It's more than a house. It's an adventure.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

One other switch

I have recently switched from Bloglines to Google Reader for my RSS subscriptions. There are some glitches and bugs with Bloglines that have been getting on my nerves, and it's also difficult to read feeds post by post - if you want to save something for later, it's either "keep as new" or mark the whole feed unread. So far I'm really preferring Google Reader.

One downside of this is that my "friend links" on the blog here were previously fed from my "Friends" folder in Bloglines, so that's gone now. I'll come back when I have some time to update the template here.


Our 2006 annual bonuses came through at work about a month ago and I was very, very pleasantly surprised. My previous employer was very stingy with bonuses, it seemed - if we were lucky, we might get the equivalent of one paycheck for a bonus. One or two years, we got nothing. Most years, it was a pittance.

Now, I understand that no company is obligated to pay out bonuses to anyone (and I never figured a bonus into my budget, and nor should you), but in the case of my previous employer, their so-called bonuses were an insult. I'd rather they not even dangle the carrot in front of us. The first year we got nothing, it was particularly despicable as we were told that bonus time would be delayed, then it was eliminated altogether.

My current employer knows how to take care of its employees. They were very, very generous this year. With the money, I'm going to have the opportunity to do two things I really need to do, and one thing I've wanted to do for a long time.

  • Replace one or both front doors on the house. Even with a ton of weatherstripping, the kitchen door leaks air like you wouldn't believe.
  • New roof on the front part of the house. It's at least 15 years old, and stripping off the old and coming in with new 30-year shingles will put my mind at ease. Plus, we can take the opportunity to evict the squirrels living in the roof who aren't pitching in for the mortgage, and install new roof vents to keep them out for good.
  • I'm gonna buy a MacBook Pro. Yep. As soon as Leopard is out and the hardware gets refreshed, I'll be a "switcher"

All three of these things won't happen until spring, or even early summer, so in the meantime that bonus will attempt to collect a little interest in the bank.

More water woes

While I was on my break from work after the baby was born, I decided to replace the flush/fill mechanism inside our downstairs toilet as it had been making some odd noises ever since our city water issues in the late summer/early fall.

I read all the instructions, it seemed clear enough. I drained the tank, removed it, and then proceeded to remove everything from it. Including the large gasket/grommet combo at on the bottom, which sealed up the connection between the tank and bowl and the bolts holding it all together.

This turned out to be a huge mistake. The kit didn't come with an appropriate replacement, and I wasn't able to put the old one back in properly. Several applications of silicone and it still didn't seal properly.

So, off to Lowe's we went, and we purchased a new toilet to be installed by a licensed professional. It was probably good that we did it anyway. We had a lot of clog issues with the old toilet, and this one has been trouble-free. It's a "Class III, high performance" model and was well worth the upgrade.

We have also had, twice in the span of 2 weeks, a leaky clothes washer. This unit is only 6 months old, but it sprung a major leak a few weeks ago which took us a couple days to discover (and a few more to clean up the mess). GE's warranty service came out and fixed it, but this weekend it leaked again. So, another service call. Fortunately it's free of charge, but it means taking time out of our work schedules to wait for the tech to arrive "between 8 AM and 5 PM."


I've been gone for 3+ months. To my 2 or 3 regular readers, I apologize. Things have been more than a little crazy around the house. About a week after my last real post, my wife gave birth to our first child, and we've had our hands more than a little full with him.

Work on the house has similarly been on hiatus, but there have been a few goings-on to report, which I'll get to shortly. I have a few posts stacked up here to get written and then hopefully I'll get more regular with the updates. Spring is coming, and I hope to have more housework to report as things warm.