Plumbing Woes...

For the last couple of weeks, our plumbing has started to make funny noises. At first it belched a little. Then it started gurgling. Finally, it made loud gurgling and belching noises every time someone took a shower. At first we thought this could be a venting issue. But soon, we found that the bathtub drained slower, the sink wouldn't drain at all, and the toilet seemed continually clogged. I know my limitation, so I called a professional. This afternoon, the plumber came over to inspect the gurgling plumbing. He cleaned the main line out, because he could not find a trap in the house. No surprise since the house predates most indoor plumbing. He said that at about 30 feet, there was an obstruction, but surprisingly he only pulled out a few roots. He did make a point to say that he would not be responsible for a crack in the cast iron pipe (which is apparently a likely enough event that he felt he should warn us). Luckily the ancient pipe seemed to withstand the abuse. for the time being. Now I am a few dollars poorer, but at least the sewer is functioning again!

This weekend we will begin working on the bedroom. That means repairing some serious cracks near the attic entrance, finishing stripping the trim, and of course painting.

In the meantime everyone has just been lounging around after the holiday. Here are some pictures of the kids...




and Nelson


The Container Store...

As I posted in the last blog, I went to visit my parents and some friends in southern Colorado last weekend. On the way down there, we stopped in Lone Tree to see the Container Store. WOW! I love that store. My close friends and family know how much I love to organize things and here was a store that was full of shelves, plastic boxes, and just about every conceivable item for organization. I was in sensory overload. I am very interested in their Elfa closet system, but that will have to wait until I get a closet to organize. Nevertheless, we still bought some various items, including the 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips. I looked all over the internet for reviews of these little strips, but found very little information. So here is my review...

3M Command Picture Hanging Strips

3M is a pretty interesting company. Most are familiar with their "sticky" things, such as Post-Its and packing tape, but few know that they also make small animal stethoscopes and fly fishing lines. They usually don't disappoint me and certainly are extremely innovative. With the Command Picture Hanging Strips, I think that they have once again made a very useful home product.

The walls in my house are plaster, and even though I often wished we had replaced them with dry wall, we did spend a lot of time trying patch the billions of cracks that peppered my walls. For this reason, I am afraid to use the swamp cooler (since humidity can cause new cracks to appear) and hang pictures using nails or screws. But a house without decorations is no house for me! I saw the strips in Living magazine and thought, perhaps this was something that I could use.

The strips come in three sizes and have different recommended weights. The medium strips held pictures up to three pounds, so that is what I bought. The package has six strips, but you use them as a pair, so actually it is three. Since we used two for each picture, this was a bit of a pain. Luckily I had enough to hang the four vacation pictures I had in mind when I purchased them.

The strips are adhesive on one side and a weird plastic Velcro on the other side. The two strips then lock together, while the adhesive holds one strip to the wall and one strip to the picture. What makes them even more unique is that they are not supposed to take off your paint when you remove the adhesive from the wall. The back of the package does warn that they should not be used on wallpaper, however.

After you clean the surfaces that the adhesive will stick to with rubbing alcohol, you stick one strip to the picture. You then lock the two strips in place with each other, peel the backing from the second strip, and place the picture on the wall. The directions were a little confusing, but when you see the product it is very intuitive. Once the pictures are on the wall, you can remove the picture or make adjustments to level if necessary.

The best thing about this product is that no damage is that done to the walls, while the pictures stay in place and cannot be bumped and nudged. The only thing that caught my eye, was a warning that instructed the user not to use these strips to hang picture over the bed. That does make me wonder if I am going to come home one day and find my pictures on the floor.

So here is the final result...

And a picture of the side view...


Trip to the South

This weekend we took a pause from the hustle and bustle of the housing project and went to south to visit my parents. Most people think of Colorado as a beautiful, forested oasis. However, the majority of Colorado's population lives on the east side of the Rockies where it is actually high plains...pretty arid, especially where I grew up. While I enjoy the slightly wetter summer we have had, I hate any humidity, since we usually get dry heat. So despite driving three hours on the nation's most horrible interstate (I-25), it was nice to visit the "desert", and see the local wildlife... Here is a tarantula on my parents garage. We see them pretty often at my parent's house, but we were pretty surprised that it could climb the slick garage walls so easily. It even scooted across the glass!

This weekend we also lost out dear friend Haley the German Shepard, who stayed at our house while her parents went to Alaska for three whole weeks! Lucky jerks... She didn't die, she just went back home. Anyway, she was a lot of fun to have around, and it seems weird without her. It was nice to finally have a yard where a dog can stay.

Here is Haley and the Hose.