Home Again, Home Again–Mischief Update

*Yawn!* Yesterday was a long day of driving. I’d like to know whose idea it was–it surely wasn’t mine!–to put the human female’s mother’s place in a different time zone, so that about twenty minutes into the already-long trip it is suddenly an hour later already. We returned home a via different route, one that goes past a rather scenic dam-made lake and not through an hour and a half of stop-and-go traffic associated with the Big City to the West.

So here we all are again, back in the heat and swampy humidity. I’ve healed Sigyn’s broken arm and she’s as chipper as ever. I so hated seeing her in that awful cast!

The humans noticed immediately upon pulling into the driveway that the roofer had not made good on his promise to fix some small areas of roof/gutter intersection that weren’t nailed down properly. A call to him has brought a further promise to send someone out to attend to that this week, weather permitting. And the gutter replacement? No sign of it.

The lawn looks like the Pampas of the Argentine. Of course, I’ve seen to it that there are a few bare spots where take-all patch has done a number on the St. Augustinegrass, so the effect is somewhat patchy. Still, mowing will have to happen soon or else the humans will get a nastygram from the City. The human female need not worry, however, about mowing down the blooms of her perennial, autumn-flowering schoolhouse lilies because they are nowhere to be seen. Did they flower while she was away, or are they late this year? I know, but I’m not telling!

The house also needs some attention. The houseplants are gasping for a drink, various cats have been sick in various spots (the cat sitter cleaned up, but you can still see where), and the dust bunnies have mutated into dust rhinos. There is laundry to be done, along with grocery shopping, and the kitchen window is just begging to be cleaned. (Don’t look at me. I don’t do windows.)

I have been playing hide and seek. I hid the female’s watch before we left on our trip. She tore the house apart looking for it but did not find it. Her mother gave her a spare one and she has put a new battery in it. Of course, once she’d spent the money to do that, I poked the old one out of hiding. The male found it in the box of “tech” they’d taken on the trip. Such tech! You would not believe the number of chargers, cables, adapters, hubs, etc. that those two own! The human female never can find the charging cable she needs, or the one that gets photos out of her phone. If she has the cable for the tablet, the one for her tiny fan is missing. If she knows where the fan cable is, the one for her phone has gone AWOL. The red one goes with her blue camera. The white one goes with the blue iPad. The blue fan has a black cable. It’s diabolical! She’s tried keeping them in designated spots–it’s like she’s never even met me.

Today I have hidden the human female’s spectacles. She knows she had to have them to see the TV last night (catching up on the news) but took them off to work on her computer. Logically, then, they should be somewhere between the living room and the dining room table. It’s been immense fun, watching the humans turn the house inside out, rummage through the garbage already in the bin, riffle through piles of paper, grope around in the sofa and then move it away from away from the wall (look! cat toys! more dust rhinos! that leg weight you’ve been missing!). I know where the glasses are, but I’m not telling. Maybe I’ll nudge them into her path tomorrow. Then again, maybe not. First her watch, now her glasses. She feels lost without either. Next, I think I’ll hide her library card. Then a shoe… Or car keys… Or maybe a pair of the shorts she wears so often… There are so many options!

And then there is plumbing. One of the felines was sick this morning–ate too quickly and harfed up all her kibble. The human female grabbed a tissue, scooped it up, and disposed of it in the commode. Imagine her panic when it wouldn’t go down!! She sprinted for the plunger, still in her pajamas and socks. The plunger proved ineffective, but she did manage to reach an arm in (ugh!) and pull out a wad of clog. More plunging. Now, all of this frantic plunging and groping splashed water all over her, her socks, the floor, and the toilet. Reaching into the cabinet under the sink to get the disinfecting cleaner just knocked two bars of soap into the cats’ water dish, putting *more* water on the floor. The human male, coming to help and to bring her the long plumbing snake I’d hidden in garage, walked through the water on his way out of the bathroom and left tracks throughout the house. She did eventually get the clog resolved, and then they both spent a good chunk of the rest of the morning mopping, scrubbing, disinfecting, and then cleaning the rest of the floor, themselves, the plunger, the cats’ bowl, and the various towels used in the operation. Tomorrow, I will induce the other feline to gobble her breakfast and then re-present it for inspection, and we’ll see what happens next.

