Happy New Year?

2009? When did that happen? It was 1999 about 5minutes ago.

Let me tell you, my absence from this blog is a good indication of just how badly our holiday season went. I can't go into details on the internet, but here are some high level highlights - the poor economy finally hits home, there's a death in the family, work and home to-do lists become overwhelming, and all of a sudden free time evaporates and we don't know whether to scratch our watches or wind our butts.

At this very moment I'm enjoying (enjoying - HA!) a momentary lull, soon to be followed by a mad rush of late night last minute presentation preparation for a giant meeting likely to be scheduled for first thing tomorrow morning. In this momentary lull, we're awaiting confirmation and further instructions.

Yeah. Perfect example of these more-than hectic last two weeks. And it's only Tuesday.

In the midst of all this, I got a cancellation from my home owners insurance company in the mail on Saturday. Reasons - mostly all that we had done our best to repair over the past year. Ok, red flag. They're supposed to know we made repairs and I told them they could come and reinspect at any time... and this was waaay back around Septemberish.

I got on the phone with our insurance rep right away and was pleasantly surprised to hear that she was there on Saturday. She would check into it for us and call me back with an update. I still haven't received that call yet, but it's ok. It gave us time to reexamine that list. After all, this is no time to be switching to a more expensive plan.

There's nothing we can do about the siding. The entire front of the house is Tvek'd and it's going to stay that way until spring. Sorry. But we built the farmer's porch complete with temporary stairs & railing, added a railing to the basement stairs and upstairs overhang, re-did the entire roof, removed the wood stove from the garage, and finished the mudroom. Honestly I would imagine that would be enough to subdue them for another year, but after all the bad luck we've come across lately, I worried about it.

So we removed and threw out the old garage chimney setup as one extra precaution. (Not that it was connected to anything, but can't hurt to be rid of it, right?)

We also decided to go and check out gutters. The insurance company had issue with all our missing downspouts. And since adding the farmer's porch, even more gutters are missing. Knowing nothing about gutters and how much they cost, we researched at the deepHo last night. Turns out metal gutters are cheap! About $9 for a 10ft section and $20 for a 16ft section. (How they figure that is beyond me - but whatever.) Cheap! And all the little connectors and many of the accessories were under $1 each.

We couldn't believe it and started loading up a cart. No use losing the insurance over $9 downspouts. When all was said and done, we had picked out enough to cover the house - although not the entire farmer's porch. (One thing at a time - besides, hopefully the porch will count as "still under construction.")

Mike is likely to have time to install them tomorrow - weather permitting. If not, then definately by the end of this week. Cross another item off the list.... as long as they don't call me in the next hour and want to inspect tomorrow. Knock on something.

Also, Jan 15th starts the official town open burning season! That wonderful annual time to get rid of all the brush that we cut or lost during numerous winter storms. Weather permitting, we should be burning all weekend. Thus further cleaning up the yard.

This brings me to another point about the insurance company.

It's so hard to decipher what the insurance company is complaining about sometimes and what exactly they'd like you to do about it. Great example, the insurance co mentioned debris in the yard - that's a big WTF. We have some items next to the garage that I wonder if they consider debris - just some scrap metal and heavy auto parts/tractor parts that Mike would rather keep out of the garage. But the amount is not excessive. I've been to several homes that should have been condemmed for the amount of junk in the yard. I wonder though if this is what they're even talking about. Or maybe they object to our backyard brush burner made from our old oil tank. Nobody knows! I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

This little unexpected home insurance side trip is unfortunately keeping us from what our real focus should be on - baby's room. It's all painted, but the flooring needs to be done ASAP. After that, trim, closet doors... time is ticking away and don't think we haven't realized. There's only a few months to go and all of a sudden all of this "we'll take care of it after the holidays" stuff is upon us like a sack of bricks.

What a way to start 2009.