Thursday, October 25, 2012

On the road again

Ric left this morning with a smaller Penske truck heading to Michigan.  We decided we really did not have room for a couple BIG things and could not get anyone down here to make an offer on them, so they are heading to a couple family homes that will appreciate them.

We timed this so after dropping the Penske truck off in Traverse City, he will be heading back with his parents as they make their way down to Florida for the winter.   This way he can help out with most of the driving instead of Don doing all the driving.   

They will do Halloween at Grandpa's, visit a "couple more days in Flint area" and then start working their way down to Zephryhills Florida.  I believe they will try to stop in Mobile AL area to see Teri/Gary before heading back over to Florida.   I should them after election day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rose Wiklanski, RIP

We received word yesterday afternoon that Debbie's Aunt Rose had passed.

This was today's Non Sequitur:

Goodbye Aunt Rose. Give a hug to Dad and Uncle Leo for us.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tweak, Tweak, Tweak

So far, only one call-back to our roof dudes. The vent from our hot water heater was a bit too close to the rubber roof. Nothing damaged, but the heat had caused a bit of a ripple in the material, meaning that eventually, there would have been damage. A bit of flashing to divert the heat away from the roof and all is well. Naturally, since the work is all done, the rainy season has decided to vacate the state once again. We haven't had so much as a heavy dew since the roof work was completed, so we still don't know how much quieter things will be with the added insulation and a non-metal roof. It is definitely cooler in the Florida room with the max temp staying pretty even with the rest of the trailer. We still need some sun shades to hang from the new porch; there is about 45 minutes where the sun is low enough to sneak under the porch roof before it goes behind the trees. The heat film we put on the windows helps with that, but keeping the sun completely off the front of the trailer is better yet. The shades will also make the porch more usable in the summer, while still allowing us to let the sun in during our frigid Florida winters.

Anyway, we're done with big stuff for now. We'll be doing a great deal of tweaking that doesn't involve large amounts of money, but probably the only big-money project we will do in the short term is swapping out the windows in the Florida room for ones made of glass instead of shrink wrap. We're required to put siding on before next May, but I'm going to see if I can get that extended. The cushion is getting pretty thin; it would be nice to give our savings account a chance to build back up before we smack it again.

Yesterday, I started cleaning up around the trailer. It's always amazing to see the amount of debris even the simplest project can create. I hauled over 100 pounds of metal to the scrap yard, but only got about half the money I expected for it. I wrongly assumed the price/pound I got for soda cans would be what I got for all our aluminum scrap. I didn't realize that soda and beer cans are some sort of super-high-grade aluminum that gets almost twice the price of other kinds of aluminum. Shows what I know. I also had several pounds of something called "irony aluminum" on my scale ticket. I wasn't aware aluminum could be ironic. Whatever it is, it ain't worth much. In any case, I got enough to pay for our laundry for the next month or so, which is still better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick found in a sewer and covered in blood from a mouse with the hantavirus. I also got the road swept clear so we don't have to worry about picking up any stray nails or screws with our car tires. After driving up and down the road numerous times, of course.

Today I tackle the oh-so-fun job of policing up all the bits of foam all over the ground. I have no idea what I'm going to do about the "snow" where the guys were ripping the foam sheets with a skill saw. I'll try to rake up what I can, but it may have to simply "disperse" as much as I hate to do that. Then the rest of the raking and trimming, and maybe, if I have time and umph, get a start on laying out walks, planting beds, etc. The joys of a yard.

I didn't bother to watch either the Presidential or Vice-Presidential debates. No one running for office this year will explain to me why Jon Corzine and the rest of his Wall Street golfing buddies are still walking around as free men, and until they do, I don't give a damn what else they have to say. It doesn't sound like I missed much in any case, given that the media is treating the whole thing like a cheerleading competition (with some damn-ugly cheerleaders). Does anyone remember when debates were about ideas instead of an exchange of insults? Or when the holders of high office could manage to conduct themselves with more decorum than a 12-year-old boy when the teachers uses words like "asinine" (Dude! She said, "Ass.") or bupkis (Dude! She said "Butt kiss.")?

Not that it matters much in my case anyway. I just realized that I probably won't be back to Florida in time to vote, and that I don't even care.

Well, off to fold laundry, work outside until lunch, then scan pictures until time to make dinner. Fun, fun!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Losing My Religion

For the first time in US history, Protestants are no longer the majority. The article gives a number of reasons why, but primarily it is due to 1/3 of those under 30 have no religious affiliation. Some of that is due to definitions; no religious affiliation just means you don't self-identify with the label "Protestant" or "Catholic" yet still attend church services and/or believe in God, pray frequently, etc. Baby Boomers give lip service to disestablishmentarianism, but it's Gen-X and Y who are more likely to be found in house churches or other non-traditional religious establishments. But a big chunk of that 33% is people who are simply atheists. And so a little R.E.M.:

About fifteen minutes ago, the last of the workers packed it in and left, and I gave a big chunk of change to the owner. I tried to take pictures of the roof, but without before pics, I'm not sure how much information they convey. While they were here, we also had them replace our back door with something that a) closes, b) stays closed when the wind blows, c) doesn't allow a cat to walk in under the door without crouching, d) locks. It's almost like living in a real house. Anyway:

Snow on an 80-degree day.

