Archive for Home Improvement

Lots to do

Posted in General with tags , , on Jun 28 2011 by Cynical Queer

I’ve been working for nearly two weeks now, mostly going through orientation.  That would explain my absence from blog world since life has been get up early, go to work, come home, pass out on the couch, get up, go to bed, repeat.

My biggest job surprise so far has been that what I thought was advertised as a part-time position is actually full-time, which means I should be getting benefits with the job.  I have to get through the first 90-days, but after that I should have medical access again.  Even if it personally costs me what I’m paying now, I’m sure the coverage will be much better than the, “It’s only good if you get hit by a bus” coverage I have now.

I have tomorrow and the next day off.  I have to go up to my moms house and work on her bathroom a bit so that she can bring a tiling crew in.  I was almost to that point when I last worked on it two weeks ago.


Son of Crapshack – bathroom remodel

Posted in General with tags , on Jun 10 2011 by Cynical Queer

Yes, I’m working on yet another house.  I’ve named this one Son of Crapshack because it is about 20-years newer than the crapshack was.

When my grandfather died recently, my mother inherited the house.  The same house she’s been living in for 30 years, but it’s hers now.  My grandfather was rather miserly when it came to spending money on the house, so nothing has been remodeled since 1972 other than the flooring downstairs that was replaced about 25 years ago because the dishwasher decided to do its best impression of Old Faithful.

This means my mother is now the proud owner of a rather dated, run-down, home.  She has decided to start by remodeling the master bedroom to make it her own since this was grandpa’s room until recently.  First up – remodeling the bath.

We tore out the 1972 vintage fixtures and tossed them out the window.  Really, who wants this fiberglass and odd colored stuff?  I can’t tell if the color of all these old fixtures are peach, salmon, or barf.  I tend to go with the last one because that’s what I wanted to do any time I saw them (update: The color was called Mexican Sand, I saw it on the back of a piece of the cut-up fiberglass shower).

So far all the old stuff is out, the new counter is in (granite) and I’ve spent all day wiring for some luxury vent fan my mother wants to install that has a heater in it.  I spent 3 hours under the house today running new wiring, and my body *really* feels it.

Since this is another crapshack it should be obvious that I found additional problems under the house in the crawlspace, namely the washing machine drain line which is leaking, and appears to have been leaking for some time since I spent part of my day swimming in Lake Crapshack.  Something that would have been nice to have avoided since I was simultaneously working on the electrical system.

I’m happy to report that I did not end up with frizzy hair.

Since the leak has been present for a period of between two weeks and 10-years, and the foundation has not settled, I’ll opt to do this repair for her after we’re done with her bathroom and bedroom.

She also had granite put in her half-bath in the utility room, and it looks great.  She could probably have that half-bath completely remodeled in a week if she just cleans it up a bit and paints.  It’s pretty much a “Do in place” job that only requires that and no tearing out of cabinets or showers.

So for now I’ll simply report the saga of CQ and home remodeling has spun off a sequel.  Stay tuned for more remodeling tales.

Drama free day

Posted in General with tags , on Apr 04 2011 by Cynical Queer

I decided today was going to be a drama free day.  Instead of dealing with all the family issues that have been going on, which are leaving me mentally exhausted, I decided instead to shut off my phone and work on a home improvement project instead.

The project was re-wiring the post lamp out in the front yard.  According to Big D, it has not worked with hard-wired electricity for several years.  Last year he purchased a solar powered lamp for it, but it has been quite a disappointment. Instead I decided that since I hauled a bunch of electrical wire out here left over from the home remodel in North Carolina, that I would work on re-wiring this lamp.

This is a labor intensive project that involves a few things:

  1. Digging a trench approximately 20 feet long and 18-inches deep.
  2. Burrowing under the concrete walkway from the driveway to the front door.
  3. Burrowing under the concrete divider between the front lawn and the flower bed between that and the walkway.
  4. Burrowing under the wall of the small planter that the post lamp is in out in the lawn.
  5. Running a conduit to protect the wire.
  6. Running the wire through the conduit and up into the lamp post.
  7. Filling the trench back in after this part is done.

With all this burrowing, I feel a bit like a gopher.

Yes, a very labor intensive project to do nothing more than be able to turn on a single lamp.  Of course, it’s better than having no light at all out there and having ourselves and guests tripping over themselves because they cannot see in the dark.

I’m happy to report as of this posting there is a new wire up into the lamp post that runs through the conduit and back into the garage to a junction box.  Now all I have to do is get it hooked up to the wire running from the switch to the junction box, which I will do another day.

