Saturday, 6 July 2013

An Eventful Day....

Today was the day of visitors and heat!

Ruth and Debbie drove out and visited us on their way (sort of) to the Sterling Ren Fest. THey were kindly bringing us a countertop that they no longer needed and that I hope to be able to use in my workshop/studio/office.

That was ok, They came, they saw (Deb's first time seeing our place) and they went (off to the renfest!). After that Mark and I pretty much got down to working on our own projects etc. UNTIL.....


That didn't sound good! Was Mark using some kind of powertool upstairs? (OR was it, like I suspected, something going on with the sump pump in the  basement??)

I listened again just incase it was Mark---but alas, no. So I banged on the bottom of the staircase (the only way I can get him to hear me if he's listening to his music loudly) and tell him there's a bad noise.

This, as usual is greeted with the less than happy reception I'd like.

"Does everything have to be drama?!" Um, no. I just like to report the problems as sooooon as I find them, you know? I'm sorry it cuts into whatever you were up to....

So I say nevermind, I'll go check out the deal in the basement (which of course means that Mark has to hurry down the stairs to try to get there before me. What is that about???)

So we get down there and while we're down there Mark smacks his head on one of the beams, and then on the heating ducting. Great. So now he's super pissed off, and he goes back upstairs to get his tools (and I tell him to bring the flashlight battery while he's up there because the one I had was going dim).

While he's gone I keep hearing a noise that ...doesn't belong in the basement.
What do I find?

A baby (ok, at least not fully grown) groundhog!  It was huddled under the wooden stairway and looking all miserable.  I'm thinking....hmm. How am I going to get that out of the basement?

Mark comes back downstairs and is still (understandably) grumpy about whacking his head twice. I tell him it's not all there is and point out the baby (pre-teen) groundhog. He makes a disgruntled noise and says its the least of our problems right now.

We turn back to the sump pump which we pour some water out of a handy bucket....and it replicates that freaky noise and we think we see wisps of smoke coming out of it. Maybe.
Not a good sign. And the basement is still flowing with water (and that's without any rain today!)

Mark looks at the towel he has nearby and says something about the groundhog. I mention I have a plan....does he want to hear it? He does. We agree on it and I go back ot my office/workshop and  dump out my fabric from the orange plastic sterilite container (you know one of the big deep ones people tend to store holiday crap in?) and the lid, and a spare box.

The plan is one of us stands at the bottom of the stairs and holds the container and the other tries to herd the groundhoglet into the container and swop the lid on before it can escape.
Not the most complicated of plans, but I'm glad to say it worked! :D

We released it into the grass near the maple tree and it bolted off into the underbrush. Betcha that one isn't likely to make a return trip (or fall) into the basement! (I thing it fell into the basement through the open window under the porch/crawlspace. Mark thinks it crawled down the open basement steps sometime this last week. I'm pretty sure I'm right though! :P

Anyway back to the Sump Pump of Noisiness!

Mark figures out how to take the thing out, and is going to clean it.
My job is to keep bailing the sump pump bucket (in the basement floor) to try to keep the basement from flooding (which it _will_ do very well once the thing is off). I realize I am going to need more than the bucket I have and run upstairs (the long way) and collect the buckets and also a cup to use to bail the hole---since it was dark and I wasn't too sure if I'd fit a whole bucket in it.

Got back in time to find that the hole/in-ground cement holding area was now overflowing onto the floor of the basement (not really a huuuuge deal since it's so wet is has a stream running through it right now) but it was still enough to get me freaking and hurrying to fill up buckets.

kept filling and refilling and filling and refilling. I'd do that and haul them to the top of the stairs and give them to mark who'd wait til I had a couple then empty them and I'd be doing more filling. You know, I think those 1 dollar a piece buckets were a great find!??! I may have bought them to use as cheap flower pots but I am really glad that I never got around to drilling holes in the bottoms of them! :D

Ok so I kept bailing and mark was giving the Sump Pump of Noisiness a go over. He cleaned it up and suggested that we should find a spare just in case this one packs it in. So we will. He cleaned it as best he could, got a LOT of gunk out of it and got it back installed.

I'm happy to report that it is still running, now making normal (for it) noises.
And the groundhog is probably tucked in for the night (and eating!) I'm happy it's out of the basement. I don't think the Quirky House wanted it to die there. You know?

Friday, 5 July 2013

Winter is Coming... (no, I'm not quoting Game of Thrones!)

So even with the super hot weather we're having, I know Winter is coming.
It's July, then after that August and then....September--Frosty September. And Freezing cold October...and onward into the winter again!

What does that mean>>> Why am I spending part of my summer fretting about it?
It means we need to prepare more --and better --than we did last September/Winter since we moved in. I DO NOT want frostbitten toes again, nor do I want to HAVE to wear 7+ wool sweaters at the same time to stay functional inside the house.

Since the winter (actually, before we ever bought a house) we have been discussing getting a woodburning stove so that we have some alternative heat options 1) if the power goes out (and our furnace) and 2) wood & wood blocks are still cheaper per season than buying a tank and a half of oil (which we're talking 1600$ if we only kept it to 45 degrees in the house). So yea.

We finally got around to sourcing some local fireplace people and after some trial and error (and realizing who has the willingness to actually BE in the office when you make an appointment) we got a guy/business who's going to install a woodburning stove for us. We've picked out a model--neither of us are in love with it, but 1)it's on sale for 500.00 off the regular price, and 2) we can always upgrade to a different one down the line--so looks aren't as important as function in this case.

So I hear what you're thinking: "Great! How's it look? When is it getting installed?"
Ah. There's the rub!

We have to get the majority of the living-room renovations done before we can have him install it for us (since having it installed and then trying to tackle taking down the ceiling, and doing the walls and crap would surely be a recipe for disaster and possibly a damaged stove!).

It's hot.
It's muggy.
We're both irritated and frustrated and more than a little grouchy.

We have to go shopping at lowes and buy a lot of crap which is going to be heavy and just going to = more grouchy interactions. (I'm not a professional "chippy" and I don't understand instinctively how to move large pieces of wood, sheetrock or other crap)

Anyway, I'm sure this too will pass and although Winter is coming I hope we'll be warmer this time around!