Thursday, February 24, 2011

Flood Restoration, Do It Yourself

Rooter Plus Plumbing and Heating LLC
  • sent Anthony to professionaly install the new freeze resistant outer hose spigots. After this freezing cold winter, rare in NM, we are taking no more chances, so had 'both' units replaced. The 1/2" copper tubes with the fittings were expertly installed. I placed a foam tube insulation over the tubing, packed the walls with new insulation. Son brought his sheetrock tools, then did an expert job fitting, taping and 'mudding' repair sections. Texture and paint will be neccessary later.

    In later testing of the new 'Frost Proof' faucets, I found that they are greatly diminshished in volume of water. The original outside silcocks were capable of shooting a water stream from a 5/8" hose, a considerable distance. In retrospect I should have had the larger diameter 'washer valve' (commercial?) silcocks installed. Experience is not a nice teacher.

    After using the shop vacs to their fullest, we are down to the replacement mode in carpet. Our choice of laminate flooring in two rooms, with wife getting her nice soft carpet in two rooms. Checking all available prices and qualities at several flooring stores, we settled on some diverse solutions.

    The carpet is coming from, and being installed by Jim's company Floors and More Inc
  • The 12.5 MM mahogany Laminate is from Raby Carpet and Tile Inc
  • The felt underlayment is from Enchantment Flooring
  • We had overlooked the transition molding and have ordered it from Raby's per Jim's advice. At least it can be installed last under doors and entranceways.

    You Tube per son's advice, had several installation videos, some were jokes, other's worthwhile. The Lowe's series seemed to be helpful. One comment suggested the 'Installer' be our next president. I think he could do the job better than what we have at the time... Lowe's plastic tape, precision formed plastic hammer block, their 1/4" spacers and the padded Pull Bar looked useful. The deadblow hammer, though nice, cost close to $20 so it was bypassed for my rubber mallet.

    One appraised cost of 2 rooms of laminate, certified installation was $950...more than the cost of flooring, so it is definetly a do it ourself project. Number One son is the appointed crew chief. He was always very talented with Legos as a youngster. That alone is the qualifier, as far as we are concerned. He did an excellent job when we had him crew the tile installation in our bathroom. The fact that he owns Crown Coachworks
  • should be a plus.

    We borrowed a neighbor's table saw. It is a must have, to rip the laminate boards. the closet is done to 'Lego spec' in one room now. The 'tilt snap click' of each adjoining board, is very important. If not done, the bevel edges of adjoining boards are not level.

    The You Tube vids indicate a 1/2 board length cut to start. They run along the left wall as you enter the room. I found this to be slightly erroneous, as the doorway is sometimes more complex and to start there, often works out better. Laying each consecutive laminate board is a simple 'tilt snap click'..very important. Leave a 1/4" expansion space at sides and ends of flooring against walls and at 'transition' channel. The temporary little spacer blocks are usefull along walls. Laying heavy full boxes of laminate on top of the first three rows you have in place, holds them firmly while the rest of flooring is installed. The laminates tend to 'float' otherwise.

    We cancelled the order for 3 'transition' ends to carpet. Son figured that we could easily transition by starting the run from the closet glide door rail entrances, ending at the back wall. The only Transition to carpet required, was at the two entrance doorways. One six foot 'trans' was enough to cover both entranceways. The old baseboard was salvaged then painted, and went down easily over the 1/4" gap to wall, required for expansion of the flooring.

    The base 'felt' with plastic membrane, was plastic taped and seamed after cutting. Membrane down, facing concrete, per most recomendations. Of course we cleaned the concrete well before laying the felt. Son is great at trimming out the corners around door jams. He has a critical eye for seams and joints. One little mistake in setting the first board has a joint slightly out of line. He didn't like it, but I don't think it is noticeable.

    When he has customers drop off their wrecks for Collision repair, they take little notice of their own door dings collected over time. When they return for pick up of their pride and joy cars, they sure are fussy, noticing every 'old' flaw on sections other than where the damage was, insisting they weren't there before. This attention to detail carries over into his newly aquired flooring trade.

    My painting skills were put to work. One room had not been painted for many years. Walmart paint had that thick feel when you shook the can, without the high price that accompanied it in other paint stores. Walmart's Glidden ceiling paint covered the thirsty 'popcorn' in one gallon. The helpful man from the automotive dept is a 'jack of all trades'.

