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We gave the report to the Pulte field manager. Three days later, right before we closed on the house, we were assured that all repairs had been made. For the next hour, I stood on the ground below and watched as the roofer repeatedly tried to close the gaps. In frustration, he complained that it was impossible to make flashing fit correctly around such uneven brickwork.


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See how the bricks are hanging out beyond the edge of the flashing? What a mess!


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  • The roofer kept taking the flashing apart and trying again, but the gap in the flashing reappeared every time he attempted to make it align with the brick. He finally gave up. He said that the bricks in this area needed to be removed and redone correctly by whoever had done the brick and mortar, because dealing with sloppy brickwork is NOT the responsibility of a roofer!

    Because of the bricks, I could see that this was not going to be a quick or easy fix. In spite of hours of work, all that the roofer had been able to do was make the flashing gaps a little smaller. How he got tar up onto the soffit above, I am not sure. As I stood there staring up at the nightmare on my roof, I felt totally overwhelmed. The situation had not gotten any better. There was a possibility of more rain in a few days, and I could easily see that the roof was going to leak again. I was extremely concerned about additional rainwater falling into the house.

    On top of everything else, I am allergic to mold. About a week later, after a pallet of brick was delivered to my house, Pulte sent out a few of their people to start working on the bricks around the front arch. Soon after they arrived, the workers began pulling bricks out and tossing them from the roof to the ground. A rectangular sheet of particle board was placed over the center of the cement below, but there were also bricks falling down onto the sides where there was no protection at all.

    I asked them to stop for a few minutes, so I could bring out some broken-down cardboard boxes to cover the rest of the cement. At some point during all of this, Zone 3 of the in-ground sprinkler system started to leak underneath the sod on the right side of my yard. This was the 3rd time that a section of the sprinkler system had malfunctioned, but at least a sprinkler leak in the ground is not as frightening as a leaking roof.

    I turned the water off. Watching the front of the roof being torn apart and looking at the swamp in my yard, I felt like I was sinking. Adding insult to injury, my front door looked like it had been damaged before it was painted. Why did the builder install a door in this condition on a new house? After that point, if the prospective buyer decides not to buy the house even for very legitimate reasons, the builder does not have to return the earnest money. However, the mahogany gel stain was so thick that the painter had difficulty trying to spread it evenly on the door.

    Hard to believe, but the appearance of the door was a little worse by the time the painter left. In my eyes, the Pulte door began to look like the entrance to homeowner hell. Immediately, the front entry looked much better. Oh no! What now?! For some reason, the doors no longer lined up vertically or horizontally with each other. How could this be? I had no clue why they had suddenly shifted so dramatically, until I looked up and saw the strange alignment of the strike plates above the French doors.

    I called the Pulte customer service rep the same one who was handling the roof and asked him to send someone out to look at the French doors. To make a long story short — I found out that the wall on one side of the French doors was not even with the wall on the other side. After that, the stress of the uneven walls on the twisted frame quickly started to warp and crack the doors.

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    After new French doors with frame were delivered, the wall on the left was moved in a little and the frame with both doors easily fell into place. The carpenter had to take off a baseboard, move the wall, put the baseboard back on again, repair the drywall, and then repaint. It would have been easier and less expensive and less stressful on the homeowner if all of this had simply been done right while the house was being built.

    I guess no one had the time to do this door right either. All that it needed was wider and longer screws. By this time, I was very annoyed with this Pulte built home. I was tired of dealing with numerous construction issues, big and small, day after day after day. Here is a short video that I made while trying to close this little misaligned door.

    It is easy to hear the growing anger in my voice! There was a thunderstorm with strong winds predicted for the weekend, so there was no time to spend arguing with Pulte over faulty workmanship. The brickwork that Everardo did was perfect. In August , 5 months after we purchased this house, the first signs of foundation movement began to appear on the left side of the house.

    Harbingers of things to come. The wood corner at the end of the brick wall had actually opened up and dropped down! When did this happen? On December 3, — I hired a home inspector to come out and specifically check the roof support system in the attic.

    Considering the separated areas on the exterior of the house, I was concerned that interior roof trusses might be pulling apart too. Sure enough. The inspector found and photographed a broken roof truss. We notified Pulte, but it has not been repaired yet. We hired a structural engineer to do a baseline foundation elevation survey during the first year that we lived here.

    Since then, we have paid him to return two more times—so we know exactly what is happening to this foundation and how the differential movement is affecting the house. Each time I hear another loud pop, I cringe. How bad is this going to get? Day after day, month after month — worrying about what is going to fall apart next has left me physically, mentally, and soul tired. The emotional toll has been great.

