Big yard equals BIG frustrations


When I was a kid I always wanted a house with a big yard, and as I grew up in Colorado I noticed that the yards in newer homes seemed to get smaller. This bothered me, as I watched new subdivisions go up; the houses were so grand in scale and beautiful. The yard however, was minimized to the size of an apartment house’s tiny courtyard. It was green, it was plush, but so small in comparison to this four bedroom home that it was almost comical.

When I moved out to the East Coast however, it was like stepping into an older America. Where the houses didn’t need to be so new and grand in scale. Where the yards looked like actual yards, and were touched off with the white picket fence.

Now that I have a home of my own, I was fortunate enough to find one with a yard, of course it happened to be twice as big as most of my neighbors, but that’s to be expected with multi-fam properties.

One of the biggest problems that you run into when taking care of your lawn during the summer is keeping your grass healthy, tidy, and trim. Right now my grass falls under one of these three qualities, it’s certainly healthy. This brings me to the all important topic of lawn mowers. Now, I bought one on clearance about two years back when I was about to move into the house; because I knew I’d need a decent mower, that could last a while.  This season, while trying to cut the grass for the second time of the mowing season, my mower up and died on me. Part of the reason could be that I bought the thing from Walmart where their quality ranks from adequate to atrocious. It could also be my lack of experience with lawn mower maintenance. So here’s a list of lawn mower guideline that you can follow; which has helped me tremendously.

  1. Get your mower serviced at the start of every season so it’ll run properly.
  2. Don’t use cheap gas. (It won’t hurt the mower if you do, but premium helps keep your engine clean; which is better for your mower in the long haul. )
  3. At the end of every season you can do one of two things to help your mower to stay in good condition, so it will actually start next season. Either run it till it runs completely out of gas, or if you detest that method; you can purchase a bottle of fuel stabilizer. Simply pour a couple of ounces in with your gas so that your gas will stay fresh, and when you go to start it the stabilizer will actually help clear your fuel lines so they won’t be gummed up from sitting all winter.
  4. It also wouldn’t hurt to start the mower and let it run once a month during the off season. (Think of it, like a car, to keep a sitting car fresh you’ve got to start it up every once in a while.)
  5. Make sure to read your mower’s manual to know what oil you should be using for it. (Don’t be stupid like me and buy the cheapest oil.)
  6. Buy a decent mower. (If you can afford it.) They’ll last much longer, and run better.

If you follow these tips then I guarantee that you’ll have your mower running without a hitch for years to come.

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Too long


It’s been a while since I’ve actually been able to sit down and write a post. Between the lovely spring cold that kept me out of commission for two weeks, and another two week issue with internet services. But, alas, I’m back and have missed you guys.

Today I actually had a chance sit down and work on First Sight- or oops, I mean the still untitled manuscript and got in a decent word count of 718; after my lengthy hiatus. I’m hoping to get back into my five days a week groove, so that I can actually complete the first draft, but it might prove a bit difficult next month, as I shall be finally completing my still half-completed deck. Which, now brings me to the topic of the deck that I promised I would talk about.

As some of you are aware I’ve had this half-completed deck since the end of last summer, because the contractor I previous hired sucked… No wait that’s putting it too mildly. A better way to describe him would be, a lying, lowlife, scumbag. Yes that sounds much better.

At the beginning of last summer I was looking for a contractor to replace a deck that was built with the house; which was constructed in 1940, so as you can imagine the old deck needed to be rescued before somebody fell through it, and considering the deck is about ten feet off of the ground that would’ve been a nasty fall. Thankfully no such incident occurred.

So since this deck wasn’t like your general deck which is usually what… maybe… three to four feet off the ground. There was already issues there pertaining to standard building codes. Which would mean having your support beams four feet below the ground. This is a building factor that made every contractor who had given me an estimate, cringed at. That, and the fact that I wanted the new deck to go the entire length of the back of the house. This would mean sixty feet of deck, along with sixty feet of deck roofing. If I wanted to stick with the original deck’s design. (Which, at the time I did.) So as you can imagine I had loads of trouble in trying to find a contractor willing to do the job.

So when I happened across a contractor, who (at the time,) was replacing the siding of a multi-fam housing unit, and whom showed me his license, all of his qualifications and so on. I was thrilled but at the same time skeptical, for when it usually came to the estimate every other contractor greeted the prospect of the job with a loud whistle, and the usual. “Well this’ll be a heck of a project.” When Mr. Con-Tractor actually put in a bid at a decent price I was tickled pink. A month later with the new deck still in the framing stage, I went from tickled pink to fuck I’m so fucked.