The human male has sent his misbehaving camera off for repair, but now his computer display is strobing and there’s a funny line down the middle. . . It’s still under warranty, but he’s going to have to travel to the Big City to the South to have it looked at, and if it’s anything beyond a minor repair, it’ll have to be sent out for service. Before he can do any of it, he has to back up everything on the machine which will take (peers at status bar) approximately eleventy-three hours and fifty-four minutes.

That will give him plenty of time to get the insurance thing straightened out. The humans have their car insurance and credit card with Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… They’ve arranged to have their insurance billed to the card, which they pay off every month, rather than getting a separate insurance bill every month. Recently, that arrangement has become unarranged, and individual bills have been arriving. The male has called and called and emailed and emailed, and each time, he has been assured that everything is back the way he wants it. Another monthly insurance bill has arrived today and he is on the phone–again–trying to make it past the phone tree to bludgeon some cooperation out of them. We’ll see how that goes.


He was finally able to talk to a live human being who assured him that yes, insurance was being billed yearly to the card, but that their “new and improved” billing systems is programmed to send out a bill to everyone every month anyway. No one, not the customers nor the help line folks, likes the new system. Well, rats! I thought it was some of my best work!

Aaaaad, Taffy Cat is on the dining room table again!

So, as you can see, settling back in and situation normal!

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Mischief Update: Mostly in the Cards

Bleargh. It’s too hot out to want to walk in the neighborhood. It’s too hot to want to get in the kitchen and cook. And the human female hasn’t replaced her stitching lamp yet, so things have been very boring here. No wildflowers, no homemade bread, and no needlework to sabotage. It’s just herbarium plants and postage stamps. I have had to content myself with the ongoing woes of condestruction and jamming monkey wrenches into the humans’ trying to get out of town to visit the female’s mother. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

The Europium II Fluoride is still out at the herbaruim.

The dryer has been doing the turning-itself-on thing again.

The ficus that the human female had to repot isn’t in quite a big enough pot and the pot it is in has soil up to the rim, so that every time she waters it, water overflows onto the books in the bookcase below. While I hate to damage a book, watching her kick herself for forgetting to buy a new pot makes me chuckle every time.

Attempts Total Involvement finally did finish the craft room ceiling.

They did a very good job, but the crew let the humans know they were on their own with regard to getting all the books from their temporary bunker in the garage back onto the shelves, despite what the original representative had said. In the end, the project manager and his trainee helped the human female lug all the boxes, and then she spent the better part of two days putting her room back to rights. Of course, I slipped the books a few magic fertility pills, and the human female swears she reshelved more books than she boxed up. She’s not wrong… I also multiplied the various tchotchkes and doohickeys that inhabit the windowsill. She has a functional room again, but if she purchases so much as a pin, something will explode. Naturally, I signed her up for the newsletter of every quilt fabric and bead purveyor there is.

The roof is still up in the air, as roofs are wont to be. The human male has expended approximately one-quarter of his time recently on trying to reach the roofer, who supposedly had worked out a contract with Usually Sounds Amiable…Although. He succeeded in making contact just last Friday. (I had convinced the roofer that the humans wanted to wait until they could get green shingles again, which is definitely not the case.) Suddenly, the project went from “Roofer? What roofer?” to “We can start week after next,” which has toppled several boxes worth of dominoes, calendar- vist-the-mother-wise. There will be a choice between Boring Brown and Grizzly Gray, which no one is pleased with. That’s a fine bit of mischief, but even I will miss the green ones. And after the roof, there will be gutters. Gutters offer so many opportunities for mischief and landscape wreckage; I’m sure at least of of the inhabitants of this house is going to enjoy the process.

The rest of the human male’s time has been spent on the phone with Usually Sounds Amiable… Although. I felt it was not sufficient mischief for him to have to listen to their scratchy, repetitive scratchy repetitive scratchy repetitive hold music for hours at a time trying to get word about the roof. Thus, I had his USAA credit card develop problems. In the past, the humans have had the USAA house and car insurance billed once or twice yearly to the USAA credit card, which the humans pay off every month. I got bored with that, so when USAA updated their customer information files, I switched them to having their insurance billed monthly. The male called and had them put that to rights. I unfixed it, so he kept getting daily email and calls about updating his information. He called again. I unfixed it again. We did several rounds of that, and he thinks the billing is straightened out. Ehehehehe. We shall see, mortal. We shall see.