    We gave a copy of this new engineering report to Pulte and the truss was finally repaired in March While I lived in Virginia, I visited the Fredericksburg National Cemetery on several occasions and took quite a few pictures. My great-great grandfather, First Sergeant William Stark Strong, was severely wounded during the battle and died the next day. His 21 year old son, Corporal William Washington Strong, survived. If he had died as a result of this fight also or at any other time during the Civil War , I would not be here today to write this story.

    A sobering thought on this Memorial Day weekend. Strong, Villanova, Delaware Co. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world , and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work as no entity individual or corporate has a copyright on this book.

    Having lived in Virginia for so many years, I know the different places that are being referred to above, and I can easily imagine being there. I have not forgotten how muddy and sloppy the red clay is during and after a rain, and I know what it feels like to walk through pine tree woods while brushing off mosquitos, ticks, spiders, and side-stepping an occasional snake! Regarding the interaction between my great-great grandfather and his son at the battle of Fredericksburg, I was happy to find additional information in this book.

    It is our duty and pleasure to record the generous act of the commander of a Confederate regiment that greatly relieved the suffering of Sergeant Strong. The corporal approached the commander of one of the rebel regiments, occupying a position in reserve, and asked for a stretcher for the use of his father.

    When it is remembered that under the orders issued by the commander of the Union army, no assistance could be given the wounded by their comrades, this kind act on the part of the Confederate colonel can be better appreciated. Had it come the result probably, would have been different. When I was at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery in —a tour guide mentioned several reasons why the additional troops did not arrive as expected.

    Apparently, there was some miscommunication within the Union army that led to dire consequences in Fredericksburg. One of the biggest problems was the fact that Burnside was given a map with unclear markings. As a result, they got lost. At the end of the battlefield tour, the speaker talks with great passion about the memory and meaning of the Battle of Fredericksburg.

    I must say that this Fredericksburg National Park employee who is the speaker in both of my short videos knew the history of this battle by heart. His presentation was awesome. I remember thinking that, whatever he was being paid, he deserved a raise! No history of any war, since the beginning of warfare presents such a spectacle.

    Invariably, hatred between the contestants is a prominent feature which leads to pillage and useless infliction of suffering when opportunities occur. But unless in actual conflict, the men comprising the fighting elements of the opposing armies during the War of the Rebellion seemed ready to extend manifestations of friendship for each other.

    Today, Memorial Day honors and remembers all of the soldiers who have lost their lives defending this country. God bless them today and always. Hiding in plain sight the little eyes of Texas suddenly, I see! I actually thought I was alone, until the day that I almost stepped on a black tarantula sitting quietly by my back door. Rather unnerving! Thanks to the surprise visit from this spider, I realized that I needed to start paying more attention to the environment around me. Wake up! With eyes wide open I can look around and see a camouflaged lizard in a tree, silently watching over me.

    Now I notice when an anole lizard climbs up a sharp yucca leaf to greet me, and I take the time to stop and say hello. And look! When I come across a caterpillar that looks like a porcupine with quills, I am wise and aware enough to keep my distance. I wish I could say that I know what kind of butterfly or moth the caterpillar in my photo might become; but truth be known, I have no clue! The leaf-footed bugs that visit our yard when the white yucca flowers bloom, are so prolific that they actually command attention they look like stink bugs with leaves on their back legs.

    Rather pesky, they are! But for those who have citrus trees and other fruit bearing plants that are being damaged, some sort of pest control is usually used.

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    I must say — I am very happy to see that the praying mantis hangs out in Texas too I used to see them all the time in Virginia. This amazing insect is fascinating to watch. An image of stamina and precision—a praying mantis can hold the same motionless pose for long periods of time, waiting patiently for an unsuspecting meal to come wandering by. And then, watch out! The mantis is extremely accurate and quick. The more that I learned about the natural environment of Texas, the more I wanted to know.

    The program was everything that I hoped it would be, and it was fun to spend time every week with a group of people whose interests were similar to mine. The training covered a wide range of topics, which included discussions about native trees, plants, animals, birds, insects, reptiles, fish, geology, water, weather, etc.

    Since I am not from Texas, the field trips opened up a whole new world of places and things that I did not even know existed here! And so… Thanks to the little eyes of Texas especially the black tarantula , I now have the honor of walking through and working with nature as a Texas Master Naturalist—with my eyes wide open. Attached below is a short video created by George and Marcos Ozuna.

    Their work and love of nature is greatly appreciated. As this year comes to an end, I look back at years gone by once again. And I remember the house I once had in Virginia, where there was a room that belonged specifically to a baby grand piano.

