Monday, November 26, 2012

Ho Ho Ho!......Hmmmm

Ho Ho Ho!
      Just a short holiday address to make up for the lack of recent material presented here lately. Now in keeping with the theme of these pages I wont get into mindless drivel like how to keep the dead tree you bought the day after thanksgiving green and healthy. It ceased being healthy the day they killed it and besides you are going to be assaulted on the morning 'news' programs by Christmas tree experts with advice for that type of thing. I am more concerned with Santa Claus. That's right Santa Claus. Do you want him getting black lung from coming down your filthy chimney? If you use it get it cleaned and inspected because chimney fires caused by creosote and soot build-up burn down houses every year and that cozy fire you are cuddled up to isn't as romantic if it's in the backyard cause your house burned down. Now what about the reindeer? What type of landing can they look forward to on your roof? Do you want them skidding off the end of your runway because of loose shingles or leaf build-up? The Winter here in Fl where I am is the perfect time to have your roof inspected and any repairs/replacement handled. Winter typically offers extended periods of dry weather and business is usually slow for roofers who will be happy to deal with you to keep their men working through the lean time of year for construction work. All standard due diligence applies so don't let holiday cheer get in the way of your due diligence. Check licenses, insurance, references, and the BBB rating for your roofing candidates. Don't wait till the spring rains to find out you have a problem and be told you have to wait because the roofer is really busy with all the other people who waited till the spring rains to find problems.
      What about the standard homeowner/renter preventative maintenance? Will Santa have to use the 'outdoor bathroom' if he has a little too much milk and cookies on board because your pipes froze? Even if you are renting you ought to do what you can to prevent this because it may be the landlords responsibility to fix it but you are the one without water and the landlords works fine so it won't be on a priority list.
      Is your electric bill eating all your Christmas cookie money? A lot of us are heating places in the home we don't need to. Do you have unused rooms in your house? If it is feasible then think about shutting the vents off in those rooms and closing the doors. This not only cuts down on sq footage being heated it also increases the airflow to the rooms you are heating warming them faster thereby decreasing the run time on your A/C unit. Heavy curtains on windows that are opened during the day let the sun help warm you up. Close them at night and they will help keep warmth in. Lower the thermostat at night most people sleep better slightly cooler and again it reduces the run time on the unit.
     I'll have more later after I catch up on the useless stuff being shoveled on TV and have time to figure out some of the good stuff that's being left out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Things I don't understand.

Well I understand them but they don't make sense. Why should I fix the fence as a good faith gesture in order to persuade my landlord that doing the right thing might be the right thing to do? My walls are painted the color of dirt. Can I take white paint and add dirt to it in order to match the color? We have ants big enough to require a tire iron to dispatch should the landlord replace the rotten wood they live in or do I just keep swinging the tire iron? We paid a steep pet deposit so we could have our cat come stay with us. Nobody mentioned that the place already came furnished with about a dozen free cats that fight and screw all night for your sleeping pleasure (windows open A/C don't work yep I'll get right on that fence). Quick question....How many A/C repairmen does it take to look at a problem and not do anything for the problem not to be fixed? If you pay a roofer not to fix a leak does he owe you money? If so how many leaks do you need in order to retire.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What to do?

Well I have wrapped up the kitchen (not really). And the everyday maintenance is up to snuff (not a chance). So what do I do next? Well since it's a rental not a bunch but there are a couple things I can be prodded to do (and I WILL be prodded). It is technically Fall but here in Florida you would be hard pressed to get it to act that way. We are technically entering the 'dry' season and by dry season I mean it's raining almost every doggone day. And by Fall I mean it's marginally cooler and the bugs are just hitting their stride. I know I know qwitcher bitchen and get busy. Well I got a bottle of bug juice and I'm not afraid to use it. My next order of business will be winterizing. You would be right if you said to yourself "self" " "what is this fool talking about?" OK It will get chilly here for more than one day and if my is as good at fixing the heat as he is at fixing the A/C (Same problem, different season) it's gonna get chilly more than once. Gone are the days when I just didn't care and threw some clothes on and ignored it. Now I am older and like to sit around in my underwear and I just can't do that if I have to break the ice off the top of the commode to make last nights lasagna go to it's destiny. So I'm gonna figure out a few ways to seal this rat trap up and I will share them along the way. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

slippedcog: Kitchen part III

slippedcog: Kitchen part III:        Well it's been awhile but I'm slowly getting there. One of the drawbacks of doing it slow is that the project takes so long. But as ...

