Monday, August 27, 2012

I Can't Even

On Monday and Tuesday (because I thought I had a solid deal on my house) I SERIOUSLY looked at one dozen houses. (Seriously meaning I walked through them slowly, taking my sweet time, and tried to imagine what life and my furniture would look like in each house. This? Is a mentally and emotionally exhausting exercise if done properly. Which is exactly how I was doing it. Because I do everything that way. With my whole being, properly.)

There were two that I sort of could imagine myself living in, but some major compromises on my list of three 'must haves' would happen if I bought either of them.
(To recap, my three non-negotiating points:
1. Private-ish, sunny-in-the-afternoon backyard.
2. Garage. Attached to the house. (Preferably one that would hold both my truck and Drew's car.)
3. Suite.)

For one of those houses I was giving up afternoon suntanning as the backyard faced east. And the other house had a detached garage, accessible from a back lane, so I was giving up peace-of-mind on those evenings when I arrive home, late, in the rain, by myself, with arms full of stuff like a purse, a camera, a bag of groceries, a book, and house keys dangling from my index finger.

I invited a few family members and close friends to join me as I walked through the top two homes again on Tuesday evening. We spent hours going through those two places as well as a couple others we had access to. It was a non-conclusive activity. We just couldn't decide. The top two were equally not perfect but OK.

My realtor, in an effort to be efficient, wrote up offers for both houses, 'just in case'.

By midnight on Tuesday night, despite long conversations with my realtor,my mom and my friend, I HAD NO PEACE about buying either of them.

On Wednesday, my purchasers had their house inspector go through my humble abode with a fine tooth comb while I was visiting my dad. I met my realtor that evening, gave him the documents I picked up from the town hall, and told him I was putting the house thing on hold til after the weekend. I'm getting old and can handle one thing at a time, and this weekend? Was devoted to the wedding that was taking place at the cabin at Cultus.

On Thursday morning, my wake up call included the following words:

"Jane? There's a problem with your house. The inspector thinks your roof is full of holes, your attic is full of rodents and your crawlspace is full of mould."

 I wished there was some loving man in bed beside me that I could nudge with my knee and say, "this one's yours. You talk to him."

The only thing in bed next to me was my laptop, which is useless in situations like this, as it does not respond to knee nudges. So I started making phone calls. To the pest control guys who handled the rodent infestation last year, to my brother who handled my new roof installation last year, and my son, who loaded my crawl space with styrofoam popcorn packing chippies a few years ago.

It took all day to get things sorted out, and even then, nothing is totally sorted out.

The purchasers agreed to extend the subject removal date to Wed Aug 29, and by then I should have definite confirmation that my house is sound. (The Pest Detective has assured me that there has been NO rodent activity since last December when he did his final check. He gave me a certificate verifying this fact. My brother found no holes in my roof, and is sending a roofer over to confirm this. And, with all those (dam) chippies out of my crawl space (and back in the garage GRRRRRRR), the air will be able to flow and circulate again. Condensation from the copper pipes will not drip onto the boxes of children's books I had stored there and the fans will blow away the musty smell and I will lose 50 pounds and everything will be just peachy.)

I probably prayed all day long.
This house? Was a gift from God eight years ago.
The sale of this house? Will happen in God's perfect time.
And I? Needed to chill out.

This (Thursday) had been a long, tension filled day. So instead of heading up to the cabin were preparations were underway for a wedding on Saturday, I joined some friends for an escape. We laughed our way through The Expendables 2 and it was the perfect way to close off the day.

On Friday morning I picked up two huge, heavy duty, industrial fans for my crawlspace and sweet-talked bribed Drew (if he helped me with my crawlspace, he could have my truck for his use for the week. I'm back to driving my dad's pick up truck) to set them up for me. I did laundry, bought groceries, paid bills, went to the post office and bank, filled up the truck with gas, and packed for 3 nights at the cabin. On my way, I called Clint and asked if there was anything I could pick up for them. "Yeah. Nick (the groom) wondered if you could stop and Costco and pick up enough food for 40 people for supper tonight. They need something for the rehearsal dinner."


And then, while I passing through Sardis, Clint called and said, "How are you doing? Everything OK? Where are you? Thanks for picking up the food.... uh, do you want some bad news now? Or wait?"

I took it then, immediately.

"The septic system is broken. We've got waste coming up through the shower basin in the basement. From all the standing water in there, I'm guessing it's been broken for awhile."


Forty people for dinner. No use of toilets, sinks, or any water.
Ten people staying over night.
Wedding party and family using the cabin the following morning. And
One hundred and seventy people for a wedding the next day, with caterers using the cabin's kitchen.

And it's 5:05 pm on a summer Friday afternoon.

The stress/tension knot at the back of my knee doubled in size.

Who does one call for situations like this?
And do those people even answer their phones after 5 on a sunny, summer Friday?

Oy. My capacity to deal with crap feels like it's at it's limit. Help Clint and I find someone to give us a hand. Please. I don't even know what else to ask for. This seems overwhelming. Give me strength, and give us both wisdom as we handle everything that's coming our way this weekend. Amen."

I called my brother and asked him for a name of a guy who could help us.
Clint called Steve (his friend who designed the mega cabin next door) to see if he could recommend anyone. \
I arrived at the cabin at 5:24 pm, to find that Clint had made a few calls, all resulting in him leaving pleas on voice mails. The parking lot was full, and the cabin was overflowing with people and things.

I took one look at the wedding set up, and knew I needed to talk to our neighbours in the cabin immediately in front of ours. The dance floor, bar, ceremony set up, reception tents, DJ sound booth/speakers and flat deck truck parking, etc, etc, were all on their property. The only thing that ended up in our yard were the porta potties.

