'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

29 August 2012

For Ed Rasimus, Coop and Mrs. CoolChange

Nothing makes cancer easier or less intrusive. Nothing takes away the fear and pain and sickness. But we do what we can. We show our support and love and let those who are fighting know that we haven't forgotten them. That they are in our hearts and prayers. So this post goes out to Ed, Coop and Mrs. CoolChange.

First, let's get a couple of things out of the way. I am neither the most handsome nor hirsute specimen of the human male on the face of the planet. I am also not sacrificing nearly what Jennifer did when she sacrificed her locks. Still, I do have some hair.

So I corralled Lu for a little Naked Barber er, asked her for a nice, close haircut. Always happy to oblige, we set up in the new laundry room and commenced to shearing. The tools.

 Here we are halfway. That's a nice look eh?

Well, maybe not so much. Still, all gone is probably better. Right? Right?

But wait, we're not done just yet. A shaved head needs to be shaved. You should have heard Lu cuss when she had to try and wedge the razor into the Hired Goon Fold on the back of my neck.

I have no gift to give any of you except for this reminder that we do care. You are never far from our thoughts. Lu and I promise we will always contribute to and support all those who are searching for a cure. From Lu and I to each of you, indeed to all who are fighting against this evil disease we say;
We Love You.


26 August 2012

Sunday Kipling

Ack! Will you look at the time? I promise to punish myself later.

Lu and I finally got out yesterday. We did the White Trail at Gooseberry. Nice. Didn't take Angus. It was just too hot for him to be trotting along a dry trail. We did take him swimming again today. In this heat we try and swim him at least every couple of days. Not that he likes that or anything.

Was going to BBQ some tri tip but The Sarge is under the weather. Next weekend for sure. Feel better soon Pop. Instead Lu and I will grill up something else tasty and pull up a chair. The 49ers are playing today and it's the final stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.

Lu and I hope this day finds you all well and happy. Take care my friends.


The Lament of the Border Cattle Thief

O woe is me for the merry life
 I led beyond the Bar,
And a treble woe for my winsome wife
 That weeps at Shalimar.
They have taken away my long jezail,
 My shield and sabre fine,
And heaved me into the Central jail
 For lifting of the kine.
The steer may low within the byre,
 The Jat may tend his grain,
But there'll be neither loot nor fire
 Till I come back again.
And God have mercy on the Jat
 When once my fetters fall,
And Heaven defend the farmer's hut
 When I am loosed from thrall.
It's woe to bend the stubborn back
 Above the grinching quern,
It's woe to hear the leg-bar clack
 And jingle when I turn!
But for the sorrow and the shame,
 The brand on me and mine,
I'll pay you back in leaping flame
 And loss of the butchered kine.
For every cow I spared before
 In charity set free,
If I may reach my hold once more
 I'll reive an honest three.
For every time I raised the low
 That scared the dusty plain,
By sword and cord, by torch and tow
 I'll light the land with twain!
Ride hard, ride hard to Abazai,
 Young Sahib with the yellow hair --
Lie close, lie close as khuttucks lie,
 Fat herds below Bonair!
The one I'll shoot at twilight-tide,
 At dawn I'll drive the other;
The black shall mourn for hoof and hide,
 The white man for his brother.
'Tis war, red war, I'll give you then,
 War till my sinews fail;
For the wrong you have done to a chief of men,
 And a thief of the Zukka Kheyl.
And if I fall to your hand afresh
 I give you leave for the sin,
That you cram my throat with the foul pig's flesh,
 And swing me in the skin!

22 August 2012

It's Election Prediction Time (Updated)

Four years ago my buddy Dug and I made a bet on the presidential election. I picked McCain and he picked Obama. Yeah, that didn't turn out so well for yours truly. The payoff was that I had to wear an Obama t-shirt and publicly post some pictures to ensure my shame was forever. If you're interested you can find them and the back story here, here and here. The score is Dug 1, Me 0.
Well, it's that time again. I sent Dug an e-mail and he agreed to another challenge. Same rules.

