Friday, September 30, 2005

Letter to the editor - Louisiana

I can't take credit for it but I certainly agree with it, especially when idiotic Lousiana state leaders are asking me to fund corruption well into the future. We had 2 natural disasters, separated by two weeks time. One hit a state led by Democrats, the other by Rebublicans. Bug diffeence, read on: (excerpted from a site the Techniguy)

2 States, 22 Observations

1. Texas: Productive industrious state run by Republicans.
Louisiana: Government dependent welfare state run by Democrats.

2. Texas: Residents take responsibility to protect and evacuate themselves.
Louisiana: Residents wait for government to protect and evacuate them.

3. Texas: Local and state officials take responsibility for protecting their
citizens and property.
Louisiana: Local and state officials blame federal government for not protecting their citizens and property.

4. Texas: Command and control remains in place to preserve order.
Louisiana: Command and control collapses allowing lawlessness.

5. Texas: Law enforcement officers remain on duty to protect city.
Louisiana: Law enforcement officers desert their posts to protect themselves.

6. Texas: Local police watch for looting.
Louisiana: Local police participate in looting.

7. Texas: Law and order remains in control, 8 looters tried it, 8 looters arrested.
Louisiana: Anarchy and lawlessness breaks out, looters take over city, no
arrests, criminals with guns have to be shot by federal troops.

8. Texas: Considerable damage caused by hurricane.
Louisiana: Considerable damage caused by looters.

9. Texas: Flood barriers hold preventing cities from flooding.
Louisiana: Flood barriers fail due to lack of maintenance allowing city to flood.

10. Texas: Orderly evacuation away from threatened areas, few remain.
Louisiana: 25,000 fail to evacuate, are relocated to another flooded area.

11. Texas: Citizens evacuate with personal 3 day supply of food and water.
Louisiana: Citizens fail to evacuate with 3 day supply of food and water, do without it for the next 4 days.

12. Texas: FEMA brings in tons of food and water for evacuees. State officials provide accessible distribution points.
Louisiana: FEMA brings in tons of food and water for evacuees. State officials prevent citizens from reaching distribution points and vice versa.

13. Louisiana: Media focuses on poor blacks in need of assistance, blames Bush.
Texas: Media can't find poor blacks in need of assistance, looking for something else to blame on Bush.

14. Texas: Coastal cities suffer some infrastructure damage, Mayors tell residents to stay away until ready for repopulation, no interference from federal officials.
Louisiana: New Orleans is destroyed, Mayor asks residents to return home as another hurricane approaches, has to be overruled by federal officials.

15. Louisiana: Over 400 killed by storm, flooding and crime.
Texas: 24 killed in bus accident on highway during evacuation, no storm related deaths.

16. Texas: Jailed prisoners are relocated to other detention facilities outside the storm area.
Louisiana: Jailed prisoners are set free to prey on city shops, residents, and homes.

17. Texas: Local and state officials work with FEMA and Red Cross in recovery operations.
Louisiana: Local and state officials obstruct FEMA and Red Cross from aiding in recovery operations.

18. Texas: Local and state officials demonstrate leadership in managing disaster areas.
Louisiana: Local and state officials fail to demonstrate leadership, require federal government to manage disaster areas.

19. Texas: Fuel deliveries can't keep up with demand, some run out of gas on highway, need help from fuel tankers before storm arrives.
Louisiana: Motorists wait till storm hits and electrical power fails. Cars run out of gas at gas stations that can't pump gas. Gas in underground tanks mixes with flood waters.

20. Texas: Mayors move citizens out of danger.
Louisiana: Mayor moves himself and family to Dallas.

21. Texas: Mayors continue public service announcements and updates on television with Governor's backing and support.
Louisiana: Mayor cusses, governor cries, senator threatens president with violence on television, none of them have a clue what went wrong or who is responsible.

22. Louisiana: Democratic Senator says FEMA was slow in responding to 911 calls from Louisiana citizens.
Texas: Republican Senator says "when you call 911, the phone doesn't ring in Washington, it rings here at the local responders".

What if state and local elected officials were forced to depend on themselves and their own resources instead of calling for help from the federal government? Texas cities would be back up and running in a few days. Louisiana cities would still be under water next month. Republicans call for action, Democrats call for help. What party will you be voting for in the next election?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Letter to the editor - Gutless Republicans

So after a Republican (because the dimocrats didn't show up) hammer the living sh*t out of FEMA head Brown for problems during Katrina, problems that to even the casual viewer were largely because of Lousianna Governor and New Orleans Mayor ineptitute, the following day that same inept, criminally inept, governor appears before a Senate committee and no one asks:
  • Why didn't you order a mandatory evacuation?
  • Why didn't you mobilize the New Orleans school buses so those poor folk could leave the city?

Hmmm. The Republicans have no spine.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Day 13 - We're done

Except for the addition of towel racks and a toilet paper holder, the bathroom is complete. I've got to give some credit here:
  • Updike Bathhroom Remodeling of Indianapolis - the primary contractor, upscale and worth the price.
  • Bradley "Brad" Ford owner of Built to Last Construction - the subcontractor, absolutely super guy.
  • Brad's assistant, "Spud" - hard working youngster.
  • Sanijet of Coppell Texas - the manufacturer of the tub, can only buy from them over the internet, and I highly recommend it.
  • Berch Cabinets - manfacturer of the cabinetry, including the mirrored medicine cabinets - good products and high quality.

