The appraiser came back today.
He really is a very nice man. Really, he is. Friendly, personable, polite, and understanding.. It’s just that now I can imagine how Noah felt when he was told to build the ark. Except that Noah had some direction. He was given measurements and instructions along the way. (Actually, now that I think about it, Noah got off easy.)
So, after making several calls to Bruce, our appraiser, as well as several of the neighbors who helped to build (and rebuild, and rebuild, and in some instances, REBUILD) (You’ve heard that adage, “Measure twice, cut once”, haven’t you? Apparently Ed hadn’t.) the addition, Kenny cut a nice hole in the plastic shrink-wrap, pulled out three rectangular pieces of insulation from between the floor joists (and a whole garage-floor-full of mouse poop) (Hantavirus, anyone?), slashed his way through more shrink-wrap, and came up with a whole bunch of dirt. And garbage. And chunks of cement. (No bodies, though, at least not from where we could see.)
Panic ensued. Along with some weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Me.) And some swearing. (Kenny.) (Tonight Alex said, “Mommy, did you know Daddy said, ‘Son of a (emphatic pause),’ but he really said the whole thing?” It’s a good thing he only heard THAT. It could have been a lot worse.) Would a dirt floor be FHA-approved? What happened to the 500-square-foot slab of cement foundation? And what was all this junk doing under our family room floor?
More calls were made, and more vague “do what you gotta do” suggestions were given. Calls to Ed went unanswered. Neighbors came over to walk around the addition, racking their brains to remember how they finally got the darned thing up to code. Someone recalled that the foundation got poured, then it was framed, then ROOFED (that was Ed’s profession), and only then did he think about flooring, ventilation, siding and sheet rock. There was no solid cement foundation, either– just a rim around the outside, with plenty of space for garbage in the middle. EVERYTHING went in there: displaced dirt Ed didn’t want to haul away, cans, newspapers, shingles, rusty tools, broken toys, old tires, the sidewalk they tore up…
It’s official. I live on a landfill.
You know what? I don’t even care. (Too much.) Bruce walked into our garage, climbed up into the attic for ten seconds to check on the insulation, nearly died from heatstroke, climbed down, praised Kenny for his insulation-removing and plastic-slicing abilities (“Wow, this is really a nice job. It’s one of the nicest cuts I’ve seen!”), stuck his head into that mouse-infested shrink wrap, put a hand down through the floor joists, shined his flashlight around and declared that NOW our house was FHA-loan-worthy.
It was a Mormon Tabernacle Choir “Hallelujah” moment, to be sure.
His visit lasted less than five minutes. All that stress, all the guesswork, all the swearing, (all the mouse poop!), and it was over just that fast.
It was shaping up to be a great day.
If you’re sensing a “but”, you are right. You get brownie points. (Or peanut-butter-bar points, because there are STILL some of those in the kitchen.)
I was so excited about our FHA victory, I came inside and started organizing my rubber stamp collection. I’ve been part of a Stampin’ Up club for the past four? five? years, and each month I put in a $15 order to fulfill my membership obligation. I rounded up all of the SU bags I had stashed throughout the house (or at least the ones I could find) and started entering them into a database, so I could see what sets I had. The idea was to prevent the ordering of duplicate sets.
Two hours and 160 (!!!) sets later, I was ready to breathe into a paper bag. Are these stamps like the mice in my garage? Do they multiply while no one is looking? There were several sets I don’t even remember seeing in the catalog, let alone ordering them for my personal collection, and yet there they were, taking over my craft room. Even more amazingly, not one of the sets were duplicates. (I don’t know whether I should feel proud or alarmed.) I carried the three boxes downstairs and put them in front of my filing cabinets. On a whim (or a crazy, suicidal urge) I pulled open two of the sliding drawers, gasped, did a double-take, and then slammed them and ran upstairs. Each drawer was tightly, neatly packed (we’re talking filled to the t-o-p) with stamp sets I had forgotten about.
Two realizations immediately came to mind: 1) My total number of sets is really closer to 250, possibly even 300 (HOLY CRAP!), and 2) Not only are they reproducing with wild abandon, those stamps are organizing themselves for world domination like some evil chickens I know.
Next week, the stamps and I are having a “come-to-Jesus” meeting. (More like a “come-to-eBay” thing, but don’t tell them. There’s no sense in getting them all riled up to risk my being smothered during the night.)
And if the whole stamp thing wasn’t bad enough, as I was coming up the stairs I heard some feet go pitter-pat across the kitchen floor, and a triumphant Anthony threw his sleepy self into my arms. “I got myself down, Mama,” he told me.
Got himself down. Out of his crib.
There goes the last peaceful shower, the last sound night’s sleep, the last safe tantrum-throwing place, and the last of my sanity. Bye bye, boys! Have fun storming the castle!
“Show me,” I told him. “Show Mommy how you got yourself out of the crib.”
He stretched one leg along the crib railing, held on with his toes, pulled the rest of his body up, clung to the top of the crib like a spider monkey, worked up some courage, and then let go, falling to the floor in a heap of giggles and immense pride. “See?” he asked me. “I got myself down.”
Uncle Kevin is going to have to make a special trip to our house this week to take the crib apart and put up the toddler bed. It’s either that or repeated trips to the emergency room for broken bones and stitches.
On second thought, would putting down layers of insulation and rubber stamps give him a nice, cushiony landing area?
I may have just solved all of my problems. Go me!