Thursday, September 25, 2014

rain, glorious rain

I woke at 5 AM this morning to the sound of gentle rain on the skylight in our bathroom.  Then I heard water gurgling down the drain pipes, followed by the sound of rain pattering on the patio tiles.  Beautiful music.  Steady, refreshing, gentle rain fell here in the valley for four hours.  This morning everything looks so glossy and clean, so fresh and bright.  The new roof has passed its first test with flying colors.

Spurred on by the wet and cold I ordered our winter wood ~ half cord of aged almond.  Looking forward to some cozy nights by the fire soon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

open wide, say "ahhh"

My sweet Dorothy had to go to the hospital this morning.

Last week I took her in for her annual check-up; oil change, tire rotation and inflation check, general examination.  All was just fine.  She got a bath, a vacuum, and we were out the door in two hours.

But starting on Thursday, Mr. C spotted an oil leak on the garage floor.  I kept my eye on it and it did not stop.  So today I went back to the shop and she got another full check. 

Not Dorothy, but you get the idea
Sure enough, there was a leak in the oil pan; the threads on the stopper were stripped.  So back into surgery she went to have the new oil drained, the old pan removed, a new pan installed and then the crank case refilled with oil.  Because the car is so tiny they had to completely remove the engine to get at the old pan, remove it, put in the new one, reinstall the engine, pour in the new oil.  What an ordeal.  Five and a half hours later she was ready to return home.  The cost?  Zero.  Nada. Zip.  Why?  They should have noticed the problem when they drained the oil during the first visit. 

So now I'm good for another 10,000 miles or one year.  It will be a year, I'm sure.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

the roof: week two

Monday morning the final touches were put on the roof before submitting it to scrutiny by the city building inspector.  This meant that the nails had to be driven flat,  all the seams even, the insulation was the right kind and grade,  the new plywood met standards.  We ended up having to have more preparatory work done that we had thought because of both the age of the original roof and all the new city requirements.  By the time the crew left, however, it looked ready to be checked.

New plywood in the front.  Pkgs. of new shingles stacked on the ridge line.

In the back
Tuesday morning the inspector showed up, crawled all over the roof and pronounced it sound!  Then started a whole new round of pounding  as the new shingles went on.  It has been very hot during this past week so work went from about 7:30 in the morning until 1 PM.  It's just too hot after that.  The work has been slow but steady and nobody has passed out with heat stroke.  Although I was sad to see my shake shingles go, I like how this looks.

Tomorrow they will finish up on the west corner in the back, anchor down the flashings of the skylights and solar tube, and generally prepare for Tuesday's final inspection.  There are a couple of things that have to be done inside the house, too.  Mr. C was thrilled when he heard this news but has been led, gently, to understand that it MUST be done.  It is now required that any room in a house that has a closet must have a smoke alarm so that means, for us, three smoke alarms when now we have none.  Any hallway must have both a smoke alarm (yes) and a carbon monoxide alarm (no).  The hallway alarms must be hardwired.  So on Monday, John will install two combo units in our two hallways and three alarms in the bedrooms/office.  These are  items we didn't need when the house was built.  If everything is as it should be (must be!) we should be finished with this little project.

But wait!  There's more!  The pool has developed a nasty leak and, before we head south again, we must get it repaired.

 We noticed we'd been losing water ~ there is an autofill function and you can hear it click on and I was hearing it constantly ~ and this is a very bad sign.  There is a crack on one side of the fountain feature and we think that's where the leak is located.  Mr. C turned off the autofill ten days ago.  As of this morning, the pool level is down 9".  Through some mathematical gymnastics (how many gallons of water in a cubit foot = 7.5 X the L & W of the pool X how many inches of water have been lost ) we arrived at 2,000 gallons.  Yes, we've lost about 200 gallons per day. 

We'll let it continue to drain until it stops and, the thinking goes, that will be the site of the leak.  So, she asks, what if it drains dry?  Then what?  Stay tuned.

Monday, September 15, 2014

the roof: week one

One week gone and we are about half done.  There were a couple of delays such as more work needed on insulation and many plywood sheets had to be replaced.  Here's what happened last week and here's where we are as of today, Monday morning,

Two skylights in the garage, one solar tube in bath. 
The first real visible progress was the installation of two skylights in the garage, one solar tube in the bathroom.  These were done before anything else and they look terrific.

Next came the delivery of this insulation stuff that had to be blown into the attic.  What a gawd-awful mess it made all over everything.  It looked like snow falling, but apparently our attic is now snug and, most important, meets all the energy requirements of our fair city.

That hose on the right is connected to a blower.  Dave's wife fed the bags of insulation into the blower and it shot out and into the attic.
Next came the plywood replacements.  There were some rotted sheets here and there so we  had the whole thing redone.  This stuff has foil on the back for extra insulation.  It's going to be might snug around here!

By now it's Thursday.  The rest of the week, including Saturday morning, was spent hammering and sawing and getting the roof all ready for the delivery of the shingles this morning.  It was beastly hot here all last week and the two chaps, Dave and John, were totally beat by Friday afternoon.  But everything looks clean and ready.

Sure enough, early this morning the truck loaded with shingles, tar paper, the attic vents and other assorted equipment showed up to dump its contents.  The workmen got up on the roof and started unloading.

