Monday, 17 March 2014

The Sad Story of Kalmar Ave.

    For those of you who do not know, I am a REALTOR and have been for about 25 years altogether. I took a long break in the middle of my career and then decided to come back and build my retirement. In the process I met a wonderful man (through his Godfather whom I met at an Open House!!!) and married him. He was just about to retire and had just had a baby Grandson. I retired early to share in providing child care for him, the absolute LIGHT of my life! I am so grateful for the experience of bonding with such an amazing little boy.
     During that blissful time, we set about renovating the basement of our home so that when our grandbaby started school, we would be free to travel in our Airstream trailer, which we had purchased to take him and his parents to our wedding in Nova Scotia. The retirement building was going extremely well, it SEEMED.
   Upon removing the drywall from the already finished basement, (to build a kitchen so that we could take in a tenant to help pay for our travels and be eyes in the house while we were gone), a PILE OF SAND fell to the floor from the removed wallboard. Our basement foundation was turning to sand. :-(

    After seeking the advice of my brother-in-law, a City Building Inspector, the engineer he recommended and the engineer that THAT engineer recommended when he deemed the job "over his head", we also met and interviewed seven contractors. We got quotes ranging from 50 thousand dollars (laughable in retrospect) to 170,000 and gratefully had a choice of two who seemed competent and aware of the depth they were jumping into. The engineer we eventually found had been called in on a job in the area, to solve the problem after the contractor had the home cave in on his remedial construction. This process of investigation, sourcing and interviews took a year and a half!!

The shoring up process was the most important. It was vertical and also supported by crossbeams, all done under the guidance of a laser level.
My contractor designed it and also used 2X8's instead of 2X6's so that he could cut them in half later and use the 2X4's for framing the basement!

Why didn't you just build new?

    Before you ask, I will answer the questions that will come up in your head, as I have answered everyone else who asked  as this story unfolded and in order of the most common questions:

1. I did not choose to "knock it down and build from scratch" because a) I love my house AND b) there's a huge difference between $150,000 to fix and probably 350 to rebuild; not sure where people think everyone has 350 large stashed away!

2. No, insurance doesn't cover it. AT ALL!

3. Yes, I did have a Home Inspection and so did the people next door but the problem was not caught on either house. If a basement is finished and the problem is "hidden", the Home Inspectors are protected from a law suit because of this. In retrospect, hindsight being 20/20 and all, there were many signs of coverup by the previous homeowner that an engineer should've been brought in to speak to. Since it took me three engineers and 7 contractors to diagnose and cost out the problem, I have no regrets at my decision to buy and again: I love my house and am glad I still own it even as I watch it slowly, slowly be repaired from my window seat at the dinette in my Airstream trailer, across the street in the middle of winter as money flies out the windows!

4. Yes, I could have sued the Seller because they did know they were passing on this problem and covered it up, but they had no money and were elderly so I didn't have the heart on the one hand. On the other hand, because I am a Realtor, my lawyer and I were pretty sure there was only a fifty/fifty chance that I'd win.
If savvy, the Sellers would have sued the Real Estate Brokerage I worked for, which is owned by a good, old friend of mine and the suit would be of an agent I've known for more than 30 years who did NOT know they were passing on this major problem. Most importantly, their Errors and Omissions Insurance company is also my insurance company, one of the largest in the world and I'm pretty sure they would have fought like hell to make sure I did not win. If I were them, I probably would.

5. I didn't start it in the Winter! I even had a total stranger who lives on the street knock on the Airstream door to express her sympathy and in the middle of our conversation blame her husband for asking this question. We started in May getting permits and in the middle of our requests, the City of Toronto shuffled their Zoning By-Laws. As became a harsh reality over and over when dealing with the City, and Enbridge, the head never knew what the ass was doing! After a nearly 3,000 dollar fight for the right to put our porch BACK on the way it was, (because of a variance of 9cm's in the new Zoning Regulations), we finally got started at the beginning of October. The projection for the new foundation job was 2 months, so it should have been over by the end of November, except that the previous owners had ALSO covered up and hidden massive amounts of concrete so near the new foundation that it had to be chipped and excavated with jackhammers instead of faster, albeit more expensive large machinery. Living in our Airstream for that length of time and in normal late Fall temps in Toronto, would have been a piece of cake, even if until Christmas, IF we had had a normal winter! Of course we didn't, we had record breaking low temperatures, for record breaking lengths of time and with record breaking amounts of snow!