slippedcog: Kitchen pt IV

slippedcog: Kitchen pt IV: Good golly part 4! I hope this doesn't turn into a project the length of an entire NFL season. No really the devil is in the details and th...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Kitchen pt IV

Good golly part 4! I hope this doesn't turn into a project the length of an entire NFL season. No really the devil is in the details and there is a never ending supply of details. When a project starts small and morphs into the neverending story you gotta start drawing lines and picking battles. You know how there are always little things to be done no matter what the status of a room is? Well I'm suggesting that in order to force the completion of the project those be turned into individual projects. For instance I still need to paint the old cabinet faces in order to call this project done. Well those cabinets are no longer part of the original project they are now simply on my honey-do list. They aren't holding anything up and can be handled over a weekend so they just got scratched from the major project. Electrical switches/receptacles...ditto. I can do them one at a time when I've got time. Changing out light/plumbing fixtures...same thing. The old ones still work so installing new ones can be handled on a case by case basis. Don't get overwhelmed if you're going it alone. The major stuff is done and now the rest can just run it's natural course. If I move the little stuff into the natural rotation of household maintenance chores they become much more manageable and I can move past the major project feeling where there is so much to do and it all needs to be done now so this project can be over. Since it's never really all done anyhow (there's always something) quit stressing. Besides I've been neglecting the yard and the rest of the house with a dedicated effort on the kitchen so I really need to spread myself around and handle the entire house again instead of just one project. See ya next time.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Kitchen part III

       Well it's been awhile but I'm slowly getting there. One of the drawbacks of doing it slow is that the project takes so long. But as far as I'm concerned having absolute control is a huge plus. Doing it yourself means you are not dependent on a contractors busy scheduling conflicts. If a contractor is running more than one job at once and only has the personnel to staff one at a time then you are caught in the middle of a juggling act that will only get worse if he picks up another job while yours is still incomplete. Also a full scale kitchen renovation requires the use of several different skilled trades and the contractor rarely has all of them on payroll so you get their busy schedules thrown into the mix. Now if you aren't up to all phases you can save time and have more control by being the contractor and having your own sub-contractors handle the work that way you have a hand in the scheduling and aren't leaving it up to one guy who may be great but is overwhelmed by all the demands on his time. But if you have all your players in on the project before it begins then they can tell you how much lead time they need to get you on their schedule. For instance if the framer tells you he's starting in the morning and will be done that day then you can call the plumber and electricians and give them a heads-up that you'll be ready for them the day after. Etc, etc,etc. Meanwhile the cabinet guys have had the prints for a couple weeks and have the cabinets ready and need to be informed when the drywall is finished so they can be building the countertops while the painter is busy cause you called him when the carpenter told you the drywall would be done and he can make sure he has all the paint and materials ready to go because you already picked out colors and other specs before the job began. You can see how complicated it all gets and scheduling around inspections, adding other trades if necessary (A/C, alarm, tile)and rain /snow delays all can slow it down. Now if a contractor is handling all of this for several jobs imagine how easily he can be overwhelmed and have all his jobs suffer for it. Bigger outfits solve this by having office people with specific jobs like scheduling, payroll, sales, message taking and forwarding as well as specialists to manage separate projects from start to finish. These 'project managers' act as mini-me reps for the contractor who has ultimate authority and responsibility. If you can afford this outfit that is great but remember you are paying for office staff, supplies, accounting, etc that have nothing to do with your job but all contribute to getting your job the attention it deserves. This long winded essay got a little off track but to get back to my summation. I managed to do it all myself. It took along time (I'm still handling details) but by biting off a piece at at time I am managing to get it done while maintaining a functional kitchen for the duration of the project which is a huge plus vs having it completely out of order for a week or more. Think about it. That kitchen sink along with all the appliances are getting pulled out of there on the first day and they aren't going back in till the end. Stay tuned for part IV

