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December 7th, 2006

09:22 am - New Blog!
Fresh blog, fresh blog, click here, click here, fresh blog, fresh blog, click here.

Seriously, though, I have created a new weblog with the address andrew.olmsted.ca/blogger. Check it out! I don't guarantee you won't not regret it!

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October 30th, 2006

09:18 am - In Conclusion: New House
We now have a working furnace, the last piece of the new house puzzle. At least, the last piece for now. We obviously have many more things we eventually want to do with this house, but for now we are going to enjoy it as it is and pay down some debt.

We went with the Coleman furnace, which you will note was the cheapest of the three. It's not that the furnace cost any less than the others we were looking at (all three were remarkably close in price for the installed final product) it's that we got a discount on it for having the same company clean our ducts. They offer one free duct cleaning after the install of the furnace, and it just happens that we used it before we actually bought the furnace.

On Saturday we had a house warming party. It was great to have so many people in our house and not feel like we had no room. We must have had 15 people at a time with no shortage of space in the living room (helped out by the fact that our couch can sit 6-7 people, and up to seven can be in the hot tub). Finn was of course the hit of the party, and seemed to enjoy entertaining people, and being passed around to be fawned over. He even went down very easily for a nice long nap in the middle of it.

On Sunday we had a house warming party. That's right, another house warming party. We again had around 15 people attend, although this one was more drop-in drop-out. We loved giving tours of the house, and everyone seemed generally impressed with it. We had 'before' pictures displayed in many of the rooms so people could see the changes we had made. Some people who helped us move, or clea, or paint, were very impressed with the progress we have made. Again, Finn was the real star, and again he easily went to sleep for a nice nap.

Jamie, we are so sorry we forgot to invite you. I wish we could say your invitation was lost in the mail, but although you were on our invite list you never made it into the email. Sorry.

So, now we get to take it a bit easy and not have so many projects. Sure, there will be things like organizing the utility room in the basement and setting up the downstairs apartment. At least those things don't have an urgency level. I think we are going to enjoy living in the house for a long time.

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October 20th, 2006

10:25 am - Uncomfortable Decision
So, we now have three quotes in for the furnace. Now I have to decide who to go with.

Do I go with the local guy who deals LuxAire (same as York), the duct cleaners who deal Coleman (same as York) and have the best price (because they discount the cost of the duct cleaning), or the third guys who deal Carrier (arguably the better name)? On the one hand, the local guy was really nice and easy to deal with, and his quote was in the same ballpark as the others. On the other hand, the duct cleaners have the best price because they are knocking $200 off for the cleaning. On the other hand, Carrier is supposed to be a high quality product.

LuxAire and Coleman are practically the same unit with some cosmetic differences. I did not talk to the Coleman guy at all (it was in the middle of the day) although my dad said he seemed to know what he was talking about. The Carrier guy I had talked to in the showroom and he seemed to have a few facts wrong.

I just don't know what I should do. I doubt any of them would be any worse than the others. Should I just go with the cheapest? I don't know. We want this done next week, so I better make a choice.

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October 19th, 2006

09:12 am - We have hot tub
After many hours of cleaning, draining, filling, draining, and cleaning by Emily, our hot tub is up and running again. Let me tell you, it's darn relaxing. Running on one filter though it may be, and being a few dozen litres low in water, we (Erin, Emily, and I) braved the cool night to have a nice soak. The water level was too low to turn on the jets (water level is now corrected), but that had no impact on the level of relaxedness. New word. Also, we are running with Bromine now instead of Chlorine. It is supposed to be less harsh and last longer. I can tell you it did not smell as much.

We have pretty much settled now. The furnace will be our last big project for a while, then we can enjoy our new space with the occassional small project through the winter. I am sure the big projects will ramp up again in the spring. We take two more furnace quotes today, then we can make our decision and hopefully get a new furnace by the end of next week. The biggest thing switching from low/mid efficiency to high efficiency will be venting through the side of the house rather than through the chimney stack. I may have already posted this, but we hope to take the chimney down to roof level come spring.

It really is a different house than the one we moved into. The biggest hitch right now is we aren't running the furnace at night at all due to the potential for a carbon monoxide leak, so there is quite a chill in the air in the morning. It will be nice to have a new furnace with a modern thermostat that we can program to come on at 6:30 or 7:00. So nice.