The Good News

     Through a good friend, I was given a referral to his best friend, a contractor unlike any I've ever met, let alone heard such glowing praise of and now know first hand, is amazingly good at his job. He is smart, compassionate, considerate, beyond ethical and has achieved the level of success those of us who will never truly retire, all dream of: he works only with nice people that he likes, that are referred by the nice people he likes and has worked with. So, I guess that makes me nice and I try hard everyday to live up to his first impression of me. I have a great working relationship with my contractor and I hope at the end of this job I can call him a friend too.

     We live in our Airstream!!! I'm living my dream. (except that the view never changes, so I'll include that in future visualizations of our dream of full-timing.)  Rick and I are getting along pretty well under the circumstances; it's 174 square feet in here and we have 3 labrador retrievers!!! It's a very good experience of managing the systems. The black water pipe froze and we had no toilet for a couple of DAYS!! It was a drama and I kind of melted down, but invented a composting toilet and bucked up again once we got it melted and emptied. Thank you, and my many, many Airstreaming friends on Facebook! The support has been overwhelming.

     Our neighbours to the north went to their house in Mexico for a month while we excavated their driveway. Our neighbours to the south offered us showers and laundry, their 3 year old made hot chocolate for our workers and charmed them all to pieces and most appreciated of all,  they drank copiously with us when we really needed it. Our neighbour across the street gave us a campsite in his driveway with a hydro hookup and we used his water (fortunately he had a special outdoor device that allows for him to leave the water on in winter....the LUCK on us!) It would have been aLOT harder to live in our trailer and watch the renovation without him and we are super grateful to him and almost all of our neighbours.
    Strangely timed, our least friendly neighbours decided to put their house on the market just before we started excavation and so we indirectly got to make sure the same problem did not get passed on to an unsuspecting Buyer since it made it pretty obvious that the problem could be there too and probably is.
We did have neighbours calling the Parking Authority to target our cars parked on the street because we couldn't be in our driveway. I guess we have p.o.'ed someone in the neighbourhood but with generosity from others we juggled, although not without a public ranting from me one evening towards the poor parking officer so that whatever neighbour was lurking behind their curtains could hear. Of this I am not proud.

Organic Compound Breakdown

                 This is one of our workmen, pushing the foundation wall in by hand with a stick

We're not alone.
It's a pretty widespread problem because it was not uncommon in the 1930's and 40's when a lot of the homes in southern Scarborough were built, for builders to use local sand in the poured concrete basement foundations. Over time, the organic compound that contaminated this sand broke down and left the concrete turning to sand.
     I mostly wrote this blog post to bring awareness to the problem for my Realtor friends in the area, so that they might better protect themselves and their clients from lawsuits and potentially bankrupting repairs.
     While lots of people in our neighbourhoods will lose a substantial part of the equity they thought they had in their homes and a few will likely unethically pass the problem on, the replacement of these homes, mostly bungalows with 2 storeys, is raising the value of mine. The up and coming neighbourhood I bought in, is speedily arriving at "up and came" and it appears that eventually I will recoop the loss. I'm currently dreaming of adding a second storey! (ya, my contractor is JUST THAT GOOD!)
 I just hope that the many topped up bungalows with second stories I see around me have had the foundations checked! and I tell every Realtor who'll listen, what has happened to us, so that they can help their Buyers BEWARE! of this problem.
     In the meantime, it has been just an incredible lesson in how strong I am and how strong my marriage is and how very, very fortunate I am!
OH, and I almost have a brand new basement!!!

