing with a more serious snafu. “Snafu” may be a misnomer as this was some of the damage caused by God’s winter weather. Mike, my handyman and I were outside looking at and talking about the downspout and rain barrel damage and what he needs to do and cost. “One snafu at a time,” I said to Mike when I heard the phone inside ring.

Outcome (after several telephone tags with me stating when I was going out and not being listened to) was an apology from the bank’s customer service manager and the money has been credited to my account. Of course when I asked how the double posting could happen I got the loop answer. Maybe it was only $30 but going into May I have multi-bills to pay – all the utilities (some aren’t monthly) AND property taxes. At least Mike is understanding – I think he kept his work cost down and he agreed to let me come to the hardware store(s) with him so I can pay for the supplies with a credit card. The latter won’t need paying until June when the two extra utilities and property taxes don’t have bills.

The scary thing here is the cost for this property repair will probably be within ten or twenty dollars of the two utility bills and property taxes combined.

But the damage outside can’t wait until June. I hope all the stuff that needs repairs inside can wait until June.

I know. I need to go sit outside in my garden to relax. Wait a minute. Out front is the damaged juniper thanks to God’s extreme weather the past two winters. Out back is the rain barrel etc. stuff.

But Mike is coming Monday morning to fix the damage in the back – if it doesn’t rain then. I won’t be holding my breath.

I’m still going to sit outside and do some gardening. Maybe not this evening. Because this evening…

Nancy Bullis is interviewing me on Howl about my new mystery novel Beyond Blood at 10 p.m. this evening (April 28) on the University of Toronto radio station CIUT 89.5 FM. Don’t know if it is live-streamed online but you can check their website at http://www.ciut.fm/listen-now/

Howl is right. That’s what I feel like doing over all the snafus.

And I’ve only covered the surface of them.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Bank service, Banking, Beyond Blood, Garden Destruction, God, Life demands, Money, Problems, Snafus

Only Child gets gardening finally

00240021Over the weekend we had lovely spring – almost summer – weather and I finally got out in my garden on Sunday. I cleaned off the patio table (bird shit – but at least it means the birds are back), brought out the rakes to the backyard. Took a side trip to the local gardening centre a few blocks away and bought some pansies. Some I repotted and all were set outside – on the patio picnic table, on an old baby’s porcelain bathtub I use to hold plants and on a couple of stands on the front veranda. Brought out a folding chair for the front. Even spent a bit of time sitting there reading and drinking some wine. And eating my meals out on the patio.

The garden is coming to life with tulip plants, irises, peonies, sedum, lamb’s ears, hyacinths, day lillies (the plants, no flowers yet), some onions that didn’t come up last year, chives, and my big surprise – a mum plant sending up new shoots. Usually these mum plants don’t do this – at least not the big ones I buy in the fall, even though they are supposed to.

The photo at the top is not from this year’s garden. It is what my garden and I aspire to. When there are some actual flowers, I’ll take photos and post.

So I got busy raking the grass and cutting off last season’s dead branches from the perennials. Lots to do here, but I am taking it gradually as it is too soon to plant anything new, although when I was growing up in the 1950s, Mom and Dad were out turning the soil and planting seeds – in April.

I am also assessing the damage done by God’s winter weather and what I need done – who will do it – and what I can afford to do. I have put it out there for all this to be fixed and where necessary for the money needed to do so to come to me.

I firmly believer that whoever causes damage must repair it, or at the very least, provide the tools (people, money, etc.) to do so.

But for now I will enjoy being out in my garden.

And doing a search for a new rain barrel. The old one and its setup unfortunately have to be replaced, “unfortunately” because it will cost me money.

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

2 Comments

Filed under Gardening, God, Home and Garden, Only child, Tulips

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

Leave a comment

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

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

Leave a comment

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