This Old House, Glaser Edition

Thursday, May 01, 2008

See Steve Run!

We could start off with,
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
but that would be trite!

15,000 started . . .

8,000 finished . . .

TWO died . . .





. . .

Steve ran the Madrid Marathon last Sunday and surprised us all by surviving the high heat and humidity and the last eight miles of the course--uphill and miserable! His name did not appear in the top ten finishers, but he finished with twenty-one minutes to spare (they close the course after six hours). Steve, a veteran of the St. Cloud River Runners, met up with his MinneSOtan buddy Jay in Madrid. Jay, who found the weather uncomfortably hot, chose Madrid over a snowy day at the Brainerd Marathon! For a taste of what it is like to spectate the race, click here. For an insider's view, click here (warning: take Dramamine before watching this clip). What was his secret to such a stellar performance (remember, he did finish)?

Enjoy this marathon photobucket courtesy of ASI Photo Europe.

And, what did he win for sweating it out for 339 minutes and 4 seconds?

Protective Gear for Midnight Runs

Official Time Chip
(Sadly, Not A Potato Chip)

Medal and Bib

Tammy's Mother's Day Present

In case you are suddenly inspired to start running, check out this program for beginners and inspirations when ready to stop! Even penguins and mortals can learn to run. Runner's World arrives every month to motivate Steve with his running.



Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spain or Striped Bass?

Steve made a difficult choice this weekend: stay in town for the 29th Annual Striped Bass Festival or run a marathon in Madrid, Spain. For the first time ever, the festival will feature carnival rides. Who cares if Pamela (our autistic sweetie pie) is the only member of the family who can stomach them! Local beauty queens grace the parade as well as dancers, marching bands, motorcycles, and politicians. Everyone turned out, including a few, lone Republicans who thought entering a parade in yellow-dog Democrat country might earn a few votes. This festival is so popular another blogger beat us to the blogpost! Even a few lone Republicans running for office in yellow-dog Democrat country entered in the parade.

Did Steve stay home for all of the fun and festival? No! Tomorrow, he will be sweating it out in Madrid for 26.2 long-hot-weary miles. Tammy put together this short video clip, so that Steve can see what he missed! And, say a prayer for him, folks!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Retrospective on Windows and Door

We have worked hard to give the front of our old house a facelift. Before revealing our most recent exciting look, we need for you to ketchup on everything so far. The first thing Steve did back in July 2006 was tame the hedges and gut the tree next to the house. He also JOMAXed the daylights out of the front steps which were covered in mold when we photographed the house in April 2006. In August 2008, Steve and Tammy's father handled the azaleas gone wild and hired a mason to work on the foundation and replace the old basement vents. In September 2006, our electrician installed new porch lights. In November 2006, the mason returned and gave us a lovely red brick walkway. In July, the electrician returned and put in an old-timey limy doorbell.

For many, many, many months, Tammy's father showed his metal as a real glazier by restoring the windows, redoing the framings, and topping them with storm windows for better insulation. Steve found it tricky to order the right windows because nothing in an old Victorian house is square or standard. He also worked really hard on the front door which was in sad shape. Here are extreme close-ups on the before shots:

We hope you enjoy these before and after shots of the windows of the house. Be sure to double click any photographs for higher resolution! We want to point out a couple of details in the before shots taken in April 2006: the ugly screens on the doors and windows, the moldy steps, the junk all over the porch, and the ugly plastic roof awning thingie, hanging from the side porch.



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spic and Span Basement

The day after the flood disaster (Part I, Part II, Part III) Steve and Tammy's father installed a new relief valve on the water heater. Ain't it perty?

A gentle reader asked in the comment section of the last post if our basement is spotless. I will let you be the judge. Steve JOMAXed and bleached the daylights out of the basement. He also made sure the sump pump was in working order in case the water heater decides to commit suicide by drowning again!

What is that little blob of dirt in the middle of the basement, you ask? It is not dirt! Even the palmetto bugs die from the excessive cleanliness of the basement!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Corollary to "If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It!"

