Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Of door locks, dead-bolts and wall repairs

Replaced Front Door Knob and Deadbolt
If you've been to our house anytime before last week you have probably fought with the knob on our front door. It constantly felt stuck, and somehow loose at the same time. We finally got sick of it and decided to replace it.

We started by removing the existing one, which surprisingly wasnt as hard as 99% of the other "removal" processes we've encountered in this house so far. We did notice an odd rouge screw sitting inside the deadbolt's cavity. We shrugged our shoulders and removed it.

After removing all of the old hardware, we immediately noticed the new strike plate is larger, so we needed to chisel away a new "pocket" for it.
Chiseling away a pocket to fit the new strike plate

After we put everything in place, we wanted to rekey the lock to our existing keys. The locks we bought have a nice feature that lets you set the lock to any key that will fit in it. Halley started reading the instructions and charged ahead on this project. After a short bit we realized that we rekeyed the lock incorrectly so that no key would open the door.

We found some guides on how to "hack" these locks, but decided we'd rather be SURE we can lock the door at night so Halley headed back to Home Depot to get a new lock core.  The gentleman at the key desk gave us a new cylinder for free and re-keyed it to ensure it was done properly.

Replaced Garage Door Lock

Interior View
We're not quite sure how, but the knob that you turn to lock the bolts into the track of the garage broke and fell out one day.  This left our garage door open to the public for their pillaging pleasure (no one bothered our stuff, thank goodness).  We got a replacement mechanism at good ol' Home Depot, the install was uneventful.
Exterior View

Monitor Mount
The "lair"
Matt has quite a "lair" of a computer room.  While most people get by with a laptop screen, he find 4 monitors allow him maximum productivity for a wide array of projects.  I go along with this scheme because the monitors are almost all second hand, and they are powered down when not in use (which is often).  The fourth monitor now resides over the electronic drum kit, with additional keyboard and mouse to follow.  We've had the monitor mount for a while, but in the move we lost the bracket that mounts to the wall to hold the whole thing up.  After month's of searching, I found it in the yogurt container with the other wall hardware that was hastily removed as we left the apartment.  Now everything is in it's proper place.

Picture Frames
In the effort to put the finishing touches on the Pit, we've hung some of our wall art.  Featured pieces include the finger print tree from our wedding, two photos from my cousin Dave Soffa, a series of photos of the moon through the phases of an eclipse and two prints Matt ordered that he really loves.  One is a quote from a video game and the other is a comic about how the way we think changes as we age.

The new whip
After 21 dutiful years on the road, Matt's Honda Civic puttered for the last time to Uncle Chris's shop.  The cost of repairs represented more than double the Kelly Blue Book value for the car, it was time to say goodbye.  We knew our next car would be a Honda, as we have seen them be fantastic in light of our terrible maintenance record.  Recently Matt commented that my check-engine light was on, I assured him that is was always that color.  After getting the car back from inspection with a few repairs, the light is now off.  I have no idea how long I was driving with it on.  Aaaanyway, back to the new car purchase.

Spreading fur all over the place on Day1
We tried to think of the "most flotsam to transport" scenario.  Our conclusion was going camping at Harper's Ferry with at most two car seats and at least one dog.  The CR-V was the logical conclusion, bigger than the Element, but not as enormous as the Pilot.  We love everything about it and are very grateful to our Uncle Chris for all his advice and help with the transaction.  

On our first trip to Home Depot after the purchase, we stood at a black Toyota Rav4 hitting the unlock button on the keys to no avail.  We've never had a big car like this before and are still getting used to it.  Although we knew Matt's car would bite the dust soon, the purchase will still slow some house projects.  C'est la vie, we love the car and can garden in the mean time.

Bonded Water Heater
One of the items on our "The home inspector told us to do it, so we are going to do it" list was to Bond the Water heater. After googling this a bit, Matt found that most people find this to be a bit overkill, but since it was only about 5$ in hardware we decided to do it anyway. The basic idea is that the cold water line is grounded naturally, but the hot could potentially build up a charge and discharge near a gas line or something scary. So all you need to do is slap some wire between the two. (He did follow the specifications online for gauge and placement, but in reality, it doesn't matter)

Water Heater Pilot
I shower in the morning and the water was just not getting hot, just barely above room temperature, which would explain why Matt didn't notice a problem.  Convinced the water heater was dying, and given the warning that it would need replacing in the home inspection, we started looking online for a new one.  In a stroke of genius, Matt went to check the pilot light, which should have been the first step.  The pilot light was out, causing the total lack of hot water.  Next time before we look to replace something, we should take a better look at the actual machine.

Pit Wall Repair
After the bump out of the wall in the Pit, we needed to do some repair work.  We cut away the layer of wallpaper and sanded the opening smooth.  After a few rounds of spackle, sanding and finally some paint, it doesn't look too shabby.  There is a texture difference, and even a color difference (despite the cans being mixed and purchased at the same time, with the same spec's) which is mostly hidden by the wedding fingerprint picture anyway.