Lest you think I've abandoned the blog for better pastures, fear not. I've just been collecting fodder. I've also been spending a decent amount of time doing some of those niggly little projects that have hit the list since the renovation was completed. Like installing ceiling fans. Like getting poison ivy from free mulch. Like watching it rain inside the house.
What's that you say? Rain inside the house? That can't be good.
No, it's not. It seems we have a trifecta of issues, as it were, that's leading to a visit from Bob The Builder later this week. The house has about double the square footage of roof area now collecting water. Additionally, it has brand new siding. Add to that an absolutely torrential rainfall, and we've found a glitch. It seems that last night, during the downpour, the front gutter was overwhelmed and rain began to "sheet" down the front of the house. Directly above my daughter's bedroom window is a small U-shaped vinyl channel that's designed to "finish" the bottom end of the siding above the window. This channel filled with water so fast that it couldn't handle the load, and water filled up behind the siding and began running down the inside of the window. Not good.
It's situations like this that make one realize just how fragile an organism a house can be. It also gives me the ironic realization about just how fragile a homeowner's budget can be. This happened the same day I had to bring my car in for emergency surgery, and hours after my wife and I decided on a design for built-in furniture we want to put in our family room. As the saying goes, "it never ends".
But on to other topics. I've fallen in love with a computer program called Google Sketchup. I was looking for a simple home "CAD" program that would allow me to put together some designs for built-in furniture when I came a across it. Sketchup is a FREE program that allows you to quickly and painlessly draw in three dimensions. After about a half hour of learning and two hours of doing, I was able to produce this to-scale reproduction of our family room with potential designs for built-ins. And the best part is that in the actual program, I can rotate the image around on three axes to get a view from all sides, above and below. Like I said this is an amazing program. There's also a wealth of information on how to use it, an entire society of woodworkers who've put together templates, tools and plugins, and a database on Google of presketched images you can grab for free. Oh, and if you're designing a building and you want to see what it might look like in the real world, you can place your image on Google Earth in exactly the location you want, to see what your house might look like in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, or in the sands of Dubai. Like I said, it's free, so check it out.