Updates: grout, garden and general rat-ness

Well, Fourth of July has come and gone, and I’m back home and in the thick of things.  Y’know, house-like things.  A few updates, just to keep things straight/shine a bit of happy light:

* Kitchen ceiling leak, aka Grout/caulk in the bathroom: Yeah, looks like the kitchen ceiling leakage is caused by grout.  Well, specifically grout that was supposed to be caulk.  Because if you put grout around the tub where it meets the tile?  The grout will crackle.  And the crackles?  Let water in (bear in mind that grout is kinda porous to begin with), so silicone caulk is much more waterproof.  The only downside?  Caulk tends to get moldy and mildew-y, so it has to be replaced every few years.  So, buh-bye grout, hello caulk!  And hello painting the kitchen ceiling, but that’s gonna be a while in the future.  Mostly because with all the recessed lighting in the house?  Ceiling painting will be a bear.  So why put off ’til tomorrow what you can postpone til much, much later?  (All apologies to Mssr. Twain.)

I thought about doing this myself, and even bought all the implements of destruction and doom (grout saw, caulk gun, razor-thingy).  But as I sat on the edge of my upstairs tub wailing away at the grout With Extreme Prejudice, I realized something.  I had absolutely no stinking idea what I was doing.  Better to call in a pro, if only for the re-do.  Caulking is easy enough I’d think; my dad used to do it every few years.  Did the research, called for the estimates, and it looks like it’ll get done for under 200 clams.  Not bad.  Now I wonder if I should have him fix the nicks in the downstairs tub’s enamel.  And there’s a question of the cracked grout in the corners of the tubs….  A woman’s work of calling someone to fix stuff for her is never done.  (Though I’d bet that corner grout thing’d be a snap.  Sureitwould.)

* Garden-ness: Being away for a week during the 100+ days of death left me with a couple of plants that were D.O.-My-A.  No more dahlia, no more weird plant I didn’t know but took because the girl at the walkathon asked me to.  With two of the big-girl pots freed up, I re-planted the lavender and the sage.  The lavender got a big pot because I’m hoping it’ll just explode into huge smells-good wonderfulness.  The sage got a big pot because it’s friggin’ huge now!  I need to make something sage-y soon.  Perhaps a crap-ton of sausage?  Perhaps reading a recipe book for more ideas than just sausage?  I did make pesto from the basil, and even though I had no pine nuts or parm, I used walnuts and anchovies (what?  They’re delicious.  Stop looking at me like that.)  And I saw that it was good.  Next up?  Waiting for IKEA to put their hay-uge pots on sale so I can snag one and put it out front near the mailbox.  Fill it with a mini evergreen or somesuch.  Tomorrow, tomorrow.

I do have a bit of help in the garden though.  The praying mantis has stuck around, as they tend to do, thankfully!  She really had no choice, since apparently I’d brought her inside when I dragged a few plants in from the deck before I went on vacay.  She’s gotten a bit bigger — now a whopping 1&1/2 inches! — and I put her back outside where she can feast on buggies to her hearts delight.  I found her because I heard an obnoxiously loud fly buzzing, and then bleating.  Didn’t know flies could bleat?  Seriously, they can, if they’ve been snagged by a mantis.  Hopefully I’ll have more pics of her as she gets bigger, but for now, just the one:

Ms Mantis
Ms Mantis, with her fly snack

*Rats, and their ratty ratness: Okay, so the squeaking squicked me out double-quick.  Seriously, I expected one of those massive cow-sized rats from Graveyard Shift to come crashing through the walls screaming “feed me Seymour!”  And yes, I know I have my mythologies all tangled up, but it shows you how messed up I was at the time.  But the next day, after the plumber gave me the tip on the bath/grout leakage, I almost literally ran into a guy on the street that was getting out of his truck as I was getting into my car.  And guess what he does for a living?  A’yup.  Exterminator.  He’d been called out to 1177 and let me bend his ear for about 30 minutes on all things rat.  He even showed me some green pellet-doggy treat looking things that I could buy that would “just kill ’em”.  Dead rats in the walls is another horror I’d like to not deal with, but hey.  If the folks two doors down are doing it, why don’t I jump off the cliff too?  Well, because they’ve already gone and done it.  There hasn’t been a peep, cheep, scritch or skitter since I’ve been back.  (Knock on drywall.)

Plus, I met my across-the-street neighbor as she was leaving that same morning, and she said she bought one of those plug-in rat repellents.  And the weird thing is, it worked.  They sound über-cheesy and seem like they wouldn’t work if your very life depended upon ’em (see: Graveyard Shift, again), but she’s had good luck with the one that “has -erator at the end”.  Maybe a bit of research to find it wouldn’t be a bad thing.  Just in case.

That’s about all the new stuff.  Everything else is same-old, same-old.  The place is still pretty humid, though the big-arse LG dehumidifier is doing it’s thing (I have to dump the bucket again, which just means it’s getting to bizniz).  It runs just about non-stop to keep the pad at around 60-65% humidity.  I’ve given up on the 35-50% as a sort of Holy Grail.  But humidity or no, I’m thinking it’s time to paint the basement.  Lawd help me.  It’s gotta be done though.

Oh, one last thing: a friend forwarded this link to me and I must share it.  Because it’s fan-tastic.  Behold the glory that is Maillardville Manor’s mud room!


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