    He has always helped us out on automtive and tool purchases. His 'paint dept' hat fits well. He added more whitener to give the ceiling a brighter look. Walmart's 'Color Place' Satin wall paint came out to cover the entire wall surface with one coat and is easy to clean according to our helpfull paint dept at Walmart. Good stuff and the price was right. Fluffy 'stucco' rollers did a great job on both ceiling and walls.

    The dingy old electric sockets were loose internally, the appliance and computer plugs fell loose often. Samon's electric had the latest safety 'code' decorator switches and sockets with little doors in the slots for the same price as the old style.

    The installations all went well, even though the aluminum wire required a bit of oxguard dope on each connector. The much overhyped 'fire danger' from aluminum wire, proved to never be a major problem. Our subdivision area of thousands of homes from the 1970's is completely 'Al' wire and NO homes have burned. Some socket and switch connectors came loose, got crispy and failed from the poor connections and overloads. Copper pig tails and oxguard fixed them.

    The baseboards and trim are getting scars patched and new paint. I am now laying the other room floor, following our son's Lego routine. It should proceed well following his learning curve of the very important 'tilt snap click' to get perfect alignment. Starting point is the entrance doorway on this room. Measuring the first board for 1/2 cut of finished surface, is keeping in mind to flip the board, end for end for mark and cut, so the cut edge is the exposed threshold end.

    The cutoff piece is saved for use at other end of next row. Always cut off the end that is NOT to be locked into position (such as walls) away from Joining surfaces. A 'Transition' piece will cover the cut edges under doors where carpet or tile meets laminate. Closet joints will match...if I do pre-layout correctly.

    Picked up the 'transition' strip from Connie at Raby's today. It was not of the highest quality that comes with metal channel. This manufacturer uses plastic channel mounted (in this case concrete drilled, anchored and screwed) to floor under doors, and does not grip the wood finished transition strip with sufficient force to prevent flexing and creaking.

    Frank, always the professional carpet layer, discarded the flimsy plastic channels and glued the doorway transition thresholds, directly to the concrete and laminate cut ends, for a tight perfect transition. Frank did an exquisite job of laying the high quality new carpet over white 'Glacier' pad.

    Working the entire job alone, he 'hot joined' the seams, carefully aligning the 'nap' in one direction throughout the halls and rooms. Stretching a 'high pick' backed, quality carpet is tough and he was sweating. I had removed much of the 'tack strip' in flooded areas, due to it's moldy black look. The remaining, I bleached with Clorox to ensure no contamination. Frank had to reinstall many new tack strips with an epoxy caulk.

    All is finished, and remaining carpet is installed. Called Kevin our neighborhood yard man to assist in the heavy relocating of furniture. Now it can be moved from the rest of house, into it's rightful position. He works an hour at a time due to his main yard jobs. Wife is a bit overwhelmed by the mess, as I. We know "It is like eating an bite at a time".

    As 'Citizens' of the United States of America, we are blessed to even own a home. Most of the world's countries with their 'socialized' economy, allow no such luxury for it's 'Subjects', as is demonstrated daily around the globe.
    Only in the USA, "One Nation Under God" do we take it for granted.
  • Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Frozen and Flooded -36F

    The lowest temperature day ever recorded across parts of the state of New Mexico dropped to -36 degrees Farenheight about 03 Feb 2011. In 1971 it only got to -20F for one week. Disaster was widespread in the normally Sunshine state of New Mexico, back then as well as now again... this time, parts of the state lost natural gas pressure due to 'rolling electrical brownouts' in Texas. All of those supposedly CO2 Green Wind Turbines just can't 'cut it'..? Whodaguessed?

    Friday February 4th was our day for grocery shopping. After a mgr. promoted, nearly free lunch at Applebees, then grocery stop, we returned to a flooded hallway and two bedrooms. The sheetrock wall was blown loose, with a deluge from a burst outside hose spigot feed line. My wife yelled OH NO 'shut off the water'. I ran to the garage and grabbed the street shutoff key. She yelled 'Hurry' as if I was moving too slowly.

    The sidewalk meter cover was buried under the snow from the storm (we had over 10"), so a minute was lost locating and digging it clear. Finally shut off, I ran in to check the flood. An inch of water was in the hallway and computer office/bedroom. A call to number two son, found his 16 gallon Craftsman Shop-vac. Son stopped in after work to check on our progress, help move a bed, cedar chest and file cabinet, then returned again with another Craftsman shop vac unit to assist.

