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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

September 27, 2006

Weekly Update

I have got some time to burn right now, so I figured I'd spend it wisely and perhaps write something up. There have been some things on my mind lately, so I'll share...

Painting!

Well, the weather finally straightened out a bit (it was warmer and non-rainy), so I took the time to finally do the last of the very important outdoor painting -- the upstairs windows. It wasn't a terribly difficult project (there are three sets of two double-hung windows), but it's a lot of ladder time. Yes, time to be comfortable on the order of 20 feet above the ground.

On Sunday, I broke out all the tools and did the scraping, which is arguably the worst part of any painting job. Since the upstairs windows hadn't seen any real attention since we've lived there (and probably didn't see much for a while before we bought the place), scraping was absolutely necessary. It took about two hours to somewhat thoroughly scrape the two sets of windows which really needed it (the third set has newer trim which had only been painted once or twice). Since it was nice out (and still light out), I decided to do a first-coat of paint on the freshly scraped window trim.

Then, Monday, I went and did a second coat of those two sets, also doing two coats of white as necessary and two coats on the one set of windows which didn't need scraping. This had to be done on Monday because Tuesday was set to possibly be a bit wet, and I wanted to get as much dry/cure time as possible before the fresh paint got exposed to much moisture.

I was fortunate in completing the project without much trouble or time involved. All-in-all, it was about 8 hours, including time to set up and clean up. I also did some other miscellaneous maintenance while I had the chance (namely sealing up some cracks and whatnot). This turned out to be especially important due to the fact that on Monday they came and harvested all of the soybeans around the yard. While I was a little upset with the timing (they were right near the house while I was painting and it gets a bit dusty), this means that we'll have a bit of an influx of Asian beetles... Hopefully the aforementioned sealing up will help with that somewhat.

More Fall Projects

It's supposed to be warm(er) this weekend again, so I believe I'm going to do the last of my miscellaneous outdoor projects if possible. I haven't yet painted the storm window I found for the sealed-up kitchen window, so that will likely happen (and in a perfect world also get installed) this weekend. I also need to replace the fascia board and re-install the gutter on one side of the front of the house...

You see, last week Friday (almost a week ago now) we had some rain. I knew the fascia board onto which this particular gutter was attached was in bad need of replacement (it was quite rotten). Oddly enough, I was going to go purchase replacement boards for this project when I came outside to discover that I no longer had a choice in the matter. When I came outside and looked at the house (in the rain to do some measuring for an unrelated project), most of the gutter was hanging down as the rain influx that morning had finally done in the fascia board. The nails simply ripped out of the board...

When I got home from my little shopping trip, I removed the gutter and marked down a 'must do' project for the next weekend (the painting one took priority due to temperature and weather issues). So, one more project I hopefully will get to work on is the replacement of this fascia board. That shouldn't be terribly difficult aside from removing as much of the old board as I need to. It's so badly rotten in places that it could take a while to get it all down. Once that's complete, though, priming/painting and repositioning the gutter shouldn't be a terribly difficult job.

Of course, once the house-related outdoor stuff is done, I'll need to eventually do some more yard work. Namely wash everything up and pack up the little shed for the winter. I need to do some organizing in there so I can fit everything in there properly. But I've got until hard, consistent freeze time to get that stuff done...

Insultation Project!

On my aformentioned trip to get replacement fascia board, I was also going to buy some insulation which I will use to help insulate the attic crawlspaces of the upstairs. The rooflines are insulated (fairly well), but the kneewalls of the upstairs (bless the story-and-a-half house...) are uninsulated. Depending upon snow cover, we do get some ice dams, which are definitely not a Good Thing. So, insulation will hopefully help with the problem to some degree (it certainly can't hurt and will also help keep the upstairs a little more comfortable during the extremes of summer and winter.

Anyway, when I was doing a brief check to see how much kneewall insulation I'd need, I noticed that part of the old vent stack had moved. Well, it turns out that what I thought was attached higher up in the wall and at the roof line wasn't at all attached. It had fallen at some point in time. This left basically a four-inch hole right outside. When you can see daylight where you're not supposed to see daylight, it's a Bad Thing. Some spray expanding foam took care of the problem in the short-term (until we put new shingles on the roof and remove the vent cap which will likely be in the next few years) and will keep out the elements to a degree. At least more than having nothing.

