INSTIGATE A PERSONAL SEARCH FOR WEATHER-RELATED HOME DAMAGE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Instigate

I don’t have much time today — heart doctor followup in a few hours.

This has been an exceptionally busy week with doctor appointments for either Garry or me for every day, not counting Labor Day. Plus, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with our house.

Damaged gutters from falling branches

As we drove to the doctor yesterday, I was looking at all the houses as we passed and realized that every vinyl-sided house appeared — on one or more walls — like ours. Even houses that began the year in near-perfect condition were obviously rain-damaged. Even cedar shakes are soaked through, dark and wet looking — which means the walls behind them are wet too.

The whole house looks kind of like this. The green mold is dampness and rain

We are not going to be alone trying to get our so-called insurance companies to pay for the damage. There has been a calamitous amount of storm damage this year. Are ALL the insurance companies going to claim it’s “just” normal wear and tear? Even homes that were normally perfectly maintained look beaten.

This looks exactly like our house. Same color vinyl and everything

From as far away as Alberta (Canada) to Arizona (where it doesn’t rain!), to parts of southern California, reports are coming in that this has been the rainiest period anyone can remember — and most of the people saying that are not kids. They are our age, a little more or less.

Foundations break apart from the never-ending rain

I got a letter from the insurance company promising to send an adjuster one day soon. Except the adjuster came and went last Friday. Good to know MAPFRE is right up to date! If they don’t even know they already sent an adjuster, I can be pretty sure they haven’t even looked at our claim, much less done anything with it.

When the trunks of the trees and the earth are wet enough, trees fall

The good news? The adjuster said that the damage is confined to just that wall and is NOT spreading to the rest of the house — and that he was able to measure for actual water which means damage is very recent.

For all of you who haven’t yet taken a good look at your houses, maybe this is a good time to do it. Instigate a family investigation of every part of your house, from the roof to foundation. Look closely at everything.

The weather isn’t going to improve and I wonder if any place is going to be safe after a while. When you get down to it, our houses are only permanent for as long as they want to be. If the weather keeps getting crazier, no one’s house is going to be secure unless it’s on top of a hill and built from natural stone. Even castles have rooves, siding, and foundations that can be water-damaged. Many already have been.

Then, there are plagues of insects that appear. We have never had a plague (two, actually) of lethal virus-bearing mosquitoes until this year. We’ve had a few bad ones that came up on vegetable trucks or cars, but not like this summer. They too are part of the changing climate.

When the trees get sufficiently soaked through trunk and root, they collapse. It’s all mud with nothing to hold them firmly in the ground. Crops won’t grow in mud, either.

Hard not to notice something bad is going on underneath, but insurance can’t see it

And now, as they track Dorian up the coast, so far they are predicting it will mangle parts of the Carolinas. With a little bit of luck, most of the worst of it will miss our area — except (naturally) a lot of rain, wind, thunder, and lightning. What a shock! We haven’t seen (sarcasm font start here) much of that.

Climate change.

Is it legal to yearn that Mara Lago will blowdown or sink during a category 5 hurricane? Can we at least hope that he who has brought so much trouble on us will reap the whirlwind? Surely something wet with howling wind is bound to hit him.

I get a little thrill merely thinking about it.

FROM DUST WE COME, TO DUST WE RETURN – Marilyn Armstrong

A few nights ago, we watched one of the “Orville” episodes on Hulu. This episode was about finding a lost cell phone from a “time capsule” on earth and how someone recreated that world on the Holodeck. He fell in love with the girl on the phone, but of course, it couldn’t work. Past is past.

I love time-travel stories. In fact, Garry and I are quite addicted to them. The first movie he ever brought over to show me was “Somewhere in Time” which is a time-travel love story. I liked the movie so much I haven’t wanted to read the book. I want the images from the picture.

I understand, as a generation, we will disappear rather faster than previous generations simply because so much of the material we’ve created is electronic. Our things have no physical structure. We can’t store them except on our devices. When we pass, our computers will pass too if not immediately, then eventually. Time will make our computers useless anyway because technology is everchanging.

Dawn in Vineyard Haven.

Our photographs will largely disappear when we die. As we vanish, our memories will vanish unless we wrote them down somewhere in a book that isn’t immediately forgotten. It is a rare family (usually a wealthy one) where the past is saved through centuries. Even those ultimately disappear because time goes on beyond remembering.