A month and a half after Mr. Con-tractor started working on the deck, I had to push him to complete most of the railing, the flooring, and he’d started on the stairs. That was as close as the fucker would ever get to finishing what he started; because I had to fire him.

We’ll call this next part plain stupidity, but before I get into it, there are a few factors that I’d like for you to be aware, so that you could get a better understanding on my situation back then.

  1. The deck as you know was as old as the house and it was in terrible condition.
  2. The winters out here on the East Coast usually range from bad to horrific.
  3. The deck couldn’t have lasted another winter (Especially a horrific one.)
  4. If I had been unable to have the deck replaced last summer, and the old deck were still in full operation; during the winter, and it eventually did fall down. It would have damaged the back of the house. Which, is why you have home insurance in the event that it might occur; however that would’ve been a bigger pain in the ass.
  5. I probably would’ve been fined by the town, for still having such an unsafe deck.
  6. He was actually willing to do the job.

So yes, Mr. Con-tractor seemed qualified, his price was good, at the time he seemed very courteous, professional, and for the first week was very hard working. He’d torn down the old deck and was in the process of framing the new one. Life seems good… Oh how very wrong I was.

Let me give you the gist of the next two months. I gave the guy a deposit to start the job. Then I give him the cash for tearing down the deck and the money to start framing the new one. Then the guy drags his feet during stage two which is putting down flooring, railing, stairs, the whole nine yards. I push, he finishes most of stage two. And here ladies and gentlemen, is where I make my mistake. I gave him part of the the money to begin stage three which is roofing. Because; he explained once he’s finished off stage two, he’ll immediately begin stage three. Shortly after giving him that money surprise, surprise, I can’t get a hold of him. So what do I do? I try find another way of contact him via internet, and what do I find you may ask? That Mr.Con-tractor has an extensive criminal record. His MO, contracting scams, along with a dozen assault and battery, charges, and a few car theft charges.

So, fuckingfantastic I have no extra money, a half-completed deck, and Mr.Con-tractor just blew his third strike, because along with conning myself, he’d conned somebody else in another contracting scam and wound up back in jail.

Here’s my advice to you on how to avoid hiring an asshole like this guy.

  1. Do an actual background check, (don’t just assume you’re safe because he shows you a license. (Because, it could be fake.)
  2. Usually a legit contractor will give you his insurance info, in the event that he might be unable to complete the work.
  3. He’ll have a building permit setup during construction.
  4. You’ll usually pay a deposit in the beginning and then the remainder of what you owe at the very end. (Not stage by stage.)
  5. If he’s a decent contractor, he’ll get your job done in a timely manner, and won’t drag his feet.

So that’s been my experience with a contractor, and what an ordeal it was. I hope that my first experience might help you fellow home owners out there, so that you can avoid a lot of headaches later on down the road.

The flooring overhaul


I know that I’ve discussed my plans to re-do my office floor, which I’m still doing by the way. However I’ve found that when it comes to certain home improvement projects, you’ll find yourself doing more than you ever expected, and flooring falls under that category.

In this post I’m probably going to sound a lot like a broken record which I probably should have mentioned in the beginning of this post, but If I had would you have continued to read? I hope you would have, and now that you’re aware of this fact, I hope that you’ll still continue to read; although if you’re already this deep then odds are that you intend to do so.

A few weeks ago I completed part of a flooring overhaul which involved me ripping out carpeting in my office. This lead me to discover that the previous owner had not only one carpet pad underneath the carpet itself, but a second which had been glued to the hardwood floor. To fix this unexpected issue I had to use a paint scraper, hammer, and most of my patience. After working through that, plus sanding down the wood I figured I could handle the rest of the carpeting in the house confidently.

Not so much.

FB floor 1 I’m not sure who the previous owner had hired to do the carpeting jobs in this triplex, but I’d personally like to smack them upside the head.

We all know the basic idea of how carpeting is installed, you have tack on strips to help hold the corners down good and tight, you have the carpet padding, which you staple down, and then you lay the carpet. The idea seems pretty simple although physically it’s difficult; but the concept in general doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out.

FB floor 2In all of my years of seeing how the job is done and the material used makes me question the intelligence of the installers for this house. Instead of using foam carpet padding, as you would expect somebody to use, they laid down this sort of steal wool, I kid you not. This stuff was like a gigantic SOS pad with staples, so many fucking staples. The steal wool was so thick that I couldn’t even cut it with my exacto knife, instead I had to pull out my portable jigsaw (even the saw had issues cutting through the padding they’d used.)

