Category Archives: Personal Update

Yet Another Quick Personal Update

Yes, I’ve been away yet again, but I’m back. 🙂

It’s been a hectic last week plus here. Initially, it was last minute holiday preparations and cooking two different holiday dinners (the things we do for family). The previously mentioned spider bite slowed me down just a little as well. More on the meals in a separate food post. 🙂

During the prep for the bigger, second dinner, my Microplane box grater decided to take a chunk out of my thumb instead of leaving it at the smoked gouda cheese

If you’ve never used this goodie, or the more well known Microplane graters:

I highly recommend them. They work amazingly well on anything from lemon skin (for zest) to coconut to thumbs. 👍🤨 Dark humor aside, they’re FAR superior to the typical grater.

After the dinners, presents and festivities, it’s been a combination of clean up and (mostly) what I can only assume is a reaction to the antibiotics for the spider bite; I’ve been dead on my feet for days. Worst case of fatigue I can ever remember. Yesterday, I was only awake for 7 hours or so and I was dead on my feet the entire time.

I’d almost attribute it to the Onmicron variant (which is supposed to cause severe fatigue), but I’ve felt fine otherwise. Even the spider bite is healing nicely. So with no other suspects or symptoms, the now finished off antibiotics seem the most logical suspect.

Despite it all, I’ve managed to keep the new positive outlook. Can’t say I’ve been perfect. Last minute grocery shopping certainly worked my last good nerve, lol. I’m sure hoping that I’m done with the fatigue now as well. I’m managing to keep an overall positive attitude about everything though. 🙂

Presents and meals you ask? Next Time. 😉 Here’s a hint though:

Well, That Bites…

Time for another brief personal update. The post’s tile is partially a pun. I’ve been sidetracked and away from the blog not only due to holiday stuff, but because I also literally got bit by.. something.

My suspicion after doing some internet research is that it’s a spider bite, likely a black widow or brown recluse. I never felt the bite nor saw any spider though. The first day I noticed it, I wasn’t sure what it was and it didn’t look TOO bad all things considered. I decided to wait a day and see how it progressed.

Image via http://billericky.hubpages.com/hub/poisonous-venomous-spiders-brown-recluse-black-widow-most-poisonous-spiders-images

This is a pic from the internet. For new followers, I’m paranoid about personal photos online, hence this pic as a stand-in. My apparent bite is on my calf and looked similar but the center is darker and hard like a scab.

Getting back to the story, by the end of the day, my calf was showing some swelling, and I wasn’t feeling so good. Long story short, we spent almost 3 hours waiting in the local ER, got literally one minute of face time with an actual doctor (who barely looked at the alleged bite), and sent with some antiseptic wash and a prescription for major antibiotics.

Aside from the lousy ER experience though (and they were not that busy BTW), the whole event has been pretty mild for what was likely a bite by a dangerous spider. I felt lousy for a few days, and slept ALOT, but the wound is slowly healing as opposed to the horrific click bait pics out there of widow or recluse bites just rotting away huge areas of flesh.

At this point, the worst of it all is that the Doxycycline antibiotics make me sick to my stomach, even if taken with food. That’s minor in the grand scheme of things however. 🙂

The big trick is going to be catching up on all the Christmas stuff I still have to do. We’re hosting not one, but TWO dinners this year. Christmas day will be five people, and then Sunday will have 11 of us after the out of state in-laws finally make it to town.

I could have just left everything at Sunday only but Christmas is supposed to be celebrated on Christmas, dangit. 😀 😀

Faith and Fear

That’s what today’s personal update is about; struggling between faith and fear. That’s kind of where I’ve been the last week or so. Enough so that I’ve really struggled to put words to “paper” about it and thus been absent here as I struggle to find my footing.

I should start where I last left off I suppose. 🙂 Even before my last post, I’d been picking up little messages here and there urging me to shake off the slump I was in. A Buddha quote in a blog post, the underlying theme in Cobra Kai (which we’ve been watching), etc… I could make a whole series of posts about how neither Johnny nor Daniel are balanced emotionally until the end of season 3, but that’s another story…

More to the point, all these messages got me to see two important truths:

  1. No matter how bad my life has gotten, in the end every situation resolved itself in an essentially positive manner
  2. There’s truth in the adage that there’s no point in worrying about problems because either they can be corrected and thus solved, or they’re completely out of your control anyway.

Perhaps stress and suffering (partially) come from not knowing the distinction between the two and thus categorize one’s problem.

At any rate, I’ve found a great deal of peace in the combination of those two realizations. I’ve accepted that whatever comes, we will get through it and eventually get back on our feet. It’s always happened, no matter how dark the moments in my life. Funny how much things have changed in the last week also. I’m thinking more clearly and FINALLY noticed that a bog contributor to my back pain issues has been my stubborn refusal to wear shoes. Circumstances required shoes for 3 or 4 days though and I noticed how much better my feet and back felt vs wearing sandals.

