Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dam(med) Ice! House Repair # 2,463

For those of you wandering over from Facebook, you may not be aware of the fact that our house is a money pit. We moved in June 2006, so not quite 5 years here. In that time, we've spent:
$8,000 new roof and gutters
$12,000 new windows
$13,000 new siding
$1,000 new garage doors
$34,000 TOTAL

In other words, we've spent almost 20% of our house's value (or should I say former value, since it's dropped so much) on additional improvements that we hadn't been planning on. This isn't counting 1) a few jobs less than $1,000 or 2) the optional improvements like adding a deck, patio, landscaping, etc. All of the construction ended last May, and we've been living in relative peace and comfort since then. Until The Ice.

Last week, we were running around shoving towels into window wells because the ice and snow from the roof was melting down behind the gutters and running down the side of the house. Our screens were caulked into place, and didn't have weep holes, so the water was pooling between the screens and windows and seeping under the windows into the house.

After that fiasco, Keith and my dad drilled some holes into the bottom of the screens and Keith also knocked off a lot of the ice around the windows. (We still have towels in the window wells, just in case.) And yet, the home disasters don't stop!

We spent most of the day Sunday at my parents' house. When we got home Sunday night, around 7:30, Eleanor and I came inside. Keith parked the car, and Beckett came inside with him and went straight to the back door to go outside. I think I was the one who let him out and saw that the back porch was falling apart. The railing nearest to the house had somehow broken. What the ....?

"Hey, Keith!" I called. "Come look at this!"

I think Keith is the one who lifted up his head from what was directly in front of him and realized that the damage was a lot more extensive than I'd realized. Looking to the left of the porch, huge blocks of ice and twisted metal (formerly the gutters) littered the ground. Looking up and to the right, we could see that the only remaining section of the gutter on the entire back of the house were the 3-4 feet attached at the corner. Gazing out into the backyard—where Beckett was happily roaming—all of lines from the back of the house (power, cable, phone) were also on the ground. Hmmmm .....

The good news is that everything was still working. I put Eleanor to bed while Keith called the electrical company. They came out later that night to temporarily reattach the power and told us we'd have to call the cable and phone for the other lines, but it would be safe for Beckett to go outside until they came. This is a good thing, because cable said they'd come on Monday and still haven't shown up. The phone company was a bit more realistic, cheerfully telling me that it would all be taken care of by Friday.

I guess this doesn't exactly fit in with the other household projects mentioned earlier, because the insurance company should be picking up the tab. But we still have to go through the process of finding the contractors, scheduling the work, and either getting reimbursed or getting insurance to pay up front.

How much is all of this time and angst worth? I can calculate how much money we've spent on the house, but the stress and worry all of the repairs (and financing of repairs) has brought us is incalculable. I know it's unrealistic to think that we could go an extended amount of time without any minor house repairs. But it would be nice to get to the point where it doesn't feel like the house is falling down around my ears.


revjeremy said...

weren't those new gutters? Were they installed improperly? I'm no expert but it would seem that in Cleveland icy gutters would not be a freak occurrence.

I'm glad to say we haven't beaten you on home repair bills yet...but we're working on it (we just replaced a furnace and had a sewage backup)

cat said...

Do you have a roof rake? It's like a really long shovel that you use after a heavy snow like that to get all of that snow off the roof to help keep that from happening. Of course, it doesn't do anything for ice, but it helps a ton to get snow off the roof so that it doesn't melt into the gutters and freeze.

M. Lubbers said...

They were relatively new gutters--2008. But a fair amount of people in our area have had problems this year; something with the weather has made the ice particularly bad this year.

If you and Jessi pass us in home repair bills, let me know! We can do a shot to "celebrate" next time we get together;)

Cathy: We don't have a roof rake. I'll have to check it out! I think we're going to install those warmer things, too, to keep the ice from building up too high.