Vineyard art

I’ve visited a few castles of great lords of Egypt (there are a few in Israel, including Lachish), plus of course Canaan, England, Ireland, and Wales. The oldest ones are rocks and ruin. What didn’t disintegrate through time was destroyed by earthquakes or other natural events. Many great monuments remain, but no one knows who built them or when. Personal belongings have long turned to dust so we can but imagine what the lives of those people might have been. I’m sure we are more wrong than right in what we want to believe.

Assuming we find a way out of today’s current mess and build a kinder, better world, bits and pieces of us will hang around, no doubt transferred to some new medium. It will be less than previous generations left.

Giant Rose Famille Ginger jar

I thought about all the photographs. Almost all will be lost because they were never printed. They have no physical reality. I even wondered (briefly) if I should print some — even tiny versions — just so there would be a physical record they existed. Then I realized no one would want the pictures anyway.

Let me rephrase that. They might want them, but they have nowhere to put them. That’s why when Garry was cleaning out his parent’s house, I was afraid he’d bring back stuff. It wasn’t that the material was not important. It was that we have no room for it.

Little things

Our walls and cabinets, closets and shelves — everything is full. The attic hasn’t much in it because it’s not really an attic. It’s full of fiberglass to keep heat in the house.

Funny how insulation was a big issue when we moved here. Now, I wish we had better ways to move air around so it wouldn’t be so hot!

More little things

Times change. Hopefully, enough of our world will be saved somehow and somewhere. For all I know, some planet in the great out-there has all our TV shows, music, books, and photographs. Maybe they are building a new world based on what they see in our old stories and pictures.

SHARING MY VERY DAMP WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 9-3-19

From Melanie: Wow. September. Where did the summer go?  I’m not at all sure…anyway.  This week finds us with some more questions, but this week they’re all ‘deep’ ones requiring a little thought. Enjoy!”

I know where MY summer went and I hope I can forget it ASAP.

Spring was long, nasty, cold, and full of hard-driving rainstorms with lots of wind. We didn’t get a real winter. No real snow at all, so we got our first blizzard (the only blizzard, actually) around my birthday in early March.

Finally, it started to warm up, but mostly, it rained. And rained. The wind howled and sometimes it was raining so hard and for so long the house sounded like a loud faucet was running somewhere. Now that Garry can hear, he was amazed at how loud rain can be. It reminded me why I didn’t spend the extra money on a steel roof … and why I wish I had — at the same time.

Raiin on the window

A steel roof is forever, or at least as close to forever as any roof can get. It’s also noisy. Rain, sleet, hale … it’s like a million little beasties racing madly around your roof. Not to mention that they cost at least four times what a standard asphalt roof costs. But they never leak and they don’t grow lichens or other greenery, either. Win some, lose some. You take your best guess and hope it works out.

As soon as it warmed up, we grew a million daylilies and that was great, but we’d get one day of sun or at least gray skies followed by three days of howling winds and torrential rain. It was mud city. You couldn’t even mow your lawn because it was sodden.

That was followed — finally — in August, with lovely, cool dry weather. And Eastern Equine Encephalitis mosquitoes and all the nice autumn fairs got canceled because the killer mosquitoes were out.

Aw, c’mon! Really?

This was approximately when I realized something was wrong on the south-west side of the house. All that rain, you know? The climate change that hasn’t arrived seems to indeed have arrived. At least here it has.

Now, we need to strip off the vinyl, remove the mush that’s underneath it, and replace the wall, or at least most of the lower level with a new wall. Get rid of the rotting door and replace it with a window (we never use the door anyway) and get a carpenter to repair the wooden doors to the shop.

Rainy morning squirrel shaking rain off his coat

I’m wishing we’d had time to powerwash the house because it’s green with mold. Did you know vinyl can grow green mold? It’s not lethal or poisonous. It actually looks like green pollen that got stuck. It just isn’t attractive.

It made me realize for all the years we’ve been paying insurance on our houses — since 1965 — they have yet to actually pay for any damage to any house in any state. Talk about being taken over by corporations. You know all those advertisements about how insurance companies are protecting you? They aren’t.

It’s a lie. The only thing they are protecting is the value of the property owned by the mortgage company. I can’t even calculate how many years we’ve paid home insurance and it never crossed my mind that they don’t cover anything except a tree falling on the house (unless they decide you should have taken down the tree in which case it’s your fault anyway), and fire. They might cover home invasion, but I’m not sure.

