Search Tocci's Blog

Tocci Speaks

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 01:48:03 PM
Mood: Anxious
Blogging to Keep the Blog Alive

So much to share. I started quite a few projects that I can write about, and I can't in good conscience abandon this eight year old blog. So here goes nothing...

It all started with a buzzing in the walls whenever Jenny would turn on the hair dryer, or when the coffee maker would kick on. I discovered that most of our house has aluminum wiring, which has been known to cause fires. I decided to rewire the house with copper, starting with the two bathrooms upstairs. I have yet to accomplish this goal, but I'm getting there...

attic_stairsFirst, I needed to be able to get up and down into the attic easily. That was a problem, since the only access was through a small hatch in the packed closet in Jenny's office.  So, step one was to install attic stairs. I chose a heavy duty model that required some significant reinforcement of our existing joists, but I got it done.

The next step was to remove the old insulation from the attic space so I wouldn't have to wear full biohazard gear every time I went up there. The old fiberglass insulation in our attic was completely shot. There were sections missing, sections that were compressed or disintegrating, and everything had a thick layer of dust and fiberglass particles on top of it. I took my Israeli military issue gas mask out of storage (I bought it just after 9/11 when I lived just outside Manhattan) and went through three full-body paper suits from Home Depot but I managed to bag it all up. biohazardI must have filled up 30 contractor bags. I vacuumed the remaining dust with the shop vac and a hepa filter and now the attic is ready for rewiring.

Once the insulation was gone, the heat in the attic became an issue pretty quickly. There was an old attic fan up there but it was disconnected before we moved in. The next project was to replace the motor and blades with a new thermostat controlled model. The fan helps with the heat a lot, but it will be better once we put new insulation up there.

The next phase is to remove some of the drywall in the garage that surrounds the electrical panel and make a decision as to the best route to run the new wires. The only thing I know for sure is that I have to get them up to the attic.

Tocci Ponders: Why haven't cats evolved to have digestible hair?

In other news, our garden this year has been very productive. I expanded it by 8 feet this year, making it 24 feet long. Once again I used the grass I displaced to sod parts of the lawn that needed it. We took that big maple tree down last fall so we had a pretty big area that needed some grass, so that worked out well. We've harvested plenty of yellow squash, zucchini, two varieties of cucumbers (some HUGE... see photo), cucumbersbanana peppers, basil, red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, Japanese eggplant, and a ton of tomatoes. I'm still waiting on the bell peppers. I couldn't believe how big red leaf lettuce gets. They were about 3 feet high before they died. No joke.

Fishing season has treated me well so far this year. I think I'm getting the hang of it. So far my biggest fish was over five pounds, caught on a four inch senko. I've also had some good days using frogs and brush hogs.

drivewayAlso, we got a new driveway. Late last year, the electric company sent out some contractors to run new electric lines underground through our development. They used a big drill and started drilling right on our corner. When they went under our driveway, the shale deep underground was displaced and created a speed bump. The contractors attempted to fix the driveway a few times, but it never was quite the same, so eventually they agreed to have it repaved. It looks great now, but we're still not parking on it. They said to wait two weeks, but we've given it an extra week and a half so far since it still feels a bit soft due to all of the heat and humidity lately.

OK now that I'm more or less caught up, hopefully my next entry will not be as daunting and I won't have such an aversion to blogging. Only time will tell.

Link ketchup: