nimitzbrood: (Default)
( Nov. 23rd, 2014 07:31 pm)
Mashblock came out today and helped me construct some barrier doors on the basement to keep the wind and snow out of the basement stairwell. (Thanks dude!)

Some simple bolts, some reclaimed wood, and some plywood sheet made what is essentially two swing-up doors that are slanted so rain and snow slide off of them into the yard. Because the wood isn't perfect, the rain runs right down the wall into the drain below - that means I haven't changed my drainage. Woot!

It wasn't that hard a job but it was damp and icky and I was very glad to have a friend come out and help!

I put some of the split foam "pool noodle" style pipe insulation around most of the edges to keep things from bumping and scuffing the side of the house. This also seals the doors against the side of the house - not to mention the gap between the two door panels. The one door has a warp to it so I will, hopefully tomorrow, screw a short 2x4 to the back of it to straighten it out and weigh it down a bit.

The final things to be done are to seal off the one end butting up against the deck so no airflow can go through there, then seal anything else with spray foam. Final item will likely be some kind of heavy "skirt" on the back stair edge. Something that will hopefully discourage animals from hiding down there and close out the last of the wind.

Bonus point: I don't have to take the storm door off after all! It actually swings all the way out without hitting the overhead doors. Sweet! Guess I'll keep that door after all. Probably figure out if I have the proper screen or glass for it finally.
Didn't think about something until it got cold again this year.

See I've been focusing on getting the basement sealed and one of the things I've been dealing with has been airflow under/through the old slat style door, It just seems to pass air under it like nothing despite what I do. (Yes I have tried all manner of draft dodgers and such. A permanent one is installed right now. The concrete is curved among other things.)

Well one of the issues is that the outside stairwell gets a lot of wind. It just occurred to me that I have everything but hinges and maybe some other small things to create an almost classic stairwell "cellar" door.

It'll keep the wind from buffeting the basement door and it'll be cheap too. So will probably pick up some hinges here this week, cut the boards and plywood I have in stock, and seal off that area.

Probably going to paint it black just to gather what little solar absorption I can. The angle in question might make it worthwhile to do something solar-heating-ish with it but that would probably make it to heavy to easily lift. And I need to be able to remove it so i can get the computer rack down here eventually.

Nice that I have almost all the parts though. :-)
nimitzbrood: (Default)
( Sep. 28th, 2014 11:19 pm)
So yesterday I was a bit tired but we got groceries and other things done as well as claimed a free couch for some friends of ours that just got done with their Habitat for Humanity home. The dedication was today. We're bringing the couch over there tomorrow.

Today I had a headache for part of the day after the house dedication ceremony for the aforementioned friends. (I took the time to sneak into the basement and bless the house while no one was looking.) When we got back I took some Ibuprofen and laid down.

After a nap mostly cleared that issue up, I went down in the 'cave and completely rearranged things so that there was more central floor space as well as better organization. I set up a spare bookshelf we had and that seems to have found a good place down there. My biggest problem down there is moisture. I really need to get concrete sealer or paint and seal the walls down there. That darn stuff is about $35 a gallon though minimum so that's not happening any time soon. Best I can do is protect anything that's a wood item down there and keep good airflow going.

I need to find a spot out in the garage or shed for the window A/C units that are down there as well as the two 30 gallon plastic water containers that need to be emptied and cleaned out. (The water has long since become contaminated. I have to empty and bleach the containers if I want to use them again.) The one chair has to go unfortunately. The base is the one from the "chair of death" and is metal but needs repair so I might just discard the chair pieces but keep the base.

Not sure if my existing ugly couch is going to fit down there or not. I think it might just be a bit too long. And until the moisture issue is taken care of I'm pretty sure I don't want it down there anyways.

I think I'll probably pick up a couple of bags of kitty litter. I can easily scatter that around the base of the walls and it'll certainly keep the moisture down until I can find a permanent solution. I really need to seal, frame, and insulate the walls but that is likely not happening this year due to money and time. It looks like I will be able to at least get the second UPS unit down there soon and the final server out of the garage. That means the rack will be empty and could be dismantled enough to get down there. Time will tell on that one though.

AND I still have 230 retaining wall blocks to arrange outside. I've decided that some of them will be laid flat in the back yard on top of landscaping fabric. That will give me a place to park my boat so that it doesn't take up a space in the driveway.

The rest will likely become a small patio area just outside the back door. That will keep the grass out from under the grill and give us an actual place for our patio table and chairs.

Anything left will be used to outline the culverts in the front yard so they stop filling in with grass which means I need to trim them all the time.

