|A windstorm in early February blew the top
out of a tree onto our roof. The steel roof was badly bent, but
remained watertight. A couple of truss tails, fascia, and
barge board were damaged, as well as about four metal roofing panels.
||You can see the top blew out where this
tree had split into two stems. The orange flagging tape around the
trunk is an unfortunate reminder that I had tagged this tree for removal
last year, but never got around to it.
||Good friend Bob Martin and his grandson
Rasun helped cleanup the damage, and got to take some good firewood
||We had several of the trees closest to the
house taken down in April. We may continue with more clearing to
get a little more light and air around the house. It's only when
we compare the trees to photographs of the original 1978 construction
that we appreciate how the trees have grown up and closed in around us.
|Western Washington Construction of Hoquiam
repaired the damage. The color actually matches very well - it
will just take a couple of years to get a coating of "grime"
on the new panels so they blend in. The metal roof took some
effort to repair.
||I gave up trying to get reliable wireless
network (WiFi) to all areas of the house from one central
location. This is a "poor man's network hub" - I ran
Cat5e data cable from the two desktop computers to the DSL
router which was relocated out-of-the-way in the closet. The laptops still
connect wirelessly. Network performance improved drastically, and
this removed a bunch of clutter from the kitchen counter (where the DSL
router had been).
||We staged these photos as part of my final
safety presentation in the office. I'm getting ready to cut in a
new panel-mounted surge suppressor. The point of this picture was
that all the safety equipment in the world (helmet, glasses, gloves,
kneepads) can't prevent injuries that result from doing dumb things.
||Dad thought this would be a good follow-up
picture showing what could happen if you're not careful around
electricity. Hollywood continuity checkers - where did the
|The small box to the left of the electrical
panel is a Leviton whole-house surge protector, which clamps surges on
all circuits in the house. Point-of-use
protection is still needed for sensitive electronics, but this
whole-house protection will minimize damage to other appliances (stoves,
microwaves, heat pump, etc). You can also see our generator
transfer switch below the surge protector.
||The whole-house surge protector wires
directly to one of the existing breakers. Because voltage surges
are very short duration events (measured in nanoseconds), it's critical
to keep wire lengths to a minimum, which explains why I shoe-horned the
new device just to the left of the breaker panel.
||Moving on to plumbing projects, I installed
a whole house water filter. PVC would have been a lot easier, but
it's not permitted by code inside the dwelling walls (due to concern
about fumes produced if PVC burns). I got a chance to dust off the
copper sweating techniques. I also replaced the pump pressure tank
manifold, switch, and gauge. This filter should keep the
light sediment film out of the toilets.
||At Dad's suggestion, I plumbed in a small
(5 gallon) water heater directly underneath the bathroom. Our
long, skinny house means there's about 75 feet of pipe between the main
hot water tank and the master bath .... lots of time waiting for hot
water in the morning. This heater is plumbed in series with the
main hot water heater, so its only job is to keep a very small amount of
water heated until reinforcements arrive from the main heater. The
flex pipes have been fully insulated since this picture was taken.
It's nice to have instant hot water.
|While cutting into our copper plumbing to
install the water filter and water heater, I was pleased to find that
the pipes are free of corrosion and sediment build-up. They should
last our lifetime in the house. Goldie is helping me check out the
||I learned this trick while searching the
Internet for copper sweating tips. To keep water away from a joint
that you're sweating into existing plumbing, wad up some gooey white
bread and shove it into the pipe. It will keep the dripping water
away from the joint while you sweat it. Afterwards, just turn the
water back on and eventually the bread will simply dissolve. Best
to remove the aerator/strainer from whatever faucet you're using to
bleed the air out, though! This trick worked very well for cutting in
the new hot water tank. Unfortunately, I then felt obligated to
have sandwiches made from this yucky stuff for the rest of the week.
||In addition to hauling out a truckload of
old clothes and other odds and ends from closets around the house, we
also installed this closet organizer into the master bedroom. It
really neatens up the closet, and makes it much easier to get to all of
our clothes. This particular model was made by Stack-A-Shelf in
Ontario. It's inexpensive laminated 5/8" particle board, but
it was quite sturdy by the time I got it bolted to the studs.
||Continuing our quest to get rid of the
perpetual clutter on the kitchen counter space, I installed this Sony
under-cabinet LCD TV. I can now brag that we have a
flat-panel TV - even though it's all of 7" in size. This,
combined with relocation of the DSL router that used to sit on the
counter, has recaptured several square feet of precious counter space.
|I put up a new 4' fluorescent fixture above
the sink. Took two tries - the first one ended up looking like a
tacky garage shop lamp. This one has an oak frame and soft
diffuser that looks much better. I also removed and refinished the
window sill, that had taken quite a beating from 25 years of water being
splashed on it. I used three coats of marine varnish which should
hold up pretty well, but I think the ultimate solution will be to cover
the sill with laminate.