Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fixing A Hole Where The Rain Gets In

So, I've finally had the new roofer out to take a look at things. According to him, the reason why I'm getting leaks is obvious enough: basically, the roof was installed with a lot of corner-cutting and does not have the flashing it needs. (In fact, he says, the only reason I'm not getting a lot more leaks is because they installed the new pro panel roof over the existing shingles, which are still providing some protection.) Under other circumstances, I'd be a lot warier of "Oops, you don't need a small repair, you need something major installed!" as a verdict, but this, sad to say, is honestly about what I was expecting. Plus, they'd warranty the new work for another ten years, and, just based on a side-by-side comparison of the customer service levels I've seen so far, they seem infinitely more likely to actually make good than the original roofers, whose idea of fixing things appears to be solely limited to applying one more layer of caulk every time they come out. Not to mention the novel concept of actually communicating with me.

And in return, they want... Well, pretty much exactly every penny I could realistically scrape together right now without going too much deeper into debt. Sigh. But if it means I can fix this problem once and for all, and never have to deal with the other guys again, it's probably worth it.

Friday, September 19, 2014


It be Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrrr! I be needin' the distraction.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Am At War With The Ants, And My Potential Allies Suck.

Oh, my god, how annoying is my life right now? Because on top of the leaky roof, there's also the ants. Let me tell you the saga of the ants!

Apparently the damned things built a nest right under my concrete slab floor and were coming up through tiny cracks in the floor and between the tiles. I know they were nesting there, because they built a damned anthill in my floor. This is the stuff of nightmares. As in, I have had actual nightmares about this exact thing. *shiver*

So, OK, I kept my cool. I put down baits for them. So many baits. Baits of every description, to tempt any self-respecting ant. I put them under an inverted plastic tub to keep the cats out, which is good, because some of them were liquid baits, and they leaked, and it was pretty freaking toxic under there. The ants, however, did not seem particularly interested. They would wander around and into the baits, but not form the usual tidy ant-lines to haul the yummy poison away. Still, I hoped they were carting the stuff home and dying from it. And, eventually, after a couple of weeks, I stopped seeing so many ants. There were one or two, but I was hoping they were stragglers. So I cleaned up the toxic sludge, and I cleaned up the dirt the ants had carted up, and I sprayed around the inside of my house to keep the ants from coming back, and I sprayed around the outside of my house to keep the ants from coming back, and I sprayed the area where they were coming up, and I saw some dead ants there a few days later, but I was optimistic.

But... Nope. They found another teeny-tiny hole, and they are building another nest. I saw it when I got home from work today. Eeeeeeek!

Clearly it was time to give up and call the professionals. So I called Orkin. They're a big, reputable national company, right? I called them and they were ever so solicitous as they went about taking my credit card info and making me an initial appointment and signing me up for a bi-monthly extermination service (which, frankly, did not seem like a bad idea), and they told me they could have someone out tomorrow. Which surprised me, but, hey, awesome! So I made an appointment. And they I realized, wait, you idiot, you have to be at work at that time tomorrow. And then I played a lot of phone tag with them trying to change the appointment, and finally ended up making arrangements for someone else to cover for me at work so I wouldn't have to change it, after all.

Then, just after all that, I get a call from the exterminator himself. The conversation (shortened and paraphrased) went something like this:

Me: Oh, hi! You're probably calling to reschedule my appointment. Sorry for the confusion about that! Tomorrow will be fine, after all.

Him: Um, yeah here's the thing. I can't come out tomorrow. I'm not going to be down in Socorro until the 24th and 25th. The person who told you someone would be out tomorrow? Yeah, she's in Atlanta; they don't know how far Socorro is from Albuquerque. I travel around the whole state and only get out there a couple of days a month.

(Which, note, is not in itself a problem. NM is a big, sparsely populated state. Waiting for the person to make it down to your area is often how things go, and I wasn't actually expecting someone to be able to make it out right away. What is a problem is being chirpily lied to about it by someone who clearly doesn't have the information she ought to have. Knowing whether the time and day you're making an appointment for is even available seems like pretty fundamental customer service. Don't you think?)

Me: Oh. Well... This... is not filling me with confidence. But all right. We can do it then. Only I have to leave for work by about 3:30 that week, so it has to be earlier in the day.

Him: Um. Well, actually, I'm booked up all day, and I usually try to work in new customers at the end of the day, but if you're working nights... Well. Huh. Well... I'll call you before then. I'll try to shuffle things around. Maybe someone will cancel.

Me: As long as you're sure you can make it that day.

Him: Well, I am definitely making it to Socorro that day. Maybe someone will cancel.

Me: Wow is this unprofessional. I think I should reconsider my choice of exterminators.

So, um, yeah. I haven't officially cancelled with Orkin just yet, but I think I'm gonna call a local exterminator tomorrow. And then see if I can get Orkin to take me the hell out of their system. The guy swore up and down I wouldn't be charged if I told him not to come, but I fear there may be a distinctly Comcast-like snag-the-customer-and-don't-let-them-go vibe here.

