I’m Keeping My Trash Bins

Every time I set out my trash and recycling bins for pickup, one of them winds up on the other side of the street after the collection company empties it.  I don’t have any idea why.  Maybe they think the neighbors should have two?  Based on my observation of the serial numbers I believe I had theirs for about two weeks, but I swapped them back last Thursday.

I made a stencil to label them with which I think worked rather well.  Hopefully this will keep them sorted out, and with any luck the collection guys will leave mine near my house next time.

IMG_20131114_233319 Trash And Recycling NumberedThere’s a bit more overspray than I would have liked, because it was hard to get the stencil to lay completely flat against the slightly curved surface of the bins.  Even so I think they turned out nicely.

It’s probably a violation of some county code to spray paint your waste bins, but it seems like everybody does it.  I would say about two-thirds of the bins I see around here have address numbers painted on them.


The Cellar Is Clean


I spent about three hours last night cleaning up the cellar with a deck brush, a garden hose, a shop vac, and a spray bottle of Simple Green.  It’s probably the cleanest basement in the county.

It looks dirty because the concrete is stained but trust me, you could just about eat off of it.

I Can Do Laundry

My new laundry machine arrived by truck freight today.  I took a long lunch to go meet the shipping guy, who had a lift gate and a pallet jack.  He rolled it into the back yard for me so I could lock the gate.  Then I went back to the office.

After work I got Mike & Wendy to help me bring the thing inside and uncrate it.  Being both a washer and a dryer together in one unit, it weighs about 200 pounds.  It’s a beast to move around.  I went and picked up some right-angle hoses at the Depot to get it closer to the wall, and it’s now installed and working!  I’m happy as a clam!

Washer in box Washer installed

I would like to put in a tankless water heater so that I can move the washer closer to the wall and make room for a utility sink.  This installation will do fine for now though.

I also spent two and a half hours scrubbing the floors by hand.  That was a heck of a chore, and I didn’t even do the living room.  I wanted to get all of the dust and grit off though so that I can put down a coat of Bona floor polish.  That’s basically a light coating of polyurethane, so it will pretty much seal in whatever I don’t clean.


Conleff Comes Through

The guys at Conleff Plumbing Supply on Lafayette are awesome!  They had exactly what I needed!

Trap Standpipe

The guy didn’t even have to think about it.  I said I needed a laundry drain trap and standpipe and showed him a picture of the existing fitting, and he went into the back and returned with the correct item almost immediately.  He apologized that it was expensive at sixty bucks, and I suppose I should have pretended like I cared.  Honestly though I was so happy to have the right part that I probably would have paid a hundred bucks for it without complaining.

Don’t tell the sales rep I said that.

You may notice that the stuff in this picture looks crooked.  It is.  The little pipe on the bottom is the water heater drain, so it’s sloped on purpose.  The standpipe is tilted because the existing elbow is a little bit out of plumb, which is not on purpose but seeing as how it’s sixty years old and doesn’t leak I feel no need to try straightening it.  The water will drain just fine and no one will ever see it behind the washing machine anyway.

A 64 Year Old Plumbing Trap

I’m having difficulty finding something to mate with what is left of the laundry drain standpipe in my utility room.  Nothing at the big box store is the correct size and gender.

IMG_20130924_210426_678 IMG_20130924_210614_128

At least I got to have a very frustrating interaction with the Home Depot guy.  He was just trying to be helpful which I don’t fault him for, but it wound up annoying me.  He kept pulling out different fittings and suggesting that I needed this or that, none of which was going to work.  What I really needed was for the guy to stop telling me what I needed for a minute so that I could figure out what I needed.  Ultimately it turned out that they don’t have anything with the right threads on it.

I might be able to find something at a real plumbing supply place like Conleff in Santa Clara.  If I really can’t find anything then I can try to get the elbow off of the pipe protruding from the wall, but I’d prefer not to.  It’s old enough that it might be permanently corroded into place.

Stuff Is Happening

Wow, no posts since last Tuesday!

Okay, so the termite tent is off of the house now and I’m fervently fixing stuff up so that I can move in.  I had previously planned to work on the barn this weekend but Saturday was rained out.  Consequently I spent the weekend working on projects around the house instead.

