Wednesday, March 2, 2022

New Minivan!

We put in an order for a new Toyota Sienna Woodland edition in October.  It came in January 15th.  When we went to pick it up the finance woman made a mistake and double countered our $1000 deposit.  So about a week after we picked it up, she calls and says she can just use our credit card on file to charge us the $1000.

I am a fair person, but I went back to our original purchase agreement and saw that we had originally had a $500 dollar credit, that was missing from the final purchase agreement.  I raised this issue and authorized her to charge $500 to use.  She eventually agreed after discussing it with the salesperson.  Not sure who had to eat the $500, but I thought it was fair.

Flash forward a month and a half.  On a trip to Colorado a rock flew up and cracked the windshield sufficient to require replacement (Jen had also gotten a little crack from a rock the day after we picked it up!).  Fortunately, it was covered by insurance and was pretty easy to get in and get fixed.

Then we ran over a nail somewhere which we discovered when the tire was reading low.  We took it it to Tires Plus, but they said it was not patchable and didn't have the exact match in tires.  We took it to Toyota the next day and they had 1 tire in stock and were able to put it on for us.  To the tune of $350.  Ouch.

Oh well, hopefully this isn't a sign of things to come, but at least so far they have all been fixable w/o too much hassle.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Garbage Disposals don't last forever :(

 Jen was doing some cleaning and went under the sink to grab something and found this!

The garbage disposal had been leaking into a bucket under the sink for who knows how long.  Fortunately, not too long because while the bucket was full, there wasn't a huge mess under the sink.  So after a little research it was determined that garbage disposals last 10-13 years, so right in window for the age of our house.

The easiest solution was to just buy a new one and put it in, rather then monkeying around with trying to fix the old one.  They run from $100 to more...

Here is the new one.  It is 3/4 hp instead of 1/2 hp like the old one.  It has a 10 year warrenty, which speaks to some confidence in the product.  Also, it is quiet, like really quiet.  Like is it doing anything.  Purchase price was $180 at Menards, I was hoping to fit it in the bag for 15% off, but they made the box too big.

I installed it in less then an hour, directions were clear and pretty easy to follow.  As far as crisis go, this one was pretty minor.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Here comes the payoff!

The finally came and the hot tub was delivered!  It came on a big flatbed trunk, I bet they had 2 others on there for deliveries.  The guys that brought it were really good and they had it in place and hooked up in about an hour and a half.  They brought it down the hill on a sled, since it was snowing and cold on Tuesday.

Overall it went in really well, Brian suggested filling it with hot water since it was about 5 degrees out.  He thought it would help thaw it out and make sure it would work.  This is a little in contrast to what they said at Valley, since they suggested using hard water.  But given the situation it seemed wise.

Our directions were to fill it up ad turn on the power and it would know what to do.  However, when we turned on the power all that happened was the pumps hummed...  Yikes!

So we left it for awhile, then tried it again.  Nothing, so I called Brian since I had his number.  He suggested putting a space heater in the cavity of the hot tub, so I ran to target and did that.  I also called our sales person freaking out, so she had her service person call me.  He also suggested a space heater and said he would come out in the morning.  No one seemed too concerned so we tried to calm down.

The next morning (Wednesday), Eric stopped by and really put the space heater in the cavity and closed it up.  I had left the corner cracked because I didn't want it to get too hot or press against any plastic parts.  But that basically did nothing.  Eric said it could take days for the pumps to thaw out.  Fortunately, it didn't take that long.

Jen tried the pumps a couple time during the day, then I did when I got home from work.  Nothing.  Then on a whim I tried it at about 6pm, and pump 1 turned on and the heater started working (heater can only run if a pump it running).  A couple hours later pump 2 had thawed as well.  The temp raised in the hot tub about 3 degrees an hour, so by bedtime it was a balmy 55 degrees.

By 4am the next morning the temp was 100 degrees (I happened to wake up and check Sense and it was not running so I was worried the breaker had tripped or something, but it was just done heating :) ).


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Running Electric for the Hot Tub

 Once the pad was complete for the hot tub I started thinking about the electric.  Initially I was unable to find the spa panel that is required between 5 and 10 feet from the hot tub.  So I contacted the electrician that Christi at Valley Pool and Spa had recommended.  Tyler stopped by and I walked him through what I was thinking.

There are a couple issues with my setup, so Tyler offered to do it as a cash job.

  1. My outside outlet and light out the basement door will be too close to the hot tub (has to be 5 or 10 feet away)
  2. The subpanel in my basement is 60 amps, and the hot tub could pull 50 amps, so he said it might be under powered.  I will be fine, but an inspector might question it.  Mostly what the subpanel supplies is LED lights so it shouldn't be a problem.
  3. I was planning to put the disconnect (spa panel) on the right side of the door and run the conduit over to the other side.  He suggested having it come out under the window on the left side.  In the summer it will be hidden by our Hosta in the winter who cares.
I said OK lets do it, so he said he would get back to me with a quote.  $1600 was the quote.  That seemed high to me, but what could I do.