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kitchen part II

well I'm getting there. The old has been stripped of it's former glory and unceremoniously deposited at the curb.To be honest it didn't really take a whole lot of glory with it. The only salvageable material was some ugly paneling that will live out it's life as drawer bottoms. Even though it was ugly it was made of quality plywood that didn't deserve what was done to it and so it will be re-purposed and re-used. Since the "island" only served as a drop spot for mail. shopping bags or what have you we decided a smaller version would serve the same purpose as well as forcing us to clear it more often. The smaller size offers a little less room but accessibility is no longer an issue. Since I built it I was able to control the size and placement of the doors. The studio sized refrigerator has found a new home in the utility room and the extra wall space was used for added counter top/cabinet room. Again since new cabinets were cost prohibitive I built my own from quality stock and thus while they don't have the same designer good looks as the ones that come in a box (wink, wink) you could park a bus on them and they are going nowhere and there will be no repairs needed for their lifetime which now extends past the lifetime of the house I put them in. On a sad note I discovered as I often do an original floor treatment that was ruined by subsequent installations of inferior products. It turns out that the original flooring was actually terrazzo incorporated during the construction of the home as part of the slab. Terrazzo is a decorative concrete additive that was hugely popular for it's low cost and low maintenance and had the added benefits of durability, attractiveness and being period perfect.

slippedcog: Anybody seen a skillet?

slippedcog: Anybody seen a skillet?: In the ongoing saga I like to call "How can anyone live like this" we are re-vamping the kitchen into a place for food preparation instead ...

Thursday, July 19, 2012


The president came to town and it rained buckets so now he is all wet just like his tax and spend economic policies. I can't believe people stood in line for hours to see this guy. I do believe in respecting the office of the president of the United States of America but I can't get behind him so I'll just leave it there.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Anybody seen a skillet?

In the ongoing saga I like to call "How can anyone live like this" we are re-vamping the kitchen into a place for food preparation instead of the Golden Corral for cockroaches. You can't keep it clean if you can't tell it's dirty. It also helps if form follows function. As I've said before since this is a rental it suffers greatly from a lack of basic maintenance and the maintenance that was performed was done as quickly and cheaply as possible. For example the solution to a broken drawer was to remove the drawer and screw the face of it to the cabinet thus giving the appearance of a drawer without actually having one. Problem solved right? Well this may seem perfectly acceptable if you don't have to live here but we do and we need that drawer. However after further consideration there is no way I am building a new drawer to put in that piece of crap cabinet that was a piece of crap 20 years ago. Sooooo it looks like I need a new cabinet. Also the refrigerator in a 2200 sq ft house should not be one suited for a studio apartment. fortunately we have a great refrigerator however the space in the kitchen where it goes is sized for one suited for a studio apartment. It gets tiresome having to walk to the living room for eggs because they won't fit in the kitchen. We also have an "island" this is composed of some old base cabinets cobbed together and covered with plywood and tile. The main problem is accessibility. You have to strap on a miners helmet, pack a lunch, and hire a guide if you want to find anything in the back corners. That coupled with no power outlet makes it pretty much just a box that won't move. As a bonus the lighting is less than adequate and the tile used for countertops and backsplash is horrific. We also have one of those "lazy Susan" corner cabinets that is the laziest Susan I've ever seen. You almost have to kick it around. Well time to get busy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Where are the #$@% candles?