I’m still thinking about the post I will write about this, how we are forced — absolutely required — to pay for home insurance or we can’t get a mortgage. Why don’t we read all the little tiny print on the policy? Because we have to have insurance, so no matter what it says, we will sign it.

It’s just like accepting the terms of your operating system for your PC or Mac. Sign or don’t use your computer. There is no option to argue about the terms, so you sign. Nobody reads them.

The most common lie everyone everywhere tells is that they read and understand the terms of that contract. NO ONE reads it and if we did understand it, what difference would it make? We can’t NOT sign it.

And now, on to the questions.

QUESTIONS:

When you’re 90 years old, what do you suppose will matter most to you?

Breathing.

What’s the best way to spend a rainy afternoon?

Brooding on how we used to sometimes have sunshine and playing bridge on the computer.

What is one thing you don’t understand about yourself?

How I lived long enough to see the world change into this bizarre, hate-filled mess.

When was the last time you tried something to look ‘cool’ (hip), but it ended in utter embarrassment?  Details?

About a year ago, my granddaughter dyed my hair to get the yellow out of it. It wasn’t utter embarrassment. It actually looked pretty good.

We have a lot of iron in our well water and it turns everything pink or yellow — Including my white hair. I bought some more of the same dye. I hope I don’t make a total mess of the project.

JAPANESE MAPLES TREES – Marilyn Armstrong

Japanese Maples – 09.04.19

On a sunny day in August, the Japanese Maple we raised from babyhood has come into its own.

What a beautiful tree it has become! It is tall and bright green all summer, but turns scarlet in autumn and stays scarlet when all other trees have lost their leaves.



Japanese maple in sunshine
Graphical view of Japanese Maple

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM LIKE A MAGAT? – AGAIN! – BY TOM CURLEY

Here is another in my unintentional series of re-posting blogs I wrote a year or so ago because they are more relevant today. This happened last week.

Ellin and I have a boat. We’ve been at the same Marina for over 19 years. This is our happy place. We love it. We don’t come here to discuss politics or religion. We come here to relax and have fun.

Here’s a picture of my neighbor to my right. He flies an American flag.

Lots of boats do. It’s a thing with boaters.  Why not? This is my neighbor two boats over to my left.

A little more nautical, but still cool. And then there’s the chucklehead next to me.

I was down below when he came in. I went upstairs to say Hi and he say “Hey did you see my flags?” I looked up and before my normal filter could kick in all I could say was

“WHAT THE FUCK?!! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???!!!”

He laughs and says “Oh, you don’t like the guy? I think it’s funny.”

Now, those that know me would be thinking I was about to explode. And they’d be right. I knew if I did this, the guy would never know what hit him.

I didn’t want to do that. The marina is my safe place. It’s where I go every day to sit in the sun and relax. I know that some people on our dock are Republicans and some are Democrats. But we are all friends and we keep it to our selves. We can agree to disagree. I’ve grown to know them enough that we can put aside our differences by simply not talking about them. This is the dock. Mellow out. Have a beer. Go to the pool.

We are all here to relax and have fun. Then yesterday another one shows up on the dock next to us with the same God Damn flag. The vast majority of the dock was appalled. Angry. Livid. WTF?!!!

My problem is I believe in the First Amendment. I will defend your right to say stupid racist shit, but I get to also say I think you are a racist piece of shit.

There are limits to the First Amendment. You can’t shout “FIRE” in a theater. You can stand on a street corner and be as much of an asshole as you want but you can’t do it everywhere. Like our marina! The manager of  our marina, god bless him, went to both of these morons and explained the marina is a “politics-free zone.” Please take the flags down. Other people on the dock, almost all of them, were upset.

Well, chucklehead number two got all mad and outraged, but finally took the flags down. Chucklehead number one took them down but kept putting them back up until another boat owner got into a huge shouting match with him. He took the flags down.

Here’s the point. The First Amendment doesn’t mean you get to spew your racist hateful shit anywhere. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all private entities. They can make their own rules and regulations about what you can and cannot do in their app and on their property. The Trumpers have decided that you have to listen to them.  If I had put a flag up that violated the marina’s rules, I would have felt terrible and immediately taken it down. I would have been embarrassed.