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October 18th, 2006

07:35 am - We have heat
Unfortunately, and predictably, the outcome of our duct cleaning was that we need a new furnace. Our old furnace is 25 years-old and was generating a small amount of Carbon Monoxide (4 parts per million). We decided to go ahead with replacing it, although our detector has been reading 0 ppm since the cleaning. We are taking quotes right now, and have had one company come in and give their estimate already. This company is just down the street from us and we have some goog neighbour referral. The guy was really nice to deal with too. So, unless we get some lower quotes it looks like we will be spending $3200 for a high-efficiency furnace. Ouch.

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMIE!! Sorry we couldn't see you last night, but your arrival coincided with Finn's screaming himself to sleep. We will have to catch you sometime very soon. If you want to come over this weekend and bring your swim suit we could hot tub it up!
Current Mood: hungryhungry

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October 13th, 2006

11:19 am - The Progress
So, we are getting close to finishing up the first batch of repairs/changes to the house. Here is a more or less complete list of the things we have done/will have done in the very near future:

  • CLEANED - Everything from floors, to walls, to windows, to ceiling fans, to the hot tub, to the washer and drier. Notably missing are the air ducts. Did I mention we sprayed for fleas?
  • Floors - We ripped up carpet in two rooms, two hallways, and a full set of stairs. Hauled that carpet and underpadding to the dump. Pulled up a million staples. Ripped up a vinyl floor from the kitchen and ripped up tiles from the hallway. Put tile down in the entrance way, hallway, kitchen, and bathroom. Four tiles need to go in behind the toilet, and the hallway closet still needs to be tile.
  • Appliances - Got rid of the burned out gas range and oven. Got a new gas stove (finally!) along with a new stove hood. Ordered a new fridge that will hopefully maintain a consistant temperature throughout the (bottom) freezer. The new fridge should come Monday, and the old one is being taken away then too.
  • Furniture - Constructed an Ikea dresser, two Ikea bedside tables, and an Ikea computer desk. All are very nice solid wood furniture with an antique finish. I still need to finish adjusting the doors on the desk.
  • Painted - Painted the main floor bathroom and master bedroom. Both are vast, vast improvements.
  • Fixes - Recaulked tub/shower in the main floor bathroom. Fixed a kitchen cabinet door, screwed down the subfloor in the hallway, and various other little things as we went.

Okay, so there is probably a lot of stuff I forgot. Here is the list of things we want to get done in the immediate future:

  • Duct cleaning - Considering that it got down to TEN DEGREES CELSIUS!!! in our house last night, we really need to get our air ducts cleaned so we can turn on the furnace. Right now the ducts are piled high and deep with dor hair and other assorted dust and whatnot. The cleaning service we contracted around a week ago told us it would be over two weeks. That is still over a week away. We had to have Finn in bed with us for the second part of the night because it was so cold. We need this done soon, not in a week. We are going to try to get someone to come earlier.
  • Furnace Inspection - We have a 25 year-old furnace that we would like to get looked at to determine whether it will make it through the winter. We are looking for someone impartial that is not going to try to sell us a furnace.
  • New Windows - We will probably eventually replace all the windows on a one-by-one basis, but there are two we want to get done before the winter. The bathroom and Finn's room.
  • Assorted - Things like fixing the light that is haging off the ceiling of the utility room, fixing the outside plug by the side door that cuts out if it moves, replacing outlets and light switches, and putting a ventilation fan in the downstairs bathroom.

Longer-term goals are:

  • Windows - Replacing the other windows not mentioned above. We have particularly noticed that you can hear the wind howling in our bedroom window at nice. Also, the front window has some cracked panes of glass, but nothing too bad.
  • New sliding door - Our current back door is a large sliding door that was installed incorrectly. It also doesn't work very well. We would want to put a sliding door or possibly French doors here.
  • Furnace/water heater - If our furnace is deemed to be on its last legs, we would probably get it replaced with a high-efficiency one after the winter. Since this would not need to use the chimney stack, we could get a high-efficiency water heater that vents out the side of the house nad take down the chimney.
  • Lower/remove chimney - Depending on whether the chimney is need or not, it would either be lowered to remove the questionable top rows or brick and to make the unsupported height more manageable or taken down to the roofline.
  • Upstiars bathroom - The upstairs of the house is two large bedrooms on either side of a hallway. Each bedroom has a large closet which between the two of them span the hallway and back on to each other. By removing the wall between these closets we could put in a bathroom that opens into both bedrooms.

