Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Moving In

I feel like I've been through one of the most stressful times of my life over the past month, on a par with losing my singing voice for six months in 2003 (and the psychic costs associated with it) and the implosion of my career change to academia in 1996. Who would have thought that a simple move 15 minutes down the road could cause so much grief?

The main problem, at least in terms of me handling stress, has been the lack of sleep. Where I can survive on six to eight hours so long as it's mostly uninterrupted and I can get into delta sleep for a bit, I do OK. However, lately I've been lucky to get six hours, and rarely do I sleep for more than an hour or two before waking up. In the new house, it's really been a problem, mostly because I've lost confidence in *anything* in the house to work correctly, and so every noise, every smell, every everything wakes me and I go looking to see what the problem is.

An excellent example is the HVAC system, outlined in the last post. Even once the new system was in, I found myself freezing at night as if there was no heat at all. After one night spent mostly trying to figure out why I was so cold, I came to the conclusion that it was a combination of several elements: poor circulation, even with the furnace fan running all the time, my own sudden sensitivity to cold, and a weird phenomenon in my sinuses where I'm both extremely sensitive to smells as well as feel like my chest and sinuses have menthol on them and so things *smell* cold.

Unfortunately, even with an extra comforter on the bed, suddenly I wake up drenched in sweat to have to adjust the covers, only to wake up again in 30 minutes freezing. No wonder I'm not sleeping. I've gotten a prescription for a mild sedative, we'll see if that helps.

It appears that the smell issue, which started in earnest when the ductwork was replaced, has gotten better, although I now believe that much of the problem is with musty wood in the cabinets and the 30 year old parquet entry. The entry we can replace fairly soon, but the cabinets will have to wait for their respective remodel efforts. We've just spent too much too soon to start thinking about these elements for at least a year, and the moldy Room Of Death dictates that we make some basic architectural changes in order to prevent future water leaks and possible mold. In other words, the deck above the room of death is going to be replaced by a regular roof in pretty short order, like next summer. Once I pass the HOA inspection process, of course.

Speaking of the Room of Death (RoD), the remediators are now at work on it. On Tuesday, they brought over the zipper door to install inside so that they could get into the room to open the sliding door, and also installed a HEPA filter of the Gods to achieve negative pressure in the room. Imagine my surprise when, "awakening" from an attempted nap, that the new door, the only thing between me and a mold that I was told would produce organ failure if I was exposed to it for 20 minutes in the concentrations found in that very room, was coming loose at the top.

I calmed down about an hour later. They came back and stapled the damned thing to the wall, something I could have done (and they should have done) were I able to find my staple gun. Today, they removed pretty much every piece of drywall, ceiling, floor, and mold in the place. We're down to the studs now, which is good because today it rained and tomorrow we should be able to see where the leak is coming from. At least we'll have one year of worrying if there's another leak, but after replacing that roof we should (should, I say) be relatively safe.

I really can't do this again. Last night, I was ready to get in the car with Mel and the dogs and drive into the ocean. Today, I got a sedative from my doctor, as well as chest x-rays and a blood test to see if I've absorbed anything that will kill me quicker than usual. One fun fact- my BP is 168/92. Pop goes the weasel.

We've gotten a lot of unpacking downstairs done, with Mel doing the lion's share of the work - I've been off helping my mother and getting drugs and prepping for a choir concert I really should have dropped out of three weeks ago and now feel obligated to finish. I figure we've gotten through about a third of the process, which will next move on to the garage and, eventually, the new game room. At this rate, I expect to have it set up around Thanksgiving.

Of the 20 other things going wrong, we have plumbing that used lots of compression nuts and bendable metal tubes, a "time bomb" in the words of one mold inspector, an electrical system that I don't trust for a minute, a leak in the roof that I sure hope they fixed today, a shower upstairs whose faucet leaks when you use it, venting from three different rooms in the main floor that were sent to the soffet instead of an actual vent, a toilet in the master bath that hiccups ever fifteen minutes, two giant air scrubbers trying desperately to find the last of the stachy botrys mold in the air that *isn't* in the RoD), replacing pretty much every light fixture, electrical outlet, and switch in the house, and bills that are rapidly reaching $15,000 more than I expected. And that's just to take care of the things that need work *now*.

At least it looks like the inspectors will pay for the new ductwork, or so it seems when the owner comes out of his morphine fog after double knee replacements. I hope, because as much fun as it will be to destroy this company in a civil lawsuit and the associated storm of consumer complaints I'll file, I really need the rest.

Last night I got to the point where I wished fervently that I could turn back time two months and just laugh at my sister when she suggested that Mel and I move to Charbonneau. Maybe I'll feel better after one decent night's sleep on the sedative (which really haven't worked well for me in the past, at least for sleep), and maybe once every box on the main floor has been emptied, the packing paper collected, the boxes sorted and saved for my sister's move (the other one, not the bad suggestion one), and I can't smell that funk anymore, then I'll feel better. God, I hope so.

I am sorry that this blog has been such a downer as of late, but to be very honest I kind of feel like it's therapy for me. Hopefully I'll be able to start giving good news at some point, but right now I just want to sleep.

1 comment:

Greg W said...

You've pretty much earned the right to vent. What a nightmare!