Friday, May 13, 2011

What a Long (Steve) Trip It's Been...and an iPad?

Well, not THAT long, and not THAT Steve (though a nice big chunk of it included the big lug), when you get right down to it. But I needed a title to sort of get the ball rolling, and that was the best I could come up with on short notice.

It started Monday with a plane ride to Baltimore, Maryland.

I always love going back there, to the place that I like to call 'home'. I got chills as I saw the Chesapeake Bay come into view outside the airplane window, and wished there was more time to actually do a little bit more in the way of visiting folks and places.

There wasn't.

This was a very quick in and out. I was there to visit with an old friend (not sure if he WANTS me discussing his bidness on here right now so I am leaving his part of the story respectfully anonymous) and the return part of the trip involved the transport of some boxes (LEGIT stuff...please, people...) from Maryland to Ohio. The aforementioned Steve was already there to help with the move and accompany me for the ground journey via truck back to the sleepy town of Sunbury, Ohio.

Everything went as smooth as silken sheets. Couldn't have asked for better weather, better traffic. Well, you could have asked for better prices at the gas pump, but that's about it. Everything else was groovy to the max. It was one of the most problem-free 24-hour periods I can recall experiencing in a long, long time. This coming from a guy who is just used to things always finding a way of jamming themselves up.

Not this time. Can't complain about a THING.

By the time I got back, I did notice that we had received the 'official' denial, in writing, from the insurance company on our claims for the house stuff.

I’m not entirely sure what our next step is after today, it's kind of wait and see when it comes to Steve's schedule and what-not, but he did work some of his voodoo magic and assessed the area around the door and the roof to see if he could determine what was causing this water to leak into the house.

He thinks he has it figured out. After all, he is the God of Thunder.

Part of the problem being that Maronda sank the shingles and even some of the wood of the trim INTO the brick, and there is no kind of guard of any kind to prevent water from going straight in when there is a heavy rain. And he thinks the problem has been building over a longer period because of some really shoddy workmanship.

He poked a screwdriver into the mortar section near one of those shingle-into-brick (or you could look at it as the brick-layer laid the brick over the top of the actual roof work). Anyway, Steve puts a screwdriver into one of these mortar openings in the brick, a long screwdriver. It sinks in around 8 inches, probably into the actual drywall area of the house itself.

Steve said over time, even without necessarily heavy rains, water could have snaked its way down and then could have led to this type of damage. Then a few heavy storms would have just popped the damage out to what we saw this year because by then the water would have had a tendency to have a flow area that it would tend to follow on a regular basis on the inside of the wall.

In theory.

He'd have to tear apart the wall to know with absolute certainty.

He'll probably get his wish at some point.

The first step for right now, since we can’t afford to proceed out of pocket on ANYTHING yet, is to see if we can’t prove Steve's theory correct and also stop the water from coming in, which is what Steve tried to do by building some guards and sealing these holes in the brick and in the mortar in those areas.

That’s a very small Step 1, though probably the most critical one of course, while we wait and see what happens next time it rains to see where moisture returns. Steve painted, in white, under the floor in the basement, to better see what shows up as far as recurrence of moisture damage or recurrence, since that will all be torn up anyway.

Bottom line? This is a test to see if this is where the water is coming in, when it rains, causing that wood to buckle and decay around the door and on the floor. And obviously if we see any evidence at all we’ll have to open up the wall and assess it either during an actual rain event or I guess maybe we'll have to manufacture one.

State Farm said a flat out 'No Way in Hell' on the roof part of this whole situation too, did I mention that? They say they can’t see any storm or wind damage. So whatever moisture collection the contractor saw in his original assessment will simply have to be addressed at another time.

There have been no outright leaks of water coming from the roof, and Steve inspected the attic even though it was 3000 degrees up there, but there also was no ice guard installed, but I also have come to find out that this may or may not have been 'code' at the time of the construction of the house.

Regardless of what was code though, Steve was quick to point out that the roofer was a complete tool. Whoever did the job did it bass ackwards. Steve said that the Maronda roofer installed the shingles incorrectly in addition to the lack of stuff they did not put in like the ice guard and other protective barriers.

He showed me by example at The Home Depot using some shingles what you are supposed to do according to that style of shingle as far as how you are supposed to lay the first row on and instead the roofer just drooped the shingles into the gutter. Steve's theory is that they were compensating for no ice guard.