2 weeks go by and I haven't heard from Tyler, I also notice that Menards has spa panels in stock now.  So I go pick up the needed materials, about $500 (the 6 gauge copper wire was $300 by itself!).

So I put it in myself took a couple hours of wrestling with that big cable, but it is ready.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Stamped Concrete Pad for a Hot Tub

We have been talking about getting a hot tub for awhile now.  The first step for us is creating a place to put it.  We have a nice spot under our front porch, but it is just gravel with a stoop at the moment.  I have been looking into concrete stamps for awhile and thought it would be fun project to try.

Here we are getting the area ready, Nick tied all the rebar he was a big helper there.  I had to run to Menards, because I had gotten the incorrect bracket to attach my float to my handle.  After hauling all 80 bags of concrete down our hill, I was pretty tired already.  Jen did move some bags down the hill as well, but she was recovering from a cold and dog sitting.

Maddie was a big help throughout the day too, she would fill my bucket with water (Nick did this as well), while the mixer was running and I was moving concrete around.  Originally I though I would have to get all the concrete down quickly, otherwise it would dry.  But it was a cool day fortunately, because it took probably 3 hours to get all the concrete mixed and in the forms!  We used 73 bags on concrete which took 15 pours with the mixer.

Here we have all the concrete in the forms and leveled out.  I had a hard time with the big float, I found it easier to use the hand floats to level stuff out.  I think I need more practice with the big one.  We started with the stamps in the back pretty quick, since it had been sitting there for a couple hours.  They worked pretty well.  It was getting late as we made our way to the front and the concrete was still a little wet, so I had Maddie do the stomping for a lighter touch.

It turned out pretty well for a first attempt.  I think there was too much float water when I was stamping in places, because the release agent stuck around more then I thought it would.  The concrete is supposed to be nutmeg, with hints of grey, but there is a lot of grey in there.  Oh well.  Also there are a couple low spots, but fortunately it is under our front porch, so there shouldn't be too much rain on it.  Not sure if it will be warm enough for me to seal it this fall anymore, so I hope that doesn't cause problems.  Hopefully we can find a hot tub now!

Concrete: 73 bags @ $2.35 ($171.55)
Rebar: 12 sections @ $5.68 ($68.16)
Truck rental: $24.50
Concrete Mixer: $81.82
Expansion Joint: 4 @ $2.87
Rebar ties: $4
Rebar chairs 19: $5
Release Agent: $102 (half)
Concrete Hardener: $55 (half)
 = ~$524

Amortized costs for this project:
Mag Bull Float: $99
Float Poles: 2@$18
Float Bracket: $25
Masonry Brush: $8
Loop twister: $5
Stamps: $616
 = ~$793

Saturday, October 23, 2021

What a day up North!

 Today was an interesting day...

We came up North to close up the cabin, pull in the pontoon and dock, and pick up leaves.  First off I pulled the pontoon out of the water, which is a bit hairy since we use the neighbors "ramp" which is in pretty rough shape, but it came out without a problem.  Then I went into town and picked up the oil ($7 qt) and filter ($14 on sale) for the pontoon motor.

While I was working on the boats and motors Jen, Jo, and the kids started working on the leaves.  We use the 4 wheeler to pull a trailer wherever we need it and then empty it up in the woods.  This was all going well, until I pull the wheeler up and the shift rod lever broke.  Ugh, at least it was stuck in 1st gear so I was still able to pull it around.  But then I had to start planning to take it into town.

That brings us to today, we woke up and I went to move the van out of the way and discovered the tire was flat!  I started to put on the spare and thought I would turn on the radio while I worked and managed to lock the key in the car with the radio playing!

We finally got to use our AAA membership, which worked really well and they were there and had the car open in about 45 minutes.  Super happy about that!

I called Fleet Farm and they said they were booked, but they would try to fit me in.  Which they did.  On my way to Fleet I took the 4 wheeler and dropped it off at Maximum Motorsports, they seemed really helpful so hopefully that goes well, we will see next week.

So all in all a couple bumps in the road, but so far it has all worked out.  We had to spend one more night then planned, but small price to pay.  Hopefully shutting down goes well tomorrow.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Ski rack

 We have been trying to come up with a way to store the water ski's in the basement, up till now they have just been leaning against the wall.  We used these brackets for some shelves upstairs and really liked them, so we thought we would give them a try in the basement and I am super pumped with how they turned out.