Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Naming of the Land Cruiser

I have been thinking for some time that the Land Cruiser needs a name. For a long time I haven't known what I what I would like to name it, but that all changed today. I was reminded of a story that is a great science fiction classic, Dune. It is a story about a prince called Paul Atreides of the House Atreides. who becomes a leader for a people who live on a sand planet which is called Dune--hence the name. Anyway, this prince has a certain friend who was his closest friend. His name was Duncan. Duncan was also one of the greatest warriors of the House Atreides. He died in the stuggle to win the Dune Planet from the Harkonnens. So, in honor him, the Land Cruiser will be called Duncan.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Joy of Homeownership

The insurance company can bite me.

So we closed on the house and everything was going fine. Then, one day around the middle of November we get this call from the insurance company. They had sent out an inspector to look at the house and they found a deficiency. The fence was leaning. It's true. This is what it looked like.

Now, I can't deny that I wanted to fix the fence; the only problem was that they only gave me until January 4 to do it. Now I don't know about you guys, but wintertime yard work is the way I've always wanted to spend the holidays. The short timeline was a problem because the fence fell over due to a drainage problem that exists in the backyard. If you look in the picture you can see a couple of low spots where the water pools and undermines the fence posts. I wanted to fix the drainage before fixing the fence. I know that may sound a little absurd, but that's what I wanted to do. So I presented this request to them and asked for more time-a couple of months at least, if not 'til summer. Well, they refused, but suggested that we might be able to board the fence or prop it or something. Ok, I thought, I'll try this halfway approach since they won't budge on the timeline. So I got this long board and screwed it one there, believing I was satisfying their requirements. This is how it turned out (in all it's glory):

Well, they didn't like it. And I quote: "You need to put the board on the other side so it isn't visible." and "The fence isn't fully upright." I can't really argue with either of those, the board is ugly and the fence isn't fully upright. But if you ask for half-baked you get half-baked.

So after this I finally asked the question: "What if it isn't my fence?" Ownership of the fence was never actually identified. The neighbor doesn't know whose it is either. Well, they said it was still a possible claim. and I had to fix it. At this point I really began to push for an extension. For a while there was a glimmer of hope that they would extend the deadline until renewal which is in September. Last Thursday (12/17) they called to say that they would not give me the extension. From that point I had 18 days-10 of which we are going to be out of town.

I have forgotten a key point. When they asked us to fix the fence I figured if we hadn't done it by the time they asked they would send a notice of some kind. Well I was wrong. The week after they called to say we needed to fix it, we got a cancellation in the mail effective January 4. That seems pretty drastic to me. So, all I have in writing at this point is that my insurance will be cancelled on January 4. Before we leave town this Christmas Eve I have to get something that says I will have insurance again in the new year.

Now I figured I just had to get it done. Any more time spent arguing with fools is time lost for making the repair. The night I found out I went to Lowes and got cement, new posts, and everything else I needed to get the job done. Then I started calling around and emailing to see who I could get to come help me set the posts on the Saturday before Christmas. Luckily I have many generous friends who came to help me work on it in the winter weather. Between Josh, Rob, Derek, Nicole and myself we had it done in only a couple of hours. It was a dirty job because if you remember, the drainage wasn't fixed. Once we redug the holes we had to scoop out about 10 inches of water out of them. When the water level was low you could see a nice little trickle down the sides of the hole filling it back up again. Nice. I think that's good for the concrete, right? Anyway, despite the mud and muck we got the posts set. Here they are setting up.

Looks nice, huh. I was able to pull the old posts out by hand. It was a quality job.

We let that set up over Sunday and yesterday (Monday) Chelsea and I put it back together. Here is the finished product.

It looks passable, it won't last, but all I needed was this picture to appease the insurance company. As you can see, the drainage problem is still just as bad as ever. Next is a great pic that shows one of the new fence posts. As you can see, the concrete is fully underwater. That helps keep the concrete from curing to full strength and makes sure the post will rot at the base.

It just gives me that warm fuzzy of a job well done.

Now I will actually look into getting a drain of some kind installed.

Like I said, they can bite me.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Back when we first got Jake he was just a little guy. I think the first time we weighed him he was like 8 or 9 pounds. His body was shorter than my forearm. He was a little pill. Just ask Chelsea. I had this new job that I had to go to all the time, so she bore the brunt of his 4 month old attitude. He's still a punk, and he'll still lie to your face if you catch him doing something he shouldn't, but we're just as glad as ever to have him around. (Except now he takes up more space on the couch.)