The Old Man Says

January 17, 2010

$$ The Money Pit $$

Filed under: Uncategorized — theoldman @ 8:35 am

This is not anything earth shaking or terribly important. But I thought that I would share it with you. As you may remember I have just bought a house, an old house. With that old house comes “old house problems.” I have now dubbed my house with the not so original name “The Money Pit.”

Prior to purchasing the house we did several walk through inspection, called for all the normal inspections; lead based paint, termites, etc. No problems that were not easily visible were found. I knew that the house would need a new roof, but that is to be expected with a 40 year old house. The sheet vinyl flooring in the kitchen was starting to curl so I knew that it would have to be replaced as well. I hired a handy man to help me with some of the work that I can’t do. I had him pull the carpets up, it was my hope that the rest of the house would have the same hardwood floors as the living room. Which for the most part it did. Outside of the fact that the previous owners did not know what drop cloths were for.

Three problem areas came to light.

The master bed room, probably the biggest problem. In addition to the huge, poorly done repair the rest of the flooring in the room is like walking on a trampoline. We will have to take out the whole floor and sub floor, then build it back up.

The bathroom was next,

Again a bad repair job that was covered over with carpet.

Then on to the kitchen/dining room, an area that I already knew was going to need some work. Yet another example of some DYI repairs by an unskilled person. First they glued linoleum to the hardwood floors. At some point they did another “repair.” Then they put down a layer of sheet vinyl, then a second and different sheet vinyl, then a layer of 1/4 inch plywood and a final layer of sheet vinyl.

The solution? I’m installing ceramic tile, and doing it the proper way.

First the backer board.

Then the tiles.

I have often heard that if you buy a boat, “you are buying a hole in the water to pour your money down.” Well I have found that buying an old house is much the same. That’s the report from week #1 down at the Money Pit.


December 30, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — theoldman @ 12:30 am

Well tomorrow the 30th of December in the year of our Lord 2009 they will have the closing on my house. the last two weeks have been an emotional roller-coaster for me. First the closing was scheduled for Jan. 9th, then for Dec. 24, then for Jan. 10th, then for Dec. 28th. Now finally we have arrived at the date. December 30, 2009. Not once during this entire time have either myself or my agent asked for a change of date. This juggling act has been all at the hands of the seller’s agent. But tomorrow all that will be behind me. I just have to remember not to open my mouth and tell that pinhead what I really think of him until after the deal is done.

December 26, 2009

Marking time

Filed under: Uncategorized — theoldman @ 1:15 am

While I wait for the everyone involved in the purchase of the house to get their collective acts together, I’m marking time. I started a new project that would eventually have to be done anyway. So while I wait I’ll just go ahead with it. I’m refinishing my bookcases. I built them when I first moved into this apartment four years ago. At that time I stained them with a dark Walnut stain, with Golden Oak panels inset in the doors and used a flat finish. I was trying for what Interior Designers call “the Distressed Look.”  It was alright, but I was never really pleased with the look. This time around I using Brazilian Rosewood for the stain. I probably will keep the oak panels, they will match my aquarium which has oak trim. Here some pictures to show the transition.

The bookcase side with the old finish. As you can see it has seen so use and abuse in the last four years. 🙂

Stripping it down to bare wood with 60 grit sandpaper and my palm sander.

The new stain goes on and will be sealed with three coats of Polycrylic. I am giving the first two coats of Polycrylic a light hand sanding with 220 grit sandpaper.

More to follow, but for now it’s good night.

December 21, 2009

Big Changes Are Coming

Filed under: Uncategorized — theoldman @ 1:34 am

I wrote the other night about The two big changes in my life. The retirement has already occurred, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. No, I don’t miss work. I do miss many of my friends from work, but we are staying in touch. Friday they had their Christmas lunch, my former Supervisor (along with everybody in the department on the speaker phone) called me up to make sure that I was invited. That just demonstrates how close you become with your fellow workers after 15 years.

The other big change is my buying a house. I have lived in apartments for most of my adult life. The only time that I had a house was during my very brief marriage way back in the early ’70s. When I started work for the company that I just retired from they offered a 401k retirement plan. It finally dawned on me that I was aging and would need a place to retire too. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life making monthly payments to someone else for a place to lay my head. So I signed up with the express goal of buying a house when I retired. I choose very conservative investments. I wasn’t out to make a “killing” on the stock market, I just wanted to have some reliable money when the time came. As it turned out, with the economy the way it is right now, I am able to purchase this house with cash and still have some funds in reserve for the necessary fix-ups and such.

Here is the result, or it will be as of December 28, 2009, of that 15 year plan:

There is of course work that will need to be done. Pressure washing the exterior, refinishing the floors, paint etc.. This is however a major change in my quasi-nomadic life style.

