Electrical Service Installed

powerpoleI Got The Power!! Bomp..bomp bomp bomp.

I headed out to my country property to finish spraying the re-emerging Mesquite trees and looked over to see that the power company had installed the new service!

I have a nice new pole with a shiny new transformer.  As I was hoping, they installed the meter and a main 200 Amp circuit breaker.  That’s all I need!

I’m ready to dig the trench and install the conduit and service cable to the house area.   I’ll put in a 30 amp plug to hook up my RV and a regular outlet for construction equipment like my air compressor.

I’m well on the way now.  Shit is happening!

Mmmmm.  That new power pole smell.



House Layout Test

It was a nice Saturday evening so I decided I would head out to my property and spray some weed killer on the re-emerging mesquite trees.  I had the land cleared of all the growth but Mesquite is evil and comes back quickly.

I ordered some Remedy from Amazon at $77.00 a gallon.  Sounds expensive and it is but if you buy it locally, it will cost you $90.00 a gallon.  I poured 19 ounces in a two gallon gas can and hit the road with my new backpack sprayer.  I stopped to buy a gallon of Diesel which is mixed with the Remedy to keep it on the leaves.  I figured a gallon would be enough to do the driveway area which needed it most.

I got there about 7:30 and started spraying.  A gallon didn’t go as far as I expected but it was a good test.  I got about a third done.  I’ll go back later this week and do some more.  By that time I might see if it has worked on what I did get sprayed.

I had a lot of spare time so I walked around a bit.   I just bought a measuring wheel and used it to measure the distance from the electrical pole to the house.  160 Ft.  I’ll need that to install the underground cable for the electrical service.

I stopped at the location for my house that I had marked the corners of with metal rebar stakes.  I thought it sure would be nice to get a better idea if I could only see the walls.  There were plenty of sticks laying around.  Remnants of the clearing process.  I scavenged them up and laid them out to represent the walls using the measuring wheel.  (As seen in the picture above.)

That worked out nicely.  It was getting dark quickly but I decided to keep going so I found enough sticks in the area to represent the garage. (Not shown).  It was almost completely dark now but using the light on my phone, I was able to get more to represent the inner walls of the house.  For the first time I was able to experience a full-scale representation of the whole house.  I was able to imagine the location of everything and really get a feeling for the spaces.   I liked it.   Everything felt perfect.  I am satisfied with my design.  It’s good.

It was now pitch black and I was glad I had my phone flashlight.  I could just make out the gleam of my car’s license plate maybe 250 feet away.

I took a moment to appreciate the darkness.  You don’t get to experience darkness outside in the city.  Even in the middle of the night, you can easily see without a flashlight due to the light pollution in the sky.  I really wanted to see the stars but I was too worn out to sit around much longer.  I went back to the car and drove the 50 miles home.

Totally worth the trip!!


Providence strikes again – Paint Sprayer Discount

pntspryrI’m constantly amazed how often the things I need come to me free or cheap when the time is right.

All you have to do is have patience and wait.  They say good things come to those who wait.  I think it is totally true.


sdngI put off starting a big project of replacing the siding on the front of my house for so many years.  It was starting to rot where the water splashes on it from the porch roof.  It needed to be done before I go to sell the house and time is getting short so I decided to get it done.

I got the bright idea to buy a paint sprayer.  I could totally do this with a brush but next year when I’m building my new house, I’ll need a sprayer anyway.  The best thing I could find would be a good looking Graco sprayer from Home Depot for $260.  Fine.  Totally worth it.

Today I gen an email from Harbor Freight with a coupon to buy one almost exactly the same for only $169.  Dude!  Love it!  The reviews are good and I’ve never had any problems with HF stuff.  It even uses the Graco sprayer tip and parts.   I’m going to pick it up this week.  Noice!


New Water Heater for my RV

rvwtrhtrOn my last few trips I’ve noticed that the water heater in my RV was not firing up.  It wasn’t a big deal because the places I’ve been staying have showers nearby.

I plan on using my RV out on my new property while I’m building my house next year and I’ll be needing warm water for showers to clean off after a hard day of building.

I was going to order an exact replacement but I happened to find that there’s a newer model that does both gas and electric for just a little more money.  I like the idea of using the free electricity at the campgrounds rather than my propane so I went ahead and ordered one off of Ebay.  It was only $325 plus free shipping.  I like!  Ebay’s price was at least $100 less than Amazon and it is new and guaranteed.  I’m all for that.

Youtube indicates that removal of the old one and installation of the new one should be easy.  The electrical panel is just above the water heater compartment so wiring for the electrical supply will be a snap.

Buying stuff really does make you happier.  Installing it makes me even more happier.  OH OH OH!


North Side Siding Done!

Holy Guacamole!

It took me at two and a half months but I finally got the rotting siding replaced on the north side of my house.  Well..I’m calling it done.

