jducoeur: (Default)
... two days after T tokens officially become worthless, I find a small bag of them.

(But I see in that thread that some people are looking for them as souvenirs, so I suppose they may not be entirely a lost cause...)
jducoeur: (Default)
Today's main project has been digging through some files -- mostly because they are stacked in front of the next bookshelves that I want to deal with. So I'm finally continuing the great filing project that Niki started while she was living with me.

I just found the big archive of papers that [livejournal.com profile] goldsquare donated -- a mix of event stuff, formational paperwork for the Grand Council, and most of the key papers around the Crisis. So when it does come time to write up the history of What the Hell Happened in 1994, I know where the materials are.

But the really interesting bit was the manila envelope that has been sitting there for months and months, that I finally got around to looking into. Which is full of deeds. Mostly for land around Philadelphia. From around 1780. And I don't mean facsimiles -- I mean real cut indentures, on parchment, with wax seals on ribbons.

I *assume* these are related to Jane's genealogical research, but I'm not sure where they came from and I'm not certain whether they pertain directly to her family. (Niki, did you see any context for these?) But they are Incredibly Cool. [livejournal.com profile] ladymacgregor was over this afternoon, picking up cat stuff for a local shelter, and had great fun looking at one of them. These things are Legal Documents Dammit, written in utterly beautiful penmanship, some of them *big* -- like, a couple of feet across. They're all folded up (and look like they've *been* folded up for their entire 200+ years), so they have to be treated delicately, but the parchment is still in pretty good shape, and they're mostly legible.

So I have yet another fascinating mystery project here, and yet another case where I dearly wish I could ask Jane where the heck these came from. In the meantime, I've put them in the empty box labeled "acid-free", which I assume Jane bought for more or less this purpose...
jducoeur: (Default)
*Sigh*. I really didn't need this right now.

I had *thought* that I was doing okay, roof-wise -- a small leak in the bay window due to the ice dam there, but no other signs of trouble. I knew that there were a few ice dams elsewhere, but thought that they weren't causing too much melt. I *have* been worried about roof collapse, but not too much about leakage, since there is no sign of dripping through the roof itself. Naive me.

I just discovered that the ceiling of the guest bedroom is totally trashed -- I walked in there to put something away, found the floor wet, a steady single drop dripping, and a mild but dangerous bulge in the ceiling. So I followed the advice from the TV yesterday: I put a (big) bucket in the desired location, grabbed an awl, and punched several holes in the drywall. A good gallon came through in the first couple of minutes.

There *still* is no apparent drip in the attic, so my best guess is that the ice dam is causing leakage right at the edge of the house, down by the soffits -- instead of going over the edge, it's flowing inward, and finally pooling about five feet into the room.

Pain in the tuchus. The ceiling is clearly a loss, so for now I'm just punching holes as needed and accepting that I'll need to replace it come spring. In the meantime, I dearly hope nothing else breaks horribly...
jducoeur: (Default)
*Sigh*. I really didn't need this right now.

I had *thought* that I was doing okay, roof-wise -- a small leak in the bay window due to the ice dam there, but no other signs of trouble. I knew that there were a few ice dams elsewhere, but thought that they weren't causing too much melt. I *have* been worried about roof collapse, but not too much about leakage, since there is no sign of dripping through the roof itself. Naive me.

I just discovered that the ceiling of the guest bedroom is totally trashed -- I walked in there to put something away, found the floor wet, a steady single drop dripping, and a mild but dangerous bulge in the ceiling. So I followed the advice from the TV yesterday: I put a (big) bucket in the desired location, grabbed an awl, and punched several holes in the drywall. A good gallon came through in the first couple of minutes.

There *still* is no apparent drip in the attic, so my best guess is that the ice dam is causing leakage right at the edge of the house, down by the soffits -- instead of going over the edge, it's flowing inward, and finally pooling about five feet into the room.

Pain in the tuchus. The ceiling is clearly a loss, so for now I'm just punching holes as needed and accepting that I'll need to replace it come spring. In the meantime, I dearly hope nothing else breaks horribly...
jducoeur: (Default)
We love the house dearly, but I think the honeymoon is over. This week, it developed its first real Problem.