Before I get into my pick and reasoning a few words about Dug. We've never met personally but I consider him a buddy. Without categorizing him I think I can say, with little fear of contradiction, that he's center left in his political outlook. He's also a father, husband, friend, hard worker and church goer. In other words he's a fine man. If a little addle pated politically (Love ya Dug!). He's also one of those on the left side of the spectrum you can have an honest conversation with. He never takes things personally, refrains from name calling and ad hominem attacks and is as honest in his outlook as the day is long. He's logical, consistent and really, really smart. I'd like him to do a guest post but he may only respond in comments.

And for those on the right who are either meh on Romney or who hate him totally and completely, this isn't a treatise on his positives or negatives. It's my prediction on who's going to win the election and why.

Ok. On to the meat of the issue and the smack talk. I'm picking Romney to win in November. Here's why.

You don't have to look any further than the economy. Remember the misery index? It's the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. Take a look at that chart. While the index under Obama is no where near Carter's in 1980 there are a couple of comparison points I'd like to highlight. Bush Senior had a 10.52 and was hammered by Clinton who, wait for it, ran on It's The Economy Stupid. In the final year of Bush Junior's administration it was at 9.65 and the Republicans were hammered by Obama on, admittedly among other things, the economy. Obama's current misery index is 12.1, the highest it's been since Reagen in 83 who was still trying to pull us out of the malaise of Jimmy Carter's 20.76. Obama himself said that if he didn't turn things around he'd be looking at being a one termer. The current debt is just a tick under 16 Trillion and counting. The current unemployment rate is 8.3 and I don't for a second believe that's the real number. That's just what the current administration is willing to admit to.

Obama ran on Hope and Change. He promised the most transparent administration in the history of America. How's that worked out? Where did all that stimulus money go? Fast and Furious anyone (if you scroll through Attkisson's site you can find all her reports on the subject)? Solyndra, Tesla, the list goes on and on and on. Prevarication, deflection and equivalism. Honesty seems to be missing from this administration and the people have taken notice.

Obama and his supporters are running as negative and dishonest a campaign as I have ever seen. Remember Joe Soptic? Get ready for more of that from a campaign that's becoming increasingly desperate. Gone are the lofty speeches and calls for unity. Now it's "you didn't build that."  Obama seems to be running on race and economic status. You can't criticize him without someone calling you a racist or a rich, greedy hater. Jobs? He hasn't met with his job creation council since he created the thing. They're going to try and beat Romney over the head with medicare? Good luck with that.

Let's talk about polls. Right now Gallup and Rasmussen have Romney up by 2 and AP has Obama up by 1. Any way you cut it that's a dead heat at best and for the incumbent President a disaster of the first order. And let me throw in a tickler, the University of Colorado, Boulder analysis. The authors have called every presidential election since 1980 and they're calling 2012 for Romney by a landslide. By both the electoral and popular vote.  May be specious but with their track record it's worth considering. Heck, Romney's ahead of Obama in Michigan!

Romney has negatives, no argument from me. Romney Care scares me but the day the Supreme Court returned it's 5-4 verdict on Obama Care's constitutionality he vowed to repeal it. He's a strong, upstanding man who has shown more and more fire as the election cycle has progressed. He picked a good man for Vice and is confronting Obama on substantive issues. He has the answers American voters seem to be looking for. He also has a hell of a war chest that he can't even tap until after the nomination process is done. The blitz to the election should be a doozy. I may have to cancel my cable until it's done and I'm a political wonk. He's moral, as honest as a politician seems to be capable of in these days and straight forward. He's likeable and photogenic. I know, I know things that shouldn't count. But they do and I'm talking about why he's going to be elected not the ethics of our election process.

I'm of the opinion that the numbers of undecided voters is much smaller than many are saying. Or hoping. If that's the case I see a low Democratic turnout. Democrat enthusiasm seems to be low and turn outs for candidate appearances favors Romney. Indicators are that  Obama has

America has been paying attention. The Tea Party is busy nominating and electing true conservatives with plans to take the Republican party back. The elections of 2010 were only a harbinger. Here's the bottom line for me and I'm just going to say it as a layman. Barack Obama has done virtually nothing positive in three and a half years and he's going to get his metaphorical ass handed to him in November.

Romney will win and become the 45th President of the United States.

Dug? You're up my friend. I've got a nice t-shirt all picked out for you.


