Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Free CIRCUS tickets!

Every year Jess blogs about going to the circus, and I've been with her a couple times. It's fun stuff.

The only thing better than going to the circus is going to the circus with your family or friends, FOR FREE!

This year, the Circus gave Jess 4 sets of tickets to give away on her blog. What an awesome giveaway! It's kind of like having a giveaway for 'magic,' or a superhero, or something. Who does that?

Her blog is small enough that I am going to win tickets for sure. So. Yeah. Kind of fun, because when TAMN gives something away there are like 900 entries and then it's just a waste of time even entering.

Since she has four to give away, all three of you guys reading this can go claim your pack of tickets on her blog. Hurry, because the deadline for the giveaway is TONIGHT.

Maybe we can all sit together!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Toy!

Fun things to do with Carpet Tape Roll*:

1. Roll it like a BALL (on the roll-y side)!

2. Slide it like a puck.

3. Bounce it 3 feet high, like the pink bouncy BALL! and then GET IT.

4. DROP IT off of the side of the couch because it falls on the floor and makes noise!

5. Try to fit the whole thing in your mouth by squashing it a little.

6. Hold it in your mouth with the round part above your mouth.

7. Carry it in your mouth with the round part below your mouth.

8. GET IT and DROP IT so someone will throw it and you can go GET IT.

The carpet roll kind of reminds me of Abby, because when we got her as a kitten, her people told us we should let her play with the plastic ring around the top of milk containers. She loved them. Paley does too. Carpet tape rolls are the dog-version of milk rings. It's going to stay an only-under-supervision toy for a little while, because it seems pretty durable (and Chalce doesn't destroy toys) but I don't know if she could break it or swallow it somehow. So, we'll see.

Chalcy is more and more fun to play with because we communicate better these days. Chalcy is learning so much! (Learning is a lot of fun because when you do things you get TREATS, which are Very Very Good, and Definitely Worth Sitting To Get One.)

We've been doing Puppy Preschool for a month now, and Chalcy is good at:
- Watch me.
- Sit.
- Get it.
- Down. (But we still have to do Sit first and then Down).
- Up [on the couch, usually].
- Off [the couch, but even though she knows it, a lot of times she doesn't obey for this one.]
- Kennel up! (Very good at this now.)
- Come here! (Usually obedient for this one, but not always. We still need to do "Come" in class, so I think that will help.)
- Drop it. (Learned this a week and a half ago, but she is very good at it.)
- Leave it. (Another new one that she is pretty good at, except if she is supposed to LEAVE IT [the cat or chickens] or LEAVE IT [the compost], and I don't have a treat with me.)
- Take it.**
- Fetch! (Not a class one, and sometimes she doesn't do it, or she gets it and brings it but doesn't give up the thing she fetched. But usually she does it.)

I forget what else she knows. She does not know how to politely walk on a leash, because we've only been on a couple walks--we mostly just play in the backyard. But knowing how to politely walk on a leash is important for big dogs, so we're starting to go on walks sometimes. She likes them more than I thought she would.***

This is just a little update (which ended up being longer than I thought it would) because

It can’t be ROLL, because otherwise how will we teach her to ROLL over?
** But it usually means you're going to have to DROP IT anyway, so why take it if you can just LEAVE IT before you're asked? Shouldn't that be the same and get you a treat faster?
*** Which seems like OF COURSE, because all dogs love walks, but I just kind of figured that since she gets plenty of exercise in the backyard, walks were not really very important or interesting(it's not like she needs more exercise or fresh air...). Plus, if she knows that she needs to stay in the yard, she is safer. If she feels like she knows the neighborhood, maybe she will decide to go on adventures or run off sometime, and that's not fine. I like her not-run-over, thanks. But walks are probably about teaching her to stay out of the road, too, so they're probably good, anyway.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The saga continues! - Episode 2


I suddenly remembered--our carpet has gotten WET! Remember? When I walked in the alcove that one day, my feet got wet. We pulled the carpet up, pulled the sheet rock off, and set up a fan, but maybe we didn't get it dry enough? Maybe it molded?

And then I remembered the day that I had poured gallons and gallons and gallons of water in our furnace/water heater closet*, only a couple weeks before. When our furnace was installed, it had a little pump put beneath it. After I poured so, so much water in there, we tried to use a Shopvac to pick it up, but we got, like, a pint of water. "Huh, that's weird," I said. "I know there was WAY more water than we're vacuuming, but maybe the furnace pump already took care of it?" It seemed weird, but the water just wasn't there, so it had to have gone somewhere.

Maybe more of the water was in the carpet than we realized, and we couldn't dry it fast enough with our fans. Maybe it molded.