Meanwhile, I couldn’t leave the human female feeling left out, so I played a little havoc with her credit card as well. She finally, finally found some jeans at Keeps Old Hairy Ladies Satisfied that fit her lumpy form, and she bought two pair. They were even on sale! The Helpful Clerk at the checkout told her that she could save 20% if she opened a charge account, which she agreed to (with the idea of paying it off immediately and then cutting up the card). Imagine her mortification when her card was declined at the register. She’s not insolvent (though I took care it should look that way to the lengthening line behind her!)–it was simply trying to read the card as a debit card, which it is not set up to be. So she tried her bank debit card–and it wouldn’t take that either! And she wasn’t carrying cash! Great Frigga’s corset! Was her face red! The clerk (no doubt memorizing her features so as to watch for them on the evening news or a post-office wanted poster) told her she could wait for the bill in the mail, address the charge online, or come into the store any time to pay her bill in an acceptable fashion.

She attempted to activate her new card online and pay it. She was unaware, you see, that I have a nice side hustle designing black-smudged gray-on-gray Captcha images and insuring that log-ins time out and then pages fail entirely. Ehehehe! She couldn’t get anywhere near a payment screen! She would have to pay in person. Once the human female felt she could show her face in the establishment again, she went in to do just that. And her credit card was declined again! And so was her debit card! Cue more groveling and humiliation! Lucky for her, the human male was along for the ride, and his debit card works. Finally the sales associate figured out that the reason the female’s credit card won’t work is because it IS a credit card. In his words, “You can’t pay credit with credit.” She gave up trying to explain to him that KOHLS was still getting paid, but he would have none of it.

Of course, the next errand was to the bank to try to get the human female’s debit card working again. The Helpful Banker says a new card should be arriving “soon,” but we all know how elastic a “soon” can be! The HB also informed the humans that, contrary to what they had been told, now that the bank has been sold to a Still Larger Bank, the account number which they have had since 1981 will be changed. I am going to pour myself a cold ale and sit back and watch while they try to think of all of the places their bank account number is, as well as all of the automatic payments they are going to have to reconfigure. It goes without saying that their retirement pension automatically goes into that account, which means dealing with They’re Really Swamped (AKA They Who Do Not Answer E-mail or Hire Sufficient Phone Answerers) to make sure their monthly pittances go to the right place. I’m starting a pool about how long it will take them to get that sorted–any takers? This will be the fourth time the bank has changed hands or reorganized since the human female opened the account. Oh, well. She keeps threatening to replace the hung-upside down wallpaper in the front hall. She can use all the now-useless checks with the now-obsolete bank name to do the job. They’re blue. It’ll look swell.

Hmm. What next…? I did car repairs recently. The felines manage their own mischief, upchucking on handmade quilts without any prompting from me. I know! It’s time for parking permit renewals. Maybe I’ll get involved with that.

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Mischief Update: Let’s Revisit Hel Week, Shall We? Part 1: Condestruction-related Items

I’m sure my many fans and minions want to know the status of all last week’s mischief projects. I thank you for your interest! I have endeavored to not let up the pressure too much, lest the humans grow complacent. I shall answer the questions I know you have.

Do the humans have a new roof yet? They do not! Roofer #4 was incommunicado until the middle of this week and was not returning calls (roofers are a bit busy right now.) He finally surfaced long enough to reassure the humans that he is “working on the paperwork” to submit to Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… In the meantime, roofer #5—who was contacted weeks ago, before the advent of roofer #4— came out to take a look. He pointed out that the humans’ current roof has something called “double felt”, whatever that is. That will make it more expensive to remove. He submitted an estimate some two thousand dollars higher than roofer #3’s, the one that USAA wouldn’t fully cover. Between hail storms and other disasters and my own stockpiling lumber and other goodies for the building of my own palace, the prices of construction materials are going through the roof (Bwhahaha–couldn’t resist!), so that the price of the project is rising by the hour and there isn’t even a firmly fixed insurance settlement yet!

