Friday, February 23, 2024

Big Stuff

 Well, it's been a mishmash of days here. We've been jumping between projects and it is a bit dizzying. Today, we got most of the rough wiring done. We have the kitchen left and then we are done with that. Then it will be time to do the plumbing things. Once that is done, we have the inspector come out and do his thing and then it will be time to do the finish work. That's the fun part. 

Yesterday morning, Tim gathered up $9980 worth of bills. We wrote a nice cover letter: 

To Whom this May Concern:

These bills were incurred as a result of a demolition done on property owned by the XXXXXs on XXXXX St, This property was located next door to our property located at XXX XXXXX St.

We had no prior notice of the demolition, however during a meeting between the city, the xXxX  and their lawyer along with XXXXX and XXXXX (city manager and an employee names redacted for privacy) the following was discovered:

Part of the demolition was obtaining the proper permits from the city. This required capping the lines from the house to be torn down. XXXXX did this work, and stated that he ran a camera through the line and that it was a 'dry line'. He stated that he ran a camera through the lines on the other side of the house between our property and the property owned by XXXXXXXXXX. He found that line to be 'wet' and “assumed” (his word) that this was the drainage for our house. He stated that he capped two lines. 

When we were notified by our tenant that her drains were no longer working, we called Warren Webster. The company sent two workers out and they attempted to snake out the line. He could not get through. He also marked those lines to showing that our drainage ran on the opposite side of the house that xxxxxx “assumed'.

While we understand that mistakes can be made, this particular expense has cost us over $10,000. In the interest of getting our tenant back into her home as quickly as possible, we paid for this work out of pocket, and we expect the city to take responsibility for this error and reimburse us. 

(End of letter)

The city manager is an aggressive man who likes to get in people's faces to make his point. Tim is a quiet person. Before he left with his little packet, I said, "Tim, you have got to stand up to him. If he gets in your face, you need to tell him clearly, 'Back up. Get out of my face. You do not raise your voice to me."

He came downstairs to meet Tim and Tim handed him the papers. He said, "What? You expect me to pay for these bills?" 

Tim answered "Yes." He waited quietly while the man read the letter on the front and flipped through the bills. Tim said that at one point his head jutted forward aggressively. Tim took a deep breath and prepared to stand up to him. Instead, the man said, "We are not paying for all of this. We will be in touch." He turned around and walked out. 

Today, we got another bill for $1400. We will deliver that on Monday with an additional cover letter. 

I am not sure what will happen, but we have irons in the fire that I do not want to speak about until it happens. I spent a large part of this evening typing up a timeline of events and key players and scanning documents to forward to a person who may be able to help. Tomorrow morning, I will take a bunch of pictures with the good camera and forward those as well. 

We had to take a run up to our construction supply place, the big Mennonite operation in New York state. It was cold and rainy and one of those days for inside work. I don't know if you remember Mona. I've thought of her often, but since meeting her in September, we were so busy buttoning up the new build for winter, and preparing for Tim's surgery and subsequent two month work stoppage that I never got back up there. I rode up with Tim and said, "While you are placing your order, I'm running across the road to talk to Mona. I know that she'll be happy to hear how you fared." 

I scooted across the road in the cold rain and went up her driveway. When I rang her door bell, she popped her head out the door quizically. "I'm not sure you remember me..." and she said, "If you tell me your name..." and I did and she said immediately, "You bought my door!" I told her that I wanted to let her know that TIm had had his surgery in October and that they'd gotten all the of the cancer. She was genuinely glad to hear that. Just like before, she told me to come in. Her little grandson was there, and he was a delightful little monkey. She showed me her new kitchen floor, which I liked very much. We chatted like we knew each other a hundred years. 

It was too soon and Tim was there. I said, "I have to go, but I just wanted to tell you about Tim." 

She said, "Always stop in when you are this way!" 

I said, "I will. I think of you often. You made a mark on my heart that day." 

And then I was on my way to the car. What a lovely little moment, with a wonderful little woman! 

Another story about a wonderful woman. An acquaintance and her husband have been, both of them, sinking into dementia. They have lived on their own probably a bit longer than they actually should have been. She really shouldn't be driving, and I was glad to hear that her family had gotten her license taken away. 

Anyways, long story short, her husband was ill and taken to a big city hospital. One of her kids stopped in and she was gone too. She got herself a ride to the big city to the hospital. She has no idea who with but fortunately she got there and back but she was missing for 5 hours. Her kids were frantic. 

