Today I went to the DMV and get plates for my car. I've now driven for an entire week without a single issue with no licenses plates. I honestly felt quite uncomfortable doing this, feeling that at any time I could be pulled over. Even thought I possessed the proper paper work, I still do not trust the police.
Not extremely clear, but this is a picture of some of the water flow in the basement. Today it was raining pretty good outside—the most rain we've had since we have lived at this house. And in the basement, it literally pored through openings in the wall. Some channeling had been done to direct the water toward the floor drain. However, a large patch for floor by the washer had no setup—the dikes had either broken or were not present. This area of the floor slopped to the middle of the basement, where a large poor of water collected. To combat the water, I tried rebuilding the broken dikes. Since I had no caulk or mortar, I used used spray-in expanding foam. To my surprise, it was working. We did manage to direct some of the water to a channel the ran to the drain. However, all of the area behind the washer and dryer had no such channel to follow and continued to flow to the center of the room. In the center of the room, a pipe had been run under the floor to the drain at one of the low spots. Unfortunately, it was clogged. We tried several times to break the clog, but to no avail. Our last attempt employed 100+ PSI of compressed air. But it was unable to break up the clog. My guess is that a small piece of concrete has become lodged in the pipe. But how to get this out I'm not sure. I put my shop vacuum to work and it did a great job of sucking up water. The only down side was that it only took about a minute to fill the vacuum . The water was coming in so fast that it only took a few minutes to replace all the water I vacuumed up.
Stairs to the basement. Lighting of these stairs has posed some questions that need to be answered. I thought about a motion sensor to turn on lights as someone approaches the stairs. I've also considered using a nightlight in the area as well. Nothing yet set in stone, but a solution is needed--it's really hard to walk up and down these stairs without light!
My roommates down here are pretty handy. After they bought the stove while I was at work, they tried to hook it up only to find they didn't have the propped connector. I recommended they go to the hardware store to get an adaptor, and when I came home, the stove was functional. I went to look at the dryer to get it hooked up, but I needed an elbow for the dryer vent. The one that was on it wasn't even remotely functional and my guess is that it broke off when who ever was living here last moved the dryer out. But again, my roommates took care of it. When I came home, the dryer was hooked up, but they couldn't get it to run. Turns out they didn't have the door closed all the way. But hey, it works now :) Good job roomies! The only thing I need to do is get a breaker for our ancient breaker panel. I'll have to order one on-line, since they no longer make this model of breaker. But everything in the basement shares one circuit. My computer setup draws around 400-500 watts. The box heater, an other 500 watts. And the dehumidifier, around 500 watts. I'm not sure what the washer draws, but they usually have a fairly strong motor for spinning the tub. So I need to split the power up a little. I figure I'll make two more 15 amp feeds and just put an outlet just outside the power panel. This way, I can run some 12-gage extension cords to my area and have 3,600 watts to work with, leaving the rest of the basement with a full 1,800 watt circuit for "normal" basement stuff like the washer. Pictured is the finished refrigerator now that it has been painted. It didn't turn out as good as I had hopped, but I should be read the directions a little more closely. The paint and stripper were both suppose to be used above 50 degrees F, which isn't the case outside. Anyway, it still looks petty good.
Yesterday a washer and dryer, today a stove. There were several stoves on Craig's List, but most of them were electric. Our kitchen has a gas hookup, but no stove power. I prefer gas stoves anyway. So when this was listed, we snipped it as well for a whopping $35. This is the last of the appliances we need. That means for under $200, including the cost of renting a truck, we picked up 4 appliances. And with my recent purchase of a car, I think I love Craig's List!
Found and snipped this Craig's List ad this morning. Washer and dryer set, $100. The guy we bought it from said he was bombarded with e-mails just hours after it was posted, but we were first. They look to be in good shape, although obviously they have a few years. The guy had upgraded to a new high-efficiently washer/dryer set and was more or less just looking to offload his old ones. We're happy to have helped :)
It has taken just over two weeks, but I now have a new vehicle. Today I bought a 2004 Toyota Corolla, and I actually feel pretty confident in the car. It's been a long search, but I think I found exactly what I was looking for. I had done my homework and everything seems to be in order. Among the list of things listed as the biggest "never skip" were the test drive and a certified vehicle inspection. So only after a lot of running around and a big checklist did I purchase the car. We went to the bank to do the payment so the bank could release the lean. However, the bank doesn't like doing anything quickly. They said it could take up to 3 weeks for me check to clear. In the age of technology, I find it insulting things like this still happen. So, I can't get the title until then. For now, I have a bill of sale and no plates, which the DMV said was legal. I feel like a driving cop magnet, but I do have my new car :P
Took my future car to get an inspection today, and it did quite well. I found the shop on-line as a AAA certified shop. They had a big checklist that included everything from breaks to cabin heater temperature output. All they found was a strange problem with the automatic locks on the right side of the car, said they recommended I get the transmission fluid flushed, and that the car needed a new set of tires--which the owners also told me. The vibration they were sure was the result of the tires as everything else looked good. One reason I really wanted an independent inspection was the check for flood damage. Last summer, Cedar Rapids and much of the area around it suffered a major flood. A 2004 car is old enough to have been through Hurricane Katrina as well. Buying a flood damaged car is bad news, and although I read about the signs to look for, I don't feel qualified to make that kind of assessment. So, I have committed to purchasing the car. We plan to meet at the bank tomorrow to take care of payment and releasing the lean.
Today I went to look at the first car I would actually consider buying. I found someone on Craig's List selling a 2004 Toyota Corolla. After exchanging e-mails, I went to look at it this afternoon, and it looks good. What I like is that this was a family car, and the only reason they are getting rid of it is because the family is getting too big. My roommate James came along and was the keeper of the checklist. I had done my homework, so now it was time to put what I found to practice and I'm glad I did. Among the tests was getting the vehicle to highway/interstate speed and checking for vibration. Interstate 380 was very close so I used this for my test. The speed limit is 70 MPH, and that's a good trial speed. I did notice vibration in the steering wheel. And I had also noticed the driver's side front tire was very thin on tread. My research told me that vibration was mostly due to the wheels not being properly balanced, but could also be a sign of worse problems. This gave me a reason to make a request for a full vehicle inspection, which the seller had no problem with. After test driving the car, one of the first things I did was get a vehicle history report. It cost $35 for unlimited searching at the site I used, but it wasn't much more then a single search. I found the car started it's life as a rental. At first I was skeptical, but figured it had been several years since it was a rental. If anyone had been mean to it as a rental, the problems have probably already surfaced. The owners of the car didn't know it had been a rental. The sales person only told them it had one other owner. But the rest of the report was clean. These reports don't catch everything, but it's a nice show stopper if they do find something.
Pictures are my roommates Jennifer and James in my freshly painted basement living area.