Broken basement stairs fixed – Carl Lenk
We had air conditioner repairman in today to work on our condenser unit – he replaced the fan motor and did some cleaning so the central air runs better. Since I was going to be home anyway for that, I scheduled a carpenter named Carl Lenk to come and rebuild the top two basement stairs for us – they were both soft and in danger of breaking, and it always made us a bit nervous going up and down the stairs. Stephanie’s dad has been nagging us to get them repaired for months.
Carl did a wonderful job, and pictures of the work will be forthcoming soon.
As he was working on the stairs, I was reading Neal Taflinger’s blog about Homespun – the new store in Irvington that features work by local artists and crafts folks. The Taflingers are the folks who created INDIEhandicraft Exchange that we’ve attended several times – lots of great local artists making cool stuff.
So I’m reading a recent post on Neal’s blog about an artist they worked with to create the painted logo above the register in their shop, and it turns out that it was Carl Lenk – the very same dude who was rebuilding our basement stairs. Turns out that in addition to being a handy handyman, he’s a mural artist and sculptor doing work around town – very gorgeous stuff. Cool. We know a popular local artist and stuff.
links for 2008-03-05
Classic period light fixtures and vintage glass shades. Very, very cool, and very much in keeping with our house.
The Whole Story
So apparently, sometime recently the furnace in my old house went out, and the pipes froze and burst. One of the people viewing the house found this, and the contractor they brought with them to see it shut off the water this morning. So the furnace needs replace, the pipes need lots of work, and more than likely the offer I had in the works to buy my house will go down the tubes.
On top of this, I’m having yet another bout of pleurisy and round of drugs to combat it — I’ve been taking the prescription steroid Prednisone. The working theory of my pulmonologist is that I have early onset Rheumatoid Arthritis, which causes joint inflammation and lung inflammation, and if left untreated causes severe joint damage and other problems. I’ll scheduled to go back to see the guy in April, but if I keep having reoccurring problems I think I’ll need to go back in sooner.
The Prednisone is both a good and bad thing — it certainly makes me feel way better – my stiff knees and joints go away, the pain in my lungs goes away, my endless stuffy head/runny nose goes away. My mood is way, way better – I feel great, have tons of energy.
The downside is that I’m ravenously hungry all the time, and even when I’m eating healthy, I gain lots of weight. I’ve gained 30 pounds since Christmas time, when I started taking the new medication. And aside from actual weight gain, I’m also retaining water, which is as bad or worse. And I’ve been exercising regularly, too, which you would think would help – but not so much really.
Basically I’m having a really crappy day.
Refurbishing an Old Gas Grill
Having just finished (or almost finished) this task, I’m infinitely qualified to give advice on the subject. So here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get the most out of an old gas grill:
1. Throw the old gas grill in the back of your truck.
2. Drive to the local landfill.
3. Give the attendant money to take the grill.
4. Drive to the store and buy a brand new gas grill.
Trust me, you’ll spend far less money and HOURS less time this way, than if you do what I stupidly did and take the old one apart and repair it.
Don’t let my friends or family members fool you into trying to do it yourself, no matter how hard they try.
“It’s easy!” they say. “Just buy replacement parts and put them in!” They’re liars. I love them, but they’re god-damned liars, every one.
In the summer of 2003, I bought a burner to replace the old one. I bought the wrong size, of course, so I had to take it back and get a different size. I managed to remember to do that in the spring of 2004. I opened the burner and read the instructions. They were so complex that I didn’t bother to try to figure them out.
Then I realized that I also needed the ignition switch and grates, too. So the grill sat for another season until spring of 2005. I went to 4 different stores to find the ignition switch.
Replacing the burner was a BITCH. I’m not kidding. Taking the old one out almost kicked my ass and took 3 hours. And putting the new one in took me 4 hours, and the help of my friend Kathy to force the burner into place after I assembled it. The assembly was difficult because it was customizable for several different grills, and I had to measure and figure out which assembly went with mine, and follow unusable instructions to do it. It took an hour to replace the ignition switch, for the same reason.
I also had to replace the rock grate and the food grate. I went Target, Menards, Lowes, Kmart, and WalMart before I found the right size. I bought and returned 3 grates that I thought were right (yes, I measured) before I found the ones I needed. I found the rock grate at Walmart, and the food grate at Menards. Stephanie also found new grill knobs at Menards.
After all the running around, I spent about $80 on replacement parts for the old grill, and about 12 hours either buying parts, measuring the grill, or putting stuff in. (For less than $100, I could have had a new gas grill, and 3 years sooner.) Finally, I was done. Finally, we could eat. Maybe.
Today, I went to replace the empty propane tank with a full one. I went to a gas station nearby that carries them, but the lady behind the counter had no idea how to trade mine out. So I went to 7 other gas stations downtown. No propane. Maybe tomorrow I’ll finally be able to grill out.
I’ve recovered from the crappy weekend, somewhat. In the evenings, I’ve been doing a bunch of small, “finish-it-in-one-shot” projects that have gotten small, niggling problems out of the way. And I’ve still had plenty of time to play with Spike, so he seems happy. I think if I keep working this way, I’ll get through it. It would be really nice to win the lottery, though. At the very least, there’s no way I could put the house on the market until I accomplish all of these projects anyway, and I wouldn’t be able to do it until spring. So I’m stuck here one way or another; may as well make the best of it!
I had some good things happen this weekend, actually… I had a great lunch with Lori B. while planning a scavenger hunt — details to be announced later. And I went with Dan and Doug to see the Harry Potter movie, which I loved, by the way.
I also worked out some additional organizational things to do last night, which I’ll be putting into action, tonight. They should help me get on the right track for getting stuff done around the house. I also got more work done on the inventory I’ve been doing of all my stuff. I have all of my DVDs and Videos cataloged, as well as all my electronics and a good chunk of my book library. Once I get my CDs cataloged, I can turn all of it over to my insurance company, which will lower my rates. Pretty cool.
I had a really crappy weekend. I worked all day Saturday on the house, especially the living room, and I got nothing at all done. I managed to get the old nails pulled out of the ceiling joists for only 1/3rd of the ceiling. I got the blocks of wood nailed up that will support the new drywall for only 1/2 of one wall.
For the backdoor, I put the second handle on the trap door, so it’s easier to open. And I ran the extension cord up from the basement. I shoved some foam around the top opening of the door, and tried to use the spray foam to fill in around the cracks on the sides of the door. That crap is really messy and hard to control and I got it on my hands and still can’t get it off. I got some of the leaves raked, but I still have to bag them, and I need to clean the gutters out again. And the rest of the leaves are falling, so I still have to do that. I need to cut back some tree limbs, and caulk the one gutter. And when am I going to find time to do that? I have to spend the evenings with the dog, to make up for the fact that he’s alone all day. The poor little guy; it’s not his fault the house is in such shitty shape.
I’m really pissed and frustrated with the house. It’s ugly as hell, and I’m not making even the slightest dent in getting it in shape. There’s only one room that’s even close to looking nice, and I’ve been in the house 10 months. At this rate, it will be 15 years before the house is in order. I hate this fucking house and want to move. There’s way too much shit to do, and there’s no way I can accomplish all this by myself. For some of these jobs I need another person, and I’m going to have to hire someone to help me. That just makes me more pissed off.
I have to do something totally different than the direction I’ve been going with the house. I need to clean out and rearrange something, or move something around. I’m thinking of just closing the living room off altogether. Maybe moving all of building supplies and materials out of the back room into the living room, putting up a door, and closing it off altogether until spring and not thinking about it. I may do that this week during the week.