Far as I can tell, the issue is ice dams. It looks like the front gutters have frozen solid, and they don't get much sun; the upper roof, however, does get a bit. So the melt comes down the roof, hits the gutter, can't get through it, and backs up into the flashing. Along most of the front, this isn't too terrible: it comes out the back of the flashing and runs down as icicles. Unfortunately, though, one of the things under that flashing is that lovely front bay window of ours.

So the past few days have been bucket-focused. Fortunately, the drips are well-behaved: there are about five distinct spots where it is coming through, and we've put big buckets under all of them. No significant damage from the drips yet, but the situation can't persist in the long run.

If the weather predictions come true, I suspect the problem will ease on Sunday -- it should get warm enough to melt the gutters, at which point I expect the worst of the problem to go away. But come spring, we'll have to look into a better solution. I suspect that will involve restructuring of that gutter, but I'm not sure of the details yet.

Oh, well. Compared to the old house (whose roof got ripped off in a hurricane, producing one of the worst weeks for me ever), this is pretty minor stuff. It's still a nice house, just showing the warts now that we've been in it a while...
jducoeur: (Default)
We love the house dearly, but I think the honeymoon is over. This week, it developed its first real Problem.

Far as I can tell, the issue is ice dams. It looks like the front gutters have frozen solid, and they don't get much sun; the upper roof, however, does get a bit. So the melt comes down the roof, hits the gutter, can't get through it, and backs up into the flashing. Along most of the front, this isn't too terrible: it comes out the back of the flashing and runs down as icicles. Unfortunately, though, one of the things under that flashing is that lovely front bay window of ours.

So the past few days have been bucket-focused. Fortunately, the drips are well-behaved: there are about five distinct spots where it is coming through, and we've put big buckets under all of them. No significant damage from the drips yet, but the situation can't persist in the long run.

If the weather predictions come true, I suspect the problem will ease on Sunday -- it should get warm enough to melt the gutters, at which point I expect the worst of the problem to go away. But come spring, we'll have to look into a better solution. I suspect that will involve restructuring of that gutter, but I'm not sure of the details yet.

Oh, well. Compared to the old house (whose roof got ripped off in a hurricane, producing one of the worst weeks for me ever), this is pretty minor stuff. It's still a nice house, just showing the warts now that we've been in it a while...

There...

Feb. 28th, 2006 12:17 pm
jducoeur: (Default)
That's the last truly *big* milestone done with. We are now the proud owners of one fewer house.

Aside from having six months' interest stuck in escrow until Washington Mutual gets their act together, the closing went quite smoothly. I'm not entirely sure why settlement attorneys all seem to be friendly jokers, but this fellow was one, much like the one for our purchase. Unlike with our purchase, it was a pretty crowded room: both buyers, both sellers, their lawyer, and both sets of realtors. The only person who didn't come was our lawyer. (Her opinion is that the lawyers are mostly extraneous in these things, provided that all documents have been reviewed by her in advance -- far as I can tell, she regards it as bill-padding, and she despises bill-padders. So she gave us her cell number in case of emergency, but otherwise just wished us well.)

The buyers turned out not to be the couple we had thought -- instead, it's a young couple buying their first house. It seems like a very good fit -- he seems to be quite the handyman, and didn't seem to be too fazed by the needed work. (He almost casually remarked on the sag in the floors, and said that he'll be jacking them up sometime in the next few weeks.) That's pretty much what we were looking for -- someone who is willing to put in a modest amount of money and a bunch of sweat equity to boost the value of the house considerably. I suspect that, within a few months, we wouldn't be able to recognize the place. They're even locals: they're moving out of his parents' place in Bishop's Forest, less than a mile away, so we didn't need to tell them about the ins and outs of Waltham.

Almost there. The next few months will be focused on emptying out Storage Units 2 and 3, and gradually unpacking the stuff from them. And then we're done...

There...