Snazy new back door. Only problem is the plumb door really shows how bad a job was done on the original Florida room. Inch-and-a-half difference from the top to the bottom.

Our new, gutterless roof line. Less work for me!!
Roofline on the south side.
And the fancy rubber roof already hard at work reflecting away the sun.
Last but not least, the completed porch:

Now we just have to wait for our savings account to stop making pitiful mewling noises, and we can move on to the next phase.

Details, Details...

Porch is coming along nicely. There isn't much left to do at this point other than railings on the steps and the last bit of the skirting around the bottom:

The next major step won't be anything that will show in photos. We are getting additional insulation up on the roof plus a membrane roof over everything that will hopefully take care of the leaks. It will be so nice to not have to walk around a bucket in the middle of our living space.

Sunday, we made a cross-state road trip for a ship inspection at Port Canaveral. We could see SpaceX's Falcon 9 sitting on the launch pad from one of the forward lounges. It was, unfortunately, the most interesting part of the trip. For me, the actual ship inspection isn't really all that interesting as I don't sell cruises. And frankly, if you've seen one stateroom, you've seen them all. I go for the free lunch on-board. Only this time, instead of the group having a private lunch in the formal dining room, we had to fight it out with the boarding passengers in the buffet. So, yea; fifty bucks in gas for sore feet and an underwhelming buffet on a rather tired-looking cruise ship. I've been on several ships from a couple of the "bottom tier" cruise lines, and either I'm mis-remembering my First Cruise Experience on Carnival, or these other guys just don't measure up. We have a Celebrity cruise-to-nowhere on their newest ship in December. "Overwhelmed" is probably setting the bar too high; I'm hoping for welmed.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Taking Shape

The porch and the roof are essentially complete. There is still railings, trim work, gutters, etc., but it is pretty much what it is:

The rainy season seems to have returned with 90 degree days and matching humidity, and thunderstorms in the evening. At least it isn't interfering with the work too much.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

A Good Day

The weather finally cooperated and, combined with a much larger crew, resulted in significant progress today:

It looks like the work will bleed into next week, but not by much. At the latest, things should be wrapped up by next weekend.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

A Bit of Progress

We were visited by a full-blown monsoon about two hours after our porch dudes showed up. They tried to shrug it off, but eventually it became dangerous for them to operate power tools. By that time, it had gone from rain to RAIN to holy-crap-I-can't-see. They packed it in so fast, one of them actually left his lunch sitting on our outdoor swing. The good news is that the worst is supposed to be over in a few hours, then back to the normal pattern of good weather most of the day with scattered rain in the afternoon. Here's where we stand at this point:

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Work Begins

We got delayed by a day, but first thing this morning we received a pile of lumber and concrete blocks. Of course, just because we're trying to do something, rainy season decided to make a come-back. Once things cleared a bit, the guys got started by moving our current front steps around back. The iron steps that were back there when we bought the place had nearly rusted through, and they were actually too tall, interfering with opening the back door. So now the back of our place looks like this:

Wider and more stable are definitely both a big plus. The rail is on the wrong side, but it may just go away completely rather than going to all the work of moving it to the other side. It's not like the old steps had a railing, nor do most of the back porches in the park. If taking them off, cleaning them up and re-attaching them doesn't end up being a big deal, I may do it. Or not. I was born lazy. 

I also talked to the contractor about replacing the back door with something that is a bit more weather-tight so wind and rain will quit blowing into our living space. He said they have a basic door with no window that will screw right into the same hole. I said, "Do it." Because the guys are already coming out here, there won't be any installation charge, just the cost of the door. Can't beat that with an ugly stick cut from a tree you can't see for the forest.

The guys were able to get a rough outline of the deck going before the rain came back and ran them off for the day. Naturally, the instant they got everything packed up and got into the truck, it stopped raining. The weather liars say it will be like this for the next several days. Anyone like to bet that this will be the one time they're right? Anyway, here's how it looks so far:

Originally, they were going to do the roof first, then build the deck, which I thought was a little backwards, But I assumed something to do with hurricane codes meant they needed to anchor the porch roof before the deck was in the way. Then this morning, the contractor called and said they decided to do the deck first, then build the roof to the deck. I'm completely indifferent as long as something is getting done. With all the preliminaries out of the way, like moving the old steps and getting the leveling jack off the trailer tongue, I expect things will go faster.

With some luck, I should be able to post updates every day or two. Unless that lazy thing kicks in.