    Many dumpings of the cannisters later, we were finally not walking in water. My emergency trip to the Lowes plumbing dept almost proved fruitless. The crowds of desperate do it yourselfers were ten deep. The little display mounted fittings that show what each box contains, were all being stolen from their screw mounts. Crisis mob desperation? No spare parts were left in bins to repair the 1/2" copper tubing. My desperate look, attracted one of the plumbing dept helpers that the store mgr graciously kept overtime.

    He grabbed the last interior press-on valve shut-off, and told me to just cut off and clean the pipe and press it over the end to temporarily shut off the water line. That done, I was able to turn on the outside feed line pressure, while son held his hand on the fitting and watched for any failure..success.

    The carpets and area rugs were still soaked, so for the next four days we sucked water with the vacs, then alternately reversed the vacs and blew air under the pads to attempt a drying. No commercial 'air movers' were available. A local yard and paint man, assisted me with the rest of the furniture moving.

    The house now looks like a furniture storage warehouse with piles of 'stuff' everywhere. The carpets were so wet, they each weighed hundreds of pounds. Wife called Hartford Insurance co. Lady said to start on it ourselves to limit damage, keep records of expense, and she gave us names of a few companies specializing in such floods.

    Predictably due to the statewide disaster, they were all so busy, that no chance of even getting on a list. Wife then found a company called 'Precise Carpet'. They sounded so promising on the phone, and eventually showed up.... a day later. Three men, two vehicles, they stood around, shook their heads and carried out the one pad we had already dried and exposed in one room.

    They moved a small safe from one room to another and sprayed around the baseboards a few seconds from a little can of clorox disinfectant. The one pad was then tossed into the front yard. Shock followed their bill for $284 dollars for 40 minutes of 'whatever' later. The notation that they would return the next day and pick up the pad and take to the dump.... for $150 dollars more..., educated us in the term 'Crisis Profitability'.

    I called their office and left the message 'your work is done at this house' (they never called back). Another big plumbing co used by the city of Albuquerque, 'TLC' is presently charging 'Triple time' during this statewide emergency, so further beware of 'crisis predators' in this commercial society.

    The excellent 16 gal Craftsman Vac suffered distress during the extended job, so Sears was called. Great guy at the main store 'EJ', said bring it in. He carried out a new unit for exchange. Wonderful to do business at Sears. Due to our long endless hours of personal laborious attention, floors and carpet now dried before 72 hour mold set in, the busy Insurance adjuster showed up.

    Another great and helpful guy with Hartford. He took measurements and notes of all damaged areas, and copies of our initial bills, including the 'crisis' padded bill from 'Precise Carpet'. Said Hartford was swamped statewide... literally, but that a check would probably be in the mail. The plumber is coming on monday to install freeze proof shutoffs in front and back. With ever colder winters (Global Warming sarcasm), we don't want to go through this again.

    The computer is now set up on the dining room table. Printer is still hiding somewhere until it's home is finished. My painter/helper is allowing some time for reassembly of furniture after room repaints are ready.

    Shopping for replacement carpeting is a pleasure. Every store had helpfull people with excellent information about quality and price, wood versus laminate, installation methods and materials. Decision is now for some snap-click laminate floors, that I can do myself, and some carpeting to be professionally installed.

    It has been over a week now, and ready to start laying the laminate in two rooms. Underlay padding choice will be tomorrow. Still have decision of carpet and pad to equal what was destroyed. My totally worn out wife is getting tired of the maze of furniture. :More later as project continues..

    Such is exciting life in the United States of America. "One Nation Under God"

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011

    CATARACT SURGERY before and after

    Finally after years of diminishing vision causing snowflakes and halos around headights and tailights of cars at night. Not being able to read street names. Seeing double and blurred letters on the hazy computer screen. 6 and 0 having the same rounded look as number 9..

    The instrument panel, back to road refocus while driving, was non-existant. Not recognizing my wife waving from a distance in stores really got her upset. The cellphone screen was a blur for several long seconds of refocus and concentration.

    Having trouble reading small print on containers, while checking the actual ingredients for bad stuff, like 'High Fructose Corn Syrup'. No longer enjoying reading books before bed. TV images not clear, with failure to recognise 'the Bad Guy' from the good guy. Handgun firing range scores, not anywhere like in years past.

    All of the above and more, convinced me it was time to get the old worn out cloudy lens removed from my left eye. My hesitation was justified by my own mother's failed procedure many years ago. A woman eye Dr, who has since left the state of NM and moved to Washington state, incompetantly blinded mom's eye.

