Garage Central

We had our garage door installed a few days ago, and on the surface, that’s not that exciting of an update.

Door up:

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Door down (ignore the lovely porta-potty in the foreground, and thanks to Ginger for this photo):

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It wasn’t that long ago at our old house that we came home from work and thought our street looked funny. It took us a minute to realize that all of the lights were out, and another minute to comprehend that that meant the power was out in our neighborhood. No power means no garage door opener. To top it off, I then had an “oh, pooh!” moment when I realized that neither Robert nor I typically carry house keys with us. All I could think about was our poor little dog waiting for us to come home and, let’s face it, feed him dinner, and we were stuck. Thankfully, I remembered that I had put my house keys in my knitting bag, which fortunately was in the back of the car and we were able to get it.

So here’s the cool part in our new house. We told Melvin, our builder, that we wanted a battery backup for the garage door opener. Oooh, shiny! And look, it’s red!

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Uh, huh. This is the LiftMaster myQ garage door opener, complete with battery backup.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

Seriously? This awesome little device allows not only for battery backup, but with wifi connects the garage door opener to the myQ app on our phones. That means we can make sure we put the door down without going back to the house, or open it for guests who beat us there. Additionally, this handy dandy little device, along with some extra accessories, will also control some of the lights in our house. How cool is this?

I love technology!

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House Progress

Progress keeps happening at the house, but we’re kind of in that boring phase. All the drywall has been hung, taped, and mudded, including the ceilings.

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The bathrooms received a special purple drywall where we have water hook ups.

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There’s supposed to be a big window here. :-) Don’t worry, it came back.

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The walls and ceilings have also been textured, and I apparently didn’t take any photos, and they have rounded bull nose pieces on the corner. As someone who’s a major klutz and has been known to run into a few walls in her past, I appreciate this detail.

Here’s hoping for some more exciting updates soon!

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Bunny Salad

Last Saturday night we went to a surprise 40th birthday party for our new pastor (who will tell you that he’s still 39 for a few more days, LOL). We had a great time meeting new people from our new church, as well as hanging out with old friends who were there. The food and cake were great, we got to give Ryan a hard time about being a cubs (lowercase intentional) fan, and the weather was beautiful.

Steve and Ginger were sitting by the pool enjoying their hot dogs, and Robert and I were talking with some other folks closer to the house. That’s when I saw him.

Hey, Ginger! Look! A bunny is behind your chair! Not wanting to scare him, I texted her. She couldn’t see him and thought I was pulling her leg, so I started snapping photos.

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Yum! A salad bar! LOL

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Stretchhhhhhhhh!

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I wonder if we should have offered him a hot dog?

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Extra Foam, Please

I remember working with my dad and going up into our attic on occasion as a child.  There were fluffy pink batts of insulation between the boards, and I was warned not to step on them, touch them, or get any of the fibers in my eye.  This traditional insulation is very itchy – ask me how I know.  :-)

Fast forward a few decades and the latest in insulation technology is spray foam.  Which is just what it sounds like.  It’s a Styrofoam type product that is sprayed between the studs of your home.  Because it’s sprayed, it can get into nooks and crannies that traditional insulation cannot, therefore providing a superior outcome.

First up, the installer went through the house sealing up any noticeable spaces between the boards, and around the doors and windows.  The stained concrete floors were covered with rosin paper to protect them during the spraying.  Then the foam was sprayed on the ceiling – remember those ice house roof panels?

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And on all the exterior walls.

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Obviously, the foam doesn’t spray nice and neat, but instead in – well – blobs.

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Therefore, the installer has to go back and cut off the protruding blobs of foam to make the insulation flush with the studs, in preparation for drywall.

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But before drywalling (that’s a verb, right?) can commence, there’s one more crucial step.  We had an air infiltration test conducted to determine how “tight” our house was.  To be considered Energy Star efficient, homes must have a rating under 1,500 for an air infiltration test equivalent to a 30-mph wind on every side of the house.

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A rating between 500-1000 was what we were looking for, and we were told most homes first rate at approximately 4,000.  Before sealing the leaks, we were at 1,300.  That means our house was already pretty tight to begin with.  After using “smoke sticks” which were held near doors, windows, and the duct work – basically any spot that might have a leak – any leaks found received additional spray foam and we received a subsequent rating under 1,000.  This is not actually completely accurate for us as we still had one place where there was no wall and a plastic tarp was used as a temporary wall.  After drywall is put up, the house will get even tighter.

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Our air infiltration testers repeatedly emphasized that this is the time to conduct the test – before drywall.  It’s much harder to find the leaks and fix them once the walls are up.

With a house sealed so tightly, there’s a concern that air quality would be diminished.  To accommodate for this, we are installing an HRV – a heat recovery ventilator.  This device exchanges stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air.  In the winter it will also warm the cold air coming into the house and in the summer it will cool the hot air coming inside.  Pretty nifty, huh?

There are other benefits to spray foam insulation as well.  It works to minimize sound, it’s environmentally friendly, it doesn’t settle, and it provides a solid level of insulating that traditional products can’t match.  It’s also more expensive, at least up front.  But savings from energy expenses can definitely outweigh increased installation costs over time.  Many times utility companies also offer rebates if you’re looking to improve the insulation in your home.  Be sure to check yours out before installing.

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That’s our contractor, Melvin, in the photo with us.  He’s awesome.

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Fiber U – 2014

I have been fortunate to have been involved with Fiber U from the beginning, teaching in its second year.  It’s always one of my favorite local events and this year was no exception.

I finally got smart and didn’t schedule an 8:00 a.m. class on Saturday since I have to get up early and drive an hour to the event, so my first class was at 10:00, giving me an hour to shop first.  The market is always very good.  But somehow I managed not to get a single picture.

My first class was DIY sock yarn, which you may recall has become a bit of an interest for me.  Adding as many dye techniques to my arsenal could be dangerous.

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I taught my Social Media Marketing class in the afternoon.  This is one of my favorite classes to teach because a lot of it is discussion-oriented and you never know where it’s going to go.  I had lots of good questions that got added to my handouts for future classes.

At Fiber Retreat in Jefferson City this year I wanted to take Zelma Cleveland’s The Calculating Spinner class, but it was scheduled opposite another class I was teaching.  This class overlapped with mine, but I got to sit in for the last 1 1/2 hours.

Saturday night I had dinner with my Fiber Folks friends.  We don’t get to see each other enough!

Sunday morning I was back at it early, taking a basket making class from Mary McCreery.  I’ve wanted to take a basket weaving class for some time now, but scheduling has never worked out.  This was a lot of fun, and I would definitely take another class to make a second basket!

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Sunday afternoon I taught my class again and then headed home.  I’m already looking forward to next year!

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