Cameron came down to help me install our new ceiling fan. We got derailed in a big way but in the end we got it up and reasonably well balanced. I am very happy with the result.
Update: On a hunch I just discovered that the fan blade that the balancing weight eventually went on was the one exactly opposite the Hunter logo. Yay!
One of the lame things about buying a ceiling fan is the Energy Star label. Fans are rated for their efficiency in cubic feet per minute per watt. The range goes from 60 or so to around 185. You’d think that the EPA would grant the Energy Star label to fans that have a higher airflow efficiency but instead it’s granted only to fans that use compact-fluorescent lighting. Way to go EPA!
This reminds me of when Australia outlawed incandescent bulbs. Regulations ought to make sense. Instead of “no incandescents” the regulations should state “must produce at least n lumens per watt”. Then if someone comes up with an incandescent bulb that’s more efficient than CFLs we won’t have to go to congress to get permission to buy one.
This weekend, in preparation for paving that obnoxious strip of would-be grass between the sidewalk and the street, I worked myself silly to get that area cleared.
This means I finally put the rest of the roadbase gravel into the garden and put the fence back together. No veggies this year, sorry. Hopefully next year some peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and maybe some garlic or something. Yellow squash may go in the front flower bed like we planned this year (but didn’t).
And I transplanted the irises. This was really a lot of work and we can only hope that they’ll survive the ordeal. I think I did just barely. Since I assumed they wouldn’t enjoy being out of the soil for two or more days I worked late into the night thinning them into their new home.
I am profoundly weary today but very satisfied with all we got done over the weekend. We even got to enjoy a delicious lunch with the Hughes’ at Saigon. Oh, and we bought us a ceiling fan for our bedroom. More on that when it’s installed (gotta gripe about “energy star”).
Cameron came over and helped me put together some shelves for the shed and the garage.
Our projects are notoriously frought with poor planning and peril. Ask us about the trampoline pit. We came out of this one with only one very minor injury. We thought briefly about building wooden shelves but this was way less work and not really all that much money. Plus I can move them any time I want. These are the same kind as we put in the crawspace.
Good times and chocolate were had by all.
We finally got our grass in today with the help of many family, friends, and neighbors. 3000 square feet (about 278m²) of Kentucky Bluegrass. We have read and been told that the best time to put in sod is the late fall because the grass is already going dormant and the weeds aren’t trying to propagate.
Some of our neighbors have put in seed instead of sod. A good number of them gave up on the seed later and put in sod anyway. The rest (with a few miraculous exceptions) mow their weeds every week wishing they had used sod. You get what you pay for. You have been warned.
An interesting side note: If you search for “how to grow weed in a crawl space” on Google Images one of the first results is this one from late in the house construction.
Also, you may notice me putting in metric conversions where appropriate. This is because I suddenly have a lot of friends who use a measurement system that makes sense. Maybe one day our backwards country will stop pretending to be so important. We are to the point now where imperial units are really just used for labels and marketing. The US suffers from a bad case of NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome. Don’t get me started on ATSC (or NTSC for that matter!).
We had a rather nice shed built on our property. The shed is an 8ft×8ft (2.43mx2.43m) wood-frame building with with 8ft walls built by a Spanish Fork company called Super Sheds. Thanks to the floor and the roof, no, it doesn’t look like a cube, but it’s a bit tall.
At first I had some doubts about it but once we put all our junk in it I was very happy. It doesn’t even have shelves yet (maybe soon?) but everything fits.
Rebecca and I leveled the dirt and my dad and nephew helped us get the gravel in.
Cameron came down on Saturday and helped me assemble some shelves in my crawlspace that Jeremy payed for in exchange for letting him store his stuff down there while he’s in Alaska.
The shelves were easy to assemble and quite sturdy. Cam also helped me fix our dining room chairs which had been on my to-do list for way too long. Good times!
A check which I deposited today (reimbursement for electricity used by the disaster recovery company) represents the end of the ongoing disaster that was the flood. A few notes on the experience:
- Almost every time someone came to fix something they damaged something else while they were there.
- It took longer to completely resolve the problem than it took to build the house in the first place.
- Proper drywall work takes at least two visits. Don’t accept anything less.
- Fieldstone‘s warranty representative was excellent. Thanks Daphne!
- Shamrock Plumbing couldn’t have cared less about us if they tried. Bob, in particular, kept using the word whatever in our conversation and described the whole thing as, “a little mistake.” Please boycott them with me.
- Free trials, negotiable prices, and smart consumers don’t mix.
In the end we had Shamrock take their water softener back. You may recall that we had stopped the check we had payed them with so that for a while the price was again negotiable. The original price we were quoted was about $1350, which included the plumbing and installation. I was able, before the flood, to negotiate that down to $1147. After the flood I wasn’t about to pay them for the installation which caused it, nor was I willing to pay for the plumbing which they’d have to leave me anyway and was, therefore, free. Add to that the fact that the only portion of their cost which would be recoverable should they fail to negotiate is the wholesale price of the softener (couldn’t be more than $500 or so) minus whatever it cost them to remove it (maybe $100?) . That leaves them with a theoretical lowest possible price of $400. I’m confident that if they understood that they would have given me a much better price.
Shamrock offered to sell us the softener for $995, which I refused but told him to think about it some more. After a week or so he called back and said he was confident that $995 was a good deal so I told him to schedule to have it removed. The very next day he called back to offer to sell it for $800. At this point it might have been smart of me to accept but I chose to stand on principle and refuse.
So if you happen to be in the midst of a water-softener free trial keep in mind that they may be able to negotiate down as far as $500 or so before they can’t stomach it. Power in a negotiation comes from whatever your best alternative is should you fail to negotiate. Your best alternative is probably to pick up a similar softener at Home Despot for $560 and install it yourself. Their best alternative is to write up your free trial as a marketing expense and swallow the cost.
Anyway, over the few months we had soft water I became accustomed to it. Also, the softener was bypassed for a few days and everything was crusty with hard water deposits in no time. So, yes, I’m a soft water convert. I actually prefer to shower in soft water now. I got used to that weird slimy feeling on my hands. After Shamrock took their softener back we bought a new one from Kinetico. The Kinetico softener is vastly superior in many ways.