But at least the water-damaged ceiling is fixed, right? It is not! The water removal equipment is gone–they picked it up on Monday, despite the fact the water-sucking folks said they’d pick some of it up on Saturday. The house is strangely quiet without two fans and a dehumidifier running around the clock. But there the work has stalled. The company charged with restoring the ceiling and carpet in the craft room, Attempts Total Involvement, or ATI for short, came out on Wednesday. Where the humans expected ceiling repair and replacement of the cutaway carpet pad and a steam-cleaning of the rest of the carpet, ATI has other notions. They’ll fix the ceiling all right, and then paint it. That, they say, will make the walls look funny, so they purpose to paint the entire room. I could have told them that the humans painted everything with the cheapest, untinted titanium white they could buy, and that the ceiling would certainly match the walls if they just used that, but if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s keeping mum if it can make my day a bit more interesting and the humans’ a bit more frustrating. ATI also wants to take up the entire carpet pad, which means the room must be emptied. Everything must go–the dollhouse, all the quilt fabric, the stitching supplies, the sewing machine, multiple boxes of stuff-and-whatnot, tens and tens of linear feet of botany and art and craft books, and the bookshelves themselves, a prodigious heftage of planks and cinderblocks. There is, I hardly need point out, no place in the house to put all of this. ATI says they’ll pack it all up, but no one has the vaguest notion of where it’s going to reside for the duration. I have not offered the use of my pocket dimension, the place I stash all my goodies, so the humans will have to work something out on their own. The human female will have to pack the breakables herself. You can’t really hurt quilt fabric, but dollhouses are quite… smashable. Sigyn is most worried about the miniature lab glassware that lives on the windowsill. She’s offered to pack it up herself. I shall stand ready to rescue her should it become necessary.

What is the prognosis for the antique sewing machine, the one that got avalanched by wet fiberglass insulation? Unclear. The gentleman at the repair shop seemed entirely unfazed when given the description of what the poor thing experienced. Makes me wonder what Midgardians do to their machines that would render him so unflappable in the face of such a tale of misfortune. What nightmares has he beheld??

What about the sewing light? Did the new bulb work? Ehehehee! As of yet, there *is* no new light. The humans called on Thursday. The person who answered the phone said they’d have to speak to the person who helped them originally, and he promised to pass along a query and have him return the call. (Too many ‘he/hims” in that sentence, but you get the idea.) There has been a suspicious silence since then… It is slowly dawning on everyone just who sits on the board of Obsolete Technology Troubles…

But at least the new AC works, right? It does indeed. I find the sub-90°F temperatures indoors most salubrious and Sigyn and I no longer have to camp in the freezer. The human female sent in the paperwork for claiming the rebate from the city for installing energy-efficient equipment. The AC installer said last week that the inspector “will likely be around tomorrow,” but that didn’t happen. The human female called the AC company this week, and the AC company set up the city inspection for the next day (Tuesday). Tuesday came and went in its own desultory fashion. No inspector. The human female called the AC people, who looked into it and promised a visit from the city on Friday. Friday, of course, being the day the humans were planning a quick trip to the Big City to the South. The human male ended up going to the Purveyor of Pens with one of his friends while the female stayed home to let the inspector in. The inspector has just been, and the unit passes, but apparently the AC technicians forgot a little thingish thing that keeps a wire from rubbing or misbehaving in some other unsanctioned and undesirable fashion. The inspector helpfully left a memo as to what needs fixing:

Perfect! Clear as mud. So someone will be coming back out at an as-yet-unspecified date to crawl up into the attic once again. That wobbly pull-down ladder has never felt so loved and needed as it has in the past fortnight.

How long do you think I can s t r e t c h all of this home repair out? Should there be a betting pool? I think maybe there should be a betting pool—and one of the items should be “guess the date on which Usually Seems Amiable, Although… gets fed up with the humans and cancels their homeowner’s policy.

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The Week From Hel, Day 5: Finished…For Now

The whole household was up early today, to get ready to take Flannel Cat to the vet. She can’t have breakfast, and she’s not a fan of the carrier, so she’s not terribly happy. The humans have donned long sleeves to try to get her in the carrier (more Feline Rodeo!), since she left some super scratches on the human male the other day, when he was trying to gather her up and keep her out of the condestruction-fu on Tuesday.

Two and three quarters of a mile of piteous mewing later, and toothache kitty has been dropped off. Next stop–the Super Special Lighbulb and Battery Store. Can they order a replacement bulb that will fit the stitching lamp? They say they can. But we’ll see a) if they can actually get it, b) whether it will fit in the lamp, and c) it actually works. My money is on the silly thing continuing to strobe.

Now to return the Unhappy Bulb. The humans have tried putting in in and taking it out several times, to no avail. Bad bulb! No biscuit!

