xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
First insurance check arrived. Can't print lender forms to get it endorsed because printer died the rest of the way today.

Ordered a new printer, but their "get it today" on the order page turned into "get it tomorrow" in email. *sigh*. This is not covered by insurance nor warranty,
Read more... )
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
I've got reasonable experience with it, but nowhere near pro level. I'll fix things in my house, though I don't like the painting part. It's just... it takes longer than I want it to, so small jobs suck. Big jobs are fine, because you do all the first-pass things, then come back for second pass
Read more... )


Nov. 24th, 2015 03:38 am
xaminmo: (Josh 2014)
Yesterday (today? Monday, 2015-11-23 anyway), JeffriesElectric came and fixed some stuff for me. They did a good job though, and fixed a half-burnt-up switch in the attic for free since they were already tying off of that circuit for a new plug.

Realistically, I could have done all of it, but I ran out of oomph a long time ato. One fix, I was not sure I could do (but after seeing it, I thought "duhhhh".) One, I had tried to fix before, and got a little sparky. I just needed to Re-Do that fix. Also, I learnt that one plug in my kitchen is upstream from ALL of my office plugs. For some reason, I thought I had 2 circuits in the office, but nooOOO.

So, anyway, yAy for expensives! I mean yAy for getting it all fixed!

(PS, late night pop sounds from wind pushing on the door totally freak me out.)
xaminmo: (Josh 2004 Happy)
We had a fluorescent fixture in our garage, with two 25W T12 bulbs.  The bulbs and the ballast are dead.  In removing the ballast, I had to pull down the whole fixture.  It turns out that the fixture is using a 3-pin extension cord with the ground pin broken off, and it's a really short piece of extension cord. The wire nuts were mashed up between the fixture and the drywall.

I didn't REALLY want to wire up a proper junction box for the fixture, though it's not out of the question.  I thought I'd check and see what other options there were.

A new ballast module is $18, and a new pack of 6 bulbs is $29.  I can't find 25W, but they have 40W.  Can't find 2-packs. I know Batteries Plus has all of this, but they are 2x the cost of buying online for everything else.

On the other hand, I already have 6 meters of 3528 LED ribbon with 120 SMD LEDs per meter.  I decided it's worth buying some quick connectors, and a couple of fully assembled power supplies.  I'll cut the ribbon up and put sections of it in various places, and have it all hang off of the existing light socket from the 2-prong, screw-in adapter.  Saves me from having to wire up a proper, grounded fixture, and having to deal with the phase-out of T12 bulbs and parts.

BUT, I might still re-wire the existing fixture, since since I always feel it's not bright enough in the garage.  I just need to decide whether I want the fixture somewhere else.  I have a lot of romex (10 and 12ga).
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
I think Lowes and CounterSource are snooping my blog(s) because we got a call today - they're coming to do the tearout and remeasure tomorrow, and the install on Friday.
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
Our screen for the front door was installed today.

VERY happy with it.

xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
Ours is grey-button, which means old. No optical sensor, but it does have pressure reverse.

Anyway, most you can hold the program button for 6 seconds and it will erase all codes.

Not ours. Not 10, not 30 seconds.

So I invariably programmed out opener to the neighbor's remotes because of this.

So, we come home to find our garage door open from time to time.

Well, I found out that supposedly, these only hold 5 codes. So, I changed the remote code repeatedly until the original code didn't work, and then reprogrammed our 2 remotes.


Let's see if that prevents the midnight garage door opening.

Land title

Oct. 9th, 2009 09:38 pm
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
So, since I don't have a land grant from the king of England from prior to the revolution, I do not have a recognized alloidal title, I don't own land through Treaty as a monarch of my own government, and I've not been granted a land patent to federal lands, that means I can't really "own land".

The type of land rights I can reasonably expect to obtain are known as "fee simple". Fee derives from "fief" or "feud". In other words, I am a roughly equivalent to a feudal land tenant. I purchase the right to use the land for any legal purpose. In most states, the true owner would be the federal government. I'm not sure, but I believe since TX was annexed, and due to some interesting history, Texas may be the true land owner.

A fee simple is limited by the government powers of taxation, eminent domain, police power, and escheat.

Failure to pay taxes to the owner, Texas, could result in my loss of claim to the estate, depending on the state laws. These laws may allow me to keep my homestead, but not to pass it on to heirs if taxes are unpaid. Further, it may grant similar powers to the local and federal governments.

Eminent domain means they can pay me FMV for my estate and then relieve me of my title to the estate, without any right to contest.

Police power means should I violate statute, regulation, or otherwise be deemed a nuisance, I might be relieved of my ownership of title.

Lastly, escheat, meaning that should I lose title and no clear heir found, the property might revert ownership to a prior deed holder, up to and including the state, depending on laws and judgements.

The reason for fee simple is because with out it, government power would be greatly restricted. Defense would be voluntary, and could suddenly suffer collapse due to private decisions to withhold payment without recourse by the government.

In addition to the governmental restrictions (ie, limitations placed by my feudal lord, the Honorable State of Texas, My deed to the land is encumbered by the prior owners of this fee simple. More so since I'm buying into a home owner's association, which contains "restrictive covenants". However, even my Lake Dallas house has encumbrances such as build lines, minimum lot sizes, minimum house sizes, etc.

Further encumbrances exist in the way of easements (right of use, similar to a license) which were sold by the prior deed holders, though the easements presently are encumbered only in fact, but not per se. In other words, the power company holds the right to use the back 20' for power transmission, and the southwest corner for a transformer. However, at present, there is no transformer, and the only power lines back there are the ones to my house along the lot line. This is because there are power and sewer easements on the greenbelt, which was deeded to the city as abandoned property. Still, the easement is there.

