Friday, November 10, 2017

Rolling Along As Planned, Happy Veteran's Day, and a $30k OUCH!

Well, the fence guy got most of the new posts set, and we talked about double gate designs for a while. Haven't gone too deep into it, and all we agreed on was that it allow a 12~14' wide truck back there, and be made sturdy and well supported, with probably 3 hinges per side, "Heavy Duty American Iron" construction, and a really good, beefy latch. He said "Oh, like in a horse stable?", and then we went off on another tangent....

Unpacked more stuff. Busted down more boxes. Separated usable bubble-wrap from all the packing material my wife was just stuffing into boxes. Put a new entryway table together. Cut all the tags off the new furniture. Went to Home Depot for another $185 worth of stuff.

And then the kitchen remodel guy showed up. Really cool guy. He's worked as a finish carpenter, a framer, a furniture builder, and on, and on, and on.....kinda like SiliconGraybeard and me! He showed us work his place has done, and showed us what's available.

I've never done a kitchen before, other than to replace an appliance to croaked, or plug in a new one. The most complicated kitchen project I initiated was the tile kitchen floor in the Long Beach house. So getting in a guy who does first-class work, and who has a very good sense of "design for usability AND beauty", and talking to him with my wife there, was more than a little interesting. He's done a few houses in our neighborhood in the last year, and remembers when the subdivision was being built in the late 1970's. We talked about cabinet design, space, height and width, space, how many drawers, how much SPACE......pardon me for being male chauvinist pig, but today I realized a woman's kitchen is like a guy's garage in a lot of ways. We both run out of SPACE to keep our "tools" and "equipment" in. She wonders why I have TWO rolling cabs of tools, and another set of specialty "electronics" tools. I wonder why the kitchen, which has more cabinets than any kitchen I've ever had access to, is so short of SPACE to her.

Oh, well....another mystery of life.

Then we talked price, and he asked her what the maximum price she was willing to pay was, and she said "oh....$15k?", whereupon he smiled and said he didn't think he could do it for that. He told her that to get good quality cabinets, and incorporating the other  work that she wanted done, he could do it for $30k.

The wife went all glassy-eyed, and I smiled. I knew it would be over $15k, but had thought it could be "contained" at $20k.

She recovered gracefully, though and told him she'd have to save up a bit more, and this would be a "next year" project. Might be $35k by then, but she doesn't want to spend the $$ right now, and I agree 100%. We DO NOT need the added stress of a full-bore kitchen remodel this soon after the move.

And it looks like I'll have to go with "Plan B" for the tower/antenna project "next year". Now that the cottonwood is out of there, I see that the perfectly healthy, happy ash tree is in the way. No way could I swing a decent sized beam on a 40' tower right up against the house.

And no way am I going to cut down a good tree! We're getting it injected to protect it from some kind of ash-specific tree blight that got started in Boulder and is due here "next year".

So, the tree stays, and the antenna project gets scaled down a notch. I'm recalculating for a free-standing 30' tower with a very low windload antenna a few feet above that, probably a Hex Beam. Bye-bye 40-footer and KT34....oh, well......

Tomorrow being Veteran's Day, a lot of the museum ships and military museums will have an Amateur Radio special event, or just be on-the-air. I told my wife last week I wanted to try and contact the Iowa. She agreed, so I dug my trusty Elecraft K2/100Watt radio out, sorted all the cables, and started setting up my portable station on a folding table in the sun room. My BuddiPole/BuddiStick antenna system is sitting next to the radio, and I can't find the doggone cable to connect the power supply to the RigRunner power distribution panel! DUH! Then I remembered a couple of years ago when the portable HF radio tub was in the Jeep, and I was at the Iowa. One of the power supplies in the Ham station had croaked, and they were trying to find something to use.

Yep.......I gave them the Astron SS-30 supply I had in the tub, and it had a jumper with PowerPoles on it to feed a RigRunner, because that's what everybody uses. I eventually bought another supply and a jumper, and only put the supply in the tub, forgetting about the cable.

Now somewhere in the bowels of the basement is a cardboard box that has one of those cables in it. Probably take me ALL DAY to find that box. I could drive down to the HRO store in Denver and buy one, and then drive back. That might take, oh....ALL DAY.

Then I saw my Big Box Of Wire in the garage and dug out some 10ga "paired" red/black cable. I have ring lugs the correct size, and I have an assortment of PowerPole connectors.

Where's my crimp set?     RATS!     It's up the road a piece in the shop where our little apartment was. Oh, well..."Fantomworks" is on tonight so maybe I'll watch that. Just glad I didn't NEED that little radio system for a real emergency. Real red face over getting caught flat-footed like that.

So, Saturday morning, I'm gonna cruise on up there, getting a cup of coffee at the one little store I bought coffee at every day for 6 weeks when we first moved here, and continue on up the road to the kid's place, and get my tools. Stop in and see the little guy if he's up, or at least get to see the mutts.

