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It’s officially spring…

27 Mar

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And seeing the Mister Softy for the first time this year makes me feel like letting everyone know that I’m Gipper!

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Lost Paw Pal

24 Jul

Last night I went to pick up dinner and I saw a sign in the window about a missing cat. It turns out that the cat in the picture, in my eyes, bears a striking resemblance to the cat I saw on Friday night after the cat fight and cat swim. This is featured in this post, if you missed it. I had thought the cat I saw friday night may not be the same cat we normally see outside our house, because he seemed a little less scruffy and didn’t seem to have the distinguishing bendy ear. I didn’t think much of it at the time but when I saw the sign I was almost sure it was the same cat.

I gave the woman a call and left a message saying that I didn’t want to give false hope but there’s a chance I had seen her cat. She called me right back and I wound up emailing her (her email address is isavecats247@_____.com, btw) the pictures I took that night, even though they were quite blurry, so she could try to tell if she thought it was “Daisy” or not. The coloring is similar, and the white paws, white chest and white nose are all there, but she’s still not convinced. I don’t think there’s enough detail in the pictures to make a judgement, and, at least on paper, and in my memory, the cat matches the description of the missing cat. I really do hope we see it again and hopefully they can be reunited. We only live a few blocks from where the cat was last seen, and where she lives, so the likeliness that it could be the same cat is high enough to be vigilant and keep a sharp eye out for this little guy. I’m considering a short term rededication of ishi-cams to scope out our backyard in case she walks through at some point when we’re not looking.

Scrapper’s Delight

8 May

As part of our big yard cleanup this weekend we decided to put a lot of the scrap metal we had lying around the yard out for the garbage. Now, when I say the garbage, I really mean the scrappers, as I’ve come to call them. The actual garbage men are way too picky to take that kind of stuff. And don’t even get me started on the recycling guys!
Every garbage night people will come around looking for scrap metal, they’ll go along the streets looking for junk in the garbage made of metal that they’ll then bring to the scrap yard to be “weighed and paid”. Anything from a microwave to a fridge to some copper or steel pipe is as good as gold to these guys.
We had a number of wagon wheels to get rid of (who doesn’t?) a coupe of unidentified iron posts, a fence post and a few other miscellaneous metal tidbits. We paraded it all to the front and leaned it on the fence for all eyes to see. Whoever gets this haul will probably be pretty happy, since they pay by the pound and those iron posts had to weigh at least 80 pounds each.

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UPDATE:
Wouldn’t ya know it, we put this stuff out Sunday night and it was gone when we left for work Monday morning.

Shed behind

15 Apr

Our neighbors behind us had an old shed that was slightly damaged in the hurricane, but more from years of being in the shade, as it had a good layer of moss on the roof, so I’m sure it had some good rot going on. Our current shed in the far corner of our yard is in similar condition but a replacement may be on the horizon.

So one day I came home from work early and there was a noise that I could not figure out emanating from somewhere nearby. Finally I went to the bathroom, and I could see that a couple guys were going at the old shed with Sawzalls.

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I figured they decided that they just didn’t want to look at it anymore, and it wasn’t too pretty from our side either so it seemed fine with us too. The only problem, we soon realized, was that their shed had provided a perfect privacy screen between their rear deck and our soon-to-be rear deck. Luckily, this concern was short lived as a few days later framing began on a new shed.

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The roof on this one appears to be a little taller, it’s actually a decent size building, so we really should not have to worry about seeing past it. This view really gives a good idea of what view it will be blocking.

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Initially, for about a month anyway, the back of the shed was very unfinished looking, and the difference between the different T1-11 panels was very apparent and not very good looking, but finally they came back and did some finish work and trim and now it is pretty clean and neat looking.

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Speaking of clean and neat looking, I wonder if they always intended to rebuild their shed or if they were unhappy with the view that removing the old shed revealed, since they now had a straight view of our unfinished deck and yet-to-be resided exterior where we installed the new sliding door!

Product Review: Demo Bags

25 Jan

Having done a whole lot of demolition and construction at this point in our various renovations, we have become quite adept at getting rid of the junk that is a byproduct (or direct product) of the process. Some people use dumpsters. Dumpsters are great because they drop off a giant metal box at your house, and when you’re done filling it up they take it away. The downside is the cost. They can be pretty expensive due to their full service nature, plus you have a giant metal dumpster taking up valuable parking space. And as an added minus, people like to help themselves to your dumpster, whether it’s dumping their own stuff or seeing if you threw anything away that they want. We had one at work once, and it was like a bottomless pit because people kept emptying it of stuff they wanted.

Recently there has been an advance on the DIY dumpster front. It’s for small jobs and is offered through retail channels by Waste Management. It is basically a giant bag made of heavy tarp material you buy at the store for $30, then you call WM when it’s full and they pick it up.

The Bagster

This is a more economical and less intrusive way than a full metal dumpster, but it is still more expensive than the method we use…

Dumping it over the neighbor’s fence!

OK, no we don’t do that, although at times we’ve wanted to! (he’d probably burn it gladly)

Our real method is only possible for a few reasons:

1. I have a heavy duty pickup truck.

2. I’m huge.

3. We are about 5 minutes away from a waste transfer station.

4. We bought a box of Demo Bags.

Load of Demo Bags in the basement

Which brings us back to the title of this post.