Things I've learned about the Airstream Part 2

We've been living in our neighbours driveway in our Airstream, a 25 ft, '04 Safari for five months now in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and it's officially been declared the "worst" winter in 28 years with the coldest temperatures for the most amount of days and the most precipitation...SNOW!!

We have learned alot of things about our Airstream! and please be assured these are just the facts Ma'am...we still LOVE our trailer.

1.There is a carbon monoxide detector.

We found ours in the middle of the night one night when we simutaneously found the manual and the section that mentioned it will indicate that it needs to be cleaned or else it beeps loudly  every 15 seconds until you push and hold the test button to clean the dust off of it. Apparently it only gets clogged in the middle of the night.

2. The dinette set is not set up to play guitar at.
     (I know, I know, preposition blablabla...I think it provides a certain gangsta emphasis).

^tongue firmly implanted in cheek^

Fundamental design flaw, no?

3. The heat vents in the 2004 25 ft Safari SS are in about the absolute worst possible positions they could be and they also point in the worst possible directions as well!

 The front vent points right across the draughty door and directly at the right side of the front, sleeps 2 (humans, 3 labradors) pull-out sofa, so a human would have to have their head facing the other way for sure and their feet intermittently on fire as the heat cycles on and freezing as it cycles off.                                           ......                                                     .................                                                                      ............                                                             ....                                                                        .                                                                       The propane had run out in this picture and you can see the smart dogs curled up where the furnace WOULD be blasting hot air, were it not without fuel.    
     The other heat vent is in the bathroom and points directly at the top of the toilet seat.         
This is unpleasant if you're sitting there when the heat comes on and VERY unpleasant if you have to pee before a forced outing to get propane. The fact that it's the second of only two heat vents means you have to leave the door to the toilet open all the time and at night, because the bed is right beside the door, whoever is sleeping on that side is SURE to kick it closed as soon as they fall asleep.        


I found this ideal Safariesque curtain to at least hide the open lavatory door during the day and I figure it's lightweight enough that it allows some hot air to flow towards the front.
We also keep the shower door closed so it doesn't suck up the heat
and presumably, the heat bounces off of it and forward somewhat. My longterm plan is to find some directional vents and force the air at least sideways into the coach instead of directly forward or directly backward at the toilet seat.
4. The insulation is inefficent for temps between 0C and -7 and especially below -10C

The windows frost up on the inside in these temperatures (below freezing) and then, when they defrost, the water seems to seep down into the walls... especially from the exit window, which is over the bed.

I read somewhere that while sleeping, a human being releases more than a pint of moisture into the air through their exhalations. Since the Airstream walls are covered with the absorbent mousefur material, behind our heads while sleeping, is a breeding ground for mould!

I found this stuff for cleaning it. It's supposed to be safe for pets and children, so I'm guessing it's also safe for us to breathe. After a few applications it took off most of the black mould spots and turned the worst of it to pale brown. I sprayed it, then we left for the weekend just to not take any chances at all. 

     All the "fixes" for condensation build-up I read about on the Airstream and Winter Camping forums talk about "not cooking" DUH, I LOVE cooking in my Airstream. I use the fan whenever I cook anything, and I find my slow cooker and electric frying pan, when hooked up reduce the amount of steam that goes out. We used to perculate coffee in the vintage Pyrex glass pot you see on the stove, but WAYYYYYY too much steam into the Airstreamosphere with it so it necessitated us buying the N'espresso coffee maker. We are super grateful for THAT! Also all this saves propane, BUT obviously we have different methods when not on shore power.

    The other fixes are about cracking a vent: see above with the insulation. Our Airstream is FAR from being air tight. The wind whistles in behind the fridge like nobody's business and the door is "vented" all around. We are trying to keep the heat IN, so I don't get how opening the vents is anyway a fix.
     Another long term fix I have in mind is to find a miniature but powerful dehumidifier. If anyone knows of one, please leave it in comments. (UMMM, the moving the trailer to warmer climes during winter in Canada fix, notwithstanding!)

