Keeping my fingers crossed

One of the things we know about buying an older home (the one we want to buy was built in 1976), is that they usually have some issues. Those issues are compounded when the previous owner doesn’t truly care for the house, and only masks problems. (Like roof leaks and water behind the fridge)

Unfortunately, we live in a warm, humid climate, in an area that’s recovering from massive hurricane damage this past fall.

Which means that a week or so ago, when we went back to see the house, the “dry area that’s no longer leaking” behind the fridge… had expanded and was oozing black dusty goop into the master bedroom on the other side of the wall. Bad News Bears.

So we called in a Mold Inspection professional (not a removal professional – those are legally required to be two different companies in the state of Texas) – and she gave us some good, and some bad news.

The good news is, all the problems she sees are localized. The bad news?  It ain’t just in that one wall.  It’s in the air vent insulation in a few places, and probably in two or three other walls as well – mostly under where there are bad roof leaks.

(Did I mention originally the seller wasn’t going to replace this roof?  Fortunately his realtor and he had a chat, and we’ve worked out a compromise where his insurance company is going to replace the roof and he and we are going to split the deductible)

Sadly, however, while an actual mold inspection is not that expensive, running the air quality tests to determine that there is actually mold there are quite expensive. We’re hoping to have a deal where if the tests come back negative, we’ll pay the entire costs (for being paranoid) and move forward with the sale.

If they come back positive, the seller will pay for the tests AND will follow the legal protocol for mold remediation (getting a protocol written, getting a licensed remediation company to remove all the mold, and getting a post-remediation inspection and clearance certificate) – and THEN we’ll move forward with the sale.

The good side of this is – we’ve done the tests and are sending them to the seller, so he’s legally required to disclose it to any other buyers if he proves to be uncooperative and we decide to look for another house. (So if they prove uncooperative, we’ve kinda screwed ’em pretty good – nobody wants a house with an active mold infection)

Oh – and I’m pretty sure they’re going to find an active mold infestation…

When our mold inspector did the tests, one of the things she did was bang on the walls to see if she could actually see any mold… and in three of the rooms? When she’d bang on the wall, greyish black poofs would come out of the cracks between the sheetrock and the baseboards. Ew.

2 down, a lifetime to go

Two years ago today, I woke up in a hotel room in downtown Houston, opened the blinds up of my 18th floor room, and felt my heart sag just a little.  It was, in fact, pouring rain.

The kind of pouring that it does in Houston in January, where it’s foggy and windy, not really cold, but a driving, drenching, lasts all day kind of rain.

Normally that wouldn’t bother me so much, but two years ago today, I got married – and I wasn’t really looking forward to a white wedding dress in the rain and mud. But, I couldn’t exactly control the weather, and it wasn’t cold, so I couldn’t complain (just the weekend before it’d been 30 degrees, so complaining about 65 seemed rather silly, esp for January). I got up, got dressed, and went down to eat breakfast with my family before heading off to the whirlwind that is being the bride in a large family style church wedding in Texas.

At breakfast, I ran into my grandparents – my grandfather was the officiant in our wedding. Nobody had mentioned the weather – and there were probably 15 of us in the restaurant. It was, in a way, like the elephant nobody wanted to mention. Nobody, that is, except my PopPop, who has never had a shy moment in his life (I don’t think).  Anyway, he must’ve noticed the elephant and took it head on.

He looked over at me, as I’m three spoons deep into my oatmeal and yoghurt and fruit, and said “You know you’re not allowed to worry about the weather right?” I looked back, puzzled, at the grinning, white haired man who I’d call “impish” if he didn’t have quite so much presence when he wanted to (Italian grandpas are like that sometimes).

“Well, you see, I took it up with Management, and they’ve assured me that it will be sunny by 2 o’clock.” He pointed up at the ceiling, winking at me. We all laughed, but it warmed my overwhelmed heart to think of him having such a conversation with “Management” (his faith has always astounded me, but I suppose thats how ministers are) about the rain on his eldest granddaughter’s wedding day.

After breakfast, I started the whirlwind. Hair done, back up on the 18th floor my best friend’s little sister was doing our make up while we picked at some turkey sandwiches and sipped ginger ale through straws so we wouldn’t muss our lipstick. We had a big suite, my parents and I, with a large “meeting room” in between – it was really convenient, since there were never fewer than 12 people in the two rooms combined.  IN and out, in and out – who called the florist, did someone call the reception manager lady back about the cake, around and around.

And then – around 1:30, just as we were getting the last of our things together to make the short trip over to the church, someone else came in.

“You should open the curtains.”

I raised an eyebrow and opened them.  And sure enough, out over the Houston skyscape, drenched with the morning’s rain, the sun crept out.  Ok maybe crept is an understatement.  I squinted into the light, shading my eyes.

And from somewhere in one of the other rooms, my grandfather’s voice floated in, chuckling. “I told you, I took it up with Management.”

The weather eventually brightened so much that not only was the church bathed in multicolored light from the stained glass, but in the downtime between the ceremony and the reception, our photographer winged us a photoshoot in Hermann Park – and captured what would become my favorite pictures of the entire day. (Including one of me walking over traintracks in my chapel length train… with my dress held up about my knees and crinoline spewing out around everywhere.) The eventual high for the day was 74.  On the 27th of January.