Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Little Elbow Grease

Last Sunday, as well as today, my brother Justin and I worked diligently around my house. He is a general handyman so I decided to use his reasonable labor rates and put him to work. The result was fantastic! Last Sunday we finalized the wall patches where oddly placed electrical outlets were located prior to our electrical renovation, then painted the room a stunning "Rapture Blue" that looks very nice. Justin did have a minor encounter with about a quart of paint.

Today we tackled the hideously overgrown bushes out front. We did not particularly care for them, they were too large and all around pretty nasty. The result is a wonderfully revealed front of the house. A little more pruning and finessing is all the yard needs to look fantastic. If you need a handyman, drop a note in the form of a comment with contact info such as an e-mail address and I'll put you in touch with Justin.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good: The contractor guy finally showed up to get an idea for price for the laminate installation we purchased last week.

The Bad: He tried to reschedule a second time. Thursday, I got a call from someone else saying that he wouldn't be able to make it - 20 minutes before he was scheduled to arrive. Friday I rescheduled for Saturday, to call him at noon to firm up the plans. Today (Saturday) I call, he says no big deal, he has to go out to Federal Way then will be up to Puyallup after a "quick measuring job" there. Worst case, I expect him about 2 PM. 5 PM rolls around and I am getting agitated, and I try to call. About 6:30 he calls back and says "Oh well will you be around tomorrow?"

Technically, yes - seeing as I live here. Unfortunately, for you, no I will not. I told him to come over and he did. 5 minutes after he arrived he walked out and let me know I should have a firm estimate by 3 PM Sunday.

The Ugly:
No matter how you slice it, we're going to have to chop off the bottom 2-4 inches of all the interior door jams to make the floor look right. It really isn't a big deal, as I was going to have them replaced later, just it will look ugly(ier) for awhile until I get some new doors to hang.

Now we wait. If anyone knows a place where I can get a good price on some basic 4-6 panel pre-hung interior doors (white) please let me know.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Thanks to my awesome neighbor and best friend Brandon, we now have a Wii! He picked one up in the middle of the work day on a tip that BestBuy had 3!!!! AWESOME!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Floor Plan

Creative title, eh?

Today we went down to Stone Mountain Flooring Outlet in Auburn, WA to purchase our flooring. We settled on a Washington Cherry laminate. At the current time we're going to cover the approximately 700 sq ft of the house that needs the flooring the most (see the drawing in a previous post. We will cover the large room, the two bedrooms, hallway, and closet).

Other than that, I've just paid our first water bill (phew. I was worried it wouldn't come.) and met with Washington Energy Services this morning to discuss a more efficient furnace solution.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Master Plan

Today I spent the day on call, so I had some free time. Since there is still a ton of snow outside, I decided to figure out exactly what it is going to cost to put down flooring in the remaining rooms. After a few sheets of paper and realizing that even with a straight edge I suck at drawing straight lines, I downloaded the trial version of AutoCAD (30 day trial) and got to work. It was like being in Mr. Showacy's class all over again (A wonderful teacher, by the way). A lot of measuring and a few hours later, and I have a complete drawing. To top off the day, someone called about the stove that is for sale and will be picking it up Thursday. Weee :-)

(Click the picture for a bigger view)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Home maintenance - Leaky Faucet - Ch1 Video Blog

Breaking the habit? No. Breaking the faucet. Arg, pirate treasure!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


What a wonderful looking floor! Our friend and tile contractor has finished today (mostly - the final sealing will be done in a few days) but the floor looks amazing. All we have to do is scrape the crap off the wall so we can install new baseboard and wha-lah!



Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Empire Never

"Eight-hundred five eight eight, two three-hundred, Em-pire!"

Yeah, right. I called Empire Today thinking how nice it would be to go with a larger company with a history rather than a local contractor (knowing I'd pay a bit more in overhead than with [insert anyone else here]) and have it financed as opposed to paying it off now. After all, we'd had a few estimates already for the same rooms that ran in the $2200-$4400 range so we had a rough idea of what the prices we wanted would be. Since the kitchen was no longer an issue I was shooting for more around $2000-$2500 estimate.

I set up an appointment for someone to come by between 7 and 9 PM. At approximately 8:15 he showed up as advertised, with 4 samples of laminate as I requested (although no hardwood samples). As my wife and I were looking over the samples, he drew out a floor plan and took measurements of each room. For the two bedrooms and living room, he told me to sit down. So I did.

$17500. After smiling (I had to hold back not laughing - this was worse than the first time I laughed at Amway's vitamin prices [which, by the way the retail price is like $80 for a 30 day supply of the Double X multivitamin]) and nodding, he explained to me that was the "retail" price, but since 'Empire' doesn't do "retail", it will be cheaper. He used his vis-a-via marker on a laminated piece of paper to mark out a few things, said that with the "reduction" and the "coupon" he had in his bag *tap tap* on the calculator *tap tap* it would be $12300. And he might have room to wiggle with his boss.

I politely reminded him (we had talked while he was measuring) that we have a baby on the way and will need the rock bottom price he could work out of his boss.

Final answer, Regis? $9855.00..."maybe" if he can talk his boss into it.

No thanks.

After he leaves I was so floored (ha!) I went online to do a little reading and I found others with similar experiences - $38000 quotes that were magically reduced to $19000 if they'd just do this or that. Not to mention the horror stories of "suitable substitutes" or poorly installed carpet by slime ball subcontractors.

I'm just happy the tile is looking good (although it is still not done. Grr.)

Monday, January 8, 2007

A Man's Guide to Pregnancy

I highly recommend this book to any - uh - man, who now or in the future may be, is living with a woman who is pregnant.

Book highlights:

Unbelievable things that you’d
better believe
1) Your wife’s feet are going to grow to roughly the size
of an elephant’s.
2) No matter how well you plan, you’re going to forget a
whole bunch of things.
3) A human being the size of a small watermelon is going
to burst out of a spot the size of walnut.
4) You’re going to talk to a stomach.
5) Everybody you meet is going to know more about
being pregnant than you.

Handy Saying Chart
The following is a guide you can carry with you so you always know
the right thing to say—or not.
Don't SayDo Say
Man, your feet look like elephant's.Would you like a foot rub?
Yes, you're fat.You've never looked better
Of course I'm scared to death about having this babyOf course this baby will be a change in our lives.  But working together we can make it a change for the better
I'm not doing diapers!I'll do diapers.
Lamaze class was sure stupid tonightLamaze class was sure informative tonight
I'm going out, see you when I get backI'm going out, what do you need?
What's for dinner?Let's go out for dinner.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Our First Baby - Chapter 1

My first attempt at a "video log". I assure you not all posts will go to this format, but do let me know what you think.


Well...the project continues (how a two day tile job got stretched into a week is beyond me)...but here is an update.

I must say though, we're still getting a deal. And to top it off, we've had good luck with the contractors we didn't know. Major props to Immaculate Construction out of Tacoma/Lakewood and Edgewood Electric out of Edgewood WA for their wonderful jobs they did earlier in the fall. If you're in the area and you need some work done look these guys up!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

A New Year

This new year is starting off great as an unexpected but very welcomed gift is given to us for the Christmas season.

Thursday, January 4, 2007


The rest of the durock under layer and the tile should be going in tomorrow. In the mean time, here are some pictures of this work-in-progress (Yes, I already took care of the dust on the lens).

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

I Demand a Refund!

I want my $6.99 back, as you can clearly see Glad ForceFlex bag has failed under minimal load.

The bag you see which appears 'full' is a second bag of trash containing mostly paper-like products that could not be recycled.