geeklover80: (Merthur Just Hold Me)
[personal profile] geeklover80
Mike and I have been in the new house for close to two months now. I feel like I'm finally starting to get settled in the house like I don't feel strange in the house and I'm getting used to being here. Of course, I still have brain fart moments where I reach for something where it used to be, like toilet paper for example, and suddenly "Oh, yeah it's not there anymore. Different house."

When we were first moving in, Mike joked that the house was a fixer upper - though not as bad as his friends, Tom and Sean's house. They bought a house a couple of years ago. We stayed there the last time we were in Maryland. There's a huge area in front of the house that is completely gutted and it's basically a ditch. Their basement's a mess. They told us nightmare stories about lighting issues and having to replace the wiring and other problems. Our house is definitely not that bad, but we definitely have our own issues to deal with here.


One of the biggest things we're dealing with is a bug problem. Not just one type of bug, but various bugs. The first bug problem we realized we had was having to do with spiders. We were in the garage one of the first days we were moving our stuff in and I heard Michael make some kind of noise and kill something. He said it was a spider. I was kind of shocked. Usually, in the old house when I killed spiders in front of Michael he got annoyed because he said that spiders were good bugs. He likes them especially because they eat mosquitoes, which are constantly attacking Michael and are the bane of his existence.

But he killed that one and he told me that it was a Black Widow spider. That freaked me out a little, but Michael said that it's not as serious as it sounded. He said that they are one of the only poisonous spiders but that their poison is really only harmful to really young people or elderly people. Also, he said that they're generally docile. But still, Michael killed that one and, unfortunately, we've seen a few more since that one and he's killed those. He found so many spider webs outside and even in the house. The first time I went to get the mail, I opened the mailbox and it was covered in spider webs inside and there was a black widow in there. It seemed that Michael was right about it being docile because when I had stuck my hand inside to get the mail it didn't move at all.

I think it's been awhile since we've seen a black widow, but we have seen not only a lot of spiders - and spider webs (they keep sprouting up no matter what we do) - around, but a weird variety of them. Several times Mike has had to post pictures of them on FaceBook to find out what they are from a friend of his who is very knowledgeable about bugs. One day, Mike had used the blender and had left it in the sink. I went to clean it and had no issues when I cleaned the parts of it that were in the left sink. I left for a few minutes and when I came back to clean the main part of the blender that was on the right side of the sink, when I lifted it up I saw this huge brown spider that seemed to get spooked and tried to scurry off. I freaked out and killed it, even though Michael still wants me to try not to kill them and just move them outside. I had to ask Michael what kind of spider it was when he got home.

Just before I started writing this post, I walked into the kitchen and went to the pantry. Before I opened the door, I looked up and saw a spider just above one of the cabinets. A few minutes later, I went back and saw a spider at the bottom of the cabinet near the sink. It's ridiculous. I don't have a phobia about spiders but we shouldn't have this many. Michael finally got on board with that. Last week, he said he was going to look online for home remedies against spiders. He said that while he likes spiders we shouldn't have this many inside the house. He did make this mint water thing today and sprayed it and we hope it's going to help.

While I don't have a phobia about spiders, I do when it comes to roaches which are also a problem we're dealing with. I've never been comfortable with roaches. When I was a kid and we lived in New York, I would sometimes see them in our tv room, which was in the basement. They were pretty small so they didn't freak me out too much. Though there was one incident with my sister that's pretty much always stayed with me. She was eating cereal and after she finished it and started drinking the milk she found a roach in her bowl. For the longest time, when I ate cereal I would scrape my spoon along the bottom of a bowl just to check. It wasn't until I moved the Florida that my phobia really kicked into high gear. My mother had the house exterminated. We had to leave for a few hours while the house was fumigated. When we got back home there were dead roaches ALL OVER. And, the roaches in Florida were far larger than the ones in New York. We had to clean them all up. That definitely freaked me out and stayed with me.

Roaches aren't crawling around here at all times or anything, but I've definitely seen more here than I did probably in the entire time I was living at Jean and Greg's (though the times I did see roaches at Jean and Greg's were some of my worst roach experiences ever including one time when a roach actually started crawling on me when I was in bed.) Like with the spiders, Mike's never really shared my hatred of them. In fact, when we first started dating and I told him about it, he laughed and said roaches didn't bother him and said one of his favorite movies is Joe's Apartment (a movie about a guy who moves into this apartment and encounters talking roaches). He then had me buy him the movie on iTunes. Mike says he doesn't have a problem with them because they're harmless.