Feb. 28th, 2006 12:17 pm
jducoeur: (Default)
That's the last truly *big* milestone done with. We are now the proud owners of one fewer house.

Aside from having six months' interest stuck in escrow until Washington Mutual gets their act together, the closing went quite smoothly. I'm not entirely sure why settlement attorneys all seem to be friendly jokers, but this fellow was one, much like the one for our purchase. Unlike with our purchase, it was a pretty crowded room: both buyers, both sellers, their lawyer, and both sets of realtors. The only person who didn't come was our lawyer. (Her opinion is that the lawyers are mostly extraneous in these things, provided that all documents have been reviewed by her in advance -- far as I can tell, she regards it as bill-padding, and she despises bill-padders. So she gave us her cell number in case of emergency, but otherwise just wished us well.)

The buyers turned out not to be the couple we had thought -- instead, it's a young couple buying their first house. It seems like a very good fit -- he seems to be quite the handyman, and didn't seem to be too fazed by the needed work. (He almost casually remarked on the sag in the floors, and said that he'll be jacking them up sometime in the next few weeks.) That's pretty much what we were looking for -- someone who is willing to put in a modest amount of money and a bunch of sweat equity to boost the value of the house considerably. I suspect that, within a few months, we wouldn't be able to recognize the place. They're even locals: they're moving out of his parents' place in Bishop's Forest, less than a mile away, so we didn't need to tell them about the ins and outs of Waltham.

Almost there. The next few months will be focused on emptying out Storage Units 2 and 3, and gradually unpacking the stuff from them. And then we're done...
jducoeur: (Default)
I need to find out where [livejournal.com profile] faheud gets his anvils, and see if I can buy one large enough to drop on Washington Mutual Home Loans collectively. There really is no excuse for the home-selling process to be this much of a pain in the ass...
jducoeur: (Default)
I need to find out where [livejournal.com profile] faheud gets his anvils, and see if I can buy one large enough to drop on Washington Mutual Home Loans collectively. There really is no excuse for the home-selling process to be this much of a pain in the ass...

Check...

Feb. 25th, 2006 05:56 pm
jducoeur: (Default)
Two more major milestones passed today in The Great Moving Project. First, we finished cleaning out Storage Unit 1: emptied out the last items and closed the contract. After having that particular unit for well over five years, and some unit at Extra Space for probably ten or so, we're finally quit of the place. I won't miss it: it's much too expensive, and not very well-maintained. (I'm always afraid that the lift is going to collapse with my stuff on it.)

Second, we cleared the last items we care about out of the attic of the old house, and swept up a bit. I don't see any reason I need to go back up there again. Indeed, that may have been finis for the house -- aside from checking in on it a couple of times in the days before closing on general principles, there isn't much reason to go back. I'm encouraged to see that the buyers are clearly just as committed to and serious about the deal as we are: they've already come in and begun to do some of the smaller repairs on the back wing, in order to help get their mortgage approved.

Fingers crossed, please -- we're in the final stretch here. I have considerable confidence that the buyers aren't going to intentionally screw things up, but there are any number of bureaucrats who can still make our lives complicated. Another errand today was faxing the full mortgage note off to the mortgage company, who claim that it will take weeks to get their copy out of their archives. Far as I can tell, they're simply dragging their feet in order, to see if they can get more money out of us before we pay them off. They're also making noises about prepayment penalties, which are complete and total lies -- and, fortunately, clearly false from the note. Suffice it to say, I do not recommend doing business with Washington Mututal: they've made this whole process pointlessly more difficult...

Check...

Feb. 25th, 2006 05:56 pm
jducoeur: (Default)
Two more major milestones passed today in The Great Moving Project. First, we finished cleaning out Storage Unit 1: emptied out the last items and closed the contract. After having that particular unit for well over five years, and some unit at Extra Space for probably ten or so, we're finally quit of the place. I won't miss it: it's much too expensive, and not very well-maintained. (I'm always afraid that the lift is going to collapse with my stuff on it.)

