Mad about the basics

Learning the idiosyncracies of a new house is a frustrating and expensive venture.

The Bar B has a few problems; some easy to fix, others wake me up in the middle of the night. The blue water comes to mind. Electrolysis is turning the water blue and it’s wreaking havoc with my white clothing. Many offer solutions, but no one has a definitive answer as to why it is or how to fix it. The plumber I hired was fascinated by the science of it all and ended up recommending water tests through the State of Colorado Health Department ($250 for the Colorado package). He said to start there and find out what’s making the water blue and either eliminate it through re-piping ($4,000), a series of filters (cost over a year $144) or just living with it. At the very least, I need a new low-boy water heater (amount unknown, but I’ll bet it’s a doozy of a bill). I know they’re charge me extra, nobody likes going into the crawl space. Plumber: $104.

The man came to clean the heating ducts and spent five hours making the house vibrate and scaring the hell out of the cats. Now, the ducts are nice and clean and it’s already improved my allergies. I recommend Ductworks in Arvada, they did a great job, although my appointment was scheduled out three weeks. The man gave me a sticker to put on the furnace reminding when the ducts will need the next cleaning (four years) but he refused to go back into the crawl space. Duct cleaning: $400

The fridge finally arrived and it’s clean and empty and loud sitting on the the plywood floor, but at last I have a fridge. Jonas bought the mini-fridge off of me for his film storage needs. Fridge (s) $500.

The roof was scraped, rebuilt and repaired in less than one day. Eight guys showed up in the morning with a large truck and implements of destruction and made short work of the 15-year-old roof. I bought them Krispy Kreme donuts and Pepsi and paid the foreman $50 to haul the stinky dog carpet from the backyard and fix the bathroom vent so the pipe goes all the way out through the ceiling instead of venting bathroom moisture into the attic. The gable vent was interesting to watch install; they cut the roof from north to south, exposing the attic to daylight that hasn’t been seen up there since 1979. I’m hoping it all works well and the small amount of mold up there will scram. Two soffitt vents are scheduled for installation, but I’ve not been given the date as of yet. I still have to buy three clamps for the de-icing strips on the roof, but come winter, the de-icer should melt ice like an ice cube on a summer sidewalk. New roof: $6,400.

Drew’s friend, Chris, took down 18 lodgepole pines from the backyard, and it was cool to watch and hear them crash to the ground. Chris is an artist with a chainsaw and he made short work of all the trees, including a very large, dead tree right next to the porch. Only one tree hit the fence, breaking one of the slats. In the backyard are stacks of wood and lots of slash. The view has improved and it’s safe and better mitigated. Chris also plugged in a 220-volt outlet for the dryer, but there’s no vent, so a little contraption catches the lint but makes the place smell like burnt linen. Trees and electricity: $250.

My next task to tackle is changing out the underpinnings of the kitchen sink; the disposal doesn’t work and the piping leaks. A big bucket is catching all the drips from the pipes, and I’ll replace it soon. I’m not too worried about it, it’s simple plumbing. I’ll tackle it when I have time. I guess I’ll do it in between blog posts and serious writing.

Thanks to Drew and Timberline for providing me with road base for the driveway. If mud was a cash crop, I’d be rich, but chunky gravel has made the water disappear. Road base delivered: $60.

The phone/data wiring in the house is defective, according the electronic devil, Qwest. I continue to have problems receiving phone calls and my AIM Chat goes out occasionally. Internet service is fast, but someone will have to delve into the crawl space and wire things up. Drew wants to set up data boxes in the floor, ready to wire up the house for data and sound. Those plans may go down the drain with the blue water once he gets under the house. Nobody seems to like it down there.

On the radar is getting the wood stove inspected, cleaned and a vent and cap to replace the one clogged and sooty from a moron who burned laminated wood in the stove. It’s always something, if it isn’t the something that’s broken over time, it’s something complicated by a moron.

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