On a level that could be written off as coincidence, but I’m choosing to attach some spiritual meaning to, we also had a minor breakthrough on our legal case; our lawyer found out that the home inspection company we were referred by our realtor wasn’t licensed to do inspections in Georgia. If true, that’s going to leave them open to a legal broadside.

I have a habit of searching for deeper meaning in things, and part of me wonders if all the bad experiences weren’t used by (not orchestrated by) God to try to teach me I’ve got the strength to overcome all of it if I had faith in myself, AND to teach me to have faith in Him since I always landed on my feet.

Am I in a perfect place now? Far from it. Fear of everything that could and might go wrong is still warring hard against my new sense of calm. I’ve had so many things go wrong in the past after multiple times taking a step in this direction that I’ve been outright afraid to even make this post. Maybe it’s time to stop looking for the other shoe dropping though and try to get on with life.

Four Years…

Yep, 4 ‘Glorious’ Years…

This was actually about a week ago. Things have just been a mess here, and I didn’t get around to this sooner.

It’s hard to believe I’ve actually been here this long, and how little I feel I’ve accomplished beyond dealing with a never ending, ever escalating series of disasters that keep me from doing any real writing.

Follow the Evidence, Ep. 3 – Mudjacked

Yes, time for another personal / house drama update. O_O And another round of follow the evidence!

When I last left off here, I was complaining that our lawyer had some… unorthodox practices. Seems that the whole “fill in the blank” rough draft of lawsuits is normal for him. This based on talking to another client (who had referred us). Perhaps it’s about saving billable hours, maybe it’s about getting a client to think about what they’re really doing and / or asking for.

It’s only the rough draft that’s done this way however, AND the lawyer assures us that HIS inspector was just speaking casually in his report. “Walkthrough” supposedly meant walkthrough by an inspector.

At any rate, I dropped off a thick binder full of evidence, documenting everything we’d found and had misrepresented to us, along with a ton of supporting photos:

I categorized it all and separated it using old school tabbed divider pages also. When I dropped it off at the law office, the legal assistant said they should hire me to organize their paperwork, lol. I told them I was available. 😛

After raising a little hell, we FINALLY got the engineer’s report back later yesterday (Monday). It called for 37 footing pylons to stabilize and lift the walls as well as boosting up the entire foundation with high density foam. Since I already know from talking to the initial inspector that those pylons run $1500 each, we’re talking $55,500 just for that. Then we have to add in the foam, repairing and leveling the foundation and new flooring. What I suspected would be a $60,000 estimate is likely going to be over $100,000. I’m supposed to have an official estimate later this morning.

Let’s not also forget that we have to add in asbestos abatement to the mix as well so that it’s safe for the workers to do their thing.

Mudjacked!

Here’s where it gets “fun”. If you’ve ever used that spray foam in a can sealant that home depot sells for sealing openings where faucets come through the exterior walls, etc… you’ve probably seen how quick it decays. Give it two years and it’s rotting out.

Because of that, I decided to do some research on this foam that they use to support foundations. Turns out it’s supposedly good indefinitely (must be great for the environment), but the ground underneath it might still continue to shift or erode. Ergo, most places that do this treatment offer a 25 year warranty. The site I was reading up on this mentioned that is superior to “mudjacking”, and was taking it’s place as an industry standard.

So I got really curious there and decided to start researching. Mudjacking is a similar, but older process that uses a mix of wet mud and sand mixed with just a little bit of portland concrete to firm it up. It looks something like this:

It took about a minute to hit me… Deja Vu: the feeling you’ve seen this someplace before.

I can’t be 100% certain without testing, BUT I’d bet dollars to donuts that tan stuff underneath the THIN foundation edge IS mudjacking mix.

That means that somebody, likely the seller, was aware of and concerned enough about the foundation issues to try to jack up and support it. That’s a MAJOR failed disclosure, and a huge one for our side of the lawsuit if we can establish that fact, or even put doubt in the judge or jury’s mind(s).

It’s a MAJOR expense if we can’t get the sale rescinded. That’s our goal at this point as opposed to any sort of monetary judgment. I have little doubt that everyone we’re suing will either hide assets or declare bankruptcy to avoid paying any sort of judgment. Right now, our ballpark estimate is around half the value of the house, maybe more in repair costs.

And on top of everything else… when we were down there yesterday, the thermostat was not working. More money, more money, mo…

Meals Monday: Steak Fettuccine Alfredo

I’m battling to get back to a normal routine the past few days. Part of that is I did make a concerted effort to create a nice dinner for us last night. That offering was Fettuccine Alfredo (with my homemade Alfredo sauce) topped with steak. Note the sauce recipe is towards the bottom on the linked to post.

