May. 28th, 2013 08:34 am
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Last night, my protege and dear friend Craig (known also as Pedro) passed from this world. As a small sop, I read that six other people have benefited from parts he no longer needs.

Please hold Devora in the light in the coming days.
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We've been in the new house for over a year now. The front bathroom was a known project when we moved in, but there is a second full bathroom to carry the load.

We stripped the bathroom down to bare studs, leaving only the toilet in place for now. I was able to recycle the tub and sink to Community Forklift. That beats tossing them.

The ceiling looked like it was sagging badly. The curvature was profound.

It wasn't rotten drywall ready to fall down. It was a ceiling joist that had bowed down a lot, probably because the "vent" fan was blowing its output along that joist *under* the insulation. Amazing.

The past two weekends involved getting the ceiling redone right and rearranging the wiring, in part to shift the door for the linen closet from the hallway to the bathroom.  Last weekend was pulling down wall board, doing and redoing some electrical bits, and cutting out studs that needed cutting. Oh, and pulling up most of the tile from the floor.

Yesterday, we finished removing the nasty insulation from above and then dropped the drywall. The bowed joist was well out of line, maybe an inch and a half at the worst. Trimming that with a circular saw was an adventure. We hung a new bathroom vent fan so that it could be vented properly.

Today, I wrestled with the soffit where the fan was to vent. The alligator tapped out.

Vent tubing was installed, secured, and taped up with the generous application of aluminum tape.

With the ceiling bare, I could finish the wiring. The fan worked and it's quiet!

R-30 fiberglass batts got emplaced. Nice, clean, thick batts. Not the nasty multi-layered, vapor-barriered compressed thin batts that I pulled out of there.

Finally came the sheetrock. Panel lift for the win.

I still have bare studs, but it's progressed to 'having a good ceiling'.

I'm sore, but it's a good sore. Dr. ZRFQ has been in invaluable help in this. Both in the grunt work and in providing spare neurons for the making of synapses.

IT follies

May. 15th, 2012 03:59 pm
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Because of "heightened security", passwords now expire in 30 days instead of 90.


The system nags you about a "soon to expire" password for the last 14 days of the period.


That means that either you change you password every two weeks to shut it up, or you have to affirmatively dismiss the warning, which, by the way, causes the authentication dialog to reappear in the browser. And that will be happening two weeks out of four. Brilliant.

I'm having a hard time seeing how this enhances anything other than irritation on the part of users.
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We have an appointment to go sign lots of paper on Friday afternoon. When we are done, I will own only one piece of real estate, and I will have (for the nonce) no mortgage loans. The first is a Good Thing; the second temporary according to our grand financial plan.

The buyers did not get stupid with the house inspection. That they inspector found fresh termite spoor was annoying, and is fixed. Likewise the significantly positive radon test was annoying, but is fixed. The appraisal took longer to obtain and then to be presented than seems reasonable, but it came in "big enough". At that point, the lender had all the documents needed save the appraisal. The buyers had their act together. We're ready to get this done.

Meanwhile, the tax refunds have also appeared and are about to pay for the overdue alignment and fresh tires on the van. This is a good thing to do *before* a cross country trip.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I think I have done enough grading/groundwater redirection to keep the crawl space from flooding. I suspect strongly that the hole in the front yard was over the old septic tank, and with water flowing down the driveway, across the front, and into the hole, it was making its way into the crawl space. I've seen water gathering in the front yard, but not getting to where the hole was, and I haven't seen water in the crawl space since then either. I still need work done on the crawl space; the sump pump doesn't, for starters, and we really do need a vapor barrier between the dirt surface and the rest of the house. Soon, I say.

I have a working wash tub in the shop now. It had a single basin tub that was shy a leg and leaked. I've installed a double basin tub. I ended up doing some solvent welding and some copper plumbing. I haven't forgotten how.

I've been looking at getting a planer for my shop; the one I had been using for years wasn't actually mine, and its owner reclaimed it. The DeWalt portable did yeoman service, but I think I'm going to upgrade a bit: Grizzly G0453PX 15" Planer with spiral cutterhead

I have several 220V circuits in the shop that are not being used. I'll have to do a bit of wiring, but that should not be hard.

I've got loom orders to get finished, but the planer is not holding up the works there. Yet. This might be an "after Pennsic" item.