My friends if there is one thing we can learn about storms it is to be prepared. The storm doesn't need an official name and weeks of media frenzy to do substantial damage up to and including loss of life. One thing that comes to mind is expensive but worth considering and that is underground electrical service. During a major weather event that causes widespread power outages individual homes are last in line for restoration services. Power companies prioritize based on the number of customers served by the project. Therefore your neighborhood power could be on long before your house is if the storm also took out the overhead line serving your home. Individual customers are usually last in line unless there is a safety threat posed by your circumstances in which case the threat was probably dealt with before they took care of the mainlines anyhow. It won't hurt to get an estimate for underground service just don't choke on your coffee when you see it. If you plan to own the home for any length of time it's worth considering.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Man the pumps!

Raining like a sonufagun here. The only ones liking that are ducks and roofers. Roofers love it cause they don't work in the rain except for emergency repairs and ducks like it cause ...well... they're ducks. At this point there isn't a whole lot you can do except try to mitigate damage. If you have water coming in then try to give it a way out. Under no circumstances should you get on a wet roof and try to patch it yourself. If you don't know your business up there you can get hurt really bad. I mean REALLY bad. Case in point. Me! This was a roofing accident and I am a pro. guess what? a hit like that will take the wind out of your sails quickly. Stay safe out there and stay dry.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rain rain go away.

This sure is a wet place for a state called the sunshine state. I believe this name was coined by the theme park industry. Other misnomers are the state bird and the state flower which are not the mockingbird and the orange blossom as the legislature would have you believe but are actually the mosquito and mildew. That being said this is a great place to live because even the evening news is more entertaining than almost anywhere else. We have the stupidest criminals, crookedest politicians, and the sleaziest lawyers in the US. Sometimes we get the hat trick and our stupidest criminal turns out to be a crooked politician who is also a sleazy lawyer.

Friday, June 22, 2012

slippedcog: It's going where?

slippedcog: It's going where?: Computers are great. They give us games, information, instant communication, illegal music downloads and so much more. However during the e...

It's going where?

Computers are great. They give us games, information, instant communication, illegal music downloads and so much more. However during the early stages of the development of a tropical storm they are no better than you or I at predicting strength and ultimate destination of said storm. I would liken it to us throwing a dart at a map except it's worse than that because the computers that "weathermen"....excuse me..."meteorologists" use have an unlimited supply of darts and will use every one to confuse you and drive chaos. This is because local newscasts thrive on severe weather or the threat of severe weather to drive ratings and the weathermen get to be the superheroes. Ultimately they had nothing to do with the course or severity of the storm but they get to quit losing their lunch money for a change and take credit for your eventual survival. "We are here to keep you safe" is a common enough catchphrase because "We are here to drum up hysteria" is a little too callous sounding and "We are here to try and justify a paycheck" is just too self-centered. At the same time corralling the support of the station managers for that irresistible piece of new technology they love to play with needs ratings. Never mind that it's primary purpose will be to detect smaller disturbances that are farther away at an earlier date to extend the hype window out even further than it is now allowing the cycle to begin sooner so it can be massaged for the best results. Call me cynical but you have to admit there is a  certain grain of truth buried in my latest rant.....Why are they called meteorologists anyhow? They are wrong about so much more than meteors.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Frankly right now I'd settle for the lions tigers and bears. That would make it football season and the bugs wouldn't be so bad. So today I dedicate my efforts to getting rid of the little buggers...Get it? Buggers?...Haa! I kill me! And I'm gonna kill them too. We have these little black flies which seem to be immune to anything, even my cooking so It's time to figure something out. If you have any ideas I would love to hear about them but they must meet some important criteria.
A) Cheeeep.....(free)
B) Easy.....(lazy)
C) That's it there is no C.
 Help us out were going crazy. They don't bite but they're driving us nuts

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Home is where the heart isn't

