June 30, 2009

The yearly photo shoot - or how time flies

Here's a quick post with Priya's 4-year and Armaan's 2-year old pictures. Armaan did not do well at all, as can be seen in one of the pictures. Priya was almost exactly the same at her 2-year shoot. So must be the age. For now, here's my beautiful children...

June 21, 2009

One step forward, two...

So picking up from last time, the work on the garage is 95% complete. The only stuff that is left is the little stuff - trim on the window and doors, and painting the fascia. Otherwise, it looks great! A weekend ago Tish took the kids to Michigan, and I spent three days cleaning up, and painting the drywall. It took two coats of primer before the seams were covered. I had bought some cheap paint at Menards. As soon as I rolled it on, I discovered why it was so cheap. The consistency was no better than water. So I could get just one roll on the wall before I had put fresh paint on the roller. It was painful. I also took out all the old fluorescent light fixtures. The ballasts on them must have weighed 20 pounds. Glad none of them fell on my head.

Oh that reminds me.. The reason for the title of this post. A lot of my financial planning for this year was dependent on us being able to refinance our house at a much lower rate. A few weeks ago I got a call from my mortgage broker who told me that somehow she screwed up, and our rate was not locked in. So we missed the low point of the rates. She promised me that one way or the other she will get that rate for us, but that my response to that is, uh huh. The garage project was already commissioned, so things will be tight. But its like that for everyone else, so we will be ok in the end.

It finally got warm enough to put the pool out! But I think I got some pretty bad exposure setting it up. All of today I was in a little bit of a daze, with its associated lack of good mood. Yea... not much fun being around a grouch! Next time - set it up when its evening, and drink more water.

Our trip to Shedd Aquarium

June 07, 2009

Busy, and expensive, time of the year

Even though we're faced with a pay reduction, with continued employment uncertain from week to week, life never stops. This is the year that a few things I'd been putting off finally had to get taken care of. Which also makes an expensive few months. Our 25 year old refrigerator finally started signaling that it was ready to kick the bucket and go into land-fill heaven. If you remember, I was originally going to buy a fridge back around Christmas time along with the two other appliances. Then money got tight, and that purchase was put off - for six months as it turns out. So over Memorial Day I went to Home Depot where they were having a sale. I ended up getting a pretty good deal. There was an appliance sale going on, with a further reduction of 10%, and then if you were military, there was an additional cut of 10%. The sales manager at Home Depot looks at me and says, 'You seem like you were in the military to me.' That's basically code for if you want it, I can give you the 10+10% discount. So we are the owners of a shiny new GE Adora.

On to the next major expense. Those of you who have seen our garage have probably noticed that it's not in the best shape. The outside siding is falling apart, and on the inside, the paneling is practically on the floor. Pretty nasty. I was going to get this done last year - but put it off for a year. As it turns out, that was a pretty good decision - only in that I got Fabio Tsukayama to work on the project. I have always heard great things about his work, and now I am seeing it first hand. He is such a conscientious worker. And excellent too! Having done some carpentry work myself, I am amazed that when he measures and cuts, his pieces always fit perfectly.

Most of the time in the rehab has been repair work. The garage is built on ground level (one of the many things that were not done correctly in the house, as we've found out). Usually garages are built on a concrete slab raised a few inches above the ground. This prevents water from flowing in. So in our case, on two sides where the slope was the steepest, the wooden sil plate that the garage stands on were completely rotted. So Fabio had to lift the garage using a roof jack, and install a new plate. The work is still ongoing, but here's a few pictures of how its going.

Notice the rot on the bottom

Inside is nice and dry-walled. Painting will be next.

This beaten down door will be replaced...

...with a shiny new one like this

This what the garage will look once the siding is all done

Armaan is pretty worn out - can you tell?