Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shocking, I am an alien and that the way I roll.

Again, I want to thank Beth and Rob. Especially Rob, he did the grunt work by helping me with picking up the washer and dryer today, then lifting the damn things downstairs into the basement. I am so out of shape my biceps are hurting today.

Below are a few pics of the laundry room taking shape

I made a box of 3/4" ply to set the dryer on. It really worked out well. Came out to be the right height for when you take the clothes out of the washer and into the dryer. Quite proud of myself actually.

The center pic is a temporary setup for the dryer vent. I have a trunk full of glass blocks that I bought and when the weather gets a bit warmer I will replace the old windows for the blocks. There is a dryer vent block that I bought also and will fit nicely. and make some of the unsightliness disappear.

When I bought the power cord for the dryer I purchased a 4 prong connector vice a 3 prong. I took it (the cord) out of the package, I thought "lets see if this thing plugs in to the outlet" and make certain that I have the correct cord.
Normally a sane person of my age would not only make sure that the circuit breaker is off but also double-check to make sure the circuit is off. I have to interject here that none of the breakers are labeled and I only guessing as to which was the correct breaker to be turned off. But not "checking" at all makes the last sentence moot.
So there I am standing looking at a large 30 amp circuit, a large plug in my right hand, and 3 bear copper terminals hanging at the other end of the cord. Lets plug this sucker in......hard going; Somewhere along the way my common sense checked out and went to Mexico for the moment, why the hell Mr. Common Sense left me at that very second I have pondered for most of the day; I think I might give it a little bit a harder push and BANG! WHOOSH! and blast of warm air hit my face, the strange smell of ozone enveloped my head. I kind of stood there and thought, what the fuck are you doing!? you crazy bastard. I could still be down there in the basement sizzling and smelling like beef jerky (the good stuff, not some generic brand) when the ozone cleared, all 3 copper ends of the cord were fused together and I was looking around for my buddy Mr. Common Sense and I am sure I had a look like a little kid that just took candy from the Brachs display at the grocery store and ate a whole handful without mom seeing.
Needless to say, I found the proper breaker for the dryer after that little expirence. Funny how a tripped breaker will click over to the right when it expirences a surge and let you know which is the proper one.
I was in such a hurry to get things hooked up that I didn't take that extra second to stop and think. I am such a dork, and the only reason I am still here to type this today is that there must be an alien inside my body that took control of my mind for that split second. What a freaking dummy I am.
Saftey is not an accident!
On Wednesday I had Sears come over and measure the kitchen and give me a quote for new cabinets. No frills, $14,000. I declined the nice mans sales pitch. Today I went and sat over at Menards for an hour and a half and went through the design process again. Just the cabinets, me installing and with the counter tops. $4600. Pretty much the same style and counters. Sears offers Wilsonart brand formica and wanted $2000, Menards offers Formica brand formica for $200. Makes you think a bit about the mark-up involved, and the labor. My next pricing will be the RTA cabinets.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Shiver me timbers

Well the insulation is in! Below are a few images
I want to share this website with you all

You can type in any phrase and it will convert it to pirate talk! Har!!!

The first pic is through the porthole into the attic and the next is of the new insulation. What was installed before was non existent.

I came home tonight and kicked the furnace up a notch, and in about two minutes all the vents in the house started to vibrate something crazy! I ran down to the basement and the furnace was doing the vibration dance. I kicked off the main switch and opened up the front and felt the exhaust motor, very hot! I checked on the Internet and some of the boards said to turn off the electricity for 5 + minutes and try again. I left the house for an hour and came back, flipped the switch and it was making a worse noise than before. I let my fingers do the walking and called a repair guy, they wanted $140 just to come look tonight or $75 in the morning. I choose to bundle up tonight and gut it out until the morning. Either way it is going to cost me. Time off from work or pay tonight. Guess I'll burn a vacation day.

Isn't the joys of home ownership great? Love it! Love it! Love it!

