Zoo

Last Saturday I went to the Zoo with my nephew Nico and and my sister. Nico had a blast.  We got his caricature made while we were there.  I was not as impressed by this guy as I was with the guy that did mine when I was in Poland. The link to mine are below Nico‘s caricature.

Nico's Caricature

Nico

 My Caricatures

AC/DC on Satellite Radio

Finally, some AC/DC on Satellite radio.  I know it is for a limited time, but that will work for me. 

More at Sirius.

Sweet Ride

I passed this car everyday on my way to an offsite location for work.  I won’t say where.  Just take a guess. I finally had to stop and take a photo.

My Wishlist!

I ran across this site a while ago, but forgot to post it.  You know how people always ask you what you want for your birthday, but you are never sure.  The following webpage is a great place to keep track of stuff you want.

My Wish List

Drink of the gods… Incan gods.

For those that do not know, my parents are from Peru where I have visited many times.  One thing that always sparks a memory or 2 is a special golden cola, a drink called Inca Kola.  It is very difficult to find here in Memphis, TN.  Occasionally a local import store will have them, but since not many people know about it they never restock it. 

This week I got lucky again.  The Winchester Farmers Market sells it and stocks it in old style glass bottles like the ones I used to drink out of as a kid.  As you can see from the photo below, I stocked up on it.The bottle below were actually imported from Ecuador. Wierd part is that I know it is also bottled in the US. 

Dragon Fruit

About 3 years ago, I posted about Dragon Fruit and how it was way to expensive to order just to try it.  Yesterday when I went to my parents house for dinner my dad surprised me with one.  He purchased it at the Winchester Farmers Market.   So last night I tried it and actually liked it. 

So as you can guess I stopped by there today and purchased 5 for about $4 bucks a piece as opposed to $20 a piece if I ordered them on-line.

If you live in Memphis I would suggest you stop by the Winchester Farmers Market and try one.

Gators

While in Florida last week we were trying to find things to keep us occupied.  We drove down to the Visitors Center and picked up brochures for all the Tourist type stuff.  One that stood out was for the Alligator Alley

The cost was $10 per person plus $2.50 for a souvenir cup filled with gator snacks. Snacks for the gators not us.   When we first walked in, we got to see some smaller alligators and got lucky to hold one of them.  When then continued to walk to where the big alligators were. We were probably within feet of the Alligators.  Of course, there was a fence between us and the alligators.   

Bad part about the entire tour is that we missed the feeding frenzy.  We were told to sit in a certain area to find that they fed the gators at another location. 

The park is nice for those that have never been close to an alligator, but it could use some improvement.  Especially with all the land they own.  They could have built a few special areas to get a better look at the larger gators.  They could also alternate feeding from the areas to be able to feed the gators more frequently.

 

Got Crabs

Back in the 80’s when we went to Perdido Key, Florida for weeks at a time we had to do things to keep us entertained and busy. So we purchased a Crab Trap and would set it out on the bay side every night and load it with chicken necks.  We would catch plenty and bring them back to the condo for dinner. 

Well, I had a chance to re-live some of my childhood while in Flordida last week. Sounds corny, I know. We filled the traps like we did when I was young and checked it every day.  Below are some photos of the crabs we caught.

Summer Vacation

I know I am late at posting this, but I usually try to post about vacation after I return.  I went to Perdido Key,Florida the week of July 12th with Stacy and 3 little guests.  It was a long needed vacation.    We stayed at my parents places that has been out of commision since Katrina.  It looks really nice and I look forward to taking another long break.

It was a great week.  We had lots of sun even though the weather forecast showed that we were going to have thunderstorms everyday.  The one negative was that the ocean was ful lof jelly fish for all but 2 days.

Some of the things we did were fish, catch crabs, go to an Alligator Farm, and go to adventure Island to ride some Go-Karts.

What is this?

I was letting the dogs out this evening and I turned around and saw this.  It nearly scared me.  I have no idea what it is.  It looked like a cross between a big cockroach and a beetle. 

Anyone know what kind of insect this is?  Please let me know. Below are a few shots.  More can be found at My Flickr Page.

Peek-A-Boo

I spent most of the day and my parents house.  When I arrived I saw http://www.nicoputman.com peaking out of the holes in the brick wall in my parents garage.    I was lucky to get a few photos before her turn around to look at the bubbles.

