Some things have a way of catching up with you and house maintenance is definitely one of them. It’s amazing how much love and attention a house can demand. You wouldn’t think so. After all they’re just blocks of concrete standing there on a piece of ground. And yet, the provide us with warmth on a cold winters night, comfort when we arrive home from a hard days work and flop into our favourite couch in our favourite room (usually in front of the TV), surround us with the safety of her walls while we watch our children play in the garden, keep us dry and generally provide us with a feeling of familiarity which we tend to thrive on.
So I guess it’s only fair that she demands a little in return. I say ‘she’ because houses are high-maintenance much like the fairer sex tend to be. The last couple of days, my house – bless her soul – has decided to get all uppity and let me know in no uncertain terms that she was feeling neglected.
In no particular order here are some issues that her and I have had:
We’ve had topsoil and fertiliser dressing added to our lawns. The lawn was starting to look particularly shabby and bare in places after a very dry summer. Not withstanding an irrigation system that I have in place, the winter has been harsh and we still to date have not had any rain since last summer. So the lawn needed some love and attention. So on Monday morning the guys came around and put lovely stinky smelly dirt all over the grass and now it needs a bit of constant watering to make it flourish which I am sure it will do in due course. It does mean the children are a bit restricted from going outside just yet – it’s a bit too muddy for all of that.
Now as mentioned the lawn needs watering. So what happens? On Sunday, our dearly beloved gardener for the umpteenth time manages to break the irrigation hose in two places at the front of our garden. So now when I run the irrigation it floods the place. Wonderful. So we have the irrigation repair people coming out tomorrow morning early to fix the problem. More money, I think I need to deduct it from his salary at the end of the month – it’s beyond a joke now. Although I do sympathise with him a little as the irrigation pipes really should have been buried deeper and it is difficult to turn the beds over as a result.
I went and bought three pieces of trellis to block openings in our front wall where the local neighbourhood cat had been coming through to use our indoor flower bed as it’s local toilet! So much so that the smell of urine/feces was overwhelming each morning as you stepped out the front door. The cat had also all but killed a plant in that front garden with it’s uric acid. I’m happy to report however that with some more love and attention. some fresh fertilizer and potting soil and a lot of water the plant is recovering and as of this morning has three new bright green leaves on it. I have also thrown in some geranium and ponsietta seeds into that area so hopefully soon we should see some colour and some better smells in the morning. Good riddance cat!
Electric fences. Yes, I live in South Africa I’m afraid; so an electric fence is mandatory. A working electric fence is however even more mandatory. Unfortunately ours was not. So call in the contractors to come and have a look at it. Unbeknown to me, when I had chopped down part of a banana plant outside my front door when putting up the trellis it had fallen down on the fence and bent some of the wires. That however didn’t turn out to be the real problem. It took the technician the better part of an hour to find a small bobbin that wasn’t seated properly on the fence and was causing a short circuit. At least it’s working again now and we can sleep safely at night.
Whilst the fence technician was there he had to be supervised a little. I don’t like people to have the full run of my property. So during that time silly me decided to rearrange my garage/studio. I move the shelving to the side of the gararage and swept and tidied up the place. Hopefully this will inspire me to get back into the studio and do some more photography. It’s been far too long. At least the place looks tidy again though. For how long, who knows.
Back to security problems though, our burglar alarm had also stopped working. So once again, and more money; we had to call out the technicians. Fortuantely they responded quite smartly to this as being without a burglar alarm would be a real problem for me, not withstanding the fact that my householders insurance would be invalidated. It turned out to be a blown fuse so when that was replaced all was working again. It was a good opportunity to test the alarm and make sure that the panic and siren and call-centre link-up was all working properly though.
