usually sounds amiable although

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!

>|: [

I Had To.

Isn’t this beautiful? I’ve been dabbling a bit in modern art and special effects, and I’m very proud of it.

I think the blue lighting is very effective.

What is it? Well may you ask!

I spent most of last night trying to think of what mischief to do next, and about three a.m. I listened to my black little heart, and it was whispering, “Having one active claim in with Usually Sounds Amiable…Although is not enough. You can do better. You can do more.”

It’s true. I CAN do more. With the craft room all taken care of, there’s only the roof to vex the humans. The Helpful People at USAA are going to think the humans don’t love them anymore, so today I did this.

That is the rear driver’s-side window of the human female’s car. She walked out of the herbarium and just found it like this.

Isn’t that pretty? Observe how the shatter pattern radiates from one spot, like the tail of some precious and mystical comet.

The human female literally does not know what hit her. She didn’t hear anything hit the car when she was in it, so she doesn’t know if a someone mowing the lawn out near the herbarium flung a rock with a mower or whether it was a small pit made by gravel spun up by a passing vehicle at some point in the past. In this part of Midgard, it’s not unusual for a tiny pit or crack to suddenly propagate if the temperatures get extreme and, well, it is August.

What she does know is that this isn’t going to be cheap or easy to fix. After speaking with Usually Sounds Amiable…Although, she knows that the special clause in her auto policy that lets windshields get replaced for a $100.00 deductible with very little paperwork is not going to apply. Because this is a side window, the full $500 deductible on the policy will be invoked. It’ll only make sense to file a claim if the bill is over $500. So now she gets the fun of calling all the auto glass places and the dealership to see what it’s going to take to fix this. In the meantime, she’s holding her breath lest some stray cat or bird peck or falling acorn or extra-heavy air molecule completes the shattering, leaving her with a gaping hole and a lot of glass to sweep up.

It feels good to have another open-ended project set in motion. And I couldn’t very well let Hello This is Claudia How Can I Help You feel neglected, now could I?

>|: [

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.

>|: [

Mischief Update: A Little Bit of Everything

I wrote last week about how sometimes the Art of Mischief demands that you keep things from happening. Conversely, a great deal of mischief is possible if you schedule everything to happen at once. It doesn’t even have to be new mischief–just pile on the old a little deeper for maximum chaos. This past week, I’ve done a bit of both.

I’ve let it rain at least a little every day but one so far this month. The lawn is approximately at better-rent-a-goat stage, so the human female is going to get twice her normal workout when is finally dry enough to mow. I figure three changes of battery in the mower, two tumblers of ice water, and lots of extra sweat. (Not pretty, but it annoys her, so I let it go.) I got a little excited when I heard her brand of sunscreen has benzene and can cause cancer, because that would shake things up around here, but it turns out she doesn’t use the aerosol kind. Hmmm. I wonder what sort of carcinogenic goings-on are in that tube of expired stuff she’s been slathering on?? One can hope.

I’ve written here before about how fun it is to play with ceiling fans, either having the blades break or sabotaging the pull-chains. I decided to revisit the pull-chain trick again, having the bedroom fan chain break exactly how it did last time. Fixing this requires disassembling the lamp, fiddling with the ball chain and connectors, and then reassembling the whole thing. It doesn’t take much to discombobulate the setup—I’ve found that softening just one of the connectors enough so that it can’t hold the chain is more than sufficient. There are currently two connectors in the fan pull-cord, a plastic one, which holds, and a metal one, which doesn’t. The humans tried swapping the two so that at least the metal one would be outside the housing so that it could be reached, but it turns out that the plastic connector is just >||<that much too big to go back and forth through the hole in the housing as the fan is switched on and off. Even if the little plastic grommet in the housing is removed. They tried it three or four times, standing on the bed and trying to coordinate four hands, the shade, the cap, the knob, and two chains, all the while being overseen by two Feline Project Inspectors. The result?

Broken fan chain (on the right), and what’s left doesn’t turn the fan on or off when tugged. The humans will have to weather (pun intended!) the steamy summer nights with no breeze until the ordered stainless steel chain arrives and they can make another attempt at repair. They’ll wake up cranky and snappish and I will chuckle into my morning cocoa.

The human female has been wearing the same jeans for about three years. They weren’t attractive to begin with, and now they are positively disreputable. I’ve seen to it that her preferred brand and style is no longer available in town, so she ordered some online. She chose her color and selected the next size up from the ones she has (because ice cream). It was so easy! Fast forward about thirty-six hours and she gets this little gem in her inbox:

No explanation–which is probably their polite way of saying, “We know who you are and we’re not sure we want our brand on your backside.” Since that was the only item in her order, she’s back to square one. Now let’s see if the funds are returned to her PayPal account. Wouldn’t it be hilarious of they weren’t??

The human male received paperwork for applying for a student loan. Someone, somewhere, has moved him from the “recently retired” stack to the “new student” stack, and the paperwork just keeps coming. I wonder if I can take out some financial aid in his name without him knowing? I have one or two things I can think to spend it on.

I have introduced the cats to the joys of sleeping in the laundry basket full of freshly laundered towels. First one, then the other, then both. Methinks I see a repeat load in the future.

The chill chest is still freezing fruit and yogurt in the main compartment,despite all attempts to adjust the baffles and/or baffle the adjustors. I’ve told the human female she should quit whining, since it means that breakfast smoothies will be nice and cold without having to add so much ice. And since I’ve talked the blender out of wanting to crush ice without getting chunks stuck under the blades, this is a good thing. She should THANK me.

