Saturday, April 19, 2008

Heat Heart Chill (March 29th)

As we drove up this week, we could see more of the house had been painted and the house was comfortably ensconced inside the wall.

Take careful note of the paint over the entryway to the right. You'll need this for future refrence.

The inside was appearing less and less perforated as we got more lights and covers over the HVAC vents.

There really is supposed to be an "R" added to the end of that as in HVACR for Heating, Ventalation, Air Conditioning, and Refridgeration but acronyms longer than four letters are just not acceptable in a civilized society.

The refridgeration part is the coolest (That pun is unfortunately unavoidable and absolutely not intentional. But, since it's already out there...) but we just discard it as if to convince ourselves we don't really need it. but, oh my friends and loved ones, we do... we really do...

A quick note:
For some reason I start talking about how Refrigeration works below. If you are not interested in an odd but conceptually accurate explanation of the process, skip to the first picture of someone you recognize.

The whole things works on the second law of thermodynamics which states "Heat hate hot Heat heart chill".

Ok it doesn't really say that but it does say a lot of stuff about entropy and equilibrium in a system and that's all just crazy talk.

Simply put:
Heat pretty much hates other heat. It can't stand to be around itself. It will always try to get away from itself. Forever.

Imagine heat as fussy, cranky, lunatic people with big spikey hair.

Heat is really just looking to get enough space so that nobody messes up its hair. Heat NEEDS it's hair looking good, man.

We'll call this HairSpace and it's constant (this is the entropy equilibrium part).

Heat hates bad hair so much that when given an opportunity, it will gladly leave whatever area it is hanging out in and move into whatever it can touch that has less heat in it. Less crowded, more "hairspace", better hair.

So how do we use this behavior to get cold air in our house? We play mean games with heat. We make heat go on a long trip with all of its family, it's friends, it's friend's family, their friends and their friend's families. We put them in a HUGE triple decker bus. Plenty of "hairspace" on that bus.

Then, when that bus is outside, suddenly, we shrink the bus down to the size of a VW Beetle. Much less "hairspace" now. As you might imagine, Heat starts freaking out. Pouring out of every opening it can find. Screaming about hair and stinky cousins. Heat comes out so fast that if you put your hand near that area, you would feel heat jumping across into your skin.

After a short time, enough heat has left the car so that the heat still inside has calmed down and is pretty much ok with the hair situation. It would still like to go somewhere else if it could find less heat, but the heat outside is about the same as the heat inside the VW Beetle and there really wouldn't be any benefit to going outside.

Then, as the little VW is heading inside, we suddenly make it as big as a triple decker bus again. Check it out!! All kinds of empty seats and room for spikey hair.

For a brief moment, the heat inside the bus is happy. It doesn't need to go anywhere. It doesn't have to worry about it's hairdo. Plenty of space for heat. As a matter of fact, there's more space for heat than the amount of heat on this bus!

Guess what? Heat goes nuts. This bus has WAY less heat in it than the air around it.

Like crazed zombies determined to reach the brains, the heat from inside the house starts pouring into the bus. (We help by blowing a fan over the bus as it goes by so as much heat as possible sees the seats on the bus. When the air passes the bus, the heat in the air jumps off the air and gets on the bus.)

When there is less heat in the air there is space for heat in it. When it touches our skin, our heat jumps off of us and goes into the air. We feel cooler as we warm the air. Hooray for us.

We then take that big busload of heat and drive it outside. Squeeze the heck out of it and start the process all over.

It really looks like this.

In our case the "car/bus" is some non-toxic material like Freon (Which was invented around 1930 specifically to keep people from dying because their refrigerator was leaking. Prior to Freon we used to use ammonia and chlorine gas.)

This is where all the magic shrinking of the bus happens. We have three of these things.

Inside the house we had cabinets. This was good to see, more definition of space. More house-like. The color was good and we have stuff to put in them.

How's that for coincidence?

Guardian had to come and finished the wiring with their various plugs and jacks. I am sure something isn't connected correctly but I won't know until sometime past the 20th of May.

Remember the floor boxes we installed at the beginning of this saga? We had to put the brass covers on these because the tile was coming.

Here you can see all of the necessary tools for attaching brass covers to floorboxes. Pay particular attention to the donuts.

Never forget the donuts.

They also needed to grind down the concrete to make it smooth. There were a few sections that were marked for grinding. It would seem that the guy who grinds concrete uses special flourescent lighting to see where to grind.

