Sunday, April 30, 2006
We didn't get to go camping this weekend like we had planned, but that allowed us to have a free Sunday to go and help out the Persica clan with the Fugro Crawfish Boil.
What is this event? Well, basically we help a restaurant in the family cook crawfish, catfish, corn, potatoes, and jambalaya for a group of about 4000 people. This year, we boiled about 7500 pounds of crawfish.
Although I eventually caught a case of heat exhaustion, we had a great time. Neo has so much fun working and playing with everyone there (not to mention he ate about 3 different kinds of ice-cream cones).
It was a great time. We didn't get a chance to take many pictures, but a few are here.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
We were hoping to pack up and head out for our postponed camping trip this weekend, but looking at the weather for north houston, it looks like rain with lows in the mid 50's. I want our first real camping trip to be an enjoyable one, so I think we will have to postpone again... bummer.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Got the new AC installed on Friday. There were some huge storms blowing through Friday morning so that delayed the installation a bit. The guys did a pretty good job installing it I thought.
The new AC cools much better, although the guy said he couldn't get a really good charge on it because it wasn't warm enough outside. I guess that makes the freon freeze up in the bottle or something. There is supposed to be a quality guy come around in a few days to check their work, so I will ask him about it. Other than it making a weird sound when it starts, I am happy with it.
The new AC motivated us to try and seal up some of the exterior of the house, so we bought a bunch of stuff at home depot and got to work. We sealed two of the divisions in the driveway with some self-leveling sealer and some backer rod. This worked pretty good, but it took me 3 $5 bottles of sealer to do only two joints. I need to get some sand to make sure the backer rod is as high as it will go so I don't use so much sealer when I do the rest.
We also got on our hands and knees and cleaned out most of the cracks in the driveway and then filled them with a concrete crack filler. Some of the bigger ones we are going to wait to do once we get some sand.
We took some "Great Stuff" foam filler and filled up some areas around the 1st floor window frames. Then, we removed as much old caulk as we could, and put a fresh seal of caulk all the way around. This may help a little bit, but the windows are so horrible that we might not notice a difference. We really need new windows, and before we do that, we really need to fix the foundation... sigh...
We also went through quite a bit of effort to replace the threshold on the front door. After taking of the threshold, I realized we also needed to replace the board below it as it was getting rotten. I went to Home-Depot again and got a pressure treated board and replaced it. I ruined about 4 masonry drill bits trying to drill into the cement, but eventually we got it in. We put the new threshold on and then installed some door sweeps to help make a seal. With the foundation as it is, there isn't a 90 degree angle in the whole house, so it is hard to get a good seal on anything, but this has to be better than it was. This was the last thing we worked on, but we worked till almost 10:30. Needless to say, we all slept hard.
Looks like those storms that blew in also ripped down some more siding and flopped it over onto the roof. I will have to call a siding guy to come out and repair it and the previous damage from the hurricane, since I don't have a ladder that can reach it... sigh...
Oh, by the way, did I mention that the refrigerator in the kitchen is about to go out? It makes a loud banging noise when the compressor shuts off. Reading on the web suggests it is only a matter of time before the compressor fails... sigh...
In other, less depressing news, Neo had a great baseball game yesterday. He hit well, ran fast and was paying attention. Daddy was very proud. Also, we are going to attempt to go camping next weekend. We have got some supplies ready, and we are thinking about going to Huntsville State Park, but we are open to suggestions. If anyone knows of any good tent-camping places around Houston, please let me know.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The air conditioner wasn't cooling this weekend, so I called someone to come look at it. Looks like the compressor wasn't starting. The guy put a start-assist/start-kit on it and it started up. He said that might keep it going for another year or so. He let it warm up and then checked the pressure and the current draw. The pressure was fine, but the current was 18A and it is only supposed to draw 14A for that unit. He said 4A over is pretty bad, and he doubted it would last the summer.
The start-kit was $285 bucks, so if I decided to gamble and it failed on me this summer, then I would be out that much. He gave me a quote on a new compressor, which was very high compared to the cost of a whole new unit and only came with a 30 day warranty. Christian and I decided to just go ahead and spend some of our foundation repair money on a new AC unit. I asked the guy if he would leave the start-kit until they come to install the new one and he agreed.
The new unit is a 3.5 ton Comfortmaker 14 SEER. I was thinking about going with a 4 ton, but the guy told me that there is a risk that a 4 ton may cool the house too quickly and not run long enough. This causes the AC to cycle more than it should and to also not remove enough humidity out of the air, which can lead to other problems such as mold or ice on the coil.
So, I went with the 3.5 ton. Looking on their website, they have some pretty good warranties. 10 years on the compressor, 5 years on other parts. Also, on the 14 SEER, they have a "7 year no-hassle" warranty, which says that if the compressor fails within 7 years, they will replace the whole unit. Pretty neat.
So, it's alot of money, but perhaps it will be less stress once we get it going since we will have replaced everything in the system including furnace, ductwork, evaporator coil, plenum, and now, A/C unit/compressor.
One interesting thing... the compressor in the garage refrigerator also went out at about the same time. Weird huh? Two compressors going out at the same time? I don't think we had any sort of surge event or lightning... nothing else seems broken. Hmmm....
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Welcome to the redsigned, rehosted, and revalidated graffagnino.net. I hope this will become a better portal for us to share information, pictures, laughs, and thoughts.
I have spent quite a bit of time rewriting everything in PHP so that it can be hosted on an apache based server. This should give the site more flexibility and robustness. Also, the site should now be very close to validated XHTML 1.0 Transitional, so it should work in more browsers more often.
Although, with all of the changes in formats, filenames, directory structure, etc., there is likely to be many broken links to things that have moved or no longer exist. I have tried to adapt my scripts to adapt to the older links and structure, but I'm sure there will still be broken links. Let me know if you find any.
Along with a new, lightweight look, the new site also has a redesigned pictures section. The new flash viewer should make viewing images very quick. It preloads images in the background so that you can click through them quickly. You can click on the right side of the image to go to the next image, and on the left to go to the previous. A small triangle in the upper right of the thumbnails keeps track of which images you have looked at. If you want to download an image, there is a link at the bottom to the full size version which you can save on your PC. Don't have flash? No problem. The scripts should automatically forward you to the non-flash version of the gallery.
Eventually, we will get a new forum for us to chat in, which will be better and more secure than the last one.
Let me know what you like and what you don't!
And... Happy Easter! We had a great Easter this year, although I had what must have been the worst migraine ever experienced on the planet. I am feeling better now though. Neo has more chocolate and candy than he could possibly eat. Thanks to everyone for all of the cards and gifts. Neo really had a great Easter, and so did Christian and I.