Demo Bags are heavy duty garbage bags, which, like the bagster, are made of a tarp-like, woven material. This makes them much much tougher than even the heaviest duty of garbage bags. The woven material means that even if a nail or something pokes through, the damage will be limited to that spot, whereas a traditional bag would be ripped and start dumping its contents on the floor.

The first couple demo bags we used as garbage bags, filled them up and threw them out. Then one day, I was filling a bunch of bags up to go the dump and I was laughing to myself about how the bags say “reusable” on them. I was like “Haha, reusable, what are you gonna do? Fill them up, bring them to the dump, dump ’em out, and then fold them up and bring them back to use again? Oh, wait! I CAN do that!” That’s really how it happened, I never intended to reuse them, and now I have used them about 5 times so far.

At this point we have removed approximately 2 tons (literally, 4,000 pounds) of junk and building materials from the basement. My normal process involves filling the bags with about 60 pounds of junk, then lugging them upstairs and out the front door in to the back of the pickup. My first time I probably put a good 100 or so pounds in each bag and it was murder to get them up the stairs and through the house, so I’ve reduced the amount I put in each knowing I will be reusing the bags anyway. The larger and longer stuff I put directly out one of the basement windows on the side of the house and pull the truck around to fill it up.

Pickup with about a half ton of Demo Bags full of debris

As a price comparison to the Bagster, the Bagster can fit a maximum of 3,000 pounds. (I don’t know what they do if you put more.) The price I was quoted in our area was $200 plus tax (plus the bag fee) so about $250 for 3,000 pounds, or as much as you put if it’s less.

We pay about $50 for every 1,000 pounds, so that’d be about $150 for the same 3,000 pounds if we used the Bagster.

Now obviously this requires you having the right equipment and going through the effort of going to the dump and unloading the truck, so you’re handling everything one more time, but for us it is a viable option and we’re not at the mercy of someone else’s schedule.

Rendering an idea

8 Sep

The other day I had a little brainstorm. I had come up with a little concept about a treatment for the front entry of the house. We have in our minds a plan for the front of the house where the front door moves from the side hallway to the living room directly. This is due to our desire to reclaim some of that space for our future “master suite”.
The problem with this idea is that you would enter straight into the living room and there would be no buffer zone, this could be especially problematic if it’s cold out.
The solution I came up with creates a buffer zone that would also make a feature of the entrance. But one of the best things about this concept is what it would do to the exterior of the house, the curb appeal, specifically. It would transform the house, visually, and as an added benefit it would make it look much different from other houses nearby which may be cut from the same cloth, to put it lightly. Our current project of the deck is revitalizing the back of the house and the backyard, and this would do the same for the front.

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Keep in mind that this design is based on what we like to call “fantasy measurements”, meaning that it’s not to scale whatsoever. I had an idea and I needed to portray it somehow and I knew that if I tried to make it true to scale I’d never get it done. I whipped it up using google sketchup, which is a useful, but frustrating program to use.
Again, this is just a rough concept but we’re kind of excited by how different it would make the house look and how much of a nice bright entrance it will be to come home to.

Branching Out

1 Sep

Apparently yesterday the city of Glen Cove was auto-dialing pretty much everyone in town to give them an update about recovery efforts. The city website also included this info. Part that interested us was that they said all you had to do was put any fallen branches out on the curb and they would collect them. We had an extensive collection of small branches basically carpeting our whole yard, and a few large ones. Our neighbor behind had a large section of a tree come down on their shed, and a good amount of this came over to our side of the fence.

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After dragging a couple of these large branches from the rear-most part of the yard all the way to the street, I decided it was time to call in reinforcements.

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Yes, I drove the truck in the backyard! I first had to move what is left of the deck lumber supply so I could get through, but it saved a lot of effort (maybe, or maybe it was just fun). Once I had all the big branches in the truck I drove it out front and unloaded it by the street. I then proceeded to fill a half dozen or so wheelbarrows full of sticks and small branches. I dumped all that on the side of the street as well.

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The pile was complete and I prepared to get used to seeing it in front of the house. We’ve become accustomed to piles of leaves or branches sticking around for a long long time. Both here and in Sea Cliff where you were instructed to put your leaves on the curb for pickup, which happened eventually some time in early December.
Miraculously, though, I left the house for a few hours and returned home to see the piles GONE! The City of Glen Cove had delivered on their promise, and quick! I’m probably lucky I got done as early as I did or I may have missed out!
A good go with the lawn tractor and our yard was looking better than it has since that dry spell started in July.

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)

We need a fence

3 Jul

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A guy at our neighbor’s house who wanted to get some privacy for his phone call, apparently.

Titus Road… repairs

3 Jun

Well, today we came upon a pleasant surprise on the way home for lunch, the town truck was fixing the dreaded pot hole! This pot hole has been growing steadily and has resulted in a very angry Corinne coming in the front door after feeling its wrath on her way home after the gym. It got so bad that I think our neighbor filled it in with some dirt when he was doing some landscaping the other day.