As always start with fresh pasta:

Wow, focus was off there. 😦 Oh and that’s a loaf of Rosemary Parm Bread next to the pasta, courtesy of Costco. Not as good as homemade, but decent.

While the water was heating up, I stared the strips of steak sauteing in butter and garlic:

two in a row, so much for the high end camera on the new samsung

I’m throwing in the above picture primarily to show off that colander. This was right before I dumped the water. It was a Christmas present from my mom a couple years back. Super handy as it holds tight to the pot, is heat resistant silicone, and is much easier to clean up than a full colander.

Beyond that, since the camera was acting up, I’ll cut this a little short. Aside from the bread and pasta dishes, I also cooked up some butternut squash and added a touch of cinnamon to it. Viola; one almost gourmet meal:

Gibbs Rule Number 36?

Rule #36: If you feel like you’re being played, you probably are.

That’s where I’m at now with the house lawsuit. Our lawyer has been waiting for a report from his own hired inspector to detail everything I’ve already gone over in-depth. To a degree, I understand that. As much as I’ve educated myself the last two months, I’m NOT a professional building contractor nor an inspector.

The lawyer has the report now, and is apparently eager to move forward. We got a copy of the report, and TO ME, it looks very weak at best, if not outright torpedoing our case. Worse is that it backpedals on multiple things that I’d discussed with the inspector while he was at the house.

He left out the picture of the extremely shallow foundation slab, and blew off the vertical cracks in the walls, saying that the uneven foundation was just normal settling for a 63 year old house for starters. That’s HUGE, as it’s the biggest expense in repairing the house, and the keystone of the lawsuit.

Only that top grey bit is concrete, that’s a few inches of clay beneath it.

He also said that most of the problems should have been evident during a walkthrough.

Our lawyer is saying that the inspector is talking about a “walkthrough” by the previous inspector. In formal debate and even more so in law however, wording is everything. Buyers do a walkthrough. Inspectors do an inspection. If I’m opposing counsel, I’m going to pounce all over that wording and apply the proper or common meaning. Then I’m going to make it look like the buyers were idiots who didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention and are now crying over their own lack of due diligence.

The reality is, I specifically asked the inspector we first hired about the roof and foundation (among other things), and he LIED his ass off about ALL of it, telling us it was fine. Combine that with the seller having furniture and boxes hiding several issues and it was easier than it should have been to get burned.

That’s getting off track however. The main point is that I’m having a REALLY hard time believing that our lawyer wants to go to court with documentation that makes our case look so weak. I was undefeated in debate in high school and collage and I’d NEVER use that paperwork to support an argument. It plays right into the other side’s hands. My mom, on the other hand says “Trust him, he’s supposed to be working for your benefit”, etc… (and that I always see backstabbers everywhere).

Yeah, well… Guess what? The original inspector was supposed to be working for our benefit, and so was the Realtor that we hired. I think we all know how THAT worked out.

So yes, at this point I am wondering it this lawyer is just setting us up to fail while collecting thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees along the way. Gibb’s Rule #36.

While we’re at it, numbers 3(A), 8, 35, 39 and 40 also seem to apply here. To say nothing of number 13

Available as a mousepad on Etsy… And a coffee cup. Not by me.

OK, yes, it’s just a TV show and Gibbs is just a now retired character from the show. He was a somewhat flawed character also. None the less, many of those rules do indeed make sense. There are occasional nuggets of wisdom in the turd pile that is TV programming philosophizing.

While we’re at it, let’s not forget what Shakespeare had to say about lawyers…

Follow Up: Following Evidence

Yes, time for a short update to yesterday’s post on Following the Evidence.

Two things happened today. First, I went down to the “new” house and did some more digging in preparation for meeting with a different attorney. My suspicions were confirmed about the door that the seller added in:

My picture was crooked, BUT you can see the bubble in the center shows that the threshold for the door IS level. BUT… when you put it on the floor near the threshold:

We’ve got some seriously uneven floor there. The ONLY way to get that door assembly level was to compensate for the uneven floor / foundation. Ergo, the seller HAD TO know that the house is sinking.

Side note; that MAY be asbestos flooring that was underneath the carpet also. Yet another thing to have checked.

We bought a tripod to put our laser level on, and assuming all was done correctly, I got some interesting readings from the various rooms of the house. The den is by far the worst area for foundation issues. There are other problem areas however. The other end of the house SEEMS to have the front corner rising and the back corner sinking. Both by just an inch or so. The entire center 1/3 of the house seems to be pretty level.