Dug responds in comments but I thought it best to go ahead and put it here in the original post. With his permission I put in a link to his blog so you can see he's not a slavering monster but if you do go over there to comment please be kind.

 eric, you are a credit to your "warrior" class. a real saladin. also, you are kind beyond measure, and i'm proud to "know" you .

i am not the polling data ninja you are, nor a student of the misery index, except when it falls in my lap. i've got my own misery index to worry about. and my predictions are more like when someone picks their fantasy football wins based on uniform color.

on the other hand.

on the other hand, as much as you laud our good friend and well-haired governor romney, who made a much better governor than he would (not will) make a president, he is no stranger to lies, damned lies, and statistics himself. let's not put him on too high a white horse.

i don't think i need to cite lots of articles and such (mostly because i'm a lazy liberal, not one of those fervent, researching liberals), but i suspect you know as well as i do that continuing to regurgitate sound bites like "you didn't build that" is disingenuous at best, and outright deception at worst. the quote obviously refers to infrastructure that supports and enables business, and not the businesses themselves. the quote works. the quote is true. just as an example.

i'm not defending the joe soptic ad. i'm just saying, let's not decide our election based on who we think is running the most honest, fair, above board, no bullshit campaign. no such thing. unless you really do believe obama is a muslim (not that there's any religious test in this country or anything). then maybe we should just shake hands and go our separate ways.

i'll leave you with two things.

1. the stimulus didn't just work pretty well, but it actually saved the country. and it wasn't big enough, because congress wouldn't vote for anything over 800.

2. obama/biden in a squeaker in november. i will wear my hair like romney (i'll need a wig for that), his t-shirt, and sarah palin underpants if i'm wrong.

20 August 2012

Monday Funny/Earworm

Something guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Try to stay dry eyed during this moving anthem. I dare you.

Sorry about the ad, I couldn't figure out how to disable it and couldn't find the song anywhere else that didn't also have ads. Sheesh. it's like they're all a bunch of evil capitalists or something.

Ren & Stimpy - The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen... by Bodhisattva1956

18 August 2012

Sunday Kipling

It's going to be a fine day. Lu and I are going to the store for fresh brats to tempt Sarge and MIL for a nice Sunday dinner. We went on a good day trip yesterday that I'll blog about later this week. I'll be heading back to California soon to help Car Guy with a new roof. After which he'll be coming here to help me with mine. Aren't friends a blessing? I hope you all have a great day and a better week. Take care my friends.

The Dove of Dacca
The freed dove flew to the Rajah's tower 
  Fled from the slaughter of Moslem kings 
And the thorns have covered the city of Gaur,
  Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove!
Little white traitor, with woe on thy wings!

The Rajah of Dacca rode under the wall;
  He set in his bosom a dove of flight 
"If she return, be sure that I fall."
  Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove!
Pressed to his heart in the thick of the fight.

"Fire the palace, the fort, and the keep 
  Leave to the foeman no spoil at all.     
In the flame of the palace lie down and sleep
  If the dove -- if the dove -- if the homing dove
Come, and alone, to the palace wall."

The Kings of the North they were scattered abroad 
  The Rajah of Dacca he slew them all.
Hot from slaughter he stooped at the ford,
  And the dove -- the dove -- oh, the homing dove!
She thought of her cote on the palace-wall.

She opened her wings and she flew away 
  Fluttered away beyond recall;
She came to the palace at break of day.
  Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove,
Flying so fast for a kingdom's fall!

The Queens of Dacca they slept in flame
  Slept in the flame of the palace old 
To save their honour from Moslem shame.
  And the dove -- the dove -- oh, the homing dove,
She cooed to her young where the smoke-cloud rolled!

The Rajah of Dacca rode far and fleet,
  Followed as fast as a horse could fly,
He came and the palace was black at his feet;
  And the dove -- the dove -- the homing dove,
Circled alone in the stainless sky.

So the dove flew to the Rajah's tower 
  Fled from the slaughter of Moslem kings;
So the thorns covered the city of Gaur,
  And Dacca was lost for a white dove's wings.
Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove,
  Dacca is lost from the Roll of the Kings!

17 August 2012

On Dogs And Chewing And New Toys

No no, not a new gun. The gun fund is still recovering so even though I'm eyeballing a few there won't be anything new in the offing for a bit yet. The new toy is for Angus and I think he's in love. Or at least in neutered doggie lust.

