Mar 22, 2015: Termites and Dry Rot and Leaks, Oh My!

Well, most of this week revolved around house stuff. We don’t yet have conditional loan approval (supposed to get it sometime next week), so it’s definitely not a done deal (I suppose it really isn’t until we have the keys in hand!), but it’s progressing well. Which is very good, because our landlord is putting the house we’re renting on the market, so we have to move out April 30th…new house or not!

A huge step was getting the pest and home inspection on our new place. We got those on Thursday, and then we were able to stop holding our breath so much. Because the house has been neglected for a while, we were afraid there might be some big problems. As it turns out, there are some problems, but nothing too big for us to take on. Whew!

We have termites…but they appear to be contained to one part of the semi-detached garage. So, the pest inspector says they can be treated by spraying. However, he couldn’t fully inspect the rest of the garage (there’s too much stuff in it), so we will need it reinspected if we find any “dirt tunnels” in other areas after all of the stuff is moved out. We also have some dry rot, but most of it will be covered by the homeowners’ association. And we have some plumbing problems. The biggest one is a leak under the house near where the downstairs toilet is. It doesn’t look like it has caused any major problems (wood appears solid around it, no visible mold, etc.), but the inspectors couldn’t tell for certain because there’s a floor joist in the way when they go under the house. The repairman will need to remove the toilet, cut a hole in the wall, inspect and fix from there, and then patch the wall back up. Given all that, we might as well have him put in a new toilet, since the toilet is also having problems (and is pretty gross, from having not been cleaned in at least six months).

The other two toilets have problems, too, but they appear to be on the exterior, not inside the walls. So, we’ll probably just replace all three. It’s not that expensive to replace them while we’re having plumbing work done anyway, and it will save me from scrubbing three toilets to death, only to find that I can’t get all of the stains off because they’ve been sitting unused for so long. (You know the water ring toilets can get? It’s pretty much solid black in these toilets. Ew.)

And we have various other pipes that need to be replaced, but they’re pretty minor. The kitchen faucet needs to be replaced. The deck needs a few repairs but is mostly solid. A few of the bathroom sinks need stoppers replaced. Four windows need to be replaced. And so on… We’re hoping that all repairs can be done for less than $10,000. Cross your fingers for us!

We’ve been having fun looking at flooring and paint, too! Our plan is to clean the walls and such (everything but the carpets) as soon as we get the keys, and then start painting before the new floors are in. That way, we don’t have to worry about dropcloths. We’re planning to do a beige downstairs with a darker brown for accent walls and/or cutouts. For the kitchen, a soft, buttery golden. In the upstairs hallway we’ll do the same beige as downstairs, and then Chris voted for lavender and purple in the master. (This completely surprised me. He’s always been a blue guy, but apparently in our old house, the two-tone lavender den was his favorite room!) Theo wants his and Sam’s room to be “green grass and mountains on the bottom, with blue sky on top—so it looks like Mt. Diablo.” I think this is an excellent idea for two boys who love to be outside, so we’re going to go for it! I think I’ll also sponge some fluffy white clouds on the ceiling. The trick is going to be making the green mountains look kind of textured, with different types of foliage. If you look at Mt. Diablo from our town, it is all different shades of bluish green, thanks to all of the trees on it. I want to somehow achieve that on top of the sage-green base, but I’m not sure how. I need Grandma Diane to come paint the texture on—she’s good at this stuff! (Hint, hint…we pay in food and coffee drinks!)

As for the bathrooms, we’ll do lavender for the master, since the two rooms blend together. For the downstairs bathroom, maybe blue. And for the boys’ bathroom upstairs, I haven’t decided. I’d kind of like to do something really fun and kid-like in that one. We’ll see.

By the way, if you didn’t see my house post earlier this week, click here. It’s full of pictures of minutiae. Chris couldn’t be at the home inspection, and he asked me to take pictures of everything. It occurred to me after the fact that if I posted them on the blog, I’d have a great “before” reference to look back on when we do updates!