These are all of course not the ideal usage for trapezoidal shaped retaining wall blocks but quite frankly they were free and I have decided to use them creatively. ;-)

All that said I've decided to stop answering my phone for a while unless it's an emergency of some type. People won't like that of course but frankly I'm getting a lot of calls from people lately and getting less done because of it. So if you really want to talk to me please leave me a message.

Don't be too put out if it takes me a day to call you back though. There's a lot going on right now. ;-)
Lucky I did too. I found two pieces of 2" pink foam insulation board. Took them downstairs and the one when cut into pieces and patched back together was enough to cover all the gaps in the wood of the basement door to prevent airflow. The other was enough to completely cover the leaky egress window.

So hoping that helps warm things up down there. My only concern is that it'll keep getting colder outside. Now I'm not particularly worried about losing heat in the basement when that happens but rather the opposite.

See I recently cut the ducts down there and installed registers to blow heat into the space at the expense of heat in the hallway and library upstairs. (Not really because I don't have the upstairs registers closed all the way and the floor joists aren't insulated so any heat heats the room above.) Ran this by a friend who does HVAC and he cleared it so we are good there.

This normally isn't an issue except that the furnace has no feedback for that room down there. So what happens is that the furnace runs longer when it gets colder out and it pumps more heat into that room.

Freeze Cave becomes Steam Cave.

That said these are normal registers so I can just close them if it gets too hot or open the ones upstairs all the way again. There is some regulation.

Worse comes to worse I open the cover to the rest of the crawl space and use a fan to exhaust excess heat into the uninsulated floor joists of the rest of the house. I'll run that by my HVAC friend too just in case it could cause some weird furnace feedback loop with the furnace installed in that space and all.

Hoping it starts to warm up here soon. I need to shuffle things between the basement and the garage not the least of which is the main server rack if I can get it to fit downstairs that is.
nimitzbrood: (Default)
( Feb. 9th, 2014 07:47 am)
So as of Friday that was officially the last day our company had a physical office presence. We are waiting to see if the bid on the new office is accepted. If so that means we'll have an office in downtown Chicago for client meetings and company functions. Regardless that means we're working at home from this point on.

Not a bad thing as we're getting to expense out several things that shall help greatly. And I won't have to really drive anywhere so that's good.

Still that means I have a lot of work to do today. I need to dig out the path to the garage so I can put the boat motors that are in the basement out there and bring the couch that is out there into the basement. Then I have to dig my way to the shed and unbury and set up the two desks in there so I can get all my monitors working with my notebook. (For the record I'll be up to 5 total for one machine.)

That means I won't be able to plug in the heater but since I put the register into the heating duct it's only a degree or two shy of 60F down there now. And the colder it gets out the warmer it gets down there because the furnace runs more often. That said I'm going to put a second register down there in the other run so it adds just a little more.

Finished Chapter 10 of Becoming Twilight and posted it last week. Starting to get into the swing of things again but still slow going. I have to figure out where I'm going with Conversations with Raava as well as all the other stories I've let sit fallow.

Got a second Barnes and Noble gift card from my in-laws yesterday for my birthday. As I was within range of a store I ran over and got myself one of the nice hardback versions of The Hobbit (the green version) and a five book set of the Percy Jackson novels. (I put $25 on the credit card to do that but that should get easily covered by my expense check when it comes in.)

Currently driving on a donut still. The one tire that had broken a belt finally gave up the ghost and broke the bead on the rim. Gotta find a new tire come payday. Hopefully that won't be too expensive. I should buy two but that's likely not gonna happen.

Iritis is all but gone. Still on steroid drops but weaning off. Two a day for this week then one a day for next week then done. After that I go back for a visit and among other things get an updated prescription. Thinking about trying contacts again so I can use conventional eyeware things like sunglasses and such. Contacts have come a long way since when I first tried them as a kid so I'm hoping it'll be a totally different experience.

All of the above aside I really just want to go back to sleep but I can't do that. I need to get moving for a lot of reasons. It sucks but I haven't really had a break since Winter Solstice and am not likely to get one until after March 1st as I'm on call again. Still if I can actually motivate today despite the cold I should be able to get things done.

But honestly I'd love to stay inside and read my books with some hot chocolate.
So many things afoot at our household. That and work is why I haven't been posting.

Work itself seems to be going well but busy. Looking forward to several things including another visit from my friend from Tokyo among other things.

Mundania abounds it seems. Had to move my boat into the driveway today as I got a letter from the city saying it had to be off the grass. Thankfully we have the space to do that. I talked to the inspector and she said that as long as it's on a hard surface that the grass can't grow through it is acceptable. So seeing as I'm going to go with raised beds anyways that means I can put down landscape fabric and patio stones behind the garage and store it back there. Will also likely winterize and store the bike back there as well once I'me finished working with it. Need to call her back and confirm my suspicions that a pole and fabric structure is not considered permanent. If that's the case then I'll put up one of those temporary tent style garages back there and that will keep the weather off the boat and bike and I won't have to get expensive covers for them.

