Hello world!

Well, ever since I started Facebook’ing I’ve had little to no time for blogging.  Now that the excitement with FB has run its course I can now see the value in maintaining a site like this especially now that WordPress is seamlessly connected with Windows Live and Facebook. 

Over the next week or two I’ll be updating this site with a few posts and some new photo albums.

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Bobcat Rental Gone Bad!

We used this past weekend to freshen up the lawn to repair the damage caused by putting in a new septic system last fall.  We got two dump-truck loads of top soil and rented a Bobcat to spread it around. 



Things were going very well until I felt like I was getting good at operating the Bobcat and started going faster.  Unfortunately I got the floor pedals mixed up and forgot that the one on the left isn’t the brake like it is in a car.  Instead it raised the bucket when I didn’t want it to AND it didn’t stop me when I needed to.

Bobcat2The reason it fell over so far was that I was at the edge of a hill.  The heavy bucket kept falling lower down the hill taking the Bobcat completely off balance. Had I been on a flat area the bucket would have hit the ground much sooner and the Bobcat would have righted itself.

Bobcat3 Keep in mind that the door to climb in and out is in the front of the cab, which is now facing into the ground.  Luckily there was just enough room for me to squeeze out.  Had it tipped over a few inches further I’d be trapped in there for hours, with diesel fuel leaking all around me, until someone came home and noticed.

Bobcat4My good friend and neighbour Chuck came over with his truck and a chain and we got it upright in no time.  All I had to do was dig up the soil that was soaked in fuel as well as wipe it up from inside the cab and no one would ever know that it had happened.  Lucky for me, there was no damage. 

The funny part was when the guy from the rental company came back to pick it up.  I asked him what it would cost to buy one of these used.  He snickered and said “what ever you do don’t buy a used one from a rental company, because you never know what idiot has been abusing it.”  I did my best not to laugh and simply replied “yeah, I can imagine.”   LOL

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Kitchen Renovation – A Cut Above

It was time to update our kitchen.  The existing layout didn’t work for us and the cabinets were still from the original kitchen and were 50 years old. 

We hired our friend and neighbour Brian Wallace from A Cut Above to help us design and build our kitchen.  The hickory cabinets themselves were bought from Home Depot and took about 6 weeks from date of order to delivery. 

Kitchen Renovations 003As soon as everything arrived Brian and Ivan went to work ripping out the old cabinets and cupboards.  Of course there were a few curve balls with things not being square or level but Brian was very good about making corrections and adjustments to accommodate these.  The biggest correction being that they had some customization work to do to take into consideration the cut out for the stair case going into the basement which ran through the bottom of the corner cabinet and lazy Susan. 

Kitchen Renovations 005It was very exciting watching it all come together.  Even before  everything was fully installed the kitchen looked great. 

Brian looked after hiring additional trades people as necessary.  The electrician, painter, tile guy and plasterers all did a great job.  We actually had two plasterers as the first one bailed out after only completing half of the job (that is another story).  However Brian was able to find a replacement the next day. 

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The end result is very esthetically pleasing, functional and compliments the rest of the house.  If I had to do it all again I wouldn’t change a thing (other than the first plasterer). 

As a side project we also had Brian install a large skylight in our living room and re-plaster the ceiling with a more modern looking California knockdown surface.  He actually cut the hole in the roof and installed the glass while the roofers were here last fall so that he could ensure that it was properly sealed.  Then the inside carpentry and plaster work as completed with the kitchen. 

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Brian does great work and we highly recommend A Cut Above.  If budget allows for it we are going to have him start another project for us later this fall. 

Web site:  A Cut Above

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Roofing – What an ordeal!

Barb and I recently put a new roof on our house.  We spent a lot of time talking to prospective roofing contractors, obtaining quotes and calling references.  Unfortunately our first choice, Capela’s Roofing, didn’t return any of our voice mails or emails even though we would have loved to have hired them.  Then our second choice company, Deluca Roofing, did a very poor job for a friend and neighbour and an even poorer job dealing with it after the fact.  When I asked our third choice company when they could start the salesman said that he couldn’t make any promises as all of their roofers were "drunks and ex-convicts" and therefore not dependable.  This of course prompted an immediate call to our 4th choice.  A&W Roofing is a small local company; their prices were very reasonable, the owner returned all of my calls promptly, answered all of my questions and they were eager to start right away. 

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However, after giving them my 50% deposit their eagerness seemed to diminish drastically.  They were about two weeks late getting started, missing a fantastic window of good weather.  After many phone calls the owner promised me that he’d start the next day and that it would only take "4 and a half days" to get it all completed.  Well, he didn’t tell me that those 4 1/2 days would be spread out over the better part of a month.  When they came, they would show up late starting work sometime between 12:00 and 2:00 PM and then they would leave after only a couple of hours work.   October - November 007 Days would go by without a word; every time I called they had a different excuse as to why they couldn’t be there.  After they ran through every excuse in the book it turned to money.  They wanted more money or they were not going to finish the job.  After much arm twisting and the suggestion of getting lawyers involved they decided to finish the roof at the agreed upon contract price.

While we haven’t had a leak there were several shortcomings in the quality of their work. The rows of shingles are not all perfectly straight.  Over two dozen shingles were sticking up because the nails under them were not hammered in all of the way.  I got stung by a couple of bees fixing one because the nail was sticking up so much that the space under the shingle was sufficiently large enough to house a wasp nest.  Barb saw this from the garden and couldn’t figure out why I was running around the roof swinging my arms wildly like a mad man. 

Roof - Wasp Nest 001The worst shortfall was discovered several months later while going up into the attic to do some electrical work for our new kitchen.  When we put in the new roof we also switched from the small basic roof vents to the larger turbine variety that uses wind power to suck the hot, stale air out.  We went from 8 or 9 small vents to 4 large turbine vents.  Unfortunately when A&W Roofing tore out the old vents they didn’t bother closing up the holes with plywood before applying the shingles.  If anyone were to step on one of those spots they’d go right through the singles and into my attic.

Sure, I have enough to take A&W Roofing to court.  However, I don’t want them back here to do the repairs. I’d rather do it myself and get it over with rather than dealing with the hassle.  Instead I’ll get great satisfaction out of syndicating this blog entry over the Internet.   :-)

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