I will try to keep posting as I go through this process, kind of a “Before and After” thing.

December 19, 2009

Let’s try this again.

Filed under: Uncategorized — theoldman @ 7:53 pm

There have been a number of changes in my life over the last few months. The two biggies are that in November I retired after 48 years of fighting the work-a-day world, and that I am in the process of buying a house.

The retirement was a long time in coming. Actually I wanted to retire 3 years ago, but the cost of insurance prevented that. i had to wait until I could collect MediCare. Ugh

The house is the result of a savings plan I put into effect 15 years ago when it finally dawned on me that I was getting old and would need a place to live when I finally did retire. 🙂

I have now set this blog as my “Home Page” so maybe, just maybe, I post here more often.

May 28, 2008

Wood Chips – week #6

Filed under: Uncategorized — theoldman @ 9:31 pm

I have good news, and I have bad news . . .

The good news is.   The carving portion of the prototype Knight is finished, all that remains is some light sanding.

The bad news is.   That Mac has screwed up the wooden blank that I gave him for the base.   So it’s back to square one on the base.   He now promises that I will have the base Friday.   I’m not going to hold my breath waiting on this.

I thought that in the meantime I could post a couple of pictures:

and here is one with a quarter to give it some scale;

and the last picture this week is my “Tool Box” for this project;

Until next week,

The Old Man

May 18, 2008

Wood Chips – week # 5

Filed under: Uncategorized — theoldman @ 4:49 pm

The basic Knight has been carved:

What remains now is defining the details and once the base is finished matching the Knight with the base. Mac has promised me that the base would be complete tomorrow May 19, 2008. However I’m not holding my breath based upon his promise. I’ll just wait and see what the week brings. Until next week . . .

The Old Man

May 11, 2008

Wood Chips – week #4

Filed under: Uncategorized — theoldman @ 11:20 pm

Progress continues at a slow but steady pace.   I don’t want to rush it now and destroy three weeks of work.   On the other hand, Mac ( the guy that is turning the base profiles for me) is struggling.   I am beginning to think that he has never turned anything from square stock before.   He argued for an hour one day that it couldn’t be done, that all he would do was “knock the corners of the block, and it would never be round.”   I can see now that I need my own lathe. LOL

The following pictures show the progress to date.

The right side –

The left side –

The front –

The back –

I estimate  that by next week I will have the carving finished, then all that will remain is selecting the base and marrying the two.   What I am planning is to through drill the base with a 3/16th drill, then counter sink it with a 1/4 in. drill.   The Knight will be center drilled with 1/8th drill to a depth of 3/4ths of an inch.   Both the top of the base and the bottom of the Knight will be flush cut.   The knight will be “married” to the base with a high quality carpenters glue and a screw will be inserted through the pre-drilled holes (the slight differences in the hole diameters will allow me to position the Knight exactly where I want it on the base).   Once in place the screw will be tightened down, when the glue sets the joint will actually be stronger than the surrounding wood.

The Old Man

May 5, 2008

Wood Chips – week #3

Filed under: Uncategorized — theoldman @ 10:54 am

Progress continues, although somewhat sporadically. Mac has yet to finish the base that I will “marry” the carving to, but then again I’m far from finished myself. I’m now working on the right side of the Knight, and have it roughed in for the most part.

A great deal of my time this week was spent working the area between the chin and the neck. Care must be taken not to break through the bits while removing material in this area. Also I must leave enough material in the middle of the neck to make the chest strap.

All in all, I think that I am satisfied with the progress so far. It’s actually beginning to look like a Chess Knight.

Until the next report.

The Old Man

April 26, 2008

Wood Chips – week #2

Filed under: Uncategorized — theoldman @ 1:49 pm

Although time for me to work on this project was extremely limited this week I was able to make some progress. After the initial roughing in of the piece (last week’s work), which consisted of removing all the large areas of the wooden block that would not be part of the finished piece. The most important task for last week was to insure that the area between the horse,s nose and his neck would align themselves from side to side. I accomplished this by drilling three 3/16ths holes in a straight line from his cheek to the bridle bit, then I carefully removed the material between the holes.

This brings me to the point in time where I must determine just how much armor this piece will have. After considering the scale of the piece, the carving is only 2 1/8th inches tall, I felt that it would be best to keep the armor somewhat minimal. I have chosen, as is reflected by the sketch, to limit the armor to the Champron (also known as chanfron, chamfrein, and shaffron), and the Criniere (also known as manefaire, or crinet). Additionally, I chose to only include the top lames of the Criniere, this would allow for the three straps that held the crinet in place to be seen. The end result, hopefully, is that the piece will have visual interest without being too “busy.” The following two pictures show the progress to date.


The Old Man

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at