Mailbox

Since I have been in the house, one of the things I have been wanting to replace is the mailbox.  Not only did I want to replace it, I wanted to place it on the correct side of the driveway.  Huh, you ask.  The old mailbox was actually in between my house and my neighbors house.  I wanted it to actually be in front of my house.  Also, the old mail box was all rusted and the post had a slant to it.

So, I replaced it with an aluminum post and placed it on the correct side of the driveway with a nice mailbox. Once it was successfully installed I used he reciprocating saw to cut the old one down.

Below is a photo of the old and new mailbox.

 

Herbs

The week before last I was hanging at my moms house and noticed that she had planted some Cuban Oregano and another type or oregano in a small flower pot.  I figured I could do the same so I head down to Lowe’s and the Farmers Market  with Stacy to pick up some stuff for my little garden.

I purchased 4 wooden barrel type planters and filled them with herbs.  The collection of herbs consist of the following.

  • 2 Rosemary
  • 4 Cilantro
  • 4 Greek Oregano
  • 2 Lemon Basil
  • 2 Sweet Basil
  • 2 Hot and Spicy Oregano
  • 1 Pineapple Mint
  • 1 Peppermint
  • 2 Cuban Oregano

I also planted some banana pepper, Jalapeno Pepper and some chili peppers in a different planter.  I also planted some garlic, Cipolline, and shallots.

I plan to build some large planters and plants some taters, cucumbers, tomatoes or anything else that comes to mind.

Below is a photo of 4 of the planters.  If you have suggestions on other herbs I should try to grow, please let me know.

 

 

 

Garage

As I have mentioned in past posts, I have been wanting to insulate and drywall my garage.  It has been a slow moving project, but I am one step closer. So far it is now all insulated.  The next step is to remove the door that goes to the office and put some studs in, insulate and drywall.   Once this is done I will also install some insulation to the garage doors.  I am hoping all the work will decrease the temp of the garage hence decreasing the heat that sneaks into the house.

Below are some shots of what my garage looks like so far. I will  be sure to post the finished project when it is complete.

Bubbles

Nico went to my parents house today.  I was there to assist in taking care of Nico for the day.  I had to try and keep him away from the pool.  He kept saying bubbles, so I figured why not go get him some bubbles. I left him with my mom and headed off to my local Walgreens .  Did some searching and I found this Bubble Machine. I then headed back to my parents house to let him have a blast with it.  Below are some photos of him and the bubbles.

   

 

Fence

With summer time coming soon, my parents asked that I put up a fence in the back yard to keep Nico from getting to the pool.  Below are a few shots of the fence.  It did not take me too long to put it together.   I would say it took me about 3-4 hours spread out between a few days to put together, that is if you don’t include the drying time for the concrete.

Hall is complete

After almost a year, the entrance hallway is complete. The popcorn has been removed from the ceiling. and I installed a new light fixture and a new doorbell box.  The light that was there was nasty and the doorbell did not work properly.  With lots of help from Stacy, we painted the hallway and she did most of the trim work.  I also replaced the air vents since they were painted shut.

Below is a photo of the completed hallway.  The color looks darker in the photo.

Bathroom Exhaust Fan

I have been very busy lately.  Yesterday, I installed a Harbor Breeze Aster Bath Fan in the guest bathroom. The reason for this is that the one that was in the bathroom was just a fan and not an exhaust/light.  Plus, it was very loud. 

I started by scoping out the attic making sure there would enough room and that there were not any pipes or wire blocking the location.  The first spot I want to install it, had some electrical wires.  Luckily, I was able to move one beam over to avoid them.  I removed the attic boards and drilled a small hole through the drywall to make sure it was centered in the bathroom.  Once this was verified, I traced the unit out on the drywall and cut the hole.

Once the hole was all smoothed out and the box fit snug I cut the power and the wire from the old fan pictured below to the new box.  After that I connected all the parts to the box and turned the poer back on and tested it out.  First time it did not work.  I had to take it all apart and notice that the wire had come lose. Tried it again and voila, it worked.

Below is a photo of the old fan and the new fan. Overall it took me about 2-3 hours to install and probably saved me close to $200 in labor.  All I have left is to run the exhaust hose to the outside of the house. (Note: the old fan does not have its grill on.)

