Saturday, July 09, 2005

Settling In

The R&R lasted a few more days, and swimming in the surf healed all my cuts, bruises, and aching muscles and bones. Then we started doing things, like putting in a dog run, getting more services like satellite TV, getting a spare bed for guests, having a newspaper delivered and so on. Gosh, we already have folks wanting dibs on the guest room: the son, the daughter, and my brother from Louisiana with the boat. I even painted the front doors, since they were magenta red, like a Boy’s Town whorehouse or something; now they’re Army Camo Green (wife’s orders, not mine).

All these early-season hurricanes made me wander into the first floor garage to examine things in more detail. Basically, the house was built in 1970 on large telephone poles set 20 feet into the sand. There are garage doors in front and hardy board walls on three sides, looking suspiciously weak. “Oh,” says the fence builder who knew the house well, “that’s so the walls can blow off in high winds and floods.” Gee, what a concept, I bought an exploding house. All the other houses have cement block walls downstairs. But other than some boxes and a washer & drier, there’s not much to lose down there. OK, so I’ll think about putting in a little concrete reinforcement around the bottom of the walls, at least so it won’t IMPLODE in a high wind. I just couldn’t handle that.

Then I got to looking at the upper part of the house and noted many cracks not sealed, so I’m off to the local hardware store for a bunch of tubes of exterior caulk. It looked in pretty good shape except for the front and rear overhangs – hey is that stuff asbestos? So if I caulk everything I guess that is foreplay to a paint job, if you can call that foreplay. Didn’t I already do this at the last house we sold? Hah! But you have to seal the cracks or the water will blow right through the walls and around the windows. One local tells a story of “hurricane dust” which I guess is micro-fine sand that gets in every crack and corner of the house. Sounds like Lubbock in a sandstorm. Um, you do not want to experience either Lubbock or a sandstorm there, by the way.

Fortunately, the inside of the house is real fine, the main selling point. Nice tile, new double glass windows, glass blocks (over $20 per), generous trim, and a new-fangled kitchen island with a reverse osmosis water maker (they tend to over-chlorinate the water down here). The previous owners stopped short of finishing the master bedroom, but that’s a down-the-road project. It is perfectly fine right now. One thing I noticed is that the guy put in over 15 light switches in just the living room. It truly is baffling, since one switch turns things on but go across the room and another can turn it off – or halfway dim. You never know what will come on if you play with those light switches; I always brace myself in case something goes “boom.” Perhaps I need an electrician with a little college psychology background?

Lori is in Austin this weekend attending a wedding and getting the last of the plumerias and tropical plants. We were going to rent a Chevy van but the silly folks (not to mention names, but a national chain) rented it to someone else, so we’ll see how many leaves and flowers make it down here in the back of my pickup truck. Hey, didn’t I just pay my son to deliver that pickup down here? Oh well, the beach heals all wounds, and time does not. Until next time!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, glad to hear you have had time to decompress, even if there still things to be done to the house. Those breakaway walls are great! They are especially helpfull with high waves and storm surge. The idea is to allow the water to pass unobstructed under your home rather than transferring the wave energy through the entire house (like crumple zones in cars). Check out "The Shores" on the north end of the island, they use breakaway walls on the first floor of these million plus dollar homes. Anyway, any luck finding Sweetie? Hope to visit soon, stay in touch. MLeahy