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We bought the house on 30 December. We have pulled up the carpet in the living room and the dining room to reveal the hardwood floors. The bedroom we will end up in has been painted and is ready for it's carpet removal. I still have to paint the baseboard trim and the new door as well. It's coming along nicely.

We've managed to get the two larger containers from United-Mayflower emptied and returned. Now we work on the three SmartBoxes. One is already empty.

The new house is a lot less formal than the old. It's all on one level, and, being more cozy, just feels nice. We also use the back door as much or more than the front door -- something I grew up with and did not have in the Bowie house. There's something about using the back door.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here at work instead of being somewhere between Hinsdale, MA and Manchester, NH. I'm expected to obtain a Security+ certification within six months of coming on board, and a class+exam was arranged for this week. I passed the exam with a really good score (well more than just "passing"), so that worked out fine. I found that 30+ years in the trade left me knowing much of the material already. The class just organized and highlighted much of it. I also managed to not be "that guy" in the class, although the instructor did note that I was close. I agreed and allowed that I tried to behave myself. The instructor told me that I got the highest score on the test he had ever seen.

The effect is that I'm not going to be at Birka. I'm glad Evan was willing and able to go to help Megan with the lifting and toting. I like going to Birka, but I'll be taking advantage of the situation to mind the dog and to work on the house. There's no shortage of Things To Do.
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We had until the 30th of December to close on the new house or else.

10:30 am, Friday, we started in on the signing.

The rest of the weekend involved getting things into the house, tearing up the carpet in the living room, and related cleaning and unpacking. The hardwood floor in the living room has some dark patches that may well be urine burns from dog pee, but it's mostly OK. We'll be putting a rug down over the worst of it. We've made excellent progress on emptying out the large storage bins. One is down to mostly shelves and the china cupboard. The other has a bunch of lumber I need to extract next so we can get to the sofa parts. We are especially thankful to Dave and Sallie who spent the weekend with us lending a hand.

Meanwhile, we wait until Thursday to get the telecom services moved over. No land line, intartubes, or TV until then.

I've met several of the neighbors to useful effect, and we got a light show last night. Thankfully, no one was injured, but the neighbors two houses over are probably out of home for a bit while they clean up after a fire. From my vantage point, I'm guessing an appliance went up, but it didn't get a chance to get into the structure. One fire truck arrived but never disgorged people before being excused, and the truck that set up line to a second hydrant never opened the hydrant. That is good. No ambulances were required.

Chocolate (the dog) seems to be settling in well. He seems to have adjusted to the new circumstances. The house is no longer an echoey empty place, and he has more space to run around in, although full access will have to wait until we can get the fence resolved. In particular, I've got a twenty foot wide driveway to block off, and that's going to be a substantial gate.

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plentiful rain falling
water draining into hole in ground
puddle gathering deeply
water seeks its level inexorably
pumps are my friend
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Well, the house buying and selling drags on, although the end should be in sight.

The bank that owns the house we want took longer than it should have to get the signed contract back to us. However, that has been done. An appraiser looked at our current house today and promises a report in the hand of our bank by Friday. It may be possible that we sign the paperwork to refinance our home equity loan on Friday that will give us the cash Right Now to go to settlement on the new house. Before Christmas. Perhaps Monday or Tuesday.  Please!

Meanwhile, the buyers are being a bit goofy. They have to show the existence of the cash to go to settlement, but the money disappeared from the account it was shown in earlier. WTF? It is conceivable that they could be ready to settle before Christmas, but at worst they have until the 30th or else.

On the "excitement" front, after the deluge (what's a cubit?), the crawl space was flooded. Fortunately, that was because the circuit breaker for the sump pump was turned off. Oops. An hour and a half to two hours later, the sump pump ran out of water to pump. That's a relief.

So, we still have hope to own a new house by Christmas, but it will be close.
herveus: (Norfolk and WayPal)
The house echoes. The acoustics of an empty house with no carpeting (save for the stairs) are very lively.

The putative buyers asked for an extension to the middle of December. We've said yes with strings made of negotiable instruments. We await their reply. Meanwhile, the house is officially on the market. Today, we had a showing to someone who had come through back in the summer before the contract was proffered. We'll see if they are interested.