Pull Down Attic Steps

One task complete.  Last night I started working on my Pull Down Attic Steps.  It was a little harder than I expected and for a little while I thought I was going to have to have a huge hole in my ceiling.

I removed the trim around the old one with my trusty crow bar and hammer.  Using the same tools, I started removing the old steps and housing.  This took me about 30 minutes, since it was in there pretty good. 

Next I had to pull out the Skil Saw and cut some wood for the framing to the new pull down door, since it is about 2-3 inches narrower.  I did get a minor injury.  I got a nice 1/8 of an inch splinter.   Once I recovered from my injury I installed the temporary supports.  Once the supports were up and secured I placed the new door frame on top and leveled it, drilled my pilot holes and put in the lag bolts.

Next step was to hoist up the entire pull down stair and secure it to the frame. I got it secured and then had to connect the hydraulics.  This is where I thought I would have an open hole in my attic for a few days.  This is were I mess up a little.  The directions were not clear and I skipped a step prior to the hydraulics.  After alot of going back and forth, it is not up and functioning. I had to back track to see if I could find the problem.  I finally found the problem and fixed it. 

Now that the pull down steps are in working order I need to paint them and add some trim to make it look nice.

 Below are a few photo.  The first one is of the old steps.  I tried to take it before taking it down, but I guess I got too excited.  The last 2 are the finished product.

More Work.

After 4 visits to Lowe’s, I have enough supplies to hold me over for a few weeks.  This does not even include the painting that still needs to be done.

I purchased lots of dryawall and insulation to finally finish the garage.  It is one of the project, though not the most important, that I want to complete.  Garage is actually lined with brown liner board instead of drywall.

New mailbox to replace the old rusted one and the one that is located on the wrong side of the driveway.

Replacement attic pull down steps.  The ones already in the house are not safe.

Combination bathroom light/fan to add a little more light and get rid of the noisy fan already in the bathroom.

All the above should keep me busy for a while and give me something to do over the weekend.

 

Getting in shape

Along with all the house work, I have also been doing some exercises.  Not running or cycling, but push ups.  Not any kind of push ups, but the Perfect Push-up.  I am sure you have seen the adds for it numerous time in magazines and on TV.

 I never buy anything that has “Seen on TV” on it, but for some reason Perfect Push-up got me interested.  I stopped by my local Sports Authority and picked up a a set about 2 months ago.  I have been using them since and have actually noticed more results than when I used to go work out at the local gym.

 The push-ups from the Perfect Push-up are actually harder than when doing regular push-ups.  I can actually feel the burn while working out and the soreness the next day. 

Another work out that I have seen on TV that caught my eye and I might even give a try in the near future is P90X.

I’m Back

Ok, I know I have been away for a while. 

 I have updated the look,of my blog, with some minor downfalls.  I moved my entire page that was hosted at Blogger to WordPress.  Bad part is that any images that were attached to any posting did not transfer over.  I will have to slowly transfer all images little by little.  If you are reading any old post, please go to the My Old Page to see those photos.

 So besides the new look, what have I been up to lately.

Well, here it is.  I have continued to do lots of work on the house and ready for my tax refund to do even more. 

For those that have visited the house, here are something that are a little different.

  • Re-painted the front/guest bathroom from a light green to a tan color.
  • Removed the popcorn ceilings from the dining room, formal living room, front hall, and front/guest bathroom
  • Painted the dining room, formal living room and front hall
  • Installed new doorbell ringer
  • Installed new light fixtures in the front hall and front/guest bathroom
  • Installed chicken wire in the attic vents to block birds from nesting in the attic and keep other critters out.
  • Planted 2 Japanese Maples
  • Purchased some patio furniture

Removing the popcorn was the hardest of all the work done so far. My plan is to eventually do the entire house without the popcorn ceiling on room at a time.

Where have you been?

Ok, so I have not posted since August 28. I have been busy and have not had a chance to update the page. I plan on making some updates this week. I will eventry to back date everything to align with when it happened.

Keep your eyes open.

2 years and counting

2 years ago today, Katrina hit many of the Gulf Coastal cities. One of them being Perdido Key were my parents have a condo. A condo that the family has not been able to use for 2 years and will probably be a few more months before it is even ready. Should I mention that it should have been complete this past March.

There is some progress on the condo, but it is still not complete. I look forward to the day to be able to take a long weekend and head on down there.


Photo is from August 28, 2005.

