I know, sort of boring, but that’s life.
There seems to always be some projects to do on the coach, mostly driven by something we think that would make our life in the coach better or by some maintenance requirement.
Fluff and Buff
This summer I polished the entire coach. You never have any idea how big it is until you do this. We had the coach washed last December in Fredericksburg. The guy that did it said they could wax it too, I said OK. They used some spray on stuff that looked very good when they were done but within a few weeks it started interacting with what was already there and started looking blotchy. It was more noticeable in the white gel coat areas where it just started looking cloudy, off white, discolored. I tried cleaning it by hand with no success. So when we got home I got out my machine buffer, a micro-fine polish and set out on a mission. Of course it was in the hottest part of the summer and sunny. It was hard to see what I was doing in the sun and almost as hard to see on the shady side. I had a roll-around scaffold that made the job easier.
I got the whole coach done. It looked much better but there are still areas where more attention is needed. I’ll get to them sooner or later.
It is not very exciting but we got two new tires for the front of the coach. They had about 40,000 miles on them but reached the 6 year point when most sources suggest replacing them for safety reasons. So we did. The rear tires will get replaced next summer. I kept the take off tires, most dealers in Minnesota won’t give you any trade-in for them. My Texas friends say they get something. I brought them home, put an ad on Craig’s List the next morning and sold them for $100 each before 3 in the afternoon. Thanks Craig’s list. The buyer was a Ukrainian fellow from north of the Twin Cities who has semi-trailers in which he hauls sand and gravel. These are better than retreads for him. He asked me to call him next summer when I replace the rear tires. Good for us and for him. We stand with and support the Ukrainian people in their struggle for their country, their homes and families, and their very lives.
I also replaced the bathroom fan. The old three speed fan was original to the coach and was still working. The newer ones are variable speeds, reversible, and have built-in thermostats to control the fan. And they have a remote control. In the evening you can set the fan to a temperature you want, say 65 degrees, and the fan will start exhausting air. The further away from the temperature you set the faster it goes. The fan slows down as the exhaust air gets closer to the temperature you have set. This is a pretty effective way of cooling the coach, especially the bedroom, when the days are warm and the evening and overnights are cooler.
The fan was on sale, cheapest I had seen it, works great.
Our friends Hans and Marjet, from South Carolina, asked me to make a new cover for the cooktop in their coach. The existing one was a fold up metal one, they were thinking a wooden one would be nice. There was quite a bit of back and forth about dimensions and fit. I finally got busy on a new black walnut cover for them.
They report a perfect fit and they can use it as extra counter space when it sits on the top kitchen drawer when it is pulled out.
Our 21 year old house (we can’t hardly believe we have been here that long) was due for some maintenance and upgrades.
When we got home and started all of the normal systems back up we thought the water softener wasn’t really working as well as we thought it should. We called the guy who installed it when we built the house in 2000. He had retired and sold his business but he came over anyway. He was pretty surprised it was still working but not as well as it should. He suggested replacing it, the guy that bought his company could get it done in just a day or two. So we ordered a new water softener with fancy controls. The recharge cycles are based on how much water we actually use not just how many days go by. Much less salt and water use.
The installer showed up the next day and had the old softener out and a new one installed in just over an hour. He also installed an incoming water sediment trap, something we should have
done originally. So we are all set.
Susan asked if, as long as he was here, could he replace all of the filters under the kitchen sink so he did. And, Oh by the way, she asked, we have a new kitchen faucet, could you install that too? Sure, he had it done in a fraction of the time it would have taken me. The kitchen filters and faucet are now done and working fine.
Fresh Air Exchanger
If it isn’t one thing it is something else. The fresh air exchanger that removes air from the house and replaces it with fresh air from outside wouldn’t come on. If the outside air is colder than the inside air it is warmed up as it comes in. If the incoming air is warmer than inside it is cooled. If it is humid some of the moisture is removed.
One thing about living in a smaller town that we like is that we get to know who to call for help when we need it. We called Jeff, he came over to check it out. It wasn’t working, he said. When was the last time you cleaned the filters, he asked. It has filters? I replied. So obviously, in more than 20 years the twice a year cleaning had never been done. And he said it was installed incorrectly in any case. We could fix the old one but for not much more we could replace it with a new one, much more efficient, and all four of the controllers. So it got replaced.