I blame it all on the magazines. Even though they have given me plenty of business over the years they still hold up the gold standard of what you can't afford. Sure everyone wants to duplicate that summer porch in the Hamptons but you don't have that summer porch and you don't live in the Hamptons. Face it, no one is sending a camera crew to your home in anyplace USA to document your stunning choice of outdoor fabrics. You need a famous relative or a multimillion dollar home with catered breakfast (camera crews have to eat) to make that happen. The best you can realistically hope for is to make what you do have look good and support your lifestyle. By lifestyle I mean if you have half a dozen head of screaming children then your surroundings are going to reflect that and they will reduce that idealized dream porch of yours to their existence in no time. The rich and famous don't worry about play-doh stains and unidentifiable stuff between the cushions. They have people for that. Face it you still have that fast food french fry the vacuum couldn't reach in whatever vehicle you use day-to-day be it a Chevy or a BMW. Then there are the adults. If you choose to share your haven with friends that enjoy hospitality and good times they will invariably repay your graciousness with wine stains, spilled beer and sending down burger condiments to join those of the childrens between the cushions. The magazines don't show the effects of people actually using the spaces that they are showcasing. That spongebob doll or petrified onion ring won't make it into the glossy pages. It's all about making it work for you.
To that end what we do is what works for us. If you don't have kids you are ahead of the game since you don't have to work around them. If you do have kids then you are still ahead of the game since you already know how to work around them. Comfort should never take a backseat to style because style without comfort is never a good thing. Remember the good furniture your parents wouldn't let you sit on? Who wants more of that? If a 4 year old can't sit on it with a dribbling popsicle then it may not have a place in your home. Conversely if a 30 year old can't sit on it with a dribbling beer bottle then perhaps it was a bad choice and money not well spent. But hey! It looks good right?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Yuck is not a Martha Stewart color.

Like it or not the aesthetics of a rental property are not primary considerations of whoever is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the home. Even if they were the odds of your choice in wall color being in line with the decision maker are slim to none. I live here in sunny Florida but the chamber of commerce doesn't include rainy Florida in the marketing plan therefore a lot of thought and preparation must go into the re-painting of a typical home here. In this state as in others across the south mildew is the unofficial state flower and I have seen bugs bigger than some of my roommates. These are two maladies that can be addressed in the preparation stages of a paint job. My word of advice to the novice painter is to get the free assistance of a professional at a professional quality paint retailer. The money spent on the right selection of a quality finish properly prepared and applied is money better than well spent because a paint job is the first and last thing you will see every day and botched job will just eat at you till you do it over and you don't want or need to do it over. I can give you the basics but the guy that makes his living making you happy with his paint and tools is an invaluable resource for getting the right solution to any particular problem or situation you find yourself confronted with. A mildewcide can be added directly to the paint in any location where high humidity may be common. Likewise an insecticide. An insecticide will not control any insect problems (especially not the ones big enough to get their own place) but they will keep the cobwebs to a minimum and discourage other bugs from lingering. Proper pest control is the solution to this but that's for another article. Preparation is key to an acceptable paint application so leave the paint in the bucket for awhile and get your walls and trim in shape. Patching and spackling are a must and replace any missing or damaged trim. Scrape loose and peeling paint and putty nail holes in the trim before caulking all the trim and windows. Small defects in a wall or trim piece may not be noticeable under your work light but they will cast shadows that stand out under the everyday lighting or even sunlight coming in a window. They are easiest to handle now so do it now and save some grief. Now let's talk primer. Primer is a must because not a paint around will cover the color yuck in a single coat. Repairs and patches especially need to be primed before painting even if you use one of the preparations of paint and primer in one mixture. A fresh patch will stand out as a flat spot due to it's different absorbency of the fresh paint. If you are not adept with a paintbrush (get a good quality one it makes a difference) you need to get adept with the masking tape. And I'm not talking about dollar store masking tape. The professional grade masking tape is expensive and worth it,don't start cutting corners here you'll regret it. Whew! it's been a lot of work and you haven't even opened the paint yet. Well hold off a little while yet cause you have some clean-up to do. This is one of those jobs where you have to clean before you start to get a good looking finish product. No matter what method you are using to apply your paint you need to clean and dust the entire room. If you are spraying then dust on the floor will get blown up into the wet paint leaving an undesirable granulation in the paint near the floor. If you are brushing the baseboards then dust will get in your brush or interfere with the adhesion of the masking tape so clean-up now. Good luck and happy painting.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I don't have anything to wear!

