Archive | March, 2011


31 Mar

We’re in the bank finally getting around to getting our joint bank account so we don’t have to write separate checks and stuff. Plus we’ve been holding on to a few nice gifts and other checks that need to be deposited. Corinne is picking out a fun new debit card as I write this.



T minus 29 years, 11 months

31 Mar

1 mortgage payment down, 359 to go!!

That’s a lot of check writing… Or is it??

Not for us! Jer signed us up for paperless statements and we’ll be submitting all of our many, many, many payments electronically, so at least we’ll be saving a small, or more likely large, forest!

First Ice Cream man spotted

29 Mar

Not much to say but I heard some familiar music before and there he was!


Gardening Attempt – Take 1

27 Mar

Alrighty folks! Here we go… My first attempt at gardening in our new home!

I was at Home Depot today checking out some stuff I wanted to check out – patio doors, kitchen flooring options, paint colors, backsplash ideas, etc. etc…. when I happened upon the garden department.

I’ve perused the seed section there before, dreaming of the bounty of veggies and flowers I’m going to grow in our yard this Spring, then Jer brings me back to the unfortunate reality of my alleged black thumb, and my inevitable frustration and eventual abandonment of gardens past. Not that he’s one to ever discourage me from creative ventures, but last year, I actually came home from work one night, encountered our half-dead tomatoes and herb garden and ripped them all out!

Today was different though. Jer is currently driving back from a shoot down in Florida, and thus was not there to remind me of past gardening debacles.

So, armed with a fist full of seeds and a “greenhouse” starter kit, I headed for the self-checkout, bagged my goods and came home to ready my new garden!

The whole greenhouse starter kit seems a bit dicey to say the least. It has 36 “cells” to plant seeds in…

Ready to grow??

It also comes with pellets that become soil when you add water, and a piece of plastic wrap-type of stuff they’re calling a “germination sheet”.

Very high tech & biodegradable!

I read some reviews of the kit after I opened it and had made dirt from the pellets. They were pretty mixed. Some people swear by them, others swear at them. I fear I may end up in the later group, but finger crossed for at least some growth!

I didn’t plant all the seeds I had since I did go a bit seed crazy. So if these guys don’t grow I will try again outdoors when/if it gets warm. Only the tomato seeds said to start indoors.

Here’s my very ambitious list of what I’m hoping will spring forth from the cells:

  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Zucchini
  • Carving Pumpkins
  • Corn
  • Artichokes

Crazy? Totally. But the seeds were pretty cheap, as opposed to all the potted plants we bought last year that produced one wrinkly tomato and some basil that got eaten by a mystery bug!

For the record, I blame the extreme shade at our old house for my poor garden showing. I’m not ready to fully admit to having a black thumb. I did manage to keep TEN ferns alive on our porch for over two years, and the orchid Jer gave me for Valentine’s Day is still alive!

Here to stay, or living on borrowed time?

23 Mar

We are in the midst of researching and getting quotes on upgrading our heating system and hot water heater.
One of our options includes a hydronic forced air heat system which would replace the radiators found under just about every window in the house with ductwork. The big benefit of this system is that when you install the ductwork and air handler you’re more than halfway to a central A/C system. That feature can be added as budget allows. The old radiators do seem to put out decent heat, and quickly, but they do pose some decorating and furniture placement hazards. It hasn’t been too hot yet, but I think it’s a safe bet that they don’t provide much cooling in the summer.
We are all about the Rinnai tankless hot water system and according to one plumber I met with certain units can actually provide the hot water needed for the radiators if we want to do that first before the expense of installing the ductwork. The ultimate system will include a Rinnai Tankless water heater which will provide domestic hot water and hot water for the Rinnai hydronic furnace, which includes the air handler. The hydronic furnace is supposed to be a much less dry heat than a typical gas fired or heat pump based furnace, so you theoretically avoid the dried out noses and static commonly associated with those systems. A lot of this is relatively new technology, but not totally untested and we’re excited to be early adopters and use a more efficient technology for our heating and hot water, and it also takes up considerably less space in the basement than the ancient oil burner. The Tankless unit mounts on the wall, and the air handler/furnace and ductwork will be in the attic, allowing more room in the basement for storage and workshop use.

Rinnai R75LSi

Polly Want a Cracker?!?

22 Mar

Found this guy in one of the closets last night! Not quite sure what to do with him…

Tiger Blood

16 Mar

Warning, no Charlie Sheen content!

Yes, Tiger blood was a bit of a tease to drum up search results, haha, but this post is Tiger related, and Lion, and Giraffe and Zebra and Leopard…well, you get the point. It’s time for a look at the fabled jungle wallpaper that adorns the closet of the guest room / office, which also happens to serve as MY closet.

Even my neighbor mentioned this wallpaper the other day when we were talking about attic access, it’s notorious around these parts. Almost seems a shame now to take it down like we had planned, it’s quite a conversation piece!

Going once, going … SOLD!

15 Mar

That’s pretty much how fast our mortgage was sold to another bank! We did expect this, and it has no effect on us at all, but I was surprised at how fast it did happen. Our first mortgage payment isn’t even due until April 1st.

So now, instead of sending our first payment to Cole Taylor Bank (who we never heard of before anyway), our check will be going to Wells Fargo. Oddly enough, a Wells Fargo just took over a Wachovia bank in the next town.

Wonder how long it will be until they sell it?

Giddy up!

Respect the wood

13 Mar

Big firewood pickup from my parents’ house yesterday!!

Frank Cozzolino, we need you.

11 Mar

Being an avid fan of Holmes on Homes, I have undying respect for Frank Cozzolino of Solutions Electrical. In the process of installing a couple of dimmers and timers I have run across something I had sort of expected but hoped not to find. This is the kind of thing Frank would be ready to jump on, deciding, no doubt, to do a complete re-wire. The most disturbing part is that some of the older aluminum wiring has a cloth jacket, which tends to degrade over time, so when you try to work on it the jacket can crumble as you manipulate it. Another problem with aluminum wiring is when you combine it with newer copper wiring, they don’t get along well. Apparently the big problem is that the two metals have different rates of expansion from heat, which can loosen the twisted connection over time, and eventually can cause arcing. I found such a connection today  when I went to install a timer for the light outside the front door. Not only was there a copper to aluminum connection, the marrette (canada) or wire nut (US) was just sitting in the bottom of the electrical box.

I fully intend to eventually replace all the old aluminum with new copper romex. Some of these lines are easy to access, such as basement lights and outlets, but some are a little more difficult, such as wall switches. If we were gutting the house this would be a piece of cake, to do so without disturbing the drywall can be a bit of a challenge.