    During the failed operation, Mom heard Dr Betty H. say the equivelent of 'Whoops' and panic set in. After meeting a dozen of that woman Dr's failures while working for a senior center, mom was relieved to meet Dr Cannon and Dr Wienstein. The two Dr's saved mom's remaining eye.

    My eye Doctor verified that it was time to remove the cataract lens, so I made an appointment with Southwest Eyecare
  • The day came quickly and they confirmed through their further tests that the lens was truely cloudy and needed replacement surgery.

    We set up a day, one week later for consultation and computerized measurements for the correct lens curvature. I was given a prescription for the two different anti-bacterial eyedrops ($150) and told to start them every two hours the evening before surgery.

    During consultation, Doctor Paul Sanchez
  • had me hold out my hands with thumbs touching and forefingers together. I was told to look through the spade shaped opening at the wall switch. He then covered my right eye.

    The light switch dissappeared. He said my right eye was obviously dominent for distance, as it is on most right handed people. He recomended that I have the implanted left lens curvature set as an intermediate distance to include fairly close vision. Reading glasses will most likely be required for closer work.

    My right eye was the primary distance vision. He said that it would fool my brain if the lens was set for distance in the left eye. We don't want to fool our brains with technology. Not a good idea. When the right eye is done next, it will maintain it's job and even improve as the distance champ.

    A small kit with the proper eye shades and firm taped night cover, including instructions, were my $10 requirement. All was going as anticipated according to friends that had sucessfully gone through the procedure at southwest Eyecare. No food at least six hours before. This morning my wife accompanied me as the neccessary driver, to the eye surgery facility at the Presbyterian North medical facility, AAESC 5901 Harper Dr NE Alb NM 87109.

    We left during the early morning snowfall from the big storm that was crossing the nation. 6:45am arrival was nice because no traffic was clogging the streets. Sign in at front office, verify suplemental insurance and Medicare, Identity sticker placed over left eyebrow to ensure no mistaken surgery. My blood sugar was even tested by Karen. How much more caring does it get? :>)

    Leave all valuables and coat with my wife in pleasant waiting room, and quickly I was whisked into the prep room. Anna with her 40 years of experience, set up the 'eye lid open' retaining system and inserted the IV into back of my hand for administering sedative.

    Within minutes, the gurney was rolled into the Operating room and Doctor Paul Sanchez began his procedure. The anesthesiologist started to inject the mild sedative through the IV.

    I could clearly hear the team talking while the bright light was focused into my eye. Doc told me to hold very still, don't wiggle feet, don't talk. The light had a focal point of three small squares with some blurred striations.

    He then used a hollow needle to suction out the old lens he had broken up with an ultra sonic vibration. No vibration was perceived through the desenitized eye. The old lense was a little darker and firmer than he anticipated, but no real problems getting the lens chamber cleaned out.

    With a wetting solution periodically applied, Doc inserted the rolled up Intraocular lens
  • through the one mil opening. It then opens like a tiny two winged galactic disc, to fill the sack where the old worn out crystaline lens had once been.

    I was watching as the three small blurry squares in the center of the bright light, became well defined cubes with little stacked sections like a bisquit. Already the images were improving.

    After declaring success, Doc set a temporary contact lense in place to cover the one millimeter opening that he had worked through. It was to make the tiny hole less scratchy during the healing. The nurse applied a perforated metal covering to the eye, as I quickly regained limited vision.

    Excellent coffee was brought to my hand. My wife was called in to return my personal effects. Walked out to waiting car by Anna, wife drove me home where breakfast was welcome. After eating and checking the computer for whatevers, I crawled into bed and slept for a couple of hours.... No Pain.

    Doctor Paul Sanchez called me this evening to ask about my condition. "All Excellent" was my response. He told me that he sleeps better knowing that all went well. He did eight surgeries today. Most days he does ten, but had two 'storm' cancelations. He gave a reminder that 7 AM tomorrow is the day after follow up, for any problems.

    Doc said to take off the perforated metal cover and try out the new eyesight tonight. Keep up the eyedrop routine for one day. Place the firm cover for sleeping. No adverse pressure or wiping of eye with fingers. No soapy bath water in eye for a week. I don't like soapy water in eyes at any time..