So if I haven't started a chimney fire with burning some wood to try and cut the chill in the house Sugar and I will make it through the night. I am so glad that the weather broke today and it hasn't been as cold as the past few days, otherwise I would be a miserable mate and down right grumpy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The lull before the insulation

Tomorrow the contractor is suppose to come over and get some insulation in the attic. I don't really care when he does it just so he does do it. I have been waiting for over a month to get this ball rolling, slowly but at least it is moving forward. Not sure why he wants to do the insulation first and then the wiring, I think it all has to do with not having the money upfront to buy the materials but that is ok, I know the family and and I do not think there is anything nefarious afoot. I just want it done. I really can't get some of my other projects done until the wiring is done. My laundry room has been at a stand still for over a week. Until the dryer and washer are wired I cannot put up the wall panels and get this room done!
Really I want to see if the heating bill goes down in the next month or so before it starts to warm up and I turn the furnace off for good this year.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What the ???........

When it gets late at night I have a tendency to wander around the house and find things wrong ( so I know what I am going to be doing as a ghost after I die, wander, the house). Sometimes I just can't sleep and my mind is racing ahead about what needs to be done. Am I the only one that does this? I mean I turn on the SciFi channel and watch reruns of Star Trek or what ever. HGTV gets a bit old and redundant. Dirty Harry movies are good but when you start to mouth the dialog you know you have seen the movies just one to many times. But then again, I know the dialog of some of the Star Trek episodes.
So back to my wanderings. I was strolling through the kitchen and looked up on the wall to where a hard wired clock used to be. I took off the plate and saw a small screw above the box. The screw kind of fell out. Big whole, small screw. What do you do to make the screw fit? Well you take white yarn and wrap it around the screw until you have made the screw thick enough to fit the hole of course!! The second pic is of the screw. Too funny.
Honey! this screw is to small! you have any of that yarn laying around that I can use to thicken this thing up?! Ah! perfect!

As I am perusing the handy work of the PO, I looked over at the cabinets. Now I know what your are thinking, Man those are really cool looking cabinets! I wonder where I could get some tack paper that will stick to the wood better than any epoxy. Oh and the pattern! ohh Oooo! how can I get a country look like that?
I know, I know, I am the envy of the neighborhood and get many comments on the kitchen decor'. But what I wanted to point out is the perfect warping of the doors. To me it adds to the ambiance.

And the large cracks that have formed along the ceiling? That was a surprise discovery, I followed it into the small halway and could see where a PO had patched the plaster in the past. On the bright side? they are not new and just part of the house.

Should a recite a few lines of the Breakfast club?
Clair? thats a fat girls name!
no its not! its a family name!
Well you may not be fat now, but after you push out a few kids, you will be fat.

How about Ferris Bullers Day Off?
Abe Froman? the sausage king of Chicago?

Maybe some Blues Brothers............................

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Basement Floor

All I did today was paint the floor in the laundry room, battleship grey. That's it. Makes me feel like I am in the Navy again.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cold snow and Hot water

Here is a shot of the weather we have the last day. Cold, snow, and blowing.

I spent most of the day in the basement again, I tore out the last of the galvanized pipe and cut them all down to 3 ft lengths. In the last image, it is hard to tell, but down the center of each pipe is solid rust. Also there are, and the only way I can explain it, is there are blisters on the inside that run the full length of each pipe. I am just glad it is all gone from the main parts of the fresh water. There is another 8 ft that goes out to the garage and ends at a spigot. That can wait till another day when it gets warmer. I took a shower after I was finished and it seemed like I was able to get warm water faster. Maybe it was just wishful thinking.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another plumbing exercise

Here is tonight's latest plumbing exercise. In the first pic I cut the main line coming from the city into the house. I added a shutoff valve coming off the copper line and then made a 90 degree turn, added a whole house filter then ran the line down the wall to and back up again. This was done for a future plumb of a water softener. So far no leaks.