In Part I of this episode, Steve opens a file on the case of the broken heater and expanded it to the case of the broken water heater in Part II. The episode closed with the ecstatic Glasers pumping out the remaining water in the basement. In the next episode, an unexpected plot twist dashed all of their hopes, and David's victory sign quickly disappeared.

What happened, you ask? A person who shall not be named worried that the sump pump might be overheating. So, we shut it off and pulled the plug from the extension cord. A second person who shall not be named dropped the plug into the flood waters of the basement. We did our best to dry it the plug, but the blasted sump pump short circuited every time we restarted. We finally gave up and went back to the buckets, hence, the corollary, "If it's running, don't stop it!"

After we finally removed the majority of water from the basement, we waited for the heating unit condensation drain sump pictured left to dry. Steve started that up, and the downstairs heating unit worked like nothing had ever happened. Thanks to Steve's persistence and eagle eye, we saved a visit from the A/C repairman. He set his sights on the hot water heater.

The next problem he solved was the hot water heater relieve valve. With the help of Tammy's dad, Handyman Howard, they rigged up a way to stop the heater from spewing hot water so that Tammy could coif her curly mop of hair for church the next day. A couple of times, they failed which resulted in the steamy shots pictured below.
The next day we had plenty of hot water to get spruced up for church. Then, we faced this mess in the basement. The sump pump with its nice, dry plug cranked up immediately, Steve removed the rest of the water from the basement. He hauled all of the trash to the curb, including the Christmas tree, which came with the house and had just soaked in the nastiest water imaginable.

Steve took this opportunity to clear all of the debris out of the hole that houses the sump pump. He dumped most of the disgusting mess into this trash can. Then, he swept the basement and washed it down . . . and swept it and washed it down . . . and swept and washed some more.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Monk and the Broken Heater

We apologize. This Old House, Glaser Edition, has been on hiatus for the past three months. There was no writer's strike. None of them were asking for more pay. Any pay would be nice, actually. It just happened. Get over it!

Last January, Steve began investigating the case of the broken heater and ended up solving into a much bigger case than originally thought. While Tammy sat glued to the one-eyed monster, watching episodes of Monk, Steve lived it! He put all the seemingly unrelated pieces together in true Monk fashion.

Here's what happened!

In our last episode, Steve noticed that the downstairs heating unit was not kicking in, which he thought was strange. It was the coldest day of the year on a Saturday night. So, he went outside and checked the breakers. They were all fine. So, he figured he would have to call the A/C repairman on Monday. So then Steve, who loves doing chores at odd hours of the day (sound like Monk?) went to wash the dishes. And, he noticed there was no hot water. And then, Steve knew there was a connection. He didn't know what, but he knew these events were somehow connected.

So, once again, he went outside and checked all of the breakers and found everything working normally. So then, Steve realized it was time to look at the hot water heater in the cellar. Steve cranked the comely winch to the cellar door, headed down the steps, tried to the defective light, and turned around to get a flashlight. To his great horror, he encountered an underground swimming pool with about two feet of water, quickly in danger of becoming a skating rink. Did we say that it was the coldest night of the year?

Steve realized that the relief valve to the hot water heater had failed, and water was gushing out of it as if it were a fountain. He ran outside to the sidewalk and shut down the main water line. Then, he knew what had happened. The relief valve failed and flooded the cellar, which in turn covered the heating unit condensation drain sump and automatically shut off the heating unit to prevent water from backing up into its coils. We ran out of hot water because the tank emptied itself into the cellar. So there we were on Saturday night, faced with no access to plumbers, pumps, etc. All hardware stores in the area were closed because of the lovely blue laws, so we had no access to bilge pumps or even boat pumps. We tried Plan A, better known as the wet-vac, to empty out the basement!

Did you hear that giant sucking sound? That was Plan A, which failed miserably. Nobody liked it, but we turned to Plan B. You already know it was the coldest day of the year, and the stores were all closed. The water was near freezing. And, there we were . . . the bucket brigade . . . breaking our backs, freezing our buns, emptying out the basement.