I'm not sure if they signed up for this circus.

"Hi, I'm Jane. From next door. I'm just checking with you regarding this wedding..."
"Hi, good to meet you. Isn't it exciting? It looks so good."
"Are you OK with this invasion? I didn't expect them to spread over your entire yard..."
"Not a problem. We had a wedding a few weeks ago in our back yard at home, and understand how these thing go."

We continued chatting for awhile, and then I mentioned our septic issues.
"Do you have someone to help you out?" she asked.
"No, we've hit a brick wall..."
"I know just the guy. He's a good friend. Tell him I gave you his number. I'm sure he'll be able to help you tonight."

"Hi, could I speak to Jake please?"
"He's out on an emergency call right now, can I take a message?"
"Heh heh, this is an emergency call too..."
"Here's his cell number ..."

"Hi, Jake?"
"Yes, what can I do for you?"
"I have a cabin at Lindell Beach and am neighbours with Eena, she gave me your number. We have a septic system that is not working, and I have waste coming up through my shower basin. We are hosting at wedding with 170 guests tomorrow afternoon and I desperately need some help."
"No problem, I can empty that tank out for you tomorrow at noon. You probably need a new pump, and I can't help you with that, but I can clean out your tank so you have holding room over the weekend."
"Is there any way you can come out tonight? It's almost 6 pm and I will have 40 people here for dinner at 7. And I have half a dozen folks staying for night and getting ready for the wedding in the morning."
"Hmmmm. You see, the thing is, I just did another emergency job, and my truck's tank doesn't have much room left in it. And I can't empty it, and get up to your place in time. Hmmmm. How about if I come up tonight and take what I can, which will get you through the evening. Then I'll come back tomorrow (Saturday, day of the wedding) and empty the tanks completely. You'll need a septic system specialist to fix it on Monday."

So while this:

was happening in the back yard,

was going on in the front yard. 

And at the same time, Clint was standing at the BBQ, flipping burgers, while I was torn between photographing everything and putting the meal on the table. (It is hard to document one's life and live one's life AT THE SAME TIME.) (Or, put another way, it's hard to live one's life without thinking, "Finally, I have something interesting to post on my blog. I should take photos to support this post - no one likes to read long paragraphs of text with no images.)

Anyway, it was all good. 
By 10 pm, the rehearsal was done, just about everything was set up, we all were fed, and the dishes were washed. By midnight, Drew, Danica, Clint, Max, and I were watching Hunger Games when Clint's phone rang. All the hotels in Chilliwack were full, did we have room for Dan (Nick's brother) and his wife? I shuffled us around and gave them the master bedroom. At 2 am, just as I was heading to bed, we got another phone call - another groomsman was without lodging, could he come over as well? Another set of bedding, another mattress on the floor, and we were good to go. 

Thank you, God. 

I fell asleep at around 4 am, with that knot at the back of my knee pounding as it grew larger and larger.


(Will continue this later. It's Monday night, and Jake the pumper guy is back AGAIN.)

(I am back, it's now Tuesday, 1:00 am. I am at home. Which is starting to feel less like home. Before I left for the cabin in a rush last Friday, I was accumulating little messes while trying to eliminate big catastrophes. So the garage is full of bagged chippies. [Photo to come. I can't remember which bag I packed my camera in.] Industrial fans have been removed from the crawl space and are in the front entrance. The 20 year old Jasmine vine, that used to grow up the right side of the house has been sheered off and left in the driveway in a big pile that screams "Jane is a lazy housekeeper", while the pile mountain of 'trimmed' grapevine branches, sit in the backyard, crying because I am not a tree hugger. The two sons who helped me with my crawlspace had showers before they left for the lake, leaving 6 towels on the floor to greet me when I went upstairs just now.)

Just in case you're wondering how the weekend went, I'll continue with my tragic story. Which at least one person is finding very funny. I've re-read this post 3 times, AND NOT ONCE DO I BREAK IN LAUGHTER.
(See comment below).


I got up around 9 am, and made it downstairs 'round 10-ish.
Dan, the best man, had left for Langley at 7am in order to find someone who could help him with final touches (a bumper, brakes, and something else) onto the car that Nick wanted to drive on his wedding day. Then bring it out to the lake on a flat-deck trailer.

Clint had a master list, given to him from the bride and her maids, of all the last minute things that needed to be set out. Wine glasses at each place setting. Personalized mason jars for each guest. Seating charts. Flips flops, sunglasses, hand sanitizer ... He met with the caterers who took over the kitchen and laundry room, he met with the pig roast guys and showed them where to set up.

I met with the septic tank guy again, and paid him to empty our tanks. I met with the neighbours and arranged to buy power off as many of them as I could ... the tents, the tree, the sound booth, etc all needed to be on separate circuits and I had run out of power sources at our cabin.

Parking directions were posted, directional signs were erected, and before we knew it, the groomsmen all arrived needing showers. The bride's and groom's family arrived. THE CAR ARRIVED. The golf cart was picked up. And the bride and her girls showed up...

And in the midst of the craziness, Jeff, our summer neighbour, arrived to introduce me to his daughter, Paisley:

So precious, no?


1 comment:

Bob Kuhn said...


Seriously, I have not laughed so hard in weeks. I laughed so hard that the rest of the house ended up in my den wondering what aspect of Parkinson's disease had taken hold of my deteriorating brain. I read them your blog. Everyone laughed until they cried. You tell a great story! sort of reminds me of Irma Bombeck. I don't know if that's a compliment given that she's dead Andrew would have been 85 if she was alive, but that's who you reminded me of.

Thank you for making me laugh. I really needed that today. It was a gift.