Saturday, October 30, 2021

Is This Thing Still On?

There are lots of euphemisms I could use to explain my relative absence from this space for the last five months. Suffice it to say, much has transpired since we last saw our hero relocating to the supposed peace and tranquility of east Texas. I’m still looking for the proverbial country record that I can play backwards to get stuff back not the least of which is my sanity. 

So, let’s set the Wayback Machine for early May when we closed on the “new” old house. 

That was supposed to be a happy day. I was really looking forward to moving in and getting settled after all the chaos from the preceding year. 

Sigh….such was not to be. 

Once we took possession of the house and were able to get in a look around at what needed doing, The Queen immediately noticed the overwhelming odor of cat urine. It took a few minutes, but it finally penetrated my nasal passages which are not the greatest sniffers on a good day. A trip to Lowe’s for a UV Flashlight revealed that, yes, indeed, the prior owners cats' had sprayed everywhere all over the house. The worst of it was the living room. A quick inspection of the walls in the living room revealed that what we thought was painted sheetrock was, in fact, painted wallpaper over sheetrock. 

Well, thinks I, that’s a simple matter of removing the wallpaper (in a room roughly 15’ wide 19’ long with 12’ ceilings….I am such an optimist) and painting the walls underneath. 

 Let’s just say that Murphy is a dirty rotten scoundrel who hates me personally. 

 If you were not aware, East Texas is, in addition to being as hot as the rest of Satan’s outhouse in the summer, humid as steam bath. Why is this important? Well, we discovered through careful research that exterior walls that have wallpaper in a humid environment with HVAC will trap moisture and make for the perfect conditions to grow mold and mildew. 

Guess what we found behind the wallpaper in the living room? If you guessed mold and mildew, give yourself a gold star. Guess who has a major allergy to mold and mildew? If you guessed The Queen and M&M, give yourself another gold star. 

 Not happy making for Daddy Hawk. 

In addition to trying to get settled and keep work going, now I have to figure out how to get rid of mold and mildew off of sheetrock and find a place for The Queen and M&M to hide while doing so. 

 To add insult to injury, my boss called 17 days later and let me know my services were no longer required for the company. 

Well, POOP and other assorted four letter words. They claimed performance issues were the reason. I’ve never missed a deadline or failed to respond to matters timely. Yes, the preceding year or two were a challenge with caring for The Queen mum and dealing with the aftermath of her death, but who wouldn’t have challenges under those circumstances. So much for care and compassion and “work / life balance”. 

So, there I sit. Haven’t made the first payment on the mortgage, no job, a major project to deal with and a house that is unlivable for 2 out of the 3 members of the household. I did the only thing a rationale person could do. I called my realtor and asked what it would take to get the house back on the market. 

Over the next month and a half, I (with some help from The Queen), removed all the wallpaper from the living and study, discovered a water leak in the skylights (which were later determined to have been improperly installed in the distant past), hired a contractor to fix the skylights, painted the living room, hired another contractor to texture the study walls and master bath ceiling and did my best to keep up with the lawn care, car maintenance and job searching. 

We finally got the house on the market, and it sold for full price within a couple of weeks. Fortunately, I was able to land a temporary gig starting right before the closing on the sale of the house which allowed us to rent an apartment back in the Dallas area while we get our feet back under us. There were some other trials in the interim which are not terribly critical to our current story. The temp gig lasted a little over a month before I landed a better temp to hire gig with another company that is much more to my liking and pays better to boot. A big bonus with this job is that it is 100% remote meaning I can pretty much work from anywhere. 

Things are looking up overall. The Queen and M&M are doing much better now that they are in an apartment with no mold. My boss is happy with my work so far. So, hopefully the job will convert to permanent before the end of the year. 

So, the saga continues. Just not in the direction we thought.