Meanwhile, in order to not lose the opportunity to purchase the house we have increasingly become attached to, we have spoken with our Credit Union about creative ways to approach financing the new house that don't rely on the cash from selling the current house. Plan A foundered on the difficulty of getting some of the required signatures in a timely manner. Plan B involves going with a 95% 30-year loan instead of the 80% 15-year loan we were going for. Less cash at the settlement table is the name of the game. We await the approval of the PMI issuer, and I scramble to locate the requisite (though smaller) pile of cash needed to settle. This is not a solicitation. :)

I am expecting (hoping!) to be able to settle either Friday (18 Nov) or Monday (21 Nov). These appear to be realistic expectations at this time.
Meanwhile, we had an open house both days this weekend. Our realtor left the "OPEN" sign up in the front yard overnight. Sunday morning, I heard the front door open. A couple, out for a walk, saw the sign, and tried the (unlocked) front door. They were visiting their daughter who lives down the street, and are considering a move to our neck of the woods to be nearer the grandchildren. We showed them around the house and got them to sign the Open House roster so our realtor can get back to them. It was amusing, at the least.

If this all works out as (currently) planned, we will have time to do some of the work on the new house without having to vacate the current house completely (although if someone makes an offer with a short fuse to settlement, we will accomodate gladly). December looks to be right crazy. Christmas will be interesting.
herveus: (herveus)
We arranged a container to be placed in our driveway. It's not from PODS; it's from United-Mayflower, and seemed to be of superior quality while being less expensive that PODS. Clearly, the container is meant to be stacked several high, judging from the corner posts.

It's about 1000 cubic feet of space. We spent all day Saturday trying to fill it. Michelle took the lead on the 3-D Tetris problem. The rest of us schlepped boxes and furniture and loaded boxes (sometimes of specific, requested sizes). The end of Saturday found it with something on the order of 75 cubic feet to go. Sunday afternoon was occupied with getting that down to 20 or so (number chosen more for illustrative value than objective accuracy).

Sunday morning was occupied by the formal inspection of the new place. No red flags rose, but, unsurprisingly, there are a couple of items that need prompt, professional attention. The crawl space is quite muddy; we'll want to get that dried out and properly treated promptly. It's probably been that way for quite some time, but all the same. Also, the furnace in the garage/apartment is shot. The inspector could see a crack in the heat exchanger (parted seam), so it's time for a new one. It's old enough to be not astonishing. We found that the house has a high-efficiency gas furnace. The "flue" pipe is PVC (and it has an air intake outside as well). If you look at the pictures of the rear corner of the house, you will see two PVC pipes sticking out of the roof that don't look right for sewer vents. They are the furnace intake and outflow. We also found that the electrical service is suitably heavied-up and does not need work. There are wrinkles, including open grounds on some outlets, but nothing ZOMG!

We were figuring on dropping a moderate chunk of change on repairs; we now know where it will be spent first.

We won't do near that justice to the second box, but we will need it for the stationary shop tools and tables and whatever else we can wedge in there. Hmmm...maybe we have the second box be the last minute thing that we have moved to the new location for immediate unloading. We also have the trailer to load up with stuff.

I'd like to thank lowen_kind (from LJ) for coming down to help out. Kurt and Michelle and Topher; Craig and Elizabeth and Patty for helping out as they were each able. Finally, I'd like to thank Evan and Sallie for spending the whole weekend helping out. We could not have gotten the work done without  all of their various contributions.

Moving forward, I need to finish up in the shop (which is now mostly lumber and heavier tools and equipment) and we have stuff in the garage.

I'm expecting to get another bin in place for this next weekend, and a few strong backs will be welcome.

Moving farther forward, we are supposed to take possession of the new house on 28 October. We plan an orgy of carpet removal for Friday evening before we get too much stuff inside. There will probably be the ritual replacement of hardware on the doors. We aim to paint a couple of bedrooms immediately so we can settle in to them before we disgorge too much stuff from storage bins. I don't expect to get too carried away with unloading until the first weekend in November.

Oh, yeah, I need to call the various utilities and get things changed. For better or worse, we don't change water, gas, electric, or phone companies. Just new addresses.
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So the buyer finally arranges the home inspection. We get the report. I haven't seen it yet, but to say my wife is livid would be a monumental understatement.

Among the gems was the characterization of the dryer as "aged" (I think meaning "will need repair or replacement within five years"). The dryer was installed in August. Or was it July. New.

If the inspector can't get that right, how can we trust other evaluations? Really.

I suspect that the response to a number of items will be "and your point is?" Is the appliance in working order?



