Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

Hurricane Sandy is on the way.  She should arrive sometime late tonight.  Tomorrow will be Pajama Day all day, and probably until midday Tuesday as well.  I spent the day battening down the hatches and went across the street at neighbor Rocky's invitation to have dinner with him and Lizbeth this afternoon.

So I rearranged the deck chairs here on the Titanic.  (I mean I stowed the outdoor furniture in the shed and put away anything else that looked light enough to get flung by a 75mph wind gust.)

Before taking the precautions I took a few "Before" photos:

Do you see my future power source over the fence there?  . . . .On the news they're saying power could go out for 4 or 5 days.  Neighbors Suzanne and Pete brought home one of her dad's RVs.  Her dad owns Commack RVs & Trailers dealership up on Jericho Tpke.  Suz and Pete are great neighbors!

A close-up of the 'generating station.'  Suz will toss an extension cord over the fence when the power goes out and will plug me in to the generator on the RV.  Enough electricity to at least keep a few lights on and keep the 'fridge running.  She is likewise supplying power to neighbors Nicole and Mike on her other side!

Decided not to rake today.  There'll be plenty more leaves on ground after Sandy whistles thru.

I've always especially hated the leaf raking on this side of the house.  There's a lot more obstacles.

 And it always seems like there are fewer leaves on this side of the house than on the other.  Can't figure out just why.

 The sunroom.  Here's hoping one of the oak trees in the backyard of the neighbor behind me doesn't come crashing into it.  I've feared it for a very long time.

To the right of the sunroom (I'm moving the camera clockwise around the yard, while I stand in the center of the yard.)

 A little farther to the right, looking uphill (eastward) towards neighbor Teresa and Chris's big white PVC fence that towers above my wooden palisade fence.

 A bit more to the right, looking toward the southeast corner of the backyard.  There's a lot of gardening stuff stored outside the shed, under the lean-to, besides in the shed. The shed is another thing that could take a hit from one of back side neighbor Charley's oak trees if they come down in a storm.

Looking straight back, towards the south.  You can't see the height - in this photo - of the oak trees that're over the fence, but believe me they are at least 60 feet tall.

A bit more to the right, the southwest corner.  That's Suz and Pete's garage over the fence.

 10 o'clock on the dial, looking towards the northwest corner.  The Japanese Maple isn't in full red just yet. Next weekend when Beth & Greg are here it should be bright red all over, ready for them to do their annual pose in front of it wearing their red silk Red Sox jackets once again.

Here's hoping that the "After" photos I intend to post look about the same - with only a lot more leaves on the ground, and not a lot of tree limbs and tree trunks in them. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Making Full Use of My Monkey Bars

I finally finished painting the kitchen-side of the house yesterday.  There are a few places that need some touch-up paint on the front and sides of the house - as well as the front door needs to be re-painted - but that is nothing compared to what has been done over the past two and a half weeks.  Here's the photo-journal of what I've been doing the past few days on the kitchen side side:

 First thing was to caulk the seams between the chimney and the shingles, from rooftop to ground,

 Next, powerwashed the awning and blue-taped the edges of the door and utility meters.

 Trimmed-out the edges before using paint-roller on larger areas.

 Upper part is new paint, lower is old.

 The finished product, as seen from the front corner of the property.

Finished, as seen while standing between the backyard deck and fence there.

I'm not going to bother with painting the back of the house.  I've done three sides of it and that's enough.  If the next owner of the house decides to add any extension on the house, it'll have to be added in the back, so there's not much sense in painting it.  The back is the original, lighter shade of gray, but it is clean and really doesn't need repainting.

My work here is done.

Monday, October 8, 2012

One More Small Home Improvement

Old Caloric cooktop went ker-flooey last Thursday.  I shopped for a new one the next day.  A Frigidaire cooktop (yes, they make them as well as 'fridges nowadays) was $799 at P.C.Richards appliance chain, but I found the exact same one - a returned one (salesman told me that the buyer, once package was opened, realized it was the wrong size for their kitchen) - at a local appliance store, Gringer's - for $399!