The decision has been made that they are no longer capable of living alone. They are such independent people, fiercely independent. They don't recognize their longtime friends and neighbors. Such a sad thing. I hope that my body does not outlive my brain. 

My daughter's birthday was in mid January. The Friday before her birthday, I sent out her birthday card. It never showed up. I sent Thelma a birthday card on the same day. Neither of them showed up. I was especially dismayed about my daughter's card because there was a gift card inside. I had reluctantly come to the conclusion that since both of them were missing, they were probably taken from my mailbox. Long story short, my daughter's card arrived back to me today. It was returned to sender and marked that the address was vacant. The contents were intact. The envelope undamaged. But here is the weirdest thing: The card was torn on the fold. Inside the undamaged envelope. With the gift card still inside! 

Probably the most amazing news of the day was this, though. My youngest granddaughter is a year and a half old. She woke up from her afternoon nap, indicated that she had to poop and led her mother to the toilet. Her mother was a little surprised. They haven't even begun potty training at this point, but she decided to simply go with it (no pun intended). She helped her sit on the potty AND SHE WENT! Her mother could not believe it, but after doing the post potty routine, they rushed into daddy's office down the hall to tell him this momentous news. 

We are all a bit dumbfounded.



36 comments:

  1. And she just went on the potty? That is amazing!!! It took us a couple of weeks to get our granddaughter potty trained.

    I'm so sorry for all you're going through with the demolition. Good for you to document everything for them. What a jerk, that city manager was!

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    1. He seems to be a person who likes to wield his power. It's interesting that the house across the street from us had been working on its piping for weeks. They actually failed the final inspection. This man did not require any of the four tenants to move out of that building.

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  2. I'm pleased you are fighting for justice for yourselves. It sounds like to me that cameras were not used. Why would your tenants drain be dry? Had she been on a long holiday? It would still be obvious that it was a working drain.

    It so nice that you caught up with Mona.

    Dementia can be so cruel. One of our neighbour's husband has dementia but was never distressed or unhappy. He is in a care home now and while he recognises his wife, he isn't sure who she is. He is still quite happy. Last time I saw her she had visited him (about two hours drive away to be close to his children), he excused himself and said he had to watch the tv news and make notes.

    Very odd business about the birthday cards and I don't deal with young children until they can use a toilet and don't dribble or projectile vomit.

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    1. It didn't occur to me that cameras might not have been used. I think it's more likely that he simply misinterpreted what he was seeing. I do feel bad about pushing the issue for his sake, because he is a shirt tail relative.

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    2. LOL. I seem to remember you and R baby sitting a baby or two...but yes. It is much easier when they are toilet trained.

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  3. A long litany of bureaucracy up the creek but I see you are both tackling it well. As for potty training for little ones, I think kittens, puppies and babies all learn in the end and that miraculous moment of actually putting two and two together by your granddaughter is one of those moments in life.

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    1. Very sensible. Her mother has noticed that she's really been 'imitating' what she sees happening around her. Cooking when she sees her mother cooking, feeding her baby, role playing with their dollhouse. I suppose that this is another example. She sees people using the toilet and recognizes that she can do that too.

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  4. Good luck in your ongoing battle with the authorities. It is iniquitous that you should be expected to bear the cost of someone else's mistakes.
    Well done, little granddaughter, another milestone passed.

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    1. We just can't get over the fact that all this was done of her own volition. Her mother is unsure what to do next. She doesn't want to actually begin serious potty training because it is too early, but she does hope that my granddaughter will continue to ask to use the potty. Time will tell.

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  5. "I hope that my body does not outlive my brain."

    T'is devoutly to be hoped.

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    1. I can't imagine anything more awful than that.

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  6. I see a lawsuit pending; the city attorneys may or may not even know about this episode until they receive legal paperwork. Who does that bozo think he is - ignoring all the bills you presented him won't make this go away.

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    1. He didn't ignore them, but he will pass them along. The city lawyer will certainly get involved. But the bottom line is that the city has insurance that should cover them in cases like this, and they need to submit these bills to them.

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  7. Glad you're pushing for the reimbursement for the plumbing debacle. Dementia may hit more and more of us, as there's all this medical care for our physical ills. Wish there were more promising treatments, but it's not clearly understood. So we muddle along. Remember our great grandparents had someone in the spare room who they cared for...with who knows what illness!

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    1. It really is sad. They are fixtures in their rural community. They have lived in their house for 60 years. They know everyone. Everyone knows them. After all this time, they don't recognize these life long acquaintances.

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  8. Do you suppose your granddaughter will be regularly using her potty or was that just a fun thing for her to show that she could? Bless her smart little heart.
    Good luck with getting those bills paid. That is not an insignificant amount of money.

