Thursday, January 3, 2008

Other highlights of 2007

This is more for my own personal memory, which is ever failing!

Major Tasks Performed

I tend to think in linear and concrete terms. Here's a list of physical accomplishments for the past year.

  • Rebuilt the top end of a 1996 Dodge Neon Sport, 1.6L 16 valve with dual overhead cams. It cranked up right away! With the onset of winter, however, the oil leak as sprung anew from the head gasket and the computer never quite figured out how to make it run smooth. But the job is done. Should I have to re-do the job, I'll be sure to have the manifold inlets and outlets ported this time, and perhaps even have the intake manifold optimized. Customer headers would'nt be a bad idea either. There are so many little tricks left so squeeze power out of that thing!
  • The remaining two trees in our backyard were removed, completing the deforestation of our property. Kind of a bummer because I really like trees, just not big dead trees covered with thorns.
  • I developed a groovy web based, AJAX enabled ASP.NET chat application for me and my homies. Ok, I don't have any homies but it's still a good app and supports a ton of customizations and is tweaked with many bells and whistles. Some of the bells are broken though. :-P
  • I hit 1,500 miles of biking this year. I really picked it up in July, averaging 120 miles per week for six weeks. What an intense time! My rib cage was sore for the first ten days because of the hard and heavy breathing. I'm sure my lung capacity increased quite a bit. Also a week in Branson allowed me four good rides in the Ozark mountains and man, what a difference that makes for tackling hills! The hills around KC seemed only nominal after that. I thoroughly enjoy hillwork now.
  • I installed over 60 linear feet of french drain, using 3" PVC with a 4" gravel base, 2" gravel cover and 2" of topsoil in addition to the fabric. That was a lot... a lot... a whole lot of work.
  • In addition to the french draining, I added a 2 1/2' high retaining wall built from 80 lb concrete stones for about 20' in front of our house. I built about half of a 60' long 2' tall wall between our property and our neighbors who are funneling all their roof runoff directly at my garage. hhhhhhhhhhhh.....
  • Daniel survived his first wrestling season. I am so proud of how he did! He really developed a lot of character and showed a tremendous work ethic. By the end of the season, he had learned to be a student of the art and in his last match even used a move he picked up just by watching. How amazing! I suck at sports so I'm sure he gets that from his mom.
  • Daniel and I and several friends enjoyed... oh sorry- endured- an ill planned backpacking adventure. All in all it wasn't really so bad, but for the pain. The scenery was beautiful, my Blackberry was quiet (an appreciable beauty in it's own right) and the fellowship quite enjoyable. Especially once the cream sherry was opened up. Daniel gave me another reason to be quite proud of him!
  • The whole family enjoyed a great time in Albuquerque, NM visiting my dad's place. The mountains there are beautiful, but the best time we had, I think, was running through the sage with the kids, my dad and our dogs, pelting each other with dirt clods and playing hide-and-go-seek. Here we discovered that our dog, Maximus, is most probably a Rhodesian Ridgeback, aka, African Lion Hound. He is missing the most distinctive feature of this breed- a ridged back- but otherwise fits the breed characteristics to a tee. We suspect he was part of an inferior litter and was culled.
  • I joined Facebook at the prompting of my wife. Facebook is gay. Enough said.
  • I began the remodel of our bathroom by tearing out our main bathroom and hauling the rubbish over to The Pensive Purcussionist's place. He had a big trash bin at the time. The wifey and I worked up some plans as well, which is always painful. But I'm confident she's got us on a good track as far as the design so once Uncle Sam returns my freaking money back to me, I can finish up this project.
  • Since the wall was opened up in the bathroom, I replaced all of the plumbing in our house. It was a mixture of (primarily) copper, PVC and galvanized. The galvanized was severely corroded since the builder failed to use a dialectric union, so that I had two valves break free from the wall entirely when trying to operate them! Also, our service line is 3/4" and the whole house was plumbed with 5/8". Why??? So wasteful! I tore out all the old and replaced it with 3/4" PEX, as far as was applicable. I found a great site to get PEX supplies and used color coded pipling (blue for cold, red for hot) and also added a hot water return line. This line comes from the farthest end of the hot water line run back to the water heater and hooks up to the water heaters drain, which is then opened. Natural convection provides the energy to recirculate the hot water supply. This means we get hotter water sooner since the supply is constantly recirculating. Hopefully it is helping to keep the water heater cleaner as well.

It was kind of a light year, as far as projects go. This year I'll need to finish the bathroom and re-seed the yard and tend to many of those 1,000's of unfinished little details. (I am the master of achieving "substantial completion". ) I've already put in a new whole house humidifier on the furnace. The money pit lives.


Percussivity said...

You should start your own home improvement show on public access... I could think of a few unoriginal names but I will spare you and not list them here.

Make sure you leave time to lend your considerable skill to my back porch this Spring.

The Angry Coder said...

I'm actually quite excited about redoing your porch. I enjoy structural projects and working with wood. I also like that I don't have to pay for it... oh yeah! Spending someone else's money is always more fun! I also like that I won't be crapping up my house/porch/yard for a weekend or three... or more. It win-win-win.

The Angry Coder said...

Testing site feed...

J B Paul said...

Mike guilted you into linking to his blog. I just cried when I thought you didn't link to mine, cuz ... well... I am sensitive.