Thursday, August 30, 2012

This Is a Good House

We have been flirting with the idea of looking for a house in town so that Maggie will be close to the library, church, the stores, the rec center, and possible employment opportunities.  When we moved here, we knew we wanted to be close enough to town to walk or bike.  But it is an hour walk -- for me or Gary -- more for Maggie.  Could we ever find another house that's comparable?

Difficult aspects of this house:
Big yard to mow.
Big deck, so it's hard to keep up.
Three miles from downtown.
No dining room; breakfast nook is tiny.

Nice aspects of this house:

Brick.  Warm.  Little wood to paint.
Newish roof.
Dry!  No mildew.
No water in our basement even when others have flooding.
Not an apartment/condo where you share walls, basement, and entryways.
Established garden space, with room for more,
and asparagus, cherries, berries, etc, are already solid.
Mortgage is decent; what's comparable in town seems pricier.
Radon mitigation system in place from former owners.
Kitties allowed outside; in town they must be leashed.
Large garage; plenty of parking space in driveway too.
Most of the windows have been replaced.
Light and bright and airy.
Fantastic neighborhood.  Safe.
Well water is healthier and tastier than city water.
No water or septic bills.
Lower property taxes than in town.
And finally, we're already here, settled.  (I hate moving.)

I can see why people downsize to smaller homes when the yardwork and housecare becomes burdensome as they age.  On the other hand, it could possibly be cheaper to pay someone else to do that rather than live in town with the extra costs there.  The big question is whether Maggie can develop enough strength and endurance to transport herself into town when necessary.  Thing is, there are two businesses here in town that work with the Dept of Vocational Rehabilitation; our current home is, at most, half-mile further from many of the homes in the center of town, and right now we're closer than many to these two business.  So while it may be convenient now to be closer to downtown, it might actually move us away from potential jobs for Mags.

Where's that crystal ball when you need it?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mysterious Chemical

It's time for that biannual job -- weather sealant for the deck.  Step 1: clean the deck.  Don't use the power washer. Don't wear myself out with too much elbow grease.  Instead, this time I would use the chemical wood cleaner. 

I realized, when we had cleaned about 1/4 of the deck, that we were halfway through the jug of this blue cleaner-stuff.  Do a little math:   "Gary, while I keep applying this, would you run to the hardware store and buy another gallon?"  He did.  When the first jug was empty, we opened the second.

It was brown. 
And it smelled turpentiny.
And it looked oilier.

But the label was exactly the same.  I pondered whether they had changed to a new formula??  I began to use it.

But something was wrong.  Gary came over from his part of the job (where he was using the hose) to have a look.  He too thought something was wrong.   So we quit for the evening.

A couple of hours later, my hands were burning from the chemical (even though I had been wearing rubber gloves).

Nothing on the website about recalls.

The next day I called the manufacturer.  They had not heard any complaints.  They told me which jug contained the correct cleaner.  (The blue one was real.  The brown one is the Mystery Chemical.)  I took the bottle back to the store to swap it out.  I explained to the store's owner and the manager what had happened.  The guys couldn't believe it.  We checked all the jugs on the shelves; there was another weirdo one. 

Right now, my guess is that the brown liquid was one of the active ingredients in the wood cleaner, unmixed.  I hope that someday I'll find out what it was. 

Moral of the story:  I really ought to trust my gut-level instincts more.  Why do I keep rationalizing possible reasons/excuses for things?  Why do I always assume that I'm being stupid, that I'm not understanding, that the other guy is right?  It seems like I too often end up regretting it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Mini-MoPed Girl

Dear Neighbor,

I understand.  And I agree that most people are over-protective of children.  I understand that your 7-yr-old daughter is having a grand time zipping around the neighborhood in her new toy.  I understand that it's good for her to play outside instead of being zoned out in front of a television or video game.  I understand that a little freedom is important to her development.

But I have news for you.  A helmet is not enough protection for a child who is operating a motorized vehicle.  On public streets.  At 15-20 miles per hour. 

I assume your child does not have a license to operate.  After all, she's half the minimum driving age.  And her inability to notice oncoming traffic or to stop-&-look at intersections tells me that she'd fail a driving test if she were old enough to apply for a license.

I'm sure you are blissfully ignorant of how many close calls your daughter has had.  I doubt she realizes the close calls either.  Luckily the cars that she has come close to smashing into have seen her first, stopped, and sat still, waiting, while your daughter narrowly missed damaging their vehicles. And she goes on her merry way, unrattled.

I hope we can figure out who you are and where you live before the day the ambulance arrives.  I'd rather talk to you sooner instead of later.