Saturday, February 21, 2015

On the Job Training

This Fall/Winter we decided to catch up on some house projects after basically neglecting our home for over a decade. So far things have been going well and Christopher has gotten some "on the job training".  He still has no idea what he wants to do in life.  He really liked woods class and seems to like working with his hands.  Like many young adults he does not know what he would like to do.  Other than that he is a hard working kid that will work if you tell him what needs to be done. 

I think the best thing you can do is have your kids try different things.  I tried many things growing up and found out early on some of the things I did not want to do for my career. Professional Motocross racer?  Sure why not until you nearly kill yourself jumping a huge double (which actually was not intended to be jumped but you had to try it anyway).  Truck driver? Not for me - I had trouble keeping away driving at night.  Account/Bookkeeping?  Not for me.  Truck mechanic?  Not for me.  Stock Broker?  I actually wish I would have pursued  that career more but I was a little timid in my early 20's.  Bicycle Mechanic?  If only I could make money working on bikes I would be happy. 

First task before it got cold and the ground froze was to fix an area behind the house.  Over the last year water stopped draining away from the house.   Still do know know the root cause.  I think it was Carolynn's garden that she planted a couple of years ago.  The soil she put down so her vegetables would grow basically seemed to cause a dam and did not allow the water to drain away like it has for the past 14 years.   It could have been the drain pipe along the side of the house. It was filled with dirt and rocks. As a project I asked Christopher to clear the pipe but he could not find a way.  When I went to assist him I came up with a brilliant way to clear the pipe.  I used our shop vac and sucked all the dirt out.  It seemed to work very well because the next rain the water drained right down the new french drain that Christopher installed.   Maybe there is a career in Landscaping for him?

 One thing Christopher has learned is the damage that water can cause.  We ended up just replacing this small section of wood rot.  The end result looks very good.  We also chiseled away some concrete that was causing the problem in the first place.

 It is amazing what termites can do.  Luckily we caught them early and only had to repair two sections of siding.  Overall Christopher did a good job.  He still needs to some carpentry skills but with direction he can do the job.  Just do not leave him alone on a project because he seems to waste a lot of time texting  :-)

Some deck refinished was next.  Overall the deck was in good shape and just needed cleaning and staining.  This project took forever also with Christopher working alone.  If you ask me painting is an art.  As with the front of the house Christopher needs more patience and develop into an artist.

One of the next projects was to refinish the kitchen floors.  We had several spots with high wear and we wanted to fix the creaking floors.  I am happy to report that the creaks are gone and we have a shinny floor. I do not think Christopher will pursue a career in this field.

Mechanical skills are something Christopher really needs to work on.  We worked on several projects on our motorcycles like replacing the chains, sprockets, and installing a new Twin Air power flow kit.  I think we found out why we have been going through valves.  Dirty air will do that.  While disabling the air box boot I found several missing bolts that held the boot to the box.  Hopefully keeping a clean air source will allow us to go once complete season without a rebuild.

The other project we have decided to focus on this winter is refinishing all the wood cabinets.  Overall this project is going along nicely.  Bathrooms are done and now we are working in the kitchen again.  

Our last project we tacked was replacing the hot water heater.  My friend Ashley Blum helped us out on this one because I did not want to blow us up since we have a gas water heater.  He worked with Christopher and showed him each step. He even learned to solder and impresses me with his work.