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    It had such a beautiful voice; the glorious sound danced through the air. We lived in that house for 13 years. Sadly, the piano could not come with me because the house in Texas was going to be much smaller. If you read my previous blog, you know that my newly built house in Texas turned out to be a source of major stress.

    Repeatedly begging the builder for help with construction defects has drained most of the creativity out of my soul. There were good friends gathered all around, with the sound of music and joyful voices rising up above the problems of the world. Now, as we leave behind tonight, I hope and pray that will be a great year for everyone.

    Do you hear the sound of fireworks? I actually saw a goggle-wearing Labrador Retriever sitting proudly in an antique car painted with red flames. This awesome dog was definitely riding in style and appeared to enjoy the attention of people passing by. Oh well — who needs to keep working anyway. Let some other younger dogs do the bomb sniffing from now on. And then, as I was standing there admiring the car and the dog, an image of my Siamese cat suddenly pounced into my mind:.

    What would happen if I tried to put goggles on my cat Keona and take him for a ride in a car with no roof? There would be paws and claws everywhere! No way would he put goggles on. And if I actually got him into a car like this, he would rip the leather seats to shreds. It would NOT be a good experience! I did get permission to hug the Labrador Retriever before they left. So soft and gentle; what a sweetheart! I waved goodbye as the man drove away from the gas station with his best friend sitting by his side — surrounded by flames and riding high. If anyone knows what type of car this is, please let me know—because I have no clue.

    I intend to repay my foster mom for her kindness as soon as I can. When I am a little bigger, I am going to jump up and sit on her lap and purr as loudly as I can. That way she will know that I love her as much as she has loved me. I do understand that as soon as I get old enough, someone is going to adopt me and take me away to my furever home. I am excited about that, but thinking about moving also makes me feel sad. I will miss my foster mom when I go.

    Whatever happens God, I have faith that you will guide me down the right path. Thank you for listening to my prayer. Sweet dreams all! Even though I have 2 cats of my own, this is the first time that I have ever seen kittens so small. They are ready to be adopted and have been working hard to perfect their basic cat skills, such as :. Always great to have a little extra love and affection!

    Always good to be prepared. Might need to dial one day, and ask the fire department for help getting out of a tree. Absolutely perfect! We are waiting with open arms. Sailing on water created by winds of thought, my soul travels on. Many years ago, in the late s, a 29 foot sailboat carried me around the Hawaiian Islands on a path of wind and water. Although the old photos that I have are fading, I clearly remember the scent of salt water in the air, and the sound of the boat sliding often pounding through the waves—as if it was yesterday. The environment and life itself is always changing, so take nothing for granted.

    There are no guarantees. Personally, I loved the calm days when the ocean slept quietly within itself and the voice of the sea-breeze gently sang as it passed through the rigging. Do you see the diamonds of sparkling sunlight dancing on the water? But life is unpredictable and Mother Nature can quickly change a gentle breeze into a screaming wind that churns the sea into an angry rage. Sometimes life is not easy, but there is no time to worry or complain when ocean waves are rising. Reef the mainsail, raise the storm jib, say a prayer, and keep moving forward. A sea-bird flew along with the sailboat through a storm one day, showing me that it is possible to maintain a calm and steady state of mind even in a bad situation.

    I watched it glide smoothly through incredibly strong winds for several hours, barely moving its wings—no worries. It has been 37 years since the last time I have been sailing but, over the years, my life has often resembled a rough sea with all of its ups and downs. The biggest storm in my life happened in the late s, when my first husband decided to change and go down a completely different path. The new lifestyle he had chosen did not and could not include me. I had to leave. I had to run. No choice. Suddenly, I found myself adrift on dry land with no anchor and no place to call home.

    What happened to me after that is a long and almost unbelievable story. There were good things almost miraculous that came my way, but there were also days when I was completely exhausted and wanted to give up. In order to write about that portion of my life—I would have to sift through old memories and deal with some painful ones that I have tried to forget. For now, I will end with the simple fact that everything in my life has continued to change over the years.

    Like everything else in this world, I have grown older. But my soul remains the same and travels on with the wisdom of the path of wind and water. It was the night before Christmas, and the area directly beneath the sparkling tree was under close surveillance by our two stealthy cats.

    I could tell by the stern looks on their faces that they were not going to let anything cross into their protected zone—except for humans with prior approval. Perhaps they had seen a wayward spider? As soon as she left, he began sniffing around the tree, doing one last check to assure that there were no unwanted creatures attempting to crawl into the paper or under the tree skirt. After he thoroughly sniffed everything twice and was positive that all was safe and secure, he quietly returned to his secret hiding place at the back of the tree beneath the branches where he thought he could not be seen.