Notice the "cute" corner toilet?

Back to the tub. We tracked this down because we live in a high rise condominium and the tub had to be virtually silent, and it more than lives up to Sanijet's claim.

Day 12 - Almost done

Well I tried a couple of times, but I couldn't find a way to rotate the pictures so if you're looking, just cock your head to the side.

What I am trying to show is that the tile now has grout. We chose a blue grout instead of what we originally wanted (white) and I'm glad we changed our minds, looks cool. Margie's extension mirror (I spent a ton of time trying to find this for a Christmas present last year) is now mounted on here side of the sink.

The pull knobs on the cabinets are a goofy brass or bronze colored. I talked to the contractor and he'll swap out what was delivered for Chrome.

Day 11 - Paint

It is probably hard to tell, but yes I have a shirt on (wife beater t-shirt) and the bathroom has been painted. Tile work is also complete but you can't see it from the pictures I've posted here.

The painter wasn't part of the deal from the contractor so we had to find our own. We found a really good guy who fit this in between other bigger jobs. The color really doesn't come through, but it is a pretty bold blue.


We have a new addition to our family....her name is Sassy. When we brought her home she weighed in at 10 almost 11#. She's nine weeks old now. She is a Chocolate Lab...such a sweet puppy. You know Tyler's just romping all over the place with her. Oz is just beside himself with joy....we have a "real dog".

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Democrats - dumb, dumber and dumber still

Judge Roberts, nominated by President Bush for the Supreme Court, has now been voted out of the Judical Committee confirmation hearings for a vote by the full senate. Key Democrats, especially those with an eye on the 2008 elections, have decided to ignore the Constituition and to ignore their responsibilities simply to cater to the left-wing of their party.

Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, Biden, Reid, Shumer, Kennedy, Feinstein, Boxer among others haev announced they'll vote no. They'll vote NO because Roberts has not said that he'll vote to protect women's right to kill (ie., did not say he wouldn't over turn Roe v. Wade) and didn't say he believed in the right to privacy, the basic rationale that supports the Roe v. Wade decision.

None of these full blown fools considered what his responsibilities are on the court, interpreting laws in the context of the Constituition.

Apparently the Democrats believe that laws should be interpreted, not in the context of the Constituition but whether or not the laws protect some presumed right.

Weather or war?

Very interesting reading regardless of whether or not you believe this guy. His contention is that the dramatic weather events were seeing, events that could include:
  • the heat wave in Europe last year that killed some 30,000
  • possibly the tsunami
  • Katrina
  • Rita
  • Southern India storm that just killed 800 plus
  • and.....

were all unnatural events caused by weather weapons of war. If have teh bandwidth, dig around and check some of the videos. If nohting else, interesting reading.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Day 10 - A lot of progress

This was a busy day. It is amazing how fast the room is taking shape, but I guess that is a function of the time the contractor spent on what I would call the infrastructure.

Note the virtual wall of medicine cabinets and mirrors. The lights are on a dimmer switch although in the picture the lights are on full force.

More cabinetry is in place but it is only standing there and not firmly attached. The wall on the left isn't plumb so the'll gouge a little bit out and inset the vanities by about a half an inch.

A lot of fun with electricity today. We had rewired the condo a year ago in preparation for this work becaus the tub needed juice that wasn't available otherwise. As luck would have it the electrical contractor we used last year didn't wire the feed to the breaker. Continuing with that luck, we had subsequently had a finish carpenter box in the control panel. When the contractor wired up the tub, we found out the good news and they then had to undo the work of the finish carpenter to get to and correct the connection. Luckily everything on the tub work after that bit of rewiring.

Also had another bit if fun with the electricity. When Spud (the young helper) wired up the medicine cabinet lights he wanted me to see how it looked. I noticed that one of teh bulbs wasn't lit up and he tightened it. When he did, the wall switch blew. The problem was with the light system, one of the contacts was off, which made it connect to the brass threads on the bulb. Easy to fix fo Brad, the senior of the two - he's got enough experience to have seen this sort of thing more than once.

They also prepped the walls and ceiling for painting. They'll all be in tomorrow (Saturday) and I expect to see even more progress by the end of the day.

Day 9 - Floor is tiled & cabinets start to appear

Today the contractor finished laying the tile and moved in two linen cabinets that will back up to the tub area. We were going to use white grout but after seeing the look with the quickset epoxy bondong material showing throough we've decided to use a blue grout. Note that the little diamond tiles you see are in fact royal blue. The bathroom colors are blue and white so it should all hold together as a color scheme.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Today's hero

I can't really saythat I have any heros but in the last couple of days there has been a guy who stands heads and shoulders above anyone I have seen in quite a while. I'm talking about the badass Lt. General Russel Honore to whom I'll forever be grateful for coining the phrase, "We ain't stuck on stupid". If he wants to run for office, he gets my vote.

