The Mini Blitz Fail

I had plans for another weekend project mini-blitz. The list of small projects was long; my energy was high. I figured I could knock out 10 mini projects AND write a blog post in one day, because I'm a freaking DIY rock-star!

Yeah, right.

There's nothing like a double dose of failure to knock the wind out of your sails is there?

I started with the garage entry door. One of our two automatic door locks decided it wanted to stop working and would no longer unlock when the code was typed in. Sure, it made noise and wiggled, but it also marooned my butt in the garage. I was trapped in there like a chump and had to take the long way around, out through the roll up and back in through the front door.

I figured something had slipped inside and that a handy AZ DIY Guy attack with a screwdriver and some powdered graphite would get it working in short order. After all, I'd installed it only a couple years ago.

Long story short, I screwed around with that damn lock for a couple hours. Every time I thought I figured it out, and pieced it back together, I wound up with a big fat zero. I did manage to get some sort of black greasy fingerprints all over the door.

Finally, I noticed a broken piece of retaining spring laying on the ground. It may be the problem or it may not. Something is broken and I couldn't fix it. I put it back together for now. I took the liberty of loosing two important screws along the way.

"Seriously, they were right here a second ago"

House: 1  /   AZ DIY Guy: 0

I moved outside with the intent to use a new thingamajig to escalate the war on black algae that has completely overrun the swimming pool this summer. It's a neat tool that I think I remember seeing on Ask This Old House's "What is it?" segment a couple years ago. It holds a chlorine tablet so you can use it to scrape directly on the tenaciously evil invasive horror that is black algea.

It had mixed reviews, but what the hey, it's a TOOOOOOOOOL!

The Pentair Algea Gon Chlorine Tablet holder has apparently
 been discontinued, but I found it on
I popped in a chlorine tablet and attached it to the telescopic pool pole. 

I started scrubbing the walls. It worked really well. I could get much better leverage than laying on my belly scrubbing on the walls or pushing a tab around on the bottom with the wire brush. 

No, I am not harpoon fishing.
Of course, my stash of chlorine tabs seemed to be old, maybe with some moisture in them. I scrubbed for about thirty seconds and they broke into pieces, falling to the bottom. Crap.

Cool tool / Bad bucket of tablets. 

House: 2  /   AZ DIY Guy 0

Sometimes, you just know when it's time to throw in the towel. I flopped on the couch and watched TV with the kids.

So much for installing two outlets, fixing a ceiling light circuit. adjusting the latch on the front security door, caulking and painting the last section of living room trim, texturing the bathroom wall repair, and killing the new weeds in the yard. 

There will be another day; I will be victorious. 

The Front Yard Graveyard - Zombie Defense Give Away

It's October. You know what that means. That's right, it's undead time. I'm not referring to the mid-term political election cycle, but the armies of spook-ables rising from their graves, shambling towards the warmth of the living.

You may not think it's an issue, but if you've just constructed a graveyard in your front flowerbed, zombies are something to think about. You've got to get your defenses prepared. I'm prepared and I'm going to help you get prepared for the zombie apocalypse too, with a giveaway and a discount coupon, but more on that later with:

But first, the graveyard. To the delight of my AZ DIY Girl assistant, with as much fanfare as raising the Ark of the Covenant from the Well of the Souls, the Halloween box was lowered from the attic. After careful deliberation, we started with tombstones, definitely tombstones.

Tombstones first, definitely tombstones.

Getting Photos on the Walls and Other Foolishness

I haven't written about decorating much, but adding some simple photos really made huge difference to our bland walls and instantly changed the feeling of a room . It brightened up the guest bathroom space and made it more special, for very little money.

We started with a few, cheap 4 x 6 wooden frames, for about 4 bucks each and printed photos from an SD card on the instant-print machine at Target for ten cents apiece.

We decided to use photos I took on our summer trip to San Diego. We had so much fun watching the sea life that we thought we'd commemorate it in this one room.