I wanted to share some pics from work. I got a new workstation today and this thing is HUGE! almost like a piece of furniture that is how big it is. The box is so big it needs a special pedestal to keep it upright. I guess Dell figured it is so heavy that they didn't want it falling over and crush your feet or lower extremity. I really am embarrassed by how large it is. I run allot of programs and virtual machines for testing etc. So I was just trying to get something that was beefy and run everything that I need. For all you geeks out there here is the run down on the specs:
2 GHZ quad four processor, 4 GB ram, 256 meg Nvida video card, DVI dual monitors 26" and a 22", and a bunch of other crap that I don't remember right now.
The last picture is of my playroom. This is our data center with all the stuff that keeps our business and customers business's going even in a "down economy". I am pretty proud of my playroom and am a fascist when it come to anyone wanting to go into or make changes. Kind of funny I even have the owners of the company trained well enough that they don't move a chair without asking me.

OK, that's enough of my boasting for the night.
Tomorrow, I will finish the hot water plumbing and update later.
I did forget that I bought a Kenmore washing machine today at lunch. I think I got away with spending only $350 for the cheapest model they have. Bummer that I can't get it until next week. So I have a $1600 dryer (see my earlier post about the dryer) and a $350 washer. Talk about a mismatch!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Water World

Really I am looking forward to getting the rest of the old pipes replaced this weekend. I only have a few more to replace and then I can forget about drinking and bathing in rusty dirty water. Actually while I am at it I will get a whole house filter installed and plumb for a softener. After seeing what was in the cold water pipes, and thinking that if I was going to be running a washing machine I should find some motivation and get the hot side replaced.
Still waiting for the electrical contractor to show up. The last conversation was he is still hung up on another job and waiting to finish that first. I can respect that, I wouldn't want him to ditch me until my job was finished. But until the electrical is done I can't finish the laundry room and I still have to haul my dirites over to my moms. I know she is getting tired of me hogging her washer and dryer.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cold water

Finished the cold water plumbing to the water heater. I also re-plumbed the cold water line to the kitchen sink, and hooked up the water line to the washing machine connect. I only did the cold water side today. I really just didn't feel like redoing the hot and the rest of the house. I also found that the valve to turn off the city water leaks and left a pretty good sized puddle on the floor last night. Guess I will have to call the city and how much that is going to cost me to get that valve fixed.
Most of the piping was galvanized and copper mix. I just could not believe the black crap that poured out of the pipes as I cut them down. I wouldn't call it rust, more like sludge. The copper pipe had a whitish yellow bunch of shite come out of them when I cut them down. It is no wonder the water tastes so bad here. I also wonder what the clothes looked like after a time of washing when the PO had the place. I had thought that maybe I should put a whole house filter on the main line but in hindsight, that would not have done any good. The crap was coming from (and still is) inside the house and old pipes.
But at least the water coming into the house is in new lines. After yesterday and today, I feel a bit more confident with the whole water thing. I still hate it, but as soon as I get the galvanized pipe out of the house and in the trash maybe the water will taste better.
There is a water softener on the horizon though.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pre shower

Well it happened again, I thought that I would do some due diligence and disconnect the last of the old water connection from where the washing machine used to be. You know where I am going with this? Yep all I had to do was screw in a galvanized plug into the end of the old pipe and whala! I'm am so done. NOT! as I am tightening things up, another piece of pipe broke, drenching me again with rusty water.
This time I didn't stand and admire the water fall coming out of the end of the 3/4" pipe but bolted to the end of the basement and turned off the main from the city. After I ventured back to the break, I had a pause and realized that I was on total auto pilot running for the main shutoff. I guess those catlike reflexes that I gained from my previous military training I had years ago finally paid for itself. Now this should make you all feel better that your tax dollars did go for some good training.
Here is what I found after drying myself off (actually I dripped dried) the older CPVC is so brittle that I can break a piece in half with my hands (again another example of my fine fitness thanks to the military). Crazy. Needless to say I spent a good chunk of my washing machine money replumbing again.
After all that, I was able to to take my real shower.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Oh my gawd!

This one has to fall under one of the most bizarre and wildest purchases I have ever had. I walked into Sears and asked to see the cheapest washer and dryer set they sell. I knew from looking online that they had a Kenmore for around $350 or so each for a washer and dryer. So the polite sales girl shows me the dryer, and I happen to look over at the next aisle and see this Kenmore Elite steam dryer sitting there (an H5 I might add, whatever that means). As she is talking up the cheaper dryer I felt drawn over to the Elite series dryer, nay beckoned by the dryer. Now here is a dryer that lists for $1599.00 yes that is fifteen hundred dollars!