Boxes covered, we are very excited for the tile to come in.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pirates and Paints

This has nothing to do with the house.

I've never seen a motorcycle pirate before.


Mark had bought a new range hood and asked for some help installing it. This was going to be a good time. New stuff, power tools, ham and candy. The unmentioned unseen scale that all friends have was tipped far onto his side so this was my chance to not be a total leech.

I like doing this kind of stuff and it sounded pretty easy. Little did I know...

When we got there they had dyed some eggs for Easter. I thought they looked kinda cool and took some pictures.

On the way there we stopped at the house and things were progressing. The roof tiles were set. The exterior was half painted and the inside had its first coat of paint.

The kitchen has a lot of holes for stuff. Way cool. Our last kitchen had one outlet and a triceratops we would use to get orange juice.

But our new view is the best...

The hood install took about 15 minutes.

Getting the duct work right took at least 5 hours. The last hood install guy decided to use the cabinet above the hood as some sort of pre-exhaust chamber. Strange set up but we fixed it and their hood rocks.

Ham was good. Cool eggs. Hood worked. Not a bad day at all...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

We don't need no education (March 15)

This week a lot was accomplished.

We drove up to find some guy in our garage cutting something.

As we got closer we realized he was cutting trim; and where there's trim, there's jamb; and where there's jamb, there's door.

THIS was cool. A front door. We are firm believers in the front-door paradigm so this was satisfying.

While we were marvelling at the front door, we almost missed the flooring had been poured over the basement side.

They had dug and built the basement but had left the top of the basement ceiling (main level floor) as bare plywood over the trusses. With all of the work that still had to go on between the floors this wasn't surprising. What was cool about this is they built the rest of the house a couple of inches higher so when they poured this smooth-crete kinda stuff it would match up perfectly.

It matched and looked cool. A complete floor.

We spent some time with one of us walking around upstairs (simulating various emotional states) while the other was in the basement evaluating the noise levels. Even though the bare concrete was still loud during "You ate ALL the ice cream?!?" and "Why CAN'T I get a new computer!!", it was perfectly acceptable during, "Dominos is here" and "I can't find my shoes". Once the carpet was installed it would be nice and quiet.

One thing I found entertaining was the result of the plumbers work when lining up the battubs with the drains. Apparently, they couldn't get them on right from the tub side.

So they cut a hole in the other side to match them up. The best part was how disgusted the drywall supervisor was when he came back to inspect the work.

During these months we had only a vague idea of how much property we really were buying. We knew it wasn't really big but had no idea what the space felt like. We needed a wall.

Fortunately one was included in the price.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tanks for the help (March 8)

I am not fond of the pun.

Well that's not entirely true. I'm not a fan of weak uninspiried humor of any kind. I have a friend, who shall remain nameless lest the mention of his name conjure a pun from that dark place whence they live, who revels in almost all aspects of the wordplay genre. He does, however, appear to have a favorite type.

The weak horrifyingly lame pun.

His unbrideled joy at such a pedestrian brand of humor comes not so much from the pun itself, but more from the gut wrenching disgust which wracks my psyche every time he crafts one.

Every... time...

So great is his pleasure in my agony that he strives for the horrific. Much like the singer who must be truly talented in order to always sing off key, he has honed his skills so that he can pull off this evil jest at will. The title of this post is in his honor.

The IT deparment is moving in a couple of months. There is a building owned by the health network that has been abandoned for at least 20 years and someone decided this was where IT needed to be. Sounds great.

The building used to have three acrylic spherical fish tanks in the main lobby. Two were empty and were claimed by executives. One was filled with a thick dark green sludge that scared everyone who saw it.

Everyone except me.

I got some generous help from my friend Mark (again) and his son and we drove to Tucson to empty, rinse and retrieve the tank. It took way longer than we had expected but we got it back here. One of the things we found humorous was the warning on this UV light.

The warning was almost passable, but the italicized exclamation point made it appear to be trying just a little too hard.

After we unloaded the tank we checked out the house. We had stone and fake structural elements. Even though they were fake, they looked cool.

As we got closer we saw the final layer of stucco had been applied and the drywall was textured. Very "housey".

This looked particularly cool on the bathroom walls but when I asked Barb if we could just keep it this way, she didn't seem to hear me. No matter how many times I asked her.

Mark had just had some major roof work done so he scaled some rickety scaffolding to check on the work that the roofers had done. He was inspecting so fast the camera could barely capture the image.

The roof passed this unofficial inspection, Mark drove home, we went back to the apartment and all was good.