Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bathroom Remodel Progress Report

 I realize bathroom updates of any kind aren't very interesting but this is what I've been up to so this is what I blog about. I started this project with the shower because I had to paint the tub from green to white. I installed tub surround panels and had the notion they would be unseen with the shower doors closed.

 I was right about that and am happy with the results.

 Except for caulking the seams, that part of the project is done. We went with a one piece shower head panel instead of a traditional faucet. This thing has eight adjustable jets and I'm hopeful that city water pressure will give them enough blast to put some heat on my lower back first thing in the morning. Right now I have to do this weird thing where I bend over in a stand up shower stall and try to get hot water to relieve the pain. Ya I know, too much information.
 At first I was worried that this type of shower panel would need a master plumber to hook up. I was way wrong about that.

 The back side of the panel has a lot going on but its just two screw-on fittings that I needed to concern myself with. They actually matched up to what I already had in the wall. Two brackets get screwed to the wall and it just hangs there. I did caulk around the top and sides, partially to keep water from passing through the wall where the hoses pass and partially to hold the entire unit on the brackets.
 I stripped the toilet and sink from the room and discovered some writing on the back of the sink.

 Looks like this had a nice forty five year run before we came along and decide it had to go. Now that the room is bare I am working on lifting the tile on the floor. Its not a bad job in the open areas but this little closet proved to be a challenge.

Thats all for now. After the tile is up I'll work on plaster and paint.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019


 This morning I was going to upload some photos for this blog but technology is being a dick and won't let me. This left me scrambling for material and all I could find in my draft folder was this write up from last fall. Its particularly relevant for me because we've done two new Husqvarna Automower installs in the last two days and have a few more coming up. These machines are starting to gain popularity and I can foresee being swamped with future installs. Some of you may have noticed that Lowes is selling a new version of these mowers and we are the installer for our nearest store. 

 Mowby has been sitting out in the cold just waiting in his charging station for a chance to go out and explore the yard. Unfortunately for him that day won't come again till spring.

 I set up some cameras so I can monitor Mowbys shenanigans from my desk or my phone. His stomping grounds were pretty white so he has been parked. If you squint really hard and hold your tongue just right you can see him in the bottom left camera. These cameras also helped me figure out how he was able to play in the street.

 When my to-do list finally got down to the entry labeled "bring Mowby in", this is what he looked like.

 A bit frozen. I brought him in and cleaned the snow and clippings from his shell. The battery is fully charged and he will get a software update. There's not much else that really needs to be done but I will split the case and make sure everything looks normal. I'll be looking for evidence of water, insects and anything out of place. I know one of the wheel motors is making a clicking noise and I suspect it may be the gear reduction unit attached to that motor. We've had a few fail and I'd like to see what they look like before the failure. Maybe that would help me prevent future failures. You'd think the gurus at the factory have all the answers but the fact is many manufacturers work these problems out through dealer input.
 Depending on how long and cold this winter turns out, I may work up the ambition to customize his shell. Maybe just some paint, maybe a whole new look. We'll see.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

More Dinner Drama

  Friday night my wife and I went out to dinner in Ripon to a restaurant that isn't normally open in the evenings. If you're local you may be able to figure out which one but because this is a negative review I won't say. Also, a lot of people seem to like the place. Besides, I'm no food critic, just a stomach with an attitude. What we experienced was maybe just me expecting too much so this may come off as whining. You decide.
 The establishment was busy but not full. We were immediately seated and the hostess was pleasant. I ordered a beer at the same time we ordered our meals, which isn't normal but we had been left there long enough that we had the menu memorized. It seemed like a long time had passed and I was still waiting on my beer. My taste buds knew a lot of time had passed because I ordered some fancy schmancy brew I had never tried before and was looking forward to a swig. Eventually another person brought out the main dishes and asked if there was anything else we needed. "Ya, my beer and our salads". I expected more of an apology than we got so now I'm grumpy even though the smoked salmon was pretty good. The beer came out and a few minutes later the salads. I was made to feel like it was no big deal but it is. That salad is pretty unappealing once the main course has been gobbled up. I could eat at home and none of this would matter but when I'm paying good money I expect good service. When I finish a meal at a restaurant I should be walking slowly to the vehicle while patting my stomach and thinking about how to fit in another visit. That wasn't the case here. This was their second chance and I won't be going back.

