Our water heater sprung a leak!

Well here’s a late posting…on the night (February 2nd) before Superbowl Sunday, our water heater gave out. B noticed a puddle all around it when she went to tuck the cats in to bed that night.

I scrambled and went online trying to look for possible causes/fixes and learned that it looks like it just finally bit the dust and just have to bite the bullet and buy a new one. 😦

Even trying to hook up a hose to it was difficult because the drain spigot was plastic and partially broken so I had to put 5 gallon buckets below it too.

Sunday morning I called my dad to see if he could get a better deal then if I were to say go to Home Depot/Lowe’s. Because he works at a plumbing supply company I knew I should ask him first. To my surprise, he had a ‘reject’ (it had a dent in it, but was most likely to be in perfectly fine working condition) one in his shed.

A little later that morning we brought it over to my house, pulled out the old one, and had the new one in and working before the 49ers were beat…what a memorable bittersweet (sweet because my dad saved me hundreds of dollars…not even including installation, and of course bitter because the 49ers lost) day it was.

Here’s our new water heater happily running for hopefully many many years to come:

New hot water heater

The area near the bottom with the wires is now covered with a plastic part that my dad gave to me on a later date, so it looks more finished now.

How nice it is to have hot water! You know, it’s easy to take for granted such seemingly-basic amenities that we have. That is, until you’re without them!

Stay tuned for some new posts coming soon (hopefully) about the boys, and B.


Our Maker Faire experience

Well, we went to Maker Faire this last weekend, on Saturday. It was incredibly awesome from what little we saw (more on this in a minute). First, let me share a bit of newfound experience – GET THERE EARLY if you ever go. I figured that getting there when they opened (10am) would be good  timing….WRONG! I didn’t realize just how popular and big this thing is. We got to the exit ‘Delaware’ off of Highway 92 around 10am. The freeway was backed up at that point because of so many people getting off at this exit. It was bumper to bumper all the way from the exit to the actual fairgrounds and beyond. When we got to the various parking lots, they were already full. This was about 11am. And we were at the same place (San Mateo County Fairgrounds) last month, and let me tell you – the parking lots are HUGE! We had to go park at one of the ‘off-site’, 3rd party lots and walk to the fairgrounds (about a 10 minute walk). We finally got in (through the closest entrance to where we parked), and this was our first view:

Just inside an entrance

Just inside an entrance

Anyway, we went straight to that big building just ahead, and it was a big, dark area of cool stuff. We went there first because there was some stuff going on that B wanted to see. If you want to see the videos that I took of a few things, just visit my channel:


After we saw everything in there, it was lunchtime. Then it was downhill from there. I woke up that morning with stomach trouble (yeah, big surprise), and on the way had a few sips of B’s Starbuck’s which made it worse. By lunchtime I had about 3 Pepto tablets already, but halfway through lunch, I thought I was going to die. After running to the bathroom, I knew I couldn’t stay any longer…I had to go home. I (and B apparently) was soo disappointed. We hadn’t even scratched the surface of this awesome event and I hadn’t seen anything that I really wanted to see/came for. Getting in 1.5 hours late made it worse because that could’ve been time used to see other cool stuff. Basically we saw everything on the inside of the main area of that building, but saw next to nothing on the outside (where pretty much everything was).

Oh, I do have one more photo I took while waiting for B inside (this was taken just inside one of the exits of the main hall, looking outside):

Strange fire horn thing

Strange fire horn thing

There’s always next year I guess…

Edit: A brief slideshow of just a few things you could’ve seen there:



Maker Faire this weekend

It’s here – Maker Faire Bay Area! B and I are going out to San Mateo County Fairgrounds for the famous Maker Faire. I’m going to try to take lots of photos and videos, but just may forget to while I’m relishing in all the excitement. Anway, all the big names/people in the hacker/maker community are going to be there and I’m totally excited about maybe meeting some of them.


Modern doorbell

A couple months ago I was in Home Depot (big surprise, right?) and was walking down an aisle that had a variety of doorbells, and a couple of them were pretty cool and modern looking at first glance. When I picked one up and examined it a bit further, it actually looked a little cheap. This gave me the idea of looking online for more modern doorbells to see what was out there. There are some really cool looking ones, but very expensive. Finally, B and I decided on one that had a good balance of price and yet still cool/modern looking.

Here it is, installed:

Our new modern doorbell

Our new modern doorbell

I was a little worried that it wouldn’t work with our existing transformer because the voltage ratings were different, but it did. Apparently doorbells are fairly forgiving when it comes to running on lower voltages than what they’re rated for.

HVAC woes solved (for real this time)

If you read my previous similarly titled post about my HVAC woes being solved, you might be wondering why I’m posting about it again. It’s because they weren’t actually solved.

After installing our awesome new NEST thermostat, the problems came back. One of the awesome things about the NEST thermostat is that it detects wiring (and other) problems, and didn’t detect any when I hooked it up and went through the set up.  Realizing that this problem is out of my jurisdiction, I bit the bullet and called an HVAC company my dad (he’s in the business) referred me to. He came on Friday, found that the problem was the main control board (particularly the relays), and came back Saturday morning with a new one, installed it, and boom! We now have a working furnace/blower and a happily running HVAC system. Finally!

As a bonus, he even replaced our igniter after trying to fiddle with our old one to get it to ignite the flame properly. (We’ve had a problem with it for quite some time and even had it replaced a while back by another company). He threw in the new one for free because he said he could probably clean up the old one and resell it (because it’s not even that old). Oh, and one more thing – he said our gas was turned down dangerously low (I’m assuming the former company did this for some reason).

A little under $200 later, we are finally running central heating again instead of a bunch of little floor/room heaters!

Our new Nest is here

Our new Nest finally came in the other day. It was supposed to come in sooner, but good ol’ FedEx temporarily lost our package. (This is one of the reasons I don’t like FedEx – they’ve done this to me a few other times) Anyway, I digress. So I took some photos of the packaging, and contents…it’s all pretty fancy. Take a look:

Nice box. :)

Nice box. 🙂


Fancy packaging, tool

Fancy packaging, tool


So there’s a preview…I will soon post how the installation went with a photo of it on my wall. 🙂

Before and after photos of my first patching job

It’s pretty common knowledge in construction that ‘patching’ drywall that has that modern, smooth-wall (very little texture) finish is one of the hardest types to get to look good. Now I see why they say that…because it’s true!

Because I am the one who did all the work to get the smooth-wall look, I have the advantage of knowing what kind of sandpaper I used, what kind of roller (nap) I used, etc., but it still didn’t come out as good as I would’ve liked it to. I feel that if the wires weren’t in my way, I could’ve done a little bit better job.

Without further ado, here’s my wall after removing my thermostat:

Old Thermostat Hole

Old Thermostat Hole

And here it is after I patched, primed, painted:

Thermostat Hole Patched

Thermostat Hole Patched

It actually looks better in the picture than it does in person. But I do believe it’s not bad for a rookie, eh?