What’s in a Name?

I like the concept of naming one’s home, but never fully jumped on board with the idea.  And I think it comes down to the fact that the names fail to recognize the place itself.  Instead, when I hear someone mention a named plot of private property, it’s for the sake of status.  Such is the case with celebrity locales, HOA neighborhoods, crappy apartments that try to sound better than they are, and sports arenas (which are really just sponsor plugs).  Sometimes small businesses choose a name that reflects the space, but more often opt for a more descriptive name which references what that business does.

So how would I choose a name for my small estate?

In order to avoid making it about me, I should refrain from explaining what I do with the property in the name.  Our love for dogs prompted some cutesy thoughts, such as “Whippet’s Run” or “Feisty Fields”.  But, the dogs are transitory inhabitants.  Also, we’re a somewhat sarcastic family.  The name should have a bit of snark, and reference what will always be here, devoid of the goofy romance with which people try to make you believe that they live in a British cottage overlooking Dover.  No, this is a contemporary abode in a neighborhood with well-funded public amenities, and the standard homeowner/municipality friction that always accompanies such developed areas.  The name should allude to that fact.

It needs to be an honest name with snark that only calls out what the property itself is and the type of place in which it resides.

Welcome to “Easement Acres.”  Call before you dig.

–Simon

I Can’t See You…More

A year later and the clematis are doing a nice job.

This is an update to the original trellis post (the one about the fucking tools in the fucking truck, wherein they should never be placed).

So far, they’re doing a good job with the view obstruction.  So good, apparently, that the neighbors decided to move their deck furniture against the property line, between the Plywood Palace and…our compost pile.  If they’re trying to intimidate us with such a move, it will come as an interesting surprise to them when the late summer rolls around and I have rotting kitchen scraps back there.  Odd people, but they’ll have a nice view at least.

–Simon

Root Cellar

Last year I mentioned the need for a root cellar.

Staple Solanums

This was predicated upon the expectation of a large potato crop–the results of my hand made potato box.

The final yield was, however, lackluster, and my other root crops, onions and garlic, don’t require root cellar conditions.

But the carrots did exceptionally well, and storing them in a combination of the crisper drawer in the fridge and the garage, well, was annoying.  So I revisited my plans to convert the crawlspace.

All I intended was to add some shelving, but I never got around to it, and my earlier attempts at using it for storing radishes resulted in a box of moldy radishes.  I abandoned the plan.

Then our chest freezer died.  Its thermostat had always been finicky, refusing to settle anywhere between 0 and -30.  And when the power went out, the compressor never clicked back on again.

It always had that busted corner too. Maybe that was part of the problem.

Everyone surely remembers the great toilet paper shortage of COVID.  Faced with a temporary yet inconvenient possibility of having to wait a few days to buy what we wanted immediately, people began stockpiling items they were most afraid of going a day without: food, sanitary products…ammunition…?

You never know when you might need to shoot your neighbor because they bought all the toilet paper.  And apparently that’s going to require a thousand rounds.

Anyway, on this list was deep freezers, to store all this frozen food that you might have to go a day without.  And now, almost a year after the quarantines, they’re apparently still hard to find.  But find one we did, at a former Sear’s warehouse, for too much money.  But it was either that or lose all the steak, and I’ll be damned if I have to go a day without steak.  So we bought it and lugged it home and hooked it up and…at that point I noticed the old freezer had finally clicked back on.

God dammit.

But then I got an idea.  We could take it back, or I could convert the old glitchy one into a root cellar!  Which is essentially just a giant refrigerator.  It’s impossible to keep a dirt cellar 33-40 degrees with 98% humidity anyway.  So while this approach might not be more efficient, it was certainly more effective.

But one problem remained: freezers aren’t refrigerators and aren’t designed to act as such.  Fortunately, that problem had already been addressed.  The market is flooded with thermostatic controller overrides, which turn the power on and off to the external cord independently of the freezer’s wonky and cheap internal thermostat.

That’s right, an override!