It really needs another coat of paint but I don’t have another month to spend on that.  Why did it take so long to do such a simple job?  Work and rain.   Due to my 8:30-5:30 job, I have absolutely zero time during the week for ANYTHING.  I cram in Community Band practice on Monday nights and a visit with mom on Wednesday nights.  The other three nights I am wiped out and can do nothing but collapse on the couch and watch TV for an hour or two before I drag myself to bed at 9:00.  Besides.  It’s dark when I get home at 6:30 after an hour drive through crippling traffic so doing anything outside would be extremely difficult.  It also keeps raining on weekends.  How does it know?

It’s a good thing I don’t have friends or family because they would demand some of that precious time.  I don’t know how the regular people do it.  Maybe they don’t care about things like replacing siding.  Maybe important things don’t matter to them.


I had to do 99% of the work myself so I created a winch controlled siding lift using 14 foot 2x4s.  That worked out really well.  I’m amazing!  You should want to be my friend!

Once I removed and replaced all the 4×8 sheets of siding, I had to fill the oops nail holes and paint.  I just now finished replacing the vertical trim pieces that hid the seams.  I really wish I had time and energy for one more coat of paint but it will do.  Maybe another time.

Time is a precious commodity.  There is so little of it available these days since time itself has sped up to ludicrous speed.  Time is something that one really should appreciate to the max.  I’m so glad that this is my last year to play the Time Game.  I’m going to early-retire in January of 2019 if my evil plan goes smoothly. Soon time will be my bitch!  It will do my bidding for a change.

Mua ha haaaaa!

Siding lift for replacing siding on a 2nd story wall.

The bottom of one of the siding panels on the North side of my house was starting to rot from the bottom.  The old siding is made of what feels like cardboard.  A number of years ago I got involved in a class-action suit against the siding manufacturer and receive un-remembered thousands.

It’s actually lasting fairly well except certain parts so I’m just replacing what needs replacing with Hardie cement board siding.  This particular one has been on my mind for a long time marked as rather difficult because it is on a 2nd story and I have nobody to help me.

I spent the last few months looking at it and designing ways to do it in my head.  I was set on using a hand cranked winch and using a pulley on the eaves to hoist it up.  The other day, while sitting in the hot tub, I came up with a better plan.

Using two 15 foot 2x4s, cross members and a pulley I could just crank a 80 lb panel up there and slide it right into position all by myself.

Yesterday I built the mechanism and today I removed the old siding and hoisted the new one right into place.  My plan worked perfectly and cost me around $50 for the hoist and $30 for the siding.

Damn I’m good.  Natural born engineer here.  Congratulate me.


Winter Front Siding Project

IMG_0018I’ve been patching it and ignoring it for around 10 years now but the siding in the front of my house needs to be replaced.

Right above the roof of the porch, where the rain drips and splashes onto the siding, the rot is beyond repair.   It doesn’t look too bad in the picture but a lot of the surface is caulk and paint.   Fine for me but not good when it comes time to sell the house in a year or so.

The majority of the siding is just fine but you can’t find exact replacement planks so the whole thing has to go.  Major bummer.  I’ve decided that this will be my first winter project.  There’s no way in hell I would do it during the summer because it is 100 degrees and humid as a newly opened dishwasher door right after the wash is done.  Not gonna do it.  Wouldn’t be prudent.

Now that winter has come,  I am ready to tackle it.  I’m going to rip off all the siding, and window trim then put some house wrap on.  Next I will use some Hardie Fiberboard Siding.  Home depot doesn’t sell any style other than the plain white plank shown below and I want a little texture like the old siding does.


It has surface texture but not really any other look.  The old siding had a simulated shingle look that set my house apart from all the others.  Hardie does sell a simulated shake style but it is significantly more expensive and I would have to special order it.  Bleah.

Fortunately my awesome brain came up with a great plan.  It’s really inexpensive too.

IMG_0017I’m going to take that regular 12 foot long siding plank and use my cut off saw to just cut slots in the board.  I went and picked up a single plank today for experimentation.

First I score and snap the 12 foot plan into three 4 foot lengths.  That way it will be easy for me to handle all alone by myself and should line up with the wall studs.

Next I measured out 6 inch lengths and marked them with a pencil.  (48 inches divided evenly by 6.)  All I had to do is slice on each mark with my cut-off saw.  The blade length automatically determined my 6 inch reveal.  The result pictured above looks pretty damn good.  I’m sold.  What do you think?

Each 12 foot plank costs $6.95 and I calculate the whole side of the house should end up costing me only $344.  Shit yeah!   Totally worth it and it will fit in my Prius.  I guess I’ll just have to get myself psyched up.  The hardest part of a large project is getting started on it.  Once you get going you wonder why you waited so long then suddenly it’s done.

Do I not kick ass?  What would you pay for me now ladies?

The next morning:

OOPS!  There’s a flaw in my plan.  Do you see it?
It came to me last night while I was lying in bed.  The slots are too long and there is about 3 inches of open slottness between each row.  Air and water would go right through slots to the sub-wall. Hmmm.   I’m going to have to recalculate.

I can reduce the reveal from 6 inches to 4.25″ maximum.   That would raise the cost to $410.  Around $100 more.  I guess it’s still worth it.  I won’t be paying labor to anyone so it’s still a steal.  I’m not sure I like the smaller tile look but I’ll let it grow on me.   It’s not too bad.  What do you think?