It will be nice to feel like I’ve accomplished something.  Especially after all the hard work that was expended to get it done.

It also makes me feel human again.

Go Away!

Posted in General with tags , on Jan 29 2011 by Cynical Queer

Nothing says welcome like seeing your visitors through jail bars.

Art Appreciation

Posted in General with tags , on Dec 22 2010 by Cynical Queer

As I make my way to figuring out what kinds of things I would like to adorn the walls of my home, I’ve been giving lots of thought to what kind art I would like to see.  Lately, I’ve taken a liking to male nude art.  This is probably not a stretch since I’m a gay man.  Obviously I’m seeking art, not porn.  The type of art I’m thinking of wouldn’t be offensive to guests unless they have a very low threshold of sensitivity, in which case I’m probably not currently associating with them.

The things I like are colorful and perhaps could be thought of as art deco.  Usually they are of a single subject and very rarely have two or more people depicted.  I want it to tell a story or to have a mystery behind it.  I like to think about what the artist may have had in mind as they were working on their creation.  I take the view that good art has a good back story or leaves the viewer wanting to see more.

The question is, can I get Big D to go along with it?  I’d like a few things like the examples here, but I certainly do not wish to cover the entire house with it.

What do you think of these and what kind of art do you like?

Brokeback Daddy

Posted in General with tags , , , on Sep 27 2010 by Cynical Queer

AIIIEEEEEEE!  Thud!  I imagine that is the sound Big D made as he fell off the ladder Saturday while helping one of his friends work on their new home.  His feet were at a height of 7-feet off the floor when the ladder gave way.

I was working until 3PM that day, while the incident happened at around 4PM.  Since I was so tired I had fallen asleep on the couch so I missed Big D’s phone call telling me he had taken up residence at the emergency room of the local hospital.  I’m a bad boyfriend!  I didn’t see his call had come in until 1 1/2 hours later.

He managed to chip a piece off of his 1st and cracked his 4th lumbar vertebrae.  He’s home now, in pain, with a body brace and a doctors note to stay away from work for the next two-weeks.

Let’s hope he has a speedy recovery.

Oh Sh*t it’s Sh*t!

Posted in General with tags , , on Jun 06 2010 by Cynical Queer

That was my day today.  If you do not like reading about Dirty Jobs, then please move onto another site.

The olde homestead up in the mountains where I grew up has developed a nasty problem with it’s sewage/septic system.  For the past couple of months  it has been seeping water up to the top of the ground instead of letting it seep into the ground, with a slow trickle of rather foul smelling run off.

Now that it has finally warmed up here and is now resembling something typical for this time of year, the heat is causing the wonderful odor to permeate the neighborhood.  I was speaking with my mother the other night and she said they had the windows in the house open that evening, and the smell was wafting right in, something that I’m sure is great when you’re wanting to sit down and eat dinner.

So off to the mountains I went to dig up the portion of the system that was leaking.

After an hour of digging I found the problem – I dug down to a junction box in the leach field, which was not as deep as I remembered it was the last time it was dug up in the 1980’s.  Nope, I hit it six inches higher up in the ground than I remembered it.  That wasn’t the problem.  The problem was that the grey water inside the septic system bubbled up at a faster rate than the oil Jed Clampet discovered when he was shooting at his food during the opening credits of the Beverly Hillbillies.  By the time it was done, somewhere between 200 and 300 gallons of this bubbling crude came to the surface and started heading down to the lake in the back yard like a river.

Fortunately, I was able to stop it from getting that far by some quick thinking and breaking a hole in the ditch that went down to the lake, thereby causing it to fan out in a remote part of the property to seep into the ground.

Crisis averted.

Then I opened up the cover on the junction box.  Inside it was filled to the top with this gloppy, smelly, black matter that was, well, sh*t.  It is a septic system after all.  So I shoveled away, and shoveled some more.  Worst case scenario would have been all the pipe openings being clogged and our having to spend $1000 to get someone out to do this.  Fortunately only one of the 4 openings was clogged, and the liquid in the box made it’s way down to the next junction box after I cleared the opening.  This clog was causing about half of the entire leach field to be out of service, hence the seeping.  It should work for now, since the clog is gone.

When I was done with all this, I promptly went into the house and took my first shower there since last January, which is when I moved in with Big D.

I bet some gorgeous flowers would grow in the muck I cleaned out of that thing though.