Category Archives: house

Product Review: Utilitech 1/6 HP Utility Pump

This past weekend, I had the unfortunate pleasure of using a utility pump to get water out of my basement.  It was a good pump, but did not come with any instructions or trouble shooting so I was mostly wandering around blindly while inches of water came in through my basement. I thought it might help some people if I wrote about how to use it.

  • The shorter the hose the better. I originally had 100 feet of hose attached to the pump, but that was way too long. I bought it that long so that I could run the hose out of the basement to the front, but my father pointed out that I could get a shorter hose and put it through the drain for the washing machine. Since the power cord was 10 feet long, I bought the shortest hose I could get (15 feet)/
  • Sometimes the pump would not spin. This was because of silt that had gotten into the mechanism.  By drilling the screws out and wiping each part down, I was able to get most of the silt out. Always make sure that the pump is turned off when you do that and try it out before you put the screws back in.
  • Sometimes that even doesn’t work. The only way I figured out how to make the pump start working was to turn it out, put it on the floor, and then unscrew the hose until it started taking in water. Then you have to move very fast, angle the pump on its side and screw the hose back on. This way, it will start taking water up and through the hose.
  • Make sure to give it time to cool down. It has a little engine and it is doing a lot of work, so put it in a cool place.
  • Clean it completely after you are done with it.

Hopefully I won’t have to use this again anytime soon. However, we need to get a few contractors out to fix things in the house and yard.

I bought my pump at Lowes. It was located in the back behind the fridge/sink/toilet display against the back wall.

What you stole

Sometime yesterday afternoon, you and at least one other friend broke into my house and stole my stuff. You pawed through my clothing, you smoked in my house. You violated my security and you left your tire iron on my bed.

You stole my pearl earrings and necklace that my grandparents had given me. But you cannot steal the memories of being at Epcot Center with them and the joy of watching the guy open up the oyster I had picked and finding not one, but two pearls in it.  Even my grandfather was overjoyed with my luck that day and we had them made into earrings with gold backings.  I wore them and the necklace they gave me at my graduations, at weddings, and at my grandfather’s funeral as a tribute to him.

You stole the necklace my father brought back from Saudi Arabia.  But you cannot steal the feelings of happiness when he would finally come back from setting up the computer system for his client or the anger and annoyance that went with it.  Not entirely happy memories, but they made us a stronger family.

You stole my celtic knot…perhaps my most favorite necklace. It isn’t worth anything on the street, especially in a neighborhood with no Irish. However, you cannot steal the fun that I had out at Hammond Castle, Connecticut, Carver, or Salem dressed up as a “Renaissance” woman being teased by actors and men who believe in chivalry or the memories of delivering cookies or taking pictures from the front lines.

You took my baby locket, my confirmation cross, my grandmother’s jewelry.

You took my feeling of security in my own home.

You ruined my door and the wall I had just painted.

You took my stash of Canadian money.

You, however, did not hurt anyone who lives in the house.

You did not burn down my house with your disgusting cigarette left burning in the rug.

You did not take my great grandmother’s charm bracelet, the only thing I have of hers.

You did not take one of my best gifts ever…the one that my niece picked out for me on her own, and with her own money. The one that I will be wearing this Christmas as it is the about the only jewelry that I have left.
I doubt you are long for this life…but I hope before you die, we get to have some news that you have been arrested or are already in prison and off the streets. I can honestly say that you are one of the few people that I hate.

Running

And not in the good way. I have been flat out running for the last few weeks. Not only did we have a housewarming party, we participated in a snow covered charity walk that didn’t go as well as we wanted it to. Because of the weather, half the members of our team were not able to walk…which really annoyed my Dad as it was in his honor that we were walking. However, if he had gotten sicker at the event, I would never forgive myself.

