Sunday, September 28, 2008

Autumn leaves

I love the fall, the changing colors, the crisp bite to the air and the smell of burning leaves. Oh wait, I live in Texas now - there is only one season here - hot. At least I won't have to rake these.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rant against insurance companys

One thing about Texas homes that is different than many home across the country is that our homes are required to have "weep holes" in the buildings, which are purposely made holes across the surface of your brick home that helps compensate for expansion of the building materials during extreme heat, which helps prevent cracking of the bricks. It is the law that builders build these into our homes, it is not a choice here in Texas...and we are being punished for it.
Many of us here Texas have had our insurance adjusters come out to look at the damage brought on by hurricane IKE. Many of us have had "windblown rain damage", which is normally covered in home owner's policies. Except in Texas, there is a sub-clause (not printed in any of my documents or any of my friend's insurance documents) that states that any windblown rain damage must come from a "created hole" and can not from rain being forced sideways into your home through these weepholes. So, unless you have a hole in your roof (lifted shingles don't count), you're screwed if suffered any water damage in your home. Which is the case for 90% of my friends. So the $30,000 + damage a friend suffered to her home, not covered. Why do we pay for insurance that is not there for us when we need it? We've already been punished for living in this area after Katrina/Rita and saw our deductible have a mandatory raise if a cyclone (i.e. hurricane) struck, now we can't even get paid for the coverage that we do have.
Look at your homeowner's insurance policy, see what it covers, then call your insurance company and ask what that really means - you may be sadly disappointed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914)
With folks around here recovering from hurricane Ike, it is interesting to listen to folks who've had their homes damaged. Some are able to see positive. A friend of mine had flooding throughout her home, down the sheetrock, destroying the carpeting and the walls. Her response as she ripped out the sopping carpet, "Well, we planned on getting wood laminate flooring in the future, I guess the future has arrived."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

16 years

It is officially the 16th anniversary of my first date with hubby. Yup, even after all this time, I still remember the day. We were young and silly, now we're older and still silly. Thinking about hubby, still makes me smile, every day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Morning after Ike

Early morning light brought this to our attention. We've got an uprooted tree. The tree on the left used to be straight up and down too - the winds have encouraged it to lean a bit. Although you can't tell from the picture, the rain is still going sideways with strong winds. There are whitecaps on our little lake back there. We thought we might have lost part of the roof since I found a puddle on the floor this morning, but on second look it seems that it is just rain water forced through the roof vents (keeping fingers crossed).
We're also one of the lucky few who already have our power back. Most of our neighborhood is till dark, but our little section is lucky. We were last to be built in the neighborhood and we were tied into the local college's power grid which gets fixed quickly. The groceries did not defrost last night, so our food is still good. We're not sure about the water, we've been advised to drink our bottled water only. We've got our bathtub full of good water, plus our "ice" is all drinkable water as well. We should be good.

UPDATE: Now that the rain has slowed down, we can see the roof and there is some damage. Whether or not it is more than the deductible is not yet determined....

Friday, September 12, 2008

Between my windows and the wind

This little piece of metal is what holds the plywood onto our windows and protects them from 100+ winds.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane preparations

So, we all know to put the yard decorations away, stock up on water, candles available,etc, but what about the other prep that no one tells us about?

Laundry - there is a chance power can be out for 2 weeks. Do you have enough clean clothes to make it through that time frame? No air conditioning + dirty clothes = stinky people who you will be in close contact with for awhile.
Dishes - run the dishwasher before the power goes out. Again, who wants to to be responsible for that full dishwasher of dishes that has been fermenting for a day or two.
Books- no TV, no power; how are you going to keep yourself entertained?
Pictures - the before pictures so that the insurance company believes you when you submit claims afterword.
Jewelry - time to put on all your jewels in case the roof blows off and you need to leave in a hurry. Better to be prepared and looking like a princess than leaving your precious jewels behind.
Alcohol - It's a perfect time to have a block party. Your food is defrosting anyway, so turn on the grill and lets make it a celebration. I suggest making hurricanes.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Another storm coming this way

Ah, the hurricane season is on us full force and we have yet another storm headed our way. Will it hit us? How hard? Will there be power? If it is out, how long? Will the shelves be empty for weeks like they were after Katrina and Rita?
We're prepared, as we have been since the beginning of the season. Now we just wait and see.

UPDATE: Looks like we are going to get hit with a category 3 or 4 storm, which means wind damage and power outages for our neck of the woods. We'll be doing our last minute preparation, so posting will probably be suspended for a bit. I'll update when I can.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Beach Day

We went to the beach on Labor Day. With the incoming hurricane, it was deserted. We went for the waves that the turbulent surf had created. It is great for body surfing.
As a precaution, the volleyball nets had all been removed from their posts. This picture just caught my eye.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


We got to the doctor's office today, 20 minutes early. As we waited our turn, I "admired" the decor - orange, green, purple, with furniture covered in triangles and swirls. I guess they choose the decor to distract the children. Shortly I hear "J's mom" . Assuming they need my insurance information, I arrive at the desk, digging through my purse for my insurance card. "We have you scheduled for September 19th at 11:20" What?!? "But I wrote down the time when I made the appointment on my schedule at work, my time off request, and my calendar at home..are you sure?" "Yes ma'am, I don't see any notes saying there was a reschedule...who did you speak with when you made the appointment?" We discuss a bit more, she goes to get the nurse who I spoke with at the time when I made the appointment. She comes out, remembers making the appointment but not changing the date to the 3rd. At this point, I can't take any more of the stress. We've waited months, I'm in knots and feeling desperate. We are so close to an answer and I'm being told we have to wait 2 more shoulders drop, my eyes start to well-up with tears. As I reach for a tissue, the nurse tells me to wait, she'll see if we can some how or another to be fit in.
They were able to fit us in after about an hour, which is pretty good considering the wait for this place. The doctor was very through in her questioning of J's condition and our family history. She heard my concerns, took the time to research possible contraindications that J's medications could be having on his body, and just really listened.
J's numbers are not "high enough" to warrant medication at this point, and although we have to go a liver panel function test, the doctor thinks right now we have to continue the wait and see attitude with one change - fish oil. It may be the "miracle pill" we're looking for. In three months when we go back for more testing we'll see if it worked.
So for now, we're done. I have a sense of semi-relief, but also feel completely exhausted right now. I hadn't realized how stressed I was until after the appointment. Now I need a nap, to recuperate from it all. Then it's up again to schedule the next round of tests...and to take some fish oil pills (the odorless type, for those who are curious).

We see the doctor today

Today's the day. In 10 hours we get to finally see the specialist for J and hopefully get some answers. I honestly have no idea what they are going to do or if they can do anything at all. J is going to see a GI specialist and he's been ill for the last few days, which may or may not negate any tests they do. I should probably reschedule the appointment, but we've waited so long, I just need some answers. I'll update later once we get back from the doctor's office. I should sleep sometime today so I can be well rested and alert for his appointment.