Archive | August, 2011

Up and Running!

30 Aug

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Corinne reported back at lunchtime that we were still without power. I was happy then, to hear the generator still purring away when I got home around 7:30. But then I noticed something, our front porch light was on! “Hey! That’s not hooked up to the generator!” and it was true, we have our power back at last! No cable yet so we’ll be sticking to reading, iPhones and Cat antics for entertainment for now, but we can bathe properly, run the dishwasher, do laundry and see without the use of flashlights and candles… and not have to hear a generator running in the backyard constantly (as thankful as we are to have had it)

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The Hardships Continue

30 Aug

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Not really a hardship but last night I decided that our dishwasher had become more of a dirty dish holder than a washer. So, I did something very unusual, I unloaded the dishwasher and then WASHED the dishes. Very backwards feeling indeed.
I’m no stranger to dish soap (I wash, Corinne dries) but we have become accustomed to at least putting the plates, glasses and silverware in the dishwasher for the last 3 years. But putting dirty dishes in a dishwasher without power doesn’t do much so I figured I’d better bite the bullet before they started to stink and we ran out of stuff to use.

Power Hungry

29 Aug

We have now hit the 24 hour mark with no power, and the end does not seem to be near. Corinne’s parents were without power but had it restored by this morning and graciously offered to let us borrow their generator, now that they are back on the grid. This comes as a relief since water was beginning to pool under the fridge and we were naturally becoming worried about the food contained within.

I hustled over to their house, dodging a number of felled trees on my way. I had brought a few pieces of 2×8 to serve as a ramp so as not to throw my back out. This was a great idea it turns out because generators are not light, and the bed of the truck is probably over 3 feet high! I then rushed it back home, quickly set it up, and got the fridge plugged in.

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I quickly realized that we’d both have headaches if I didn’t move this little guy farther from the house, both because of the noise and the exhaust. I found our very long extension cord and ran it all the way out in the backyard, now the noise is tolerable and the fumes are far away.

Now our food is safe and our main concern is making sure we have enough gas on hand to keep the genny running. The new 5-gallon tank I picked up this afternoon will make sure of that.

Thanks so much to Sal and Judy!

Blogging by Candlight

28 Aug

Been without power here since about 5PM today following in the wake of Hurricane Irene. We thought we were in the clear when we woke up this morning and still had our power after a night of torrential rain and strong winds, but alas we were not.

We read some books until it got dark, had a nice little candlelit dinner, took the AC out of the bedroom window so we’d have some air coming in, then went outside for a little stargazing.

A LIPA truck just drove down the block, hopefully to assess the situation which will hopefully lead to a speedy repair. Hopefully.

For now we’ll be hanging out listening to the soothing sounds of the wind through the trees, the crickets, and the neighbors’ generators.

“Batter Down the Hatches”

27 Aug

That’s what I heard someone say while we were eating lunch today at La Bottega. I got a big kick out of it so I had to use it as the title of this post. Obviously, the term is to batten down the hatches, which is derived from an old sailing term. The battens themselves were strips of wood used to secure tarps over the hatches when inclement weather was coming.

Well, speaking of inclement weather, everyone has hurricane fever so we had to join in and do a little battening of our own. I am really of the mindset that the media likes to blow these things out of proportion. Last year, we were in Montauk during the “hurricane” which consisted mainly of light rain, light winds, and about 10 camera crews shooting the “storm” 24 hours a day, so you can see how I take the ominous threats by the media with a huge helping of salt.

Apparently, I am in the minority because all the stores are out of food, the local gas station is OUT OF GAS, and Home Depot is out of plywood, gutters, tarps, generators, etc.

We didn’t want to miss out on the fun entirely, so our main focus was on containing things that could become airborne and do damage and making sure our gutters would properly disperse the water so our basement doesn’t get flooded. We moved the car forward in the garage and put the barbecue and patio furniture behind it.