I leveled up and evenly spaced three frames, sitting partially behind the door when it was open. It's a small room so the small photos don't overpower the space. Since people will be toweling off in the room, I added a small piece of double-sided tape to the bottom of each frame, to keep them from getting bumped out of place.

I can't tell you how many times I've bashed my head on that train rack.
This set includes a dolphin, a big sea lion, and a seagull with a chick. Of course, the baby seagull steals the show.

We also found a neat matted, triple hole frame at the mall for about $15. I placed it beside the door, centered on the switches. 

For just a few bucks, we really brightened up and personalized the space. I'm not a professional photographer, more of a duffer, but I like how these particular photos worked out. If you are interested, here's the Flickr gallery of my photos from the beach that I chose the prints from, in their all of their hi-res glory: AZ DIY Guy's San Diego Sea Life Gallery 2014

I just love this one of the dolphin wave-surfing. I was lucky to snap it from a rooftop deck at my maximum zoom range of 300 mm. 

We also put a jar of sand and shells we brought back into the vanity cabinet shelves. Nothing fancy, but a cheap, personalized nick-knack to make the space special.

I realize I've been away from the blog for a bit. It's been a busy start to Fall, with kids activities and stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. I assure you, I've certainly been up to stuff, but not blogging about it. Mostly because it's been more of the same, the never ending swimming pool fight problems, explosive weed growth in the yard, and various little repairs I've already written about. It just felt like time for a break from all the work of blogging to recharge my mojo. BUT... didn't keep me out of trouble. Therefore, my friends, I present:

"Other Foolishness"

This Old House / This Old Apartment ran a series designed to get their beloved carpenter Norm Abram to participate on Twitter. He was the lone hold-out from the crew. They asked that people take selfie's with a cut-out of Norm's face and post them on Twitter with the hashtag: #SelfieWithNorm

I didn't have access to a color printer, but I did have access to a library of AZ DIY Guy selfies shot with a remote trigger). I also had access to a twisted mind and some feeble Photoshop skills. As a long-time Norm fan, I had no choice but to dip my toe in the water with a #SelfieWithNotm tweet:

Then, things just got out of hand.

Yep,.. out of hand,

And then, it was done. There were a lot of creative, funny #SelfieWithNorm tweets out there. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. It was great to get direct engagement from This Old House, Ask This Old House, Kevin O'Conner (Host) and Richard Trethewey (Plumber). I saw my creations on their Twitter feeds and Facebook throughout the campaign.

Hang in there with me. I expect my batteries will be recharged soon and I'll get back to normal posting.


The 10+ DIY Ways We Cut Our Electric Bill

I did some research to see how all our little energy saving tweaks to the house have actually saved electricity.

It's been a combination of little and big things that has added up measurably. The fact is, our bill is dropping. I'm going to break it down specifically as I can.

I'm going to run through the numbers using summertime, since that's when we really chew through the electricity, mostly due to air conditioning and the swimming pool. I count the summer as May through August. September is still brutal in Arizona, with temps regularly in the triple digits, but I just don't have the September bill in yet.

Here's our actual usage, from the electric bills, for the last three summers, May through August:

Average Billing Comparison

In August of 2012, our electricity use bill was $ 367.06 for the month, but we use an average billing plan to spread the crushing financial pain throughout the year, so the bill was actually $285.00. By August of 2014, our average monthly bill is down to $ 175.00, a whopping savings of $110.00 per month!

Phoenix is closed today due to rain

I thought I'd share a little of this morning's adventure. It rained,... a lot. We've passed the all time daily record, held from 1895 when they started measuring. It basically shut the metropolitan area down.

We don't usually have visible water in the washes, creek beds and rivers. Now we have torrents of flood water in our roads and parks.

Phoenix Flooding #Monsoon2014
Road Closed (Road gone?)
Growing up in Michigan, rain was nothing to be concerned with. Here in Phoenix, it's a big deal. We get flooding when there's one inch. This morning, parts of the valley got as much as five inches. The freeways are littered with cars doing double-duty as submarines. We're trapped in our part of town.