    And there he stood a lonely vigil while time ticked slowly by. Keona had hoped that he was going to be able to defend the Christmas gifts and prove his catly worth, but absolutely nothing was happening. Eventually, in spite of his incredible patience, he had to admit to himself that he was getting tired. It soon got to the point where he could no longer hide the overwhelming fatigue and boredom that he felt inside. Having a job which requires doing nothing is exhausting! Time begins to drag and minutes feel like hours……… With his mouth still wide open in a big cat yawn, he wondered why he had ever decided to take this pointless night patrol job.

    Feeling rather dejected, he decided there was no purpose in continuing to stand any longer and he sat down. As soon as he started to relax, he began to realize that he had been focusing on all of the wrong things. There was no danger around him, only beautiful dancing lights coloring him with a warm glow. Because he had only been searching for the negative, he had completely failed to notice the positive. Christmas revelation! He decided to immediately retire from his job as Christmas cat on night patrol—and curled up into sleep until a gentle ray of morning sunlight shone through the kitchen window.

    The spirit of Christmas put a warm arm around me and suddenly I believed. The loving response of the people here was incredible. By the time the representatives from the Marines and Santa Claus arrived in mid-December, there were 11 boxes of toys to give them, and each box was filled to the brim and overflowing. It was easy to see that the true spirit of Christmas had been hard at work! To end our Toys for Tots drive, we had a joyful celebration —which included Santa and the Marines of course , and good music, food, and drink. Everyone in the room was smiling—because we all knew that, due to all of the donated toys, many less-fortunate children would now awaken to a wonderful Christmas day.

    Someone out there even got a unicorn, a magical sight to be sure! Intriguing orange butterfly love on a leaf— October surprise! From a distance, I first thought I was looking at one large orange butterfly on a wax myrtle tree branch. But when I came closer with the camera zoom lens, I suddenly realized there were two butterflies intertwined. These two lovers are Gulf Fritillary butterflies.

    In the photo above, the lighter colored female hangs onto a leaf while the bright orange male dangles in a precarious, provocative position beneath her. Ah…the glorious thrill of love! Without warning, he opens his wings, she loses her grasp on the leaf, and they fly off together rather clumsily still connected. Why is he making things so difficult?! Rocks glowing beneath fire-breathing dragon hot Texas summer sun.

    The temperature for this area is predicted to reach degrees Fahrenheit today, and I can already hear the hot sun hissing on the horizon. We also had Emilio install a 38 head drip system so we can give everything a cool drink when needed. However, even with the drip system, I still need to use the hose every so often — because trees and bushes require more water than agaves and yuccas. I often walk around my yard and stick my fingers into the ground to test the soil moisture, so I will know if I need to water again.

    It might be a little bit easier to maintain than grass, but Xeriscape does not mean no maintenance! I never saw a scorpion in Virginia, but I have seen a few here. Last week around midnight, I heard my Siamese cat talking rather loudly. So I got out of bed, turned on the light, and saw that she was calmly escorting a scorpion across the tile floor.

    The scorpion was obviously annoyed, as it was waving its tail over its head while it walked beside her. Of course, I have no picture of the scorpion because I was too worried about saving my cat — so you will just have to believe me. It seems that the only creature I managed to photograph this summer was a grasshopper at the Government Canyon State Natural Area a few miles away.

    It was meditating like a Zen monk in a small sliver of shade, trying to keep a cool head on a hot afternoon. There are others who have no choice but to stand in the heat without water or shade. It occurred to me, why not? Is it also because you want to share the story you have with your mum with those who have the same story as yours? The very prominent sign was the repetition. I have this book which became my sort of guide and helped me in dealing with the symptoms. If there are unlimited questions so as unlimited answers. So when you say reversible it can be from cases like vascular dementia, from stroke.

    When patients experience stroke, they can have vascular dementia temporarily that falls under the category of reversible so they can still go through therapy. You wrote these words in the book, what are the memories of your mum that you would not forget? You know that eventually that will disappear. I passed through the stage of denial, mainly because when I decided to take up nursing as a second degree, that reason was to work abroad but when I realized that the reason behind it was to care for my mum, the caring became much easier.

    It is or it must be very, very, very difficult. I give it a rating of 10 if you were to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most difficult. I would say the battle of the bath. Sometimes she would wipe poo on our faces, she would splash toilet water on our faces. I think it has to be a choice also. There were also very bad moments but the thing with the care is the patience and the love still prevails. Where are you getting your strength and what do you say to yourself when you feel like you want to give up?

    I draw strength from God because His strength can become our strength. You know when moments of lucidity happen, we never know when the next one will occur.

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    For example, we are now on stage 7, stage 7 is the final stage of the disease. My advice would be to let love prevail.