House


As some of my regulars (not that there is anything here regularly to regularly read of late) already know, the jolt family is moving. Rather than to some distant locale, we decided to say ‘fuck it’ to the perennially anxiety-inducing game of “will we make a lateral move to some other state this year” we’d been playing for the last six years and simply move to a better school district near here.   While we anticipated a six month to year long search for something “different”, we fell in love with the second place we looked at.  Which meant we’ve spent the last six weeks frantically prepping our current house to sell & putting it on the market.   My current house has never been this clean.  It helps that four-five nights of baseball and tball each week mean that we are never home to get it dirty. 

Upon seeing the new place, LB told me that when he gets married that mr. jolt and I will have to move because he plans to live there FOREVER.  Which I take as a vote of confidence.   He also said that he wants to make the speeches at the “grand opening”.  

Here is a snippet from the property – if you want more pictures, send me an email & I’ll send them to you.

I’ll probably continue to be a bad negligent  blogger for a few more weeks and then I should be able to post deep thoughts that I have drafted while looking at this view of the creek that runs behind the new place.  Have a great weekend everyone!

mr. jolt travels occasionally to conferences and the like.  Aside from the logistical impact of getting the boys from one place to another and, of course, missing him, this is not usually a big deal.  A few years ago, however, he went to a conference in Berlin.  He was away for a week, and in that week we had a waterfall in the kitchen* and a spontaneously combusting mulch fire in the backyard right outside the living room.  Following these minor, but alarming events, I advised mr. jolt that he was never allowed to leave the country again (at least, not without us).

 Forward two years, and this week mr. jolt is in England at a conference, missing the boys first week of school (and LB’s first day of kindergarten).  So this morning, while  getting the boys breakfast before their first day of school,  I was startled, but not wholly surprised when the toaster caught on fire.**

 And today’s the first day he’s been gone.  It may be a loooonnngg week.

 

 * The outflow hose from the washer, located on the second floor, came loose spraying several inches worth of water all over the laundry room and thus through the kitchen below.

** I unplugged it, blew it out, and put the toaster outside on the patio.

Every parent gets at least one minor adventure with plumbing — a golf ball or other object flushed down inappropriately.  BB and LB, however, have decided that such plebian plumbing pastimes do not fully express their appetite for destruction.

Initially, they explored the ordinary mis-flushing opportunities.  Not content with plugging up merely the toilet, they decided to go for the gold, to plug up the sump pump that moves the excresences of the basement toilet up to the street-level sewage line.  Not only did they manage to plug up the pump, they plugged it so bad that we had several inches of fetid sewagey water sitting in one unfinished corner of our basement.  Pleasant, no?  Many baby items I’d planned to pass onto expectant friends were fatally damaged in the deluge.  The bright side was that they didn’t actually break the sump pump so when we wrote the check to roto-rooter for $300 we felt happy it wasn’t $800.

For their next act, they struck during a brief lull in winter weather last year.  During a freezing few days, mr. jolt and I suddenly noticed a severe dip in our water pressure, particularly in our shower.*  We called the water company, which came to inspect, but couldn’t find the problem because the pipe leading into the house was buried in snow.  The next day, while picking up toys in the living room, I heard a faint gushing sound outside.  I glanced out the window and  saw that our outside faucet was on, full force.   Turns out that during the brief thaw, one of the boys turned on two of our outside spigots full force, which then spewed water for over 48 hours.  That months’ water bill: $300.  For February.

This evening, I was down in the basement looking for something** when water from our other sump pump, which pumps out ground water underneath the house,*** started spraying madly all over a corner of the basement, sending me shrieking upstairs.  I figured that maybe the end of the sump pump pipe, which merely pours the water out next to our back patio had frozen over.  I should have known better; it was not that simple.  One of the dynamic duo had placed a bucket under the end of the pipe so that over the course of several days as water was pumped up and froze, an entire bucket of water froze up over the end of the pipe.  The resulting pressure busted the pipe connections in the basement between the pump and the outflow pipe, resulting in my impromptu basement shower.  Do you know how many pitchers of steaming hot water it takes to melt a bucket of ice?  I do-yippee!   We’ve patched together pump and pipe with duct tape until a plumber can get here.

Stay tuned for future adventures in plumbing . . .

*Our shower on its best days is a tiny spigot in a too big space that never steams up.

**What I was looking for in the basement was something to repair other destruction in the house, which could easily be the subject of another half dozen blog posts.

***We’re on top of a hill – how on earth is there groundwater underneath the top of the hill?  I’m wondering if we’re on top of a natural spring?

WD-40 did not work.  Perhaps it would have if the silly putty hadn’t been stuck in the carpet for six months.  (I kept forgetting to google the question of how to remove it).  Next up: rubbing alcohol.  Stay tuned for further adventures in damage control in the jolt household.

So, I am the Ms. Fix-it in the family.  The tinkerer, the repairer, etc.  The power tools? Mine.  On occasion when brute force or height considerations make my work unfeasible I enlist mr. jolt, but otherwise, it’s all me. BB and LB like to help, which mainly consists of removing all my tools from their case and dropping them all over the place.

Anyway, when we moved here almost three years ago we bought a futon for the basement playroom to have a place to sit while watching Noggin & PBS.  We were foolishly talked into getting the “deluxe” futon pad with springs in it, which supposedly makes it more comfortable.  What the sales people didn’t tell us was that the springs made it unwilling to bend into couch position thereby putting excess pressure on the wooden futon frame because this futon wants nothing other than to be a completely flat mattress.  The wooden frame broke, a piece simply snapped after we’d had it maybe 6 months.  I looked at it, got an identical piece of wood, used my router to make the necessary holes to fit the various bolts & put it back together.  A month later, the other side snapped, so rinse, repeat.   Several months later one of the sides snapped again. 

So, we went to get a cheap, metal futon frame.  We should have scrapped the whole thing.   Two months later, the combination of the mattress & BB’s habit of hanging off the back had bent the metal frame back so that rather than an almost upright 90 degrees, it was almost sleeping level.

I thought at this point of bagging it and going to Ikea for a cheap sofa.  mr. jolt didn’t want to spend the money, and frankly neither did I since I knew the sofa would be trashed in a number of weeks (we have friday movie & pizza nights down there and BB is the messiest eater in the world).  So we went to Lowe’s and looked for straight brackets & ended up with 12″ mending plates.  We straighted out the frame & put the brackets behind it for extra support and screwed it all back together. 

One month later:

bent-metal-crop.jpg 

 each foot long, quarter inch thick metal bar was bent to a 45 degree angle.  Just bent.  So, again, we discussed the Ikea option.  Neither of us wanted to spend the money on a new couch.  So, back to Lowe’s.  This time, two metal plates on each side. 

twoplated-futon.jpg

 I’ll let you know how long it lasts.