I have also had a presentation, 8 page paper (which turned out to be 7), 3-5 page paper (which is at 4 right now), 1 page response paper, lit review, children’s program, registering for my last semester of school and a few other things hanging over my head. People at work have been getting hurt (falling off of a stage, fake appendicitis, staph infection) and others have had family members die.

And I haven’t been able to spend any time on my costume 😦 I ran into Salvation Army today to pick up a “bomber jacket”, really just a red faux-leather jacket (for 6.99) and a Halloween store for a pilots hat and goggles and gun. I have my brown shoes, zip pants, and I might try to make a scarf out of an old t-shirt tomorrow quickly…not sure. I’m slightly annoyed that I’ve tossed out certain things and can’t find other things but whatever.

Paper is done, computer will be plugged in for school tomorrow, costume is mostly together. I didn’t get to make my Guinness cupcakes, but that is fine. I’ll make them on Saturday to eat with our pot roast.

Snowman

Last week, just in time for the cold weather of this week, we were able to get our asbestos covered hot oil heater from possibly the 1920s removed and replaced with an energy star gas heat system. This took many many many phone calls and discussion amongst different groups of people.

One of the biggest drawbacks that we could come up with of doing this type of conversion is the cost. However, it was a lot less than what we thought it was to get the asbestos out, as well as the oil tank and oil in the tank.

Snowman Replacement

We used two different companies to take care of this job over two days. The asbestos removal took from 7 AM to about 2 PM and made the heater go from white to black as shown in the 2nd picture. Thankfully the weather held up and stayed in the 60s since we had no heat.

The next day at 7AM the gas guys came in very pleased with the condition of the heater. Loud banging, drilling, and thumping commenced for hours later and when I left for my parent’s house at 5, the electrician was still working. He did not leave until about 6 or 6:30. The result of that was the third picture: an energy efficient gas heater that takes up about 80% less space and will not leave oil puddles or cause us to need to contact Jim Sokolove.

The heat has been working fairly well…we still need to find our programmable thermostat so we can be more accurate in our heating levels. Only a few more major projects to do on the house for now…painting two rooms and possibly the hallway, putting up new molding in the kitchen, and then figuring out what to do in the deck area.

House updating

Now, I knew when we bought this house that there would be a lot of time spent fixing things. But I didn’t really realize that it would take so much work. And it still isn’t done yet!! There is always something to do and something to buy.

The Office Before
The Office Before
The Inbetween
The Office Inbetween

So this is our office. It went from being a boring light blue like the other rooms in the house into a nice light yellow squash. There is still some touching up to do but it is much nicer than before and has our desks set up just in time for school to start up again.

Bedroom After
Bedroom After
Bedroom Before
Bedroom Before

The bedroom has been changed a lot, as well. Before it was a bland green color and the furniture they had in there was huge! We changed the paint to a “mellow mauve”, really a nice purple color and will be putting in a much smaller fan. This one feels like its going to take someone’s head off. That room is mostly done except for the fan, which is a small job that can be taken care of easily.

Now we just have to get moving on removing the asbestos covered hot oil heater in the basement. Its going to be easier than I thought, which is nice since we don’t have a ton of money to toss around on something like this.

Milestones

In the past 3 days, I have had 3 milestones of various size. The first is silly and only means anything to me as this is my 100th posting here.

The second, is that I am a homeowner. We have already made our mark on the house by ripping down wallpaper and writing on the walls. Already have had the first drinks, the first family visit, and the first cooking in the house.

Birthday!

The third, is that today is my birthday. Today, I am 30…and I had a bunch of wonderful people come out last night to participate in a scavenger hunt that I made (apparently very hard) and then drink with me. They even bought me a ride on the carousel on the Greenway.  I have not had a great year…but I think the tide might be turning. I feel blessed and loved and happy…and that hasn’t happened in a long time.

Today, I am going to go play skee ball, because everyone should do that as much as possible. And then I shall go to my Grandma’s house for dinner, presents, children running around, cake, and loveliness. Yeah!