Speaking of money have to spend more of it on the Neon as it is required to have an emissions test in January. Kind of annoyed by that as they sent out a letter a couple of years ago that they will not be testing anything older than 2000 and Dorothy is a 1998.

I should be out repairing the brake line on my truck but I'm sitting here listening to a jiggle canner. Today's canning is three quarts of chili without beans, two quarts of water, and two experimental quarts of unsweetened green tea that I cold brewed. Not sure how that last one is going to come out but if it works then I can make and store up green tea indefinitely and save myself a lot of time. (I drink a LOT of green tea daily.)

Finally got us switched over to Comcast Business Class for our Internet. All the servers and DNS are all moved over and so far things seem to be working without issue. In our area at least Business Class and Residential use two different support groups so the experience is VERY different. And I'm paying what I was paying with the other DSL service and getting 15x more speed. And for those of you techies out there that run your own equipment they will put the router in Bridge Mode if I ask. :-)

Still no word on if the office is moving or not. Hopefully we'll find that out soon. The one lady at the office said that if they sell it likely means working completely at home for up to a year. I can easily work with that. With the upgraded connectivity and a Skype phone number I can forward my work line to it seems to function quite well. Some odd issues related to Skype but nothing I can't take care of.

All that aside I'm going to focus on getting at least the basics resolved in the basement and move my computer space down there. That way I don't have to heat the workshop as much during winter. (We used 1300 therms last February) Unfortunately I don't think I'm going to be able to get the large computer rack down there without altering the door. I may have to just build one in the corner. I've got another rack that might fit but it has no sides and is about twice the weight. Time will tell. Cleaning up any moisture and electrical issues down there come first though.

Things I've been reading....some of it is fanfic from MLP:FIM circles but two books I read and loved were the Order of the Air books by Melissa Scott. Well worth reading. Also just bought and started War Maid's Own by David Weber. We'll see how that one pans out. I'd like to read more Seanan McGuire stuff but I'm so far behind it isn't funny. The last book I read by her was A Local Habitation. I just can't afford to pick them up right now. Hopefully I'll be able to pick a couple of her books up by Yule.

Money seems to be getting a little better but I'm not going to focus on that. I'll just keep holding back on most of the spending and keep moving forward. Patio stones and exhaust parts for Dorothy are high on the list of next things to buy. Just keep plugging away at it...

Anyways I'm going to go back to listening to the canner jiggle and I promise I will try and post more often. :-)
nimitzbrood: (Default)
( Sep. 15th, 2013 11:33 am)
So we got some things done in the yard yesterday thanks to the minions lent to me by The Duck (my sister - I'll explain that later) and I paid them according to what I felt they did.

And I was not unimpressed. They worked and worked well and did not complain. That was well worth the money. The Duck makes good minions.
Rambling among the brambles... )
14:05 PM 10/24/2011

So...this is now down in the workshop:

workshop flooring

I'm going to put more down but to do that I need to wait 48 hours for this to cure then I can move stuff onto it and finish the rest of the floor as needed.

It went on pretty easy. I know I don't have proper tile alignment worth a crap but all I care about personally is that it's down and stays down. And I _know_ I got the thickness of the adhesive right so it staying down is not an issues. And most of it will be covered by stuff anyway. (I'm sure Murphy will make sure people notice every stinking flaw though because that's how it goes.)

So now more waiting...

(The whole point of getting the workshop done is possibly establishing a business down the road somewhere. It all starts here in theory.)

Got an email response from a previous employer and they don't have any openings yet but he's still keeping an eye out for me. I've seen a place over the border in Wisconsin _still_ advertising for tech people that know Macs but I've applied to that place at least twice that I remember and been completely rejected each time. I may try a third time just for completeness but it's damn demoralizing. After I pick up my daughter I'll send out more resumes and apply for more things.

(Edited to correct really awful spelling mistakes and to mention that I just got submitted for another Help Desk position in a nearby town. Hopefully they'll want to interview me.)
15:52 PM 10/23/2011

So I just got finished moving everythng in the workshop to one side. (Well almost everything.) Then I degreased the concrete using Castrol Super Clean and hosed it all off. Now I have to wait two days before I can begin laying tile.

I know I have ample tile to do the job due to the number of boxes (6+) and the size of the tiles (19" x 19") but I'm hoping to have a lot left over and be able to do at least part of the basement floor. We'll see once I finish the workshop since I'm only doing one car bay's worth of space.
Spacey Wacey not Timey Wimey... )
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