Monday, August 31, 2009

Our Weekend Project

It is time to say goodbye - to the front door that is.

The door is not attractive. It has been painted I don't know how many times. It may possibly be the original door from when the house was built in the 50's. We made a trip to Home Depot to purchase all the supplies we thought that we were going to need to replace the door. This included a storm door we want to install a doggie door in. All the supplies cost us about $900. The great news is both the exterior front door and the storm door qualify for a tax credit :)

Nathan and Angel showing off the hole that is waiting for the new door.

The new door is in position. At this point Nathan makes a second trip to Home Depot to purchase longer screws and nails that we will need later.

A picture of the storm door we just realized won't fit in the new door jam. We decided to keep the storm door and use it for the back door. We will just finish the front door with trim and be done. This requires a third and final trip to Home Depot to get the trim and foam filler.

Nathan installing the trim on the outside and filling in with some caulk. We will have to fill with foam filler once this is done on the inside.

Before After

So next weekend we may tackle putting in a back door in what will be the master bathroom/walk-in closet. This one will be a little tricky. There is currently a window in the room but we will replace it with a back door and the storm door with doggie door. We will see how cutting out some of the wall goes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Angel vs. Skunk

If last week wasn't exciting enough with racoons, last night it was a skunk. Nathan let Angel out to go to the bathroom. She was fine. A couple of minutes later Nathan checks on her and she darts after something small that ran under Nathan's truck. Nathan calls her and she doesn't come. Nathan yelled for her the second time but noticed she had already stopped and was on her way back inside.

At this point Nathan puts on his shoes and goes outside to find a skunk hiding in the shadow of his tire. He came back in and says it is a skunk. I ask if she got sprayed and he picks her up to smell her. He couldn't smell anything. While he is doing that it hit me. It was aweful. I think it burned all my nose hairs. I ask him to shut the door but at this point it is too late.

He hands me Angel. She smelled like car oil at first and then nope she smells like skunk. Straight to the bath she goes. I look for a spot to see if she got directly sprayed and I didn't find anything. I check her eyes. They are fine. I think the smell got to her because she is blowing air out of her nose (not sneezing). I did wash her with a tomato which by the way is an old wives tale. I don't find this out until after I wash her. Yes she smelled liked tomato but right after the tomato bath I follow up with her regular dog shampoo.

Nathan researches how to get rid of skunk smell. An ozone machine is recommended. However if you use an ozone machine you need to let it run for 12 hours and you have to be out of the house. You come back in and shut the machine off, open all the windows and then stay out of the house for another hour. Can't really do that.

Since Angel wasn't directly sprayed we hoped that it wasn't that bad. I lit all my candles and placed them around the house. We were awake at this point so we stayed up and tried to do some more research. We find that we should have washed Angel in some baking soda mixture. At this point she wasn't smelling like skunk too much so we thought that we would leave her and wait till the morning. The house smells and I am going to have to open windows in the morning. It still stunk outside so I didn't want to open them last night.

We didn't get too much sleep last night as we felt like we were breathing skunk. The both of us had a headache and we were almost ready to throw up. It was not a good night. This morning it is better. It still smells but not as bad as last night. I opened all the windows. It smells like smoke from the fires up north. I would rather smell smoke than the skunk. I ended up lighting my candles again this morning. Hopefully that will all help.

All the clothes we were wearing yesterday got washed including Angel's collar and anything that we touched last night; towels and sweaters. Thank goodness no ozone machines needed here but that smell was aweful.

I guess we need to get a fence up sooner rather than later?!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Money For Chamber of Commerce

Our local Chamber of Commerce has gone to the City Council to request $15,000 to keep going until the end of the year.

Here is a link to the story.

It is hard to hear that companies are still hurting and need help. As a business owner I understand how frustrating it is to not know where you company is heading. After picking up and moving our company I don't know what to do or even where to go next. There are so many things to work on and some things I need to cut back on. I need to be creative and think outside the box. I also need to sit down and figure out what the business priorities are now that we are also home owners. It honestly scares me.

On the other side I don't understand how the cities and towns here in California struggle so much. There are all these laws, codes and fees that home owners have to follow and pay.

For example Nathan and I would like to add a second full bath to the house. Before we can do this we had to have Monterey Peninsula Water Management District here within 120 days of owning the house. They come out and inspect the water fixtures on the house whenever there is a transfer of ownership. I called and made the appointment. Yesterday they were here first thing in the morning. The gentleman, Mike, was here to do an ispection/retrofit count on all the water fixtures in the house. The property has to comply with the Water Conservation Law here in Monterey. This states that toilets and showerheads need to be low flow. All of this because of the water shortage here. A water shortage that I don't understand because we live 2 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

After Mike was done inspecting, which took 3 minutes, I wanted to ask him about what we need to do in order to have a second bathroom. He told me about filling out the forms, having a couple of drawings done to scale, cost and needing to have a letter from California American Water (Cal Am). I am not sure what is in this letter as I couldn't find a copy of it online, however I did call to request that a letter be sent to the house. I believe this letter states that with the additional water fixtures we want Cal Am to supply water to them. I will get back to you on this once I receive it.

