I really wanted to have a full post for you by Monday. But Friday took far more out of me than expected, and Monday wasn’t much better. So… this is all I got for ya.
First of all
Let’s start with a very important reminder to homeowners– one which I kept giving myself but never got around to — buy sewer line insurance. NOW!
As that last line may have indicated, my 1960s cast iron sewer pipe finally gave up the ghost in at least one spot. And even my usual plumber (who wasn’t available for this job) agreed that if it were going bad in one spot, more would surely follow.
So Friday went like this:
9 a.m.: Noticed my tub and toilet had officially stopped draining. (They’d been increasingly slow the previous two nights. But they’d been fine in the day for some reason.)
1 p.m.: Plumber comes over, the snake keeps hitting something solid. They call in a guy to come with a camera (no extra charge).
4 p.m.: The camera shows some paper product but also mud and iron flakes. They say a replacement is needed.
4:45 p.m.: I agree to a replacement job, which works out to a bit more than $21,000.
5:30 p.m.: The guy from the mitigation company helps me call my insurance company and and open a claim. I then make a reservation at a hotel, since I can’t stay in a house without a tub or toilet, pack in a daze, so very haphazardly.
6:30 p.m.: I check in and dump my luggage and collapse.
How I’m making the lemonade
Back to the title of this post: I’ve managed to come up with a couple ways to benefit from this rather sucky situation. They’re small, comparatively, but anything helps.
On the call to the insurance company, I verified that there weren’t any preferred hotels I needed to stick to.
So I decided to stay at a Marriott property to rack up some points with my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card.
I needed something with a kitchen and dinnerware/silverware and whose price wasn’t outrageous. So I chose a Residence Inn in Tempe.* I’d stayed there once before and liked it — and the price wasn’t outrageous at an average of $230 per night. I didn’t want to alarm the insurance company.
Anyway, thanks to my card, I’m getting an extra 4 points per dollar spent: 1 for silver elite status and 3 for using the card at a Marriott property.
This means that after taxes/fees and the $15/night parking fee, I’ll get more than 28,000 points, which will cover all or most of a night at the majority of Marriott properties in this country.
So that’s a small win.
* Why Tempe? I was going to a party in that area on Saturday — which I now really needed — and figured it couldn’t hurt to be a short Uber trip away if my ride fell through.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to really sock away money since the divorce, so technically I could have covered the full cost. But it would empty my emergency fund and some would still have to come out of savings.
The plumbing company works with a financing company. So the plumber said I could finance it — at 9.95%.
Then he mentioned the financing company also offers a 0%, $0 payment for one year loan. Which has an appalling 24.99% APR (including what would have been charged during that year) if it’s not paid off within 12 months. But I know that’s not an issue.
Meanwhile, my Ally saving accounts have a 3.92% (4% APY( interest rate. That works out to more than $60 a month in interest. So it doesn’t make sense to pay the loan off right away.
Granted, I want to give myself a wide berth, so I’ll pay it off at the 10-month mark This means that my emergency fund is earning a bit more than $63.64 a month. So it doesn’t make sense to pay it off immediately.
Granted, I’ll probably pay it off in the 10th month, just to give myself a wide berth from the danger of that 24.99% interest rate. But that’s still more than $600 — probably closer to $660 — I’ll have when the $20,000 does finally get paid out.
Obviously these are very small good spots amid a lot of bad news –especially since there have been some huge frustrations with what my tenant has reported back to me. More on that another time.
And I feel bad because I left Josie. I just didn’t have the wherewithal on Friday to wrangle her into the carrier, and lug a 40-lb box of litter. Not to mention either going to a dollar store to find something that could pass for a litterbox or take the one other litterbox I have, which is an unwieldy dome (even without the top it would be bulky).
So I asked my tenant to stop in to feed and pet her twice a day for a reduction in rent. (Plus I’m giving her extra off for keeping me apprised — and for the level of noise she’s had to deal with, like jackhammers.)
I had to go back to the house Monday, and I thought I might take her then. I do miss the furry weirdo. But even without the luggage, I still couldn’t handle the thought of it all. So I just snuggled with her for a while.
And now, I’m off to sleep — once again well past my bedtime.
I hope everyone else is having a better several days than I’ve been experiencing.