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I am not a Handyman!

Posted on April 6, 2018 by under Home Ownership, Projects.    

So, the back door to the garage has needed some work for a long time now. If anyone remembers the Farmstead fiasco of a home, then you all know that I am not a handy person. I don’t really know how to fix things all that well.

Heck, I had to have my father-in-law come help me install two smart light switches because the switches were smarter than I was and I couldn’t figure out the wiring. If it wasn’t for him and his friend (Tito Arnel) I could have very well wired it and burnt the house down.

Back to the door! So, the door was water damaged and rotting because the previous owner cheaped out on the install and didn’t seal it properly. One of the sprinkler heads wasn’t ever adjusted right and water just pounded that frame and, well, we get a crumbling POS.

About a month ago I got fed up looking at it and called a professional to come give me a quote on installing a new door in my garage and, while he’s at it, installing a new front door too — because, if they are already here, it will probably be cheaper… Right? No!

After about an hour of his time and the price getting all the way up to $9000, I had to dial him back and tell him I wasn’t going to fork out what could be money for a pretty good vacation, for a couple of doors. We narrowed it down to just the garage door and that was still well over $1000. I thanked him for his time and looked at option 2, 3, 4, and even 5.

I looked at a few videos and found a door at Lowe’s for about $170. Add in screws and caulk and we’re looking at $200 max, plus my time. I managed to convince my wife that this was going to be so easy, a child could do it. I told her they made the doors idiot-proof and that even I could install one now. Heck, even my dad was convinced we could both tackle it and be successful.

Then one night I was playing online with my buddy and remembered he worked construction for like 15 years and knows how to install doors! So I buckled down, swallowed my pride and asked him if he would be willing to help. Without hesitation, he said yes. My wife has never been so relieved to not have to do something in her life. I think her exact words were, “Oh, thank God!”

Fast forward to this last Saturday. My friend and his son Eli come out. I already had the door and everything we needed. He gave me more information about installing a door than I could process. It wasn’t really as easy or simple as I thought it would be. But, in the end, we got it done and it looks great.

I honestly don’t think it would have been as good without him. I’m sure I would have done something to either ruin the door or mess up the install. I am grateful to have friends with skills.

Here’s some pictures of the new door and the old one we removed.


Old, rotten door.


New door, in progress.


New door, trimmed up.


Outside view.


By the way, anyone need a door?

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Making My Home Smarter Than Me

Posted on December 31, 2017 by under Home Ownership, Projects.    

I have been wanting to add smart devices to our home for some time. I wanted a Nest since they first came out but my wife wouldn’t let me because the local power company had their own program and she felt since she worked for them, she should honor that program and be a part of it as well. This did get us a really nice Honeywell programmable thermostat, but it wasn’t a Nest!

Several years have now passed and we’ve gotten off the WattSaver program, but we got to keep the programmable thermostat and it’s worked very well for us. But, again, it’s not a Nest. So after visiting a friend’s house and seeing all of his home automation toys, I decided it was time to work on Ching and see if I could finally swing a Nest. It just so happened that Amazon was having a huge sale and I was able to get it much cheaper than normal and Ching finally caved (because she’s a sucker for sales) and I got my Nest.


This is a picture of me unboxing the Nest. It’s pretty simple when you get down to it and look at how they have everything set up for you. They even include pictures and labels. They offer a professional set up but, unless you are just really not handy (I’m close), I think you would be able to manage.


Here it’s all installed and working. I love that I can control it from my phone, laptop or even my watch.

After that, it was time to update a coupe of light switches that we have really wanted to have on a program anyway but could never figure out how to do it. Again, my friend showed me some of the things that he had and they fit my needs perfectly. Thanks to Amazon again, they were having a sale and Ching could not resist, so we got three plugs and two light switches.

The plugs are very versatile, they just plug into the wall and there are some instructions on the app and then bam, they are available to be automated and controlled through my phone.

The light switches were a little different. These involved a little help from my father-in-law and a friend of his. I needed expert advise and installation. LOL.


Here is a picture of all of us looking at the wiring and trying to plan the best way to install them without burning my house down.


Here we have initiated the plan and we are conversing to make sure that we all agree to the final installation.


Here is the final product installed.


And here we have it all covered up with a nice smooth face plate. I like these face plates because you don’t see any screws like traditional faceplates. I think going forward, I may use these on all of my replacement switches.

All in all, I like the way everything functions. I like how it is automated and how I can, in the near future, tie them all to an Alexa and just use my voice to control everything.

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Common Sense

Posted on February 26, 2017 by under Funny Musings.    

Common sense, it’s such an over looked commodity that humans possess. Yet, it seems that not all people have it, or they have just not been put in a position that allowed them to develop the common sense needed in order to survive in this world without the need for intervention from people that have it in droves and feel the need to assist those that lack it.

