More of the same!Well, things have fallen into a sort of routine now in the last few weeks -- which is to some degree a much-welcomed ordeal to my life.
Of course, we chose the riding lawnmower option. As much as I didn't care to, we bought the L110 John Deere from one of the nearest Home Depot stores around (I'd have personally preferred a much closer John Deere Dealer...but that's something else entirely -- they didn't have anything available at the time). While the story of how we got it home I'll leave for the imagination or maybe tell another day, the machine works beautifully, and turned a nearly six-hour job into one complete in less than two.
About a week ago I spent a few hours and picked apples off the last of our four trees. I took about 3/4 of the apples, leaving the not-quite-ripe ones, which managed to fill seven full paper bags. After mowing the lawn yesterday, I discovered (and consumed several more) from the same tree, so I think sometime this week I'll go pick the rest. Beth and I both like apples, so having them around isn't anything bad as far as I'm concerned. I figure that in our little root cellar, they should keep for some time (hell, we had two crisper drawers full of apples in our apartment last year -- those lasted through May).
We haven't gotten this far yet, and considering that it was around a 95-degree heat index today it won't happen for at least another week, but one of the things I'd really like to get done soon is to repaint some of the storm windows for the house. I can count on one hand the number I need to actually install (so that makes this project easier), but the old storm windows (and the ones I replaced with screens for the remainder of the summer) had been caulked into place, so edge painting wasn't a big deal. Considering that I've cut a few of them out so we could have some airflow downstairs (all the upstairs windows have those combination storm windows), I would like to prepare them a bit better than they had been prior to reinstalling them. Then during the winter we can tinker with painting and re-screening the screen windows, etc.
And the basement project at hand -- ductwork. More specifically, doing some 'pseudo-repair' work on the ductwork. But first, some background information:
This house was built in 1946. We're quite fortunate that the vast majority of things and features of this house are still original...and in very good working order. But, with that comes a tradeoff. You see, there's this interesting white fiberous covering 'sealing' each duct joint in the basement. It looks a little bit like an old tattered rag that was wet and left out to dry -- for several years. From the very beginning, I've had the sneaking suspicion it's some sort of asbestos-containing material. The only part of our homebuying experience which has been disappointing was this issue -- nobody seemed to know for sure (or want to form an educated guess) as to what the stuff really was. Based upon the age of the house, the observation of material properties, and some research into this particular issue, I'm relatively sure that it contains asbestos. Regardless, the vast majority of it is in good shape, although it's obviously not as tight a seal as it once was upon close inspection. But, with that said, there are a few concerning spots to me...which brings along this repair project.
Now, I'm not about to try to duct tape plastic bags around the stuff and make some sort of incubator contraption to remove it, nor am I going to hire a 'professional' to remove it -- considering I don't even know what the hell it really is. I'm going to go about the more practical method for me to deal with it -- cover and seal it. In my research about asbestos and how to go about dealing with it, I've discovered (with the assistance of Beth, who had to go through an asbestos training session of some sort for her painting job this past summer) that, assuming the material is in good shape, it can either be left alone or sealed off.
On a recent trip (I believe it was at Home Depot, although I could be wrong), we purchased some of the high-quality foil ductwork tape. This was step one. This afternoon, I finally went to work in the basement. Starting with the spots in good shape (to get a feel for how to use the foil tape and just how to successfully seal it up), I covered the material, piece by piece, ensuring that the pieces were not only sealed to the ductwork, but also to other pieces, completely covering up the material in question. In the period of about three hours, I managed to get around half of the exposed ductwork taken care of. To my fortune, the cold air returns do not have this material around them so it makes the job automatically half what it could be.
There are three spots in the ducts (one of which now has been 95% covered) where a major separation has occurred. Since these have been separated since before we even looked at the house and haven't gotten any worse, I'm assuming that the dirty work has been done. So, what I attempted to do in those places was to carefully seal the ripped pieces (these all have shown up where a duct was split into two branches) to the closest section of ductwork; then re-sealing the joint as the original material was done. In other words, I 'folded back' the ripped pieces, sealing them off in the process; then I came back to re-seal the gap which was left. Probably not the smartest idea, but here again, I feel better knowing that the individual pieces are covered and sealed as best I can do.
Anyway, the project has gone well. A small coat of paint or some other liquid-based sealant will complete the job, but that probably won't get done until next spring at the earliest. Besides, it'll probably be next weekend before I get to finishing the remaining ductwork.
Our church is doing one of those centennial church directories. With that comes all the individual pictures taken by a professional photographer (which have been done). But, in addition to that are all the submitted photos and reproductions which are necessary. That's where I come in. I was volunteered to take care of reproductions and digitization for those which are necessary. Of course, I'm not complaining. It's good to use the scanner and equipment I've got around here once in a while.
Anyway, on Saturday I scanned the oldest pictures I've ever scanned before. The oldest of which dates to 1917. It's been a fun experience, but is definitely a workout for the old Macintosh I need to use for my scanner! With that said, I've managed to get about half the pictures scanned, but not yet reprinted or converted to a distribution-friendly (e.g. JPEG) format. Hopefully I'll get the remainder of those done tomorrow evening, or at least scanned so I can get them printed and back to church on or around Tuesday/Wednesday. They're needed by Thursday evening at the very latest.
This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07