Second, we cleared the last items we care about out of the attic of the old house, and swept up a bit. I don't see any reason I need to go back up there again. Indeed, that may have been finis for the house -- aside from checking in on it a couple of times in the days before closing on general principles, there isn't much reason to go back. I'm encouraged to see that the buyers are clearly just as committed to and serious about the deal as we are: they've already come in and begun to do some of the smaller repairs on the back wing, in order to help get their mortgage approved.

Fingers crossed, please -- we're in the final stretch here. I have considerable confidence that the buyers aren't going to intentionally screw things up, but there are any number of bureaucrats who can still make our lives complicated. Another errand today was faxing the full mortgage note off to the mortgage company, who claim that it will take weeks to get their copy out of their archives. Far as I can tell, they're simply dragging their feet in order, to see if they can get more money out of us before we pay them off. They're also making noises about prepayment penalties, which are complete and total lies -- and, fortunately, clearly false from the note. Suffice it to say, I do not recommend doing business with Washington Mututal: they've made this whole process pointlessly more difficult...
jducoeur: (Default)
Well, that was gratifyingly quick. After a month or two of cleanup on the old house (fixing the most egregious problems with the wood, repainting and recarpeting the interior), we finally formally put it on the market last week, and got two offers today. Neither for quite as much as I would like, but both within the range I was expecting -- I think we hit the correct price point for a quick sale, as we were hoping.

Fingers crossed that this goes smoothly. One of the offers seems appropriate: motivated and experienced buyers who are looking for a fast and easy process themselves, and don't seem any more into haggling details than we are. (Among other things, they're explicitly okay with junk left behind in the attic, which saves us a minor hassle.) If that goes well, we may be done with that last big step of the move in under six weeks...
jducoeur: (Default)
Well, that was gratifyingly quick. After a month or two of cleanup on the old house (fixing the most egregious problems with the wood, repainting and recarpeting the interior), we finally formally put it on the market last week, and got two offers today. Neither for quite as much as I would like, but both within the range I was expecting -- I think we hit the correct price point for a quick sale, as we were hoping.

Fingers crossed that this goes smoothly. One of the offers seems appropriate: motivated and experienced buyers who are looking for a fast and easy process themselves, and don't seem any more into haggling details than we are. (Among other things, they're explicitly okay with junk left behind in the attic, which saves us a minor hassle.) If that goes well, we may be done with that last big step of the move in under six weeks...
jducoeur: (Default)
On the downside, we slightly mismeasured the Billies (the new bookcases) for the office -- we didn't have nearly as much leeway as we expected. On the upside, the result is that they fit *precisely* into the space, with nary a millimeter to spare: they don't quite look like built-ins, but they're close. I did have to tap them into place with a rubber mallet, though, so if we ever decide to remove them, that'll be an "entertaining" project.

Also on the downside, the house has sprung its first serious problem. The tub liner in the main bathroom appears to have been badly installed -- the caulking between the tub part and the wall part cracked open while we weren't looking, and so much water got down under the tub liner that it now *sloshes* when you step on it. So we're going to have to get someone in to either reinstall the liner, or rip it out and redo the tub correctly. I *suspect* that we'll find that the tub and tiles are hideous but intact: that they put in the liner to hide the original-equipment avacado green, rather than to hide real damage. But we'll find out soon.

On the upside, the house has 2.5 baths, and the downstairs shower turns out to be nicer than the upstairs tub anyway. So having to switch bathrooms for the time being isn't a tragedy...
jducoeur: (Default)
On the downside, we slightly mismeasured the Billies (the new bookcases) for the office -- we didn't have nearly as much leeway as we expected. On the upside, the result is that they fit *precisely* into the space, with nary a millimeter to spare: they don't quite look like built-ins, but they're close. I did have to tap them into place with a rubber mallet, though, so if we ever decide to remove them, that'll be an "entertaining" project.

Also on the downside, the house has sprung its first serious problem. The tub liner in the main bathroom appears to have been badly installed -- the caulking between the tub part and the wall part cracked open while we weren't looking, and so much water got down under the tub liner that it now *sloshes* when you step on it. So we're going to have to get someone in to either reinstall the liner, or rip it out and redo the tub correctly. I *suspect* that we'll find that the tub and tiles are hideous but intact: that they put in the liner to hide the original-equipment avacado green, rather than to hide real damage. But we'll find out soon.