 Last night we went to a different restaurant that I like for their blackened prime rib. They offered a much different level of service that I enjoyed. Sure we paid more for the meal but both places had good food. What I'm comparing is everything else. Remember, no matter how good the food is, its the people out front that make or break the experience. The first place did nothing about their mistake and even tried upselling pastries as we paid the bill. That just rubbed me the wrong way. Oh sure I ended up buying some frosted cookies but those were for the kids. Its all about the children! Well they were supposed to be for the kids but after I sampled one I realized there weren't enough for everyone. Then I did what any good parent would do and ate all the rest of the cookies so there would be no fighting.

Have a happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bathroom Remodel And Foul Odors

 Progress on the upstairs bathroom remodel is turtlesque. Slow, but its moving so thats a good thing. I used an epoxy kit from Rustoleum to change our avocado colored tub to basic white. The kit works well enough but plan on having good ventilation. The fumes are terrible and thats coming from someone not usually annoyed by foul odors, including those produced by a certain coworker that once released an odor so vile that it was mistaken for a terrorist act.
 We had some problems with loose tiles and decided to just slap a tub surround over the walls. It will be cheap and easy enough while being completely hidden from view with the frosted shower doors closed. Hey, this ain't the Ritz so its all good. The rest of the tiles that are still visible are in good shape and will be left alone. Years from now someone will tear into this bathroom and wonder what heck I was thinking by doing it this way but I won't care. I'll be drooling on a checker board in an old folks home telling stories about bike rides or how when I was a kid we had to walk ten miles to school uphill both ways in the dark.

  This is where the project stands right now. I could have done the panel on the left but I just didn't feel like it last night. The panel on the right can't be done till I buy the faucet and shower head. I suppose I also need some non-slip strips for the bottom of the tub. Should I go with ducks or a nice fish motif?


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Somewhere Different

 Thats been the theme lately. We like to get out to different places to dine and anytime we get a recommendation my wife and I will try it out.
 One such recommendation led us to Jimmies White House Inn in Butte des Morts. The town is small but we've learned a long time ago that some of the best food and service comes from these small establishments.

 When we pulled up it was obvious this place had been here a long time. Upon entering you step into a bar area which is the case in many older bar/restaurant establishments around here. There was a hostess station but no hostess. A "wait to be seated sign" had us standing there for a couple awkward minutes with no greeting from the bar tender and just some glances from the locals.

 I started checking out the decor which turned out to be a civil war collection but I could see in my wifes face that we were just about to walk out when the hostess hurried up front to greet us. I believe it was simply a case of us being a bit earlier than the rush and her having something else to do. She asked if we'd ever been here and when we replied no she confidently informed us we would enjoy the visit. As it turns out she was right. I had prime rib and I forget what cut of meat my wife had but I sampled it and thought it delicious. The food and service were both good once we were seated. My wife likes to handle the tipping so I don't even always look at the bill as was the case last night. She did mention that it was cheaper than expected.

 "Cheesecake to go" is always taken if available. These two monster sized pieces of orange dreamsicle came home with us. I was only able to get through half of my piece and am looking forward to finishing it up tonight.
 Don't judge whats on the inside based on appearance and location. The White House Inn offers casual dining, good food and service at a reasonable price. We'll go back.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019


 Monday turned out to be a beautiful day when afternoon temps rose to the lower seventies. When I walked out of work I was thinking how nice it would be to go for a bike ride. I had the bike out once already so I knew it was good to go. On the way home I couldn't help but notice the abundant sunshine was starting to be blocked by a small dark cloud. The closer I got to home the more I realized that cloud was dang near over my house. My plan for an extended ride was reduced to just chasing dinner and the chosen take out restaurant was about a fifteen mile round trip. Not much of a long ride but it was more about not missing an opportunity to get out on the bike than how far I could go. As I backed the big Ultra out of the garage a bird shit on my head. At least thats what I was hoping because the alternative was rain. Sure enough it was starting to rain but I refused to accept that. Not on my parade, not today.
 My destination was away from the incoming droplets and I quickly out drove the moisture. By the time I reached the restaurant I had forgotten about the pending gloom and went inside to order. This wasn't a fast food joint so I had time for a refreshment and to catch up with social media on my phone. I noticed my buddy JT the Barber was doing some podcasts and made a note to check them out later. John got me started in blogging and if it weren't for him you wouldn't be reading any of this gold. Anyway, during my surfing session my wife had texted me to inform me of heavy rain and lightning. I told her it was only seven miles home and if a little rain was gonna stop me then I needed to turn in my man card. Soon they brought my carry out food to the table and thats when I looked out the window. My man card was in jeopardy. The rain was coming down so hard it was bouncing back up as if some unseen force was rejecting it. This is not how I wanted to start out the 2019 riding season but I also knew I was heading to the comfort of home so a little discomfort wouldn't last long.
 The worst part about riding in the rain is the time spent not moving very fast. This includes walking in the parking lot and riding at city speeds. Just getting on the bike sucked because as quickly as I wiped the seat dry, it flooded out. I couldn't get the thing swiped dry and swing a leg before a puddle formed on the seat. I knew the restaurant patrons would all be looking out the window at the knucklehead getting on his motorcycle in the pouring rain so I did my best not to cringe as I sat down. The resulting hydrosackosis was a little more discomfort than I had imagined.
 The thing about riding a motorcycle is that it cures whatever is ailing you. Once at hiway speed I had a great ride despite mother natures attempt at force feeding me a shower. It actually ended too soon although the drop in temperature would have probably caught up with me. Maybe this year won't be that bad. Mileage in 2018 was at a twenty year low and I'm hoping that was just a fluke, not a trend.


