Sunday, June 27, 2010
We are just about finished moving the books over to the rental. Two weeks of books. Oh, my achin' back! How many books? Look!
Even more books
Even in the attic.... books!
And I didn't even take any pictures of the magazines.
So we are not illiterate nudists. I guess if we got naked we could be half way there.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Well, as suspected we have asbestos in the floor tiles. The town inspector came and took samples from the walls and the floor and other stuff. And now we have to do an asbestos abatement on the floor tiles before we can tear down the house.
The house originally had a heated slab. We had to replace it with baseboard when the pipes rotted out and started leaking, but it used to be a heated slab. We suspected that there might be asbestos in the floor tiles because the floor got hot, and that is the kind of floor they used to put down on a hot surface. But here is the kicker. They are saying that we also have asbestos in the window putty.
We also have to do an abatement on the windows!
Why would anyone put asbestos in window putty?
Why would they even check?
This keeps getting stranger and stranger.
Edit: I just did some more research, and evidently window putty and roofing tar and general caulking material commonly contain asbestos. All those are on the mandatory list of items to test. Who'd a known?
Monday, June 21, 2010
We are moving books. Hundreds and hundreds of books. As a friend noted once, this would be a lot simpler if we were illiterate nudists. Our clutter is mostly clothes and books.
We did find a really good solution for packing the books though. Books are heavy, so you don't want to put too many of them in a box. We ordered some small, filing boxes from Staples. Here is a photo:
I ordered 30 of these boxes and it cost me $60.53 total, including shipping, handling and taxes, fees, graft and corruption, which comes out to $2.017 per box. The shipping was actually free, and they delivered the boxes to our door the next day. The price quoted here is in 2010 dollars, so if you are reading this in 2042, these are probably no longer available.
Disclaimer: We have no financial interest in Staples, and do not own any part of that business other than the boxes shown in the photo.
OK. OK. We have an ink cartridge somewhere under the computer desk too.
They are small boxes only 10" by 12" by 15" and are designed for storing paperwork, but they are sturdy enough to hold books too, and small enough that you can't put enough books in one to hurt yourself. They are easily assembled in a couple of minutes with no tape, staples or other supplies required. The boxes are sturdy, and we have used them for several trips to the apartment with no problems.
We win this one.
Sorry, no photos of the illiterate nudists.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
"Designers! Bah! Who needs 'em? You can get a computer program cheap that does the same thing they do. Anybody can move stuff around in a kitchen until you get what you want. Save the money!"
Someone at work told me that.
We just got back from the Kitchen Designer. Skeptical as always, we didn't expect much. She listened to our ideas for the kitchen, and then turned it all around and made it better.
"Do you really want that huge cabinet there? Why not put a smaller one over here, and a counter here, and then... If you build the peninsula like that, it will collapse..."
When we saw what she was proposing, it was clear that it was better than what we had come up with. She extracted from our plans the essence of what we wanted and then designed something better. Who'd-a guessed.
She is off designing a kitchen for us now, and we wait eagerly to see what she will come up with.
Friday, June 18, 2010
There is a downside to this house project. We are only a few years away from retirement age, and this is a difficult thing to do. We are moving out of the house that we have lived in for 32 years, demolishing it, and building a new house. We have lived in this house more than half of our lives. It is the only house that our children have ever lived in. We will have to move everything we own... over 38 years of stuff.... twice. This is a daunting.
Part of the downside is that when we tell people what we are doing, the feedback is not very positive, it is... well take a look.
- Howie: "Don't even start".
- Bill: "They will cheat you out of everything you own".
- Mary: "Oh, I am so sorry!"
- Fran: "That's terrible!"
- The Bank: "No".
- The Other Bank: "No".
On the other hand, we have had some positive feedback, for instance:
- The Architect: "This will be fun!" (when does the fun start?)
- The Builder: "It doesn't feel like ledge". (He doesn't understand the curse)
- Mom: "That's nice" (you can always count on Mom)
Our plan is to survive it. Stay tuned. If this blog goes dark, well....
