Last night I wrote a very long drama filled daylog that I'm choosing not to post. Today I had my step-dad come over to go through the house with me so I could get a better idea of what he thought needed to be done, what of these projects I can do myself, and what I'm going to have to ask my ex about or just live and deal with during my stay here. First of all I'm feeling bad that I was ever critical of him since I'm so grateful that he was willing to drive all the way out here and go through some of the grossest parts of my house with me. We walked around the exterior where I found I have mold growing on the aluminum siding. How could I not notice this earlier? It's very fine, I don't have a lot in any particular spot, I almost never go on that side of the house, and if you look at it from a distance, and even pretty close it appears to be regular dirt.
I need to remove the leaves from the window wells and buy some plastic covers. That I can do myself and hopefully that won't be terribly expensive. My ex replaced two of the basement windows which leaves two to be done. Leaves fall in the space and can mat down, moisture like rain or melting snow can pool on top and water can leak into your basement through your windows if you don't address this issue so that's something I'm going to be doing and probably paying for as well. I can ask if he'll reimburse me, if he won't, at least I hopefully won't have to deal with water in my basement if the windows leak. I can buy this can of expanding foam and go around and shoot it up into the spaces where mice can enter. Basically my house is one giant invitation to any mouse or even larger mammals such as raccoons, squirrels, skunks, and groundhogs.
Beneath my sun porch is a thin wire mesh that wouldn't keep out anything that was determined to get in there. This is a big job that will cost considerable money so that's a project for my ex if he feels like addressing this issue. My guess is he won't, but maybe I'll get lucky and he'll realize that critters trapped beneath a sunporch can do a lot of damage and be costly to remove. We found more spots where mice are getting in, this foam project is going to be a time consuming one, but sealing these cracks should help deter future mice populations. The fan in my bathroom needs to be dusted. This is done by using a compresser and blowing air up into the squirrel cage. It's vented to the exterior which is a good sign. There's some air movement now, but not as much as there could be if the unit was cleaned. This is out of my league, but my mom's husband said he could come back out and do this for me.
Another thing he can do is fix the piece (I can't remember what he called it) under my sink that is dripping down to this other piece and corroding it. That should stop the rust from flaking off beneath my sink. I clean that routinely, but it keeps accumulating because something wasn't done right when the sink was installed. I know these are highly scientific terms and explanations, but I have faith that you're keeping up with my plumber talk. I don't have to worry about the brown spots on the ceiling. They're not soft and can be easily covered with a coat of paint. There's an exposed part that has glue and drywall paper up above my shower. I need to scrape the glue off, get down to the paper part, and then have someone go over that with drywall mud so it can be painted. Huge pain in the ass and time consuming, but not hard (I hope).
Caulk around the tub needs to be replaced. Relatively inexpensive project that I can get help with. Maybe I can beg my mom. I know she knows how to do this kind of thing. There was some unexpected good news when we inspected the crawl space. I can't relate the technical terms, but apart from a bazillion spider webs, the area was dry and there was no obvious evidence of mice or other rodents nesting in there. I have duct work that runs under there. It's a long run (I learned a lot about things I never knew about before) mice that get into that space can run along that duct work and easily get into my walls if they get into the crawl space, but it goes below the frost line and is insulated. I guess those are both good things for yours truly.
The worst news was about the roof. Every winter we get a dripping along a beam when it melts. Ice forms on the porch floor, sometimes you can see it, other times you can't. I once skidded on it and dropped the plastic crate that was holding glass jars of milk. The jars broke, the neighor's dog came over and shit on my porch while it lapped up spilled milk, and I'm sure you don't need a great deal of imagination to figure out that trying to clean up broken glass that shattered into snow, ice, and milk was neither fun, nor simple, not to mention the telltale smell sour milk that I had to deal with because it seemed no matter what I did I couldn't get all the milk out of that carpeting. I've since torn up the carpeting and now have a large mat that people use to wipe their feet.
I can't drink milk anymore, but having to deal with that, a screaming toddler, and a crying baby felt like one of those rites of passage every mother must experience at some point in her life. Apparently my roof is domed when it should be straight. We have an extremely long gutter run, no end cap, and converging streams of water that are probably contributing to this problem. It sounds like the only fix for this is tearing up the shingles where this is occurring and redoing the roof there. Wood in that beam is probably rotting, we could see where the boards that are covering it are pulling away from the deluge that it's forced to deal with, this will be a very time consuming and expensive repair, fortunately this is one of those things that I don't have to bother with although I have to watch for ice building up on the porch.
A more minor thing that I may be able to do myself is get the paint off the hardwood flooring in the bedrooms. I've scrubbed those floors numerous times using the cleaning products I had. There's a product I can get to see if that will remove the paint. All I can do is try it. I'd love to have the floors redone, but I'm guessing it's not his priority and the budget for this is zero. It makes me mad to think that my children have never lived in a home where projects were finished, not because molding and trim is a high priority, but because responsible adults do things like take care of their possessions. An unforeseen side effect of this investigation and research is that I am going to be much more qualified to inspect living spaces that I or my children may want to rent in the future.
For a fleeting moment I had an image of myself going to school to be a home inspector, I wouldn't make it through the first residence that had a cat so I set that pipe dream back up on my shelf of alternate occupations for a future self. We moved some pliometrics boxes my ex made, we're going to remove the wood that's down in the basement, take some things to Goodwill, and I'm going to get some mouse traps and start baiting them with peanut butter covered with Scotch tape. I learned that some mice are smart and quick enough to lick the peanut butter off without triggering the trap, but only about one in every fifty figures out the Scotch tape trick.
Tomorrow the girls are coming back home. I'm almost out of money this month which is bad, but I had some major car repairs I hadn't anticipated. I need a job. I talked to a neighbor of mine who is going to go back to school to be a nurse. I could do that, but I'm not feeling it. My neighbor said she didn't want to look back at today three or five years from now and regret not taking action sooner. Had I enrolled in the dental assistant program I could have had a job and that education by now. I'm not going to regret anything because I needed some time off, but I need a job and that's a field that interests me and it pays well. It's ten weeks of schooling, I can go on Saturdays, and potentially have a job in three months. There's always the possibility that I will hate it, but I may love it, or I may neither love nor hate it, but find that it's a job I can do for as long as it takes me to find something else.
I have to figure out a way to come up with money for tuitition. I have some stock I could sell, but I'd rather not do that for many reasons. I'm going to call my aunt and see if I can transfer the stock to her in exchange for the cash that I'll need. Fortunately it isn't a ton of money, but when you're living on a very limited income, every penny counts. Even if I work part time the money will help. My neighbor would rather be a nurse, good for her, but I think this is a quicker path for me that's much less expensive and shorter in terms of schooling. This is something I've wanted to do for years. Maybe this time I'll actually go through with it. I have to do something and this is a nine to five job where I'm not sitting at a desk.
While I could go back to shoes, footwear doesn't pay nearly as well, which is just another example of how dentistry markets itself well while podiatry does not. The number of footwear problems I see that could be alleviated or avoided entirely boggles the mind, but it's a sad fact that most people aren't coming to the shoe store for the kind of experience I'm offering. I was great at what I did when I did it, but I think it's time for something new. I could always get a part time job working nights or weekends at a shoe store. Ideally I'd like to work with a team or speak to people about the importance of footwear and give classes on how to find better shoes for active and busy people. But one thing at a time. I'm so happy I faced what I did. Now that I know what I'm up against I can start planning and strategizing. Hooray for asking for help when it's needed.