That's about all I have to say right now. Ugh, with a capital U!

We've been feeling like we keep taking one step forward only to have something break and end up two steps backwards. Last week we complained that we felt like there has been something working against us (or at least our DIY mojo) with our various projects. While our project list keeps getting longer, we're just not knocking things off of the list. As of our post last week, I decided we needed to make a real effort to start checking things off of our list. The result...well, lacking.

While we checked the "Install WaterCop" off of the list last weekend, which felt like a major victory, we ended up taking at least one and a half steps backwards.

We've kept you all informed regarding the saga of our stolen downspout and totally ghetto dryer vent replacement.

Well, I'm sad to say it's gotten worse. I contacted a company about purchasing a copper replacement and had high hopes, but have yet to hear back from them. In the meantime we had a wicked wind storm, which left the dryer vent that has withstood a hurricane and several other major storms, well, completely battered. 

Picture this. A few days ago it started raining and the torn and fractured dryer vent downspout began spewing water all over the side of the house. Do you know where you could find me? Hanging out of the bedroom window with a 10 foot length of PVC trying to pull the portion of the downspout that had blown onto the sun porch roof away from the house. I wish we had a photo, because I'm sure it would have been lovely.

Now that we're waiting to hear back about the copper, and we also have Spring showers approaching, it looks like I'm going to be buying another dryer vent until we can get a more suitable replacement. 

To add insult to injury, one of the recent wind storms did more damage to our house, only this time with the electrical line. It seems the wind was fierce enough to pull the mounting anchor of the main electrical service from the side of our house. It's hard to see exactly what I'm talking about, so I've illustrated the issue with my amazing editing skills.

Again, I've contacted a local electrician about this repair, but have not heard back on it. Perhaps it's time to start making more calls. It should be an easy fix, just place a suitable anchor and screw it back in, but it's dealing with our main electrical service, so I'd prefer someone else handles this item. I mean, I'm into DIYing, but I'm just afraid it could be my last endeavor if I were to give it a shot.

Another thing that's been really getting frustrating lately is the careless nature people have been taking in the parking area behind our back gate. We have our own parking space back there as well as a number of parking spots reserved for people that live in houses bordering that area. Well, it's a complete and total mess right now. A massive construction project on a nearby house has turned it into a treacherous mud pit...

...and the contractors/owners of the house don't seem to realize the effect it's having on the neighborhood. To add insult to injury, I found this sitting in our parking space the other day.

Yep, those are two spike like pieces of metal left by said careless and uncaring contractors. I bet those would have been pretty awesome if someone would have run over them with their previously fully inflated car tire. To give context, the shorter one is about 2" long. So now, not only do we have to deal with our own stuff, we apparently need to clean up after other people too.

And finally, our lovely front French doors that were so nicely painted just a short time ago in a high gloss paint are looking battered and bruised with a collection of scratches and chips that are just begging for another coat of paint. So I'll be pulling these doors down down from their mount and applying another coat of high gloss black. I should really do this before it starts to get warm out, that way the paint will be applied when the wood is fully shrunk and hopefully some of the cracks won't appear next winter.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I wish my update was more sunshine and rainbows than failures and scratches. We have all of these issues we need to resolve, and we fear our house is starting to look really horrible given these few items in need of repair. We need to get them taken care of, and are trying to be on top of things, but we can't get people who we need to work with to actually call us back. I mean, I don't even know if this anchor issue on the electrical service is something a contractor will take care of, or if it will be handled by the power company. Any ideas? All I know is it sure makes me glad that 98% of the time we do it ourselves.

I hope you're not experiencing the same as we have been lately. I'm hopeful spring will bring much progress, but my hopeful mentality is not very strong right now.

Comments 16


3/27/2013 at 11:31 AM
Oy. I feel for you. It sucks having to rely on other people to get things done, and it sounds like that's accounting for all of your setbacks aside from the door. It'll turn around soon enough - you've been at this long enough to know that! :)
You're right, we do know it will, but it still stinks while we're in the middle of the funk. Thanks for keeping our hopes alive.
3/27/2013 at 11:33 AM
Regarding the anchor for the electrical service, I think you need the power company to shut the power off from the street, and then you would have to be the one to reattach the anchor (whether it be you or a contractor...).