    Amazing how things are so clear now. Arabic numerals on the clock across the room, are not blurs. The computer words are seemingly surrealistic and in 'Bold' appearing print. A slight 'rosey' tint is to be expected for a time. I can now shift my gaze from the screen to the keyboard and back, with no refocusing problems.

    The formerly ivory tinted background on the 'confuser' :-) screen, is now brilliant white...through the left lens. The partially cataract blurred right eye lens still sees the screen as Ivory. On this black backgroound blog, the type is silvery white now, Whereas before and through the right eye, appears a dull ivory. The old original lens was crystalized and yellowed and in need of replacement. Reminds me of the car headlights that get aged and yellow.

    Have not yet tried out the night vision. Over the counter, lubicant eyedrops are a temporary regimen to maintain the clarity and comfort. I will let you know about any changes. so far it is a drastic improvement. Over 8 various people were involved in the process. I will further document any up dates and get back to post them :>) Cheers my friends.. BTW I make far fewer errors while typing...Far Fewer. I Was practically blind........

    In order to break the increasingly blurred images, I often had to shift my gaze around the room and return to the screen every few minutes. Contrary to before, the ambient light from the flat screen is now enough to clearly illuminate the keyboard.

    The two prescription drops are now being put in place every four hours. One following day of treatment followed by three more weeks of care, should then have eysight settled into focus. After that, any lense corrections can be made on glasses.... if even needed. At this particular early point, with 20-25 in left eye according to the tech, I see better now than at any time 'In My Life'. Eyesight is a marvelous 'Gift'.

    Today 2 Feb 2011, I also met Dr Cannon
  • who initiated this procedure in New Mexico years ago. After 20 years, I finally met one member of the team that saved mom's remaining eye. Thank You Dr Cannon. Thank you also for a lifetime of upholding your family tradition of traveling to South America on Missionary trips to save eyesight of those living in depressed areas.

    One week later:
    My appointment with Dr Sanchez at 7am went less than perfect. I had been handed a schedule as I left the surgery center. On it was a line drawn through the third day referring to the continuation of the eyedrops..... Bad interpretation.

    Thinking that the drops were no longer important, I reduced their dosage to once a day for comfort. Dr Sanchez examined my eye and said OK re-start the schedule to four times a day and keep it up for a week. After that week, discontinue the one type of drops and continue the other type for three more weeks.

    I had narrowly escaped getting an infection. My eyesight suffered a setback on the vision test. The other rule was to not lift anything over 25 pounds. Our house flooded from a frozen pipe and I had no options.

    Again I did the wrong things. Hopefully the eyesight will recover from my indescretions. Rule: eye drops, eye drops, eye drops and NO lifting. Eye seems to be recovering vison now that the restarted regimen of drops is being followed. Vision is getting clearer each day.

    Eye drops are doing their job. At $255 they should be pretty potent. One tiny botle ran out almost immediately requiring a refill. I complained to the Costco pharmacy mgr. She called the company and they agreed to replace the bottle. I am getting the right cataract removed and replaced this next month so it will be used then. The recent $27 billion dollar 'extortion' from the pharmaceuticals by this present administration under Obamacare, of course has to be passed on by added costs to the paying customers..

    What an amazing health care system was currently in place in this United States of America. The dedication and attention to detail of my entire team of approximately 10 friendly people, was second to none. The Presbyterian North AAESC facility was simple yet immaculate. Their overall service and devoted attention was Excellent.

    The latest high technology apparatus used in this state of the art procedure, required expert skills which this experienced team had in abundance at every stage of the testing and surgery. Their dedication turns this modern marvel of science and engineering, into routine, resulting in eyesight far better than I ever had in my entire life. Dr Sanchez is now scheduling my other eye. He says with the restored vision, I willmost likely not require glasses for the rest of my life. What a miracle.

    Even the attractive receptionist at Southwest Eyecare was great to the previously cloudy lensed eyes of this old Geezer. Bet she looks better each next visit.

    Health Care 'Change' and 'Hopeiness' under this new president was mentioned with trepidation by my team... 'after' I mocked the 'presumed' neccessity for it.

    We all desire to see the number of states that are questioning this ponderous newly 'Socialized' program, increase in vocal agreement to Abolish it. The 2010 elections have now sent an earthquake through this current power base now presiding. 2012 will further shake up this present regime's 'Agenda' of lowest common denominator...sub prime performance.... Socialism.

    Another wonderful day of Exceptionalism in presently 'world class' Health Care, while living as a legal Citizen in this United States of America, "One Nation Under God"