I can cook again. . . .

Took me a few hours to install it.  Didn't want to take any big risks working with the gas hookup.  Well worth the investment and time.

I meant to get outside today and prep the kitchen side side of the house to be painted, then thought it'd be nicer to have a cooktop again. . . .  sooner rather than later.  Looks like it's gonna rain, so don't know if I'll do the paint prepping now or tomorrow.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Front is Done. . .

. . .but now I realize that I have to paint the side of the house on the kitchen side.  I did the garage side and it looks great, but the kitchen side looks dumpy by comparison and the old color there doesn't match the new (the new is a bit darker gray than the original).

 Garage side, looking from front to back

 Kitchen side, looking from back to front.  (I stood between the deck and the backyard fence to take this photo.)

Got some trim-work to do yet, too. . .  the sill on the front door and some other areas have to be painted white yet.  The front door itself needs a new coat of maroon paint, too.  I'll do all that and the kitchen side side on Wednesday, the next day it'll be somewhat warm (they're predicting 67 degrees) and dry (it just started raining right now and they're predicting rain every day between today and Wednesday).

Here's the finished front, garage half.  Couldn't find the flagpole bracket.  It belongs at the edge of the living room between the shutter and the garage door.  It'll turn up somewhere eventually and I'll take care of it when it does.  That's a new motion-sensor lamp that I bought and installed over the garage door, too.

Kitchen side.  The shutters and lamp (and numbers) are brand new.

The whole nine yards. . . .   The neighbors are all agog. . . .  I got three compliments this afternoon.

And as a reminder. . . .  This is what it looked like before, back when I started two weeks ago.  From a distance you can't tell so much, but there was a lot of chipping, peeling, blistering paint.  The gray color was much lighter than what's on it now.

Okay.  So now I'm going to take a well-deserved siesta. . . .

Friday, October 5, 2012

Carpe Diem

9 a.m. Friday, October 5th - rarin' to go.  I'll post the "After" photo once I've got the light fixtures, mailbox, flagpole and kitchen shutters back up. . . .  tomorrow?
I'm totally spent. Worked on the painting from 9am till 6pm with only a half hour break for lunch. Weather here today was ideal for painting. . . . in the high 70s. . . . . and according to the weather forecasts we're not likely to have another day like this for a long time to come, so it was Seize The Day.
Neighbor Rocky invited me over for dinner with him and Lizbeth at 6:30 and I'm just back now. That's 2 nights in a row being "taken in" for dinner. . . . last night was at Bob & Mary's. Had a very nice time at both. Caught up with Bob and Mary on all the stuff that's happened to them and to me over the past month or so. . . . Likewise with Rocky and Lizbeth tonight.
I got the front of the house and garage side wall painted by 6pm. Several neighbors commented on how much better it now looks. Would like to do the kitchen side wall, too, but that'll have to wait till at least Wednesday. We're having rain tomorrow afternoon and the weather will be much cooler until Wednesday - and even on that day the high is expected to only be 67 degrees.
So tomorrow I figure I'll start 'putting things back together again.' Will put the light fixtures up (I plan to buy new ones for the front door and over the garage since the old ones are pitted and corroded), as well as the flagpole and the mailbox.  Will also put the new kitchen shutters up.  Maybe I'll also paint the front door. . . . I could take it off its hinges and lay it flat on the painter's dropcloth in the middle of the living room to work on it - rain or shine. But I am feeling awfully sore all over right now, so maybe _that_ can wait.

Another crisis arose night before last. The gas cooktop's pilot spark came on - all by itself - and just wouldn't stop. I tried unplugging and re-plugging the thing, but that didn't help. Smelled a faint trace of gas, too, so I shut off the gas line under the counter and decided I'd better go shopping for a new cooktop. . . . This one is at least as old as the kitchen's last remodeling - which I _think_ was done in the late 1970s, so I figured that rather than trying to repair it I'd be better off buying a new one. Went to Home Depot, Lowes, and P.C.Richards appliance store. Found a decent unit - by Frigidaire, of all companies - at P.C.Richard's for $799 - and the guy said he'd knock $100 off that if I took their interest-free financing. I told him I was okay with that but that I wanted to go home first and take the measurements to make sure the unit he's selling me would fit in the space I have (and to check Consumer Reports for the rating of it - but I didn't tell him _that_).