J and I decided I would pull up the carpet to take a look. Most likely, the carpet and carpet pad were moldy, and anyway, it wouldn't be a bad idea to replace them. I've really wanted fake wood floors, and one of my buddies at HD*** told me I could put in Trafficmaster Allure**** and it would be SO easy, and SO fast, and he said it's cheap, but it actually lasts. So. I was excited that I would be pulling up the carpet that day.

I got up to go look at the carpet by the furnace area, and as I headed that way I realized something. "J, no way, I just thought of something and you're not going to believe it..."

I crawled into the furnace closet to look beneath the furnace at the pump.

Back when I installed linoleum under our kitchen counters, I saw beneath the furnace: there was a line of 2x4s. It needed to be there to access furnace stuff, I just assumed.

"Yep. The pump is self contained. J. Remember how when you were buying this house, there was a line of 2x4s out in the hallway by the garage?"

"Mhmm?" (He was listening.)

"I think...I think the line of 2x4s goes all the way down the middle of our house...And that's why the floor is not level, and kind of goes up in the middle."


I continued: "Yeah. I'll BET...I'll bet when all that water poured into the furnace closet, it wasn't pumped at all. It couldn't have been, actually, since the pump is all self-contained. You know what it did? It poured into this channel down the middle of the house. No way... Hm. I'll bet that's it. I'll bet that's why you're so allergic to the house. Think about it! The floor would get wet, from when it rained, and any water that got down there would sit beneath the floor, down the middle of the house. And it would just sit there. And that's why you're sick a few weeks after I poured so much water down there."

J nodded. "I think you're onto something. We never even thought about the 2x4s in the hallway. I think we just thought it was a vent..."


J: "So you'll go ahead and pull up the carpet, then, because that would definitely cause mold under the carpet."

Me: "All right."

And I pulled up the carpet while J was gone to work, so he wouldn't get super-sick from participating in the project.

Sure enough, there were boards down the middle of our main room.

I started to pull up the 2x4s and I was in for a bigger surprise than either of us had imagined!

The ends of the boards were resting on little concrete ledges. Basically, there was a trench down the main room of our house. It was about 15" across, and about 10" deep. The bottom of the trench was gravel and dirt--just like the ground outside our house! Except, this gravel and dirt was damp, and very musty.

For sure, for sure, I had definitely found the source of J's allergy problems. No question about it.

The trench connected with the section outside. Down the middle of the trench, there was a 1" PVC pipe. The pipe we already knew about--it comes up from the 2x4s in the hallway outside.

When I talked to the previous owner (and also on the How the House Works DVD), he explained that the pipe went up along the wall of the patio, out to the roof outside, and then along a fence that no longer exists. They used the pipe to water their garden outside. Now, the pipe still goes up the wall, and outside, but then it is severed--there is no fence or garden.*****

So definitely, what happened is, all of the gallons of water went into a trench in the middle of our house, and sat there. But not only that! This year, we began irrigating. Any time water runs near the house, I am quite certain we have also been irrigating the middle of our house.

I determined that we should probably remove the PVC pipe and fill the trench in, but I wasn't sure what I needed to do, so I went to Home Depot to go find someone to explain what I would need to do.


* This is a story that I meant to blog before, but I'm pretty sure I never did. Maybe I'll still get to it. This can be like LOST, with flashbacks that make the present stuff make more sense.**
** This is almost everything I remember about LOST, since I only watched part of one season.
*** Online, everyone calls HD "Orange" and Lowie's "Blue." So they're like, "I was at Orange the other day and they had x on sale!" Or, they'll ask "Orange or Blue?" and you're supposed to say whether you like Home Depot or Lowie's better. I don't get it. If I were talking about Vons, or Walmart, or Smithy's, or any other store, I would say the name of the store. Is there some reason we're not supposed to name names when it comes to Home Improvement stores? Like, I could say "Red, Blue, Yellow, or Green??" and mean, "Do you like Smithy's, Albertsons, Macey's, or Reams the best?!?" but I wouldn't...So, I'm not into using secret logo-color codes to talk about home improvement shopping, I guess.
**** When I say the names of home improvement project parts, it makes me feel like I am bragging about specs for something else--'It's got a 203948320 GIG HARD DRIVE, with 38 RPM!!' 'It's a Mac.' 'You just can't beat the suspension--nobody makes a better suspension than ThisBrand!' or 'We're installing Trafficmaster Allure. [*frownsmile*?] It has a 25 year warranty.' It's just like, whatever it is, it must be so good that for some reason I need to namedrop, and can expect people to know what it is. But actually, it isn't really bragging, because it isn't Pergo, and it's in my little house that is not deluxe deluxe at all.
***** The previous owner did not mention the trench went to the furnace closet. When I asked him about the 2x4s in the hall, and asked about what it connected to, he mentioned the garden, and he told me that, you know, they didn't do everything the best way, but that it had worked for them. When he said that, it confused me, and I just told him we enjoy the house a lot.