Thursday, May 29, 2003

Oh yeah, Life goes on

Post-basement remodel. Now there are other projects. Went to Strawberry Hill and got some tomato plants and a hanging moss rose. Put the hummingbird feeders out. I still want to re-do the deck, and I have to re-do the deck watering system for the plants if I do that.

Need to put the grape tomatoes on a trellis, and build a custom trellis for the trumpet vines. That sound like enough for this weekend yet?

We had the Groves over the weekend. Nice weekend. Mark & I played a lot on our respective stringed instruments, and the kids got to go to the park Monday -- we went to Rockbridge. I guess I'd forgotten how pretty Rockbridge park is. We under-use it. We brought the guitar and mandolin out and we hiked through the woods -- me snapping pictures of course, looking at plants and ants and turtles and rocks and all kinds of things. Lovely walk. Went back to the picnic area. Vicki & Cami went to Sonic and brought back some food, and we continued to play.

Mark brought his new tent out so we could set it up and make sure we knew the details and that everything was there. It has a mesh celing and a rain cover. Nice big roomy tent. I broke down and went to Walmart and bought my own 4 person tent pretty much just like it. We're preparing for a whirlwind 3 day weekend around July 19... Thursday night we'll leave and drive as far across Kansas as we can stand, stop, sleep, and then next morning hit the Colorado Front Range asap. I figure we'll drive around a bit the first day at high altitudes to get used to it, then do some exploring the next day. Drive back to KC monday. I'll drive back here Tuesday morning. Camp wherever we can in the National Forest. The closer it gets the more real it's becoming.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

I Been Framed, man!

Got some picture frames and matting to re-do my New Orleans Jazz watercolor and matt and frame the sheet music for a 1937 song called "Satan Takes A Holiday" (hey, I just found out it was a top requested song in 1939) -- to complete the Jazz trifecta with the Modern Jazz Quartet poster. Looks cool. Also got another one of those french champagne posters that after some slight cutting down fits quite well in the door to the crawl space -- making the door now look more like a picture frame on the wall than some odd door in the stairwell. Framed up the Elvgren print "High Sign" and matted it as well. That'll proably go up over the desk. Gotta hang the big wooden Sun plaque up yet, too.

Found out why the speakers Ryan gave us didn't sound good... same reason the surround wasn't working. I had the right channel hooked up twice rather than the right and the left... there's two rows of outputs. Now everything is hunky dory.

I got the summer clothes down for Vicki but it turned out she was more interested in re-arranging the bedroom now that the computer stuff/armior & desk (yay) are downstairs... she was moving all that furniture by herself, apparently while I was painting quarter-round trim and matting pictures and hanging them.

Paid Bobby the final payment for the basement remodel. So we're all done with that now.

Still need to shut down the hydro garden and put the lettuce & peppers out in the garden.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

It's getting better all the time

Let's see, last night I installed the new phone (2.4 gZ in the kitchen) moved the 900 mZ one downstairs to the new family room, only to be reminded that that phone jack hasn't worked in quite some time. Did some trouble-shooting, but finally gave up and canabalized a long piece of phone cord that used to go around the back of the house before I replaced it with an inside run a couple of years ago, and just replaced the whole run from the junction box to the new family room. Works great. Cut the baseboard moulding down for either side fo the built-in shelves. Installed the toilet paper hanger and a towel bar, and put the knobs on the cabinets. Got the new "over the toilet" cabinet up over the weekend and painted it and the laundry cabinets. Ryan also helped me move the armoir down there, plus he gave us a set of surround speakers that he wasn't using anymore -- they're smaller than what I had -- Vicki's old super heavy speakers. Vicki's speakers, I think, sounded better -- but space is an issue. I'll wait until they put the door moulding up before I run the cable-TV cable over to the TV along with a telephone line for ordering PayPerView via Sattellite. Maybe they should just send us a picture and call it Paper View. :-)

Put some chachkis up, and put a few things away in the new desk-side cabinets. Vaccuumed. The surround sound still doesn't work right through the TV... gonna have to look at that closer.

