When a home improvement, isn’t

Quite a number of years ago, we had our basement finished into a rec room with TV, pingpong table, futon, and a small bedroom with a tiny closet that is the preferred bedroom for Son 1 when he visits. At the time we built the house and had the HVAC system installed, we began paying for an annual maintenance contract that provided twice a year maintenance and 10% off parts, free labor if a repair within reason needed to be done.

Shortly after the basement was finished, one of the HVAC maintenance visits was done and only 2 of the 4 damper motors was left in an accessible location and 1 of them had a door jamb that prevented the open/close lever from moving. The HVAC guy was able to chisel out enough space for the lever to move, but on the last visit, he realized that motor had failed. We didn’t have it repaired that day, but had a tech here today to replace it only to find out that the replacement motors are physically larger and don’t fit in the space and that if that damper or any of the dampers ever need to be replaced, that the contractor that did the basement work did not leave enough room to remove them from the ductwork. While trying to check the other motors, he couldn’t get to one of them, so I guess it hasn’t been checked since the work on the basement was finished. I think some creative carpentry will allow enough space to replace the failed motor, but don’t know what will happen if the inaccessible ones fail. The system is 15 years old now.

We had left much of the designing to the contractor with only our wishes known. The tech today said this happens often in basement completions as the owner or contractor is trying to get the most finished space possible. Though the basement looks great, this isn’t the first problem that has been revealed, not all the contractor’s fault, but some are. So far, Son 1 has had to tear out the wallboard on a soffit and build a wood siding removable panel that allows access to the space above the wallboard. And most recently when trying to repair ceiling damage from a failed dishwasher, he discovered the drywall ceiling was bowed under a drain pipe so that a new piece of drywall didn’t really fit so another removeable panel has been placed there.

I’m not sure what we will do, but for now, the damper motor that failed serves the basement, and as three sides of the basement are below grade and the fourth side is south facing, it stays mild down there even when it is cold outside.

It didn’t happen the way we planned

Son 1 left for his dwelling and job at 6:40 this morning, arrived there on the bus, train, and his bike and let us know he made it back. Son 2, who owns his on medical transport business ended up on an ambulance today due to employees calling out in the snow/ice storm the coast of Virginia received, so they couldn’t come.

While Daughter, Son 1 and grands were here on Friday for lunch, they taught me to use Zoom so I could join in the Zoom session that my Jenkins spinning challenge group does on Saturday afternoons and I did join them for about 35 or 40 minutes yesterday. It was delightful to see live faces and real voices of people that I have communicated with online for the past couple years. There were only 16 of us but one was in Germany, two in the Netherlands that are “neighbors” close enough to walk to each other’s homes, and from one coast to the other in the US. Such fun, I will try to join them more often at least for a while each Saturday.

We took another cold walk on the Huckleberry as it is the only route we usually do that isn’t still covered in ice, and snow flurries are supposed to happen tonight for a couple hours, but I doubt it will amount to anything. I can’t remember the last time snow and ice was still on the ground a week after it fell here. After our walk, I followed through with the plan to bake bread and make soup that was to be for a dozen or more, but just made less, and Daughter and her two came over to share the meal with us. Hot Herb and Onion bread, fresh cornbread, and a pot of delicious soup for a cold winter evening. We sent them home with the extra milk and juice purchased in anticipation of more family here, and one of the two loaves of Herb and Onion bread. There is still a part of a loaf and part of the cornbread for us to enjoy over the next couple of days.

I continue to work on the dark wine colored fiber that hubby gave me for Christmas. By spinning it on the spindles, I can enjoy it for longer, make a finer yarn, thus more yardage and then enjoy it again as I make myself something warm to wear and enjoy. The January challenge as I mentioned before, changes every couple of days and today and the next two are just to spin at least 2 grams a day and take a photo. While bread rose, then baked, and soup simmered, I sat in a sunny spot in the dining room and spun my bit for the day.

It isn’t quite as dark as it appears, but I waited until dark to take the photo.

There is some babysitting in our plan later in the week, first at their house, then bringing them to ours for a couple of days. Last time I did this, the kids and I got snowed in for a day. I hope I didn’t just jinx us.

Hey Guys, it is cold outside

Awoke this morning to this:

My photo memory from 3 years ago, it was 9, so it must be the time of year.

The weekend plan changed some when we realized that, 1) I obviously can’t read a calendar as Son 1 is leaving tomorrow morning early; 2) that Son 2 who lives on the coast of Virginia is getting the storm this weekend instead of us and won’t be coming after all. But Daughter and her two came for homemade pizza lunch yesterday as the icy roads in the more rural parts of the counties caused their school to be closed. I shortened her Taekwondo pants for next week’s National testing and the tournament she is in, fed everyone, we visited, then we all went for a two mile walk in 27 f temps and a cloudy day, so it felt colder than that.

Today is again very cold, but sunny and Son 1, hubby, and I set out to do a walk at the pond near us, but the road in, the parking lot, and the start of the path down looked like an ice skating rink and ski jump. We altered plans and walked a different section of the Rails to Trails Huckleberry, a 2.5 mile round trip. Part of this section goes through a rock cut where the rail used to run and the icicles dripping from the rocks were fascinating.

A failed attempt to catch a falling drip.

Though the temperature when we walked was a few degrees colder than yesterday, with the sun, it didn’t seem quite as cold.

The vegetable soup and homemade bread will still be made tomorrow, in a smaller quantity and Daughter and her two will come share it with us for Sunday dinner.

It is always delightful to have one or more of our children here to be with us, to share meals, for family visits. We will try again to get them all together at once the weather cooperates a bit more.

The ice is finally melting off. I am glad because the trip up hill to the chicken coop and back down to the house has been a threat to my health and safety for the past few days.

When we got home from our walk, enough had melted off that the hens had finally ventured away from their coop to the relative shelter of the naked Forsythia bushes. I was able to walk over to gather early eggs before they froze, without feeling my safety was at risk.

The upcoming week is going to be more seasonable with most days above freezing to the low 40’s and nights in the upper teens to low 20’s. I think there is a day of rain chance in there, but not freezing precitipation.

Hubby looked out the back window and said, “I’m ready for winter to be over.” Usually he doesn’t make that statement for at least 3 or 4 more weeks.

I am perusing the seed catalogs, making plans for spring and summer when two bee hives will be added and maybe a mushroom bed.