Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I love Craigslist

Living in a part of the country with really well-off people definitely has its advantages. They often do crazy things like get rid of perfectly good expensive stuff to buy newer good expensive stuff. I guess because its newer. I'm not really sure. Crazy rich people.

We've been looking for a dishwasher for quite some time. We haven't had one in this house, and I, in fact, have not had one since... um... must have been St. Paul over 10 years ago. Our kitchen cabinets are old and not standard size at all - in fact, they are not even full boxes, like cabinets today - they were built with the plaster wall as the back. This poses a bit of a problem when looking for "built in" appliances to add... It is REALLY HARD to find something that will fit! - well, fit without sticking out 3 inches or more. Turns out that the European cabinets must be a different standard size, because the only models I found to fit, depth-wise, were Miele, Boche, and Fisher-Paykel.

For some reason, I fell in love with the Fisher-Paykel. What a genius idea - dish drawers! You don't have to have a full load to run a wash. Definitely an advantage to a small family without too many dishes. We almost got one last year for Christmas, as a gift to each other, but decided it would be better to focus on paying off the roof and Taya's vet bills. So in the meantime, Jim has regularly been trolling Craigslist. He has various things he looks for - one of which has been the Fisher-Paykel. Usually the double drawer shows up for about $1000, but last week, he found one listed for $550. We talked it over, and decided to jump on it.

I went to the place to look at it and give a deposit as soon as she got back to Jim. They had this great beachside condo with a view of the ocean and the Boston skyline on the northshore. Not far, in fact, from this beach I visited with Abbey last April:

Crazy rich people. We couldn't figure out why she wanted to get rid of it (and turns out, neither could her husband), but I'll happily buy things off of crazy rich people!

Next we had to do a little demo work to cut the hole. Luckily, there is a spot just the right width where the previous owners had this strange peninsula bar sticking out.

We tore off some of the wood:

And then used a jig saw to cut the left side of the hole

Cleaned everything up and added some new plywood to section off the cabinet:

We also went to Homer to pick up a garbage disposal (yes, we really are moving into the 21st century folks) and various electrical and plumbing items for the installation.

Unfortunately, that was pretty much the end of the weekend, so to clean things up, Jim moved the dishwasher into the newly created hole, where I can now view it all week and fantasize about all the super clean and sterile dishes I will have next week........

The old fridge next to it may look a bit awkward now. I mean, eclectic - isn't that what they call it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jim's Week Off

Last week Jim decided to use up some of his comp days to get a few things done around the house. It had been raining, and continued to rain for most of that week. But he was primarily doing stuff in the basement.

Here's the pride of his work - a new hot water heater:

Our friend, Pete, works at Brown's Oil and acquires practically new equipment like this from tear-outs in Needham. We've been using an older tankless hot water heater, which has been fine for me, but Jim likes a little more water pressure in his showers. The engineer in me doesn't really understand how it is possible to be more efficient to constantly heat up a giant tank of water versus heating up water only when you need it - for a couple showers a day and some dish washing or laundry - but Pete thinks it plus the new boiler will save us a bunch.

Which brings me to the next item - the new boiler...

...also a tear-out aquisition from Pete. This was put into the basement, but hasn't yet been switched over from our current boiler. Jim specifically wanted the picture to strategically capture the "Energy Star" logo. Our old boiler was put in by the previous owners back in the 80s. Definitely not Energy Star. But they kept meticulous records on it and had the efficiency checked multiple times. I believe it came in at about 80%. But it cannot hurt to have a new boiler. Especially a free one.

We also have a new oil tank from more tear-out action from Pete. I don't think there's a problem with our current tank - it is, after all, just a tank, and not a tank with leaks or anything. But who can resist new free stuff from expensive homes? But I do know that Jim has been planning to re-route our tank filling pipe. Right now it comes out right by the back door. Not that the back of our house doesn't have plenty of other ugly things, but it would be a little more aesthetically pleasing to have it come out in a different location.

I think the plan is to switch the new boiler and new oil tank over next week sometime.

The next project was the washer and dryer:

Nothing new with the actual appliances here - they're still the same ones I bought from a friend when I first moved to Massachusetts (aside from some replacement parts on the washer) But the key with these is the pretty stand they are now sitting on!

This is how they used to be positioned:

So annoying - with the washer in front of the sink and far from the dryer. I just kind of got used to it, but it drove Jim bananas. Now look at their position:

So nice - with the direct access to the sink! And such a nice looking stand - made so that not only does it keep the units off the ground (accomplished before with a ratty old wooden pallet), but it also puts them high enough that you don't have to stoop over quite as much. Jim used some of the scrap Azek boards from the porch to create the stand.

And for the next project... electric work!
These pictures won't mean so much unless you actually saw what was there before. While I did have an electrician do a bunch of work when I first moved in, needless to say, with this old house, there was a lot of left-over funky electrical work, particularly quite a bit of knob & tube. While the knob and tube functions fine, there were a few places with bad stuff - like junctions made only with electrical tape. Jim cleaned some of that up and ran some new wire for a new circuit for the LCD TV and I think a new outlet up to the bedroom.

I think that clears out most of the knob and tube, but not all:

At some point, we want to put wall switches into the last rooms where the ceiling lights are left as pull chains - the living room, the master bedroom, and my closet room. Add that one to the "someday" list.

Then this project is another one that has been driving Jim nuts - at the bottom of the steps to the basement, there is this area where the concrete has been chunking off and creating this hole that's essentially a tripping hazard. He cleared it all out:

and poured a new concrete patch. It should be pretty nice to walk down into the basement without kicking around a few chunks of rock or falling into the carpet covered hole!

And the final project - we now have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen!

hey - don't get mad at us for living here 5 1/2 years without one - we asked for one on our wedding registry - but go figure, no one got us one! he he!

And the best picture of all - Jim after his week of hard labor:

He's gotten soft with his cubicle-based job!