I then talked to Mike about the cost. The cost for the permit to add another bathroom to the house is $1700. I am sure you are all saying the same thing Nathan and I said which is, WHAT?! So I kindly asked Mike if he knew what all the fees were associated with the cost. $210 exactly goes to the document processing and possibly the look up/verify of the current fixtures. Another $300+ goes to paying an attorney. Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is the Water Police for the District. That is how Mike described it to me. They hire a lawyer for any complications in this process. That is how I interpretted what Mike was telling me. $900+ goes to the extra water acre usage for a full bath. If we decide to put in half a bath then the $900 would go down as there are less water fixtures so less water. The other $200-$300 dollars are taxes :)

For other questions. We are allowed to add a second bath without being charged another fee for that. There is a law in California, that I couldn't find online, that states for so many sq.ft. or so many rooms in a house there is allowed a second bathroom. I have been told by at least two different people that if we want to add a second bath we need to do it sooner rather than later because this specific law could change next year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Business Starting Inquiry

Nathan received an e-mail request from a friend in wanting to know how we started the business. Here is what I wrote to her:

I started All In One Desktops after I went to a free seminar where business owners talked about how they started their business. I went to the seminar because it was something that I was interested in doing but wasn't sure where to start. I did try to start my own dance studio/business in Hawaii but as soon as I got it started we were getting ready to move. I wanted this new business to be something that was a little more mobile.

All In One Desktops came about because of various different reasons, one being my experience with previous jobs. I was frustrated with having to find a job every time that we picked up and moved. It is time consuming, didn't always pay so great and having to take orders from someone else.

The second being our personalities. I consider us both pretty geeky. We try to stay up to date with the latest technology.

The third being family. Our grandparents were always telling us how much more they wish they knew about computers and how much they thought that it was to difficult to do.

With all of that I sat down with Nathan and discussed some business objectives and goals. One of the goals became to start a Computers for Seniors part of All In One Desktops. We would sell computers to senior citizens, in the local area, and offer setup of one of our All-In-One PCs with a basic one-on-one computer class. The second objective was to get computers out to everyone and anyone who wanted to either know more about computers or for those who wanted stay up-to-date with the latest computers. We combined an E-commerce business with the local area.

Have you done research up in your local area? Are there any other companies offering what you would like to do?

Again, please let me know if you have any other questions.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Angel vs. Raccoons

We had a meeting this morning with Dustin Cook of D. Cook Construction. He is an architect that owns his own business. He originally started the company to build new homes. He decided that remodeling homes was more challenging and would do that. He and his employees now remodel homes.

In our meeting with Dustin we showed him the 3-D Google Sketch-Up image and discussed some projects we were looking for help in; electrical, bathroom addition with closet and kitchen remodel. Of these Nathan and I assumed we would work on the bathroom and closet first. Dustin sat down and went over some suggestions with us. Quick things he could see that we could do. He recommended some websites and he was going to do some research for us on how much permits would be from the city to have some of these jobs done. It was a helpful meeting. The highlight for me was being told that we could knock down the wall between the kitchen and the living room.

We had an interesting evening last night. We went to let Angel out to go to the bathroom before going to bed and as I do that I notice three furry animals by Nathan's truck. I go to call Angel in just as she goes charging. Long story short Nathan chucks a plastic bottle at the bigger raccoon, Angel whimpers and then comes running in the house. At that point I am able to finally see that it is indeed a raccoon, not a cat, as it takes a defensive stance under the light pole in that corner of our yard. Nathan grabs a pole to chase the raccoons away and I check Angel. No scratches or bite marks but a little shocked I think. That was entertainment.

Nathan told me that a smaller raccoon had climbed into the tree and the other two must have been watching/defending the one in the tree. So no rabid raccoons.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tree ID

UPDATE 8/19/2009
This is a California Laurel or an Umbellularia Californica.

Our neighbor Stan knew what this tree was when we asked him.

Rikki and I spent an hour or two trying to figure out what tree this is. No luck so we posted it to the arbor day forums for help and linked to the pictures below. It blooms small white flowers and the birds love the small berries.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Google Sketchup

We used Google's free sketchup tool to create a 3-d model of our house for renovations. A bit of a learning curve but this is a great tool. It even allowed me to pull in a photo from Google Earth to overlay the model on. If I was really motivated I could submit my model to be added to Google Earth, maybe later.

Friday, August 07, 2009

New Roof

Two Days, that was it. We were expecting them to start today but instead they are done. They arrived yesterday morning and started working. We did have some problems yesterday. First problem two layers of tar and gravel. It took the two gentlemen all day to remove it. They did save some of the gravel from the back part of the roof for us to reuse.

At the end of the day they did cover the roof with a tarp so that the dew wouldn't ruin the insulation.

Second problem was the size of the boards on the roof. There was about a one inch gap between the boards and the boards weren't the right size for the warranty to apply. In order for the warranty to apply the extra plywood was needed.

The second day they nailed on the plywood. Weatherguard or underlayment was placed on top of that and then the shingles.



Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Ross Roofing

Thank You Laura! She had Ross Roofing come out and look at the roof, to give us an estimate, after our inspection showed we needed to have it retarred and graveled. We found out that a tar and gravel roof is only gauranteed for three years. That is not good enough for us. In the long term it would cost us more to have the roof redone every three years.

This morning we had an appointment with Mike Ross, the owner of Ross Roofing. He gave us an overview of the company. The company has been around for 60 years. Mike went through the companies history, the standing with the BBB, their certifications, the companies training of employees, recommendations and testimonials from other clients and then we got down to our roof proposal and costs.

Nathan and I decided to go with a 40 year shingle with 20 year non prorated workmanship warranty. We were able to negotiate a reduced price with Mike, so the roof without a gutter right now cost us $6650.

I don't know about Nathan but I was surprised. Mike's crew is going to take the old roof off Friday. They are going to sweep half the gravel from the back of the roof and save it in a pile for us to reuse. They will weatherseal the roof for the weekend. On Monday they will come out and tile the roof.

Mike wrote up two proposals for us before our meeting. One of them was a proposal that was sent to us after he inspected the roof. That proposal was with a Malarkey product and warranty. The other proposal was with CertainTeed for a better warranty with a longer gaurantee for the shingle, 40 year.

Nathan and I were very impressed! We appreciated Mike's willingness to work on reducing the price.