Wow. Buying an older house can be a lot of work. I figure we have already raised the value of the house by redoing the floors, and if we replace the windows and furnace it would be significantly increased in value. We could eventually refinish the hardwood floors throughout, and having a bathroom upstairs would probably also make it more attractive. Not that we are trying to flip it - we want to live here for a long time - I feel we probably could if we wanted to.

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October 10th, 2006

11:27 am - The Weekend
I love long weekends. Of course, going to work after they end really sucks. On the plus side: four-day work week!

During the course of this long weekend we ripped up the hall floor (8x8 battleship gray tiles) and subfloor (hardboard held down with thousands of staples), bathroom floor (sheet vinyl flooring with hundreds of staples and more than a little rotten subfloor), and first layer of kitchen floor (sheet vinyl flooring held down with hundreds of staples on top of another sheet vinyl floor glued to subfloor). We laid vinyl tile in the entrance way (on top of existing vinyl tile) - I laid the whole pieces and Emily laid the cut pieces. We laid vinyl tile in the kitchen with my dad and I laying the whole piece and Brian laying the cut pieces. We laid vinyl tile in the hallway with Brian, dad, and I laying the whole pieces and cut pieces. Erin killed the mildew on the bathroom subfloor with bleach, and tonight we should be able to lay vinyl tile in there. The house looks so much better now. Emily and mom also started the task of cleaning the hot tub. Tonight we will buy new filters for it and this week we should get it back in operational form.

Of course, we celebrated Thanksgiving as an intimate little family affair on Sunday consisting of me, Erin, Finn, mom, dad, Emily, Sarah, and Brian - the cheif workers on the new house. We had turkey, roast beef, ham, potatoes, corn, jelly salad, and squash with pumpkin pie for dessert. There is a lot I am thankful for this year. Family - my wife and brand new son that I could not love more, and my parents, brother, and sisters who have continued to support me through all the firsts and changes over hte last year and throughout my life. We were able to get a new car, which is so much safer feeling and nicer to drive for more than 15 minutes in. We were able to get a new house with minimal trouble and wait, and our growing family will be comfortable in it for years to come. For everyone who has helped in moving, renovating, and supporting us: I am thankful.

Now once we get our stove (Thursday - right Brick? We will have been without one for almost two weeks. It was supposed to come on moving day) and our ducts cleaned (21st. It will be nice to have heat in the morning) it will really feel like home. Anything past that (except more unpacking and cleaning) are not immediately necessary for us to fully settle in. We are going to have a housewarming sometime soon, and it will be really fun (and sureal) to show people OUR house.
Current Mood: great

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October 4th, 2006

10:47 am - We live
Okay, so I am back at work after 6 straight days of moving. I will try to summarize the "vacation" time:

Thursday: Tried to get the remaining Longwood stuff packed. Took Finn to the library for a baby program. Cute. Went to the lawyer's to listen to stories about what it must have been like 150 years-ago. Oh, also we had to sign some things and pay him a lot of money (mostly taxes and downpayment). We found out there was a 5 hour window in which we would get the key (12-5) so our anticipation was hightened by not even knowing when we would be owners.

Friday: Took Finn to swimming lessons. Cute. He dunked twice and was a little trooper floating around with one of his parents holding him. Continued packing. Got the call from the lawyer at around 2:30. Rushed over to pick up the key, then rushed up to our new house. The previous people were just finishing cleaning out the fridge. Also, the place was a pig sty. We spent the rest of the day ripping up carpet (that was full of dust and smelled like dog) from the living room, den, hallway, and stairs, priming the bathroom (thanks Eden and Mike!), priming the master bedroom (thanks Sarah and Brian!), taking out the disgusting stove (that had previously enjoyed a fire), and generally trying to eliminate the filth that was everywhere. We slept at Longwood because that was where all our stuff was.

