Home Improvement

The Joys Of Truck Ownership

One of the joys of owning a ten-year-old pickup truck is I’ve come to know every bump, grind, screech, and jangle it makes as I traverse my way thru life in it.  Plus the joy it gives my granddaughters when they get to ride it in. They just love being able to sit up high and look into the other cars.

This truck has served me well, it’s moved both of my boys, more than once. Helped friends move more times than I can count. Not to mention the almost constant trips to county landfill with yard trash that for whatever reason the contracted waste folks refuse to pick up. (Other than just getting 2 paid holidays a year I wish I had their job – they don’t do shit).

The truck has given me very little in the way of repair problems. Had to replace the water pump (not unusual, but not my fault), and the clutch, which was, probably, completely my fault. And an outside mirror, which was son-the-younger’s® fault. But we found the replacement parts on Amazon and could fix it ourselves.

So, since I don’t listen to the radio while driving (the DJs in the Orlando/Daytona area just plain suck), I get to listen and talk back to my truck all the time.  This morning on the way in I heard a completely new sound. What the hell could it be I wondered? It’d not a “clunk”, not a “grind” more of a rusty spring “squeak”.  Now I know I need new struts on the front end (those are what have replaced the old shock absorbers, at least in mid-sized trucks), but that’s not what it sounded like. These usually just go “thunk” right before maxing out your credit card.

Now I do have to mention I have a pretty good hearing impairment. After playing in bands in my school days, years of DJ work (both on-air and parties) and then 20 years of military service with lots of “booms”, my ears are fairly shot.

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The story of my life. Think my brother can relate too.

After about 3 miles of this unknown noise, I’m starting to worry about it. And as usual, I get impatient driving and go around the line of folks who can’t seem to do the speed limit in the left lane (morons). As I pull up next to the truck that was directly in front of me (also an older model pick up, but not as old as mine), I hear this squeak loud as hell! It was that truck all along! I have no idea what his problem was, but when we pulled up to the red light and stopped, he was still squeaking. While stopped!!  Hope he doesn’t blow up or something anytime too soon.

So now I’m back to the regularly scheduled tunes that my familiar old truck plays me every day. Such a nice symphony 🙂

Peace,
B

P.S. A shout out to my son-the-younger® who helped me through a very rough patch yesterday. I felt myself spinning into a well of depression. Since I know he also has bad periods of depression, I asked him for help. And he came through. Together we replaced the ceiling fan in his bedroom (See Home Repair as Therapy to see how it helps me), and then he cooked Wifey® and I a most wonderful Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya for dinner. I even have leftovers for lunch!

I know he won’t read this (he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter so he won’t get any notification).  So for family and friends who read this, please pass this along, along with my most heartfelt thanks.

Love ya kid!

Wonder Woman (And No Not The Movie)

(Or How We Spent Our Labor Day Weekend)

If you read my Home Repair as Therapy post, you have the beginning of the story. This weekend Wifey® and I put down the flooring. I estimate we put down about 1000 square feet in all. We did two rooms and the hallway over the three days. Plus I took the Friday before off to finish up the prep work for the first room and take the all the carpet and tack we pulled up to the dump. It was a lot of work, but it was a smart decision to do it on Friday.

The adhesive we put down was a very bright blue.  I asked my granddaughters if they could guess how many Smurfs I had to squeeze to get that much Smurf Juice.  The 8-year-old replied, “Papa how could you squeeze a Smurf? They’re not real. They’re fictional!”  Smart kid she is…

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The Great Smurf Bloodletting

Saturday morning Wifey® was not doing well.  She had some kind of stomach bug going and had been up on and off since 3AM. Never the less she was right there with me laying out the flooring in the living room.  It took us about four hours to do the room, about 370 square feet.  The hardest part was the cutting, I think I went through 15 blades in my razor. So I spent most of Saturday on my hands and knees cutting and placing the flooring.

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Living Room Floor

Having already had surgery on my left wrist it was very uncomfortable. And even with knee pads, my knees were quite sore. After the floor was in, we moved the furniture from the dining room into the living room, where Wifey® showed off her Tetris skills.

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Two Rooms In One

We were most pleasantly surprised when Wifey’s® brother stopped by and invited out to dinner, his treat. There was no way either of us had the energy or the will power to cook that evening. So son #2 prepped the living room floor for us and off to dinner we all went.

Sunday morning found us quite stiff and sore, but in better condition than expected. I made us a nice breakfast of sausage gravy and biscuits, which we enjoyed thoroughly, so we got started a little later.

Wifey® was feeling much better, so all I really had to do was the cutting. She did most of the actual placing of the flooring. Again about four hours to lay in the floor for the dining room, about 350 square feet. Son #1 came by after work and helped us move all the furniture back to at least close to their intended locations. We had planned a cookout for Sunday (beer can chickens, YUM!), which son #2 cooked perfectly.  So we stopped around 4PM leaving only the hallway left for Monday.