Several hundred gallons later, Steve, with his Monk-like vision, noticed an ancient sump pump sitting in a corner, hard-piped to a discharge line to the backyard. Steve said, "Let's give it a try!" Taking every precaution to not get electrocuted, he got out of standing water and stood on the wooden steps. Tammy held a towel, ready to wrap around Steve's rib cage and yank him away if he started to smoke. (In a former life, we were both Naval officers and gentlemen by an act of Congress and knew how to handle electricity and water). Miraculously, this pump came to life.

We danced for joy as the water flowed out of the basement through this discharge hose at a rate of several hundred gallons per minute. The water level in the basement dropped dramatically. Our hearts soared. Then, the unthinkable happened. . . Tune in for the final episode, tomorrow. Unless it takes another three months to write!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This Media-Hogging, Limelight-Loving Old House!

We have not posted in two weeks, so Glasers Old House decided to grab the spotlight and force us to blog. How? The said house created such excitement for the Glasers that we could not resist blogging about the drama. Of course, it picked one of the coldest, wet nights to launch its fiendish plot. It chose late on a Saturday, too. Why, Saturday, you ask? We live in a state with the blue laws, which means that we could not buy the one teeny, tiny part that we needed until 1:30 P.M. on Sunday afternoon. You see, in 1885, South Carolina enacted a law that forbade "any worldly labor, business, or work of the ordinary callings upon the Lord's Day."

Since then, legislators have whittled away at that law with a bunch of exceptions. Business establishments cannot sell liquor, but they can sell tobacco. You cannot buy a DVD player or DVDs, but you can buy cameras, film, and batteries. You can purchase underwear, diapers, and panty hose, but not socks and other kinds of clothes. (Tammy is relieved that she can still pick up hose on the way to church if her last pair develops a run.) You can still get sick or die because pharmacists and funerals are allowed to operate. At least they have their priorities straight!

Some counties have repealed the blue laws, but efforts to end the blue laws statewide have all failed. The state capital Columbia is seated in Richland County, which dumped the blue laws. Its neighbor, Lexington County has kept the blue laws, which means that desperate shoppers cross the border to do their Sunday morning and early afternoon shopping.

But, what about Wal-Mart? Wal-Mart opens in the morning as always and blocks off the forbidden zones of the store with yellow crime scene tape. The check-out clerks are not supposed to ring up any Sabbath contraband, but we have never tried to sneak anything throng the self-check-out line.

But, we digress. Phase One of Operation Limelight was when the heating unit downstairs went stone cold dead on us. Fortunately, we had heat upstairs and oil heaters in the two rooms in which we spend the most time (Steve's office--i.e., TV room--and the kitchen). If Tammy got too cold, she could always put on the Clint Eastwood-esque alpaca poncho and toe warmers to wear under her moccasins. So, they cranked up the oil heater and sat back down on the leather couch to watch a few more episodes of Monk.

Steve's suspicions became aroused during Phase Two when the hot water heater died. Now, that was a real crisis! How can Tammy do her hair without hot water? Steve can hardly get a decent shave with hot water. How could any of us get cleaned up for the Sabbath we were supposed to be celebrating? Two dead heating units in one day were too much of a coincidence for Steve. While Tammy sat placidly watching television, Steve carefully searched and uncovered the reason for this double tragedy.

(To be continued--or it's 10:33 P.M. and we are too tired to type.)


We did find a technicality in the law. One of the exceptions would have allowed us to purchase a part for an emergency heating situation. How can we buy a legal and legitimate part if the store is not open? Here is the text of the exception:
The transportation by air, land, or water of persons or property, nor to the sale or delivery of heating, cooling, refrigerating, or motor fuels, oils, or gases, or the purchase or installation of repair parts or accessories for immediate use in cases of emergency in connection with motor vehicles, boats, bicycles, aircrafts, or heating, cooling, or refrigerating systems, nor to the cleaning of motor vehicles.