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I am shaking and I can't stop. I shake because I've been suppressing the expletives for the kids' sakes for the past few hours, and now that they're asleep and I could finally let go, I'm just...shaking.

We're in a hotel with some overnight things, and I suppose we'll have to come back here in the future for a longer stay, because we're going to be out of the house for a while. It's going to cost an arm and a leg. I don't know what else we're supposed to do, though.

The freaking house! I just can't begin to describe how much I hate that freaking house! It's been out to destroy us from the moment we signed the sale papers, and now it's won. It's won. I give up.

I went in Sam's room this afternoon to have him try on some clothes, since he just came through a growth spurt and outgrew a bunch of his shirts. I went into his closet, which has an old light. I went to turn on the light, and POOF! There was a weird noise (like, well, "poof"), the light didn't come on, and there was suddenly a horrible, horrible smell. It was light enough for me to see with the room light, when I looked, that all up the wall over the fixture was now black. The smell didn't go away.

I freaked out. I called Eric, who had asked me to "keep an eye" on the flickering lights all day, and I begged him to come home. He did, and he had me call the home warranty company in the meantime. I put in a call for emergency service, and the same guys who came out before called me back and said they'd be over in an hour.

So the guy comes in, and he eyed the black marks and raised his eyebrows at the smell. "Yeah, that's not a good sign," was all he said as he started working at removing the switch. He didn't think things were still burning, and he chuckled a little when I asked whether I should take the kids out of the house. I guess he wasn't familiar with just how much this house is out to get us.

So he pulled the light fixture off the wall. He stopped. He scratched his head. Then he sighed. Eric poked his head in, and I could swear his face turned white. "Is that what I...?" he said, and the electrician said, "Yep."

I'll explain it the way they told me, which didn't make a whole lot of sense initially, but Eric is here to correct any mistakes. The wire had slipped off the screw on the fixture, but it was apparently still close enough that it arced when I turned it on, which is why the wall blew up. What both Eric and the guy were staring at, though, was the wire itself. Not copper. Not even knob and tube. It was aluminum. And apparently that's really, really bad.

(Says Eric: "When you turn electric devices on, the wires get hot; when you turn it off, they cool down. Aluminum expands and contracts like mad with heat and cooling, so it slips off almost everything eventually." Got it?)

So the guy decides to do a little more investigating. He starts going to other fixtures, other outlets, other parts of the house. Turns out that the entire upper floor, at least, is almost completely wired with aluminum wiring. It needs to be replaced, and soon; it's not safe. The electrician estimated that our best case scenario would probably come in around four thousand dollars, but as the full extent is realized, it might run as high as ten thousand.


The electrician grabbed a ladder and started to climb up into our attic to check the wiring up there. Mind you, we never even look in the attic; to our knowledge, since the inspection was done, the only person to go up there was the pest guy who trapped the squirrel we had last winter. So the electrician goes up...and comes down almost immediately and said that he can't go up there to look now. Why, you might ask, couldn't he look around?

BECAUSE THE FIRST THING HE SAW WAS ASBESTOS INSULATION. Loose-fill asbestos. In my attic. Of my house. This was when I started shaking uncontrollably; I had been doing an admirable job of controlling my tremors up to that point.

So here's the thing: the asbestos, according to the electrician, is actually not a crazy thing, and ordinarily we probably wouldn't even have to freak out right away; he says it doesn't look like it's in awful shape. BUT! Since we do have to take care of the aluminum wiring, we will have to work in the attic, and we therefore will have to take care of the asbestos now. Can't go rooting about in asbestos without a whole mess of work, and we'll probably have to have it removed to have the electric work pass inspection. He has no idea how much it will cost to have that done, but in his experience with jobs like this, it's reached well into the five figures area.

So we're in a hotel, because frankly we can't stand to look at the house right now, and I don't know what we're going to do, but I'm about ready to just give the place to the squirrels and the rain and whatever else wants to try to creep in. I don't want to save it; I want to escape it. First, I want to stop shaking. I think I need to let these expletives come, but I can't figure out which one to scream first.

We were fools to move here!

previous one year ago:
Even thusly prepared, I was still taken aback when I heard myself saying, "Okay, let's go for it!" last night on the phone with Eric.
two years ago:
Wow. My intuition didn't tell me anything like this.
three years ago:
Honestly, I barely remember getting the darn thing.
four years ago:
Okay, I have a little confession to make.
five years ago:
If anybody mentions dancing hippos, though, I won't be responsible for my actions.
six years ago:
The Maxima is dead. Long live the Saturn!
In the ears:
Hotel TV

On the Bookshelf:
Various knitting references

Gratuitous Sam

French toast



Extra Gabe





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