The other big news of the week is that World Down Syndrome Day was Saturday! We went to an event at a fairly nearby park, put on by Down Syndrome Connection. It was a lot of fun—even though I wasn’t present when they called my name to come up with the rest of the staff. Oops! Oh well, they didn’t tell me what time to arrive. 🙂

I guess the mayor of Concord’s sister has Down syndrome, and he gave a speech. And then there was a check presentation to DSC. A few months ago, an executive from a major company made a slur about a girl being a “retard.” I can’t even remember the company or the details, but it went viral in the special-needs community, and naturally they were not pleased with the executive. Turns out the girl in question is local to this area, and when the executive reached out with an apology, her family asked that he make a sizable donation to Down Syndrome Connection in her honor. And he did. 🙂 I know nothing about this executive other than the bits I heard in the news, but in the spirit of forgiveness, his gesture makes me happy.

World Down Syndrome Day in general made me happy this year. Last year we didn’t do anything to celebrate it, but this year it was huge! I went to bed Friday night feeling rather disgusted. Right before bed, I saw a Facebook post from a daycare in Nebraska where one of the employees had posted something about a four-year-old with Down syndrome who attends the daycare, saying “We all pretend this kid is a zombie and chasing us because he’s a freak, and he’s so stupid he doesn’t even know we’re making fun of him.” It made me feel sick to my stomach, even though I read this type of crap all the time. I hate seeing stuff like that. So I went to bed feeling disheartened. And then I woke up Saturday morning to a million World Down Syndrome Day posts, and they were just awesome! Then we went to the event in the park and had a great time. And then that night, I saw even more exposure for WDSD. The Empire State Building was lit up blue and yellow, in honor of WDSD. Downtown Dallas had a couple of buildings lit up blue and yellow in honor of WDSD.  A couple of Midwestern cities had similar displays—I forget which one had a bridge lit up blue and yellow, but it was awesome. I think Toronto had a building lit up blue and yellow, too. And Prince Harry wore crazy socks to send a shout out to WDSD. (Crazy socks is one of the campaigns related to WDSD. I don’t do it, but a lot of people do. Our realtor did it and sent me a picture, which I thought was very sweet!)

And for some reason, it just brought a happy lump to my throat when I saw each and every city or person throwing out a salute to WDSD. It’s just nice to know people care, you know? If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t make the effort. It’s nice to see our kids being honored. It feels right. 🙂

By the way, I got interviewed for the newspaper at WDSD. If they end up printing anything I said, I’ll be sure to include a link to the online article next week! (At least, I assume it will be printed sometime next week. It was for a weekly supplement of the Contra Costa Times.)

I learned something about myself: I do far better being interviewed for print than for TV/film. I was a nervous wreck being interviewed for the film Joey Travolta’s production company is making for DSC (and it probably shows in my interview, though I haven’t yet seen it!), but I was calm and comfortable talking to the reporter for the paper. I think I’m just a wreck in front of cameras….

After the WDSD festivities, I just hung out with the boys. Chris had a fantasy baseball draft in San Francisco that lasted late into the night, so the boys and I had frozen yogurt (mmmm!), got some paint samples at the hardware store, and then went home and watched a movie together.

On Sunday, we had to take a bunch of stuff to the donation center, and after that we decided to check out a kids’ gym called We Rock the Spectrum. We had originally thought to go to a park, but the weather was kind of iffy, so we opted for an indoor activity. What fun! I’ve meant to take the boys for some time, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. It’s an all-inclusive kids’ gym, designed specifically for kids on the autism spectrum and with other special needs. Everyone is welcome, but it’s designed for kids with special needs—activities sensory-friendly and spaced out so they’re not overwhelming, quiet rooms to take breaks in, etc. The boys loved it! I think they would’ve stayed in the trampoline room forever. Theo also loved the zip line, and Sam loved the swings. Here’s a video of Sam cheering Theo on while they were on the trampoline—Theo was shooting baskets into a hoop attached to the top of the trampoline, and Sam was cheering wildly! So cute!

Here’s another video, while I’m at it, of Sam using Theo’s karaoke machine. He was cracking me up—but mostly I’m posting this because you can hear him say “brother” quite clearly! It’s usually more like “buh-lalala.”

Anyway, that sums up our week! Cross your fingers that we get conditional loan approval next week!

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