Now I've had a chance to read the report. Can you say sloppy? Can you say "can't spell simple words"? Words like "caulk" and "deferred". Can't tell the difference between swollen drywall and nail pops? 

The number of details that are wrong is amazing. Yeah, he called out some legitimate things, but the quantity of bovine fecal matter is astonishing. 

The short form is that we need the chimney cleaned (no surprise there). The sump pump doesn't. I need to do a bit of work tacking down some loose siding and trim painting. Nothing drastic.

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The bank has finally ratified and accepted our offer to purchase 9219 Greenwood Lane, Lanham, MD. Google Maps has street level pictures that are accurate. I've put several dozen photos of insides and outsides over on PhotoBucket. The album is:

We have a moving container scheduled to arrive on Thursday. I'm hoping to have enough bodies with strong backs to get a bunch of stuff in to the bin including some stationary tools from the shop. I'm offering food and beverage to thems what are able to help out.

In the meantime, I need to spend more quality time in that shop working on looms while I can. Then comes packing up the shop. Ugh.

Less than three weeks to settlement.
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We are reliably informed that the listing agent has changed the status of the property to "under contract", although that hasn't propagated to all the listings, so you can see it below:

Still no formal word from the bank that they have accepted our offer, but...

Meanwhile, the buyer has not yet arranged the inspection. If we were so inclined, we could claim breach of contract and keep the earnest money, but then we wouldn't have a buyer, and that would be worse. It appears that the problem is being worked on.

House foo

Sep. 23rd, 2011 12:40 pm
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We have a properly executed contract on our current house. Yay! Settlement on 28 October, circumstances permitting.

We tendered an offer on another property last night. We await the seller's acceptance.

The prospetive new house is only a two bedroom house, but there is a detached two car garage with an apartment above. Daniel has called dibs on the apartment, and we're playing along. The garage will be my workshop. It has separate utility drops from the house. There is also a substantial shed (large enough to be a one car garage) that will hold a bunch of stuff. The garage apartment has a large deck beneath which is pavement well suited for stashing our trailer. The driveway will hold something like ten or twelve cars at once.

We anticipate an orgy of carpet removal right away as we get the bedrooms worked over. Electrical heavy-up is clearly indicated. The breaker box does not have a main cutoff. It's almost certainly a 60 amp service, 1950s original equipment. I don't yet know what is under the carpets. It may be hardwood; it not then it will become hardwood.

The kitchen is roughly comparable to what we have now minus the island. The appliances are up-to-date and the plan is open. The kitchen flows right into a dining area and then into a large room on the back that opens out on the patio on two sides. The front room has a real fireplace. It has windows on the driveway end that are a bit odd. They go floor-to-ceiling as if the opening had sliding doors once.

We'll need to get the fence completed (meaning a gated driveway) so we can turn Chocolate loose in the back yard.

The new house is in Lanham, at 9219 Greenwood Lane. It's just off 450. The lot is .40 acres -- somewhat larger than we have currently, so I'll have more lawn to mow. I think it's got useful potential, and we see some ways to enlarge the house a bit.

We're going over on Tuesday to examine more closely, take pictures, and measure the crap out of it.
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We signed the contract tonight. Now it needs to get a few more initials and dates from the buyer to be completely official, but it looks like we will become homeless before Halloween.

We have four properties we want to look at on Sunday. One appears to have an apartment over the garage. All appear to be reasonable at first glance. We have another four or five to look at another time or two. 

Meanwhile, the rest of the packing can commence. The shop and the garage will be particularly "interesting". I figure I have a week or three to get some woodworking done, but then I'll have to pack down in earnest. 

But first, Storvik Birthday. I've got a case of homebrew with me for sharing. 


Sep. 9th, 2011 09:35 am
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Rules: Bold all of the following TV shows which you've ever seen 3 or more episodes of in your lifetime. Underline a show if you're positive you've seen every episode of it. If you want, add up to 3 additional shows (keep the list in alphabetical order), but you must delete one show for each one that you add.

