Home repair

The Legend…

by on Apr.23, 2009, under Family, Home repair, Humor, Musings

samuraidustwarriorWe’re on the tail end of the home construction/repair. The Master bath Granite counter was installed on Wednesday along with the plumbing. This should bring an end to the “dancing jigs” held in front of our guest bathroom since we’ve all had to share one bathroom for a while. Carpet gets installed Thursday and Friday. Soon we’ll be able to return to a normal life.

…but an ominous event looms on the horizon for the Saldivar household, an event spoken only in small circles and hushed tones. It will visit us this weekend or Monday… (continue reading…)

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Throwing in the “wet” towel

by on Apr.06, 2009, under God is testing me, Home repair, Humor, Misc.


So guess what? Our dryer stopped working or rather “stopped heating.” We noticed that on Saturday while we were cleaning up from the house leveling. For some reason the dryer was not heating – so no dry clothes. Just wet damp stuff…hmmm…more moisture…moisture is my NEMESIS!  

Great, another thing going south. 

So I dug out my owners manual for our 15  year old electric dryer and began my research. I then went online and called some of my friends and family. For the most part, everyone suggested it was probably the heating element that had gone out. I could purchase the part from a local parts store and replace it myself.


If I broke it – well, we’d then call the Appliance Repair service we used before and if they couldn’t fix it – then we’d have to buy a new washer and dryer…can’t just buy one right? They come in pairs.

I called and found the part Monday morning then took off from work at 4pm to go get it. I told my wife I’d wait till she got home just in case I was in the garage fuss’n with the dryer, she’d be in the kitchen, she’d  notice the lights flicker, hear a loud a pop and then, “¡YEH-YOWZ, MADRE DE DIOS!”  That would be her cue to call the ambulance. 

But doubt reared it’s ugly head at the Parts store while I was purchasing the $40 part. Before ringing up the part, the man at the Parts counter, looked at me and asked, “Are you sure it’s the heating element? Because you can’t return electrical parts.” After a brief pause I puffed out my chest and stated, “I’m sure it is…”  


I paid for the part, snatched the bag off the counter, drove home and decided I couldn’t wait. I know for safety reasons I should but I did take other safety precautions by updating my Facebook status to Gilberto Saldivar is getting ready to try and fix the heating element on the dryer! Wish me luck.” Don’t laugh – people have actually saved other people based on their Facebook status. 🙂

I placed the Dryer on it’s front, pulled out my tools, moved the cordless phone within arm’s reach and started surgery. I quickly located the heating tube and began my dissection. She wasn’t as cooperative as I hoped and even drew blood from a sharp unfinished edge that cut my finger. I just smiled and kept going. 

I replaced the heating element and even sucked out the vent with my shop-vac but when I plugged in the dryer – still just cool air. ¡PINCHE, MADRE DE DIOS!”  

I came back in, did more research and tried different things – even bypassed the thermal fuse but still no joy. I could start replacing all other parts but the Parts Store is only open from 8-5pm and it was already 7pm – I had no time…or the knowledge to test the parts. 

So after 2 hours – I’m throwing in the “wet towel” – we’ll call the Appliance repair guy and see what he charges us. 



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Raising Cane…or the house foundation

by on Apr.03, 2009, under Family, God is testing me, Home repair


House was raised on Wed Apr 1. The contractors were in the holes placing more round cinder blocks and a larger one. I’ve posted a gallery at the end of this post.

Scary thing was all I could see was the top of the guys’ heads in the holes. They were in there with jacks, pumping up one section of the house at a time while the Owner of the company was in the house barking commands. 

“Dame Diez!” = “Gimme ten!” Pumps of the jacks.

I guess that’s about 1″. The Owner was using a mercury Zip Level (what he used before to measure the highs and lows of our home) to gauge the distance raised and soon the house foundation started to rise. Mind you the lowest part of our home was bout 2 3/4″ that section was going to have to come up quite a bit.