Well, rats! I was hoping the crap crafts store clerk would tell her she couldn’t return it, not even with the receipt, because she had opened the package. But there was a new person manning the till and she called for instructions on how to do the return, and they gave it to her. No fair.

Now we’re headed for the library. For reasons passing understanding, the human female’s urge to collect small, brightly colored bits of paper again. Foolish woman, you do not need another hobby! She went online and discovered that the local library has all the stamp catalogs that she’s too cheap to buy. You’d think reference books like that would not circulate, wouldn’t you? But no, there they are on the shelf. Took her a while to locate them, though, since they’re not on the shelf marked “Stamps, Photography, and Coins.” The human male is asking her if she really wants to check out ALL of them. Well, yes, she says, she does. That has earned her a monumental eye roll, but the checkout clerk seems to be happy enough to let her have them, so it looks like we’re losing a dining room chair for the duration.

Clara B. Mounce is rolling in her grave.

(later) It’s time to go collect Flannel Cat. Sigyn is extra glad to learn that she only needed one tooth out and came through the extraction $urgery ju$t fine. The vet says that she (the cat, not Sigyn) will need pain med$ and a antibiotic$. Please, oh, please, oh, please let the vet send the humans home with a bottle of that nasty, banana- or bubblegum-flavored amoxicillin liquid that they make for toddlers! I really, really want to see the humans trying to get a ml or two of that into the cat! Banana goop everywhere!

Curses! Foiled! The vet has offered a long-lasting antibiotic $hot instead and the humans leapt at the chance. But they do have the pain meds, and ehehehehe! The bottle is leaking all over the human female! Good show. I was afraid this wouldn’t be fun.

Two and three quarters of a mile of scratchy-throated meowing and we are home again. I’ve told Taffy Cat that Flannel is an impostor and not to be trusted, so there is a great deal of suspicious hissing going on, which is annoying and alarming to the humans, bewildering to Flannel, and vastly amusing to me.

(later) I have relented a bit. The AC repairman has sent the humans the missing paperwork. Nothing from the roofer, however.

(later) Time to give Flannel her pain medication. Does she want to come out and be fussed over?

She does not! Okay human male, get your long sleeves on while the human female draws the medicine up in the syringe.

Or tries to. The humans have found my last bit of mischief for today. The pain medication was dispensed in a teeny little bottle, with a supplied (needle-less) syringe for measuring doses. And the syringe doesn’t fit in he bottle! Not only that, it splattered out a good portion of its contents when the human female opened it to try! The human male is rummaging through his ink sample bottles to find a wide-mouthed one to transfer the liquid into.

And so we conclude with a smaller, shorter, less frantic version of the Feline Rodeo until the patient is safely corralled and hugged and the medicine administered. A few more hisses from Taffy and we are ready to put this week to bed. I’m sure it’s one none of us will ever forget.

No, wait. The porch light just blew out. Now I’m done.

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The Week From Hel, Day 4: No, It Doesn’t End

Still no word from the roofer or the adjuster on the roofing claim, and still no paperwork from the AC technicians. Can you say, “holding pattern”?

The humans have some errands to run today. Going anywhere is like gearing up for an expedition to the Gobi Desert. Water? Check. Phone, just in case one of the adjusters or contractors calls? Check. Pocketful of fountain pens? Check. Sunscreen? Might not need it; they’re indoor errands. Mask? Check. Glasses?

Uh, oh.

That’s not a missing screw, it’s a broken arm! If you think this looks familiar, you are absolutely correct. When I find a good bit of mischief, I’m not too proud to reuse it. The human male’s glasses broke in exactly the same way in December of last year. They were replaced. They broke in exactly the same way again in April of this year, when it was just outside the 100 day guarantee, so he had to buy a new set of frames then. He and the human female are quite frustrated. I can practically see the steam coming out of their ears! No little clerk had better try to make them pay again!

Eehehehe! I have trained the clerks at the optometrist’s shop well. She agreed to replace the frames for free and said she had them in stock. Then she said no, she didn’t. They were the wrong size. Raise hopes; dash hopes–always a recipe for fun. She’ll have to order them in, which will mean another trip to the mall at some future date. When the humans suggested that having the same critical failure each time probably indicates a faulty product that Corporate might want to do something about, the clerk rather condescendingly pointed out that they were the least expensive frames in the shop and they “couldn’t be expected to last like the pricier pairs.” Apparently a lifespan of two months is deemed adequate for the money-conscious.