By “projects”, I mostly mean painting what will be my bedroom.  Painting wouldn’t seem like a high-priority must-do item, but the walls were really dingy.  I felt like sleeping in there was going to make me depressed.  If there’s one room that I want to feel comfortable in it had better be my bedroom, otherwise I won’t get any sleep.  So I painted.

In case you don’t do a whole lot of painting, it turns out that most of a painting project isn’t actually painting.  You spend an inordinate amount of time putting down tarps and taping off things that aren’t supposed to get paint on them, and I also spent several hours washing and rinsing the walls and ceiling.  It’s surprisingly exhausting work.  By the time I actually started putting paint on the walls it was about 6 PM and I didn’t get done until midnight.

While I was doing all of this, we had two good rain showers.  The first one lasted for a while and the second one was short but it was absolutely a deluge!  I climbed up in the attic to check for leaks while it was coming down but happily I didn’t find any.  I had expected there to be a couple because the roof is quite old but I was pleasantly surprised.  I did find a cracked collar tie that needs reinforcing though.

On Sunday I put on a second coat of paint, but it went much faster than the first coat.  I generally don’t go all the way to the very edge for the second coat unless a spot really needs it, and the edges are what take the most time.  If you have new smooth walls then you can use masking tape to control the edges, but these walls and ceiling are bumpy and uneven.  That meant I had to spend hours painting around corners and door molding by hand.  I mean, really hours, it seems like it takes forever.  I’m pretty happy with the result though.

A tricolor bedroom

A tricolor bedroom

I also did a few other items today including replacing the front porch light and doorbell button and putting lamps in the floodlight in the back yard.  It turns out that the floodlight is on the same switch as the utility room light and the switch next to that one appears to do nothing at all.  I’ll have to open up the junction box and figure out what’s going on there.

New doorbell button New porch light

UPDATE:  The second switch that I mentioned above is a 3-way for the cellar light.  That’s a good idea in principle, except that you can’t see the light at all when the door is closed.  So really, if you are unsure whether or not you turned off the light in the cellar then having this switch won’t help you very much.  I’ll see if I can add a pilot light to it.


Garbage Day Is Thursday

My garbage and recycling pickup day at the Bestor Street house is Thursday.  I’m posting that little nugget of information not because anyone particularly cares, but because I always forget what day it is at my current address.  Maybe if I write it down here I’ll remember it for a change.  🙂

My Basement Dungeon

Okay, I don’t really have a dungeon in the basement.  But I do have a basement!

There was this one creepy house I looked at several months ago which I jokingly referred to as “the ‘Silence of the Lambs’ house”, now that one kind of did have a dungeon in the basement.   There was literally a trapdoor in the kitchen which opened to the stairs going down, and there was all this food canned in mason jars that looked like it had been there for decades.  And there was a shower head on a beam.  Not a shower, just the shower head with hot and cold water knobs.  It was creepy.  My real estate agent wouldn’t even go down there.

Anyway, back to my basement.  It’s not creepy although it does need to be pressure washed.  One of my faithful blog readers asked about it in a comment, and since we aim to please here at Adventures In Lunch World Headquarters I stopped by the place earlier today and took some pictures.  Without further pomp and/or circumstance, here they are:





I Live Here Now

It’s finally official:  I own the house on Bestor Street!  I closed on Tuesday and picked the keys up in the evening.


I’m pretty excited about it.  I’m not going to lie; it needs some work.  The lawn is dead, two windows are missing trim, the roof is in poor shape, the chimney needs a new damper, the brickwork needs some repairs, there’s no stove hood, the back door needs to be replaced, the edge of the concrete driveway needs to be ground flush, the 220-volt outlet isn’t wired up, the basement  door has rot, the corner trim and rafter tails have moisture damage, the trees need trimming, the locks need to be replaced, and the property needs to be fumigated.  Sounds like a lot of work.


Despite all the problems I think it’s a cute little house!  There’s nothing wrong with it that isn’t pretty much par for the course for a house of this age; it was supposedly built in 1949.  The kitchen was recently redone with bottom-of-the-line materials.  I’ll want to replace the counters and floor, and I may ultimately want to change the whole layout, but it’s serviceable for now.  The only thing which really has to get done before I move in is the termite tenting.


I’m looking forward to working on my project house!  I’m a pretty hands-on sort of guy, and I believe that I can really add some value to the place by fixing it up.  I also think I got it for a good price.  It’s only a 2/1 on a 3,800 square foot lot, but it’s mine and I’m going to take good care of it.