Saturday: Moving day. The movers came at 8:45 and loaded all our furniture and large items onto their truck. They unloaded at the new house and finished up right around 12. Efficient. If anyone is looking for good movers, we can recommend "James the Mover." At 12 I went to pick up our cube van from Budget to move all our boxes. Got the van, drove to my parents house to pick up 4 items, and found out that one of the front tires was flat. Very flat. Drove the truck back to Budget, loaded our stuff into a new truck, and drove to Longwood. Big delay. Packed almost everything we owned that hadn't previously been moved into the van and two car trunks. The van was stuffed full, and we left about three carloads at the apartment. Unloaded everything at the new house. Thanks so much to all our movers: Brian, Sarah, Adam (and wife Amber and daughter Faith), Meghan, Dad, and Mom. Everything went pretty smoothly, and after unloading the truck we hauled to old stove and 450 lbs of carpet to the dump. Also, the new stove was supposed to arrive, but apparently we missed the delivery but it was okay because it wasn't on the truck anyway. Now they are out of stock and we won't be getting one until next week. Fun! Built a dresser and painted our bathroom, then slept in our new house after soaking in the hot tub!

Sunday: Went to the Longwood apartment to finishing moving our stuff and clean it up for the new tenants. Handed over the keys. Painted our master bedroom. Cleaned up and started unpacking. Don't remember much else. Starting to hurt from all the lifting, walking up and down stairs, cleaning, and painting. Soaked in the hot tub and crashed in bed.

Monday: Took the rabbit to get its windsheild fixed where a truck had thrown a stone at us. Came home. Cleaned. Unpacked. Some other stuff most have happened. Exhausted. Watched Corner Gas at my parents (still no cable). Had a hot tub party with sisters and wife.

Tuesday: Waiting for cable guy. Built a computer desk. Panicked when I thought I had built it upside down, but it turns out I hadn't. Cable guy came, looked at our wiring and said he would have to run new stuff. Was not impressed with the previous people who drywalled the basement apartment ceiling. He ran new cable through two holes in the closet of the den from outside (after leaving to get a bigger drill because apparently our house is surprisingly hard to drill through. Good to know) and a hole in the second floor. We now have TV and internet again. Spent the rest of the night looking for our phone, which also works again. Clean. Unpack. Relax with some playoff baseball. No hot tub. Sleep.

This is the general jist of the time. There are many smaller stories, like the squaller of the place when we moved in, the Budget girl backing the new truck into our old truck, and so on. Maybe later. For now, we are moved into a house we own! w00t!

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September 27th, 2006

12:21 pm - Ummm... whoa
So, tomorrow is the last day ever until we own a new house. How crazy is that? Let me put it another way: after tomorrow we own a house! Try to wrap your head around it.

Maybe I haven't made it clear enough. Today is the last time I leave work and return to our apartment. From now on I will never head out in the morning from the apartment. Is this blowing your mind? Maybe it is just me.

We are actually going to own a house? 5 years ago if you asked me if I would ever get married I would likely have responded negatively. If you told me before I was 26 I would have a son, I would have backed away slowly and carefully. You would be forcibly institutionalized if you made the prediction that in my mid-twenties I would have a wife, a son, two cars, and a house along with a full-time job.

Much to my chagrin I must now declare myself a grownup. Does that mean I have to take everything seriously now? What actually does a grownup do? How can I possibly be grownup? Wasn't it yesterday that I wanted to be a honey-bee when I grew up (for the respect, not the money)? I remember running care-free around the backyard, kicking my heels to the sides, and exclaiming "wooba wooba wooba." What happened to that person? Wait a second, am I having an identity crisis? That's weird.

Okay, I have pulled myself together. I can no longer think of myself as a child. As strange as it may seem for a 26 year-old to think of himself as a child, I think I unconsciously did so. I am now at least partially responsible for a life other than my own. I get to help guide this life to try to have it grow up to be everything he wants to be. If he wants to be a honey-bee, then damned if I'm going to stand in his way. In 26 years is he going to be making the same realizations I am now? I think this just got recursive.

So to summarize: I was blown away by everything that has happened lately (marriage, child, car, house). I had an identity crisis (grownup vs. child). I resolved the crisis somehow. I had a recursive thought. I broke for a light lunch. I probably insulted someone or some group of people. I summarized things for the people at home.

Now I will get back to work, then I will go home to the apartment for the last ever time, then I will own and live in a house with my amazing and beautiful wife and amazing and awesome son. That is all.
Current Mood: blown away
Current Music: :-O

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September 26th, 2006

10:37 am - The countdown dontinues
We now have less than 4 days until our house closes. On closing day we are going to paint three rooms (one large, one medium, one small) and rip out some carpet. Saturday morning the movers come to move our furniture, and in the afternoon we move our boxes. Sunday we give the keys to our current apartment to the new tenents. Tomorrow is my last day at work until next Wednesday.

That is all.

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