Though, thankfully, like with the spider situation, Mike has tried to be more helpful about dealing with the roach issue. We've gotten roach bait and put them all over the house. It's not a foolproof solution, but I do think the instances of seeing bugs went down since I put them out. We bought bug barrier to put around the house outside (though Mike's hesitant since he doesn't want to put chemicals out in front where he wants to grow flowers and vegetables.) He's talked to a friend of his that's an exterminator about things we can do to avoid them, like drying the sink after using it because roaches like having a source of water. He even heard about some woman, I can't remember if it was on Facebook or someone he sees at the stores he works at, that said she has an exterminator and she pays him to come to her house four times a year and she doesn't have any problems. We're not sure we want to go that route yet. It's gotten a little better. We can go days without seeing one. I saw one a couple of weeks ago after a week and half of not seeing one and it might have been Mike's fault that it was there. He had bought apple pie and he left it on the counter. It wasn't open, but it wasn't closed tightly. That was only the second one we've seen in the kitchen. Though, unfortunately, since then I've seen a couple more in there.

The bug barrier powder he's put around the garage seems to be working. I've seen a lot of dead roaches, mostly small ones, in there.

The places we've seen the roaches the most is - grossly enough - our bathroom sink (though not for awhile) - and the spare bathroom. The first one I saw in the sink was a small one in the drain catcher. For some reason, I wasn't as freaked out about that one. But a couple of nights later, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and saw a slightly bigger one in the sink. Before I had much time to react it crawled into the overflow hole. I had no idea where that led to. A few days later, Mike said he also saw one in the sink. I wasn't sure if it was the same one or a different one. Also, one day while I was cleaning I noticed these small black spots on the counter. Immediately, I realized they were probably roach droppings which I don't think I'd ever noticed anywhere else. I kept wondering if the same roach from the sink was just hanging around our bathroom, coming out at night, and crapping around our bathroom. Thankfully, I haven't seen one in the sink for a while.

I haven't seen one at all *knock on wood* in the spare room (though that might be because we're hardly in there) and just one in the den/living room.

One of the biggest problems we have with getting rid of the roaches, and the spiders and ants, are outside issues. Like a month ago, Mike showed me that he had to spray ant spray around the edges on top of the house because there were clusters of ants at each corner. There were a bunch of dead ants. He said he thought they might be getting into the house (along with other bugs) because we have cracks there. He said he needs to fill them but he hasn't done that yet. I worry that until we get the cracks sealed up we're still going to have the bug issues from time to time. Also, in front of the house, we have a bunch of mulch there and Jean came over one day and she was messing around in there and she said she saw a bunch of roaches there. Mike said the same thing a few days ago when he removed some of the mulch in front so he could plant some flowers. He told me I didn't want to know how many roaches he had to squish. I told him removing the mulch is going to be his job because there is no way I can deal with that.

We've also had a tiny ant problem. Literally. I hadn't seen many ants at all and then one day I was walking past the kitchen and suddenly saw a bunch of really tiny bugs on the counter. I killed them and almost immediately saw more close to the sink. I wasn't sure if they were coming from the window or one of the electrical outlets. I killed them and only saw one or two after that. When Mike got home, I showed him one and he said he thought they were really tiny ants. He said those are the hardest to deal with. He said something about them being in various packs and not being able to figure out where they're coming from because they could be coming from all over. Though, the only place we've seen them is in the kitchen and in one spot in the kitchen on the left side of the sink.

Over the next few days, I'd seen a couple more but not too many. Still, Michael decided to put these sticky ant traps he had bought for the old house. The next day, I saw a swarm of ants around the trap. I killed some of those and had to throw out the trap. He put another one there, but I didn't see any ants sticking to that one like they had to the first one. I thought it wasn't working until Mike explained that they work like the roach bait and the ants are supposed to walk through the sticky stuff he puts on the trap and then take it back to wherever the other ants are gathered and hopefully kill them all. It might have finally worked because I haven't seen any of them in days.

Another major issue is that a lot of our doors suck. The front door isn't too bad, though we don't use it that often since we mostly come in through the garage. But a problem with the front door is that most of the time I have trouble unlocking the top lock. It's ridiculously difficult. The door to the spare bathroom and room are okay. The door to our bedroom also is mostly okay, except the doorknob is really loud. Like when I go to the living room at night, I try to leave as quietly as possible so not to disturb Michael (even though it's mostly useless since he has vampire hearing.) When I close the door and turn the doorknob, the doorknob makes the loudest sound. It's the only door that does that.

