old grey mule just ain’t what she used to be

ted | computer,house,junk | Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

New cell number in effect as an effort to stay ahead of theman, email me for details. Banana will be getting a fresh format soon, so if you have anything on that machine, I highly recommend you move it elsewhere. AFAIK I’m pretty much the only person that uses it, but you have been warned.

stoke the boiler and pass the linament

ted | computer,house,offgrid | Friday, November 2nd, 2007

We have no bandwidth at home. None. The deathstar decided it would be a good idea to cancel our working DSL on our original phone line before activating it on the secondary phone line. The DSL might get turned back on as early as Monday. Might.

We had to pull out phone books yesterday to find a telephone number. This shit has got to get fixed.

Please, call us and release us from our boredom. If you’ve got my cell number, the message will tell you the real cell number on which to call me. If you have my home number, it should work.

Maybe our neighbors have wireless access and haven’t activated WEP/WPA. We’ll see.

I actually considered dialup for this weekend.


Sometimes I miss Pervelous

ted | house | Wednesday, September 26th, 2007


Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. Though my personal preference was for Lux, I found that Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor – heavy, but with a touch of mellow smoothness. This bar of Dove, however, has a nice floral bouquet, a refreshing crisp tartness and finishes with hints of oak, saddle leather and motor oil.


ted | house | Monday, July 2nd, 2007

More pictures up on flickr.


ted | house | Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Did I really say it would only take us an hour to get up the remaining adhesive? Really? What the hell was I thinking? That’s akin to preceding a Frisbee throw with the phrase, “Hey, watch this!”. Shit, I did say it was only gonna take an hour. Damn.

It did not take us “no more than one very soggy and dirty hour to get the glue scraped up”. It took us at least six times that amount. Six hours of sitting in cold vinegar-water puddles, scraping up horrible old adhesive felt. I honestly don’t know what was worse, that or my kidney stone. At least with the kidney stone I had narcotics and a couple days off work.

OK fine, the kidney stone was worse.

Stone or no stone, we got up as much of the adhesive off the floor as we were going to get, which is to say, almost all of it. Last night we painted the ceiling and patched holes in the drywall, both of which were very rewarding since you get near-instantaneous results. Tonight we’re priming the walls, maybe even putting up one finish coat of paint and this weekend we’re sanding the floors.

Things are really starting to come together. In all honesty the one thing I miss the most about not having a kitchen is the sink. We’re getting by surprisingly well with just a microwave (on dining room table), toaster oven (on dining room floor) and coffeemaker (on bathroom counter), but having to wash dishes in the bathtub or fill up the dog’s water bowl or my own water glass from the bathtub sucks.

And as soon as the floor is refinished, the trim is refinished, the cabinets are assembled & installed, the sink/dishwasher/stove/fridge are put in place and hooked up and countertops installed, we’re having a big goddamn party.

How to remove old linoleum

ted | house | Monday, April 9th, 2007

I am extremely sore today and was damn near exhausted last night as the last of the linoleum and it’s residual felt/polonium/asbestos/goat-blood glue has finally yielded to the mighty spring steel scraper included in my $15 Harbor Freight always-keep-your-receipt heat gun kit. Yes, the linoleum is long gone and it was mostly all removed manually, with a springy scraper and short pry bar. Forget everything you’ve heard about heat guns and chemicals and dry ice to speed the process. Stop thinking this is going to be easy. Quit doing research on shortcuts. Get down on your hands and knees, and start scraping that shit off the floor.

The remnant glue, however, can be taken off fairly easily. Mix up some hot water and vinegar, then just pour it on like fake blood. Give it a while. Pour on some more, let it soak a while longer. Keep it moist. It’ll come up like butter, only less tasty and possibly toxic. I expect it will take us no more than one very soggy and dirty hour to get the glue scraped up.

Then we can paint. We have the paint and all accessories at the ready, procured from our local independent paint store. Fuck you, Home Despot. Screw you.

Removing old linoleum is very hard work. Your back shoulders arms wrists &c. will be sore for days. There is no way around this unless you can pay somebody to be sore for you. Accept this as your fate, put on the kneepads, and start scraping that shit up. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can be completely exhausted, smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer, slumped against the fresh drywall. But you will be a sweaty smoking slumped drinker that is done with linoleum.

No longer will I sweep for you, for I am not your broom.

ted | house | Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

“Look, do you work here? You don’t understand what I’m saying!”

With those few words, Shawn, the paint-department counter jockey, had lost two customers. Since we were no longer going to trade with this particular Home Despot – store #1908 at 7200 S Cicero Avenue, Bedford Park IL 60638 – we were in no hurry to put the three gallons of paint base, sixpack of rollers, assorted paintbrushes and other miscellany back on the shelves. In fact we left that shit all right there on the counter where it lay. I want to say that whatever part of our collection was in my hands was unceremoniously dropped on the counter as we collectively spun on our heels and made haste but that may be an elaborate fabrication of my imagination.

What, indeed, had Shawn done? He failed to understand our simple request, multiple times. He failed in the modest task what was his charge. Most of all, he got short with us.

All we wanted was to have the primer tinted close to the color of the finish coat, a light greenish grey. The finish coat apparently gave him no trouble, despite it being a color sample from their premium paint line but mixed for a midrange paint. When it came time to tint the primer, he started stammering incomprehensible things about tint bases and pigments and the computer and matching.

