Monday, December 29, 2008

Why renters are happier than home owners

The large black cat who lives in the basement whom I never see, got an injury on his foreleg which turned into an absess. Gary showed it to me when he first got it and I remarked that it wasn't infected. However, it got pretty bad. So he went to the vet on Friday, had icky things done, and now has a bandage which he is not supposed to get wet. Um...yeah. It's winter. This cat has a cat door and hasn't used a litterbox for years. Roland blocked the litter box with his toolbox, but our very large cat (16 pounds of bone and muscle) pushed that thing out of the way. So now there is a board nailed over the window. (The cat door replaced one pane of glass in an old basement window in the laundry room.)

This also means the dog door is shut. Fortunately it came with a cover. Anyway, we now have to remember to let the dogs out regularly. We have had fewer accidents than I would have predicted, given that the Shih Tzu was never trained to ask to go out.

Our washing machine died. We bought it and the accompanying dryer when I was expecting Andrew, so almost 20 years ago. We bought a new one which will be delivered on Friday. It was a Consumer Reports Best Buy. Roland is the laundry guy and says that he can manage with the old dryer even though its capacity is much less than the new washer.

AND we are having eletricity problems. Joy. Two ceiling lights now blow out blubs as soon as you put new ones in and we are getting more sparking at plugs than we once did. We called Roland's dad who is a retired electrical engineer. We asked him if he thought it would be a good idea to have our 80 year-old electrical wiring inspected. He agreed. The thing is, this is an old house -- 80 years to be approximate. The basement has been renovated in a way that cut off access to the crawl space. Totally not code, but there it is. When the bathroom and kitchen were renovated by the previous owner they re-wired those rooms, which involved removing the internal plaster walls to get to the wiring and putting up sheet rock. I'm not prepared financially to have all my walls dismantled and replaced, so that probably means having wiring molding all over the house. We already have it in much of the basement, but it is more appropriate to a basement than a late-1920's living room.

Anyway, I seem to have to choose between dying in an electrical fire, going deeply in debt to rennovate my house, or live with wire molding running around.

We are supposed to be getting an estimate today. I am hoping that the ceiling lamps can be re-wired from the attic crawl space. If they can't then I might just have the charming ceiling fixture in the living room disconnected and light the room with lamps. In the dining room though I think we will have to do it one way or another. We really can't light it with lamps.

Anyway, I'm sighing here.

I keep thinking how pretty my ceiling light and wall sconces are -- and reminding myself that they are not worth dying for.

The electrician is supposed to be calling to make an appointment to give us an estimate.


  1. Our wiring is the same vintage (and has the same problems). And the floors aren't level - they were slightly askew when we moved in, but then there was an earthquake a few years ago, and now they're really off. The plaster walls just aren't right any more - a lot of places, you touch them & they kind of crunch.

    But we're renters, and we keep telling each other "can't wait, another six months and we'll be in our own house, and there when something needs fixing, we can just fix it..." Plus, not having to lug laundry to the car, carrying dirty undies down the street in a basket once a week... my idea of heaven.

    Grass is always greener, eh? Makes you wonder if there isn't something about a foster kid's life that might make a bio kid think "lucky bastard." Not much to envy, sure, but I'll bet there's something.

  2. Our house has a good 20-30 years on yours and yet those issues sound SO familiar (particularly in the half-assed/sketchy renovation by previous owners part). Sorry everything's hitting at once. What better time to have all sorts of necessary expenditures than at Christmas??

  3. Sorry, I shouldn't have used Bad Language on someone else's blog, so delete at your discretion. I guess it's something about living in a 100-year-old house in winter time that brings it out in me.

  4. Motherissues, don't worry about the Bad Language. I've been known to use a few meself.

    Jenniebee, sometimes the bios do get jealous of the services the fosters receive. I know in reunification cases fosters will sometimes be showered with presents on holidays from their parents. Generally the bios get the big picture though.

    And enjoy renting as long as you can. Very few of us home owners get do fix our houses they way way want...what I want is so much more expensive than what I can afford. Sigh.

  5. Our house is way older than yours. It is something like 200 yrs old and about 3.5 yrs ago we had to replace our whole service. We had limped along for years, shutting off the microwave when you used a blow dryer, turning off the toastser if you used the curling irons etc. Finally an electrician friend said it was not safe, must fix. It was fairly pricey but I at least feel safer.

    He originally thought I'd have to have the icky wire molding you mention because of additional walls but found that we didn't have to, so you might not either, if you have to really do serious repairs.

    OTOH you can hope it is just a weak breaker (I've had that too) That is *really* easy to fix!

    Good luck, Lee

  6. My house is older, built in 1910. But it was wired in the 20's or there about and I still live with it in most of the houst. Like yours it has been replaced in a couple of places. My favorite part is on one side of the attic where it runs about 18 ins. above the floor on old ceramic insulators. As for rewiring I do know that there is a tool that can be run up through the wall from base plug opening to attic carrying the new wiring so the wall tubing doesn't have to be used. One of my renters down through the years ran wiring in old houses using this thing for a contractor. So I know it can be done and Jay said it was relatively easy and not all that expensive, esp. when adding in the cost of the tubing. So, ask around. My wiring is still ancient, that is whoever buys this old mauseleum's problem!

  7. If you need an interim dining room lighting solution, get a couple of those "torchiere" floo lamps (very cheap!) from Target or Wal*Mart. They shine up at the ceiling, though they are plugged in at floor level, and the reflected light is astonishingly bright! (Don't leave 'em burning though, when you are not in the room!)

  8. OOops..I mean floor lamps, not floo lamps!

  9. Just think though, you will be helping the econ by providing work for fix it guy. I like that story!


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