But the worst doors are the ones near the kitchen and garage. All of them will probably need to be replaced. The wood is rotting on most of them. One of the doors doesn't really close, which is definitely worrying when it comes to the security of the house. We have three doors in the garage. One on the left wall, another on the front wall, and one on the right wall that leads to the laundry room. The one leading to the laundry room wasn't closing properly. Michael said it was probably because the hinges weren't on right. He tried to fix it, but ever since he did it's worse and won't close all the way. It makes me think that it could make it easier for someone to break in. The door on the front wall of the garage is a solid door, but the door on the left wall has panes of glass. They're really thick, but I worry someone could break the glass and then since the door leading to the laundry room can't close (or lock) it's that much easier for someone to get in. Though, I've tried to console myself that it's possible if someone is desperate enough to get in and break the glass, they might be able to pick any lock we put on that door. But still, we definitely need to get it fixed.

We also have some wonky wiring issues. A lot of our electrical outlet covers, especially in the kitchen and garage, are extremely dirty or cracked or have fallen off altogether. I was really concerned when one fell off in the kitchen. I've read that roaches can live in the walls, so considering our bug issues, I was worried that bugs might come through there but Mike said it shouldn't be an issue and so far it hasn't been.

The electrical outlet in our spare bathroom is upside down so you have to plug in everything with the plug turned upside down, which feels weird. In our room, the main light switch has two switches. One is normal and controls the ceiling fan and light. But the second didn't seem to do anything. But one night, Michael was plugging in his phone and I used the second switch accidentally and it his phone stopped charging. I thought that meant it controlled that electrical outlet but then one day I tried to plug the vacuum into the same outlet, which I already had my computer plugged into which was working fine. The computer worked fine, but the vacuum wouldn't start. So, I went to the light switch and flicked that second one and the vacuum came on. So, it turns out it the switch only controls the top outlet for some reason.

Mike wants to do some work on the wiring because of some of those issues but mainly because of problems with a light fixture in the dining area. There's what looks like a dimmer switch for the light that's next to our room. It doesn't dim the light, but when you press it the light turns on or off. I used it to turn the light off one night, but the next day when I tried to use it again it didn't work. Turned out that the light is controlled by both that round switch and one of the switches by the kitchen. The light switch by the kitchen has three switches and the one in the middle controls the light, sort of. I still haven't figured out how it exactly works.

I think the bigger problem with it (and the wiring in the house) is the light constantly flickering. The light fixture in the dining area is always flickering. But also, our bathroom when you turn on the light it either flickers or it takes a while for it to turn on. Also, when you turn it on the light in the dining area you hear a buzzing sound coming from the "dimmer" switch. That's not the only place we've heard an odd buzzing sound. A couple of weeks ago, I kept hearing weird noises in the kitchen. At first, I wasn't sure what the sound was. It seemed like it could be some kind of skittering, so I was freaked that there might be bugs in the bottom kitchen cabinets. But when Mike got home and I told him about it, he said he thought the noise was coming from the vent in the ceiling. I realized he was right. Neither of us knew what it could be. I was worried it meant something was wrong with the A/C.

Turns out that's probably not what was wrong with the A/C - not that I know of - but there still was, unfortunately, something wrong with the A/C. We had a power outage a couple of weeks ago. It really only lasted about five seconds. When the electricity came back, I expected everything to come back right away. The internet didn't come back right away and I ended up having to jostle the modem a little to get that going. I was in the laundry room and I realized it felt like it was muggier in there than usual. I checked and it seemed like the A/C was on, the display said "cool on" but it didn't really feel like the air was coming from the vents. I decided to give it a few minutes. After a few minutes, there was still nothing and I was starting to really worry that the outage screwed up the A/C. I went to the fuse box and made sure everything was turned on and it was.

I decided to give it more time. For some reason, it didn't occur to me until later to go online and check what you should do if your A/C doesn't turn on after a power outage. I tried the common fix I saw there, but that didn't work. Mike called Jean and Greg and I guess they walked him through trying to potentially assess what was wrong. After that, Mike said they gave him the number of an A/C repair guy they used recently. We hoped that he could come out right away, but when he called back he said he could only come the next morning. It ended up not really being that bad for the night. I've definitely slept through hotter conditions.

The next morning, the guy came by while I was asleep. When I woke up, Mike asked if I wanted the good news first or the bad news. For some reason, whenever Mike presents me with that option I go for the bad news first. I think I just want to get it over with and like to have the good news relieve any agony from the bad news. Mike said that the repair said that our entire A/C system was on its last legs. We had leaks in some important spots. He put a stop gap on there and even with the stop gap he said it was only an 80% that would even work (thankfully, so far it has worked.) The stop gap cost about $450. He said that the A/C would probably last only two, three more seasons. I asked Mike what that meant but he wasn't sure. We think that possibly means two more summer seasons, so this year and next year. To replace the whole thing it'll cost $4500. I asked Mike what the good news was and he said it was that the stop gap cost $450 and we paid that instead of needing to replace the whole thing right then.

