Lots of little jobs done on the to do list

November 15, 2017

I got most of the blinds up and most of the curtains got a wash and rehung.  I can make some adjustments on curtains as Mom found a great curtain rod for my big window at a 2nd hand store.  I cleaned the blinds by setting them in the tub with very hot water and Dawn dish soap.  That cleaned off most of the tar/smoke stains with just a bit of scrubbing via a sponge or brush.  The small bathroom blinds cleaned up great and getting new replacement brackets has worked out great for the new window.  The nice thing about blinds as they can let in light but not let people look in.

I cleaned up my front porch light using a little CLR and a scrubby sponge.  The glass globe around the light cleaned up real good.  When I repainted the front door I saw how weathered the door hardware had become and it needs replacing.  I want levers rather than knobs to open my doors and for about $60.00 I can replace both doors hardware with a finish that will look good with the grey door up front and the red door in back.  Once I know the cost of stitch removal this weekend I’ll know what I can afford to retro-fit the access doors.  I may not be able to do a full security retro fit but I sure as hell can buy/install screws into my homes studs.

I did a of cleanup or at least moved all the trash wood away.  I want to build a good cat cottage for the roaming alley cat mousers.  I’ll re-purpose some wood crates and build a nice cedar wood basking area for the cats above the compost heap. Add a little radiant barrier for insulation and you have a great little kitty cottage. I saved some metal from the contractor so I should be able to make a dry sleeping space for the kitties.


House is holding heat great and a stitches update

November 11, 2017

I have been blown away by how well the house holds heat since the windows and siding are complete.  My computer room now gets into the mid-70’s F. and retains the heat even after the wood stove burns out.  Of course it has not turned to cold in the valley since all the work was done but with the old windows heat would just leak out if we did not have plastic on the windows.  Mom and I are using a lot of the mill ends and smaller limbs for small fires and just to keep the firebox going through the day.  The only problem with that sort of fire is I’ll need to buy more of the mill ends for the rest of winter (for kindling) and too use next spring.  I have the materials for another wood rack and one more load of wood ordered for delivery this month.  That last load should fill up the main wood storage area and I’m storing the mill ends in a separate area that is easy access for adding more wood if needed this winter of spring.

I started painting the front door a grey semi-gloss that matches the color of the gables and frame work around the windows.  It is going to take a couple of coats of paint to cover up the old red door.  The worst part is the old door hardware looks kind of terrible against the new paint.  I have been looking at new locks and door levers rather than just the standard knobs.  Eventually I’d like to change all the doors to the lever type handles as they look great and are much easier for me to operate with my CIDP.  One thing I have become aware of since getting disabled is how much easier life can be if you retro fit faucets, door handles and other (ADA approved) hardware.  What is great is most of the hardware has a retro-look that fits with me going back to the original look of a 1910-20’s Craftsman House.

Update on the stitches: Every thing is looking good according to the doc in a box.  In a week I’ll get the stitches removed though it may take up to 6 weeks the cut to fully heal and give me another interesting scar.  The Doc in a box even asked where I got the bandage I was using to cover the cut.  The Walgreen’s brand of 3 inch x 4 inch knee/elbow bandage works great for covering a large cut and is very easy to apply.  I’m not sure if this is correlation or causation but when I started using Curad’s Anti-microbial silver solution  I noticed a significant reduction of pain around the injury site compared to using the little packets of anti- Bacterial cream I got from Doc in a box.  I believe but can not prove that the silver solution gel made a huge difference on how quickly this cut started healing.

Not to much more to add other than I got some tree limbs to cut up, more leaves to clean up and I have to install all of my solar motion lights.

The Siding is finished!

November 6, 2017

OMG the siding looks great!  The guy that installed the siding, trim and soffits worked everyday including weekends from 9 AM till dark to finish the job.  Everyday he cleaned up the cut up siding materials so the pets did not walk over cut metal or vinyl siding.

We all hear stories of bad contractors but I have had great contractors, so far and those craftsman that do a great job need more good recommendations as they are a treasure.

Once I clean up the yard and paint the exterior doors to match the new paint scheme. I’ll post pics of the finished job.  My Contractor was a bit dubious about the red corner post I demanded but after seeing it today he loves the look of it.  My siding guy said the house looked like a throw back to the “Americana” look.  Rather than using a glaring Red, White and Blue, I chose muted tones of barn red, cape cod grey and a subdued blue.  No pale pastels but colors that are strong but weathered and with a history.

I recommend you always get at least 3 contractors to bid a job and check out their references.  Once you find a good contractor then you ask who they would recommend for other jobs like electrical.  I found several great companies that do work homes but I also did the work of getting several bids before any work was done.  Most of the bids I accepted were in the mid-range price wise.  Remember if it sounds to good to true it probably is not true.  Learn some DIY skills and be familiar with the cost of basic materials for home maintenance.  I’m still learning how to do stuff around the house but I know the basic costs of materials needed to do a job.  These things take some effort on your part but it will save you a lot of money long term.