Our job was to figure out how to get wires from a place on the wall in the library down to where the new air exchanger was. We couldn’t just go down through the floor. With in-floor heat there are tubes running through the concrete floor that might get damaged. There was an access hole made through the floor when we built the house but it was now behind the built-in book cases and desk in the library. We managed to snake wire up from down stairs where the internet, phone, and cable tv cables were, back up between the wall and the back of the book cases, across the top of the cabinets and desk, into the wall and down to where the air exchanger control was mounted. It only took most of a day.
The new air exchanger is installed (correctly) and fully functional.
A couple years ago we did a long term radon test over the winter while we were gone. The results were right on the border between OK and Do Something. We decided that it was time to do something. nothing was installed when we built the house, it was probably not required and no provisions were made for a later installation.
We found a qualified radon mitigation installer and he came out and took a look. These are pretty simple to install, a 4” hole gets cut through the concrete basement floor, a space under the floor is opened up, and a PVC pipe gets installed in the hole and out through the roof of the house. Any radon gases are sucked out from under the basement slab and exhausted outside with the help of an in-line fan.
Once again the heated floors presented a problem, where to put a big hole in the floor without hitting any of the tubing in the floor. The installer had a camera system that clearly showed where the warm lines in the floor were which is where the tubing was. It was pretty easy to mark where to make the hole safely. The radon mitigation system was installed, tested and is working properly. A followup radon test showed no more radon gasses. Perfect
Some projects take a long time to finish. The lower level of our house is finished, we did it ourselves. But not quite completed. The wood work on the interiors of the three closets was left to do. Each closet has 21 pieces of trim that has to be carefully cut, fitted and installed. And all of this woodwork (as is all of the woodwork in our house) is custom woodwork we made ourselves, carefully sanded and finished, and then installed. We also added a new door between the store room and the room where the water heater and HVAC equipment is located. And that door needed trim too, just 12 pieces. This part of the downstairs project is almost done now.
In the NE corner between the street and our driveway there are three old majestic oak trees. We have no idea how old they are but the fellow that trims our trees guessed 75 years or more. This entire area was at one time what is called an “Oak Savannah”, a prairie with oak trees spread across it. In the mid 1800s, the City of Nininger was located right where we are now. That city is long gone and the land became farm land and then pasture land. The oak trees returned and survived the farming and grazing. All of this ended in the 1960’s and a forest of smaller trees and undergrowth filled in.
We want to provide a healthier area for these three oak trees by removing any of the new growth trees that interfere with the oaks and all of the undergrowth that used water that could be used by the oaks and then plant an appropriate ground cover for an open woodland setting.
This meant clearing a few thousand square feet of the woods around the oaks, getting rid of all of the cuttings, leveling off the ground and preparing it for a new woodland grass seed mix. We don’t intend to mow this but want a stable grass that will promote a better and healthier area for the oak trees.
There is more to trim and clear, a never ending job in the woods.
As we get older steps get harder to navigate. We had three steps coming down from our deck to the walkway along side of the garage. Moving things on and off the deck was much easier 20 years ago than now. And while trimming some branches I tripped and did a face plant into the steps. The docs said I did not have a concussion but I got pretty black and blue and now have a new wrinkle (dent) in my forehead.
It was not pretty. Bouncing my head on the edge of a step was no fun.
We decided to remove the steps, replace them with a ramp, add a gate, and improve the walkway.
Another project done in the name of geezerdom.
Well that is enough. I apologize for the long stretches between posts, you might just guess that we were busy. But there is more, next time.
More Later, Much Love,
Roger and Susan
2 thoughts on “Summer Projects, 2022”
Roger, I am tired just reading up on what you and Susan have accomplished this summer! I thought I had been busy, but it looks as though I was just sitting around compared to you! You are very lucky you did not get injured more with that fall on the step. They are non forgiving! An update on Dottie; she ended up having both knees replaced with artificial ones and her heart fixed, so should be pretty good to go for a time being. Yes, getting old is not for the faint of heart! Thanks for the updates and keep those feet firmly on the ground and body vertical!
Kindness regards, Joe & Dottie
I can relate to the buffing of the coach, Roger. When I did it I swore it had lengthened to a 40 footer! Not a job for the faint of heart..