Day 8 - Shaping up

The walls are now all up and they have started the tape and bed process to get it ready for painting. The contractors have also started laying the tile. We're going with white tile and a small dark blue inset, but you can see that. Still to be decided is the color of the grout. We had originally thought we'd use white grout but may decide on a dark, blue or black, color toset off the white. Two or three more days and it'll be readyto go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Day 7 - tub hooked up

The tub is now hooked up to the plumbing. The contractor had to over come a really awkward problem. It is difficult to tell from the pictures but the front of the tub is designed in such a way that it is difficult to attach the overflow mechanism to the p-trap/drain. The drain pipe is below the floor (d'oh) and if this were a normal house it wouldn't be a problem. This is, however, a condominium on the 6th for and the drain pipe is reach through a small cut out in the concrete floor - a very small space. A normal tub is slanted from the top / front back towards the bottom / front. That gives the installer a way to reach down under the tub and into the sub-flooring. Not so here. So they had to widen the cut out on the concrete (real fun) then devise a unique connection to the drain, which they actually reached through another hole in the concrete that is open for the airshaft that you see (the sheet metal shaft).

We almost had to get permission from the guy who lives on the floor below to let the contractor cut through his ceiling to get to our plumbing. Would have been fun.

The drain in the tub is sort of interesting, especially made for this particular tub. Instead of a lever to raise or a chain to lift the plug, the overflow outlet turns and lifts a wire that is integrated with the overflow tubing on the front of the tub (which isn't visible).

Also note there are multiple shower heads. Two small ones about halfway up the piping that leads to the top shower head hook up. These are body sprays. When everything is ready to go there will be small spray nozzles that can be directed to hit different body parts while you're showering. Hmmmm.

They also set the wall behind the tub. Ultimately this wall will be the separation between the tub area and two side by side linen closets.

Day 6 - More ceiling / walls

Okay, this was Monday 09-19-2005 and the contractor came back from the weekend ready to roll. Ceiling is up as are most of the walls. The tub is now in the location where it will be installed. The bulk of the wiring has also been installed.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Day 5 - Ceiling is up

The ceiling has been framed in and is now installed. It is 4.5 inches higher than before, for some reason, when this place was originally constructed the builder had the bathroom ceilings much lower than needed for electrical runs.

The walls are nearly complete and the tub is sitting where it will be installed.

Day 4 - Bathroom Rennovation

Day 4 and now the de-construction is complete and they're starting to rebuild. Some walls are on teh way back up and they have started reframing the cwiling. They have also moved the plumbing for the vanity sinks. Since we took out the closet we'll now have two more feet of vanity space to collect junk on, which means that the sinks will be in a different spot, necessitating moving the plumbing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Day 3 - Ceiling volunteers to come down

Holy moley, the toilet is now gone. The rest of the ceiling volunteered to come down so the bathroom building contractor will have to replace the entire ceiling. This is a good thing though since we'll have a ceiling that is 4 inches higher than it was before. For some reason the way this place was originally constructed they built the ceiling much lower than it needed to be to run electrical and water runs.

The tub (that wonderful swirly tub) was delivered and it will be set by tomorrow night. I included a hallway shot to show the wall that will be coming down, probably tomorrow as well. The result is going to be very open bathroom, opened into the master bedroom (which frankly is too small for the word, "master").

Ultimately we'll reconfigure our master bedroom and middle bedroom into something quite different, but that will not be until we finish the bath.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Day 2 - More de-construction

Even more de-construction, ain't it grand? Really sort of amazing, when you look at a wall in your home, it seems substantial. It really isn't or at least not as substantial as it seems - sure are easy to take down.

Learned something pretty interesting regarding tile. Since we're going to retile the bathroom floor, the crew had to take out the old. Now when I did that my self back when I felt competent in a construction sort of way, it took me forever using a hammer and chisel. The crew who're doing the rennovation had a hammer-drill with a chisle bit. Did the entire floor in 45 minutes.

We also discovered that the tile around the tub (it used to be in the empty space above) had needed the grout sealed for a looooooooong time. The wallboard behind the tub was completely rotten and the metal studs in the wall had started to rust out. We would have have some real problems later had we not done this now.

We're also going to get to raise the ceiling. Seems the original wasn't fastened correctly and when the crews started taking down the wall, the ceiling volunteered to go away as well. We'll be able to raise it a good 4 to 6 inches. Luckily, this (I pray) is a fixed price project so we come out ahead.

The new swirly tub was delivered today. Product from Sanijet in Dallas (well, Coppell). I can't waait for that. Not only is it top of the line but it even has, get this, mood lights. I think I'll spend my retirement in the tub.

Day 1 - Bathroom de-construction

Day 1 - Bathroom de-construction.

Here's a couple of pictures of the bathroom as it looks now that the crew has started tearing stuff down.

They would have made greater progress but we live in a high-rise condo complex that has some rules. The crew couldn't start until 9:00 am and have to quit at 6:00 pm. They also have to put the "stuff" into the dumpsters out back and those were full from the weekend so they were limited at to how much they could do.

Frankly I suspect they didn't want to do too much on a Monday and sort of dragged their feet.