I really want to expand the deck. But there's also the problem of bookshelves at the bottom of the stairs. I've pretty much decided that I'll buy the modular stuff at Lowe's and I think it can be done for about $150 -- except that Vicki had this idea to do 2 2' cabinets on the bottom and shelves from there on up. Not a bad idea. But that'd be another $80. Don't want the cabinets to hold up the shelving -- but money is a bit tight right now. We really borrowed JUST ENOUGH to get the construction work done + the new water heater (which by the way I finally got the refund for from Seisco).

There's also the issue of the bedroom. Goes sort of like this: I want to make the bedroom a nice retreat. We want a window seat and bookshelves under the window. But Ken's dad's desk is there, for the boys' posterity. On it is the TV. I want to move the desk down to Brian's room. But then there's no good place for the TV. What I really want is a 17" LCD TV that mounts on the wall. But they're not cheap. $500 for the least expensive I can find. I could buy a little stand, but why throw money at a temporary solution? Getting rid of the big TV is key to arranging the new room.... and I want the desk down in the basement before something else takes up that space and inertia keeps it in our room. I wonder how much a small cable tuner costs... if I could find an LCD monitor for the right price... ah, but they're almost as expensive as the TV's.

Groves are coming this weekend for Memorial Day. That'll be nice. So far the forecast looks good, and there's grillin' in the air.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Settle down, settle down my boy -- settle down

For those of you not in tune with the 80's, that was a "Men at Work" reference.

Things have settled down, and they're about to settle down more. Brian is taking Mom back today, and then he's off to Norway for a couple of weeks starting Saturday. At least it's not Saudi Arabia or Iraq.

Carpet One bill is in -- everything else should be through the contractor which will be sometime next week after they get the door trim up. Bart really does seem to know where the litterbox is now (*whew*). Haven't done much more moving of stuff. This weekend, probably.

Went to see Willie Nelson Monday night at the Blue Note. I've always liked Willie ok, since I first heard him do "Stardust" and "Georgia on My Mind" back in ... oh... 1976 or so. But I've never been what you'd call a big fan. Mark really took a cotton to him when he lived down in Texas, but I'd never really listened to that much Willie ... not all at once anyway. Well, Willie puts on a heck of an enjoyable show. You, personally may not like the sound of his voice, but he's always right on key and the man can play a guitar pretty darned well. I personally like the sound of his voice when he's doing simple, down to earth material (ala "City of New Orleans", "Crazy", "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain", etc) -- I think it's a warm and friendly voice. And I think sounds good live as there's no opportunity for record producers to over-produce. Some of his recorded material has strings and orchestra and... bleah. He came out at 8:30 and played until about 10:40, non-stop. Wow. And the guy's what, 70? Apparently there's a live 2 disc set coming out June 24. I'll bet that'll be a winner.

I'd forgotten how much I liked Pancho and Lefty.

Vicki missed the concert because of some 24 hour bug she caught, so Brian went with me, Sam, & Connie. Got decent seats on the balcony on the right... thanks to Connie. Probably the last decent seats in the house. That was disappointing (Vicki not being there) but I know Brian enjoyed it.

Friday night we went to dinner with Rob-Bob and Kathy... I just looked at the credit card site and realized she got a double tip. Rob tipped his part, I tipped ... and then not exactly realizing what I was doing, I wrote the amount of the total tip on my credit card receipt so we ended up tipping her twice. There's a $30 mistake I didn't really need to make, especially this month. Oh well. Waitresses don't make that much. I hope Crystal has a nice dinner on us.

Need to call Microtherm. They have the returned water heater, and they still have my money.

Well, hi ho again

Monday, May 12, 2003

Home Again.... Jig.

Spent most of the day Saturday (until about 10:30pm) getting the house back in order, moving stuff down to the basement. The upstairs is now pretty much in order. We're missing a couple of door frames which they'll bring in about a week and install. Otherwise, it's done. It is very convenient to have the toilet and sink down there. I put the litterbox under the stairs and the cat door behind the toilet -- you can hardly tell it's there. They go through the door and right into the litterbox. There's a night light under there so they can see.

Most of the stuff we had from the old storage closet fits downstairs. The pantry part of the closet didn't work out as well as I'd thought because by the time the folding door got put on the closet you kind of do need to reach back in the corner. We may have to revisit that concept.