I kicked the mango on the counter, so when the human female cut it open it was all fermenty inside. It went right into the compost heap. I expect we’ll have drunk opossums tonight. Or maybe raccoons. I should make some popcorn so that Sigyn and I can sit and wait and watch the fun.

Last month, the human female tried to get in to see her doctor about that cat scratch that went rather urgently bad. She was told she couldn’t see her primary care physician until the end of this month. Nope, no openings at all! She had to see someone else. On Thursday, the human male called to schedule his annual physical. He was able to get one first thing the following day–with the female’s PCP! Woman, have you considered that your doctor may herself be sick? Of looking at you???

After a month of being incommunicado, the roofer resurfaced to assure the humans that he is very, very close to working out a deal with Usually Sounds Amiable…Although. Suuuure he is. As a god, I can hold my breath pretty much indefinitely, but even I’m not fool enough to try it in this case. Those of you who had “July” in the roof betting pool can pretty much count on sucking it up.

Attempts Total Involvement, who told the humans it would be at least a month before any work could start, suddenly did an about face and told them they could start as early as this week, which gave a window of about four days to pack up the entire craft room. The human male had other things to do (smart man), so the female spent half of Friday ferrying open-topped or unboxable things to the guest room:

…and boxing up books and other boxables to be left in the craft room for the movers:

Most of those boxes are full of books. I tried hefting a few cartons, and I think there’s the distinct possibility that the the human female did some passive-aggressive packing and made them extra-heavy, as punishment for a) not doing the packing and b) messing with the timeline so much. While I myself did not handle any of the books (I don’t like dust or paper-cuts), I did goad her along and stoke her foul mood as she boxed things up, such that the contents of any given box are not sequential from the shelves. “Just pack what fits,” I told her. When it comes time to put her library back on the shelves, she’s pretty much going to have to unpack all of them at once.

And there you have it. Remember, minions: Plan ahead now for mischief and merriment in the future!

>|: [

Mischief Update: Of Shell Games and Suspicious Crashes

If you were expecting an update about completed construction–really?! In this town, with these humans, over a holiday weekend? With me involved?? Surely no one is that naive.

Status of roof: Still up in the air. As roofs generally are. Ehehehehe. No word on whether/if Roofer Number Four has convinced Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… to do the work he outlined for the price he’s willing to charge. Clock is ticking. Will there be any wood, felt, and shingles available when some agreement is reached? That is a very good question.

Nothing more has happened with the ceiling in the craft room. If my plans work out, the humans will get about half an hour’s notice from Attempts Total Involvement that they have to get all the breakables out immediately. The human female has been putting off that little chore, so it’ll be fun to watch her scramble. Still no word on where all the books and shelves are supposed to go, either.

The sewing machine has been cleaned and returned. The humans are just this minute hunting up the screwdriver to put it back into the cabinet—

Norns’ Nighties! What was that awful noise?!

And why do the felines look so guilty? Oh, I bet I know what happened. One or both of them jumped up on the cabinet and walked out onto the extended table. I’ve been working with them on stealthily going where they’re not supposed to, and the lessons seem to be paying off! I think they need a refresher, though, because if they’d done it properly, it wouldn’t have landed on the laundry basket. It would have fallen forward, gouging the laminate flooring and the armoire and breaking the table. The only fallout from a dump-over in this position is literal fall-out. The humans are going to be sweeping and magneting up pins for a good while. Between that and lowering the very heavy machine precisely into the cabinet, if I’m lucky, someone will need a bandage before the day is out.

The specially-ordered lightbulb for the human female’s big sewing lamp came–and it is exactly identical to the one from the local crap craft store. And this one not only strobes, it emits a high-pitched hum guaranteed to drive her ’round the bend (okay, further ’round the bend) in under a minute. It’ll have to go back. I have offered to write a Strongly Worded Letter to the fine folks at Obsolete Technology Troubles. She’s hoping they offer a replacement lamp, but I bet I can word it in such a way that they offer only a grudging not-apology and something useless like $5.00 off something she doesn’t want. In the meantime–No stitching for you!

So, yes, I’ve been busy. My best work here, though, is not in tipped furniture, flickering bulbs, or scheduling woes. Oh, no no no! It is with accounting. Numbers are a very, very fertile ground for mischief.

The Water-sucking People billed Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… directly. USAA paid them, minus the deductible. Attempts Total Involvement have sent USAA a bill for work which has not even commenced yet, and USAA has paid them, minus the deductible. That’s right! They’ve deducted the deductible twice! The human female paid for the sewing machine cleaning out of her own pocket and sent USAA the receipt. You’d think that USAA would add it all up and just have the humans pay ATI the deductible minus what was spent on the sewing machine and then pay ATI the remaining bit of the deductible. Loki-Logic, though, dictates that USAA is going to send a check to reimburse the human female for what she spent on the machine, issue a check for the full amount to ATI, and have the humans write a check to the Water-sucking People for the amount of the deductible. Meanwhile, the advance on the roof claim just sits in the bank, waiting for some sort of agreement to be reached!

That whirring noise you hear is the human female’s head spinning. If we wrapped that noggin in copper wire and gave her some magnets for earrings, we could hook her up to the power grid and make up for some of the whopping power bill that the old AC racked up as it was dying while trying to cool the house in the middle of a heat wave.

The final, finishing financial finagle was to make sure the humans received their own Strongly Worded Letter, letting them know that their claim for “damage to their AC” has been categorically and very pointedly denied, disallowed, and disapproved.

Which would be truly crushing, you know, if they’d actually made that claim. But no. I saw to it that that thing died in such a manner that every last cent for its replacement came out of their own linty pockets. Belts will be worn a little tighter this season.

>|: [

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.

>|: [

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.

>|: [