Mar 272006

We started work on remodeling our downstairs bathroom. Well, the contractor started work, I wrote a check for half of his original estimate. Since starting at 8am, I’ve already received two calls from The Wife.

The first was to tell me that pretty much all of the framing behind our shower is rotted. This isn’t surprising as we’ve known for quite some time that the faucet/knob combo was leaking and that the grout between the tiles was missing in several places. We’ve been putting off doing anything about it until we had the time and cash to do the whole bathroom. Longtime readers will note that the one year anniversary of the flood just passed.

The second call was to tell me that the bush that’s immediately outside the bathroom window is growing roots into the foundation, so we’ll need to rip it out. I’ve been trimming it back from the roof for the past umpteen years anyway. I would’ve logged a third call about the fire ant mound in the water meter, but I already knew about that from before I left.

We spent all day yesterday rearranging and weeding through stuff in the kids’ rooms in addition to clearing out the downstairs bathroom in preparation for the remodel which we expect will probably take most of April to complete. Sounds like this coming weekend will be spent trying to get the backyard into some sort of reasonable shape. Ahhhh…homeownership.

Which reminds me. As soon as I have time, I’m on a mission against the neighbors across the street. This is the house that had been occupied by several St. Edward’s students and pseudo-students. It’s now housed by an assortment of christian dudes. They’re generally nice enough fellows, but the sheer number in the house leads to street parking issues. Our driveway’s on a hill and they’re always parking a car directly across from the driveway. This is minorly annoying, but last night, they had a bunch of people over until roughly 11pm. One car parked such that the entire back half was blocking our driveway. If we had needed to back the van out for whatever reason, we wouldn’t have been able to do it. I mentioned it to two different people entering the house, including one that I’m pretty sure lives there. Nobody moved the car until they all left. That’s some rude shit and I won’t forget it. Is there a city ordinance limiting the number of people that can live in a rental based on the size of the house? If so, what is it?

 Posted by on March 27, 2006 at 10:56 am
Feb 252006

For those friends and family that made it through the site move, I’m obviously behind in moving everything. I’m moving the “Picture of the Week” for the kids to Flickr. I’ll have a Flickr set for each kid. You’ll have to be a Flickr member and I’ll have to mark you as friend or family in order for you to see the set. The Boy’s is there now and I’ll have La’s up by Monday. It appears that the comments didn’t make it through the move either and I’ll have to do a custom import for those. I also still need to see if I can get a Rewrite Rule working so that the old posts in phpNuke will go to the new location in WordPress. Yeah.

 Posted by on February 25, 2006 at 12:01 am
Sep 082005

The Boy’s school is having a Back To School Night tonight where we’re supposed to find out more about what he’s doing each day, meet other parents, talk to the teachers, etc. . They’re making it a potluck dinner since it coincides with dinner time. We were talking about it last night at dinner and making plans. This morning when The Boy got up, he excitedly asked me if he could bring some Yu-Gi-Oh cards to the “crackpot dinner” to play with his friends. The Wife and I nearly fell on the floor laughing.

 Posted by on September 8, 2005 at 9:51 pm
Sep 072005

The following family moment is brought to you by Ornery Toddlers R Us.

My sister was in town last week to help out while The Wife was in D.C. helping with my father-in-law’s recovery from heart surgery (he’s doing well, thanks) and to hunt for a place to live when she moves here later this year. A few days into her stay, she was standing in our home office with The Girl hanging onto her legs and making strange noises. Aunt E. looked down and said something to the effect of “Girl, you’ve got issues,” to which The Girl stood up and responded in a hostile voice, “I don’t need shoes!”

 Posted by on September 7, 2005 at 6:45 pm
Aug 092005

We’re back from Chicago. I’m buried in work and have a bunch of posts related to the trip that I need to get working on tonight before I forget everything. I’ll probably do most of my posting to the Chicago Metblog, so check that out in the next couple of days.

 Posted by on August 9, 2005 at 9:53 pm
Jul 262005

The Wife took The Boy to I-HOP yesterday as a break from a series of trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot to get supplies to finish off the flooring that’s been in the works since The Incident. Apparently, he inhaled a cheese omelet, sausage, bacon and a couple of pancakes, no doubt he’s about to have another growth spurt. The trip prompted two classic quotes from The Boy.

First, as The Wife tells it, the waitstaff at I-HOP were particularly perky yesterday morning. Their waitress greeted them, went through the usual offers of drinks and finished with the time-tested, “My name is <INSERT NAME HERE>. Just let me know if you need anything else.” After she left the table, The Boy piped up in a very matter of fact voice without a trace of sarcasm or irony, “That was nice of her to tell us her name.” What a sweet kid.

The second classic occurred in the car on the way home from I-HOP. The Wife reports hearing The Boy making sniffing sounds from the back seat and then declaring that his hands smelled like bacon. The Wife, thinking this was bothering him, told him that he could wash his hands when they got home. The Boy responded, “No, I LIKE it. I know! They should make bacon soap!”

 Posted by on July 26, 2005 at 3:06 pm
Jul 252005

We were all sitting at the table having lunch yesterday afternoon. The La finished her juice box. Holding the empty juice box, she extended her arm out in front of The Wife who was sitting next to her and said in a clear, practiced voice, “Be a good girl and get me another drink.”

