The house in in a very Heisenburgian state at the moment.

The damage is more extensive than we thought before; we found out that all but one of the radiators actually broke, and that last we’re not sure survived except that we couldn’t see any water in the carpet and the clean-up
crew couldn’t find any traces of leakage, so we’re assuming it’s safe. However, the carpet in the living room and den had to be scrapped, the hardwood floor in the third bedroom will need to be rebuilt, a section of plaster wall in the kitchen has to be redone, and a new heating system has to be installed.

This sounds rather disastrous, but we’re saved from much of the horror by a few key points:

Insurance is paying for all of it.
This is a key point in this being a good thing. They’ve said that we’re covered by our homeowners’ policy, so the only part of this that has to come out of pocket is the cost of the deductible, which for us is five hundred dollars. This has saved me many sleepless nights.

We can make improvements instead of strict repairs.
This makes point number one above even cooler: we’re not limited to just putting back in the same as what we had before. Technically speaking, it means we have whatever it would’ve cost to repair the previous systems as a budget towards making whatever upgrades and modifications we want. This means that instead of going back to that nasty coal furnace, we can rip all of that out and put in an oil furnace and an electric hot water heater. This will save us not in money, but in emotional heartache when we go on vacation again and don’t make it home for three weeks.

Jessie can get her act together before we move in.
The sudden rush to get into the place by the end of February put a real cramp on her plans to have herself ready by that same time. Delaying the move-in date will give her a chance to actually prepare and feel ready to move into the new place.

However, all of these things are balanced on the other hand by some at-this-point rather frustrating factors:

I don’t know what’s happening right now.
This sounds strange, but it’s pretty much out of my hands at this point what happens to the place. I mean, it’s my house, but I’m only directing the overview of what I want to see done. In addition to both of the
above-mentioned changes, we’re also looking at getting an electrician to come in and fix a lot of the wiring in the place; all of the plugs read either as “open ground” or as “reversed hot/neutral”, which are apparently both Bad Things. However, at this opint, aside from lots of equipment set up in the house to dry the place out, I really don’t have any sense that anything is actively being done, or even if there’s anything that
can be done right now.

I have no timeline for repairs.
This one’s sort of an extension of the former problem. I don’t have any idea when we’re going to be able to move into the place. It’s certainly not livable now; there’s no water for bathing, and that would get unpleasant fast. However, that means we’re probably going to be stuck in the apartment for another month, and that’s annoying. Again, insurance will cover it if need be, but after getting so geared up to move, having to cool my heels in this apartment with all its problems is really getting tiresome.

I have no price estimates.
I said above that insurance is covering the cost, but that’s not exactly true. What actually happens is more like the following: 

  1. The insurance company calculates what it will cost to repair the existingsystem.
  2. The insurance company takes that figure and determines what can be built for that cost or less that’s as good as what’s currently present.
  3. The homeowners make requests for other things to be done with the budget, and these changes are factored in.
  4. Any difference between the total cost of work done and the estimated budget, plus deductible, is sent to the insured as a bill.

This means that we may get a bill for the repairs anyway, but I have no idea for how much, and even though no matter what it is I’m going to pay it because we have to have the repair work and it’s better to make the fixes we want before we move into the place, it’s still kind of a sore point that I have no idea how much money I’ve obligated myself to spend at a time when I really don’t want to outlay more than I must to get things back to functional.

Suffice to say, the house is an ongoing project, but it will be for a while. I’m trying to find ways to make the problems into opportunities, but I’m still irritated by the current status of things.

In other news, the diet-and-exercise front seems to be having a slow-but-marked effect. I say slow when what I mean is barely-noticable, ’cause right now I’m still sort of hovering, but at least as of today’s measurements there’s an actual loss. It’s not much, but it’s something. I thought about deleting the first day’s worth of measurement, but that makes the final number look worse, even if it makes the measured loss look better.

I added a fancy chart to the weight tracking page, but I didn’t want that being redrawn every time someone hit the page, ’cause it only changes on a daily basis, not a however-often-anyone-actually-looks-at-it basis. That meant a recoding of the perl that created the page, and ultimately it now generates not only the chart and the graph but the entire page, instea
d of just being a plugin that shows the chart. I wasn’t expecting to do that when I started, but it ended up making sense.

It’s another one of those signs that my job is actually doing something good for me. It’s improving my programming skills, even if it’s doing so in small, not-really-measurable ways. Working with people like Bennie has helped. He’s definitely taught me a lot. I just hope I’ve been as informative. 

There was a time when I thought, “I’ll never enjoy coding as a hobby; it’s something I do for money, not for fun.” Now I’ve got both this chart and FormBot to prove that wrong.

There’s an old quotation from Star Trek, of all places: “Kagan’s Law of First Contact: ‘You’ll surprise you more than they will.'”