We learned that propane heating is a very moist heat and because the hot air flows on them from this heat system, you have to keep it running so the pipes don't freeze. Because the insulation is so poor they do anyway and the constant moist heat exacerbates the condensation build up. On the trailer we keep in the countryside, we will skirt and insulate underneath at least to combat this problem for next winter.

5. The water heater is right beside the food pantry cupboard so anything you keep in there in the winter, (while you have to leave the water heater on all the time to keep the kitchen taps from freezing up) needs to be heat resistant. I lost a jar of peanut butter to rancidity to find this out, amongst various nuts and seeds. On a positive note, this is an excellent cupboard to keep coconut oil and honey, molasses or any other food that is easier to serve at a softer consistency and that is used to long term tropical temperatures.
We also found it an ideal place to ferment our milk into kefir and cabbage into saurkraut...just be careful when sliding the shelves out with the jar top open.

I'm a big Thrift Store junkie (check out my Facebook page, ThriftAddicted for proof!)

...and I have special thrifting powers :-) so I just measured the space on the back of the wardrobe door and visualized the shelving unit I wanted to put there so I could move the perishable foods out of the heated cupboard and after a couple of weeks, I found this <<<<<<----PERFECT fit, three tiered wire shelf at our Habitat for Humanity Restore ......FOR FIFTY CENTS, YO!!!!!

lucky, lucky thanks Boss!

I thought this was a no-brainer, but hubs asked me to add it:

5. The outdoor compartments freeze stuff, so if you don't completely empty your water filling hose, it freezes shut. Same goes for Stinky Slinky only, it cracks when you try to use it again and you could end up running up to Camping World on the outskirts of the city in rush hour to avoid your wife having to "go" on Kitty Litter in the lined but full to brimming Dometic!.
I guess you haveta seal it tightly in a bag and store it under the front sofa, which incidently you have to keep open so that the air circulates in there.

The closet behind the refrigerator needs to be left open when temps dip below about -7 C, too and the overheads if you keep anything liquid in them, because it gets frosty  in there too. We loaded the compartment under the bed with insulation.

6. In hindsight, this now seems like a no brainer as well, but our Airstream is not built for the Canadian winter. One of the reasons we bought it, was to travel during winter anyway, but if we did like living here in an Airstream in winter, we would for sure invest in a top off rotisserie reinsulation and systems modification by Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations.

We are grateful for the experience of Winter 13/14 because we really got to know our trailer and had the time to read the manual and cruise the forums, but also to learn how to modify our Airstream to live in.
Hope this doesn't sound negative, as the kids say,
Just Sayin'

Thursday, 9 January 2014

What I learned about our Airstream living in my neighbour's driveway in the Winter

Ol' BlackWater keep on Rollin'

Ya, not so much when the temps dip below -7C
    I will just point out here, that I am a WARRIOR when it comes to stress. I pride myself on being able to get out of a jam with a cool head (throw your coat on the couch instead of hanging it on a hook right across from there and I am known to LOSE it on you, or leave the knife on the placemat and only take your dish to the sink, put my indoor hammer in your toolbox in the garage after you've used it...well, but I digress!)
I have LIKEd about a hundred OffGrid/Survival/Homesteader sites on Facebook and know how to make a heater out of two clay pots and a candle...oKAYYYY? but....
the thing I learned about myself while living in the driveway in winter, is that, once the blackwater tank is full, the outer one foot of blackwater pipe is frozen solid and I am forced to fashion a compost toilet from a biodegradable plastic bag laid in a bowl set in my Airstream toilet and poo on KITTY LITTER, I melt down!
Everyone has a place where their line is drawn, and I found out that this is where mine is, TWICE!
Those of you who are not now ROTFL their asses off at my cruel and embarrassing fate, may like to know the technicalities of how we dealt with this.
      After plan A failed, -> (We read about our problem on the AirForums and went to the hardware store and bought a 40 dollar Heat Tape line as per the suggestion of one of the Sages on there. Why it's called Heat Tape when you actually have to buy something else that is essentially tape to tape the Heat Tape on with, I can only imagine has something to do with the company being owned and operated by men alone! Of course, said Sage was likely in Kentucky or even Florida and not Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the coldest winter on record! cause the heat line didn't melt shit! literally.)
Hubby built a plywood box that fit under the belly pan and surrounded the exposed blackwater pipe, the valve and the end of the grey water pipe as well and we placed a small space heater under there. (FOR A COUPLE DAYS! hence the Kitty Litter and the melt down HA! mine AND the blackwater pipe's)