“No, really, it doesn’t have to be the same color. Just get it close, so long as it’s not white, we’re OK with it.”

This went on for about twenty minutes. A line was forming.

He gave us the same line about bases and tints and the computer and matches.

“No really, it doesn’t have to match. You’re not listening to us. Just get it pretty close or heck, just use the same pigment in the primer base, it will be fine. I promise.” We were trying to make his life easier. Just get it sorta light greenish grey and we’ll get out of here, honest.

Then he dropped the A-bomb with his attitude and tone.

On our way out, we spoke with the manager, I assume for the shift – not the entire store. He had no sort of identification as such, never offered us his name, a card, a seat. He listened to our complaints about his paint wallah and said that he apologized, that he would speak with the employee immediately and what could he do to make us customers again.

Our treatise had but a few salient points, which we made sure he understood. There are lots of places to buy paint. Mixing paint ain’t rocket surgery. It’s practically automated now, the counter jockey is only a go-between from the customer with a paint chip to the mixer. Said counter jockey’s attitude, tone and problem listening is what caused us to walk off. I’m sure he could have tinted the primer without fail had there been a button for it. As it turns out, there was not, and he did not understand what we wanted, nor did he listen to our myriad suggestions.

We have truthfully spent thousands of dollars at that particular store over the years. As of last night, we will no longer be trading with that store or any other in that chain. No amount of groveling from the manager was going to change it. That ship sailed in a big hurry at about the same time as the 3″ wide natural bristle brush hit the stainless steel countertop as we walked away.

So no more, Home Despot, no more forever.

n.b. Today Nikki picked up the paint at a local independent store. We actually stopped there first yesterday, but finding it closed, continued on to the national chain. She noticed as she walked in a large sign proclaiming, “ASK US ABOUT TINTING YOUR PRIMER!”. Within 30 seconds of walking in, a knowledgeable employee asked if he could assist her, then expertly mixed the paint based on a different brand’s paint code and tinted the primer. The paint itself was quite nearly twice what we would have paid at the big store. For the service, knowledge and professionalism I say it is completely and totally worth it.

If you are in need of paint or other like supplies, I endorse Decorator’s Supply House, 4019 W 63rd St, Chicago IL 60629, just west of 63rd & Pulaski and the Vision Center Indian.

Kitchen demolition nearly complete

ted | house | Monday, April 2nd, 2007

The kitchen is being re-drywalled right the hell now, which is fortunate because it looked pretty weird with most of the drywall removed. We ripped out everything below 63″ above floor level to get rid of the horrible, horrible tiles the previous owner put up. Stuck ’em directly to the drywall. I’ve seen bigger crimes against houses (like the drywalled-over stained glass window) but this is by far one of the most annoying.

But it’s all gone now, ripped out by yours truly yesterday. Just so all y’all know, while a laser-guided 7-1/4″ Skil saw with a tungsten carbide tipped blade will go through 5/8″ thick gypsum drywall like a red-hot axe through oleo but will create a thousand times more dust. Save your lungs the trouble and just cut it with a straightedge and utility knife.

Pix are up if you know where to look.

A bad days for tools

ted | house | Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Good: we sold the cabinets. A nice lady came by, proclaimed them worth $40 and sent her son by later with a truck to pick them up.

Bad: Said son left my mighty hand truck Sexcalibur in the alley. I imagine it was gone in a matter of minutes.

Good: The nice lady returned my voicemail, apologized profusely and said she would replace it. She was awfully nice about the whole thing. I made sure she knew what model it was and that it is available for $40 at your local Home Despot.

Bad: I did not get the chance to impress upon her the features I looked for in a hand truck. Sexcalibur had a MIG-welded all-steel frame, large pneumatic tires, was made in the USA and a durable powdercoated finish. These kinds of things are important to me because life is too short to have a cheap handtruck.

Good: We’re getting to take an evening off…

Bad: …because the Harbor Freight heat gun crapped out on us today halfway through the removal of the last peel & stick tiles.

Good: I made damn sure we kept our receipt.

Bad: With any purchase at Harbor Freight it is very wise to keep your receipt.

A destructive weekend

ted | house | Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Sick and tired of our cramped and poorly laid out kitchen, we’ve spent the past couple weeks figuring out how we’d like it laid out. This weekend we took a completely functioning kitchen and turned it into an empty room. We’ve got a toaster oven in the living room and a dish drainer in the bathtub. The coffee maker next to the bathroom sink makes it feel kinda like a hotel room except it makes good coffee.

All the cabinets are stacked & tarped on the back porch along with the dishwasher. The horrible electric stove is by its lonesome, waiting to be rained on since we sprayed it down with degreaser.

After peeping the appliances we wanted up at Abt on Saturday (once we finished removing most of the cabinets, of course), we found the dishwasher we wanted on craigslist. Used for a month in new construction and replaced with stainless steel appliances, we snagged it for 1/3rd its cost new.

Most of today was spent taking up the horrible black peel & stick linoleum tiles with a heat gun and floor scraper. Then we had to pull out wood screws every 3″ and remove the 1/4″ plywood underneath to reveal baby puke yellow 1970s linoleum. Below that is the original hardwood floor. Should everything go the way we want, it’s getting refinished. If it’s too riddled with screwholes or the baby puke linoleum doesn’t come up well, bamboo is going down over it.

Nice. I like progress. I like working with my hands, too. Fortunately we’re also working with our heads, unlike several previous owners.

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