FB floor 3As if the SOS padding weren’t enough to deal with, it left behind this black, rubbery, residue, which when I tried to remove with my sander made the entire house smell like burning rubber. (It still does.)

I really cannot for the life of me wrap my head around the installer’s way of thinking. Now I’m actually afraid to rip out the rest of the carpeting in the house. Oh and did I mention that they’d actually used linoleum as another avenue of laying down padding? That’s right underneath the carpeting in my master bedroom laid the SOS padding, followed by linoleum.

Scary right? And also just plain weird.

So much I wanna say, yet so little time


I want to start this post with something positive, well at least positive for me and all of my friends out in Colorado. I’m so happy that the Broncos are their way to Super Bowl 50.

(A quick side note:) I have friends and relatives that reside out here in Mass, so out of respect to them and the Pats I will say that the Pats played a good game and that Brady had me biting my nails in the 4th. So good game Pats I wish y’all the best next year.

This week was very progressive for me, I’ve accomplished a few goals that I’d set out a couple of weeks ago, until a slight elbow injury stopped me in my tracks. The first is that I finished ripping the rest of the carpet in my office.

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Then the next piece of the project before sanding down the hardwood floor, was to finish painting the walls. They turned out to be a beautiful white.

wall painted

Hardwood sanded

Finally to wrap up part of this office space/home improvement I sanded the floor, and successfully got rid of the nasty leftover glued down bits of carpet pad. At least now I can say it looks and smells a lot better. The sanding I am most thrilled to be finished with because to do the job and to also save some money, I used my portable belt sander to do the job. I will say on the up side it gives your arms a fantastic workout.

The final and one of the most important things I did this week was that I continued to chisel out the fossil that is Jenny Mac, although no major story pieces have been written this week, two important pieces to Jenny’s psychic abilities were. Even though that seems pretty minimal it’s actually a big step for me at least.

I know that I haven’t blogged much this month I do apologize people I’m trying to better proportion my time, but I do however have a few Stephen King books that I’d like to share with you when I have more time. There’s three so far that I’ve read On Writing, Christine, and Carrie; I must say so far I’ve liked Christine the best. I’m also in the midst of Misery so I will have some new posts coming soon.

I hope y’all have a good night and I’ll see you soon.

Can’t sleep so I’ll just blog!


Tonight I’m walking a fine line between wanting desperately to fall asleep, and too damn tired and too damn sore to actually do so.

Why am I so sore and so tired you ask? Well today I helped my sister rip up this ghastly indoor/outdoor carpeting in her apartment, to expose these beautiful hardwood floors.

Carpet

It simply astonishes me that someone would actually want to hide this pretty floor. So we spent the day ridding her home of this nasty carpeting. (On a side note can I just say that I cannot stand staples in the very least.) After a day of cutting, pulling, hammering, and swearing, we finished off the hallway and the stairs. Now we only have two rooms left the living room and the dining room. YAY! for that. 🙂

Aside from carpet projects I’ve been busy with three other painting projects one of which I completed last week, (let me tell you, I will NEVER paint another room red.)

bedroom

It’s not that the color isn’t beautiful, I love it, however if you’re thinking of painting a room red keep this in mind. It takes many coats in order for the red to turn out. I went through two and a half gallons of paint to get my walls looking like this. If you’re wondering how many coats each wall took the number stopped at five, and it wound up being 20 coats in total when everything was said and done.

I think that’s about all of the home improvement projects I’ve done thus far, but rest assured I’ve got plenty more to go, in fact I’m currently in the middle of a bathroom improvement, which I will definitely be blogging about.

Well I think that’s it for now folks, I hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend and I’ll be back so with more to blog.

Home Improvements (Refinishing kitchen cabinetry)


Well I’m finally settled into my new house and that means that the home improvements can officially begin. Although technically, they sort of got started as we were moving in, but now they actually stand a chance at being completed because now I have no major distractions.

The first project some of you might have already seen photos of on The Jenny Mac Series Facebook page.

I kicked off my first project in the heart of the home,  the kitchen. I found that the biggest issue I had in the kitchen was that my cabinets though old, but in good shape; were fashioning a very retro look.

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I don’t know about you but these cabinets screamed a bit of the old west to me every time that I looked at them.

So as I said before these babies are old but still in good condition,  so if you’re on a budget as I am, one of the best ways to give your old cabinets a whole new life, is to sand them down, take off the old knobs… (If they’re older knobs this task can sometimes be easier said than done. ) And in my case paint the cabinets, then finally put on brand new knobs.

If all goes accordingly they should turn out something like this.

20151001_132038

I’ve got to say for my first time refinishing kitchen cabinets they turned out alright.