I about fell over when I saw it. Then I looked closer at the tag. I wear glasses and my prescription is fairly current so I really don't have to many issues seeing but I just couldn't believe what I saw on the tag. $319!!!! Exactly! I about fell over!
Now the nice sales girl realized that I wasn't standing next to her anymore and she wandered over to where I was bracing myself against the partition, I asked her if the tag was listing the correct price, $319? for a $1599 (list) dryer.
Yes sir, she said. Oh wow! when I was working Sunday, they had a tag that listed the dryer for $600, they must have just changed the tag. Sir I didn't show you this dryer because you said you didn't want to spend more than $350 and I thought it was still $600.
Hey that's ok, I said. But seriously, is that price correct?, Yes she said, no really what is the catch? is that price correct? It was a floor model she chimed in and I guess they have new models coming out so they want to get rid of it.
I think I asked her 4 times if the tag was correct. Needless to say I thought about it for another 30 seconds and whipped out the debit card to pay for the dryer. As I was doing that, I was looking over my shoulder to see if security was coming to take me away for stealing.
I am still in shock, no scratches (if it did who cares?) no dings, nothing but the full 1 year warranty and all the parts and pieces that one needs to hook it up. Is that wild or what?! I was so jazzed I had to call my brother, then my sister to let them know what just happened.
When I called my brother I asked him about the $7500 credit that I heard about last week. He did some research and found out that I qualified for the credit and filled an addendum to my return. I should be receiving a check (yes a check from the government) in a month or so. Interest free, and $500 a year for a payback of 15 years. As long as my normal income tax return is over $500 a year, I won't have to pay any extra money out of pocket. The IRS will just take the money from my normal yearly return refund.
I'm getting a new bathroom! I'm getting a new bathroom! and a kitchen!! Today was a wild day! Crazy!
Seriously, I think I can get both rooms done for around that price and do all the work myself.
Someone pinch me!

Monday, February 9, 2009

New look

I chose a new color scheme for the site today. I needed something that was a bit more cheery,

I framed the second wall of the laundry room tonight. But I have kind of hit a "wall" sort of speak. I have to wait for the electrician to start on the rest of the house before I can put the panels up. Well that and the whole plumbing thing needs to be done also.
The electrician can't start until next Monday and will be in the house for 4 days. Then a day for the insulation blow in.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I am bloody knackard

Just plain tired. Been a busy weekend with working on the room downstairs.
I did get the door casing back on going into the kitchen. I think I made a pretty good choice with the wall color and wood work. Of course that is my opinion and I have to live with it, right?

Here are some updated pics of the laundry room. I plumbed the waste water and put the box up for the hot/cold water. I am still on the fence on what to use for the water piping. I looked at CPVC, but I really like the flexability of PEX, it is a bit more expensive but I am looking at having to redo the whole house eventually and not having to mess with glue and all the damn elbow joints ect. sounds like a good deal to me. We'll see what the budget has to say about the whole thing.
I am adding a deep sink, and have left room for a water softener.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A butt load

Here is the rule, it takes ten butt loads to equal one shit load. So I only have a butt load of pictures today.
Here was my thought, take the room under the kitchen and make it a laundry room. So's off I go this morning cleaning things up and found the bottom plate to this wall was GONE! Like it wasn't even there. The first two images are of the bottom of the wall. I didn't really want to blow this wall out but did it anyway. Cool pile of crap huh?
I couldn't save anything as the wood literally splintered as I tried to take it off the "wall" Where did I put all the debris? Well in the garage of course!
I bought a 5 gal. bucket of Dry Lock and painted the cement for the "just in case" scenario of water coming in this end of the house.
Here is a question for all: At what point does a dust mask reach the end of its life?
You tell me. On the left, dirtay, on the right, new.
I have to take a moment and thank Beth and her husband Rob for meeting me at Menards with their truck and helping me bring home some 2x4's and other "stuff" You guys are truly AWESOME! and great people!
These are the pics of the room getting framed out.