Back to the house, after purchasing the lone replacement bulb in the city.

The human female has been in contact with the fine folks at Obsolete Technology Troubles, and they have given her instructions about ripping a part out of the lamp itself so that a new bulb will fit. Yes, let’s involve tools! This sounds to me like a prime opportunity for mischief, so let’s take a look.

Well, I’m no task lamp technician, but even *I* can see that that metal bar is going to make getting a new bulb in more than a bit tricky. What does the part where the bulb actually has to go look like?

Great Frigga’s hairpins! That is one very fancy, proprietary socket! And you can see how the bulb toasted its label over its lifetime.

Let’s try the new bulb.

How lucky do you feel?

It fits! Does the lamp light?

It does! But–ehehehee! It has a dizzying, stroke-inducing, high-frequency flicker that would drive the human female crazy in about fifteen seconds. Tsk, tsk. Looks like you may need to do the modification the OTT representative suggested.

The human female is requesting clarification with regard to just what part needs to come out.

Yes, yes, just grasp with a pair of needle-nose pliers and yank.

The human female has pulled. And pulled. And pulled. The little metal piece is very slippery and it’s hard to get a grip. The human male is trying now. Ouch! This is now officially a properly-mischiefied project. In this duel, first blood goes to the lamp! While the human male avails himself of antiseptic and bandages, the human female is going to get a bigger pair of pliers. Grr—1, 2, 3–yank!

It just looks like a troublemaker, doesn’t it?

No, not me–the piece of metal, stupid.

So, does the bulb work properly now? It does not! Which raises multiple questions–Do you have a bad bulb? Will a new bulb ever work in the old lamp? Or have you just ruined your lamp forever by ripping out that little metal piece???

Well, you have other things to think about. You need to prepare for the restoration folks with their water-remediation equipment. Time to move the treadmill so they can get to the craft room through its own door and not by traipsing through the bedroom

Now we know where Taffy Cat’s pom poms all ended up. Also all the dust and cat fur on the planet.

Maybe this other pom pom is better?

And where does the treadmill need to go? The garage is the logical place, but it really doesn’t fit through the door to the garage without mashing fingers.

I know! Since you won’t be using your stitching corner any time soon, you should just park it in front of the sofa!

There! Hardly noticeable at all.

(later) The we-make-it-like-it-never-happened folks have come and gone. The wet sheetrock has been removed from the ceiling.

Looks like a bit more of the tape and plaster came down. The folks who put up the new ceiling are probably going to have to cut some more sheetrock out. You know, so some more insulation can fall down.

There is a fan in the attic, drying out the insulation. There is a fan in the craft room.

There is a big, portable dehumidifier in there, too.

I’m sure they want you to say it like “Dries Air,” but you can’t tell me you’re not reading it as “Drizz Air.” And what happened to the other 1,199?

It has a long, long drain hose that snakes its way to the human male’s bathroom sink.

The gurgley noises are freaking out the cats…

You will also have fun trying to keep the cats out of the craft room, since the door has to be open every now and then.

Well, That’s a good day’s mischief. Not every day can be like Tuesday, so I’m reasonably satisfied. After all, I just made a mosquito bite the human female on her elbow. Indoors.

Icing on the cake!

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The Week From Hel, Day 3: One Step Foward, One Step Back, One Step Sideways

Well, the humans survived yesterday. By the end of it, they were so exhausted and ready to get out of the House of A Thousand Repairs that the thought of cooking dinner was not to be borne, and we all went out to the cute little Central American Cafe that Sigyn and I enjoyed so much before. We met up with friends, who also had a Crummy Day.

All of the fun, Wooden Fruits of Unusual Size seem to be gone, but the very tropical-looking tablecloths are new.

Should have brought sunglasses.

The menu has the same items–in fact, I think the menus are the same actual menus. They are certainly looking a little worse for wear.

As all good meals should, this one began with chips and salsa.

The human female, predictable as ever, went right for the peanut smoothie.

Between the two of them, they made short work of the thing, which made my sweetie very sad.

Fortunately, the food arrived at that point, and equanimity was restored.

Then we all went home, bathed, and fell into bed and slept like dead logs.

Today we are in sort of a holding pattern.

The new AC unit appears to be working, though it is overriding the schedule the human male set up, which is odd. If only there were a manual! The promised manual has not been sent, and there has been no further communique from the AC repairmen.

We have heard nothing from the new roofer.

