Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Progress Report

Here is the big news: There is a tentative Shoreline Management Plan! There are a few public meetings being held in the next month and then it goes for final approval. I got a letter from the city a while ago with the news. We are pretty excited to find out what we will be dealing with and when we get to start building our house. I think we have come up with a pretty good basic plan (we will need to have an architect/engineer redraw and de-flaw it). Now we just have to see if it fits into the rules, or how we can make the rules fit into our designs. But it's progress.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I am a Rat Catching Machine!

We are still living at my grandpa's house here on Lake Washington (tough, i know). I enjoy it for the most part, but there are two or three things that really annoy me about living in an old house. Number one, is the aluminum wiring. I pretty much hate it. I have had to rewire four outlets and two switches so far because the wires are corroded and shorting out. The rewiring is not a problem, but the shorting out is. Every junction (light or switch or outlet) is wired in series, so that if one goes out, they all do. The whole circuit. And here that means half the upstairs or three room downstairs or some other large unwieldy area that I have to work with. This involves checking each junction to find out which is the problem one. I'll bet you don't have any idea how long that takes, especially if its the last one that is your problem. Just think, in a typical bedroom, there is a light switch, one or two light fixtures and three or four outlets. That is 7 places to check in just one room. And since the bedrooms are all connected together, plus the bathroom, that makes for a long waste of time. He did the wiring himself, since he wasn't satisfied with the quality of the electrician he hired... I would hate to see what the electrician did... But you know what makes the hunt for the bad junction go a lot quicker? When the outlet in question is sparking. All you have to do is follow the sound of crackling, sparking electricity. That makes it possible to find the problem area pretty fast.And you'd better find it pretty fast, because I'm pretty sure it will catch fire if you don't. It really is a wonder that the house hasn't burned down.
Number two: Rats. This house was populated by at least three families of rats. And a few mice too. We heard the chewing and scratching inside the walls, and saw evidence of their presence in lots of places throughout the house. Papa had just learned to live with them, and not give them excuses to invade. Rachel and I were not willing to share the house with them, so as soon as Papa left for Witchita, I went out and bought rat traps. Whatever anyone else tells you, the best bait is peanut butter. And a $1.88 snap trap from The Home Depot or Lowes is the only way to go. I think I have single-handedly set the worlds rat and mouse population back by at least 15 over these last two months. And I know that I have removed appendages from a few more that hopefully died of said injuries later. And don't buy the "disposable" traps either, the ones that are one use only or whatever. Buy the cheap wood base spring lever snap trap. If you have one rat, you have 15, and you don't want to buy traps for each rat. That gets expensive, and then you might as well hire me to come out and get rid of them for you. And then I will take the money you would have spent on the expensive "disposable" traps and buy three or four snap traps and pocket the rest. Of the money, not the rats.