How can a house be too big and still not have room for all your stuff? Simple, you have too much stuff. Some of your junk needs to go.and you will need to get creative to store the rest. We recently moved from a 1000 sq ft home to one half again (or more) larger and still have boxes of stuff stacked in various rooms. Closet and kitchen cabinet space is at a premium and will need to be tweaked for maximum capacity. Closets are the easiest of the two since they are essentially just small rooms with a well defined purpose and require no plumbing or electrical work unless it's a walk -in and needs lighting alteration. Now I am not Martha Stewart so I don't know the rules of organizing but I believe the first order of business should be to get rid of unnecessary stuff.
      First things first. Start with clothes, box up clothing using the three basic rules. Donate stuff that....
1) you can't wear.
2) you don't wear.
3) you shouldn't wear.
      You are going to have to make some hard choices but it needs to be done. Once you have whittled down your inventory to the necessities you'll have a much better grasp of the task ahead. I recommend staying away from the cheap white vinyl covered steel grates and going with wood. You can gain hanger space by installing a second rod beneath the top one. this is a great way to hang shirts, blouses, and folding slacks. If you have dresses, garment bags, or suits partition the bottom section in half with 1 X 12 stock. Use 1 X 4 cleats on the walls to carry the shelves and rods. You can easily buy the hardware to carry the rods at any hardware store. When it comes to the actual rod don't be cheap you'll need to carry a lot of weight so get accurate measurements remembering to allow for the hardware or install hardware and then measure. I find I have acceptable results using
1" galvanized steel pipe it has very little flex under a load so you won't have to worry about sag. Everyone has different ideas of what they require of a closet so get creative,  personalize it so it works for you instead of just being a place to dump your stuff.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Who put the toilet in the closet?

Well it's time for the next installment of rental home shortcomings vs occupancy requirements. Rental properties are historically neglected by absentee landlords because the out of sight out of mind method of management applies perfectly to the situation. Investing money in the upgrade of a rental means that income declines with every dollar expended for maintenance/upgrades. Add to this the fees collected by property management firms and you have an understanding of why "if it aint broke don't fix it" is not a tired cliche where landlords are concerned. Property managers are hired because the owner does not wish to deal with the day to day details of maintaining a rental property and they keep their jobs by minimizing the involvement of the owner. With that in mind I am tasked with the job of upgrading a bathroom that while technically functional with regard to the fixtures is woefully inadequate for the purposes it is used for. A working woman uses this washroom for the day to day routine of getting ready for work and the bathroom offers little more storage than the minuscule area in the vanity beneath the lavatory. Modernizing this bathroom is a challenge on a budget and the focus will be on optimizing space with an eye towards storage and function. Maximizing unused space is a must and to this end a new vanity/lavatory was installed which was larger and thus more useful than the el-cheapo original. After removing the flat mirror above the vanity there was adequate room for a medicine cabinet/mirror to take its place. Another under utilized space was the wall space above the commode which easily accommodated a matching storage cabinet. All of these basically install ready improvements increased storage fourfold and got all the cosmetics, hair care, hygiene and multiple other preparations essential for the maintenance of a working woman off of the lavatory rim and windowsill. Covering a generic dingy beige paint scheme with an ultra white high gloss finish took full advantage of a new lighting fixture which added more horsepower to the illumination of the entire room. Whew! I never knew such a small room could have so many problems. I am not finished yet. Moving the toiletries off the windowsill pointed out the glaring need for a window treatment that was more attractive and functional than the big box store $5 plastic mini blinds. And also in a bizarre development possible only in a rental I will be replacing a bi-fold closet door with an honest to goodness door equipped with a privacy lockset one would expect on a bathroom. Stay tuned for more while I see if I can get any reimbursement for my out of pocket improvements.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New house!