In our area we get one free shut off a year from the street. We're lucky that we have a pole in our yard, which then goes to the house so we can actually shut down our own power before doing anywork with the connections. We have some trees that need trimming between the street and the pole, though, so we will have to exercise our right to a free shutoff sometime soon!

Good luck getting all this stuff sorted out!!
Good luck on the tree trimming. I can't stand being without power, only for a short time, but you're right, we'll probably need to use the power company shut off for this one if they won't fix it.
3/27/2013 at 12:11 PM
Alex - In most locations, the electrical utility is responsible for everything up to the meter, which in your case would include the mounting of the strain relief to your house. You don't want those wires to pull out of the drop or split. Good luck.
Thanks, Larry. I gave them a call today so we'll see what they say. They seemed to be pretty helpful on the phone and will at least come out to take a look. Hopefully this will include fixing it too.
3/27/2013 at 12:20 PM
I think you're probably going to have to call in the power company! In my city, we're not even allowed to work near the powerline without having the power company coming and putting on these orange plastic bumpers on the line to make sure we don't fry ourselves.

I know how you're feeling about your house working against you. My house seems to have contracted or moved with the changes of the weather, and our lovely new drywall is cracking at some of the seems. Looks like taping, mudding and painting is in my future.
Ugh to your drywall cracks too. That's never fun, or a particularly easy (or non messy) fix.
Sara Canterbury
3/27/2013 at 1:16 PM
Ours pulled off the side of the house a few years ago and the power company came out and fixed it for no charge. I'd start there.
That sounds like a good price to me. They're coming out in the next few days, so hopefully they'll take care of it.
3/27/2013 at 1:43 PM
I am sadly not DIY-savvy, but the only benefit to that is that in 10 years of home ownership I've amassed a pretty good roster of high-quality professionals...I am in Del Ray and use Autumn Electric for electrical work and they are great and have always been very responsive.

On the construction debris, have you spoken with the neighbors who are under construction? I talked to my neighbors BEFORE I started construction on my basement reno and gave them both my cell # and my GC's cell # to call with any problems they had with the construction or workers, and I definitely would have wanted to know of something like that.
Unfortunately, there won't be much movement on our issue with the debris if we go the route of improved communication. We're hoping once the project is done the neighborhood will be able to let our objections be known, but right now, there's a but too much drama, and that's all I can say ;-)
3/28/2013 at 4:30 PM
Your experience sounds like 2011-2012 for us. When we were reviewing our receipts for the year for taxes, we had over $15K in catastrophic losses due to the hellish storms that are seeming to become the norm every spring and summer.

This was for 2012 alone. Plus, it was $15K out of pocket - none was turned into our insurance because I didn't want to go through that red tape. One of our neighbors sustained about $150K in damages due to Hurricane Irene. He is STILL not back in his house yet thanks to countless disputes with his insurance. And all the while, his house sustained more damage with each successive storm that rolled through. I'll only deal with the insurance companies if it is absolutely necessary.

Needless to say, that's why we haven't been able to do anything on our house for the last 18 months or so. Almost two years of our budget was eaten up by various catastrophes. Not to mention, the skyrocketing cost of materials when neither of us have seen a pay raise in four years.

We feel your frustration. Sometimes I wonder if I'll live to see the day I get the house looking respectable again.
I think the unexpected expenses are the absolute worst part, and they creep up so slowly until, WHAM! Then before you know it you're delaying projects and re-prioritizing. In your case, it's even worse. Seems like the hits keep on coming. Hopefully you're able to pause long enough to keep heading in the right direction. Your house is absolutely worth it.
4/24/2013 at 11:20 PM
I feel you regarding the construction crews! When we moved in, they were building a house next door to sell - so no homeowner who might be sympathetic. They tossed all sorts of debris into our yard (and just left it there!) including a whole string (?) of nails for a nail gun.

The worst was when they covered up our electricity meter with 2+ feet of rock fill. They refused to uncover it, the electric company refused to uncover it, so we had to do it ourselves. It took so long to diagnose and solve the problem (we didn't know where the meter was!) -and in the mean time the electric company had been "estimating" our bills - we owed an astronomical amount.
Oh my gosh, that's terrible! I can't imagine how frustrating that must have been. Hopefully now you have nice neighbors next door?
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