Bart seemed to "have trouble" finding the litter box a couple of nights ago, using the bathroom rug instead, so while we were gone at Mom and Dad's yesterday the cats spent the day locked in the laundry room with their food and water and a couple of comfy catbeds to lay in so they could get intimately familiar with where the food and water and litterbox was. In Bart's defense, the litterbox had been in the bathrooms during the remodel, but Theo didn't seem to have any trouble finding it. No "accidents" last night, so let's just hope that will be the end of that.

Haven't moved the computer downstairs yet. I also need to hook up the TV completely. Dang, with the subwoofer and surround and satellite and cable and DVD and VCR -- it's even complicated for me. It's the VCR that complicates things because you have to rig it so that you can record off of anything. Won't be doing it tonight, either because we're going to see Willie Nelson at the Blue Note.

Bought a cabinet for over the toilet down there, but it's 13 inches deep. Apparently, it needs to be 9 inches deep. So I'll be cutting it down to size once I fix my skil saw, which shorted out in my hands the other day. Blew the power cord right in half and threw the breaker. Which is better than blowing me in half and throwing my hand. I also have to build some bookshelves for the bottom of the stairs. I think maybe some short kitchen cabinets might go along the soffit above -- I'll have to measure. Ideas, ideas.....

Went out to Mom and Dads yesterday. Saw some of the storm damage from last Tuesday along the way... but it could have been worse. There were a few trees down on Mom & Dad's place... Maybe 10 or 15 on the whole 30 acres, I'd guess. The worst damage was to the east around DeSoto. This was a severe thunderstorm with some very strong straight-line winds which can be as damaging as a small tornado -- but usually over a wider area.

Dad's windmill had been down for other reasons before. He also now has 12 solar panels instead of 8, which is good. I heard the batteries bubbling away yesterday (charging with solar power). It was a beautiful day. Plus they're still hooked into Crawford Electric which was back up thursday or friday. And the phones came back on Sunday.

The Mother's day theme this year was German food and of course Tom and Betty worked their tails off all day cooking for 14 people. Sauerbraten, bratwurst, sauerkraut, spiced apple rings, German beer and wine, German cheeses, and black forest cake for desert. Betty brought her mom over (as customary) and Vicki, Vicki's mom, and Brian and I went out... Brian got to ride Image who is the same age as he is (22).

Well, das' all fer now.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Feeling Flush

The toilet and sink are in. And they work. Shelves are up. And I'm calculating where to put the cat door to the area under the stairs. I'll have to remove a piece of a stud, then it can go down by the floor to the right of the toilet in the corner. Ryan has a piece of moulding that will probably do nicely to frame it so it doesn't look like just a hole cut in the drywall. Carpet's stretched. The 4-way switch to the family room doesn't do the 4-way thing like it's supposed to. If the switch at the bottom of the stairs is off, none of the other switches will turn it on. Have to point that out.

They think they can finish up tomorrow. Then tomorrow evening and Saturday, we move everything back down. I'm taking the day off of work tomorrow... maybe I can get the built-in shelves up down there before dinnertime. It will be a busy Saturday moving furniture and stuff... hooking up the TV, etc.. Then off to Mom and Dad's for mother's day.

Got a belt CLIP for a key chain and I'm modifying my Palm Zire holder to have a belt-clip. I hate having to unbuckle my belt to take the palm off. Now it'll be "clip".... "unclip"..... cool. Call me McGyver.

Got some creeping phlox to try again on that slope by the stepping stones out front.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Not all the way down

Well, all the carpet and flooring is down but the carpet isn't stretched and tacked. That will hapen this morning I'm guessing. There's a few paint patches on the wall that need touch-up. Also settled the question of how many shelves were going up in the storage closet. Something came up yesterday about the door-jamb place being out of jambs, but that they should have some soon and we can move furniture down there when the carpet's down and the baseboard is up.

VIckster's off for the rest of the week to spend it with Mom. Tomorrow's her birthday. Think we're going to dinner with Rob-Bob and Kathy on Friday.

It'd be cool if I could power-wash the deck Saturday and then perhaps a week from saturday do the deck expansion project.

Sending the duplicate water heater back today. Grrrrrrrrr...

Not much else going on.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Lay that carpet down, down - lay that carpet down

Three guesses what's going on today.