I went to look for a replacement window but could not find any at the stores. The window(s) are such an odd size (30x23, WxH) that I will have to order what I need to replace all the basement windows. I did find one that would fit, but I really didn't want to be outside in the mud, mucking around trying to get the window to fit in the waning sunlight.

And the last pic? Well, Sugar of course! Lounging on the bed. How can you get mad at total cuteness laying on your bed?

Friday, February 6, 2009


The credit I talked about in my last post, congress voted to bump the payout amount to $15,000!
Talk to your tax guy about it. I have my brother checking into it for me (he is my tax guy).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Well my droogies The 454 House is mine! I had an epiphany that I will be 73 years old before it is paid off. So for the first item on my 30 year plan is to pay off the money pit.
Now on a serious note. Did you know that there is a credit out there from the government that is if you have not owned a house in the last 3 years, and purchased a home between April 08' and July 09' you are eligible for this credit of $7500 that can be paid back over 15 years ($500 a year) with (and get this) no interest!! Oh, and you have to make less than Ninety some thousand a year.
Is that cool or what?! Don't ask me anymore details than what I wrote here. Talk to a tax person and ask them. My brother does my taxes and he taking a looksee for me.

With the closing, I am getting the electrical done through out the whole house and the insulation blown in the attic. The bank wouldn't go for replacing the basement windows.

My first project for this weekend? Crack a cold one and watch the snow melt.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Well tomorrow is the big day and a long time coming. I close on the house! it only took 4 months and two banks but it is almost done. So far, today, as I sit here, and no other phone calls, I am getting what I wanted. New electrical, new basement windows (I think I wrote about this earlier in the week) and insulation in the attic. Now I just need to get the contractor in here and get going on the work.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sorry don't have a smart quip to start off with

It is snowing, again! Just a bit was coming down when I took the garbage out. By Friday it is suppose to be 46 and raining. So having got the weather report out of the way..........I went over all the places again with cement tonight that were the big leakers in the past in the anticipation of the oncoming deluge of water that will come with rain this weekend.
Does anyone out there know what were used for gutters and downspouts on an original Craftsman?? Oh I know copper would be great but way out of my budget.

I stripped the inside door jambs tonight that lead into the small hallway. Yeah! more sanding!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl?

Haven't written or done anything on the house for a couple weeks now. One I have not had the money, and two I "hit a wall" mentally. I keep seeing all the yard stuff coming out at the home stores and am itching to get outside. I even shoveled the little driveway out back yesterday just to be outside. I don't use the garage or the driveway and after the first good snow I gave up on trying to keep it clear. I drive an Honda and there is just enough room to get into the "driveway" and up to the back door. The garage? well the door is half broke, doesn't shut all the way, and full of crap from when I blew the bedroom out.
So there is my driveway story.
I bought a gallon of the complimentary color to the amber stone paint that I put on the walls in the front room today. It is Dutch boy B5-4 (I bought Bear this time) or fondly known in the painting circles as Almond Paste. Paste, doesn't that sound like something you put on a cracker? or that terrible feeling you have in your mouth the morning after drinking to much? My teeth are all pasty.

Friday at work some folks were talking about the Super Bowl as happening today, totally clueless. I have not sat and watched one game this year and when the Bears fell out I stopped paying attention. I had to go look and see who was actually playing today. Now how is that for tunning everything out? a game that 1 Billion people see and I, being an all american boy from the midwest, had no clue who is even playing?

Oh good news came my way Friday, I was approved for my loan on the house. Gotta love the VA. Here is a couple other good side notes. The apprasial came back good, $99,900. which is more than I am paying for the place. The owner is also going to pay for the electrical to be redone throughout the house at closing, and, the VA will allow up to $6000 to be added to the loan for insulating pruposes. I got a quote and asked to have all the basement windows replaced and the attic insulated. Approved!
Now if I can just stem the flow of water this spring, and get some gutters on the house, all will be rosey in La Salle. Speaking of roses, I am going to plant some of them to.