However, I have the right to quietly enjoy my estate in land, to pass that interest on to others and to further encumber the rights which I own (ie, mortgage it, modify it within the limits of the deed).
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
For the new house
#1 Two HVAC inspections and three companies providing quotes for new systems. AC replacement quotes from 3 companies range from $9800 each down to $4400 each, with the highest 2 being mid-function, the third one being highest function, then the bottom 2 being lowest function, but still a 50% performance improvement over what's installed now.

The first HVAC inspection seemed off, and we were right to have a second. Almost everything listed as justification was wrong. If it had been one thing, then I'd chalk it up to a mistake, but it was several things, which implies false information. The issues presented were:
* $1000/mo electric (really it's $200)
* Evap coil leak and low charge (really it's got proper charge, no leak)
* Heat exchanger cracks (there are none, and no Carbon Monoxide detected)
* Doesn't blow cold downstairs (it does, and freezes us out).
* Undersized air return duct (this is accurate).
* Leaky ducts (this is also accurate).
* Rusty drip pans without float sensors (this is accurate).

The drip pans are $300 each, so I'll take that back to the seller. The units are fine otherwise, and in good shape for being 18 years old. Burners are new, one evap coil is new, charge is good, cooling and heating both are fine.

All in all, the remediation needed for the new home is pretty small. We'll total it up and present an amendment to the seller. Since it's small (less than 1%), it should be OK.

#2 The lender called. We're locked in at 4.875% interest, conventional 30y note. That's great news!

#3, The ins agent called. It's more than the lender expected (duh) but it's about half of what I was planning for. Billy is emailing me quotes, and I'm going to talk with Erica about the options: Loan value vs replacement value, and 0.5% vs 1% deductables.

For our current house
We just had 2/3 of the fence replaced today. The roof is from 2009-05. The upstairs bath is from 2009-06. The kitchen is from 2007-07. The Heat Pump (AC and Furnace) are from 2006-06. The downstairs bath is from 2003-12. The windows and siding are from 2003-07. Peak electric is $282, and and lowest has been around $220. The comparables in our neighborhood are not on the market, but there are plenty of fixer-uppers on the market. There are comparables within 2 miles of our house ranging from $135k to 151k. We're asking $120k.

Hopefully being fairly close to DCTA bus stops, and only a few miles from the lewisville/highland village train stop should help. We're on a cul du sac, which is nice for privacy. We're right next to the middle school, but the traffic doesn't pass in front of our house. Shopping is nearby. I-35 is nearby. LLTB is nearby. We have a fort in the back yard.

Lots of documentation to update!


Jun. 1st, 2009 07:26 pm
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
CUCUMBER PIC! Our cucumbers are happy, but don't grow as fast as the beans (smaller fuel pod).
BEANS PIC! Our beans are REALLY happy.
SQUASH PIC! Our squash (zucchini/summer squash) looks a little unhappy, so I'm wondering if it's too much sun or too much water or what.
LETTUCE PIC! The two tubs of lettuce are tiny tiny sprouts, with some big gaps in the middle from our possibly expired seeds mixed in.
MIXED PLANTS PIC! Finally, there's some sort of gourd, squash, or melon in the front on both sides of my fence that was mixed in with the leftover and test seeds. Those guys have HUGE, jagged, delta leaves and seem very healthy. There was already a flower, so maybe we'll see some sort of fruit growing soon. Maybe it's an aubergine/eggplant.
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
I need a 6-outlet wall tap that is compatible with GFCI plugs.

In other words, one without a center screw, and ideally with the two top/bottom screws.

Otherwise, I put the wrong box in the wall and need a 2 or 3 gang box and need to saw on the wall and already-installed tiles more.

Any idea of a maker, brand, etc?

xaminmo: (Moon 2004 Animation)
We have wolves howling in Lake Dallas.

Just so you know.

Also, there are several birds that think it's daytime.
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Moon Animation)
SO, there are these plastic coasters from mom's house.
evolution of thought )
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
I remember my dad always telling me not to consider a house as an investment, but a living expense. This really applies now and into the next 5-10 years. Maybe at the bottom I'll buy up and become a land lord. :)

Proper maintenance on a house should be 5-10% of its value per year. I'd heard this before but forgot/ignored until I re-read it yesterday. That gives me something to work with.

Kitchen is high priority. I'll probably get the materials for the upstairs bathroom at the same time.

It looks like our kitchen will cost us $3500 to $6000 depending on materials. We're starting to think tile is the way to go for flooring, and still leaning towards Ikea iKea TheIkeanEmpire to provide cabinetry.

Upstairs bathroom will probably be $800 if I don't retile the tub and $1200 if I do.

Another thing is the upstairs floor. That may overtake the kitch in priority since it might be structural. I expect $100 if nothing is wrong and up to $1000 if it's fairly minor. If it's really serious, I'd expect 4-8 times that.

After that, we'd need new carpeting ($2500-$3600), which would bring about new baseboards (a few hundred $$ for the house).

At some point, we need to look at replacing the roof decking. I have delusions of building on to the second floor, which would need to preced the roofing work, but would need to be preceded by some structural upgrades.

We also need to upgrade our HVAC system to cut energy consumption. This would need to happen around the time of any expansions, I'd like to get a variable speed blower so we can have a second zone for upstairs, though if we expanded, I might want to just have a second unit for upstairs.


xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)

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