On to my stitches in my upper left hip area or my butt. While a bit extreme it does show how a simple fall can screw everything up as a prepper.  I’m probably going to pay around a grand on this medical issue.  At this time that is cheap as I’m using a “Doc in a Box” and did not go into an Emergency room.  I went to Walgreen’s and bought the biggest most flexible bandages on sale.  Athletic tape is not the best tape to use when you have a gash with stitches though I think it would be great for splints.  I’m probably replacing the bandage twice a day after washing with soap and water.  That may be more than what is needed but it is my ass I’m protecting and me not getting sick from infection.  So I’ll spend a bit extra on not getting an infection.  The tetanus shot did not set a flare up of my CIDP.  Though I do seem a bit sleepy and less energetic.   Well it is to be expected after taken a big physical hit.

Tried out the Walgreen’s 4×4 absorbent/drainage bandage.  Wow, this is a great bandage as it has a double thickness of gauze area over the wound. Also very easy to apply. Hey if I do dumb stuff at least I learn how to treat it.  You all can learn without doing my dumb stuff.

I cut my butt!

November 4, 2017

Actually I took a spill that made a rather large and nasty gash in my upper left buttocks fleshy part.  I’m fine though getting it stitched up a the local Doc in a box was a bit pricey! By the time I get every thing paid for I can say I have a thousand dollar “piece of ass” LOL.

Lessons learned:

  • Have your 1st aid supplies (Boxes) set up for different situations.  I had plenty of supplies for cuts  but it was all mixed in with cough syrup and vitamins and other stuff.
  • Make sure everyone knows where those supplies are located and have easy access to grab what they need and they don’t have go searching all preps to find them.  I was aware of where things were located but my Mom only had a general idea about location.  Label your storage and make sure the items you need in most  specific emergencies are located in one spot.   I’m going to set up my prep boxes for different sorts of 1st aid such as Preventive stuff like vitamins and tooth brushes. Cuts and broken bones, flu upper respiratory and stomach issues.  There will be some over lap but when you need to stop bleeding digging through Imodium or vitamins when you need gauze and tape  is not helpful.
  • People tend to get very excited when there is bleeding even if they don’t panic. My dogs even picked up I was injured so accept that people will get at least some what excited if they have to deal with an injury.  Telling someone not to panic won’t make them not panic.  If you are prepared for an injury will keep most panic/ excitement too a minimum.
  • If you need stitches or staples get them done within the 12 hours of the injury.  After that time frame you will have to do a lot of work to keep the wound bandaged and clean from infections.  Because I waited to have the wound stitched, I will have 2 weeks before the the stitches are removed and a possible 6 weeks before the wound is fully healed.  You can use bandages changed daily rather than stitches but it will take the wound more time to heal, also it will need more day to day care.
  • I went to “Primary Care” doc in a box.  Over all I think they are a great doc provider especially if you pay cash!  The VA would not have provided payment if I went to an Emergency room as it was not a Service connected injury.  While not cheap the “Doc in the box” has been much cheaper than an Emergency room visit.  I think getting basic health care via “Doc in a box” and paying is much smarter financially rather than dealing with insurance co-pays or Obamacare.
  • Last but not least I did get my tetanus shot so I’m protected for at least 5 more years of doing stupid stuff.

The new siding is almost finished.  Probably a couple more days and the job should be done.  I muted the colors a bit but I kept the red corner posts and corbel wrap.  I think the deep red corner posts makes the rest of the muted colors “pop”.  I need to paint the doors to match the house but that should cost less that $30.00 in paint.  I want to invest in a gloss or semi-gloss enamel for the doors paint.   Also the guy that is doing the siding install resided  my doggie door. His attention to detail is phenomenal.

We have a new cat hanging around shop and is a bit feral though very sweet.  The cat is black and gold so we are calling it Dakota.  We are trying to give it a safe space so the cat will “mouse” the shop. I want to build a cat box and basking area in the future but for now I just want the critters fed, watered and warm.

Welp off to take a real bath and try and apply the bandages to my butt.


Another wood rack complete, most of the fascia and soffets are done.

October 28, 2017

I got another 1/2 cord delivered via the Wood guy and it was mostly maple hard wood so I’m not unhappy about that delivery.  The next 1/2 cord is supposed to be red fir so that should give me a good mix of wood to burn this year.  I’m a bit maniacal about getting wood on hand after last winter as I was scrambling to buy wood late in the season (for me).  Now that I have built the new wood racks I’m not sure on how to gauge how much wood I have on hand compared to prior years.  Extra firewood on hand and drying is a good thing, not enough firewood is a very bad thing.

The new windows are already having a major impact on how we burn wood.  It is very noticeable on how the new windows help the house retain heat.  We can let the fire go out at night and the house is still warm in the morning.  It is so nice to see the house getting tighter and the wind can’t suck away the heat via bad windows.  Mom and I are having to re-learn how big of a fire to make in the wood stove but it is a good thing as we need less wood overall to warm the house.  With the new ceiling fans to move air, we don’t have such a problem of cold spots around the house.  Early days yet, testing the windows and stove but so far it seems very positive.