That's just a nightmare, though I tried to look on the bright side because later I realized maybe we can use next year's tax return money to fix the system. The last couple of years all of Michael's returns were used to pay off my student loans, but now that's done. And both years we got over 3k (I know because I was so pissed we couldn't use that money for something else.) I hate the thought of having to use that money yet again on one thing, but it's our best bet besides saving for it. The only hitch is Mike said both years his return was that high because both years he had to pay out of pocket to go to school so he got reimbursed for that with his tax money. But this year, neither of us has gone to school yet. Though, I'm pretty sure even without that Mike would probably get around 2k because that was usually what he got before.

It hasn't been all horrible news. We've made some big purchases for the house. Our first was getting a new dryer - though that was because the old one wasn't working. Jean said something about possibly getting a new dryer before we moved in. But when we first started looking through the house before we moved in, Jean looked at the dryer and she seemed to think that it was okay. But when I started using it, I soon realized that the clothes weren't tumbling in the dryer and it was taking forever for the clothes to get dry. I had to physically move the drum a few times to get it spinning when I turned the dryer on and even that wouldn't work if I had too many clothes in there. It was a headache, so we got a new dryer.

I wanted to get a dryer with a few more options then, basically, delicates and non-delicates like they had basically inexpensive ones that had sections for drying bedding. But, on his mother's advice, Mike wanted a Whirlpool, and the Whirlpool dryers were very basic but we went with his choice there.

Even though we had the two comfy armchairs, we decided our next purchase would be a couch for the living room because I wanted us to be able to sit together. We had a lot of coaches we liked but we narrowed it down to two. One was a nice comfortable sectional and the other was a couch that had cupholders. We both really liked the idea of having the couch with cup-holders but, ultimately I decided on the other couch because we really couldn't sit together on the couch with the cupholders.

We decided our next purchase would probably be a kitchen table and I already knew which one I wanted. But we were going to hold off on getting it because we really couldn't afford anything else. To our surprise, Jean called one day and she asked if we had decided on the table we wanted. I told her yes. Next thing, I knew she was calling a few hours later and asking me to open the garage because she had bought the table for us. To my even bigger surprise, it turned out it wasn't Jean who bought it but Mike's grandmother Marti. She has been horrible, so definitely bowled me over. I still don't like her much, but I am appreciative of the table.

The next thing will probably be patio furniture. I think I would prefer to get a bedroom set because I hate our headboard and I would like to try and get a bed that doesn't squeak as much. But Mike wants to get patio furniture before we throw any kind of housewarming get together, so people will have someplace to sit.

But we definitely have to save up more before we can get anything else. For now, we're comfortable with what we have and are enjoying our privacy. :)

Stacey

Date: 2017-07-27 01:43 pm (UTC)
used_songs: (Default)
From: [personal profile] used_songs
Wow! You are handling all of these things really well. When we first moved in here we had a lot of scorpions and that freaked me out. The roaches though ... I couldn't handle it. I used to live in an apartment building from the 20s/30s and I would wake up at night to find roaches crawling on the walls and floor, even though I did everything in my power to keep them out and had a cat who hunted bugs.

I'm glad you can get a couple more seasons from the AC. That's a huge expense and easier to plan for if you know you'll be replacing it later.

Date: 2017-07-27 04:48 pm (UTC)
digthewriter: (Arthur_Sword)
From: [personal profile] digthewriter
Oh man, I hate roaches. I don't have a phobia but I grew up in India and we had them and it was quite the problem. My partner is afraid of spiders beyond all reason.

All the best w/ your $$ savings to get new furniture!

xo

Date: 2017-07-29 03:30 am (UTC)
suze2000: (Default)
From: [personal profile] suze2000
Tip to saving the money for the a/c: use the old-fashoined clothesline to dry your clothes. Yes, outside, with pegs. You'd be flummoxxed at how much it costs to run a dryer and unless it's really wet and cold, your clothes will dry in less than a day. We haven't had one for three years and it's been fine. You'll also be saving the planet by not wasting all that electricity on it. Really if you are living in a house with a yard, there's room for a clothesline and no need for a dryer at all.

Date: 2017-07-30 10:46 am (UTC)
vix_spes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] vix_spes
Omg, even reading your post made me squirm and shudder I'm that arachnophobic. I don't know how you're coping with it. I second the suggestion for an old-fashioned clothesline - we don't have a dryer at all and the racks work for us. I hope you get it all sorted soon!

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