One of my favorite Christmas songs. Of course. One can never go wrong with John Lennon. Or the Beatles for that matter. Love them.
The Christmas season approached like a much dreaded doctors appointment. You think it is so far away and then all of a sudden, you wake up and realize that the day is upon you, whether you like it or not, ready or not. Christmas for me is a double edged sword. I absolutely love spending time with family, seeing the excitement in my kids, but there is also the pang of the crazy amount of money spent, money that could have been used for other needed things. (Like a new roof….I will get to that!) I try not to be scroogey, but when you have been unemployed for 6 months throughout the year, the extra “fun” money is not really there any more and what you used to spend on movies and pizza is now spent on the electric bill and milk. Oh, well. Our favorite phrase, when times are tough is “big picture…no one has cancer” but that cannot be said anymore.
My uncle has cancer. He is not an “old” uncle. He is a youthful, maybe 60 if not 59 year old uncle. He has hair down to the middle of his back and a beard just as long. He plays rock and roll on his many guitars and has an affinity for really good music. He also loves the Beatles,(my cousin was named after a Beatles song) as well as Eric Clapton, playing the harmonica and expensive whiskey. His sense of humor is legendary in our family and spending but one hour with him will have you laughing so hard, you will start to feel pain in your face! He is a modern day “hippy” and one of the coolest guys you would ever want to know.
Our family is no stranger to the nasty C. Three of my grandparents had lung cancer, now my dad’s brother has been stricken with it. He had a lung removed in October and the good news is, when there is good news with cancer, it has not spread. It was contained in one lung and the removal of said lung has essentially removed the cancer. Now, as a preventative, he is undergoing chemotherapy. We went for a visit on Tuesday night. He was getting another round of chemo the day before Christmas Eve and was going to spend his Christmas this year sick. His attitude about it is so inspirational. He laughed and expressed how grateful he was to be alive. Although the chemo would make him sick on Christmas, he told us he was OK with that. One year of being sick with chemo on Christmas, would make him have many more healthy Christmas seasons. He joked about how vain people are. When someone goes through chemo, they usually worry about their hair falling out. Now, my uncle has a head of hair. If I had to guess, he has not cut his hair in over 20 years. And now, it is starting to fall out. He laughed about it, and said “big deal…it is just hair. Not like my arms or eyes are falling out!” Not so sure if I could look at it like that if I were in his shoes. I think that is why he is doing so well! His attitude. He looks amazing and is handling everything so fantastic. I am proud of him.
For the first time in a long time, I did not host Christmas Eve. My mother in law wanted a turn as she has just remodeled her basement and was excited to have a party! At first I was a little hesitant to give up hosting duties. It is one of the days of the year I look forward to fondly. Only because I love to cook and bake and put out a spread that is quite impressive, if I do say so myself! The whole family gets into the preparations and we all do our part. Mr. T. puts together a fantastic bar area with everything from wine, assorted beer, our traditional snowflake martini’s as well as any other spirit that would suit your fancy! The kids help with cleaning and decorating and we all make Christmas cookies so that we are able to put out a nice tray of them on the dessert table. With me being in school now, and having a final on December 15th, I gave up being the hostess. After it had sunk in, I was actually relieved! It is a lot of work and a lot of cash to throw a Christmas party, and I was off the hook this year!
We went over to Mr. T.’s parents house about 4PM on Christmas Eve. It had rained most of the day, and the snow on the ground was melting quickly, leaving the ground a soppy mess. Forget about a white Christmas…how about a “wet” Christmas? We had a great time, the kids as well as the adults, were spoiled! By 10PM we were ready to come home and get on with our own traditions. We walked in the door, happy and tired, with the kids chattering about how early they were going to get up. I suddenly had a very sick feeling in my stomach. We are no strangers to water trouble when it rains as long as it has the past day. Remember this? Storms, sewers and Mikey the Plumber
Well, we walked in, I immediately went into the living room and was met with a puddle of water…on my 46″ HD LCD TV…all over my new TV console….alll over the floor…dripping from the ceiling….quickly. I had to really control my emotions. My instinct was to collapse to the floor and wail. My kids were standing right there and the chattering quickly stopped. The stood there in silence as they looked at me with genuine concern. They sprang into action, grabbing towels. My oldest boy that is quickly turning into a man, helped me try to sop everything up and move the console table and tv. When Mr. T. came in from unloading the car, he just looked at me, and in his good natured way, said to me, “It is OK…it is going to be fine.” Well, once we got the water cleaned up, the TV moved out of the way of Niagra Falls, and a few buckets placed to catch the water (and my tears!) along with many towels, we re-plugged in the 46″ HD LCD TV (that is one year old as of December 11th!) AND……nothing. The TV is dead. Seems that when it rains, it pours, quite literally and we now have a blown out TV AND a leaky roof! Merry Christmas!!
