Thinking Out of the Box

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:39 pm
lil_m_moses: (weekend home warrior)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
I could also do something crazy and go to trade school for carpentry, or become a handyman. I enjoy working with my hands and being more active, and it's creative and mechanical and productive and can be detailed. I've long said I wanted to be a librarian and do fine carpentry when I retire. That would be a major lifestyle change, though, and a tough industry to get started in as a middle-aged woman (for reasons of both age and gender).

Oh! I just discovered that Houston has a hacker space with lots of classes, including woodworking and soldering! I might have to see about taking some.

EDIT: TC has at least 3 custom millwork shops. That might be a way to bridge engineering and get into woodworking. Can't hurt to try.

More Hurricane Tolls

Sep. 14th, 2017 04:03 pm
lil_m_moses: (graves)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Oh, dear. One of Lillian's maternal great grandmothers, Gran Anne, passed away this morning. Her house, where e-Pa and YiaYia had also been living to care for her, got flooded for the first time ever during Harvey, despite it also being in the heavy flood zone for the last 2 big floods. They'd evacuated her via floating innertube to another son's house down the street, but all the upheaval of the last 2.5 weeks probably tipped her over the edge she'd been lingering near for a while. RIP, Anne. I'm glad both I and Lillian got a chance to know you a little.

Online Learning Advice?

Sep. 14th, 2017 02:23 pm
lil_m_moses: (cyber)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Hey, Internetz!

If I wanted to take some free or cheap online courses in introductory programming to help me figure out if that's a potential career change (with reschooling) I should consider, are there particular programs you'd recommend? (I enjoy the problem solving aspect of what little I've done, but I do tend to yell at the computer a _lot_ in the process, which is why I hesitate.) I was just glancing at MIT's Open Courseware. I've heard of others like Coursera and Codecademy, and here's a little list with those and others. My background: I learned some Basic and LOGO as a kid in the dawn of PCs, struggled immensely to self-teach while completing honors calculus assignments in MATLAB in the early 90s, dabbled in class-taught FORTRAN '77 in the mid-90s for engineering courses, and have done a little VBA with Excel over the past decade (with a class to start). I have historically been able to figure out generally what code is doing by reading it. I played with LabVIEW a bit and found it pretty confusing, but I was slowly sorting it out.


Sep. 13th, 2017 05:04 pm
lil_m_moses: (The Party Pad)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Seems our sunken living room/bar does not qualify for my flood insurance coverage because it's classified as a basement: below grade and enclosed on all 4 sides. Dammit. I thought I'd read through the policy and found it not classed as a basement, but I think I was reading the homeowner's policy. Or something. Good to know. More impetus to just fill the damned thing in. Or suggest the next owners do so, or something. *sigh* Oh, and apparently the cost to add coverage for the sunken rooms would probably cost more than my entire current flood policy.

The adjuster said he'd put in something for cleanup costs for us, at least. But that wouldn't be more than our deductible, I don't think. And he suggested we look at FEMA stuff too (conveniently, my friend from CA just texted me this morning that he's in town helping FEMA and suggested the same).

But it's just flooring, thankfully, and stuff that was pretty old already (he noted that the carpet is high quality, which would explain why it looks so good after the 13 years I've owned the place and however long it was there before that (it was definitely not new...probably late '90s vintage, if I had to guess). He also opined that he'd pull out the bar cabinets too. Which, if we add concrete, would have to happen anyway. In the meantime, I need to talk to my insurance agent about adjusting my policy, if it's not going to cover some 20% of my house.

Just need one of us to get a job elsewhere, then we can move north and sell this place as-is, probably for about what I bought it for. =/

Eeeennnnhhh! Now!!!

Sep. 12th, 2017 03:57 pm
lil_m_moses: (libra)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Libra Horoscope for week of September 14, 2017
"Dear Dr. Astrology: I'm feeling lost, but am also feeling very close to finding my new direction. It hurts! It would be so helpful if I could just catch a glimpse of that new direction. I'd be able to better endure the pain and confusion if I could get a tangible sense of the future happiness that my pain and confusion are preparing me for. Can you offer me any free advice? -Lost Libra." Dear Libra: The pain and confusion come from the dying of the old ways. They need to die a bit more before the new direction will reveal itself clearly. I predict that will happen soon -- no later than October 1.
So very timely while considering what to do about the house, while looking for ways to move north (or jobs to ensure us income there, anyway) and where exactly to go (gut tells me TC or Madison...the latter's a lot better for jobs for me (and probably both of us), but it's not all that close to my family, being on the wrong side of a giant lake; Grand Rapids would be the theoretical best compromise), and if going back to school for a career change (and to what) would be better. Josh's is pretty good too, while he undergoes similar soul-searching for similar reasons.