Three Dog Night

The plan b solution and precursor to the Benefits of MultiCulturalism. What?!?!!?
I'll just say, that, if you plan to travel to cold climates with your Airstream, three, is a perfect number of labradors to take along as a plan b in case, you are say, running out of propane in a place where everyone is the SAME culture and therefore not selling anything on a certain holiday or something.

The heat is back ON in this photo!

Benefits of MultiCulturalism

Propane was for sale at 4am Christmas morning within a 50 mile radius.
     At approximately 3am, while others were finishing up playing Santa, my hubby became unusually snuggly. I awakened to a freezing cold nose pressed up against the back of my neck and realized the temperature inside the Airstream had dropped. I lifted my keen dog sense of hearing above the sound of the noise machine I had running (which also served as a harbinger in case of the AC power failure three days before!) for long enough to realize the furnace was not running. (The blasted thermometer in the AS is not that efficient I noticed and sometimes let it get pretty cold in here before turning on)
I pushed Hubs OFF! realizing he had not checked the propane and had let us RUN OUT, ON CHRISTMAS EVE!)
     Once he awakened and realized I was annoyed, he LEAPT into action and headed out into the night for what I thought was going to be a mission impossible. As I cocooned the blankets around me, I started to ponder if that Facebook prevalent homemade heater with the candles and the two clay pots actually worked. (and how I'd scale the piles of disorganized contractor tools to where my clay pots were in the messy frozen garage)
     My Bestie was visiting for Christmas (in case you haven't been following) and sleeping on the pull out sofa (always pulled out AND adorned with 4 inch thick Memory Foam topper and the three labradors we bought this Airstream FOR) Fortunately, he's as much an actual dog as I and so he slept amongst them. I found this to be an enviable sleeping arrangement anyway, but tonight it became my Plan B. Just as I began to shiver and put this plan in action. I hovered over Bestie and the dogs with the blankets from my bed to pull over the 5 of us, once I snuggled in, I heard the comforting sound of the propane tanks clanking back in and being bolted down. I uttered, "Santa has come with the propane, God Bless the Pakistani people" and to all a Good Night.

Stress Management = DO NOT SET GOALS when you have no control over the timing

     Our renovation (replacement of a crumbling foundation in case you haven't been following, to the tune of 150k probably +++ but don't Cry for me Argentina) was supposed to take 2 months and we applied for our permit in March. Plenty of time one would think, but of course, City of Toronto being what they are, and Murphy's Law always in action, things got started the first week of October. This timing was really pushing it as far as winter was concerned, since in Toronto, Canada winter has been known to blast in as early as mid November. It didn't.    
      Fortunately, what I didn't do was actually get attached in anyway to the notion of 2 months completion. I never asked how long it would take (I overheard my contractor estimating for someone who did ask is how I knew the 2 month thing) and when people asked me I always answered, "there's no way to predict" This saved me and my relationship with my contractor.
     It has been three months, one month with nothing happening but our poor stressed out contractor monitoring all weather reports on all channels, tv, radio and internet streams, all the time, waiting for a break in the weather of  a few days above -5 degrees Celsius. I don't think we are even halfway finished and until I can get back in my office, I play on facebook, write blogposts, look out at the forlorn quiet construction site across the street and tend to our survival in the driveway. Occasionaly I am overcome by my lack of productivity and contribution to the price tag which started as an estimate of 120 thousand, became 125 on the first day and has risen ever since. I am a Realtor but most of my time has been taken up with this project and my father's estate, so I look forward to being back at it, but I do NOT, and will NOT set a goal with a timeline and that is the most important thing I've learned in the driveway so far! oh, and to be grateful!