They don’t. They have no respect for anybody else’s feelings or rules.  They feel they have the right to shove their opinions down your throat.

THEY DON’T!  They have the right to shout racist crap and you have the right not listen to them and call them a bunch of fucking morons. Oddly the upshot of this is that my neighbor is being shunned.  Revealed to be the moron he is.

Really, he is not the sharpest pencil in the box and has no idea how to drive his 37-foot boat — which scares the shit out of all of us on the dock.

He seems to be stunned that he’s being treated like a minority. Like someone who is different from all the people around him. Like, even though we all believe in the First Amendment, we don’t want his kind around here. Karma’s a bitch. Here’s the original post. Making the same point.


Nazis are bad.

This isn’t an opinion. It’s a fact. We seem to live in a world where facts are considered by many to be identical to opinions. That still doesn’t make them any less ‘factual.’

The fact is, NAZIS ARE BAD! White supremacists are bad. White nationalists are bad. A Nazi by any other name is STILL A NAZI!

Despite this, there has been a huge rise in Nazism, white supremacy, hate crimes, and massacres, the latest being the horrific massacre in New Zealand. Which, by the way, was live-streamed on Facebook. That was bad enough. What was worse was it was re-posted over a million times on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

How many sick fucks are out there?

Turns out, way, way more than I ever imagined.

They always were out there, but up until two years ago, they had the decency to stay hidden beneath the rocks under which they lived.

What changed?

What made them come out from under their slimy rocks to proudly proclaim their hatred, their racism, and misogyny? Duh! The White Nationalist in chief, Adolf Twittler got elected president.

Since then, a Nazi nut job living in a van covered with alt-right posters and pictures of Herr Twittler sent pipe bombs to two former living presidents and all sorts of media folk. Another shot up a concert in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, another bunch of right-wing nut-jobs committed mass murder.

What a fine crew they are. Yup. Good people on both sides.

There are so many hideous crimes after a while the details blur together. No matter how horrible Cheesy McCheese Face behaves — like refusing to condemn Nazis who commit murder in Charlottesville and dumping on John McCain even though he has been DEAD for months  — Republicans and “his base” continue to support him.

Well, there goes the neighborhood.

 

Although his base is a minority in the U.S., they comprise a lot of people. Too many people. So, the question remains, how do we (relatively sane) people deal with these assholes?

I disagreed when Hillary Clinton famously called these folks “deplorables.” Why? Because they owned it and started wearing tee-shirts that said “Proud Deplorable.”

She should have called them “Assholes.”

Why? Because how cool would it have been to see hundreds of thousands of these morons parading around in public wearing tee-shirts saying  “I’m a Proud Asshole.”

Lately, an odd thing has started happening. The MAGA hat-wearing public is complaining they are being discriminated against. They are being publicly shamed. They are victims. They’re being picked on because they’re MAGATs.

There are even websites and apps out there that tell them what restaurants they can go to. Where they can be sure nobody will make fun of them. Sort of a “Green Book for Red Hats.”

This shaming is a good thing. If we’ve learned anything in the last two years, we’ve learned you can’t talk to these folks. No matter how many facts you present to these morons, they only believe what the Hater-In-Chief says.

They’re a cult. You can’t have a rational conversation with a cultist. All cults are essentially the same. They only believe their “leader.” Everybody outside the cult is “the enemy.”

Everybody not in the cult is out to get them. The cult leader has secret information that only he possesses. That information almost always is the same:


The leader was anointed by God to be their leader.


As often as not, the hidden information is that the leader actually is God.  Everyone tends to forget that in most cults, the end comes when the leader goes stark raving mad, has sex with all female members, regardless of age, and decides everybody needs to kill him or herself.

The problem is this cult has more than 50-million members. That’s an awful lot of Kool-aid.

Shit, we’re gonna need more Kool-Aid.

So, what do we do with these MAGATs? These Nazis?

I say let’s treat them the way they treat other minorities:

*   If you see them on the street, cross the street. You never know if they will become violent.

*   If you see them in a store, follow them around to make sure they don’t steal anything.

*   Don’t argue with them. It’s like teaching a pig to fly. You just frustrate yourself and annoy the pig.

*   Shun them. Turn your back on them and walk away.

Give them all a message in the one language they understand:


Your kind is not welcome here.