Thursday, July 31, 2008

Congratulating myself on my Good Fortune

Interesting article in today's Seattle Times - "Heating-oil customers facing difficult choices are eyeing other energy sources"

We "faced difficult choices" in early 2007, and bit off the pricey conversion cost to natural gas. And in December of 2007, I calculated that the conversion would pay for itself in 4 years. But that was at the now reasonable-seeming cost of 3.65/gallon.

The article points out that oil prices now fluctuate between 4.38 and 4.79/gallon. If I assume $4.50, that would mean $1328 to fill up my old oil tank!! Now, we are saving 75% on fuel bills, and the conversion will take 3.1 years at these rates to pay for itself.

This must be how my friend who bought a Prius 2 years ago feels.

Monday, July 28, 2008

5 Star. 6 Burners.

Remember that Shiny New-to-Us Dacor Range we bought a few months ago?

So do we. And it's a good thing we took a picture, as we no longer own it.
As you might recall, I found the range advertised on Craigslist, for a price my Inner Cheapo couldn't resist. It was offered by a Genuine Appliance Vendor, with a Genuine Appliance 1-year Warranty, so, thought I, "What's the worst that can happen?"

And at first, the Shiny New-to-Us Dacor Range seemed ok, except that the oven temperature was a bit "temperamental". Put in 375F, for example, and it heated up to 360F and dinged as though done. But still, I baked salmon, roasted veggies, and made my favorite Baby Back Ribs recipe.
But the next attempt at oven use released a strong gas odor into the house.
The Dacor was supposed to be a duel fuel range. But the broiler is gas, and apparently it kicks in when the oven is preheating.

Enter the Appliance Service Call. He came, he saw, he smelled, he called the Dacor Service center hotline and ordered a part.
One oven-free week later, the part arrived, Mr Appliance Repairman returned and installed it, the Temperamtental Temperature readings were resolved, and cooking resumed.

At least, it resumed for two more oven-related dinners.
On the third, the gas smell returned. Repeat Service Call. He came, he saw, he smelled, he replaced some fittings and declared everything OK.

Only it wasn't. And as it was a gas smell, I thought to call my friends at Puget Sound Energy to see if this was cause for concern. PSE's Service Tech came, he saw, he smelled. He hooked up a carbon monoxide meter. And then he declared my Shiny New-to-Us Dacor Range 'Dangerous' due to the > 500 PPM carbon monixide being emitted, and capped my gas line.

So....the worst that could happen? Apparently we could die.

But didn't.

And City Discount Appliance offered to replace the range, rather than trying to fix it for the rest of Eternity.

And now we have this.

Five Star. 6 Burners. Seriously Cool.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's Over

The Tiling is Done. Caulked, too.

Will I ever, ever, EVER use chair rail again on a wall with an outside corner like this? Why no. No, I won't.

The wall doesn't meet at a 90 degree angle, you see, so my Tiling Toy doesn't work.

I destroyed 3 pieces of chair rail trying to get this aligned correctly, and finally settled for "good enough" rather than perfect.

Next up: towel bars, wall repair, and paint.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Going the Distance

After weeks of working in Portland, the Project List has been suffering from extreme neglect while my weekends are spent on laundry, repacking, and catching up on the rest of my day job that I didn't get done because I was doing my day job.

Which leads to lack of progress, and of course lack of blog entries about progress.

Since I've officially returned - well, except for that little matter of Detroit next week and Chicago in August - progress can continue.

And I've decided to Go the Distance.

I didn't count on running out of pencil liner. Argh. So close.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Last Straw

Back when we had our flooding incidents, and I first discovered the Mighty Downspout Extender right next to the back drain, I did wonder why it wasn't attached. After I attached it, and a few months later saw another water incident in the basement, I noticed it had myseriously been disconnected again. I didn't detach it, Martin didn't detach it....which left the yard service.

When I moved in, and mowing season started, I grafted on to my neighbor's yard mowing service. It seemed to make sense - our lawns join together, so this meant they would be tidy at the same time, lending a nice, uniform look to our joint properties. So even after I conclusively proved that the yard service was disconnecting the Mighty Downspout Extenderwhile mowing and propping it up against the side of the house rather than reattaching it, I didn't make a big deal of it - Ijust reconnected it myself every time and made a to-do list item for myself to find a permanent, non-detachable solution.

What I did communicate to the yard service - clearly, making sure they understood - was that I was gardening and they were not to mow the "weeds" in my garden. I thought they understood this, as mowing season this year started in April, and they managed to avoid that area from April through June, in accordance with my instructions.

July, though, is another story. When I came back from a business trip to my freshly mowed lawn, I discovered a freshly mowed herb garden as well. I've lost 3 oregano plants, two dill plants, a thyme, a rosemary, and my temper.

I considered losing my yard service as well.

Now that I've had a day to calm down, I've decided to deduct the cost of the plants from their bill, and send them a note explaining why. If that works, they get another chance. If not, I may have to do the unthinkable - mow it myself.