On the upside, the house has 2.5 baths, and the downstairs shower turns out to be nicer than the upstairs tub anyway. So having to switch bathrooms for the time being isn't a tragedy...
jducoeur: (Default)
... you know -- the idiotic misfeature that you don't figure out until you move in. In the old house, it was the firetrap flue system that we had to rather expensively replace once I figured out (a couple of years after buying the house) just how incredibly dangerous it was. For the new house, I was careful to hire gold-plated inspectors, to make sure there was nothing quite that risky. But even the Scadutos don't test everything, and one of the things they don't test is the cable system.

The good news is that, after tearing my hair out for a couple of hours, I now understand why the cable reception is poor in the playroom and nonexistent in the living room. The bad news is, I don't understand how the damned system ever worked.

Best I can reconstruct, the cable runs like this. The drop comes in at the side of the house, and immediately enters the garage. It goes through a big-ass signal amplifier there, and dives outside again. It then goes through a 2-way splitter, and one of the lines from that immediately feeds into another 3-way splitter. Most of those lines go inside, and feed into the various bedrooms. Another then goes around the house. Out back behind the basement, it goes through *another* splitter. One side of that continues along to the far end of the house, through a fairly corroded signal cleaner, and finally up into the living room. The other goes into the utility closet, where it goes through *another* splitter. One side of that is supposed to hit the cablemodem; the other hits *another* splitter/amplifier, which splits it three ways to feed the three main rooms in the basement.

Jesus. It's a wonder that there is any signal at all, by the time it goes through all of that. The playroom has been through at least four, maybe five splits, so it gets a weak signal only if the basement amplifier is plugged in. The living room is only going through two or three splits, but it doesn't have the signal amplifier, so it only gets snow.

I have to assume that this system was at least marginally functional at one time, but I'm genuinely surprised. I suspect I'm going to have to work with the cable guy tomorrow to puzzle out which splits go exactly where, and pare it down to just the few rooms we actually give a damn about. (Really, having cable TV in the laundry room isn't high on our priority list...)
jducoeur: (Default)
... you know -- the idiotic misfeature that you don't figure out until you move in. In the old house, it was the firetrap flue system that we had to rather expensively replace once I figured out (a couple of years after buying the house) just how incredibly dangerous it was. For the new house, I was careful to hire gold-plated inspectors, to make sure there was nothing quite that risky. But even the Scadutos don't test everything, and one of the things they don't test is the cable system.

The good news is that, after tearing my hair out for a couple of hours, I now understand why the cable reception is poor in the playroom and nonexistent in the living room. The bad news is, I don't understand how the damned system ever worked.

Best I can reconstruct, the cable runs like this. The drop comes in at the side of the house, and immediately enters the garage. It goes through a big-ass signal amplifier there, and dives outside again. It then goes through a 2-way splitter, and one of the lines from that immediately feeds into another 3-way splitter. Most of those lines go inside, and feed into the various bedrooms. Another then goes around the house. Out back behind the basement, it goes through *another* splitter. One side of that continues along to the far end of the house, through a fairly corroded signal cleaner, and finally up into the living room. The other goes into the utility closet, where it goes through *another* splitter. One side of that is supposed to hit the cablemodem; the other hits *another* splitter/amplifier, which splits it three ways to feed the three main rooms in the basement.

Jesus. It's a wonder that there is any signal at all, by the time it goes through all of that. The playroom has been through at least four, maybe five splits, so it gets a weak signal only if the basement amplifier is plugged in. The living room is only going through two or three splits, but it doesn't have the signal amplifier, so it only gets snow.

I have to assume that this system was at least marginally functional at one time, but I'm genuinely surprised. I suspect I'm going to have to work with the cable guy tomorrow to puzzle out which splits go exactly where, and pare it down to just the few rooms we actually give a damn about. (Really, having cable TV in the laundry room isn't high on our priority list...)

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