The water-damage-restoration people will be here to assess wetnesses (so many s’s!) this afternoon. The humans cannot schedule the actual repair of the ceiling and the cleaning of the carpet until the restoration is finished, so all of that is on hold as well.

The human female looks particularly lumpy and gruesome today, since as we were leaving the cafe last night, I induced one of the many, many mosquitoes to bite her twice, once in the corner of her eye and once just below it. She’ll itch for a about a week and then go back to ordinary levels of lumpy and gruesome.


The restoration folks have come and gone. They will bring their equipment tomorrow. Now, how much mold can I induce to grow between now and then? I ought to get busy.

(later, again)

Compared to yesterday, today has been rather peaceful. The human female is going to spend the evening relaxing with her stitchery.


Or not. That “blip” was the sound of the specialty bulb in her task lamp burning out. Without it, she has no hope of seeing tiny stitches on black fabric.

And here’s my big surprise for the day! The light manufacturer, Obsolete Technology Troubles, no longer makes the lamp or the light bulbs that go in it. Searching online turns up multiple discussion threads about the fact that they still sell 18 watt fluorescent bulbs, but that the new bulbs have a different base, so they don’t fit in the lamp “without some modification.” That sounds ominous…

There is *one* bulb in town–or rather, in the town just to the north. The humans will hurry out to the crap crafts store to buy it tomorrow and try to make it fit. Now, I’m not saying I’ll make the human female buy a whole new lamp just because the bulb burnt out, but yes, I plan to make the human female buy a whole new lamp because the bulb burnt out…

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The Week From Hel, Day 2: In Which Everything Happens At Once

Oh, my friends, it is another scorcher!

Heat Advisory! For the whole week! I’ve timed the AC outage well! You know it’s going to be a hot day when it is 80F by 8:00 a.m. Lately it’s been 80 by 6:00 or 7:00. (The other day it was 80 at 4:30 a.m. I’m getting good at this weather thing!)

Well, we should have some relief by this afternoon. In theory.

Meanwhile, the human male is doing the grocery shopping and the human female is doing some house chores. She’s currently in the craft room, looking for something.

Tap. Where did she leave those stamp collecting supplies? Tap. She could have sworn they were right here. Tap.

What is that tapping noise?

Look up, woman, look up.

Drip. Wow! Well, that’s not good. Better blot up the carpet, hose it down with Lysol, and put out some buckets and towels.

Ehehehe! It’s just one of the $urprise$ I have planned for today!

Time to call the insurance people! Ususally Sounds Amiable, Although… is not a bad company, but you have to watch them. The helpful agent on the phone says that if the humans send photos, she can start a claim for them. “While we have you on the phone,” says the human male, “can you please check what the status of the claim for the hail-damaged roof is? We’ve heard nothing for days and days.”

Ah, that. I’ve been amusing myself by watching the roofer and the insurance adjuster play a very satisfying game of “ball’s in your court” for weeks now. The insurance company sent out a sub-conracted claims adjuster who looked at the roof, said nothing, and provided a payout figure that the insurance company sent half the money for, with the rest to be paid upon completion. The third roofer the humans had look at the roof seemed reasonable, and he seemed to know what he was talking about, but when he sent in his bid for approval, it left off a lot of things the insurance company said they’d pay for, and what he wanted for the roof itself was quite a bit more than the insurance was willing to pay. Just the roof would take nearly the whole payment, without any provision for gutters or flue caps or other dull but necessary roof… things. The humans called the Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… and asked if the payment could be adjusted to cover the actual, current price of roof repair in the local market. After much hemming and hawing, USAA said that the humans could talk to the claims adjuster. The claims adjuster said he needed a detailed, line by line bill from the roofer before he could even begin to contemplate making changes to the payment. The roofer said he didn’t know what the adjuster wanted. This went back and forth multiple times. In the end, the human male provided the adjuster and the roofer with one another’s contact info and told them to sort it out. Since then, it has been preternaturally silent on the roof front….

But now the helpful USAA agent is saying she can send out their Preferred Roofer to have a look at the roof, something they refused to do when the humans asked about their recommendation before the claim was even filed. And since the water in the craft room ceiling is likely from the defunct AC, the AC repair people can inform USAA about the cause of the water damage so that claim can proceed. Sounds like progress, doesn’t it? Hold onto that thought…

(later) The AC repairers/ installers are late, but they are finally here.