The Boy claims that she copped that line from Teen Titans. All I could do was suppress a laugh and tell The La that she needed to say “Please”.

 Posted by on July 25, 2005 at 2:21 am
Jul 112005

Ok, really. I’ve had enough. You can let up now. What’s the safe word?

We spent part of Saturday and most of yesterday trying to finish up the painting that we want to get done before the new floors are installed on Wednesday. We bought the actual flooring (22 cases) on Friday so that it could “acclimatize” to the house. Everything was going pretty well. We’d finished with the primer coat in the den and The Wife headed off to Home Depot for some more supplies while I entertained the kids.

We were outside when she returned. She noted that it seemed a bit warm in the house, but the A/C was still blowing air, so I thought we’d give it some time and see. Thirty minutes later, things weren’t improving, so I headed outside to find that the compressor wasn’t running. I figured out how to open it up so I could feign the ability to actually diagnose the problem. For those keeping score, opening the cover, staring at it, clearing out the cobwebs, spraying the hornet’s nest in the corner and blasting the filthy coils with water didn’t revive it. Cursing and staring at the sky didn’t work either. I resigned myself to calling a repair person at 5:30pm on a Sunday. Who knew what wonderful overtime charges awaited me? It took three different service calls before I found someone who wasn’t completely booked until at least Monday morning. I suppose I’m not the only Austinite who waits until the unit breaks down in a week or two of hundred degree temperatures before considering maintenance or replacement.

We finally scored with Petrocelli Services Inc. . I was informed that “Joe” could be at our place in 45 minutes. Sure enough, he arrived as promised and applied a meter to the compressor after determining that the circuit breaker had been tripped. In my defense, I thought of checking the breaker just as I went out to meet him. He showed me that the compressor was drawing much more power on startup than it should, a sign that it was old and heading for death. My options were to get a new compressor at the cost of at least $2k or try installing a compressor saver, apparently something that takes the load off the compressor at startup. It’d cost me $340 installed with labor. He thought it’d probably get me through the rest of this summer, but couldn’t guarantee anything. With all of the money spent on the house so far this year, I decided to take my chances with the $340 option. He had it installed in about 20 minutes. I could tell that the startup was quicker and less noisy with the new thingamajig installed. He also had me clear some branches away from the top of the unit to keep the hot exhaust from deflecting back at the unit.

I’ve been a little concerned about that A/C anyway, so I’m not surprised that it gave us some trouble. Our electric bills have been inching up for the past few summers and I think the old compressor is partly to blame. I actually had The Wife get some new filters while she was at Home Depot yesterday, so we’re starting out the week with a new filter, clean coils in the compressor and this new compressor saver. I guess I’m going to have to start planning for new A/C in the Spring and looking into those City of Austin financing options. We’ve only got the one unit with a thermostat downstairs to heat both floors of the house. The upstairs is constantly about 5 degrees hotter than the downstairs. We’ve got plenty of room in the attic, so I think if we replace the whole thing, we’ll move some of it up there and explore having temperature control on both floors. Of course, I’m saying this without having any idea what all of that will cost me.

 Posted by on July 11, 2005 at 6:42 pm
Jul 062005

We decided on Saturday to have a small July 4th party and invited our new neighbors K. and K. along with H.. We also invited M. and S. & B. who brought the twins along. I ran all over town with The La Sunday buying a grill and other supplies like a chimney starter, which I’ll never charcoal grill without again.

We broke out the wading pool to start things off. I tried out a new beer, which I recommend for the hopheads out there. A water war broke out in the late afternoon between M., armed with a hose, and kids, armed with squirt guns. If victory is gauged by a waterlogged opponent then everyone won (or lost). We ended the day with some legal fireworks at our place, choosing to avoid the crowds downtown. Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday.

I posted some shots on Flickr, but you’ll have to be registered there and persuade me to mark you as “friends and family” before you can see them.

Besides, I know where we can bought a new baitcasting reel!

 Posted by on July 6, 2005 at 4:05 pm
Jun 222005

So, it’s official. Either I or someone in my immediate family has amassed way too much bad karma, broke a mirror or pissed off the wrong <INSERT DEITY HERE>. In addition to having our downstairs flood back in March, our three-year-old car needing a new transmission and multiple illnesses for various family members, our washing machine decided to die Sunday night and send water into the laundry room and garage. I’m guessing it’s a cracked tub, so it’s a goner.

On the bright side, this is the washer that we got for free from Scott and Colleen nearly 8 years ago when we moved into the house. Before Sunday, the only thing it needed was to have the mixing valve replaced by yours truly for $20. (I’m still patting myself on the back for that one). The Wife is delirious with new washing machine facts and stats. We’d better decide on one soon or we’re all going to be either very dirty or naked.

We finally got new carpet into the bedroom on Friday. It’s pretty sweet. All we have to do now is finish painting the front room, rip up the entryway tile, and rip up the linoleum and paint the fireplace and built-in in the den so we can have the laminates put into those two rooms. We also need to have a massive garage sale. All of this is on hold until next week though as we have out-of-town guests this weekend. Anybody want a slightly-broken and very used washer?

 Posted by on June 22, 2005 at 4:02 pm