The work on the siding has started and the colors are a bit muted compared to my original house colors I still think it will look darn good overall.  Having the house wrapped and the additional insulation factor of the siding this house should darn tight and will look great for years to come!  No more painting of the house. Huzzah!

Shopped a local Holiday Bazaar and got another kerosene lamp and a very cute mug tree for coffee.  Mom snagged a very nice curtain rod and a pet door for her “future home” for $3.00.

There are a few things to clean up and get ready for winter but we have made a good start on those jobs.  Once the siding is completed we will post pics.  The before and after pics should be very significant.

Rebuilding the old wood racks and Siding starts on the 27th of October!

October 26, 2017

I heard from my wood guy and have a cord of Fir to be delivered Friday. So I rebuilt one of the original 2×4 wood racks to for the delivery.  This guy gives me at least a full cord perhaps a bit more so I need to build another rack and organize my wood splitting and cutting area.  He is bringing me a new wood splitting stump that is shorter, which should make cutting kindling less physical-energy intensive.  With one more delivery I will be much more positive about my wood energy situation.  While I have been scrambling for wood sort of late at least for me.  My total cost for getting wood will be lower compared to last year.  If you are curious the windows and ceiling fans have already made a difference on how we use the wood stove.  The additional stack added to the chimney pipe has helped a lot though part of firing up the stove is heating the pipe so it draws properly.  Both Mom and I are learning how to get the wood stove burning to start and using wood so we are not driven out of house because it gets too warm.

The Siding and stuff arrived today and is sitting in the alley ready for the install to get started tomorrow. Looks like a good weather forecast of cool temps (55-65 F. for highs) but mostly dry into next week for the installation.

I had a yard of drainage rock delivered. While the delivery guy did his best to place the rock I have to say spreading the rock around via a shovel and rake is a hard job.  Once the siding is gone from the alley I’ll have the same company deliver some “road mix” to my driveways. That should fill in all the gaps between the drainage rock and hopefully control some of the flooding due to snow melt to a minimum.  My driveway and shop are at a much lower elevation compared to most places along the alley so all I can do is start adding drainage on top of the clay soil.  Adding a lot of sand just makes a terrible sort of concrete.  I was surprised how much drain rock was need to fill in the low spots in the drive way.  I knew it was bad, I just did not know how bad the driveways were sloped.

It’s a bit crazy around here but overall we are finishing up our winter preps. The windows have already made an impact or how we heat with the wood stove.  Getting a great price on fire wood and most of the wood racks are built to keep the wood dry. By Friday the racks will be filled and tarped (covered) to keep dry.  Overall it was more of a late start ( than I preferred) but we are catching up with a quickness.


Almost 5 cords of wood ready for winter. New siding/ insulation starting Friday, a fire wood delivery of Fir for the wood stove.  The new windows are awesome!

Most windows in and it is quiet in the house

October 25, 2017

I had high hopes for the new windows helping with retaining heat in the winter or cold in the summer as I am trying to be as energy efficient as possible.   What I did not expect was how much “new windows” would insulate against noise.  Mom is very sensitive to noise but I sort of treated as a thing of living in a city.  Well noise is a part of city life, good windows really cuts down on the noise of city life.  There is one small window that will be replaced, Casa de Chaos is quiet.  I’m no longer hearing all the sirens from 5 blocks away nor the idiots at the 4 way stop and the bass thump a dump.

Ambient noise can wear down a person. While many people prefer to be stimulated constantly via noise of a radio/tv. I find the quiet rest full if a bit disconcerting this week. I supposed all those sounds kept my brain engaged at a low level but at best a sort of distraction.  I’m sure I’m explaining poorly but few people are no more ready for quiet than they are ready for a lack of city street lights.

I feel like the home is good solid but I feel like something I depended on has been snatched away in a good way but I still want those noise, I got used to having around.  If that makes any sense.  It’s a lot like shutting all the fans after installing the ceiling fans.  You don’t know how loud the fans are until you start turning them off.  I suppose it is like having an audio “cane” that kept you audio stimulated and then that cane was snatched away and you have hear the silence.  For myself it has been a an Awakening to quiet and listening to it.  It has been a little disconcerting getting used to the quiet but so far I like that I’m resetting my expectations. Overall not listening to the noisy-ness of the Outside world is good!

The folks that installed the windows were great sharing their knowledge on setting windows.  I learned a lot by asking simple questions and now I think Mom and I can add a window to the “Chicken house” that will be solid.   I’m no carpenter but adding the window should be simple if not easy.  All I need to do is cut one 2×4 to fit secure the window to said 2×4’s that I blocked out for the studs and then a simple plunge cut with the router.  I have the framing to hide all the screw ups of the simple cut out so we are good to go for that project.  I feared this project because I was so ignorant on putting in a window securely. Now I feel I can take a shot at the project.

Not a big job but I finally got the the Kitchen blinds hung correctly in the window frame.  Okay it wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t all that bad and the curtains hides all of my fixes.  No longer will raising the blinds in the kitchen entail a prayer and hope that the blind will spill into the sink.  It might seem like a small victory but life is filled with those small victories.