But wait!  Let's check the color of those roof shingles!  Wrong color.  So they've loaded up the shingles and taken them back wherever they came from and will return with the proper color.  But the guys are still working on the vents so all is not lost.  I don't know how long this exchange will take; perhaps they'll be back this afternoon and we'll try again.

Meanwhile, it's going to be a bit cooler here in the valley for the next few days.  Much better for the workers.  Again, hot, dirty work.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

the tube

Guest bath without electric light
Let. . .

Guest bath with only electric lights

there be  . . .

 Guest bath with NO electric lights.  Only solar tube. 

I am now thinking about putting a solar tube in the living room, in the end where it is quite dark.  I have until tomorrow to make up my mind.  One other possibility is to leave some uncovered eaves open to bring more light into the kitchen.  Again, I have until tomorrow.  More then . . .

Meanwhile, I love, love, LOVE the guest bath light.  Do you think this was a good idea or what??

Monday, September 8, 2014

dusty, dirty, noisy work

Just as planned, the roofers showed up this morning ready to wreak havoc on our house. A stream of young, strong, non-English speaking gentlemen citizens climbed the ladders and before long, our beautiful shake roof was a thing of the past.
Back side of house before removal

The way this works, as best I could tell, is they pry up the shake AND the tar paper it sits on, roll it up and toss the whole bundle into a huge truck bed. I have a picture of this but for some reason it will not load to the blog. I'll keep trying; maybe it will work on the Air®.

At any rate, here it is, 2 1/2 hours later and they are finished on the roof and are now cleaning up the mess they've created.  It would have been much worse but for the fact that, before anything started, they draped huge tarps over the shrubs, flower beds, patio tiles, etc.  When finished, they would simply have to gather up the tarps and be on their way.

Roof line with shakes peeled back at the ridge line

Back roof stripped of shakes

Garage cleaned of shakes.  Next:  skylights.

Assorted debris

After having a dozen or so guys swarming all over the roof, pulling up shakes and paper, then began the big noise.  What they had to do was fan out over the roof and, working back to front, hammer in about a zillion horseshoe nails than had been holding everything in place.

It sounded as though the whole thing was going to cave in.  Even the neighbors could hear it.  But soon it was all done and the stream of workers returned to their truck and disappeared, leaving behind a bare roof and tidy surroundings.

Right now Dave the Roofer and his sidekick, John are up on the roof repairing worn and rotted spots.  Some new insulation, some new plywood bases, a new flashing around the brick chimney ~ the other one is fine ~ and some adjustment of the flasher around an existing skylight in the master bath.  Tomorrow they'll start on the new skylights and solar tube.  I know there's an inspection somewhere along the line but I'm not sure when. 

All in all it wasn't too bad but, I know, I know, they've just begun.

Friday, September 5, 2014

the new roof

Come Monday morning the great re-roofing project will get underway.  First comes the tearing off of the current shake shingles and I, for one, will be sad to see them go.  I like the look of them, but our fair city has decided they are a fire hazard and can no longer be installed.  Next will come a city inspection of our attic; there are a raft of new regulations that went into effect July 1 that we have to adhere to.  These include the right kind of insulation, the correct location of attic vents (we now have one; need five!), and enough vents under the eaves below the roofline.  These new rules were almost a game changer for Mr. C; he's not fond of anyone's rules but his own.  But calmer heads have prevailed and the show will go on.

After the tear off and insulation inspection  will be a thorough check for dry rot.  If there is any, repairs will follow.  If not, the skylights will be  installed in the garage and the solar tube in the guest bath.  They all arrived yesterday afternoon.

 On Wednesday or Thursday (depending on what repairs may have to be done first) the piles of roof shingles arrive.  I picked a color I think will go with the house but having seen it on a roof in another part of town, I'm not sure.  I'll just have to wait until it's all up and, of course, by then it will be too late.  I guess as long as we're dry and warm it doesn't really matter.  This whole thing is supposed to take about a week, so perhaps by next Friday it will all be over and we can concentrate on the next fix-it:  two new toilets.  To be continued . . .

Monday, September 1, 2014

it has been a quiet week . . .

. . . here in the hot, dry valley.  Mr. C went off to Ohio on Tuesday for a week's visit with his family, leaving me here to relish and relax in the silence.  And I have done just that, mostly.  Some good reading ~ At Home by Bill Bryson ~ some movie watching ~ The Accidental Husband, watched ONLY because Colin Firth is in it.  TERRIBLE movie. ~ daily walks in the early morning coolness, and some very refreshing swim time.  One of my besties came up for an overnight; I was hoarse by the time she left on Saturday morning.  I've eaten fish for every dinner except one and that was a yummy little vegetarian pizza.  So I've been a very happy solitary creature.

Mr. C will be home on Wednesday.  Then we have to get ready for the roofers.  Yes, we're putting a new roof on Rancho Deluxe.  The current roof is 34 years old and although we don't have any visible signs of trouble, we just decided it was time.  Should we possibly, maybe, conceivably have some rain this coming winter and we're not here to keep an eye on things and perhaps the roof sprang a leak, etc., etc.  So off come the wonderful shakes and on goes some sort of fake something or other but at least it's a light color and will suit the color and style of the house.  We are putting a solar tube in the small, windowless bathroom to flood it with natural light, and two skylights in the garage for the same reason.

Tomorrow I'll bake some bread to take advantage of good rising weather, buy some flowers and get ready to welcome the resident roadie home from his travels.