Floundering About Fixes

Sep. 9th, 2017 05:07 pm
lil_m_moses: (The Party Pad)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Looks like just pouring in more concrete is the best way to go for the sunken rooms. I guess we should tear out the bar cabinets, then, and possibly/probably turn it into a pantry instead. They're probably all disgusting and moldy under there anyway. I know the cabinet in the lowest corner has always smelled terrible. Then I'd just have to decide if I want to do 6" to take it up to one step down/still sunken, or the full 12" (8 yds vs 16 yds of concrete, I guess). I like the sunken aspect of the room in theory, as it works with the style of the home, but if I bring it all the way up to match the rest of the floors, then I could maybe also get rid of the hearth-brick half-wall constraining the dining room length, which would allow the dining table to be extended without the end-sitter risking falling over backward. My hearth would end up being a big weird 2-brick high thing (with or without the half-wall removal), though, which might also merit changing. I have no idea what's behind the brick, which is also potentially troublesome for the flood wettening issue. That bottom course of brick is still wet, even though the slab floor looks dry. Or maybe it's just stained? I haven't checked that closely.

Ugh. The $$$ keeps piling up when I start thinking like that. I saw one of those signs today: "Joel buys houses, any condition, with cash!" and I'm tempted. Might be worth taking a loss on the sale before spending tens of thousands on repairs (not even really remodeling to make the place nice!) and still not getting anything like that much delta in the sale price. *sigh* I've already put something insane like $60k into this house for roof, HVAC, windows, plumbing, hot water heater, pool fill-in, added attic insulation, coax and ethernet wiring, plumbing fixtures, drain repairs, attic-critter eviction, and foundation repairs, and none of that is sexy or attractive to average "beauty is skin-deep" buyers. And I need to get someone out to redo a bunch of the rotted eaves/soffits and repaint the siding and repitch/replace gutters one of these days too. After I get the attic critters reevicted. And relevel the foundation/add piers under the laundry and breakfast rooms, which have settled badly. And more. The county tax assessor thinks I could sell this place for $230k. They're on crack/haven't actually been here. I think I'd be lucky to get $200k in its current state. I bought it for $190k 12.5 years ago. =( This house is the definition of a money pit.

But anyway, on the topic of filling the living room with more concrete, there seem to be some good tips in this forum post and this one.

Quilt Complete!

Sep. 9th, 2017 12:42 pm
lil_m_moses: (crafty)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Completed Quilt! Quilt Details Completed Quilt Back

Front, detail including all 13 fabrics, and back. I took these with my real camera, and the colors are truer than the previous shots with my phone. It's obviously not quite big enough to work on our queen size bed, but it'll make a nice throw. You can see my wobbly quilting stitch lines on the back, and my fancy pattern on the binding is decidedly wobbly and unevenly fed, but whatever. I'm proud of this pretty thing I made, and the new skills I learned. I probably won't be making another any time soon, but maybe someday.

Catastrophe Crafting

Sep. 8th, 2017 08:52 am
lil_m_moses: (crafty)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
On the 7th Day of the Hurricane... Picked this up to work more on during the hours of nervous Hurricane Harvey news-watching as the rain poured and poured outside. (I'd had the swan and about half the reeds/water done already.) Finished it up last night, so I've completed my requisite 1 per year from this series of Teresa Wentzler's 12 Days of Christmas. I've now finished all the birds (woo! all that minute feather shading was killing me!), so just people left.

Post-Storm Small Blessings

Sep. 7th, 2017 07:49 am
lil_m_moses: (snowman)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Woo! We're officially in Summer Pt II here in Houston. It's currently below 70°F for the first time since mid-late May! Humidity is low too, so I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to air out the house and give the A/C a rest - it's been working overtime to get that living room slab dried out.
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