So I get home and on the way in, take in the mail. One piece of mail is a flyer from a small _local_ appliance store. Well whaddya know. . . . they're having a sale - up to 50% off some one-of-a-kind items they have (floor samples, returns, etc.). What the hey. . . . I drive over to them and am greeted as I walk in by a friendly salesguy who tells me he's new to the job and when I tell him why I'm there he leads me over to about a half dozen or so cooktop units that are part of the 50% off sale. Well, I felt like I had stepped in shit when I saw the first one - it was the same Frigidaire as at P.C. Richard's, but for $399! Sold! The salesman, John, told me that there was nothing wrong with the unit and all the parts are there, but it is not in its original box and had been returned by the buyer because they had thought that it was a larger, 36 inch unit, rather than a 30 inch unit (the size _I_ need). So sometime within the next few days I will install it. . . . the old one went out with this morning's trash collection already.

So that's what I've been doing the past couple of days. And what I'll be involved in for the next few days to come as well, it seems. Was thinking of going on a hike tomorrow with the Long Island Greenbelt Society at Caleb Smith Park, but I'm so tired, sore and achy from today's exploits that I think I'll skip the hike and - if I feel better tomorrow - set up those light fixtures and/or paint the front door. If I _don't_ feel less sore, I'll just 'cocoon' and do some reading and studying (reading No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin, studying Spanish for my Adult Ed course that I started last Tuesday).

Monday, October 1, 2012

Car Show

We had a car show at the Fire Island lighthouse - where I volunteer - yesterday.  Wes Mudford, who usually is the volunteer at the Lens Building on Sunday mornings was one of the judges at the show, so I had to come in early and open the building at 10am.  I told Alex - our young fellla who is on staff and who helps out a lot - to let someone in charge know that I wanted to take some extra time - over and above my usual lunch hour - so that I could go over to the parking lot where the show was being held and look it over for myself.  He tells me, in effect, "Nobody's in charge here today. . . .  your usual Supervisor, Bette, is off out-of-town and Bob (Prez of Lighthouse Preservation Society) and Patti (Administrative Assistant) are already over at the Car Show at Field 4, helping out over there."  Well, everything's always kind of laid-back anyway, so I tell Alex. . . "Okay, but I'm going there for at least an hour, maybe two, later on!"  "Shouldn't be any problem," he says.

I only had a total of 34 visitors in the Fresnel Lens Building before noon. . . .  very low. 

 It was very cloudy in the morning, but by noon the weather cleared.

 My "duty station" - The Fresnel Lens Building

 Old Blinky, "the jewel of Fire Island"

 These guys showed up later, flying over the beach by the car show - I was imagining they'd been called out to shoot King Kong down off the lighthouse tower.

Shortly after noon another volunteer, Geoffrey, came over to the Lens Building and let me know that he was going to cover for me and that I could go to the car show until 2pm if I wanted.  I took him up on it, and went over to the show with Mike on a shuttle bus they'd set up to run between the lighthouse and the parking lot where the show was held.

The show was great.  Here's some photos from it. . . .

 Andrea, hawking the tee-shirts near our tent at the show

My fellow vol and buddy Dave and his '57 Chevy - reminds me a bit of the '55 Chevy that was my first car.

 Our fearless leader and Prez of the Lighthouse Preservation Society, Bob LaRosa, at our tent.

 All the vols got tee-shirts (see the stack of them in front of Bob LaRosa in previous photo).

 An "oldie but goodie" - '31 Ford Model A

 Reminiscent of sis-in-law Liz's '72 Olds Cutlass ragtop

Dave's main-squeeze Flo and her T-Bird.  She is President of the Thunderbird club.