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    1. It will be interesting. My daughter in law is delighted and will give her every opportunity to use the potty, but she is not pushing it. She is only 18 months old.

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    2. That is pretty young. But if she's ready, she's ready.

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  9. I am reminded of the time my mom was undergoing chemo after her brain tumor had been scooped out. She was having memory issues where she would forget where she was going or where she was at. My brother and I took her mushroom hunting, one of her favorite things to do, and then we lost sight of her. For 15 minutes, we were frantically looking for her until we found her sitting on a fallen tree soaking up the sunshine and looking so happy. But that brief period of panic was real and I can relate to the kids looking for their mom for five hours in your post.

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    1. What is terrifying is that she got into a van which came to her house. No one knows who the man in the van was. She wound up an hour and a half from home at the hospital, and then she was brought back home. The van was not known to anyone in the community.

      She is the same woman I wrote about who wandered over to the new build quite upset because she couldn't get hold of the police. She heard shooting. It was the nail gun. It was so hot that day and she was so confused. I tried to get her to come inside and sit in the air conditioning. "No," she said, "I need to go home," and took off in the opposite direction to the woods. I walked her home, just to make sure she made it.

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  10. Hope you get some good results from the city. Don't give up!

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  11. What a bureaucratic nightmare you have been going through, Debby and Tim and I hope that you will receive some, if not all, reimbursement for all the expenses you have presented and still have to present. That city manager sounds so unhelpful, that's putting it mildly because I would like to say he is something else. It was a sweet story about reconnecting with a friend. Also a sad one about the couple who can no longer live on their own.

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    1. We have taken the first step. It will be interesting where it goes from here. We are not going quietly, that's for sure.

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  12. Do you have a small claims court? It costs very little and no lawyers are needed, would that help? I'm glad you're pursuing the city.

    When Katie moved one time, the agency literally threw most of her belongings into a dumpster. I had to buy everything new, which I did, kept all the reciepts and told the head of the agency that he needed to reimburse Katie. I was surprised but he did.

    People amaze me, both in a good way and in a bad way.

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    1. Small claims courts have a limit of $5000. This is over that. If push came to shove, it would be better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, I suppose, but the line is still open from the house. We can hire someone to put a camera through the line from our house forward (as soon as the pipe dries out). If push comes to shove, we will simply have to do that.

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  13. Mother of 5, grandmother of 10. I was getting tired of potty training. When two cousins we care for turned 2, I put training pants on them one morning and told them they were the potty patrol. We sat on matching potties every 15 minutes (it helps when gramma has to go potty almost that often). By the end of the day we were keeping pants dry and clean. The mothers were aghast and said they weren't ready for this. I just got tired of diapers. They fixed me. Next thing I knew, I was was caring for two babies in diapers.

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    1. LOL. Potty patrol! What a great game. My grandson was older than two. He and his mother moved into our house for a time. I took him to work with me at the daycare, and over the course of his time with us, he became potty trained.

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  14. Ugh. What a mess. I must admit I'm not sure I understand all the mechanics of the pipe problem -- I thought the demolition had damaged the pipe, but it was blocked by capping? Am I getting that right? Anyway, I don't suppose it matters, but I hope the city does at least help defray your costs.

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    1. Initially, that is what we thought had happened. We had no idea the pipe had been capped until the meeting with the city. That is when we realized that the neighbors are still spiteful powermongers, but that the city had made a mistake. Two lines were capped. The worker claims that they both were dry lines, and that he assumed that our drains were on the other side of the house. They weren't. Not at all.

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  15. From where I sit, the city bears responsibility for this mess, after all their inspector signed off on the botched repair job. Methinks you're gonna need lawyer though, they sound like unreasonable people. Good luck and don't give up. Loved the potty training story.

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    1. It wasn't a repair. The neighbors demolished a house next to ours and put in a parking lot (cue Joni Mitchell) Before they could do the work, they were required to apply for permits, and part of that permitting required a city worker to come out and cap the line from the old house. He capped two lines on that side of the house. One of them was ours. He made a mistake.

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  16. Here we have "9 on Your Side" on a local TV station. They investigate and publicize egregious events, which yours certainly is. Do any of your local papers or TV stations do something like this? Sometimes public shaming works.

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    1. Yes. They do. I contacted someone the week before last. A news anchor wants to cover it himself.

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  17. Just now needs the city manager to tidy up his potty. Send granddaughter to show him how.

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    1. LOL! She'd have him wrapped around her finger in no time.

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