Thursday, July 03, 2008

The joys of home ownership

I've written before about how I sort of hate going away, even to fun and interesting places, because I have this superstition that something bad will happen; I usually am afraid one of my kids will get in trouble.

To add fuel to my fire, this time a big branch came down in our yard, hitting the roof and the garage.

Branch down

I wish I had some "before" pictures; we only had the virtual experience. It started with a Sunday morning call from Al, who'd been home from camp overnight on Saturday.

Al: "Do the cleaners come this week?"
Me: "Why, is the house a mess?"
Al: "You've come home to a cleaner house, and you've come home to a dirtier one. The recycle bin is overflowing with beer cans, but I really didn't have a million people over." [Mom thought bubble, no, probably only half a million...]
Al: "And you know the big oak tree over the garage? There's this giant branch that's cracked and it's hanging down over some wires."

I called John and he said I should have Rachael take a look. She got over there on Monday, and said, mmmph, yeah, it's like pretty scarey.

Mark's son Ethan called later on Monday, when we were walking through the Anaheim Angel's vast parking lot, heading for game, to tell us it had come down. No phone, it hit the house, and it's sitting on top of the garage. And there was an email from the neighbors when I got in from the game, that the leafy part was totally obscuring the garage door.

Tuesday morning, still in Calfornia, I called the insurance company, and the tree trimmers, and AT&T.

Wednesday afternoon when we got back the chain saws were going the entire time I was cleaning up from Al's half a million people - he was absolutely honest, the house has been both worse and better. The most egregious thing is that the hallway floor is so dirty I am wearing flip flops to keep my feet clean, and I had to do a good bit of sorting to get the beer cups and paper towel and cigarette packs out of the recycle-able cans, bottles, and boxes. Mostly I was fretting that my insurance allowance of $500 for tree removal was being spent 3 times over, with three guys at $85/hour per guy. The next day the adjuster reassured me that the $500 is for after they get the tree down to the ground - they were still on the garage roof with ropes around the branch for most of the afternoon.

I spent the morning Thursday waiting for AT&T, and the insurance adjuster. The AT&T guy called us when we were in the cab home from the airport Weds. to say he couldn't do his thing till the the tree guys finished theirs. He spent a long time rewiring - he knows a lot of the same swear words as me - but the happy side effect is that with the new wires, our DSL is actually up to the 6MB we're paying for.

I went to work for a few hours, grocery shopped, and picked up my veggie box. Finally did a bit of 4th of July cooking. I made honey baked beans; I must not've cooked the beans long enough, since they are a little crunchy, dammit. But I made hot dog buns (for the 2nd time) with my new New England Hot Dog Bun pan, and they came out perfect, soft and flexible. I am going to try adding potato flour to my sticky buns for the brunch on Sunday.

I know Michael Ruhlman thinks single-use kitchen gadgets are silly, and I am with him for most part - no way I'm buying the Williams-Sonoma stuffed chile pepper griller - but I like this pan (and so must lots of other people, because King Arthur Flour seems to be out of them now).

And I put the beans back in for a bit this morning and they're better.

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