This is not new to us. Since the day I got married, every single home we have ever lived in has has a leaky roof. One of the reasons why I prefer snow to rain. One of the reasons why when it does start to rain, I get a little panicky no matter where I am or what I am doing. I despise the rain. When we first bought this house, everything was “new.” New Pella windows and patio doors, new remodeled kitchen, fresh paint on every wall and ceiling, new 6 panel doors, new central air, new flooring, and of course, a new roof. Uh-huh. A new roof. Well, by the second year of living here, we noticed a stain on the living room ceiling. It was gradual and there was never actual water that was visible, but a water stain. Eventually the stain turned to wet plaster and we knew we had a problem. We called a roofing company and made an appointment to have it looked at. The professional roofer told us that our cedar shake siding on the dormers of our little cape cod were starting to warp and water was getting behind the shingles. Sounded right to us. We hired the roofer to come and caulk the cedar and we were assured that the caulk should take care of the problem. Except it didn’t. The next time the roofer was called the following spring, we were told that the cedar was rotting and needed to be replaced. That surely would take care of the problem. So, we hired a siding guy, had all of the cedar shake torn off the dormers (and the garage as well) and re-sided. That is not cheap, in case you were wondering. In fact, it is so expensive, that I am not even going to tell you how much it was because then someone will post a comment telling me how their uncle’s brother’s cousin does siding on the side and we could have probably had it done for half of what we paid, so I will save all of us a little heartache and not even tell you! So, problem fixed, right? WRONG!
Once again, about a year later, the roof was leaking again, in the same place. Our frustration turned into anger and we finally had a different roofer come out and look. It just so happened that the day this roofer was coming, it was pouring out! It did not damper him at all, and he put a ladder up to the dormer and within minutes showed me a rotten window sill in the dormer and showed me right where the rain was pouring in. We were singing his praises because not only did he finally find the problem, he gave me the name and number of his buddy that did aluminum trim work. We called the buddy, he quoted me a few hundred dollars to trim out the windows in aluminum. YAY! Answer to my prayers. Windows were trimmed, caulked. I fixed my lving room ceiling all by myself. I researched repairing plaster, talked to some guys at Menards, bought my supplies and got to work. I was so proud of my craftsmanship, that I actually considered going into the plaster and drywall trade. For just a second! Whenver anyone would come over, I would usher them over to the place in the ceiling and proceed to tell them that I repaired. By myself. With no help from a man. Everyone “oooohhhed” and “aaahhhhed” over my work and told me that it looked great! We finally thought the end of the leaky roof nightmare was over. Except it wasn’t.
That was one year ago. Enter 2009 Christmas Eve. Here we are, back to square one. So, not only do I have about $8,000 invested (that is an estimate…remember, I am not telling you how much it was!) but I still have the problem that I started with. I am defeated. The rain and roof has won. I don’t know what else to do, except have the entire roof ripped off and start completely over. As my Dad would tell you, water travels and it is impossible to tell where the water is coming from. Although it is leaking in the living room, it could quite possibly be leaking near the kitchen, and just traveling towards the lving room and that is where it is finding it’s entrance. Like a slithering snake waiting to find a weak prey victim…
So, Merry Christmas to us! We need a new TV, and a new roof. If someone has any pull what-so-ever, please, please please ask God to make the rain stop! Either that, or send us the winning Power Ball numbers. I don’t know how much more I can take. The bills are mounting, the rain is pouring and my TV does not work anymore. And we cannot even say “big picture….nobody has cancer.” Because someone does! UGH!
I know it could always be worse. I know my kids are healthy and strong. I know I have my health. I know I have an incredible husband that loves me more than words. I know our parents are still here on earth. I am grateful for all of those things, truly I am. I feel blessed. But dammit, I want to live in a dry house! I want my TV back before American Idol starts in January! I want the rain to stop. I want the roof to stop leaking. When my parents stopped over this morning to see the kids and all of their Santa loot, when we walked them into the living room to see not only our tree and the presents but also the leaky mess. When I got a little teary eyed about it, my Dad gave me some advice. He told me that it is not a big deal. It is just a roof and a TV. So what? He proceeded to tell me to stop worrying about money. Who cares about money? “you never had it, you never will! It is all a part of being a homeowner.” Sound advice, but that still does not help me with the issue of not having a TV before American Idol starts!
Merry Christmas, from our leaky, wet house to yours! Enjoy your families! Happy New Year! May 2010 bring you happiness and health, dry houses and working TV’s!
Feliz Navidad! Mele Kalikimaka! Nollaig Shona Dhuit! Buone Feste Natalizie!