Monday, February 23, 2015

Deck Renovation

We are pretty well done with the deck renovation. All new structure and underpinning, but the decking handrails and balusters are the same ones that were on before.
I still need to secure the bottoms of the balusters, and there is a five foot section of handrail that needs to be replaced and the balusters attached.
When I finish up with the deck, we need to get the house ready to sell. We have been packing everything up in totes and stashing the totes in the basement. I know that the real estate agent would like us to pretty much empty the place out for showing, but I really don't want to rent storage and move everything a couple of more times.
Oh well, we'll do what we need to do.
One of these days I'll be able to devote more time to doing the things I WANT to do. So far, retirement is more work that I anticipated.
We are still looking to move to somewhere in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, La Conner. We have seen several things we like, but until we know what we can get for our house. Realistically I hope to get $275,000 for our place, and we have seen several places that meet our needs in the $250,000 to $260,000 range. We just hope they are still there when we are ready.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


We are going to put our house up for sale, and there are some things we need to do to help with that.
The major undertaking is the deck. 420 sq.ft. of deck. I put it in about 10 years ago, and it has deteriorated some, so I am having it rebuilt. I spent the last three days tearing the old stuff loose.
My body is telling me that I am not used to doing that much physical labor.
This retirement stuff is a lot more work than I anticipated.
If things go right, the house should go on the market in a couple of weeks.
Then the crazy begins for real.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Molly, the Road Dog

Back when Mrs A and I first got together, she wanted a little dog she could mother. Mainly because I wouldn't let her fuss over me. I have never been a fan of little dogs, but it was something she needed.
So we found a Shi Tzu that we bought.
I chose her because she had a sweet mellow personality.
Shortly after we met her, we hooked up with Morning Light, a Christian Rock band. They specialized in performing in detention facilities, primarily youth facilities. The band members and most of the crew were recovering alcoholics and drug users We really believed that they were delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. Although it meant long days of hard work, we became Road Crew for the band, and Molly became a Road Dog.
She loved going places and being around all the people and going places. She was a comfort to the incarcerated.
After being an only dog for seven years, Mrs A found another pup in need of a home, and we bought Monk, a Brussels Griffon. When we brought him home, molly retired to the upstairs bedroom and refused to come down. She would come to the head of the stairs and let us know when she needed to go out. But we had to carry her through the living room to the back porch. She would not deign to set foot on the main floor.
This went on for several weeks. Finally she would come down the stairs, jump over to the chair, then to the couch, but would not touch the floor.
Eventually she mostly got over shock of having to share her time with her brother, but she always let him know that SHE was the top dog.
She turned 12 this fall, and started slowing down. She had bad kidneys. Some times her front end and back end didn't always track properly. She moved less and less.
She had visibly weakened and turned frail. Her favorite place was curled up on a blanket by my left foot. She really did not like being held, but was content to be near.
Tuesday, she collapsed on the kitchen floor, and didn't want to move. Her spine was hunched, and she was obviously in pain.
We called the Vet and told her we were bringing Molly in to be put down. As I type this, tears are welling up in my eyes. We rook her in. I carried her while Mrs A drove. Her breathing was labored and she would occasionally whine and shudder.
So She has now gone on her final road trip.
I'm going to miss her. She was a sweet little dog who loved everyone she ever met, and provided us with many hours of joy and companionship.
Pets come into our lives, and bring us many hours of joy. The downside is they are short lived and remind us how fleeting and fragile the things we value really are.
So long to my good and faithful companion.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Spiral staircase.

The only access between the main floor and upstairs in this house is a spiral staircase. It is something that immediately catches peoples eye, a distinguishing feature.
As with about everything else in this house, it is poorly designed and constructed. The main problem in that the balusters are too far apart. Per building code, there cannot be an opening larger that 4" between balusters. There are only 2 per step. There should be 4. That being said, the slate in blank as far as how I go about filling the space.
I have spent some time looking on line and sometime wandering around Home Depot and Lowe's looking for an inspiration. Something that will look classy and do the job. So I have considered everything from wood doweling to custom hand wrought iron. Price anywhere from a couple of hundred to five hundred or more.
Time to sit down with pencil and paper and do some doodling.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Electrical Upgrade

I bit the bullet today, and called in an Electrical Contractor to bring the wiring on the house up to date. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, going over what I knew, what I figured needed to be done.
When I got up this morning, my mind was made up to at least replace the outlets close to the sinks. As a safety precaution, the modern code demands GFCI outlets (Ground Fault Interruption Certified) near water sources. As long as the Electricians were here, I had them update all of the old two prong outlets to modern standards. The bill was just short of $1500.00. Money well spent to have the pros do the work.
For the first time since I bought this house, I feel it is good electrically. By the rime I get through the place will be so sound, I probably won't want to move.
The only other thing I am fretting about is the deck. It is mostly OK, but there are a few things that need to be addressed. The joists are on 16 inch centers, except it seems I got a couple of them too far apart. So Someone will need to slide an additional joist in between the existing joists. Also I need to secure the deck to the house with lag bolts, where it is currently just nailed. And a few other minor things.
I feel a lot better now that the electrical stuff is taken care of. We might actually get through this.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


No secret we want to move. Mt main project since leaving work has been to get the house in shape to sell. So I have done a few things. Drywall and paint. Sorting and taking stuff to the dump.
In anticipation of putting the house up for sale, we called a home inspection service, just to make sure their are no giant problems.
For the most part, it is exactly as I anticipated. No splash blocks for the down spouts, missing a couple of corner flashing pieces. New smoke/Carbon monoxide detectors. Lots of "recommendations" that are not requirements. Some of the stuff is absolute bullcrap. The circular staircase, the openings between the supports are not supposed to be further apart than 4". hey, that's the way it is made. I'll probably have to come up with something creative.
I need to hire an electrician to do some work. There are things that need to be done. The outlets in the bathrooms are not GFCI outlets. Same with the outlet by the sink in the kitchen. A quite a bit of the wiring is old, two prong outlets.They need to be updated, but I will not be stampeded into rewiring the whole house.
There are a few plumbing minor things that need to be fixed. Drain for the sink in the upstairs, drain for the tub downstairs.
Lots of stuff wrong with the deck. I will need to hire a contractor to make sure It all gets done to spec. All told I guess we are talking a couple of thousand bucks. Not bad all in all.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015


There are a couple of things I really don't like about doing drywall.
First of all, the sheets are awkward. You have to be careful moving it around because the sheets are rather fragile. I have broken more than one sheet moving them around by myself.
The good thing is it is relatively inexpensive.
Putting up drywall is not rocket science. The spackle work is annoying. Again not rocket science. Spackle, sand, repeat until flat. Every little flaw will become apparent when you put on the paint. It takes patience to get it right. The spackle has to dry between coats, Fine with me, I am not in any hurry. I should finish up and be ready for paint tomorrow.
When I get finished with the hallway, it will be back to the basement.