Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Changing with the times.

Since the Blogger program changed - I figured it was a good time to change my blog to reflect an upcoming e-book This Old Man's House. Upcoming, meaning within the next year. It's in the works but it's like everything else, I get side tracked a lot. My wife has convinced me that she will help, because I am too dense and could never write a book much less a series of books by myself. It will be a "how-to" series with personal stories, opinions and political reference, in other words a real life series.
Just checking to see if the changes I made work.

I came across some different kind of fruit a couple Sundays ago in La Paz.  The lady at the market told me I could eat it raw. I think she was a little surprised when I cut it up in front of her but I don't really understand what they say and I didn't want another babaco experience.

It has the same flesh as a cantelope but a little bit of a peachy flavor, Digger really likes it, even more than watermelon. Barb says it's like a big mango.

I've about run out of excuses for my laziness - there is only so many rain days before you figure a way around it. I'll have to come up with some different excuses soon or maybe I could actually do something - nah.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

9 weeks.

Digger and I have gotten to the sill plate level around the bedroom walls. I have not been able to find any sill plate anchors - a bolt embedded in cement to fasten a wooden sill.
So we decided to make some. I just welded some rebar to 1/2" bolts, a little overkill, a fender washer at the top of the bolt would work just fine.

I put in some guide pins at the top of the columns to keep the wooden pad in place when the carrying beam is being installed. You'll see the reason for these when the beam goes in.

I am running out of blocks again, down to my last 50. At this point in the project I have used 600 blocks, 20 bags of cement, 4 yards of sand , 3 yards of gravel and 520 feet of rebar. A total of about  $950.00 worth of materials. I forgot the bricks but I can't really count them because they are used bricks and were already counted on another project.

Rant of the Week
I can't figure out where politicians went to school, it sure wasn't in the public school system. At one point in my life I taught math in the public school system, so I know that when you leave the school system you can at least add, subtract, multiply and divide whole numbers. I saw where the President of the U.S. was talking about inflation at a rate of 4% to 5 % annually. Inflation is calculated using the Consumer Price Index which has been manipulated to only include non inflationary items. My problem lies in just tracking gas prices - which used to be in the CPI - that have doubled in the last 3 years. That sure looks like 33% inflation just in gas. Other non durable goods haven't had that steep an increase in cost but by my way of thinking inflation in the U.S. is well into double digits. How do these guys get away with this kind of misrepresentation ? I guess they figure the public is stupid - they could have a point.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

10 weeks.

Well we have started the countdown to getting Barb moved to La Paz. 10 weeks with a 30 day buffer. This schedule will allow Barb to finish the semester at Missouri State University and give her time to remember what she forgot to make a smooth transition. Ofcourse you know it won't be a smooth transition, there will be multipal return trips to Cuenca - good thing the bus runs from Loja to Cuenca every day.

I don't have any pictures this week. I left La Paz in a hurry the other day - big rain coming in and I didn't want to miss Barb's birthday. The excessive rain this year has really taken it's toll on the building progress, being old and lazy doesn't help either.

Since getting my new thermometer I have been able to better predict the weather - when the humidity shoots up to 85% I know it is not just another cloudy day. The temperature runs from 46 at night to 64 degrees during the day this time of year with the humidity at 40% on clear days, 60 to 70% on cloudy days and rain at 85%. When the weather comes in from the northeast it is usually cloudy, from the southwest it is usually clear. The sun never shines all day but it is rarely cloudy all day either. It rains almost every day from a few minutes to several hours and fog rolls into the lower valleys for an hour or so. From my perspective the weather in La Paz is pretty perfect, no two days are ever the same but the extremes are never uncomfortable.

No rant this week - pictures next week.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A little more progress

The rain in La Paz has let up a little. It still rains every day just not as much. Digger and I are getting close to putting in the carrying beam for the roof on half of the addition.

We put in the arch for the bedroom door and finished up Barb's glass block window this past week. There is no key in the door arch because it is a non-bearing wall. It really doesn't make any difference the bricks are big enough (3X5X10) to carry a pretty substantial load with out a key, I just need an excuse to do some things a little differently.

Barb got me a thermometer for my birthday so I will be able to report on weather conditions in La Paz pretty soon. I keep telling her it is cooler in La Paz - I guess she wants to know exactly how much cooler.

Digger likes her watermelon.  She bites off the rind to get to the red stuff. I don't think there is anything she won't eat.

I keep telling you folks that I am not too bright; someday you will realize I am telling you the truth. I recently got a comment from some folks I really wanted to respond to with a personal note but I don't know how to respond to a "no-reply comment". I know there is nothing I can do about that, I just wanted to tell them how much I appreciated their blog "BobnRox" and how much they have done for so many children. What if they don't want people to know that I think the progress they have made on their paradise is amazing and that I really appreciate their helpful comment? Some of the other comments I get from people like Mike Wallace of "Mikes gone South" who is a building contractor, I can respond to personally so he can tell me I am full of crap without everyone who reads my blog knowing it - Mike is really a nice guy but he could do that if he wanted to with out embarrassing me. I just have a problem airing someone else's personal stuff and I am not smart enough to figure it out. I guess that qualifies as the rant of the week.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lofty thoughts.

Digger and I will be headed down the road for another week in La Paz, tomorrow. I guess I better say something about how things are going.

I was downtown in Cuenca today looking for Barbara's birthday present - good excuse to go to the California Kitchen for lunch. I get really tired of tuna fish and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when I am in LaPaz and eggs get pretty old too. There are a bunch of resturants in LaPaz but I just don't like the food. I guess if I had to have a complaint about Ecuador it would be, that in general I don't like the food. For a guy who never really cared much about food, I struggle with the menu while I am away from my wife.

I made the new overlay for the arch form for the door arches which should be built in the next week or two and the roof trusses won't be far behind. I kinda fly by the seat of my pants most of the time but the roof should look something like the following plan.

There will be two different pitches and two different collar tie levels all resting on a carrying beam. The reason is that I want to match the pitch on the existing roof but keep the front eve at 8 feet. Seems like a good idea to me but then again hardly anything ever turns out the way I plan it.

I have almost gotten all the parts and pieces together for a gravity feed, slow sand filter system for the water supply. So that should go online in the not too distant future, although I will have to install a water pump to backwash the filter and provide enough pressure for the hot water heater.

Snide comment for the week.

I was going to make a political comment but it makes my vision blurry from the increase in my blood pressure and I can't see what I am trying to type. So I decided instead to comment on the person who has the greatest influence on my life.

A little while back Barb came up with the idea of position trading on the stock market. I gave my input, having done some of that in my lifetime and she went about setting up her brokerage account and trackng penny stocks. I walked by her desk the other day and noticed she is tracking blue chips - I think she is doing okay in the stock market - if only she could mix cement.