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Dining Room

So Monday rolls around. And if we thought we were achy and sore on Sunday, this was worse.  Without a doubt this was the worst leg workout I’ve ever done. But all we had left to do was the hallway.  Should be quick and easy we said. It’s the smallest area, so it shouldn’t take long. We’ll be done and time for a relaxing dinner and some TV.

Nope! We didn’t take into account all the cutting around all the bedroom, bathroom, A/C and linen closets. We made sure to eat a good breakfast on Monday (more of the wonderful biscuits and gravy, I even added two fried eggs on top of mine). It was close to 7:30PM by the time we finished up. Since we had to trim pieced on both sides of the hallway, it really was the hardest part of the entire weekend. But it really looks good. And we can say “We did it ourselves”.

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The Hallway

There is still much work to be done.  All four bedrooms still to be done. Then painting (inside and out) and putting the quarter round molding down. And the kitchen floor tile needs to be replaced. (No pictures of that mess). Not to mention all the stuff that’s been piled in places that it doesn’t belong (like the china and glassware) needs to go back.

Which brings me to Wonder Woman. When I was growing up I wanted to be a pro baseball player. My dad took a baseball drilled a hole through it and then threaded a rope through the hole and secured it. Someone could then swing the ball around while another person could take swings at it to practice hitting. Since I came along quite late in my parents lives and my dad had bad emphysema (smoking kills), he was not really able to practice with me. My mother refused to. She would say “I use my hands to make a living, I can’t hurt them like that”. She was a bookkeeper/secretary. Meanwhile, Wifey® spent the entire three-day weekend doing manual labor.  She too is a secretary. yet she loves to get in there and work with her hands. She cut several small pieces of tile (but at 4′ 9″ she just doesn’t have the upper body strength to do a lot of the cutting). Hell, I was damn near wiped out at every quitting time, and my hands are still very still from holding the razor while holding the flooring piece in place so it wouldn’t move and I could get a nice straight cut.

Not only did she work while sick on Saturday,as well  as the rest of the weekend, she also managed to get the laundry done AND all the dishes all weekend long. Now that is a definition of Wonder Woman.  Love ya Babe!

All in all, it’s looks damn good for a legal secretary and a computer geek!

Peace,
B

Home Repair as Therapy

This last weekend Wifey® and I got busy in some home repair work. It had started about 3 months ago when I pulled up the very old, stained and smelly carpet from the dining room and hallway. We’ve been in this house for 20 years now, and the carpet was installed just before we moved in. It was a very nice carpet, but dogs with bad bladders, kids and spilled drinks, kids with dirty feet and just life in general beat it to death.  It was time to go. So I ripped out some of it and hauled it away.  But the living room area was too much for me to do by myself, plus there were still pieces of the carpet under the china cabinet and the computer desk. I just cut around those since I couldn’t move them by myself. Not to mention the carpet tack running the perimeter of the floor that still needed to be removed. So that was Saturday. We emptied the china cabinet of all the glassware and breakables, cleaned off the two small bookcases of their breakable items.  So basically every flat surface in the house now is covered in stuff.  Mostly breakable stuff. And the cat loves to jump up on the table and walk around the breakable stuff.  Just waiting for a big crash in the middle of the night.

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We finally removed all the carpet tack in the dining room and hallway, which wasn’t easy since the floor is Terrazzo and the nails they used were quite large. Many chunks of floor came up, hopefully the primer/leveling solution will fix that.

Sunday was the living room. This room still had the carpet in place. But the biggest problem is this room was added by the previous owners. As such it has just a concrete floor, and it’s not quite level with the terrazzo floor. This meant that the carpet installers had to add an extra layer of padding to make it close to even.  The padding they used was this thick black rubberized stuff. And I swear they used 900 gallons of glue to put it down. We spent 6 hours scraping by hand to remove this padding and glue.

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As you can see did one half the room moved the furniture around and did the other half. We even had the granddaughters “help”.

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By 2PM we had most everything done except under “Spike the Tortoise” cage, which my sons insisted that I couldn’t help with, they had to do it. That meant waiting until after 6PM for the older one to get off work and come over.
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So we sat around and had lunch and made a beer run of course.

The new flooring will be delivered on Thursday, and I’m taking Friday off from work to start the prep work. We will start the installation of the new floor on Saturday.  With any luck we hope to get the living room and dining room done over the three-day weekend. I would really like to get the hallway done too, but it may have to wait.  Then it’s the four bedrooms to go, probably one per weekend until we’re done.

So not only is this project helping improve the house, it has, for now, dispelled the depression I have been fighting for the last two weeks. It seems to be that having a project (and not just a hobby), it what keeps me afloat. My depression was nowhere as bad during my military days as it is now, due to the mission that was always before me.

And I have to give a big thank you to Wifey®. Not only was she the catalyst for getting this project going this weekend, she turned in Wonder Woman!  For a tiny little woman, she held her own in scraping the floor, moving furniture and pulling up carpet tack.  AND she fixed us (including the kids) lunch AND did the laundry AND washed the dishes! I would still be pulling up the tacks in the hallway if I was doing it all by myself.  Thank you baby!

Check back in a week or two, I will post more photos as we continue the work.

Peace,
B