Notice I’m hedging my words here a little. The reason being is that I re-checked the wall which was in yesterday’s post, and this time it read as level. My best guess for the difference in readings is that yesterday the laser MAY have had it’s switch stuck in the ‘lock’ position, which would have kept it from self leveling.

I can’t help but wonder though, if that whole portion of the house is sinking, why is it only showing on two walls running North – South and NOT on the East – West running wall that connects to both of them? The sinking extends beyond the East-West wall by at least 15 feet, so something should be showing with it as well.

And THEN There Was The Lawyer:

Without going into a ton of particulars, this lawyer was a good deal more optimistic regarding our chances. There couldn’t be any commitments just yet, as we’d forgotten our paperwork, and he said he’d want to have a contractor that he uses look at the house to determine what he can offer expert testimony on.

So, what the case is going to come down to is what can shown that the seller at least SHOULD have had reasonable knowledge of, and therefore an obligation to disclose.

He MIGHT be able to play dumb about the termites for example. They were inside the wall. HOWEVER, a neighbor says he was warned about termites, and the seller had the carpeting up to do work, so an argument could be made that he might have seen a crack in the slab and termites.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the side door and the windows. I’ve already proven in this post that he had to make corrections for the foundation sinking in order to install those doors and windows correctly.

Things are also looking pretty good for building a case against the realtors and the inspectors as well.

Reality is we’re not going to know anything until Monday on the paperwork end of things. I’m delivering that in the morning. Regarding the physical condition of the house, that won’t be until Friday.

So, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The primary question is what kind of light.

Follow the Evidence! :D

Yes, a Grissom-ism from CSI… Hell, THE Grissom-ism

What am I talking about? The battle with our “new”, should be condemned house.

The last few days have been rough, so I haven’t posted anything much beyond replies. First, we went to a lawyer that had a killer rep for litigation. All we got was excuses for why it was perfectly OK for everyone involved with the transaction to screw us over. Georgia is a “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) state, and the lawyer tried to tell us that excuses blatant fraud and breach of contract. He even looked me straight in the eye and told me that realtors have no fiduciary responsibility to their clients. BIG mistake there. I was a realtor. I know the state and national standards for realtors.

As best I can figure reading their body language, the two lawyers didn’t want a case that wasn’t an easy, no work win, and they actually enjoyed the idea that some out of state people got screwed by a local.

We’ve found lots of other stuff wrong with the house at this point. One of the most severe turned out to be a potential good though however. Half the house has MAJOR foundation issues:

that’s the beam from an auto adjusting laser level. You can judge how much the house is drooping via the width of that picture. 2 1/2 Cinder blocks. Roughly 2 1/2 feet or 3/4 of a meter. If you go the entire width of the house, there’s a 5 to 6 inch drop from back to front. 15 cm for those elsewhere. We had called a foundation repair company to look at the place when we saw cracks in the outer wall:

The company representative, who seemed very knowledgeable, was freaked out by what he saw and rescheduled for next week when he can bring the company’s head structural engineer with him to figure out the best fix.

So WHY on Earth is this GOOD news you ask?

Because, the seller bragged on putting a new door in that wall, as well as new windows all over the house. Here’s where following the evidence comes in. A door and window won’t mount, much less open and close in an opening that’s shifted sideways diagonally. The seller had to extend those openings to allow for the door and windows to fit. Ergo there’s no way he could NOT have known the house had foundation issues and bad walls. Of course, he said exactly the opposite on his Seller’s Disclosure paperwork.

First piece of proof:

Look at how wide and tall that trim work is around the door. I guarandamnedtee you that when I pull that off, there’s going to be a massive gap around the door with uneven measurements around it. THAT so he could make the door fit despite the sinking corner of the foundation.

The window has the same kind of trim:

It ALL explains why he demanded to redo the threshold for the door himself as part of our closing contract. Can you say fraud, misrepresentation and breach of contract, boys and girls? 😈

He also had to have gotten a look at the substandard foundation for the outer wall while putting that door in:

Now you see, that’s about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of concrete with mud underneath that’s been compacted to clay. Thing is, the building standard AND legal code for a concrete slab foundation is a minimum of 4 inches thick IF you’re going to put nothing heavier than a single story wood building on top of it. Thicker is better when you’re dealing with the weight of stone walls.

So all of this LOOKS LIKE gross negligence on the home inspector’s and appraiser’s parts as well.

Follow the evidence to the logical conclusion.

Well, we’ve got an appointment with another lawyer this afternoon. If he says we still have no case, I’ll have to say Georgia is more corrupt than a third world banana republic.

Today’s the first day I’ve felt good in two months.

Too bad (for him) that Bubba was too stupid to think us dumb city folk could understand what it takes to properly frame a door or window.