For example, the seat belt laws. Here’s a brief history on seat belts for those of you that didn’t know. Back in the late 50s to early 60s, test were done to determine if seatbelts were something that would need to be required on cars and could they really save lives. In 1968, Title 49 was implemented in the federal code that required all cars manufactured to have seat belts designed into them for safety. Now we go on for years with no laws requiring you to wear a seat belt, it was just common sense at this point. The government felt it was important enough to implement a law that required manufacturers to design these devices into your cars for safety and this should have been (and probably was for the vast majority of people) the sign that you should wear this whenever you are in a car. But no, there are those out there with no common sense and they chose not to wear a seat belt.

Now we fast forward to the mid 80s. States realize that they have idiots behind the wheel of these vehicles and they need to do something to save their dumb lives because lord knows, we have to many people on this planet as it is and we can’t let Darwinism take its course and thin the herd. We need these dumb people to pay taxes and vote for stupid presidents…sorry, I got on a tangent.

Anyway, mid 80s, New York decides they have had enough and becomes the first state to implement a mandatory seatbelt law that went into effect December of 84. Shortly after many other states started passing laws that required you to wear a seat belt for your own safety. To this day however, not every state has passed a law that states you are required to wear a seat belt.

Here’s my two cents on the whole matter and the point I’m trying to make. We were given common sense for a reason. If you choose to not use it then you should be met with the consequences of those actions. Who are we to create (what I call) common sense laws? I mean, if you want to get in your car and drive down the street and not wear your seat belt, then go ahead. Common sense says you should wear the seat belt because it will save your life, but if you get into an accident and fly through the windshield threading your face and then shattering your skull as you slam into the pavement and only a slightly reduced speed that you were initially traveling, then go ahead…the world will be a better place now that your stupidity has left it.

I’ve always said, stupidity should be painful. Creating these laws that stop people from using common sense is just breeding a less than intelligent society that will rely more and more on their governments to tell them what to do. It’s just a matter of time before we have a law that tells us that we need to breathe daily, and that it’s illegal to hold your breath because it may result in your death…just saying.

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My News Radio Addiction

Posted on January 14, 2017 by under Hobbies.    

About three months ago I decided that I needed a change to my morning routine. I didn’t have the time to look at the news on Google like I used to and I remembered my wife telling me that our local station 89.1 KMUW was an NPR station. I had listened to NPR before but it had been a long time and I had forgotten what a pleasure it was to listen to their programs.

One morning I decided that I was tired of listening to the rants of the Todd and Tyler show on T95. This was just after the election of Donald Trump and they were both big Hillary Clinton supporters (even though they say they aren’t). Now, I’m not really a political person. I mean, I haven’t even voted and I’m in my 40s. But at the time, I thought it was the only station that had talk radio and no music and I wanted to listen to a station that I could just turn on and let be background noise. So, on this morning I was listening to them rant on and on about the election and how America was screwed but then in the same sentence say we needed to give him a chance. I was fed up with all the double talk and stuff so I changed the station. After years of listening to them, I was finally done. I turned the radio over to KMUW and started listening to them instead.

Since then my radio has not changed from that station. I find it very relaxing to listen to the news on my way into work and on my way home. I feel that their commentary is very neutral (although, I have noticed a few people will write stories with a slight lean towards the conservative side) and they do a good job of sticking to the facts. I like the fact that they keep the articles short. This way they optimize the amount of articles they can fit into the time they have. About a month ago, I found their app and down loaded it. Now I have the ability to finish my news anywhere by streaming it from my phone. If I had a job that I didn’t have to take or make phone calls, I would probably just have NPR running all the time. I can say this, I do turn off the radio when they start playing music or that kind of stuff because I just like the news. It keeps me informed.

Once, when I was in college, I was told by my English Professor that I’m “a wealth of useless knowledge.” At first, I was kind of offended. And I think he could tell. He quickly came back and explained, “That’s not a bad thing. The world needs people like you. So many of us try to focus on the useful knowledge and push the useless knowledge out of our minds but what is useless to some is useful to others. If we all pushed out the useless knowledge then it would simply be gone. Then, in the event that we actually needed it, it wouldn’t be there. But because of people like you, people who like the useless knowledge, we will always have it in the world, available whenever it presents itself to be useful again.”

For a while I didn’t really understand it. However, as got older, I realized that he was right. My focus has always been on the stuff that most people don’t want to think about. My NPR addiction has helped me to keep up with that useless knowledge. I like the news that they cover. It’s not always the mainstream media news. Sometimes it’s obscure news that rarely gets coverage. I like that news. I find it more interesting than the regular news that I can absorb just about anywhere.

I really hope that KMUW will continue to be an NPR station and I hope that NPR will continue to report the news as they do now. As long as they continue down the same path, I will always be a loyal listener.

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Donate to the YMCA

Posted on December 27, 2014 by under Life.    

Please help us to raise money to support the YMCA.

Thank you.

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