Well not really, but it is new to us. There is alot of work to do here and you are invited along for the ride. Gonna start with the bathroom. There is no storage at all so a new vanity,medicine cabinet,and storage cabinet will be the first order of business. I am on a tight budget so it will take all my know how to achieve superior results on an inferior cash flow. Any ideas?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Like sands through the hourglass....

These are not the days of our lives. They may be the days of your life but only if you let them. If you are one of the one people that read this you have no clue what I am talking about. If you are a new reader and do have a clue then drop me a line so we both have one. Sometimes the creative juices just dry up and we are left with the withered husk of a formerly tender cut of prime meat to pound into some kind of shape for a sandwich. I know I know this is a home improvement blog that went sideways and isn't talking about home....or improvement but let me see if I can get it back on track. Nope....couldn't do it. So to paraphrase Strother Martin in Cool Hand Luke (google it) "What we have a failure to communicate" "Some men you just can't reach" If for some reason you have read to the end of my non-sensical ramblings today stay tuned it gets worse tomorrow. Now if you will excuse me I am going to sand a drywall patch and play a round of Angry Birds.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Woohoo! Super Bowl....Parteeee!

Oh my goodness if there is a party I love other than New Years it has to be the Super Bowl. Queso in the carpet? Yes! Busted glass on the terrazzo? Sweep it up you don't need me. Sore loser bust a hole in the wall? Awesome! Before you wake up the drunken bums that couldn't find their keys (cause you took them right?) Toss their pockets for the damages and make em help clean up. If you lost a flat screen tough. That's the price you pay for having those animals over for the game. Hey! How about passing the hat for damages? Tell everyone it's for a door prize contingent upon not having to fix the place. If you raise enough and the place isn't trashed then you can buy a nice gift for the winner.(aspirin anyone?)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I hear you knocking but you can't come in.

Home security is something a lot of people don't give much thought to until their home is violated. Now I am here to tell you that unless you are one of the lucky ones who can afford a gated community with private security or live next to the police station you can't do a lot to protect your home other than what the "experts" recommend. Well I am not an expert but I play one on this blog and the best thing you can do is whatever it takes to make your house the least attractive alternative on the block. A lot of the steps you should take are dependent upon where you live. If there is a neighborhood history of burglaries then You have to step it up a notch. Good locks and a security system will only take you so far. Believe it or not good security is most important when you are home to watch all your stuff. When you and your family are at home then that is when your most precious treasures are at risk, I'm talking about your family here. When you are gone all you can lose is your stuff and you can get more stuff. Which brings me to the next step, getting expert advice. The expert one doesn't normally think of is the guy that sells you the insurance on the stuff you insure against theft, fire, flood, natural disasters and other acts of god. He is just as concerned as you are about keeping your stuff safe and as such is going to offer you lower rates for taking recommended precautions. Which brings me to home defense when you are home. When a tweaked out meth-head kicks in the door what are you going to do. Firearms are one option but aren't for the majority of people. No matter what your beer-fueled bowling alley bravado told your friends if you aren't trained, proficient, confident, and prepared they really aren't an option. If you have children and guns in the house the guns need to be locked up in a safe period! Don't tell me you'll sleep with it in arms length at night and lock it up in the morning. because there will always be the day that you are running late and forget to put it up or take it with you if you have the required permit.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Son of a gun it's cold outside!