You can see Hubby's plywood warming box invention at the rear of the tires on the right in the photo. Brilliant! (Now to figure out how to stop the melting from wetting the spaceheater and shorting out the electrical circuit. DOH!)


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Best friend comes for Christmas/ICE STORM

    When I lived in NYC I had the divine good fortune to meet my best friend. He was 17 and spoke hardly any English and was working as an assistant to a NASTY dogwalker; a colleague of mine. She was one of those "friends" that was actually an enemy you keep closer.
    She was taking advantage of his status in the country and paid him very little, even though I could see immediately, he was a natural dogtrainer, and was amazing with dogs. While supporting him in leaving her and starting a business on his own, we became close friends. I'm 21 years his senior and he once asked me to teach him to be a dogtrainer. I taught him everything I could think of to teach and he has never ceased teaching ME since the day we met. We have been inseparable emotionally for almost 20 years now, but physically we were separated 8 years ago by legality statuses and the Canada/U.S. border (not to mention a few States and Provinces and a lack of finances for travel.)

When I left to come back to Canada, we promised we'd be spending Christmas together and did when we could but every year we strove to get him legal to come to Canada and spend Christmas here.
It finally became official this November and this is the diary of our amazing celebration!

We always loved to thrift shop when we lived in NYC and so whenever I shopped here,

 I always had him with me in spirit. How unbelievably fun to finally, actually have him here shopping with me, as well. We tore it up, we popped some tags, it was fuckin awesome!(<---Macklemore)

My stepson had gone to visit NYC once when I wasn't there and although they had never met, he put the SS up in his apartment and showed him around. On Sunday, we went to the Gay Village to a place SS suggested, the Garage and bestie got cruised and flirted with by the super cute waiter. We also almost ended up at Steamworks but for the fact that the boys didn't think I could pass for a Trannie.

During his stay the lights went out in Georgia! er, ah, Toronto since we had an ICE STORM and hundreds of thousands of people were without power. I think, our neighbours had been feeling sorry for us up until that point, everyone asking as they were if we were "warm enough" inside the Airstream. We have a propane furnace and although being plugged in to our neighbour's electrical outlet made it easier to run than recharging our batteries with our tow vehicle every 8 hours or so for an hour or two, we were the only ones living on the street for a few days!
  My bestie took it all in natural stride and we joined him at his club LA Fitness for luxuriating showers, swims in a salt water pool and he lolled about nightly on the pull-out sofa with the 4 inch thick Costco Memory Foam adorned by three furry labradors. (The night hubbie forgot to top up the propane, he says he wore Charles, "as a scarf"! I was just about to take the comforter off my bed and join them in the front of the trailer when hubs, the ultimate hunter and gatherer returned with said propane!)

Of course I couldn't wait to show him my little slice of heaven on the Bay and our other Airstream, the Baby Whale, which is still parked there despite the nasty neighbour complaining to the City that she was an EYESORE!

EYESORE!!!!!!!?!?!?!?!?! Pfffft!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


WE have our Airstream perched across the street from our house so we have a bird's eye view of the construction we are doing to replace a crumbling foundation. It's comforting and disconcerting at the same time for both us and our 3 labradors. It's exciting and nervewracking because it's late fall in Canada and we are racing against the official start of Winter which has at times arrived with a cold freeze and a 15 centimeter dump of snow!
YA!!! consider this an edit...this week winter arrived with a 15 cm dump of snow, then another 5, then 3, last night 2 and of course it was on a weekend so for four days I was afraid to call my contractor (who I still LOVE) and ask "Now what happens?"