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We brought the outdoor table under the porch and put it upside down on styrofoam and ratchet strapped it down. We strapped two propane tanks and a CO2 tank to the keg fridge. Finally, we screwed our temporary plywood decking down so it doesn’t go flying away IF the wind kicks up.

We extended the downspouts in the front away from the house with a scrap piece of downspout and a 4″ PVC pipe. Then, I hopped up on the ladder and cleaned out the gutters… at least I thought I did. When it started raining this evening the front gutter was pouring over the gutters instead of coming out of our newly extended downspout. I got the ladder back out and took a look and determined that the downspout had become clogged where it connects to the gutter. Once I cleared that out, the water was flowing out on the lawn away from the house where we intended. We’ll see what happens!

Haircut

25 Aug

I really need a haircut, but instead of getting one yesterday I decided to give the bushes a trim with the hedge trimmer. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they look good, but it is an improvement and they’re not so messy looking like they were. To start, I’m no ace with the trimmer and a lot of these bushes are pretty far gone from years of neglect so they will need to be dealt with more fully in future. Obviously our focus has been on the deck so some these things have taken a back seat in the meantime.

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Are we getting Ahead of Ourselves?

24 Aug

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Last night I decided to put the barbecue up on the deck right by the sliding door for easy access grilling. It was quite a gauntlet to scurry over to get to the grill now that the framing is all up. I laid some plywood and hauled the grill up and now it’s just a step out the back door.
I spent a good amount of time replacing the string on the weed whacker and then whizzing my way around the yard getting all the spots I missed with the lawn tractor. Once I was done with that I got the grill fired up so it was ready when Corinne got home. We’re enjoying the deck whether it’s finished or not!

Earthquake hits New York, Deck survives unscathed.

23 Aug

Yes, there is only one thing anyone is allowed to talk about right now, and that is the Earthquake that just happened. Don’t worry, the deck has survived and all reports from Ishi are that there was some movement, as designed, but no damage. The quake registered a 6.0 on the puffy tail scale so this was a good test of its durability.
That’s all for this fake news report so please stop watching the same 5 seconds of b-roll on the news and watch our time lapse video in the previous post!

Flashback Re-Cap

23 Aug

After a very productive weekend of deck work, we took Monday night off. I went to the gym, which has taken a backseat with all this deck work going on (to the point where the last time I was there, my whereabouts were questioned by an instructor, and I was welcomed back by a fellow gym-goer!)

Our landscaping has also taken a backseat to our deck work as well, so Jer got out the ride-on-mower (a.k.a. Chompley) and took it for a spin around the front yard. He also went on a little shopping spree at ACE Hardware before he got home and had a new “toy” to play with after mowing, but more on that in a future post.

Speaking of new toys, in a previous post Jer wrote about our new webcam, the DLink DCS-930L. It’s pretty neat! We’ve made a few fun time lapse videos of our deck progress, and below is our first.

It’s from the second weekend Jer’s Dad came to help us out. This was probably a good 10-12 hour day, neatly compacted into a less than one minute piece! Enjoy!!
 

You Can Accomplish Anything Before Lunch…

21 Aug

As long as you have lunch really late!
We completed the bulk of the deck framing this “morning” prior to a well deserved trip to Moe’s.
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It was quite a feat, and a bit of a tedious process. We needed to install blocking as we went along, and it’s not a simple process. You can’t just cut a bunch of blocks the same size all at once. Because the thickness of the joists is not 100% the same and some are a little cupped one way or the other you need to account for the variations based on your overall measurement from the original edge.
In addition, the joists from the sliding door on need to be about 26 feet long (the biggest 2X8 they make is 20 feet) so we made them out of a 14 footer and a 12 footer, the trick about that is that the two parts need to butt up right on one of the headers, and then be joined with an overlapping cut-off of the same material. This meant lots and lots of nailing, and now lots of blisters, as a result.

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The scale of the deck is now fully apparent, and it is quite large indeed. We can’t wait to get some decking on and set up our furniture!