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
We Are Renters
As of today, June 15, 2010 we are renters. We have the keys to the apartment where we will be living while our new house is being built. Now, all we have to do is move.
The rest is easy.
What am I saying?.....
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Umbrella 1; Me 0:
Just a quick update.
After I dried out a bit, I decided to try out the new umbrella. It turns out that the tie wraps were not holding it closed after all. They are just holding one of the straps out of the way. So I could have used it anyway.
So, the umbrella wins another round. These umbrellas are tricky.
Back In The Game
I am back in the umbrella game. This time I bought a brand name, Totes:
While I was walking back to the car with my new umbrella, it began to rain. Fortunately I had my new umbrella. Unfortunately, it was tie-wrapped shut (see photo).
This does not bode well for my battle against the Umbrella.
Oh well. Start the clock.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
We apparently are almost renters. After weeks of phone calls and being dragged through smelly, moldy, claustrophobic housing we seem to have found a place that is livable and available. We aren't in yet, and I don't want to jinx it, but we are hoping that this one will be the charm.
We live in New England, and it is amazing what rat warrens people have built into their 100 year old houses to create "living" space out of every nook and cranny. We visited a house that had a hallway in it that was about as wide as a filing cabinet. It was only four or five feet long, but we literally had to turn sideways to get through it. That skinny hallway was the only interior entrance into the room. I know it is trite, but I have to say it.... "What were they thinking?".
Sunday, June 06, 2010
The new umbrella that I purchased on May 23 (see my entry on that date) has failed.
It was raining pitchforks and sawlogs today, but fortunately I had my new umbrella with me. Unfortunately, it will not stay open. The mechanism that holds the umbrella open has failed. Once open, it collapses immediately, no wind required. It lasted a total of 13 days. Go figure.
My new theory about umbrellas is that you get what you pay for.
Saturday, June 05, 2010
After realizing that the bank had switched gears on me over night, I got suspicious. What if they had seen something in the intervening hours that made them change their minds? So I decided to go check my credit report to see if something was amiss. That is easily done by going out to annualcreditreport.com. That is the only official site where you can get your free credit reports. You are allowed one free credit report from each of the three companies per year.
But I was suspicious of them as well since they did not say in what format the "free" report would be delivered. My suspicions were confirmed. After you enter your information, they send you to a web site where your report is displayed in the browser. You do not get a file with the report in it. You cannot save the report. All you can do is print it.
Be ready with your printer! When it displays the report, it is a onetime chance for a year. If you close the browser window before you print the report, you will lose it, and you cannot get another report for free for another year.
Oh, and the credit report was fine, so I guess the banks just aren't loaning money any more.
Friday, June 04, 2010
The banks giveth, and the banks taketh away.
Yesterday the loan officer at the bank told us that they would give us a Home Equity Line of Credit to help fund our house project. We took home the paperwork to fill it out.
Today, they called up and said they couldn't do that because we are having the existing home demolished.
What do banks do for a living if they don't loan money?
Thursday, June 03, 2010
We went to see a lawyer yesterday about the house project. Two hundred and fifty bucks per hour he gets.
We went to talk to the bank today in case we need to take out a loan to pay the lawyer.
I keep hearing cash register bells. I need to get my hearing checked.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
We have a new bid on the house.
After we told the General Contractor that we were priced out of the house project and started to walk away he said, "Wait. Let me sharpen my pencil".
And so he did.
The fancy, wooden windows are now vinyl. The Hardi-Plank® siding is also vinyl.
The tile surrounds in the bathrooms have been replaced with acrylic.
The 4" trim is 2 1/2" trim. The crown molding is gone.
The French doors to the patio are now a slider. Awning windows in the foundation wall are now "basement" windows. I'm not sure what the difference is.
Corian® counter tops have become plastic laminate. Cabinets have become shelves. The shower in the downstairs bathroom is gone. The "high quality rails, balusters and newel" have become "oak stair rails, painted balusters and oak newel". That's OK. I can deal with oak.
The good news is that the project now seems to be only 15% over budget instead of 150%. We might be able to do this.
I think we still have indoor plumbing and electricity planned.