26 May 2010

Outside Job

I got some kind of rash a couple of weeks ago (it seemed like spider bites, but they kept growing and multiplying and ITCHING).  Yesterday I finally saw my doctor, who immediately sent me to the on-staff dermatologist (local plug: Austin Regional Clinic is fantastic!).  Dr. Viernes turned out to be a very serious Asian man who, after examining my legs with his magnifying goggle apparatus, told me that I had what he and his colleagues refer to as as "outside job" -- a reaction to some kind of external irritant.

We've had some outside jobs recently, too.  In addition to the Great Tree Cutting of 2010, the gutters went up last week.  They're Galvalume (galvanized steel) to match the roof, and they're bigger and rounder than typical gutters to show off the exposed rafter tails (which you can see poking out below the gutter in this picture).

We asked for just two downspouts, one on each back corner...but this one ended up in the totally wrong place (it has since been relocated here) and the other was on the right corner but facing the wrong way, so it was moved (sort of).  Again, the waste of doing it wrong, coming back to do it right, and then fixing the evidence (holes in the mortar, scratched paint, etc.) of having done it wrong.

Anyway, our plan is to use rain barrels (possibly even a big cistern) to collect the rain from the two gutters (which are, conveniently, on the longest lengths of gutter) and rain chains (like these...most likely the cup style) to channel the rest of the rain down into dry creek bed-like areas that will direct it away from the house.  We've been putting off those purchases, but now that the gutters are up, we really should get moving on that.

Another outside job involved the steps from the (to-be-) screened porch to the backyard.  After tearing up the concrete steps, the stone mason used some of the stone cap material along with some thicker, wider material to even out the height of the steps and put a classy touch on them.

We'd like to install a paver patio out back, and these steps make a much nicer approach, so while we're not too sure what happened to bring this about, we're pretty happy about it.


  1. In the meantime, go to Lowes and for 4 bucks purchase a 10 foot length of black flexible drain pipe to direct that gutter water away from the house and foundation. I'd have heads rolling if that HVAC system is not corrected by today. Or demand the entire system be replaced and get rid of that potential lemon. You do not want to be dealing with a system that "maybe" works for the rest of your life in this house.

  2. We're keeping on top of the HVAC situation...and although we're definitely not afraid to draw a line in the sand when necessary, this is a case of needing to keep an eye on the prize and maintain good relationships to keep things rolling smoothly in the future. Honey and vinegar, you know. If we need to demand certain diagnostic tests, bring in Carrier to help, or negotiate some extra warranty coverage, etc., we'll work that out when the time is right. (If you know us, you know that Steve is exceptionally competent when it comes to all things technical, and I'm paid to argue (or something like that), so we're quite the team when it comes to this sort of thing. I wouldn't want to go up against us.)

    We're also totally tuned in to the need to divert water away from the foundation (due to the specific subject matter area in which I'm paid to argue). Fortunately, our lot slopes down toward the back, so the downspouts are already aimed in the right direction. Our bigger concern is rainfall at the front of the house...which really amounts mostly to the area between the front door and the garage, where three roofs all discharge to the same area.