“Torn” Mime Redux

I have a soft spot in my heart for “Torn”. It was really big when Mich and I visited Australia back in 1999. All up the gold coast we heard the song again and again as we listened to the radio (and, admittedly a lot on tape too).

Years later, when I saw the Mime version of “Torn” I thought it was hysterical. I think it takes a great amount of class to accept a humorous interpretation of your work, but to embrace it totally like this puts Natalie in a special category by herself…

Renovation Final Accounting

OK, all the bills are in and I finally have a picture of the total, final cost of our renovations. You can jump to the end if you want to see the gory details right away…

Recall that we did the following:

Moved the water heater from the laundry room to it’s originally plumbed location in the middle of the house and updated it to a tankless Rinnai heater:

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Updated the master bath from

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And changed the master bedroom window from

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to (and painted the room and trim)

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and added end tables

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Updated the guest bathroom (sorry, no good before pix 🙁 )

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Updated the Laundry room to get rid of the partial wall hiding the water heater and replaced the floor, repainted the wall and added wider shelves:

I can’t BELIEVE I don’t have a decent before shot, here’s an in-progress picture to try to give an idea of how it looked before:

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and after

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– New dresser for the master bedroom

– Can lights in the great room

– Accent lights in great room (on dimmer)

– Can lights in the kitchen + re-zoned the lights so that 3 areas of kitchen are controlled separately.

– Lighting fixture in the dining area (on dimmer)

– Added a fan with a timer where there was none in the 1/2 bath

– Routed all exhaust fans out through the roof (rather than into the attic as the existing ones had been set up)

– Sealed the accent tiles on our patio which were crumbling due to moisture / freezing. Tommy found a great sealer for this. We’d already tried to seal this ourselves with one recommended by the stone folks.

– Repainted the chimney and flashing

– Touched up paint around garage door

– Cut and installed mirror in gym, removed high wall-mounted 28 inch console TV from gym

– Created support for gym window-mounted air conditioner and cleaned, re-aligned windows

– Swapped out all switches and outlets in hallway and master bedroom for “Decor” style versions

– Replaced most hinges in house with brushed nickel ones. Painted some that we could get away with.

– Installed those cool magnetic door stops

– Pressure washed the exterior of the house

– Lots of little fixes as they found things that needed fixing

– Relocated outlet, phone and satellite coax outlet in TV room into closet so we could start new project of updating that room

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Note that most lighting in our house, that is NOT on dimmers, is compact flourescent. I’m just waiting for dimmable CFs to replace those remaining ones but there are plenty of times you want a low light (late night, early morning) for ambiance.

The final cost?

We had estimated, with generous buffers, that this was going to cost us about $36,000.

The total actual cost was…. drumroll … $58,700. This is very close to the 50% MORE that you are warned that such projects are going to cost than you estimate so we were not overly surprised. Having folks in the house who have the skills to effect relatively major changes in short order is very tempting and we did succumb to the temptation on several occasions where we realized that we would REALLY not be happy if we didn’t pursue a particular trail. i.e. we originally did not plan to do ANYTHING with the laundry room. But once the reality of the void of the hot water tank presented itself we realized that it would make no sense to leave that room looking so shabby. Similarly, decisions were made throughout the project – adding a fan to the 1/2 bath, having custom end tables made, etc. that we did not plan for originally but made a LOT of sense while we were in the midst of things.

If you want to see where the money went, here’s an overall accounting in PDF format.

Ask us if we would do this again if we knew what we know now and I’d say “Definitely Yes”. Everybody we worked with was great. Tommy and Larry are two highly skilled, competent and reliable masters of their respective crafts. They had many practical suggestions when we were venturing into new territory (for us).

Most of the other folks we worked with were brought in on Tommy’s recommendation and we were comfortable with everybody we worked with being both in our house and working with our wiring /plumbing / cabinetry.

Tommy and Larry’s contact information is here.

The electrical work was done by Wayne of Precision Electric Co. (770-207-1444)

And the plumbing work was done by Northlake Plumbing Service, Inc (770-921-2046) these folks we had the least contact with as I needed to be out of the house on business but what I did see I was comfortable with.

I’m a Stranger Here Myself

I'm a Stranger Here Myself

I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson

Lent to me by a friend I read through about the first third of this offering by Bill Bryson and found I simply could not get into it. Written in the spirit of Dave Barry, Mary Roach and maybe Erma Bombeck, it is intended to draw humor from the little idiosyncrasies of daily American life as seen by an expatriot returned from years in the U.K.

Where I find Dave Barry’s turns of phrase highly amusing I tend to find Bill’s commentary more rankling than amusing. Each article highlights some aspect of American life that I find less than satisfying and the commentary, though trying to be amusing, simply comes off as frustrating.

Death by Field Trip: A Foxtrot Collection Death by Field Trip: A Foxtrot Collection

Death by Field Trip: A Foxtrot Collection
Death by Field Trip: A Foxtrot Collection by Bill Amend

I’m still torn between purchasing anthologies of my favorite comics or to purchase the smaller “Themed” collections that invariably come out. Either way you will end up missing *some* of the work. It’s a nuisance and just needs to be decided which you’d prefer.

It’s certainly more cost effective to buy the larger anthologies, it seems that you get plenty more comics for your buck. But there is charm and completeness in the smaller collections as well.

Unfortunately this nice little collection was almost completely contained within one of the other Foxtrot anthologies that I already own. So I can’t really say too much about it except to say that I’d *really* prefer it if the book producers would just make it easier for us to purchase the product without imposing the penalty of overlap on us…

Evolution is not just a theory

Evolution vs CreationismWow, I was put onto this by Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog. It’s a cogent and pithy description of what the word “Theory” really means in the context of science.

Someday I hope we’ll all get on board and move out of this “mini dark age” that we’ve saddled ourselves with.

Evolution is Not Just a Theory: home

I record Jay Leno’s “The Tonight Show” mostly for the “Headlines” feature on Monday nights which I find amusing. Sometimes, however I’ll stop and inflict “Jaywalking” on myself. It’s too gruesome, like a terrible car wreck you are drawn toward it. I realize this segment is edited to be more amusing. For some reason folks being intelligent isn’t entertaining, so we see a stream of functionally illiterate morons come across the screen. Folks absolutely ignorant of basic science, history or even current events. But they all seem to know about Nascar and wrestling…

The Rain in Georgia

The irony of this picture and our current water restrictions is not lost on me.

During a recent downpour with virtually no wind I noticed that the water was coming onto our patio even with an overhang. That’s how much water was coming down. This picture is showing our SCREENS as being nearly solid with water…

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Things could be a lot worse, my friend Mike, in Australia, was telling me how they now have limitations in Melbourne on how long their showers can take (3 minutes). I’m not 100% clear if that’s a recommendation or if they’ll try to enforce that somehow…