Here he is at the front door, waiting patiently. "Is it time to go yet? IsItIsItIsItIsIt? Come on fat boy, shake a leg here. You promised me a new toy. You Promised!" Isn't he cute?

So off to the doggie toy store we went. We walked through and I gave him his lead to investigate and even try out some new stuff. We bought a new frisbee (he tends to eat them at a fairly prodigious rate) and a new ball (ditto tennis balls) but when it came to the stuffed toys he was in canine nirvana. He wanted everything. We settled on a fuzzy ball that was on sale. Not that I was motivated by that. Not at all. Still, as soon as we got settled into the truck he was nose deep in the bag, trying to extract it. "Is that Mine? Is it? It is? Hooray!" When we got home and he finally got to play with it...

It Was JOY!!

That is Happy Dog, One Each, Black In Color. He tossed it and he fetched it and he snuggled with it and he chewed it. Fuzzy happiness.

Angus doesn't get a lot of fuzzy toys, even though he loves them, because he's a destructive chewer and they sometimes make him, let's just Over Hormoned Teenaged Boy and leave it at that.  We had to take away his stuffed gorilla when he was little because he was...well, humping the crap out of it. He gets it back every once in a while but as soon as the....humping begins back on the shelf it goes. This one I bought strictly as a throw away which is a very good thing because...

This was it's condition after a couple of hours of play. See this is why we can't have nice things and why I buy el cheapo.

Lu swears she can repair it long enough for at least one more go around. Every time Angus spots it on the table he sits, stares at it and whines softly. Not that he's impatient or anything.

As I sit typing this I am getting The Look. You all know the one. The 'you need to take me outside and play with me because your socks are looking mighty tasty and I've been eyeballing that sofa cushion for weeks' look. Best not to tempt fate and Angus' willpower. His idea of self control is only eating one pair of underwear a night. He is the black hole of mischief after all.

I hope you all have a fine day and a better weekend. As for me, I'm going to go outside and play with my dog. Come on Angus, let's go!

14 August 2012


For all the liberals and leftists that have been preaching tolerance and compromise at us for decades. Yeah, just take a quick look at the Chick-Fil-A nonsense and ponder our view of what the actual problem is. This is a company that has and is doing everything that's been asked of it from a politically correct business environment and as soon as it's owner expresses an idea you find distasteful you attempt to destroy it and him. It's crap like this that gets us gun owners backs up every time you talk about common sense compromise. We know where that leads and all you have to do is take a quick gander at the invective hurled at Chick-Fil-A to see what true liberal tolerance really looks like. I'm gonna take a pass, keep my guns and go have a nice chicken sandwich whilst telling you on the left to kiss my fat, armed ass.

The giants are in a pennant race and I'm loving it. But can someone please tell the G-Men it's actually not considered insulting to the other team to occasionally hit the ball in your own ballpark? Pretty please?
Speaking of baseball. What is happening with the Red Sox? The team is disintegrating and Bobby Valentine's days as manager are numbered. Low numbered.

Contrary to what some people may say, no I am not done with the house remodel. I'm simply resting. I'm old. Naps and days spent reading a book on the couch are no longer just a really good idea they're an important part of my daily workout routine.

The Olympics are done and I'm going into withdrawals. Where am I going to get my synchronized rhythmic dressage fix now?

Went to the range for some trigger therapy the other day. The M1A shot well. The Sig shot well. The M1895 shot well. The operator? Not so much. I really need to spend more time shooting. Plus I broke the buckhorn rear sight on my Model 94. Meh, it's a good excuse to buy that peep I've been eyeballing.

Angus is healthy, happy and 75 pounds of mischief looking for an excuse run around the yard like a meth fueled furry rocket. I have bad news for the Air Force. The Mach Five missile has already been invented. He lives at my house. Plus, I think Lu is one chewed bathing suit away from turning him into a winter coat. Just sayin'.

On a more serious note, since it came up at a certain unnamed person's work place, suspected child porn on a company computer is a very serious issue. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is a mandated reporter when such is found. Call the cops immediately. Don't wait. Don't discuss it with someone else to see what they think and for damn sure don't show it to anyone else. Report it immediately. Yes, you may lose that computer and the cops will be around for a bit asking questions and generally making a nuisance of themselves but this is important. The child is already victimized, don't make it worse by hesitating or worse by ignoring it. Child porn is a line in the sand. If they're not already molesting children it's only a matter of time and opportunity. Deny them that and make sure they're turned over to the system. It may not be perfect but it's what we have and on crimes like this they get it right more often than not. Child predators are among the highest recidivism rates in the country. Do a kid a favor and help put the scuzzballs in big boy prison.


