Through the Fan

Well, that was a heck of a 48 hours, even by the standards of a stay-at-home, COVID-19 world. Let’s see, it went down like this…


Speaker chaos. Realized we need a plan for where to stay for 24 hours while the stinky gases from our crawl space insulation dissipate. Quickly made a reservation at the Residence Inn Mariott in Bothell. We decided to pay for Thursday night so we could go there first thing Friday morning, and then Benji said he wanted to sleep there Thursday night.


Normal-ish day, except at the end Ian and Benji moved in to the Residence Inn for the night. I went back home, packed my stuff, fixed a flat tire on my bike (of course), and started setting up my new Kickr. Oh, and I arranged with my boss that I’d take Friday off, which proved to be a very good idea. Continue Reading >>

What My Evening Looked Like

Day’s Verse:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others..
Philippians 2:3-4

I guess I should really say this is what I looked like yesterday evening.

Ready for the Attic

After putting down two batts last Sunday, I found the flying fiberglass fluff too much to handle. I came out of the attic coughing and uncomfortable, and perhaps more than a little worried that breathing small fiberglass fibers wasn’t good for me. We had 28 more batts to put in, just from this load, not to mention the estimated 65 more to install later. The picture above shows our solution to the breathing-fiberglass-fragments issue. Mom supplied the safety goggles (which also protected my forehead from…um…dangerous attic things) and the masks came from McLendon’s for like $1.

Here I am crawling around in the attic. I did a lot of that for each batt, since they tend to want to just flop down rather than sliding into place. Try sliding a thick pad of compressed denim along 6″ of soft fiberglass fill without being able to stand on most of the floor and see how easy it is.
Attic Monkey

I have today and Monday off of work, an exciting mini-vacation. This evening our Journey Community (what another church would call a “small group” or “life group”) is coming over for a BBQ on our big back deck. Aside from that, I hope to fix our leaky toilet (the food coloring test definitively demonstrated leakage; now I just have to figure out how to fix it), vacuum, decide on some colors for our blinds, clean up around the house, get the battery for my bike looked at (it’s rattling around loose inside the case), mow the yard, clean out the overgrown plants in the raised bed… Man, when I read over my life, it sounds hideously boring and domestic.

Yoick That In There

Day’s Verse:
And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore.
Ephesians 4:17-18

We ordered a washer and dryer. Due to some incredibly irritating quirks of our laundry room*, we could not be sure a front-loading washer and dryer would fit and work in the room. I am sad about this because I had my heart set on super-high efficiency front-loading machines. Instead we bought a Whirlpool Cabrio 7300 (and matching dryer), which was Consumer Report’s overall highest-rated top-loading washer. Also, salesmen at 3 different appliance stores directed us to this washer after hearing about our laundry room layout — and, seeing as none of them gave us any other consistent advice, that’s really astonishing. My biggest regret is the place we bought it, which shall remain unnamed. The salesman could have come straight off a used car lot, and after the fact I felt manipulated by his sneaky high-pressure salesman tactics. However, I don’t think we got fleeced, and we’ll soon have a way of washing our clothes at our own home, so I’m going to accept our choice and not agonize about it anymore.

Yesterday I also hopped up into the attic again to try “installing” some of our new R30 reincarnated jeans insulation. I use scare quotes there because it’s really just taking a 4’x2′ pile of insulation and yoicking** it into place between the beams, atop the current blown-in fill. Some thoughts about that:

  • Plopping large sheets on top of fluffy material results in lots of fluffy material floating all over the place. This is extremely unpleasant when the fluffy material is fiberglass blown-in insulation. I’m using goggles and a bandanna over my eyes and mouth next time we do that.
  • We have about 4 to 6 inches of blown-in fill, which equals an R value of 12 to 18 or so. We therefore bought R30 to bring our house up to the recommended R49-ish. But after plopping some of our R30 batts down, I realized that would squish down the blown-in fill and presumably reduce its R value significantly. Dang. I wish I knew somebody who knew about this stuff and could comment on what R value we may actually achieve. Continue Reading >>

  • Vansulation and General Home Improvement

    Day’s Verse:
    Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
    Ephesians 5:15-16

    Yesterday I had the distinctly interesting experience of hoisting myself up from a slightly-too-short ladder into our attic space, where I measured the total area — not overly difficult, as it’s a perfect rectangle. Here’s the intermediate result of this measuring:

    Vansulation Front View

    Vansulation Back View

    We fit 6 bales of UltraTouch R30* insulation in the Fergusons’ minivan (which we’re taking care of while they’re in Europe for 5 weeks). If our calculations are correct, we need another 13 bales to insulate the entire attic to today’s building code.

    As part of our home improvement errands day, we also visited Seattle Home Appliance, Albert Lee, and Sears to look at washers and dryers. I’m hoping to visit Arnold’s Appliance today. Consumer Reports, Puget Sound Energy, WashWise, and Energy Star’s huge list of empirical values are all helpful resources, but every salesperson we talked to told us something different, and I’m feeling pretty confused about what to do at this point. This is a case of too darn many choices. However, I think if we end up with a tier 3 washer and comparable dryer, we’ll probably do fine in the long run.

    Finally, we stopped at the Blind Alley to schedule a time for somebody to come out and measure the windows and bring samples of window shades. Today, in addition to visiting Arnold’s Appliance, I’m hoping to get those 6 bales of insulation installed in the attic so we can park the car in the garage again. Also, if anybody has a nail gun, we’d like to borrow it for a little bit to reinstall the moulding in our bathroom and laundry room.

    Gosh, washers and dryers, flooring, window covering, insulation, bookshelves (not to mention French drains, a leaking toilet, a fan that vents into the kitchen instead of outside)… Who knew home ownership could be so exciting?

    * The R number apparently refers to how good of an insulator something is. We’re also buying new shades (see above) that increase the R value of our downstairs windows.