Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Snow Talk, Saved for a Rainy Sping Afternoon

January and February were a way too snowy and cold a start to our life in the Bungalow. With every move, every new home, you will have surprises, and the Bungalow has been no different. In Beech Grove we did not have a driveway, only street parking, so while we were used to having to to take care of a sidewalk when it snows, digging around a couple of cars on the street is very different than having a whole driveway.

So knowing that I'm not physically up to dealing with this and Eric has too much on his plate this winter our options were limited. At some point I will take the time to look into purchasing a snow blower, but since we no longer have a garage to store it in, this didn't seem to be the time, so I looked around and hired someone. Unfortunately he seems to have gone out of business. Which is a real shame for him considering how much snow we've had this winter. That's okay, though, I know there are a lot of really good and reputable companies out there.

So, driveways equal more work. That's not much of a surprise. What was a big surprise for me was that living on a main drag that gets plowed regularly has a down side. (I really didn't think that there could be such a thing.) When you take the time to clean your driveway and the plow driver then plows the street, he piles snow at the end of your freshly cleared driveway. But see, I learned the hard way that this can be a real problem.

When you are home, you have to go to the end of the drive and shovel all of that away BEFORE you try and leave. Or you will get stuck half in and half out of the drive. When you live on Emerson Avenue and it is rush hour this is a bad thing. Fortunately there are very kind people that live in my neighborhood (I don't know if they were from Christan Park or Irvington) who stopped to dig me out of a very embarrassing and  somewhat dangerous situation. I didn't get their names, but I am still so very thankful to them!

I took this picture in the back yard when they day before the first polar vortex.

And then there is the other, harder to solve problem, of when the plows come by while you are gone. Eric did okay in the 4x4, but I didn't fair so well in the Taurus. And, yes, I did get it stuck trying to get in to the driveway as well. Fortunately Eric was home to deal with it and traffic was much lighter at that point. But I never would have thought that I'd ever say a bad word about a plow having come through. But, if that's the biggest problem that I have to solve this year, I think that we're doing pretty good.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Yet Another Break In

I had planned to post a new blog early last Thursday, but I got sidetracked and didn’t get it out. Eric and I had some things to do that evening, so I decided that I would post it after we got home. Unfortunately our evening got entirely hijacked. We were just over in Beech Grove when my phone rang. It was FE Moran (our alarm company) telling us that the alarm in Toad Hall had been triggered.

While we are always vigilant when the alarm rings, we’ve only had false alarms at Toad Hall lately (apparently due to falling plaster or the occasional visiting cat) so we try not worry too much about it, and check the exterior of Toad Hall when we return just to make sure. But for some reason this one was bothering me. Eric and I hopped in the car and headed home. When we arrived we found that the boards over the bay window on the South side of the house were all pulled up. Fortunately someone saw a car pulling out of the driveway and got a license plate number. So at the very least IMPD has a person of interest to track down. :D

And I have to say, IMPD has been great. Not only did the officer get here pretty quickly and take it very seriously, he put out a request for extra patrols near our property. And he even warned us that we shouldn’t worry if we see an officer parked in front of the house. That’s part of what they will be doing on those patrols. All I can say is that I’m really impressed with how concerned the officer was and how they are handling this.

Eric is securing the bay window opening after the break in.

So, instead of what we had planned for the evening, which included Eric doing some more painting in the Bungalow, he spent his available time securing Toad Hall. We had one window board that had been blown down that needed put back up and he had to repair the damage from the break in. 

The West Wing is in sad shape. One of boards covering a window came down, and Eric re-secured it while dealing with the break in.

 All secure and extra to get through if they try again.

But now we are secure again, and hoping that people will finally believe the alarm company signs. And... since the city won’t let us put up a six foot fence topped with razor wire I’m seriously considering erecting the largest sign they will allow. Maybe something like, “No, it’s not abandoned and it doesn’t have electricity, but thanks to modern technology we DO have an alarm. If you wish to test our honesty, please be nice to the IMPD officers as you will be spending quite a bit of time in their company.”


Thursday, March 13, 2014

March Update

Once again time has flown by us and it’s been awhile since we have posted. There are a number of things that have contributed to this, but I’m just going to hit a few of the highlights. The first is that the Bungalow is still a work in progress and that is causing an overall daily time drain. We still don’t have a working shower and the washer and dryer are not hooked up yet. This means that we have to transport all of our laundry to either Beech Grove or the office and do the same for showering.

The kitchen is still incomplete, so that means storing everything in the dining room and having to haul it back and forth to use it. Every week it gets a little better. In the past four weeks we’ve gotten the dishwasher installed, the waterline for the ice maker run, the microwave moved over (but not hung yet), and the walls and ceiling in the kitchen painted. We still have to paint all of the cabinets and trim, hang three cabinets and the microwave, and lay a floor covering. Also, while we have put a new pane in the boarded kitchen window we found that the trim strips that held the pane in place had been glued down instead of nailed. We still need to replace all of those, as the old pieces were destroyed in the removal process.

Out of the million and one pictures that we have taken of the houses this was the only picture of what the kitchen window used to look like! The cabinets have been removed and you can see the crossbar that was used as part of the boarding up of this window.

Here is the window without a board! One step at a time...

We have made quite a bit of progress on the Bungalow and that gets us one step closer to being able to focus all of our energy on Toad Hall. But living in a construction zone causes a lot of extra work on a daily basis. Things like having to hand wash all of the dishes before the dishwasher got up and running and having to haul everything in and out of the kitchen to cook dinner. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a complaint. We are in love with the Bungalow and it’s all worth it. These things are just slowing us down a bit and now that we live right next door to Toad Hall, it’s really hard not to be impatient to get back to work on it!

One of the other complications has been my health. Back in late November the doctors at the Mayo Clinic ordered more tests for me to have done when I came home. That led to more tests and doctor’s appointments, and eventually to what we were thrilled to find out was an incorrect diagnosis. But we spent about a month looking at the possibility of a rather bleak future. While we don’t have any answers, and I’m still very limited in what I can do, things are currently stable, and that’s a much better place than I was at this time last year. And while I have yet more tests and appointments, I have a group of some of the best doctors in the country and they haven’t given up hope that we’ll find the answers and get me back to normal. (Or as normal as I ever was. :D)

There’s one other thing that has greatly affected our available time in the past few weeks. Last weekend my brother turned 41 and we had a pitch in dinner and bonfire to celebrate. Cleaning, cooking, moving the fire pit and grill, and rearranging for the party took up quite a bit of time. But it was really wonderful to be able to have his friends and our family all gather together. The Bungalow has tons of space and a great atmosphere. And while we would have moved in here even if it were small and unhappy, it is such a great thing that we can be right next door to Toad. The Bungalow is a great house in its own right, and even with all of the complications, it’s a joy to be here.