Leukoplakia

Ok, I am not talking about “cancer of the mouth”, but referring to the scene in Lucas . The specific scene I am referring to is the one with the locust. Having many trees in my yard I see 3 things; locust skins, dead locust, or locust flying into everything. I have never really seen them in the act of leaving their skins.

Well, this week I finally got to see one in the act and took a few photos. So enjoy more of the photos at Flickr.com. You can also see the Praying Mantis that was close by to try and catch the locust in it vulnerable state.

To do list

Lots accomplished on the house and still more to do. Below is a small list of items I would like to accomplish prior to the end of the year.

  • Prime and paint living room.
  • Prime and paint main entrance.
  • Prime and paint formal living room.
  • Drywall garage
  • Replace garage door motors.
  • Squirrel proof attic prior to winter.
  • Finish Master Bedroom Closet.
  • Install recessed Medicine Cabinet in Master Bathroom.
  • Paint Garage Floor with Quikrete Garage Floor Coating.
  • Install Garage Cabinets.
  • Re-seed yard in spots.
  • Replace attic pull down steps.
  • Eventually replace carpet in Dining Room and Formal Living Room.

I know is seems like a lot to do, but the delay is mostly on the funding for the projects I have listed above. I need to learn to not go into Lowe’s and spend more than I really need.

Peru Earthquake

For those that may not know, my family is from Peru where they just encountered a huge earthquake that pretty much leveled the city of Pisco and Chincha (my parents hometown) earlier this week.

Please go to the Red Cross and/or UNICEF Children of Peru to dontate to “support emergency relief efforts and help those affected by the earthquake in Peru”.

Good news is that no one in my family was injured.

Wallpaper removal has its ups and downs.

For those that have not seen the house yet, I have 2 rooms with very bad wall paper. One room was the formal dining room and the other was the main entrance hall way.

I started by going to Lowe’s last weekend to see what all they had for wall paper removal. I purchased a Wall Scraper and 3 spray bottles of DIF. I then when home to see what kinda of damage I could cause. I would highly recommend these products.

I started with the main entrance hallway, assuming that since it was smaller it would not take me a long time. I ripped off the top layer of the wallpaper and sprayed the DIF on what was left. It when pretty well, except the previous home owners did not properly prep the wall prior to putting on the wall paper. It took me about 4-5 hours to strip the wallpaper and probably another hours patching up any holes or uneven areas.

For the Formal Dining Room, I took a different approach. I purchased a gallon sprayer and filling it with DIF. Then ripped off the top layer and saturated was what left. Good news for this room was that the wall were properly prepped and that wallpaper came off like butter. The room took me about 3 hours and was a lot larger than the entrance hall way.

I plan on painting both rooms, but have not decided on any colors yet. If anything, I will just paint them with primer until I can chose some colors.

Below are some photos of what the wallpaper looked like prior to the removal.

Image 1 is the hall way. I took picture after I already started. Image 2 is the Formal Dining Room.

Updated Closet

I meant to post this a few weeks ago, but I have been busy with the new crib.

I did a little modification on the Master Bedroom Closet as you will see in the photos posted below. I could have gone with the pre-fabricated Closet Maid pieces, but they just do not seem sturdy enough to me.

So, I took down all exisiting selves and hardware and doubled up on the back wall and built some shelves. Overall it took me a weekend to complete. I only did half as I wanted to make sure it was going to work 100% before going to far with the project.

Check it our from start to finish in the photos below.

I will try to take a better photo of the finished product later. I do plan on replacing the light fixture to brighten it up.

House Update

This past weekend I kept pretty busy at the house. One of the projects was installing new faucets in both bathrooms. I purchased them about 2 months ago, but had been putting it off. So this weekend the work began.

I purchased 2 Peerless faucets at my local Lowe’s and proceeded to work on installing them. The old one in the master bath came out rather easy which made it even easier to install the new one. I did however have to clean up a bunch of gunk. The old one in the second bathroom was not as simple. The copper tubing was all bent out of shape which almost made it impossible to take out. Once I put my Dremel tool back up I proceeded to install the new one having some minor problems as there was a minor offset between the valves and the faucet.

All in all they turn out pretty good. Had a tiny leak which has now been fixed due to a problem with a worn out valve. Below are some photos of the new versus the the new.

Image 1 is the old faucet and image 2 is the new faucet.