12 August 2012

Sunday Kipling

Dedicated to my lovely bride Lu. There's no one in the world I'd rather have at my back.

The Female of the Species

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the other's tale --
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations-worm and savage otherwise, --
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger --- Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue --  to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity -- must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions -- not in these her honour dwells.
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions -- in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies! --
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges --  even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons -- even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish -- like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it cames that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice -- which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern -- shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.

11 August 2012

34 Years And Counting

Tomorrow Lu and I celebrate 34 years as husband and wife. Words simply cannot convey how I feel about her and our years together. We were teenagers when we got married and the odds were against us. Through hard work, understanding, not a few tears and as much love as two people are capable of we are still here, standing together against all the world has to throw at us. I am honored to call myself her husband and grateful she chose me. I have no idea why but I'm keeping my peace, simply happy that she did.

This is one of my favorite pictures. It shows Lu as I have always seen her. How I will always see her. The most beautiful bride the world has ever seen.

Thank you sweetheart. When all is said and done love is all we truly have to give and you have always had my heart. I will love you forever.

Your loving and grateful husband.

08 August 2012

Laundry Room Part 2 - Plumbing

Once all the electrical was in and done it was time to turn my efforts to plumbing. Of the two, electrical versus plumbing, I hate plumbing the most. It tends to be dirty, wet and sometimes nasty. Depending on whether trips under the house are indicated or not. In this case, thankfully, no subterranean work was necessary. In the future for certain but I'll take what I can get.

Let me do a little stage setting here. This is a picture of the plumbing juncture I had to work with. Click to enlarge if you're interested.
Here's the important stuff. In the center of the floor space you can see two 3/4 inch galvanized pipes, one of which has a copper pipe running off it to the right. That pipe is the main house supply line. The pipe just to it's right is the supply line from the street. There are three pipes against the wall, running left in the picture. The top one is a drain line from the water softener, the middle is the street supply that runs to the softener and the bottom is the house supply that comes from the softener. The softener, for some reason that I will probably never understand is located outside. In an area where, while not exactly arctic, does in fact get below freezing in the winter. Here's what it looks like.

It's placed in a large wooden box just outside the old Mud Room. The pipes run through the wall to the plumbing juncture.

The old water softener is...well, old. Really, really old.
 All this needs to go and there was no way I was going to reinstall that old softener.

For anyone who regularly does plumbing Pex and Shark Bites (also called Gator Bites) are nothing new. For those who don't let me talk just a little about alternate means of plumbing. Pex is a little like a more durable and flexible version of PVC. It's really easy to work with and connects to other Pex, copper or PVC type materials with push in connectors called Shark Bites or Gator bites. Car Guy turned me on to the stuff and I love it. I will never sweat copper again. Here's a comparison.

On the left is copper and common screw in connectors (we'll leave sweating aside for the moment). On the right is a short length of white 1/2 inch Pex with some Shark Bites and a removal tool. That little orange crescent. 

Here's a look inside a 3/4 inch Shark bite.

It's really simple to make a connection. When you've got the run all laid out and cut to length simply push one end of the Pex into the Shark Bite and you're connected. There are in line connectors, elbows and threaded fittings so you can screw the line into a device or attach something. Like Water Softeners and valves as we will see.

You can also remove the fittings easily with the removal tool. Just slide it on, compress the black gasket you can just see in this photo and pull on the pipe.
 Et viola!

Shark Bites and Gator Bites. And yes, I paid for them all. No, I'm not getting anything in return from anybody to talk about them. Yes, I am easily and cheaply bribe-able for anyone with motivation and even shallow pockets. Take that FCC. When properly installed they're as permanent as sweated copper or screw in fittings and are code pretty much everywhere I know about and simplify plumbing projects by a factor of about a million. It's literally plug and play. Let's see how that transfers to an actual project shall we?