Yup. Flooring. The door trim is up. the floor is clean. Most of the construction equipment is gone. The rough spot on the floor from an old botched fill-in concrete job is smoothed over. When I get home tonight, it'll look much more like a finished basement. Then it's just finish-up with the electrical, plumbing, and baseboard.

The paint hasn't grown on Vicki any. She's waiting to see how it all looks with furniture. You won't see nearly as much of it when the book case goes up, and curtains, and couch and loveseat and desk, etc. I feel kind of bad -- I knew what color she was going for, I think, but when she showed me the swatch she picked, I just said "cool" and figured it was what she wanted. It is kind of hard to tell on an inch and a half square what it's going to look like on the walls, but I'm pretty good at things like that. But of course you never really want to say "no, honey, you're wrong" especially when you really don't care a whole lot what tone of beige goes up on the wall. I think it'll look fine.

She did concede that the cat access to the litter box ought to be through the bathroom wall -- she's not thrilled about it, but I doubt she'll even notice it after a week or so once it's done. That whole "under the stairs" storage is going to be a little complicated because of the placement of the sub-panel but we'll come up with something.

I put the cable outlet on the wall and wired that side of the surround sound wiring... I need a similar panel on the other side. I also hooked up the "free with your cable modem" basic cable to the TV upstairs last night. Kind of cool to have local channels and that radar channel again. But I see why we dropped cable before. The picture especially above channel 40 is just lousy. That's why they're trying to force everyone to go digital. They just can't deliver a good analog picture through cable anymore. However, they want WAY more than the sattelite people for digital, and all they have extra to offer basically is local channels and your local forecast on the Weather Channel.

I'll have to re-hook up the phone to what used to be Brian's room (now the family room) -- I'll get all that done this weekend.

Well, Hi Ho -- it's off to work I go.

Monday, May 05, 2003


Got back from Fort Wayne from picking Mom up. As expected, the walls are painted. Vicki was hoping for a little less yellow tint in the taupe... more of a gray-brown taupe than a yellow-brown taupe. I could tell right away she wasn't happy. Mom and I think it looks fine, but then again I never really cared a whole lot what earth-tone got picked ;-) She held the pillow shams up and they go fine.

Looks like the litterbox will go under the stairs. Vicki wants a cat-door in the "under-the-stairs" door in the downstairs bedroom for their access. I don't like that idea because then guests will always have to leave their door open for the cats so they can go to the litter box. I think a cat door in the wall behind the toilet would be the best, but she doesn't want a hole in her nice new wall. We'll have to see. I intend to get a nice frame for the door so it won't be just a hole in the drywall.

Got a powerpoint presentation from Sandy about Louie and how much she likes him. I'm so glad he found someone who really loves him. Whew. What a relief. Bart is pretty much back to being Bart again.

Got a checkbook application installed on the Palm zire. I think it will make me pay much more attention to how I spend money. That, of course, is a good thing.

I'm itching to do the deck. As soon as they're done and all the finances are settled for the remodel, I want to get on it.

Well, off now.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Plumbing, drywall, paint, carpet

We're in the homestretch. Left them a check for more money this morning. The hose faucet's in the way I want it, and boxed in so you can't see it. The plumber ran the vent out into the garage, up the corner, into the attic and tied into the vent for the kitchen. Now that's what I like.... creative thinking. The toilet and sink plumbing is stubbed up, concrete poured back in place, carpet's ordered and all the flooring came in on my budget guestimate... so I'm pretty happy there. Door frames are being primed. They're pushing to be done by the end of Monday so they can lay the carpet Tuesday and the baseboard can go up wednesday. They said they'll work saturday if they have to. We'll be picking up Mom (Krick) this weekend. She'll have cramped quarters for a few days, and then it's hello new basement.


My new (and first) Palm "pilot" came in. I got one for $61 (with shipping, brand new in the box) off of Ebay. Looks pretty cool. We'll see how much of a pain it is to carry around, update, and how long it'll be before I lose my first stylus. I downloaded a checkbook application for it which I'll install tonight. That's one of the two main reasons I wanted it. The other was the calendar. It's synched with my calendar at work so I can look at it any time. Plus it's also synched with my Outlook Addressbook, notes, and task list. It looks promising.

That's all, probably until Monday... I might try posting from Mom's MSN companion this weekend just to see if I can.