Monday, September 17, 2012

Perhaps I am just defective

Would you like me to write you a check? How about you over there? Or do you prefer Visa?

Someone told me, right after I bought my house, that your house and your car secretly conspire with each other to have problems at the same time. September has been EXPENSIVE. Between refinancing, freaking out about mold, and having the ducts cleaned, my wallet is hurting.

My car got hit by another hit and run last month, while sitting in front of our house. They took off my driver's side mirror, which I later found hiding in the hellstrip. $247 later and I feel like I should never park my car on any public Portland streets, ever. This is after I just got my car repaired from the last hit and run.

I had Garrett out from Mold Testing Services of Oregon to inspect the house for evidence of mold that could be triggering my allergies ($450). I told a friend that I don't know what I fear more: that they'll find a horrible mold infestation or that they'll find nothing and it will turn out that I'm just one of those wheezy asthmatic kids who can't play tetherball because my lungs are stupid.

He spent two hours using a moisture sensor and crawling through the crawlspaces and attic, as well as combing every inch of the basement and the rest of the house (even the closets, ack). He had some suggestions but returned no smoking gun. He ran two air culture tests, and he expects them to come back normal. He said this is a very well built house. I gotta say, this guy was so nice to work with.

He said it seemed like I did a good job installing the laminate flooring in the basement and sees no reason to remove it. GO ME. Score one for doing it yourself.

He recommended tightening the toilet bolts because, despite replacing the wax ring and using a dime to shim the toilet, it's still rocking. I can't believe my dime trick didn't work. He suggested calling a plumber so they could do it right. Score one for calling in a professional. He said to get rid of the carpet on the basement stairs because, no shit Sherlock, it's disgusting.

He recommended an air purifier for me, which should help my allergies tremendously. Who wants to bet I should have just done that and called it a day? He also said that the soil grading in our yard was fucked up (the dirt slopes toward the house instead of away from it). Do you want to know where it's fucked up? Right where that guy drove his bobcat through our yard to remove the concrete slab. I'm fairly certain that most of the world's problems can be traced back to that unlicensed jerk riding his Bobcat of Destruction through our yard. Cholera epidemic? That guy. Hurricanes in the south? The weather gods are punishing us for hiring that guy when he probably wasn't bonded.

While we were exploring the basement we noticed that there was water all around the furnace. The condensation pump had misfired, overheated, and melted in places. I initially thought the guy from Power Vac broke it but Jacob's (who installed my furnace) said it was just funny timing.

Ha ha ha ha! Hoo. Ha. ($275) I'm laughing so hard I'm crying now! But I am grateful it didn't start a fire. I'm glad I was in the basement with the mold dude and we were looking at things with a critical eye. This is good.

I also went shopping with Scott this weekend, to Wind Dancer Garden. We had just seen Carolyn Kolb speak on ornamental grasses last Tuesday and she is a wonderful speaker. I cannot recommend making a trip to Salem to see her enough. She and her husband are incredibly sweet, the nursery is gorgeous, and they have all sorts of wonderful grasses and bamboos you can't find anywhere else.

13 big pots of grasses for less than $100. Gardening, I love you more and more every day. We also hit up Dancing Oaks and almost got lost outside of Monmouth, where surely the hill people would have murdered us. So that's a silver lining, too: we didn't get murdered by hill people. Now I just need a little bit of rain to make the ground workable. JUST A LITTLE, OREGON. DON'T START WITH THE FULL-ON RAINY SEASON JUST YET.

In conclusion:

  1. Don't park your car on the streets of Portland. 
  2. My house looks nice today. I paid a lot of money to hear that.
  3. If you have terrible allergies, get an air purifier and THEN do all this other stuff if it doesn't fix it.
  4. Carolyn Kolb is a groovy chick and you should totally go to Wind Dancer.
  5. I may just be one those dorky asthmatic kids, unable to eat birthday cake at school because I have a peanut allergy.
  6. If you do have allergies, Flonase is a life saver.
  7. I can't make any of the suggested fixes for a couple of months because I am out of money.
  8. My hard drive is making a funny noise. Isn't that funny timing?
But I am alive, mostly healthy, and still a very lucky girl. I'll quit bitching now.


  1. Here's another thing in your favor: unlike me, you are not too scared of the potential costly results of having someone in to assess the situation professionally. Did they give any recommendations for how big/powerful an air purifier you need? We have a small one in our bedroom which we use for the purposes of white noise, but I'm thinking that perhaps running one all the time would be more effective. (Also, we just realized that we haven't replaced the filter in a disgustingly long time, so that's on the list, unless we get a bigger/better unit.) My general strategy is to fret over something for a few days and then forget about it if it seems like it might be too expensive to fix. I admire your bravery!

  2. This is some bum news. I hope you don't have mold. As a dorky allergy chick, I feel your pain. Same thing for all the expenses (my car is with a mechanic atm). Chin up.

  3. So sorry to hear of all your troubles. There have been times I can remember where it seems everything is breaking and money flows from your hands like water. Or that's how it feels. But, they don't last. And going to buy plants at a good garden center is always a good antidote.

  4. I have been thinking my allergies might be due to indoor air quality and have put off testing of any kind for exactly the reason you state. My boss (a doctor) finally said, "you need to get your house tested for mold."
    The guy seemed to think that the air purifier I linked to would be powerful enough to scrub the air in the basement. He said to move it around the house from room to room.

    And I am totally the same way! I fret endlessly over something until I get distracted worrying about something else, then it gets purged from my brain!

  5. Buying plants always makes me feel better. :) I need to put in some bulb orders, which are even more fun since they don't charge until they ship!

  6. Thanks! I hadn't thought of moving the purifier around from room to room - makes sense!

  7. OMG...I have so much secondary anxiety for your...and I'm STILL obsessed with Hobo spiders too! I watched a special on PBS a few months ago about Radon...and it keeps popping up in the back of my mind. I'm just glad to know there are other people out there who fret constantly...and if they don't have something to fret about...they fret that they are forgetting to fret about the most fretful thing EVER! ;-) A little plant therapy is always balm to our frazzled nerves. I spent most of the day yesterday traipsing around with my new grasses, placing them around the garden. I think I should submit my performance to PICA for next year's TBA...then at least I can charge my neighbors for watching me get my crazy on!

  8. Luckily I haven't seen any of the really big spiders since a couple of weeks ago. There's nothing in the sticky traps either, which means they were probably some ultra-smart spider that's now plotting to get me.

    And I have seen some really stupid stuff during TBA; I would orally watch you rearrange plants!

  9. I'll put a hit out for the asshole who hit your car. Bastard.

  10. That can be your project when you visit us!

  11. R is the fret king around here. He did all the research and bought an Alen top-of-the-line air purifier. He swears it was a good investment, but I have yet to walk into the room when it's on. I still sneeze, and he still snuffles.

  12. So he bought it but never uses it?

  13. Hit and run? Does your car have a sensor whereby it will make noise if there are intruders? It tickles me a little to hear that but I know how you feel. haha

    If you need tips about molds in the future, you can also visit for more information