Two Octobers ago, the very old siding started falling off the housee at about the same time as my house insurance company demanded some minor roof repairs if I was to keep my policy. That was confusing and stressful as the insurance company sent the money back and once the repairs were done I had to make calls and run around making sure they got their money back in time to keep the insurance. The siding issue was expected; we'd been patching with the leftovers stored in the basement for as long as I've owned the house, and I would not be surprised to learn that the previous owners had been doing that too. There was a spot on an outer wall that clearly had a window when the siding first went up, that had been turned into wall with a neat but obvious siding patch over it.
That November, I found out that a stock fund my Aunt had reached a deadline, and it had to be sold and the proceeds sent to me. Naturally, that year it had made a substantial profit, which screwed up my Obamacare health plan and had substantial tax consequences. This was confusing and stressful, but it also meant I had some money to get the siding redone, and a few other things. Having the siding done was stressful too, as there was damage to the walls in places that had to be fixed, and that was more cost as we found the areas with problems.
It was also stressful because it meant a lot of mornings when people were banging on the outside of the house for hours, unsettling the cats and disrupting our sleep. (We both are natural night owls.) I had a couple of other things repaired--bits of the porch roof/upper porch deck needed work, for instance, and two of the panels in the back door had split across, letting the wind blow through in winter, so we got a new door. They don't make doors the size this one was, so there was reframing to do as well. And I put in a window where it had been before.
But I was tired and distracted and all of this raised dust and the allergies were bad. I don't want to go through it all, but I felt like I was on a treadmill. And I was happy with the results, and with the people doing the work. It's not easy finding people willing to work on my roof, so when winter came around and they asked if there were any indoor things I wanted done, I agreed to having them do some ceiling repairs in four different rooms.
So we moved stuff out of the kitchen, the front hall, the front vestibule, and to a lesser extent a small sunroom off the dining room. This created chaos and clutter in other rooms. My washing machine broke while I was dealing with a huge amount of plaster dust from these repairs, and it was right then that I got word that my mother was sick enough to "not want to be alone". She moved to the west coast to be a hermit, so this was alarming. And I had to do taxes. And then they discovered that what I had thought would be a small patch in the sunroom had to be expanded substantially because there was mold in the ceiling plaster behind a layer of wallpaper. Plain normal mold, not the nasty black stuff, but I'm allergic to plain ordinary mold, so that was a very unhappy discovery.
We moved things in a hurry into the already crowded dining room. They promised to seal off the bookshelves in that back room and to seal it from the dining room and the rest of the house--and they tried, but failed. All the stuff in the dining room and bathroom ended up with a dusting of moldy plaster dust, just when my washing machine was broken. Including all the clean towels, which were then not clean at all, and I desperately needed to clean that dust off of myself.
I survived somehow, did my taxes, and got on a plane to Oregon to help sort out what was up with my mother. Eventually, we learned she had emphysema (long standing and her doctor had apparently not told her about it) and lung cancer. The cancer was inoperable and too advanced for chemotherapy, and her blood pressure had been too fragile for years for airplanes. We ended up gathering up her and her remaining cats and driving across country to get her to Chicago, installing her in a room she had lived in for a while some years ago.
My sister tried hiring a nurse to be with her overnight, but the very nice woman couldn't resist cleaning things, which Mom was not happy with, so I ended up moving in to my sister's house where I read or wrote all night and slept during the day. The work on my house mostly stopped. Some of the stuff in the dining room got cleaned while I was gone, but not all of it. In time (too soon for us and, I think, not soon enough to suit Mom, who didn't want to leave us, but there was no stopping it and dying slowly has never appealed to her), Mom died and we did the things one must do to honor her and each other.
And I returned home to a list of details unfinished and things jumbled into crowded chaos in the rooms that weren't essentially construction zones. Somehow in the room they'd taken all the plaster out of and put in new walls and ceiling, they'd broken a windowsill. And other things. Slowly, I got things done. I put in my garden, important both for my mental health and for fresh tomatoes and herbs. I prepared for Worldcon in Ireland--I'd already paid for it, I figured, so I might as well enjoy it.
And I did enjoy it, though the week of writing and sightseeing time I'd scheduled turned into more of a silent retreat than a writing one. I needed time to de-stress and to heal. I returned, again, to chaos and things undone, and to water coming in a dining room window. I called the guys who'd put the siding up, assuming that something had gone wrong with that, but no, it was a roof leak, with shingles blown off in a recent storm.
That was the first of two roof leak claims, which led to more expense, since we couldn't just fix the damage caused by the storm, we also had to fix the problems caused by an aged roof, so insurance only covered part of it. We had to wait for the insurance inspector, and make plans. That part of the roof was repaired, and then we had another wind storm. Another claim. Now the dining room had to be emptied, and also the bedroom above it.
The fixed-up rooms look a whole lot better, and we have painted the old cabinet in the dining room that had already been painted, and some of the old wood bookshelves, and soon I should be able to move my Aunt's china back into the dining room and get my kitchen dishes back into the kitchen. And there was other stuff during all this too, like the water heater sprung a leak and had to be replaced.
In short, I have spent more than a year with house things and family things and anger about our current "administration" crowding my head and draining my time and energy, and keeping up with writing was impossible, though I never stopped, doing music was a challenge and sporadic, and writing here? Reading here has been sporadic. Writing here moreso, though there are some cool things over at the patreon, many of which are available to non-patrons, at least for the time being.
And now, of course, there's the novel coronavirus too. Which is not at all a good substitute for a newly-written novel or two, but life is what it is, and I don't get to rewrite it to fix the glaring problems I see.
Which is a very long winded way to say I've missed you all, and I've missed being here, and I'm hoping to be back here more regularly. Oh, and I plan to do a card reading soon. Any preferences as to which decks I should include this time?
This entry was originally posted at https://wyld-dandelyon.dreamwidth.org/454935.html. Be welcome to comment wherever you prefer, but be warned that LJ has not, under the new management, been sending me notifications of comments. I will check LJ periodically, but life being what it is, commenting on DW will likely get you a faster response.