Telephones. I have 4 extensions in my house and we recently had a big problem with static/noise on our line. It took our dear telecom service provide Telkom about 3 weeks to decide to come in and fix the problem. After they had fixed that problem however our extensions stopped working. Fortunately they didn’t disrupt our ADSL connection because then all holy hell would have broken loose! However from a security point of view being without a telephone in my bedroom was a bit of an issue for me. Are you sensing a trend in this blog – ‘security’. I’m afraid it’s a sign of the times and a clear indication of where I live I’m afraid.
Our pool. Does she have a leak or doesn’t she. It’s reallly hard to tell. The water level definitely does go down at varying degrees. Could it be due to evaporation? I’m really not sure. We have had some really hot weather recently and my gut tells me that the last couple of days while it hasn’t been that hot the water level hasn’t dropped as much? Some suggestions I have received are to block the return valve with something(?) and then see if I’m still losing water because it doesn’t appear to be leaking from the outlet valves anywhere? Someone else suggested food colouring in the water? I thought that was a really interesting and novel idea to see if there was a leak in the pool itself? Who knows. In addition to this we’ve upgraded/fixed the solar panels on our pool. We now have five solar panels in a relatively small pool and to my dismay even after all the sunshine and hot weather our pool is still only 22°C. I really felt that it should have been warmer than that by now? Am I asking too much?
Our flat roof in the past has really given us a lot of problems with leaks; as all flat roofs tend to do unfortunately. We spent a lot of money on it fixing the problems and by and large seemed to have solved it. However I am dreading the up coming rainy season (may it come soon); because after a long hiatus who knows where we might encounter problems? The jury is still out on that one I’m afraid but my gut tells me that there may be some issues in places? Hold thumbs that it’s nothing too serious.
We recently had Wendy’s dad stay with us for a week while he was recovering from a hernia operation. Of course he stayed in our guest bedroom and to our dismay we discovered after several hours mind that that the geyser that we had turned on for him while he stayed there was leaking water like a sieve. The idiotic people who installed the geyser and plumbing when they added on that part of the house did a real heath-robinson affair. So once again out came the contractors. We had to replace a faulty thermostat in the geyser which was overheating as well as move the geyser so that they could fit the proper safety shut-off valves etc. To crown it all the outlet for the geyser is a pipe that just runs straight into my garage/studio. So there was a ton of water everywhere in that room. Fortunately all the equipment and odds and ends are off the floor. There was a bit of water damage so some wood/board but nothing major.
I’m still toying with the idea of putting part of a second storey onto my house. For those of you that know my place I’m contemplating putting a second storey over my second garage, my bar and my study. I would like to leave the garage area open as a double volume space which would then greatly assist studio photography in there. One of the biggest problems right now is that the ceiling is very low. Lower than normal and this causes problems with light spill and reflection etc. So a double volume space would be ideal and I could also use a boom light from the second level over that area as a hair light for instance. Over the bar area would then become a really nice study/gallery area for me, my computers, my printer and my prints. I was thinking of putting stairs up from inside the bar area (to the left of the fireplace) which take you up to that level. I was also thinking of putting a door in from the garage/studio where the dart board is currently to give direct access from the studio up to the study area. My currenty study would then become a place for the children possibly (with their computers and perhaps a homework area for later) or a gym for Wendy. The alternative that I was thinking about was that the room above the current study then becomes Wendy’s gym and it would be lovely as it would have a nice view of the surrounding neighbourhood from up high as well as allow for a nice fresh breeze to blow through that room (as you are above the level of the surrounding walls). Wendy’s gym equipment is currently in the bar area and it is quite big and bulky and doesn’t look that great so a seperate room for it would be ideal. Building is not a task to be taken lightly though and I would dread the disruption, hassle and the fighting that would be necessary to make sure that it got done according to specification. Nevertheless it’s still an idea that is mulling around in my head. I think it would be a lovely add on to a home that we really enjoy living in and certainly cheaper than buying a new place.
So as you see my dear house is giving me a bit of grief lately. Then again I guess she deserves a little attention as she is our carer, our provider and a place that we truly enjoy spending time in. Long may we be happy there.