Steve went around and looked at some other parts of the house while he was here and it was very funny. Watching him cursing up a storm over all the shoddy workmanship and questioning some of the decisions of the builders on many of the areas. I didn't understand half the things he said, just stood there in awe.

Like when we were in The Home Depot. He actually knew where stuff was. He knew what stuff was CALLED. How fuggin' AWESOME is that?

Except for Velcro Tape. But he doesn't need that kind of thing. Only wussies like me need that. And I needed a third roll cause I lost my second roll of it. Yeah, I lost the second roll to replace the first one I lost and CRIED ABOUT. I'd link back to that post can't find it...yeah.

I told Steve that after this trip of his I am just going to change my last name to Vagina.

We have to see if we can appeal this claim on the door, which is PROBABLY looking like a no-go but we’ll see, but on the roof I would say the likelihood of the insurance company covering it is zippo. I also have to try to see what possible leverage I might have legally, but that will take an enormous amount of time and effort and energy (which most of here in Lillyville have very little of...or is that Vaginaville now?). I also give the percentage chance of us getting anything on that at about 2%. Less than the Milk, as my buddy Mark would say.

Well, anyway...that's where we are. Another long-winded blog. And I'm not even close to done.

Twixt last time and now, looks like my family went and won themselves an iPad from the Marissa's Bunny Foundation. This is the Foundation created by Mike, the gifted and driven father of the sweet young Marissa, who has for a very long time been ravaged by Infantile Spasms.

You can always read more about the Foundation and everything else about Marissa by jumping right to the home page of Marissa's Bunny, but in a nutshell the Foundation was built by Mike and the company Mike works for and by all of you, by a combination of reader donations and donation matches from the company...raising funds for surgical costs for both Marissa and other kids and even iPads for families with Special Needs. I think Mike intends to and probably will push it even farther, but I don't want to speak FOR the man, as I do not know him personally, but I can say that you can't go to his site and read about all of the things going on and NOT be impressed by his drive, his passion and his tenacity.

I don't know that I could go through what he has been/is going through and be the man he is. I just don't know that I have that level of strength.

So I wanted to first of all say Thank You to the Foundation for awarding us the iPad. I am really humbled by the gesture. It's...almost unreal. The official post about the iPad winners can be found here.

Also, you should be aware there is currently an all-new Raffle for an iPad 2 going on at Marissa's Bunny and tickets are only $2.00 to enter. And this one is different. ANYONE can enter this raffle, you do not have to have any kind of Special Needs situation in order to enter this particular contest.

However, every $1000.00 this Raffle successfully generates (and it is close to it's first $1000.00 now so get over there and put in some entries) will get the Foundation 5 iPads donated to it in order for the Foundation to do a second round of the Special Needs iPad giveaway, similar to the giveaway I was just giving thanks about above.

Every little bit helps, and times are tough for everybody. But two bucks? Heck that's less than the cost of a Big Mac and who needs THAT over a chance to win a freakin' iPad!?!

OK...NOW I'm done.


Much gratitude again to you, Mike and Marissa's Bunny...and I mean that. We haven't been feeling much like winners around here lately.

Thanks for the reminder.



  1. Ah...some good news...congratulations! Way to go.

  2. Awesome,isn't it?The iPad I mean of course,not the rest of the insurance house,stuff/crap.

    We feel so,so very lucky as well.

    Funny,my husband called the other day and as we ran through the litany of pending things that required cold,hard cash, I remarked,"Couldn't we just win the lottery.Tto which my ever glass half full husband replied,"We just were given an iPad,so we kinda did."

    Knew I married him for a reason.

  3. You're welcome, Ken. Bennett proves day in and day out (just look at fork use!) that he'd benefit greatly from the things that an iPad could do for him.

    When you make your app list, don't forget stuff for the rest of your fam.

  4. I hope this "winning" of the iPad is the first of a positive bent in your life -- a break -- good times to come, etc.

  5. I love that you won an iPad!



  6. What you need is the Holmes on Homes show. He does rightous indignation better than anyone.

  7. Yay! You won an iPad!! So happy for you!

  8. Dude is officially jealous. Congrats on the ipad. Commiserations on just about everything else but Steve

  9. Congrats on the iPad. That is totally awesome and Mike rocks!

    Thanks for letting me know to skip State Farm as I search out new insurance companies. We currently have Nationwide and while I have zero complaints about them, I'm tired of my rates constantly going up. Our premium is now over $1000. Though I suppose I shouldn't complain because in the 12 years we have been here we have had 3 claims totally at least $10K.


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