Look at it, Sigyn! Isn’t it lovely?

16 whatever-the-unit-of-measure-is of cold, quiet comfort!

Its innards are so shiny! The old unit is out (last accurate thermostat reading was 90F in the house).

Now all they have to do is get the new one up the stairs…

into the attic.

Look at the unit.

Look at the stairs…

Measure the unit.

Norns’ Nighties! The new AC is two inches wider than the opening to the attic! The workmen are going to have to go and get some tools to make the opening bigger and then come back. And the fan they want to use to cool the attic while they work?

…Doesn’t seem to be working. (Folks, the only thing working here is my mischief!)

(a bit later) All right, the AC folks are back. After a hunt for the proper breaker to throw so that no one is electrocuted (always good to avoid), they are at work, and Moderately Alarming Noises are emanating from the attic, along with Spanish-language rap music.

Knock knock!

The roofer is here to wander all over the outside of the house and offer his considered opinion.

Meanwhile, the craft room ceiling…

Tsk, tsk! That’s getting worse, isn’t it? Look at that bulge! Look at that crease! I do believe that some of that might actually fall down! Wouldn’t that be exciting?

The roofer has finished his examination. Sweet Sif on a Cracker! This is so much better, mischief-wise, than I hoped for! This fourth roofer says that roofer the humans were going to use (the third roofer) missed quite a few things in his quote. He also says that roofer flat-out lied when he said he could put on a new roof without taking down the gutters, since they’re attached to the actual edge of the roof. He also says the outsourced adjuster missed a whole bunch of things–didn’t account for the pitch of the roof (extra $teep), miscalculated the feet of guttering needed, didn’t take the $kylight into account, etc., and so forth. Basically, neither of the parties knew what they were talking about and—

The AC people have just come in and asked to look at the room under the AC unit! That sounds ominous. The human female has gone to show them the room while the male chats with the roofer and–

Bwahahahaha! Oh my pointy helmet! One of the AC repairmen dropped a piece of wood and it went right THROUGH the soggy ceiling, taking a long strip of taping with it and blanketing the room in a snowfall of wet blow-in fiberglass insulation.

It is everywhere–the walls, the carpet, the light box, the human female’s prized antique sewing machine, and even poor William the giraffe.

Yuck! Everyone is suitably horrified, and I’ve got one corner of my cloak stuffed in my mouth so no one can hear me laugh.

Time to take action. Luckily, the roofer has some moisture-proof sheeting in his truck that the AC repairmen can take up into the attic to cover the hole, so that more insulation doesn’t come down.

The human male is on the phone to USAA to let them know things are much, much worse than first reported, and the roofer is finishing telling us about what he wants to do and has delivered his final assurances that he can work with the insurance company directly to Make a New Roof Happen, although the humans can’t even hope to get on the work schedule for four to six weeks. Also, (boo!) there is nationwide unavailability of green shingles, so the chances the humans will be able to restore the house to the splendor appropriate for a Norse god are pretty slim. Oh, well. It’s a rare plot for world domination that doesn’t hit a few snags along the way.

The human female has put on gloves so she can start picking up all the wet fiberglass. There is a lot of it, and it is getting the carpet wet in places it wasn’t wet before. Another fun aspect of this whole endeavor is going to be keeping the felines out of the way as people go in and out. Fiberglass on kitty paws is not a good thing. And then there’s the whole tracking-it-through-the-house thing.

Oh, and the sewing machine is going to need a thorough cleaning, and–

—The vet is calling. Flannel’s blood work is all right, but she does need a tooth to come out and when do the humans want to schedule that? The human female, standing in wreckage, sweating, still covered in mosquito bites from last week, and staring at the remains of her craft room, says, “Let’s go ahead and do it on Friday. Might as well shovel all the sh*t into one week and have done….”

Mark your words.

(later) It is 8:00 p.m. The AC installation is complete, and the job boss swears he will have the receipt and the manual to the humans tomorrow, as well as providing information about the source of the ceiling leak to USAA. The house is beginning to cool down. Most of the wet insulation is up off the carpet and other things have been moved out of the way. The bank account is $ignificantly $maller (and with another deductible to met, will be $maller $till). Everyone is exhausted.

I think, hour for hour, dollar for dollar, for sheer amount and number of types of mischief, this may be my best day on this benighted rock yet.

I can sleep easy, knowing I did my best.

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