30 Rock
7th Heaven
American Gothic
Arrested Development
Babylon 5
Babylon 5: Crusade
Batman: The Animated Series
Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Beavis & Butthead
Beverly Hills 90210
Blake’s 7
Bosom Buddies
Boston Legal
Boy Meets World
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Chappelle's Show
Charlie's Angels
Commander in Chief
Cowboy Bebop
Crossing Jordan
CSI: Miami
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dark Angel
Dark Skies
DaVinci's Inquest
Dawson's Creek
Dead Like Me
Deadliest Catch
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Designing Women
Desperate Housewives
Dharma & Greg
Different Strokes
Doctor WhoDragnet
Due South
Everybody Loves Raymond
Facts of Life
Family Guy
Father Ted
Fawlty Towers
Get Smart
Ghost Whisperer
Gilligan's Island
Gilmore Girls
Grey's Anatomy
Grange Hill
Growing Pains
Happy Days
Hercules: the Legendary Journeys
Highlander: The Raven
Hogan's Heroes
Homicide: Life on the Street
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
Invader Zim
Hell's Kitchen
Kim Possible
Kung Fu
Kung Fu: The Legend Continues
La Femme Nikita
LA Law
Laverne and Shirley
Law and Order: SVU
Lie to Me
Little House on the Prairie
Lizzie McGuire
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lost in Space
Malcolm in the Middle
Married... With Children
Melrose Place
Miami Vice
Mission: Impossible
Mod Squad
Mork & Mindy
Murphy Brown
My Life As A Dog
My Three Sons
My Two Dads
Ned Bigby's Declassified School Survival Guide
One Tree Hill
Perry Mason
Power Rangers
Prison Break
Project Runway
Quantum Leap
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer as Folk (UK)
Red Dwarf
Remington Steele
Rescue Me
Road Rules
Saved by the Bell
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
Seaquest DSV
Sex and the City
Six Feet Under
Slings and Arrows
So Weird
South Park
Spongebob Squarepants
Square Peg
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Stargate Atlantis
Stargate SG-1
Starsky & Hutch
Teen Titans
That 70's Show
That's So Raven
The Addams Family
The Amazing Race
The Andy Griffith Show
The A-Team
The Avengers
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Brady Bunch
The Cosby Show
The Daily Show
The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Flintstones
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Golden Girls
The Honeymooners
The Jeffersons
The Jetsons
The L Word
The Love Boat
The Magnificent Seven
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Monkees
The Munsters
The O.C.
The Office (UK)
The Office (US)
The Pretender
The Real World
The Shield
The Simpsons
The Six Million Dollar Man
The Sopranos
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Twilight Zone
The Waltons
The West Wing
The Wonder Years
The X-Files
Third Watch
Three's Company
Twin Peaks
Twitch City
V (2009)
Veronica Mars
Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)
Will and Grace
Xena: Warrior Princess

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The queue for importing entries seemed to be somewhere on the far side of 600, but I went ahead and put the job in the queue. It appears to have completed successfully in a few hours, so I'm probably going to be doing the bulk (hah!) of my posting here in DreamWidth with crosspost to LJ. I figure I'll still be reading LJ as well for the forseeable future, but...
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I'm settling in nicely with the new (old) job. I'm pleased with the number of people here who recognize me after nine years. So far, it's been a Good Thing.

Meanwhile, the house has not yet attracted an offer, although it has had a number of viewings. We just dropped the price in time for the open house on Saturday; we'll see if that stirs more concrete interest. We are still in a position to walk away from a settlement with no debt and a healthy pile of cash to use toward a new, more appropriately sized house. I've got a list of things to get done tonight before I head to Pennsic.

Meanwhile, I can't afford to take two weeks for Pennsic this year, but I can go up for setup and come home Sunday evening. I'm dialed in for War Week, so I'll be back up on Friday evening.

Shop time has been the big casualty of house and job issues. It's a Good Thing that I'll be home next week, as I have a chance to work in the shop on merchandise.

Recently, my wife and I received happy news about a friend. I expect an announcement at Pennsic to free us from such restraint as we percieve to be under on sharing freely. This is a Good Thing. Film in a couple of weeks.
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We've had a pair of hawks gracing our neighborhood this year. They have set up housekeeping in a tree just next door. Today, I have seen the result several times. I saw a hawk alight on our wood pile on the deck. It may have been an adult. I have seen what clearly was a juvenile a couple of times in the woods, perched on branches. No pictures, alas.

I'm not sure if it is a broad-winged hawk or a red shouldered hawk. In either case, I'm hoping it is putting a dent in the squirrel population.

On a completely different note, Megan will be coming directly home from Uprising instead of going by way of KWHSS. It rained last night, leaving her with not-so-dry canvas to pack. We'll see how we sort out going down to KWHSS.
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