I was in the house with the Owner while they were pumping and let me tell you…it’s pretty scary to hear and feel your home rise. I could actually feel each jack pump under my feet. And the sound…wow. Best way to describe it is for you to picture a movie scene with a man on a large wooden pirate ship, he’s the lone survivor and it’s drifting aimlessly along the ocean…no sound but the creaking of the wooden planks. 

We had a couple of anxious moments too. As the Owner gave the commands – the guys in the holes would yell a cadence, “UNOOOO! DOSSSS! TRESSSS! QUATROOO!…” This is when you’d hear the house complain as the sheet rock and wooden frame expanded or compressed. Suddenly there was a yell from one of the workers, the house fell about a 1/4″ – followed by a heavy “THUD.” I quickly snapped my head over to the Owner. He went to the window and quickly asked for a roll call. All men answered but the last guy yelled that his jack had slipped. He was okay. Whew! Talk about scary. The Owner just smiled and stated this type of thing happens. He told his men to reset while I excused myself to go wipe. 

It took about 2 hours to get the entire foundation raised and leveled and it was while they were up front that we had another anxious moment. While they were in front of the garage – the power in the house went out.

Okay, I’ll check the breakers. Nope – the internal ones had not tripped, I’ll check the larger exterior ones. Nope – those were good too. When I mentioned this to the Owner, I saw the same look I must have had when the jack slipped. I told him that I’d go check with the neighbors to see if this was a neighborhood powere outage. A couple of minutes later – I came back to tell him that it the entire neighborhood. It was not caused by them. 15 minutes later, the power came back on and I asked if he needed to be “excused.” 🙂

It was interesting to see how they “shimmed” the cinder blocks after they raised the house foundation. Kinda like when you shimmy a door frame? Then they would put back whatever dirt fit and haul the rest away. The next day they would pour some concrete to fill in the holes in the sidewalk, driveway and back porch. Good news is that all the doors still work and nothing broke. Especially the small patio on in the back porch.

While we were meeting with the Interior construction folks about our Bathroom (from the water leak) the Engineer came around to do his measurements (using the same device) and after and hour and half he stated the house was “level” and we would get our lifetime warranty paperwork in a couple of weeks. 

Now for the clean up.


Click on images for larger view – or use the slide-show options.

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Almost done

by on Apr.01, 2009, under Home repair


Final day of digging was done yesterday. I was worried since on my way to take the kids to school – we got some rain and HAIL! Pea size and it was a lot! But it only lasted for about 10 minutes. Great…

It finally cleared up an hour later and since I was at work, I was worried the crew was not going to be able to dig. I got home with my son around 6pm and I was glad to see the crew finishing up. Man, you look at our home and it looks like it was hit by mortars! Holes everywhere! They even dug the four holes on the sidewalk – it’s been interesting going in and out of our home. We usually use the garage door entry but that is blocked off too. They put down 3/4″ plywood boards so we can step on them but the mounds of dirt make it an interesting obstacle course just to get in and out of our home.

They started to drive those round cinder blocks into the holes by the foundation. Pretty interesting how many they get into the ground. They they will use the bigger ones to shore up the foundation. They will then “lift” the house and fill in the holes with some concrete and put in half the dirt they dug out. The rest will be hauled off at clean up – which I hope will be on Thursday.

Tomorrow is a big day! Hopefully the house will be level and we can start scheduling the “water leak” contractors to do work in our home.


You can click on the images below for a slide show or each individual image.

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Busting through concrete

by on Mar.27, 2009, under Family, Home repair


Today the workers dug 22 holes out of the 33 needed. The rain yesterday pushed back our schedule just a bit so now I’ll be heading back to work on Monday and coming home on Tuesday when they start to “raise” the house.  An engineer will be here to validate the “levelness” of our home.

The workers started to cut through the concrete on the sidewalk on the front side our home and on the driveway then they can dig the 5 other holes needed. Then they will go into our sun-room and pull back the “astro turf” and cut through that concrete as well for the other 5 holes.

click on picture for larger view

Concrete SawBags of Concrete







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