Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas fun with the Jedi Mind Trick...

So, I'm over at the in-laws visiting for Christmas. My nephew (all boy-high-ya-karate kicking eight year old ball of energy) has received quite possibly an illegal amount of geek-laden sci-fi related paraphernalia for Christmas. I think he even got a lightsaber that emanated movie sounds when swooshed in mock battle. On the floor in the living room was a giant box of dragon master inspired action figures. Everything from Star Wars to Halo. I didn't even know there was such a thing. X-Box action figures? C'mon, Really??

So, I'm having a Bourbon with my brother-in-law (father of said nephew) when I comment on the impressive collection...

Me: "You know...He's gonna be that guy"
Brother-in-Law: "What Guy?"
Me: "The 30 year old one who lives in your basement and wears the chewbacca mask to the conventions"
Brother-in-Law: "Your crazy" --perplexed, perhaps terrified...couldn't tell from my angle replies-- "You guys wanna go out and toss the football some??"

Thats what you call the perfect execution of a Jedi mind trick...


HP TouchSmart...

This is the expression I had when I powered up my new 22'' touchsmart PC. Yep. Grinning ear to ear. I can't say it was all surprise though... after all, I picked it out, purchased it, and wrapped it. I was however, quite surprised at how easy it was to get going right out of the box. No messy wires; all peripherals are bluetooth compatible. I plugged the coax into the back and the easy-to-use setup wizard walked me through configuring my TV. That's right, it's a TV too. It starts by asking for your zip code. It then connects to the internet to provide a list of cable providers in your area. You select your provider and it automatically downloads your channel line up and configures your guide. DVR is as easy as it is on your set top box, and it comes with a familiar remote control. Loaded with windows Vista and the latest office suite, it makes a nice homework center / YouTube toy too. When you consider the price of a 22" LCD TV with an integrated DVD Player and recorder, oh yeah, and a computer...the price is definitely right, perhaps even cheaper than purchasing the components separately, and it just happens to be the coolest thing around. Can't you tell by the look on my face??

Monday, December 22, 2008

Almost There...

My knees are killing me and my back aches, but I'm nearly finished. I still have to add the crown molding and install the shower components. I'm waiting on the latter since I have to order most of the pieces from clawfoot supply. Once the other components are in I'll enjoy a nice soak. So, the punch list is getting smaller...

  • Install marble threshold
  • Install doors (closet and bathroom)
  • Grout the shower wall
  • Install shower ring
  • Install the shower fixture
  • Plumb tub drain and trap
  • Wall paper the hall
  • Install the crown molding
  • Finish painting the wainscoting
  • Caulk the baseboards
  • Paint the ceiling

So, all in all not too bad. I managed to get most of it done without any major complications other than the perpetual lack of energy and time. We did have one problem as a result of the master bath rebuild...We had planned on taking advantage of the low interest rates with a refinance. I locked in at a nice 4.7 % fixed rate. I stood to save myself a few hundred dollars a month, but the appraiser showed up when the bathroom was down to the studs with a hole in the floor. He could only calculate our homes value based on one bathroom. He said the value would obviously go up when the area was completed, based on quality of course; but the blow was devastating. With only the one bathroom we were $25,000 to $30,000 dollars off target. We could expect an easy $40,000 dollar return when the project is completed, but the timing couldn't have been worse. So, that $300 dollars a month I was counting on just became a casualty of procrastination. I wish that I had completed the bathroom sooner, but maybe it was fate. Maybe rates will dip even further and I'll save $350 a month.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Drywall Complete

I've been asked several times why I don't do drywall. People will say "you guys do everything else, what is the problem with drywall?" My response is always the same...a mans got to know his limitations, and mine is drywall. Sure, it's relatively inexpensive at less than four dollars a sheet, but after many attempts, I'm convinced that finishing drywall is an art form perfected over time by skilled craftsman. For instance, when I got home Tuesday evening, I was puzzled by how the crew was able to hang the drywall, mud it, let it dry AND sand it...all in one day. Upon closer examination though, I found my answer. It had not been sanded. That's how unbelievably perfect they feathered the joints; it hadn't been sanded yet but it stilled looked better than my finished work, and they were in and out in two days. It would have taken me twice as long just to hang it. When considering the cost of time, hiring a pro to back you up just makes sense.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Master Bathroom Taking Shape

Well, my attempt to have the master bath completed before Christmas might actually happen. This has been a long time coming, and as you can see from the photos, it's quite the transformation. This has been without question the most challenging of all of our projects given that the floor was so ridiculously uneven. I did everything I could short of ripping out the entire sub floor and re-framing it. Because this was once a porch, it is pitched somewhat. Not terrible, but I wouldn't want to fumble around in there in the dark; or after a few drinks. Anthony is putting up the drywall today, so I expect to be trimming it out this week. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Parade

The Summerville Christmas Parade was held this past weekend. I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout and the parade itself. There was this little kid in front of us that was maybe six or seven years old. He screamed "Merry Christmas!!" to every float that went by. It must have fired up the volunteers because they all genuinely smiled and waved and repeated his cries for a joyous season. Future head of our chamber of commerce no doubt.