As it turns out, he was just waiting on the guy who sprays the rubberizing first layer of waterproofing before back filling our driveway back!!! HURRAY!!!! does not express anything close to the elation we are now feeling as we watch out the window of the Airstream as the path back into our home is created.
To add to the tenderhooks we hang from, my best friend is coming for Christmas and I could never in a million years say no to seeing him. We MAY be 4 labradors and 3 adults in our 174 sq feet of inefficently insulated and bare bones showering aluminum paradise (withdrawing tongue from cheek) but he and I have lived in worse conditions during our darker years in New York City and always came out with our good humour intact and relationship unscathed. Still it would be fun to have our house back, at least to camp in and especially to drink wine in front of our fireplace if only in my dreams!

  So far we have been lucky and we are very grateful for our Airstream, for our patient and generous neighbours and for being in a financial position to remedy the situation.
   I had been visualizing us living in it fulltime and I'm a firm believer that you manifest your own reality.
Sooooooo................... now I am also visualizing a changing view!!!

Isn't she beautiful in the snow and sunshine?!...PS hubbie built the plywood box you see behind the tires to encapsulate the grey and black water pipes to stop the freezing but we have to add a small spaceheater to it every once in awhile too. Talk about your hot shit!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Bricks & Mortar comes UNDONE

A few years ago we decided to buy and Airstream (Heirs'Dream...hubbie heir to half the price, me heir to the love of airplanes, airstreams, trailers, travel and livin' like a Gypsy)Airstream Song by Miranda Lambert
   I even got my guitar out recently and learned to play and sing this song in preparation for "hittin' the road" in our new Silver Bullet. My hubbie retired from police work and started to renovate our basement to put in a rental unit to a) finance our big adventure Full Timing in the Heirs'Dream and b) to have someone living in our little house to take in mail, water grass and comply with insurance requirements to not leave a house vacant.

We tore down some of the siding to start preparing to replace the bar with a kitchen and smelled dampness, dug deeper and found DIRT...sand....instead of concrete walls. To make a long sickening part of the story short, after the opinions of several engineers, many more contractors and a building inspector, we found our house to be close to condemnable...poured concrete foundation was done with contaminated sand and the organic materials had broken down and the walls were now doing the same!
It took us over a year to find the right engineer and contractor but they are now on the job, the little house I love has been shored from below, jacked up to level and tomorrow excavation begins! 
We are over the resistance in believing it's happening to us (and that we had to go back to work to pay for it instead of retiring and going touring in our Airstream) and are positive and excited to watch the process. AND we are actually living in our Airstream, just parked across the street :-) gratefully enjoying a bird's eye view from our generous neighbour's driveway.

....and tonight is Hallowe'en night so this is how it looks from the front. A video from ScAirstream Central!
....but Hallowe'en was nowhere near as scary as the next day when we found out AFTER the construction guys removed the gas meter that the gas had not been shut off, and when they came TO shut it off, that the main valve was NEXT to our beloved Airstream. We were almost a gas explosion Wizard of Ozstream sequel.
Gratefully not and we are off to our lot on the Bay for a couple of days of peaceful by Nature.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Sittin on the Lot on the Bay

     This weekend is Duck Hunting Season and I stayed away from my little lot on the Bay last week afraid of what I might face there.
I have to say, I've seen very few ducks there lately, so even though I was  trepidatious about going, I clung to this notion on the way down and how I'd enjoy nothing better than to watch the idiot neighbours sit behind their duck blind with absolutely no ducks to shoot. Well, actually, I thought it would be better if it rained too, but then that would spoil our time as well and so far it hasn't, nor have any ducks been shot.
This is my peaceful neighbour who likes to fish. We like him best.

These guys like to run into the water splashing around to find a stick I've tossed, which also serves as a warning to geese and ducks, Do NOT come around these parts, our neighbours may shoot you!

It's a little slice of heaven I tells ya
what?!?!? shoot? who's shooting whaaaaat?