And as long as I'm up there getting my tools and connectors, I'm also going to bring back my big Astron VS-35M linear power supply, which has an already made 10ga power cable with PowerPoles already on it because it was the main supply for the station in Long Beach.

And I'll probably make up a few of those jumpers and stick them in all my radio "go boxes". "Two-is-one" and all that.....

My next door neighbor, a retired electronics engineer named Jim, is also a Ham, and was asking the other day if he could come over when I operated on Veteran's Day. He got his license in 1962, a year before I got mine. We started talking about tube gear and I mentioned I had a Drake 4-line that was in the process of  being reactivated, and he really lit up. And he's interested in satellites, so I think I might have new friend.

And the wife was talking to another neighbor who told her out here kitchen remodels START at $30k and can easily go over $50k if you include all new appliances and any "custom" stuff, so that made her feel less Sticker Shocked.

Happy Veteran's Day, and I'll be on-the-air looking for special event stations.


  1. Thank you for your service. Good luck with your search and God bless.

  2. The kitchen budget for the hovel is $60K. That should calm her frayed nerves.

    1. She calmed down a lot after the nice neighbor told her good kitchen remodels START at $30k here. The previous owners installed all new appliances, so we're good there.

  3. $30k sounds about right for a full kitchen, and new appliances.

    There are a lot of common features in kitchen remodels, as the use of a kitchen has been pretty well defined for a while. BUT there are some things that are just trendy. You probably want to watch out for those. White marble tops with "waterfall" edges are one such. You don't want to lock in today's trend, just as it's playing out...

    One way to save money is on "semi-custom" cabinets. You can buy most of the cabs from stock, and add a couple of pieces to fill in odd areas, or buy all stock cabs- ( and have your guy do custom doors and drawers.

    Layout and size come down to how you use the kitchen. Is it the social hub of the house? Do you throw a lot of parties? Have 2 people cooking simultaneously? If your main cook doesn't cook at a cordon blue level, do you REALLY need the 'commercial look' or imported pro-chef level appliances?

    You don't want less kitchen than your house and neighborhood will support, but you don't need lots more either.


    Also, don't know if there is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore anywhere nearby, but if so, you need to start swinging thru there on a regular basis. It's very common for ours to get really nice high end appliances as tear outs on kitchens that are only a year or two old. (house sells and the wife wants to make the perfectly good high end kitchen her own) I see thermidor, wolf, all the time, and I've bought electrolux, kenmore elite, and Miele at ours...

    Sears Outlet store is another great place to look for high end stuff at steep discounts. (kitchen stuff at 40-60% off)

    1. We have all new appliances, so the estimate didn't include replacing them. The wife is sharp enough about this stuff that she wouldn't get talked into something "trendy" and this guy doesn't push stuff like that.

      Tanks for the tip on the ReStore. I'll look and see if there's one here.

  4. Biggest complaint I've got about those high-end stove top units is they don't seem designed to be able to clean them short of a steam-cleaner. That might be ok in a commercial setting, but certainly not a home!

  5. A relative of mine used to, from scratch build custom cabinets. A standard sized cabinet would take him between 15 and 40 hours to build. And he had a shop set up for doing it all.
    Then there was the installing for a few more hours. That 30k sounds right in the ball park for a good sized kitchen. Maybe even a little low.
    Then when you add the fancy countertops, appliances and a island, ohhhh.

    1. She's pretty happy with the layout, so no new island (it has one now), and we won't have to move any plumbing, and maybe minor electrical if she wants some extra outlets or lights.

      The appliances are all new, good quality units of the "Top Of The Line At Home Depot" class, and they work fine.

      Still, she has to understand these are custom built cabinets, made by craftsmen, and will NOT be cheap.

      And they'll be exactly what she tells them she wants.

  6. I'd cook out in the back yard over a fire pit before I paid $30,000 to remodel a new kitchen! That's a whole lot of money....

    It's good you have bumped into someone with common interests, that will help you get integrated into the neighborhood.

    I have noticed that your posts are very upbeat and positive since you made the move. You even deal with unexpected and unpleasant surprises with humor and good grace. This move was a smart thing.

    1. Yeah, I was a bit taken aback when he said it would take $30k to do it right.

      The house I grew up in back in Illinois cost $30k when my parent's bought it new!

      Just being out of Kalifornia dropped the stress, but it sure built up in the process of leaving.

      I'm home here. I feel like I'm back with all my friends before I left Illinois and moved to Kalifornia. The people are the same as those I grew up with, and the landscape is beautiful here with big trees, blue skies, and green fields.

      Living in that coastal desert for 35 years really took it's toll on me......It's good to be home at last.


Keep it civil, please....