First step. Shut off the water at the meter. Important in that when you cut water pipes without that step things will get messy fast. Not that I'd know. I'm just guessing. Once done I cut all the pipes running to and from the old water softener. and then disconnected any excessive piping to the supply lines. I used Shark Bite connectors (threaded at one end to screw into the galvanized pipes) at the two 3/4 inch supply lines (from the street and to the house). Those pipes will go to the new water softener. I took the cold water washing machine supply from a T at the top of the softener output and found a very convenient hot water supply that ran to the kitchen sink. You can just see it over at the top right of the picture. We are cooking with gas now baby.

Here's a closer shot. Top pipe is the street supply. The bottom is from the softener to the house with a separate line to the washer. A nice, clean installation if I do say so myself and massively easy to do with a little planning and the right materials.

Ok. The water supply goes like this. A 3/4 inch pipe supplies the house from the street. It runs into the water softener and from there, via another 3/4 inch pipe, to the rest of the house. Here's the connections on the back of the water softener. On the left is the street supply to the softener and on the right is the output to the house.

A closer view. At the top is the plastic screw in connector on the softener attached to a copper adapter that necks from 1 inch (softener) to 3/4 inch for the supply pipes. Attached to them is another Shark Bite with a screw in on one end and a push in connector on the other. A short length of Pex to an elbow that connects to the Pex that runs to those supply connectors I showed above.

 Here's a side view. Simple no?

You can see the water softener attached to the house supply lines with the washing machine supply lines running along the wall. A simple connection and one I will have immediate access to in case of emergencies. Knock wood. The softener is a GE ( I know but I was stuck) that flows 9.5 gallons per minute and has a hard water bypass during regeneration which means I have water while it cleans the resin beads. It only recharges on demand, not on a set schedule but always starts at 0200 unless I manually over ride it. It's a modern device that will last us for a very long time. YMMV but this is what we needed and it should supply all our conceivable needs. Hi Angus!

And we're almost done. All that's left is hose connections for the washer and then moving it into the laundry room for hook up and testing. Oh, and maybe some drains. Here's the hose hook ups. Horribly simple. Shark Bites again with a threaded end, attached to a quarter turn valve and hose hook up. One for cold and one for hot. When I finally get around to dry wall I'll mount these a little better but for now all I care about is that they work and don't leak.

And just like that it's done. I tied the drain for both the washer and softener into the drain line that the old softener used (with a little fudging, trial and error and cursing). I managed to wrestle the washer into the room, hooked it up and admired my handiwork while I waited for Lu to come home and try it out. Yep, that's her machine and I am not allowed to touch it except for moving it as necessary. Everything turns on, fills, drains, exhausts and generally works like it's supposed to. I am so happy!

 I even put in a little temporary shelf so she had some place to put laundry stuff. Does it look like a laundry room now? I still have a lot of work to do in here but for now it's as done as we need it.

Remember that mess on the porch where the old softener was? Yep, all gone now. We removed an eyesore, opened up the porch and ensured that our water supply will not freeze up and maybe burst the pipes some day. That small dark square on the wall is the dryer vent.

Lu loves the new laundry room. It's just a few steps from the master bedroom. No more walks through the rain and sun and general nasty weather. Really, I'm embarrassed it took me this long. Sorry sweetheart. You've been doing my laundry for more than 30 years so shame on me for taking so long to do this.

What's next for this area? I'm glad you asked. This photo is dark but it should do. It's taken from the doorway in approximately the center of the house. It looks out to the porch. To the left is the master bedroom and to the right is the pantry. The center door leads to the new laundry room. I'm going to take that doorway and the wall on the left out and stubbing in a wall that will create a new hallway all the way from this doorway to the porch door, along the line shown. That will open up and enlarge the master bedroom and allow me to put in a new master bathroom. Oh yeah, I'll be doing more plumbing. A lot more. But I don't anticipate that until next summer. I still have a new roof on both the main house and the storage building to do before the weather turns.

All in all I am not unhappy with my work (and more importantly Lu is not unhappy with my work!). I managed to take what was an essentially unused room and turn it into a functional and useful part of the house with reasonable cost and reasonable effort. Total outlay, including all materials and the softener is well under a grand and the softener was 600 bucks. Don't let this kind of stuff put you off. Car Guy taught me a lot but the rest I got through makee learnee. The hardware guy and I are on a first name basis. Just plan as well as you can, don't be afraid to ask questions and understand that you'll be back and forth to the hardware store buying and returning stuff you got wrong the first time. It is not rocket science and it can be learned and mastered by us do it yourselfers. Hey, if I can do it anyone can do it!