What if I told you you could earn (save) $ just by choosing the right clothes? They don't have to match, they don't need to be in style, they don't even need to be yours. What I am getting at here is it is costing you a fortune to heat your home to the point where you can sit around in your underwear and be snug and toasty. Unless its thermal underwear you are paying dearly for that level of comfort.The single largest consumer of energy in your home is the A/C system. Feet cold? Put on socks. Sweat suits? They aren't just for going out to get the paper anymore. Anything you can do to keep your mitts off of the thermostat is going to provide you with savings. There are people smarter than me that do studies we don't need for money we can't afford that have concluded for every degree lower you set your thermostat in the winter you'll save X-amount of money. Really? Now I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but that was information I didn't need a study to learn. Here is the basic formula in case the concept is still cloudy to you. {Heat off = $ in pocket} {Heat on = Your $ in someone elses pocket}

Monday, January 9, 2012

Same as it ever was

If you own a home you know the drill already, you spend the fall getting ready for winter and the spring getting ready for summer. Well how about getting a jump start on summer so you can really enjoy spring? Maybe take care of all the window and door screens so you are ready come time to open the windows for the warm spring breezes. All of the leaves should be down from the trees so if it's not too cold clean out the gutters so you can leak check them and have them ready for the april showers. There are a few things that you can do depending on your geographical location. I am writing this from northeast Florida so I am not familiar with the rituals farther north where you have snow and ice to contend with but I do know I don't like to spend a beautiful spring weekend working on the house or yard. With that in mind perhaps it would be a good idea to see to the yard implements. Change the oil in the lawnmower and sharpen the blades. Pruners, loppers, and shears should be sharpened, oiled and rust free. Steel wool works well for removing the rust and a good flat file will sharpen those blades. If you have enough trees to warrant the ownership of a chainsaw then you know about the maintenance there. Personally I remove the chain and store it in a sealed container submerged in motor oil so it stays rust free and limber and make sure the bar and housings have been cleaned well. Stay warm but remember when you just wanted to have a picnic or barbeque or just lounge around on a warm spring day and couldn't cause there were too many chores to do? Knock em out now and enjoy the time between shoveling snow and cutting the grass instead of toiling miserably when the fish are biting. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Don't bug me

From time to time we all have a problem with the creepy crawlys. Ranging from common houseflies and ants to cockroaches so big they need an aircraft carrier to take flight. There are 2 things that will bring these pests into the house and they are food and water. Food and water are different for bugs than they are for humans. A cockroach can survive on the glue from cereal boxes and ants will take just about any scrap available even the ones you can't see(these scraps get bigger and bigger the older your eyes get). There are ways to minimize your pest problem naturally and safely before bringing out the big guns.(1) keep a clean house, regularly go through closets, cabinets and the myriad places roaches can lay up and wait for dark. (2)Do not let debris pile up outside the house. Firewood stacks, trash cans, etc,etc provide cover for bugs. (3) Inspect the pipes both supply and drain, a small leak can provide enough moisture for a bunch of roaches. (4) After you have done your bit if you still have a problem consult a licensed pest control proffesional. They are trained and licensed in the safe application of pesticides. This is to safeguard your and your familys health as well as any pets, wildlife and wetlands in the vicinity

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years resolutions.

   I hereby resolve to convince you that you really can fix up your home by yourself. It is easier than you think if you have the proper resources (me!) It doesn't have to break the bank and it is rare that you can do any damage you can't fix. Now I will not tell you that it is OK to run your own wiring if you have no experience. Get an electrician. But you can change fixtures and hang fans without too much trouble. I won't tell you that you can repipe your house (maybe you can) But call a plumber. But you can change out faucets, sinks, even commodes. You won't hear me tell you how to change out your central heat/AC but you can change filters, clean components and even replace vents/registers. If you cannot Identify a load bearing wall then its not OK to knock it down.Call a contractor. But you can go ahead and do any trim work you feel comfortable with up to and including changing doors. For all the skilled trade work you need done don't just take your cousins word that his neighbor can hook you up. Check licenses, get references, and check with the BBB for unresolved complaints. This is where your big money goes so ensure that you spend it wisely.