Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Improved Home Improvement

Just a bit more housework going on lately. Nothing too crazy but coming up to my first anniversary so I'm going to spruce the place up a bit.

Sometime ago a I ranted about an awful experience I had a Lowes. Well they have redeemed themselves. A few weeks ago they had an incredible appliance sale on Maytag. When I mean incredible, I do mean incredible. After selling my old appliances, a new dishwasher, stove and over-the-range microwave set me back less them two fill ups on a pick-up truck. I kid you not. And it was all their middle grade appliances too, not builders grade. Since I can install appliances myself, I really cleaned up. Delivery was free too. Nice.

Well all was not well Sunday night when I attempted to install the last appliance, the Range. The rough in specs were 30 inches. No problem, the builder who built my place left exactly 30 inches to install a stove. The width of one Maytag stove? Exactly 30 inches as well. Not believing my eyes, I measured again and again. It would not budge. The tale of the tape measure does not lie, that range was not going to fit.

According to Lowes website the range is 29 7/8 inches. If it were, it would have slid in nicely and I would have posted this a day earlier. With receipts and tape measure in hand, off to Lowes I went. Here is the incredible part. I arrived at Lowes at 10:00 am Monday morning. At 11:12 am, the same morning, I waived goodbye to the Lowes delivery guys who dropped off a new upgraded Frigidaire range. Of course we made sure it fit before they left.

Without any fuss or muss, Amanda and I walked over to the Maytag range in the store and she agreed. It simply was replaced. Such service is typically reserved for Nordstorm shoppers, not mass market home stores. Amanda's manger of course received a nice letter. With their price matching policies, I'll never need to shop for appliances anywhere else. And I won't.

When you come to visit next time, the first thing you'll see is my new front door. A DIY design on-a-dime project if there ever was one. Just cruising through craigslist I found this front door that was sun damaged. It was originally stained, but there was no way it would ever be stained again with the sun damage. It could be painted however! Coffee Bean from Eddie Bauer Home, thank you. Some new door hardware and mounting adjustments and I was set. Much improved.

So there it is. Come knock on my new front door and I might just might cook for you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Truck, Blue Truck

I never turn down someone's request for help in buying a car. I know there is so much to think about and the vast vault of automotive knowledge in my brain needs to be tapped every so often or it will burst. This time it was my friend Mike's turn to suffer through my exhaustive download of automotive information.

So here is his new truck. He's happy and I know his mom is reading this now. Yes you'll see it at Thanksgiving.

In a watershed moment for Ford Motor Company, the last issue of Consumer Reports recommended the F150 due to it's strong record of reliability for the present model. Of greater shock was that they did not recommend the Toyota Tundra due to it's numerous powertrain problems. Historically reliable Toyota has become a victim of it's own growth. It's not easy building that many cars and getting it right.

Thanks to my dad, Mike enjoyed a steep discount on his truck with Ford's Friend and Neighbors program. If you're reading this, you're pretty much my friend I assume. This program is also known as the X plan. A few of you have taken advantage of this and if you haven't hit me up. The plan is basically 91% or MSRP and all incentives are included. At times there are additional incentives for X plan buyers, such as the additional $500 rebate that Mike used on his truck.

Keep in mind I'll talk to you about any car and you don't need to be buying a Ford. But of course I'll strongly suggest it....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hook 'Em Horns

This was meant to be yesterday's blog but the arrival of my niece pushed it to today. Being a non-Texan by birth, I would say that the arrival of a new niece is more important then football, but the natives here might argue that. It's my call and Chloe wins.

Everyone knows about Texas and football. Not having attended college here I landed in Austin without an allegiance to any team. I have friends who went to A&M as well as UT and whoever took me to a game first, I would pledge me support to that team. Last Saturday UT won my affections thanks to Mike. Go Longhorns!

I've been to numerous professional football games, but never to a college game. And certainly not to a college that takes it's football as seriously as UT. I thought that going to a school with a big football team would be fun, but the majority of the 84,000 in attendance were not students. It's not cheap to go to a game, even for students. I think the lure of the big school athletics like UT is the lifelong affiliation once you graduate and can afford the price of admission.

It was a perfect day for football. The weather was cool and there was a bit of a breeze. Prior to the kickoff, we spent a few hour tailgating in the parking lot with Mike's friend Terri. What a spread she put out. I think she was the belle of the LBJ Parking lot as her tailgate party had LIVE satellite television. We watched A&M loose to Missouri. Several other less fortunate tailgater's crept over to watch the game with us.

Once inside the stadium it was a sea of burnt orange. Last fall when I bought my house I was in Sears looking for a new washer and dryer. I came across a set and exclaimed to my salesperson, "Who buys a pumpkin colored washer and dryer?". I had so much to learn.

UT won and it was a great game. They handily beat Texas Tech, and everyone in the stands was polite to our guests from the opposing team in my section. The half time show was actually interesting to watch as both marching bands took turns on the field. There was plenty of tradition although I failed get a look at Bevo, the UT mascot.

There are two things Texas loves. It's football and itself. I've been told many times by natives, "There's Texas and there's not Texas".

And they're right.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh Baby

She's here! Yesterday my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Chloe Elizabeth Santoro. Mother and daughter are doing fine after an intense 17 hours of labor. She's a few weeks early but she's still 8 lbs. Not a bad size and thankfully she arrived when she did as if she stayed full term, she may have hit the double digits which is common in my family.

She's adorable and perfect. I now have four nieces and one nephew. You can count on more baby pictures to come in the upcoming weeks.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Blow Hard

Here's Big Red, my new favorite toy. No shop is complete without an air compressor to inflate tires or remove those unbelievably tight and difficult suspension bolts. Not to mention brake caliper bolts too. Nothing like a good impact wrench to take your lug nuts off without hurting yourself.

Mucho thanks to Mom and Dad for the early Christmas present.

Last week i picked up the new front springs to my 635CSi and met a set of unweilding brake caliper bolts while trying to remove the front strut tower. The car has about 110k on it which means it's had about two brake jobs in the past 19 years. Those brake calipers bolts have not moved since daytrading was an occupation. They are very happy where they are but I need to change that.

But not today. I've inflated the tires a bit and played with all the accessories. Hats off to the guys at Home Depot for being so helpful. I hit the guys up at the contractor desk and they could not have helped me more in picking out the right model and the correct nailer for the woodworking jobs I have planned for my house. I know I usually slam Home Depot, but these guys were great. You bet I'm going to fill out that survey at the bottom of my receipt.

I can't stop smiling and playing with it. I've properly inflated the tires on all my cars. The difference between men and boys certainly is the size of their toys.