07 August 2012

Laundry Room Part 1 - Tear Out And Electrical

When we bought this house I was acutely aware that the laundry room was in the storage building, behind the main house. That means that for the last two years Lu has had to trudge back and forth from the house to the laundry and back in hot, cold, rain, snow. You name it. All with nary a single complaint mind you. Lu's a good soldier. She also knew that there were other things that took priority and that I'd get to a new laundry room just as soon as I could. Well, that time is now. Sorry it took me so long honey.

This is the room we've taken to calling the Mud Room. It's where both Chrisi and Angus spent a good deal of time. The dog door is there and we used it as 'temporary' storage as well. Time to strip it down to bare walls.

Everything had to go including all this wood paneling.

Behind that door is access to the main water lines to the house. The lines run behind the walls stage left in this picture, outside to the old water softener and then back to the main house feeder line. There's some 110 outlets but no 220.

Nice ceiling huh?

Getting started stripping the walls. Note the storage area on the left. We tend to accumulate stuff and temporary becomes semi permanent pretty quick.

This is a shot of the end grain of the paneling. Kaibab, straight from the Kaibab forest just north of us. This is probably circa 1950 or so.You can't find stuff like this anymore, at affordable prices anyway, so I'll hang on to it and try to find a good use for it later. No idea where but I am a pack rat.

Down to bare walls but we're still not done with deconstruction. All that needs to come out as well, right down to naked studs. Heh heh. Naked studs.

The wood on the walls is firring strips that the wood panels were nailed to. With about half a million nails.

Getting down to the stud walls. That is most emphatically not dry wall. It's a type of cheap wall board that is both flimsy and difficult to remove. I hate it with a red hot hatred of hatiness.

After a couple of days of pulling and hammering and prying and toting and lifting we're down to bare walls at last. Oh happy day! You can see the plumbing hookups over in the corner which is going to simplify the plumbing something fierce. That piece of white wall board behind the vent pipe? That's the old window opening in the original building. Just on the other side of that block wall is the kitchen.

Ok, time for some new wiring. I've complained for a long time that every 110 outlet in this house is ungrounded. That is simple two prong outlets. In time I will completely rewire the entire house, starting with this room. The yellow line is Romex, 12/2 with ground. One outlet on this wall for the washer (with GFCI) and one on the wall to the left for general use. The orange is 8 gauge with neutral and ground. That's the 220 line for the dryer. It also gets a GCFI breaker.

This is the north wall where the new water softener is going. It gets a 110 line for the softener and a wall switch for the overhead light.

And the overhead light. I always used to get confused when wiring up light fixtures to wall switches until my buddy clued me in. Here's how I remember how to wire a single fixture/switch. Remember that with Romex the white wire is neutral, the black is power and the bare copper is ground. At the service box you connect the cable normally to the breaker with the bare copper going to a common ground. From the breaker you run a line to the light fixture box then another separate line from the fixture box to the switch box. Ok. At the light fixture box you wire nut the two ground wires together. You're left with two white and two black wires at the fixture, one set from the breaker and the other from the switch. The black (power) wire from the breaker gets wire nutted to the white (neutral) wire to the switch. You're then left with the black (power) wire from the switch and the white (neutral) from the breaker. You then just hook up both the light fixture and the wall switch. It sounds confusing trying to describe it but in use it works great. When done correctly you've got power going to the switch from the breaker (through the fixture box) and then to the light from the switch and a neutral from the light back to the breaker which completes the circuit plus a common ground for the entire circuit. All you have to remember is at the light box you want white from the breaker, black from the switch. Hook everything else together with bare copper going to bare copper and black going to white. Hook up the switch (including the bare copper ground) and wire in the light fixture and you're golden. Easy Peasy.

All wired up and the dryer in place. Everything works just fine. I've covered the outlets and switches but left the walls bare for the time being. I have plumbing to run and walls to move so no drywall for a while yet.

Tomorrow plumbing. Here's a sneak peak.
Pex and Shark Bytes aka Plumbing for Dummies. Oh yeah.