So, just when you think it's all set to go...of course Murphy comes to visit with his damn law. smile

I purchased the correct amount of insulation (plus some extra) for the kneewall project. It was a pickup load full. smile I still intend to take a few floor boards out of the southern crawlspace and insulate the attic floor as well (which should also help with ice dams on the southern-facing roofline (which is where they are particularly bad), but I need different insulation for that project, so it's not over yet. But, I've got the stuff and intend to get to that at some point in time, hopefully before it gets too cold out.

More Prenatal Visits...

Beth had another prenatal visit on Tuesday. Things are going well, and the little critter is definitely active. During the brief visit (at the time when we all gather 'round the microphone (Lester "Roadhog" Moran and the Cadillac Cowboys) and listen to the heartbeat), the baby moved around several times and was difficult to monitor (due to the near continual movement).

So, once the visit was complete we scheduled the next and also scheduled the 20-week ultrasound. So, in roughly a month we'll get to see revised pictures which should be vastly different than the 7-week pictures we got before. Exciting times. smile

And now, A Rant

Be warned -- I get a little jumpy (it might be hard to follow) and I'm broadly generalizing the following. This obviously doesn't apply to all people.

Recently, a fairly large (F2) tornado left a path through a fairly densely-populated area of the seven-county Metro Area. I have the great fortune of living 150 miles from there. I say 'great fortune' not because of the distance from the tornado, but the distance from a type of lifestyle and attitude which I believe poisons oneself.

You see, 'the sirens never went off' in this case.

What's more, there have been many questions as to why the sirens weren't sounded in time for action and there will even be an official government investigation into the National Weather Service as to this matter.

The part about this whole situation which really pisses me off is the lack of responsibility that people seem to take when it comes to the weather and their own personal safety. Yes, it was very unfortunate that a 10-year-old girl died in the storm -- I certainly don't deny that. However, why is it all the sudden the sole responsibility of the NWS to alert these people to imminent danger?

Perhaps I'm the odd ball out here, but I've always lived in a rural setting (and by rural, I mean your nearest neighbor can be on the order of miles away rural)...and there are no such things as sirens. When it comes to bad weather, you simply have to take responsibility for yourself. Sure, the towns and more densely populated areas (e.g. around some lakes) will have siren systems, but regardless of your location, these systems were never designed to be a sole warning device. They're merely a piece of a much larger puzzle of how to keep yourself safe.

In particular, sirens provide a warning for people outdoors and within reasonable earshot to take cover. When I heard reports of 'we never heard the sirens...' and that sort of hogwash, it just made my blood boil. In the ever-perpetual quest to 'blame someone else for our own stupidity and/or laziness,' some of these people must conveniently forget that at some point in time you just have to take responsibility for yourself. You can't always rely on other people. I mean, you'd be retarded to go jump out in front of a car just because it didn't honk at you to tell you of its presence. Ignorance doesn't solve this problem, and that's my point.

I know that based upon my lifelong environment (rural areas), I cannot rely on any sort of siren warning. Instead, I turn to weather radio, radio reports, television reports, the Internet, and in most cases (most importantly), my own two eyes. During this last weather incident, I got the distinct impression from some reports that 'the weather came in and abruptly interrupted our lives.' Hello, people! Shit happens, and so does the unexpected. Blaming the lack of warning from authority figures when the timeline simply didn't seem to be there isn't the answer to the problem. It still boils down to personal responsibility for one's own safety.

Honestly, when it comes down to it, I believe most people adhere to the 'I have to keep an eye out for myself' philosophy. If not, this recent tornado would've caused a lot more human damage than it did. But this bullshit need to point the blame finger at someone or some thing is just simply retarded. Acts of nature happen, and that's the fact.

I'll probably have to come back and re-read this in a few days, possibly to edit it a bit for clarity. Anyway, in the meantime, that's all I've got for now...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07

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