Moral of the story: if you live in a rural area, Orkin's clearly a good company to avoid. Which is good to know, I guess. But... Sigh. I just want to live like a human being: dry and bug-free. Why is that so difficult?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Come Again Some Other Day! Preferably After My Roof Is Fixed.

What is this giant blob of green hovering over my state, and why is it not moving? Seriously, I know I live in the desert and we're never supposed to turn our noses up at free sky-water, but for right now, I think we're good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sources of Stress

Aargh, there are way too many sources of stress (not to mention expense) in my life right now.

First, there's the cat. A couple of weeks ago, Nova took a giant pee on the bathroom floor, right in front of me. Which is unheard of for him. Fearing it was a symptom of some urinary or kidney problem, I took him into the vet, where they did a bunch of expensive tests and said he seemed all right but had a slightly elevated white blood cell count in his urine, so there might be a touch of infection. They gave him an antibiotic shot, which wasn't quite the antibiotic they wanted to use, but I was worried about being able to get pills or liquid into him, because he can be... difficult. I brought him back in for a follow-up last week, and apparently his bladder actually looked worse, with crystals in the urine and still a higher-than-normal white cell count. So I had to give him pills, anyway. Also, new prescription food. Then, last weekend, he started throwing up all over the place and barely eating. So I took him back in first thing Monday morning. At which point, of course, he suddenly appeared to be absolutely fine. The vet figured his tummy probably didn't like those antibiotics, plus he was throwing up giant hairballs, so they gave me still different (and even more inconvenient) antibiotics, plus hairball medicine. Right now he's sitting here looking all innocent, happy, and fine, but who knows what's actually going on with him? I'm not even 100% convinced the peeing incident had anything to do with his urinary tract at all. I think, at 15, he may be going a little kitty senile. Sigh. Cats. I never asked for any cats, you know. Never.

And then there's the roof. Damned thing has been leaking off and on pretty much since I moved in here. I keep calling the roofers who installed it, and they keep coming by and doing things to it and swearing that this time it's fixed (probably), and it keeps coming back. Now it's also leaking in a new spot, and worse. I finally called some different roofers. They're supposed to come out to look at it and give me an estimate tomorrow. We'll see what they have to say. And, of course, the forecast says it's supposed to rain here pretty much all week.

Also, I have ants nesting under my floor. Or had. I'm not sure if I've managed to finally kill the damned things or not.

Basically, being an adult sucks. Even if it does mean I can eat pizza for breakfast and cereal for dinner whenever I want, some days, I really do not think it's worth it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September Currentlies

Current clothes: Dark gray sweats. My Star Trek:TOS t-shirt with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy that says "Beam me the hell outta here!" (Really, I should have worn this one a couple of days ago for Star Trek's birthday, but oh, well.)

Current mood: Kinda tired.

Current music: Nothing, really. But I'm finally getting close to caught up on my zillion-hour backlog of podcasts.

Current annoyance: Apparently Nova has crystals in his urine. So now he needs to eat special food for six weeks, and I have to figure out how to get an antibiotic pill into him once a day. Fun!

Current thing: My current thing was meant to be getting some major projects done around the house during my days off this week, but after much productive activity yesterday, I am now feeling tired, and the muscles in my back hurt a little. So I'm thinking maybe today may be less about climbing up on the ladder and cleaning the gutters, and more about lying on the couch with a book.

Current desktop picture: Still this. I may never get tired of it.

Current book: Biting the Sun by Tanith Lee.

Current song in head: Random snatches of some oldie that was playing in the Denny's when I was there eating pancakes a little while ago. I had such a craving for pancakes this morning.

Current refreshment: Just water, at the moment.

Current DVD in player: Disc 4 of season 2 of Elementary. I feel like I should have a lot to say about this show, but I don't, really. Well, I will say that I like the characters, and that the interpretation is different enough from Sherlock's, in interesting enough ways, that I definitely do think there's room enough in the world for both of them. Which is something I wasn't at all sure about when I started. My interest in the mystery-of-the-week plots is extremely variable, however, and it's not really a show I want to watch more than one episode of at a time.

Current worry: I am still only allowed to indulge myself in worrying at specific, designated times, for the sake of my sanity. Although I've been busy enough the last few days that I haven't really had the mental energy for worrying too much, anyway, which is no doubt a good thing.

Current thought: Despite the appeal of that "lie on the couch and read" plan, I still have a whole bunch of little things I need to get done today, even if I'm not doing any big things. Sigh.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Books: They Find Me Across Time And Space

A conversation I had yesterday:

My cell phone rang. On the other end, a friend of mine said, "I'm at Costco, and they have three books here you might like. So I wanted to ask: Do you already have them, and do you want them?"

Turns out it was three Doctor Who-related books, none of which I was familiar with. So I looked them up. Two of them seemed pretty cool, and Costco (of which I am not a member) was selling them cheaper than Amazon. So, "OK, sure," I said. "Pick them up for me, and I'll pay you back for 'em next time I see you."

My first thought after this was, geez, and people wonder why I have this too-many-books problem. I am surrounded by enablers! I am impulse purchasing books over the phone now!

My second, much belated but infinitely stranger thought was that I never would have imagined I'd live to see the day when Who was popular enough with mainstream American audiences that they'd start selling books about it at Costco.