I've been a bit quiet for a few days because along with disaproving of the vast quantity of my possessions the nice realtor lady thought that I ought to get a structural engineer to look at the crack in one of my retaining walls, my house is built into a hill, more about that in a jiffy, and the earthquake back in August 2011 may have cracked the wall the wrong way. That's a horizontal crack for those of you who haven't had cracks, the vertical ones are relatively harmless I have now learned.
I called the insurance company first... They have dealt with me for a few claims, Katrina and assorted other hurricanes so we know the drill, but no, the policy doesn't cover earthquakes, and if it did there would be an endorsement, the deductible would be 10% of the value of the property. Did I want to talk to the policy writers? Well, no, I didn't just right then as I'm going to need every dime to fix my new problem, and PS, I'll let you know when it's fixed because the house isn't worth quite as much right now, especially if the up-the-hill neighbors (not my faves at the best of times, the wife has spoken to me exactly once in over seven years, and that at the behest of the husband, "Say hello to Anne, M.!" "Hello, Anne") slide into my basement and take up residence making this a multifamily dwelling.
So I called the Structural Engineer while waiting for the car to be serviced, he came right over, turns out he graduated from engineering school the year after I was born, and I'm not young at all, but by golly did he know his stuff. I need serious structural repairs, using special vertical fibre glass somethings that need special folks to attach them, and I better get them in here fast, because if it rains... And not to worry about the vertical cracks, I just need those pointed up, and no it wasn't the earthquake, the crack was probably here when I bought the house, the prior realtor lady should have pointed them out to me before I bought the house. And after all that my house will be just fine, no reason to sell it, I should just live here, there will be a warrantee on the work for five years. He'll send me a letter and that'll be $425 and he'll take a cheque. And the letter cam two days later.
So now I'm waiting for the special folk to call me back, but they are at a seminar, hopefully learning exactly how to attach the fibre glass somethings tightly to walls so they won't ever fall down. Even if the homeowners bang their heads against them repeatedly while they scream...
My first thought was: Is this a good time to sit down and have a good cry? And then came my usual response which is that the purpose of a good cry seems to be to get someone to come and comfort one, and usually help one out with the problem. Neither of those things are going to happen so I find that a good cry isn't a very effective thing for me and really wastes a lot of time, gets me unduly distraught, and actually points up the sad fact that there isn't anyone who is coming to either comfort me, or to help out. Which in itself is reason enough to cry if that is one's thing.
I was broken of crying by my mother before I was out of my crib. She did not respond to crying so at bedtime I was left until I cried until I vomited, then she came and cleaned up the vomit, railed at me, and then gave me a sedative, making me probably one of the few healthy under-twos who was routinely given a sleep aid.Why she never just cut out the crying and vomiting, and gave me the sleep aid I don't know, and I do know that on the rare occasions my father was home from the hospital, she did not dare do it. Yes, he was a doctor, and she was a nurse, and I have this information from my sister who was over ten at this time. By the time he had died, and she had remarried and had my younger sister, I do remember she was giving my newborn sister Martell brandy in her night bottle every night, and laughing that she had consumed an entire fifth in the first month. Younger sister M. wasn't left to cry, one of us would have picked her up anyway. Happy childhoods...
Back to crying though, it really isn't my thing in these sort of situations but sometimes I do wish I had a stress reliever. After I was diagnosed with breast cancer I did have a crying jag, snot fest every night at 9pm for about 30 minutes every night, but it was absolutely uncontrollable and violent, like a gigantic tsunami of catharsis every night. I was working at the time and I think it was my way of making sure that I didn't breakdown with patients or in the clinic or the hospital at work, and that I remained functional while going through treatment, silly fool that I am. I should have been staying home, resting, but the take care of yourself gene seems to be missing, so I have explosive snot fests and carry on. All part of the British stiff upper lip with which I am cursed. Not that I can't do a good bit of whining and moaning to my friends, but I do get it together and carry on a treat at work.
Unfortunately I don't drink anymore, alcohol is not the friend of the woman with breast cancer, especially if she is unable to take any of the adjuvant chemo medications that one customarily takes for at least 5 years after the major treatment is completed. Oh yes, I am that lucky, I can't tolerate them, they screwed up my vision so I can't use an ophthalmoscope and I have wicked floaters, and my joints will never be the same. Don't let me start on that riff today.
So no alcohol, and the effing house can't be put on the market or refinanced because it is trying to fall down or become a multifamily dwelling. Deep breath... Cuddles with the dogs and see what else can be done around the effing house. I do wish I could cry though some days, I think it might help.
As for the hill, there are two houses further up the hill than mine, and a steep bank right outside my side door opening into the hill by the neighbors' house. It has been pretty dry in Richmond for a few years, which has apparently been working in my favor, but we have been having a lot of rain recently. While I don't see moisture in the crack, I do check it every night when I come in. It really is going to be a comedy if the hill falls into my house, and M. finds another reason to hate me. I don't know the first one, we moved in the same day, and she has scowled at me from day one, but at least I will know the last one if the wall fails.
The most upsetting slash annoying thing about all this is waiting to see how many dollars, that I don't have, is this going to cost me to put the house back to where it should have been, when it didn't have a crack. Which may have been before I ever bought it. Note to self, if you are ever foolish enough to buy another house, spend the money for a structural engineer to evaluate the house before you do anything else like make an offer. I think living in New Orleans for all those years weakened my brain, living in a swamp, the idea of any house having true structural integrity is ludicrous, and so one never really expects to find it. Mudjack a house today, you may find yourself mudjacking several years from now. And I don't mean you mudjack it, you hire people to mudjack the house for you, but drought, flooding, subsidence, sinkholes and shit happen in New Orleans. And no one gets too excited, but I'm here to tell you M. is going to be seriously pissed if that hill slips into my house, and I know she's goin to blame me. I jus' know it...
About Anne Lynn
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