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Honey Do List-Bathroom Remodel

  Part of our bathroom remodel will be changing the color of a perfectly good bath tub from green to white. I want to get this part of the job done first because if it doesn't turn out the way I want then the tub will have to be removed with a sledge hammer. That could be messy. The epoxy kit I bought seems pretty straight forward but like all painting projects the prep work is the most important part. Removing caulk, hard water stains and some type of textured no-slip material will be the bulk of the work.
 Because the project has now officially started, the ideas are flowing and we decided to go to Menards for some more ideas and to pick up some vinyl flooring. The gal that was helping us with the flooring was a real piece of work. After she was unable to answer a few basic questions she started arguing with me about whether or not the roll would fit in the car. The rolls are 12' long and I requested an eight foot length rolled so that it was only eight foot long rather than the natural 12 feet as it comes off the spool. Its not hard to do and a couple of weeks earlier at a different location another worker did it with carpeting. "Can't you just hang it out the window?" No I said. Does she not realize that the wind at 55 mph will just fold the thin flooring and kink it? Also the hour ride and cool temps made having a window open less than desirable.
 Our rocket scientist then discovers that they are out of the style we chose. She checked back stock and none was left. I pointed at a remnant roll of the style we wanted that was no more than 3' away from where she was standing and said we'd take that if it could be rolled the other way. The roll was clearly marked as being 9.5' long (by the standard 12' width). This lazy bitch had no interest in rolling it the other way and held up her thumb and forefinger stating "It doesn't make sense to roll it the other way it will only save this much room". No I said, It will make it 2.5' feet shorter. I don't think she believed me because she rolled her eyes at me. "Well I don't have enough room to do that". Another load of shit because that carpeting from a couple weeks ago was re-rolled in a four foot aisle. This aisle was easily 12 foot plus. I just told her I'd take the roll and if it didn't fit in the car I'd re-roll it without her in the parking lot. I knew that carpet I hauled turned out to be 8'6" and was butted against the lift gate on one end while the other end was sitting on the center console. This roll at 12' would surely be on the dash, I just didn't know if it would be smashed against the windshield.
 We continued shopping and I just kept getting more upset and may have used the Cword to describe her. Thats out of character for me and my wife didn't appreciate it much especially because I didn't tone down my voice when I said it. Its getting hard to find places where customer service doesn't get people all worked up. I can forgive incompetence if a person is at least trying to do their job. Its laziness that pisses me off. We finished shopping and I was just getting settled down when the nice lady at the check out asked if we needed help loading it. I said no but if we did there was a woman in the flooring department I wanted to come out and help.

End rant.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Stake Puller Wrap Up

 Yesterday I asked coworkers Dan and Adrian to help finish up the stake puller project. Partially because Al and I were swamped with other projects but mostly because I believe if you help build a piece of equipment you will better understand its limitations. Along with that goes pride in workmanship, respect and all that other bs.
 My brother stopped by the shop and spotted the stake puller. He stated he wanted to stick around and see it in action. I gave him  hard time because I thought I had already posted a video on this blog of the unit in action when it was running off the hydraulics of a larger tractor. They needed the unit for a big tent job and it proved its worth by pulling tough stakes through asphalt. I guess I never actually posted that video.
 Now the stake puller is set up with a pto pump and its own hydraulic reservoir. It is a stand alone attachment that can be run off any tractor with a three point and pto which means we always have a backup tractor if needed.
 If yer gonna test a stake puller, first you need to pound a stake.

 The stake was going in hard enough that Dan decided to grab a different tool.

 Heres the video of the puller in action. Everyone agrees we should have enough power for even the toughest stakes. I like overkill.