Back to the grind

The holidaze are now in the rear-view mirror, I’m back at work, the kids are back in school, and we’re back to our normal, boring day-in day-out routine.  For me, unlike the previous two years, the break didn’t feel too long.  That may have been because it was only two weeks as opposed to 16-18 days in past years.  Or, it may be because this year’s break was punctuated by a nice, whole-house case of the stomach bug.  Mmm, fun…  pass the Immodium, please.

Measured against past holiday breaks, this one was fairly productive, which I know is not saying much.  Got the tractor more-or-less winterized, the leaves more-or-less cleared, the house more-or-less grounded, and the master bathroom sink drain more-or-less fixed, and started prepping the master bedroom for painting.  All in all, not too bad.

I cracked a bottle of homebrew on Christmas Eve, 8 days after bottling, and it was pretty good, although still in need of a bit more conditioning/carbonating.  It compared favorably to the 2007 Anchor “Special” Holiday Ale I drank around the same time.  I imagine by now it’ll be fully carbonated and really good.  Will probably try another bottle this weekend at some point.  Need to get my taste for beer back first 🙂
Painting the master bedroom is the next big project on the docket.  There’s a bit more prep work to do (sanding, spackling, relocating a phone jack) but all in all, it’s about ready to paint.  Just need to come up with a good day to do it, and put it on the calendar.  Once that’s done there’s the laundry station.  These two should take us up to late winter or early spring, at which point we need to do something about the basement walk-out steps.

All of which brings us to…  this weekend’s to-do list.  This weekend is kinda booked up, so this is an accordingly brief list:

  • Install new fill valve in toilet in kids’ bathroom (never got around to this over the break)
  • Sanding and other prep work in master bedroom
  • Retirement portfolio rebalancing & 2008 tax planning

Today in review

Today marked the start of the 2-week Christmas break. I actually managed to get a few things done. First off, I came up with a temporary fix for the house’s grounding system, which faithful readers may recall was interrupted when we had our copper water main replaced with plastic. I realized that we had a copper line running underground from the well room to the old abandoned hand pump by the garage, so I bonded it to the copper water pipe just downstream of the pressure reducing valve. Not sure how good of a ground it is, but it’s definitely better than it was, and it buys me a little time to plan how to do it right.

Next up was the master bathroom sink, which had been out of commission for a couple months. My original attempt at snaking the drain was a rush job and did not work out too well. This time I took my time and pulled out a big plug of hair. Then I put the drain back together and poured several big buckets of hot water down to try to clean things out a bit. Not sure why this drain in particular has so much clogging trouble. I think for starters, I’ll get a strainer for it to keep hair out of it. Then I may see about rerouting the A/C condensate drain, which currently runs into the drain via the attic vent.

Also managed to bag up some leaves for yard waste pickup today. Leaf removal is running behind schedule due to inclement weather. At the rate I’m going, I may be putting leaves out all the way up to January 21, when the pickups end for the winter.

To do for the rest of the week: finish winterizing the tractor, clean the humidifier, caulk the sill plate in the back part of the basement, replace the toilet fill valve in the kids’ bathroom, and work on getting the master bedroom ready for painting.