Archive for tag: home

Bending our house to our will

Today Amber and I tackled another home improvement task, installing a cable TV outlet on an interior wall in our bedroom.  This is step one in a long series of tasks which ends with Amber’s studio becoming our nursery in July.

Quick aside: when does a nursery become a bedroom?

Today’s task involved the purchase of $35 worth of tools and materials from Monoprice (including a compression crimping tool and a cable stripper) and $179 of the same from Home Depot, almost one-third of which was a flexible drill bit.  So when all is said and done, the outlet cost a little over $200, but several of the tools will be useful in a future wired network installation project as well as moving the cable outlet in our living room for a wall mount TV, so I don’t feel too bad about the cost.

Flexible drill bits are pretty cool, by the way.  Check out this example video if you are curious what it is.  I think it is much easier if you can see into the wall as in this video.  For us, not so much.

Based on some reconnaissance under the house last weekend, I estimated that the project would take about one hour.  The total duration ended up being more like four hours, of course.  The major delay was drilling down through the wall into the crawl space.  The problem was that the edge of the hole ended up over a floor joist and my drill wasn’t powerful enough to make it through.  To complicate matters, I couldn’t find where we were breaking through (if we were) because of insulation under the floor.  I thought the bit would deform or push the insulation out of the way, but the joist was binding up the bit so it wouldn’t push it through.

Anyway, long story short, after pulling down a bunch of insulation, most of which I still have to put back up, I found the hole we kind of drilled and we managed to get the cable fed through.  And then it was just a matter of pulling it up to the front of the house, stapling as I went, and splicing it into the existing cable.

So now we have a cable TV outlet where we need it.

In conclusion

I've been intending to post this since Saturday, and since I am now (somewhat surprisingly) getting questions about the state of our refrigerator saga, I've decided I better get to it.

So, without further ado, I give you the most boring video ever.

We have ice being made on demand.  Finally.

The Ice Man Cometh… Not!

Welcome to 2011!  I had a great holiday in every respect, except one: our ice maker still does not fulfill its stated purpose.  Our friendly Sears service technician came yesterday and replaced the brand new ice maker in our brand new refrigerator with another brand new icemaker that was shipped to the house last week.  Unfortunately, it worked no better than the older brand new icemaker.  He spent about two hours fiddling with the refrigerator and talking with sears tech support.  These fine support professionals came to the same conclusion they did before: the brand new icemaker is broken.  Their proposed solution: ship a new icemaker to the house and have the service tech come out to install it in two weeks.


I don't know how many of you have heard the saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, but this thought immediately popped into my head at this proposal.  I think I said something clever like, "You're kidding, right?  Are you insane?"

I'll allow that it is possible that two ice makers have arrived on my doorstep D.O.A., the first safely encased in our expensive brand new refrigerator, but it seems relatively unlikely.  As a more rational person than the technician on the phone, or at least as someone who could actually see my irritation at this proposed course of action, the service technician wisely suggested that we should get a new refrigerator since it was still under warranty and not continue to waste everyone's time repeating the icemaker replacement.

The soonest they could schedule delivery for my new brand new refrigerator was Wednesday, but of course, they couldn't tell me when.  I had to call tonight to find out that they planned to deliver it between one and three tomorrow - exactly the time neither Amber nor I could be home to accept delivery.  So now we are expecting our new brand new refrigerator sometime Saturday.


Despite our lack of ice on demand, we really did have a great vacation and enjoyed spending time with friends and family.  I'll try to post some pictures in the next couple of days and some of my goals for 2011.

Happy New Year!

Not a Christmas Miracle

The refrigerator technician was here, right smack dab in the middle of the four-hour block of time.   Other his arrival time, it turns out that I was mostly right in my prediction for today with the following exceptions:

  • He didn't use a screwdriver.
  • Sears apparently doesn't use dirigibles.  They use UPS (whom I assume don't use dirigibles).

So instead of ice, we have another service appointment, bright and early on January 3rd and a new icemaker on the way.  I feel compelled to point out once again that the icemaker we have is actually already BRAND NEW as it came already installed in our BRAND NEW REFRIGERATOR, but apparently there is some subtly in this that I'm missing and I should expect the new "brand new" icemaker to work better than the old "brand new" icemaker.  Sigh.

By request here are a couple of pictures of our new appliance.

Shiny new cold goodnessThe inside of shiny new cold goodness

Christmas Vacation!

It's official, I'm on Christmas Vacation.  Ah the sweet taste of freedom.  Or semi-freedom.  Does semi-freedom taste like semi-sweet chocolate chips?

I write semi-freedom because this isn't quite like the Christmas Vacation of my youth.  Don't get me wrong, there will be much slacking, merriment and sleeping late, but there is a holiday project plan Amber and I have to get through.  There is still much to be done between now and Christmas, and New Years as well.  Top of the list for me: finish my Christmas shopping.  But that is going to wait until tomorrow, I think.  I can't bear the thought of fighting the crowds in the stores the weekend before Christmas.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Under ideal circumstances, I would go in the morning in hopes of missing more crowds, but unfortunately I have to be home tomorrow between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a service technician to look at our BRAND NEW REFRIGERATOR.  It's shinny and it keeps the cold stuff cold and the frozen stuff much colder.  What it doesn't do, what it has never done,  is deliver ice cubes on demand through the convenient ice/water delivery chute in the front of the freezer door.  As this was the primary motivation for replacing our old refrigerator, we are both disappointed with this particular defect.

At this point, you are no doubt bursting with helpful troubleshooting suggestions.  Let me stop you right there.  Amber and I have both troubleshot the issue.  We've reviewed manuals.  We've sought out professional advice.  Yes, we are getting water through the door.  Yes, the ice maker is on.  Yes, it is cold enough in the freezer.  No, we still don't have any ice.  Yes, damn it, we are really getting water!

After careful examination, we've come to the conclusion that the thing is just plain busted.  Either that, or the product manuals and Sears professionals are deliberately trying to keep the solution from us.  Possibly in an attempt to once again gain entrance to our home for reasons passing understanding.

My hope is that the service technician will be here bright and early tomorrow, will point out the hidden and undocumented "don't make ice" bypass switch, sneer derisively at my incompetence and flip the switch, causing a cascade of perfectly formed ice cubes to burst forth at our whim.  My suspicion is that the service technician will be here at two, will look at the thing, maybe poke at it with a screwdriver, and say something really helpful like, "yep, that's busted."  At which point he will inform me that the part they need to fix our BRAND NEW REFRIGERATOR will be shipped by dirigible approximately three months from now and I should schedule another convenient four hour block of time for them to fix it sometime around April.

Maybe I'm wrong and there will be a Christmas miracle yet.

Windy, laddery fun

When I got home tonight I was treated to the crashing of thunder outside.  Actually, it wasn't thunder, it was a couple of pieces of sheet metal flashing along the edge of my roof taking advantage of the somewhat high wind to try to make their escape.

I decided that they would probably be fine and that I didn't want to climb around on a tall ladder in the wind and dark, but a couple hours later, I heard a loud crash outside and decided to go back out to investigate.  The flashing had made significant progress, but hadn't come totally loose and I don't really think it is what made the loud crash.  This may of course mean that despite peering into the darkness with the flashlight that there is another surprise waiting for me somewhere on the homestead.

In any case, my next-door neighbors were outside (they had heard the crash too) and they helped me drag my ladder out and tack the flashing temporarily back in place.  Definitely needs more thorough repair sometime soon when a) it is daylight and b) there is a competent professional around to climb on the ladder.

Thanks neighbors!