So far it’s working pretty well, though I might add some water jugs in there to help regulate.  It tends to turn on and off more frequently than I’d like.  I know compressors don’t like that.

Or I could just add a bunch of beer in there instead…for thermoregulating purposes.

And with one last addition, milk crates, I have stackable storage in there too, which keeps things off the metal liner (hopefully this will also prevent frostbite).  And even though these reduce the usable space, it’s still a ton of storage.  I even thawed a turkey in there last week, so there’s certainly uses beyond just vegetables.

I won’t have to occupy an entire fridge door for a week brining pork belly for bacon, either.  And that’s something I’m unwilling to go a day without!

–Simon

Idiot Homeowners

I had a post going, but it was another Baby Boomer one, and hating on the Boomers gets old even for me.  So I’ll push down that hate for a bit longer and puke up a different kind: idiot homeowners.

I should turn these events into a series, really, because every time I begin a home repair or improvement, I find evidence of unsafe and shoddy previous home repairs/improvements.  The gem today being the master bathroom fan, which never vented properly, resulting in a constant war on mold.  And with the air in this region already terrible, I’m certain it was doing nothing good to my respiratory ailments.

Air Quality

Something had to be done.

I had previously made an attempt to fix the ventilation, going so far as to stretch ductwork up through the attic to the roof vent, so it was surprising that it still wasn’t doing the job.  Obviously I needed to replace the fan with a more powerful model.  So after some examination of the space and mounting required from the attic side, I procured a super suckerpator 3000.  Or something like that.  Samsung, I think.  120cfm/min.  Awww yeah!

After some infuriating screw removal with constantly failing drill batteries, I pulled the fan from its mount.  The cover, which obviously should have been removed prior, dislodged and crashed to the bathroom floor.  I peered through the opening, and encountered a different arrangement of shapes and colors than I was expecting.  It was the wrong bathroom.

I expressed my anger with the appropriate words which, accompanied by the sound of the fan cover a moment prior, summoned an inquisitive wife.  But, as the bathroom in question was already being dismantled for a remodel, it was a minor setback.  I’ll just have to replace that fan later.

But, where in the hell was the other fan?  No evidence of its existence was apparent from the attic.  Exploratory house surgery was needed.

So I removed the fan cover in the proper bathroom, pushed a wire up the side of the fan, and employed some assistance to wiggle the wire while I looked for movement back up in the attic.  Eventually, after peering about the far corners of hell, there it was: on the very edge of the attic where the roof met the eves.  Translation: it was not attic-accessible.  The new fan I bought required that.  I had to get a different model.

Okay, that’s fine.  There’s plenty of that variety on the market, obviously for scenarios where people are unable or unwilling to access the place from above.  I picked out a new fan, albeit not as powerful (the super strong ones require brackets that mount into multiple joists).

No-attic access fans are mounted on just one side.  Two metal flanges with holes are attached to a single rafter.  The new fan was designed this way, as was the old fan.  But the old fan was attached with 12 gauge fencing staples, which meant I had to reach up past the drywall with pliers and gradually wrench and twist the dam things out.  And the drywall, having been subjected to decades of mold and moisture, was none too resilient.  It crumbled away in the process, much of it hitting me in the face, until eventually the staples were removed and I could pull the old fan out.

And there the problem was revealed.

A casual observer might notice that the insulation was rolled out on top of the fan.  And no, no provision for the vent was made.  All this time, the bathroom was venting into this tiny space, causing water damage.

Well, at least I know now.  No sense getting angry.

HAHAHA, NO I LIED!   CURSE YOU, YOU STUPID PRIOR HOMEOWNER WHO DID THIS!  I HOPE YOUR DEATH IS PAINFUL AND LONELY!

Okay, back to the story.

The new fan installed with minor problems, but now that the drywall had disintegrated, I was left with yet another problem.

Okay, yeah that’s not going to work.

That’s better.

I used the cover from the other fan.  I’ll patch things up later, and of course I’ll need to procure another cover, but for now I at least have some proper ventilation.  Finally.

Idiot homeowners.

–Simon