Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow I will be driving into Richmond for Thanksgiving with my mother, my sister, and my niece and her boyfriend. My late sister's husband will not be coming this year, since he made plans to go to spend Thanksgiving with some old friends of his. Everyone is secretly happy that he won't be there.

Yesterday I went on line, to find an appropriate holiday centerpiece for mom's table. I settled on a wicker cornucopia filled with colorful autumn flowers and leaves. It always amazes me how much it costs to send flowers theses days. A simple arrangement that list's for $39.99, will end up costing you over $60.00 after shipping, handling, rush delivery, and taxes are added in. Mom always tells me not to bother, because of the cost, but I always send her centerpieces for Thanksgiving and Christmas anyway, because I know how much she enjoys displaying them on her table. She kept last Christmas's evergreen centerpiece on her table for several months after Christmas. It was so dry by then, that it would have burst into flames, if a lit match came within an inch of it. I finally told her, she should either throw it away, or have it encased in a block of plastic!

Yesterday I also finally got around to installing the cover over the opening to my crawl space. After 21 years of exposure to the elements, the existing wooden framing and cover had almost completely rotted away. When I started to pull it out, two pieces of cinder block, supported by the top piece of framing fell out, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to completely seal the hole. Fortunately I had the piece of 1/2" pressure treated plywood that I got last week, cut large enough to cover the additional space that those two pieces of block took up. I drilled three holes on each side of the cover, then used a masonry bit to drill three corresponding wholes in the cinderblock on each side of the opening. Then it was just a matter of simply fastening the cover to the block with self-tapping masonry screws. It was a bit hard drilling into the block, because I couldn't find my relatively new DeWalt 3/4" drill motor, and I had to use a 35 year old Black & Decker 1/2" drill motor, that sounded like an old hand held electric mixer, and had about the same power. It did the job, but took some time, and I worked up a pretty good sweat keeping enough pressure on it to get the drill to penetrate the block. Once the holes were drilled, putting the screws in was a breeze using a nut driver to start them, and a socket and ratchet to tighten them down. The cover fit good and tight, and it won't be going anywhere, without using a wrench to take it loose. Hopefully it will help keep the mice out too, but I won't count on that. Eventually they always seem to find a way to get in. It was wet and muddy under the deck, so you can imagine what I looked like after crawling under there on my hands an knees, and spending 45 minutes sitting in front of the opening. When I was done, I was covered in mud, and wet all the way through my underwear. I'm thankful that's all over with!

I got the bill last week for the well pump, well pipe, and pressure tank replacement. It was just $126 short of $2000! If I had hired a carpenter to reframe the opening and install a new cover, I probably woud have had to add another $300-$400. My fix cost me just $45 in materials, and about an hour of sweat.

The following is a video on the history of Thanksgiving. I hope yours is a happy one!

Melissa XX


Amy K. said...

Whew! Just reading about your little fix-em-up got me exhausted! Happy Thanksgiving, Melissa! :)

Caroline said...

It is hard to picture the Melissa we know from your profile crawling out with her heels all muddy and clothes soaked through!

Hope that fixes the problem and the bank account survives this rotten break of misfortune which you have had recently.

Do we get a picture of you handling the power tools? There is probably a market on the net for such pictures to off set the cost incurred!

Caroline xxx

Stephanie said...

I can relate to the mice finding a way in. Our dog kept sniffing at the door to a seldom used closet. We thought he was smelling a mouse. After a week of him going to the closet Patty Lou got curious and investigated. Way back in the corner of the closet was a pile of moldy wild persimmons! I don't think it was a mouse, probably a rat. Along with the persimmons we also discovered that two of my long dresses had been chewed at the bottom apparently used to make a nest for the critter. The closet attaches to the space where the water heater is so I assume it came up where the pipes go through the floor. De-Con has been put out to snuff the life of this intruder!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Ariel said...

I'm glad you got your winter preparation done. You have much better tools than we do!

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Melissa said...

@ Amy

Doing my little fix-em up got me exhausted! I've been retired for three years now, and I'm not used to hard work anymore.

@ Caroline

No heels for that job! Just jeans, sneakers, and an old shirt.

I'm pretty confident the new cover will keep the cold wind off the pressure tank this winter. It's sealed up better than it has been for several years. It's still not heated under the house, but with all the vents closed, apparently it stays warm enough to keep the water lines from freezing, because we've had winter nights close to 0° F/-17°C before, and it has never frozen up. Knock on wood!

Not so sure I would want to post pics of me handling power tools on any website. Reminds me too much of the tool company calendars, with the busty young women in bikinis and high heels, that you see hanging on the walls of car repair garages! You used to see them in the shops at the plant where I used to work too, until HR banned them, as more women started entering jobs traditionally held by males only.

@ Stephanie

I keep De-Con next to my water heater too. That seems to be the first bait tray that gets emptied, so my mice must be coming up through the pipe chase there too. Living in the country, you just can't avoid them. I just get scared that snakes will follow them in. I don't want to be surprised by any Copperheads in the house!

Persimmons are kind of big for a mouse to carry. Are you sure a squirrel didn't get in? They love wild fruit too, and like to stash it in secure places. I think I had a squirrel get inside my place once too, because I found some droppings that were way to big for a mouse. I've never seen a rat out here in the country. I did see some very big ones back RIchmond though.

@ Ariel

I worked as an industrial electrician for the first 20 years, of my 37 years at a major Chemical company's manufacturing site. I gave away a lot of my tools to fellow workers, when I retired, but I did keep some essentials that I thought I could use around the house. I still find myself having to drive into town to get a tool for some special job though, like that masonry drill bit for instance. I already had two masonry bits, but neither one was the right size for the screws I was going to use. That's why I was so impressed with the people who did the work on my well. They had a specially outfitted truck, with every conceivable tool, device, and fitting that would possibly need. They were super efficient. Every time they needed something they simply opened up a compartment on their truck, and there it was! They were able to pull out my old pump, along with 180 ft of old pipe, remove my old pressure tank under the house, and replace all of it in less than two hours!

Thanksgiving at Mom's was both fun and tasty! Do you still celebrate American Thanksgiving, or just the Canadian one now?

Melissa XX

Ariel said...

Only Canadian Thanksgiving now, which is a somewhat lower-key holiday. I roasted a chicken with potatoes, baby beets, and carrots all in the same pan.