Building a 2×4 Workbench

I got to build my first workbench. How did I go so long without one, I’ll never quite know.

I looked around for some plans and found these. One thing I used on this project were Spax Screws

Nothing is better than getting to use power tools to make something!

One thing I do when using two extension cords is “tie” them together like this..


But, now that I have one… woodworking heaven

Preparing a Home to Sell – Five Tips

Preparing Your Home for Sale

Making the decision to put your home on the market is a big step. But, before you sign with a real estate agent and put a sign in the yard there are a few things to do to prepare a home to sell and make your home more marketable.

  1. Remember: When your home is for sale you are NOT living it it. You are marketing a product. No dust, dirt, trash.
  2. Remove all personal items. This includes, but is not limited to: diplomas, family photos, religious items and other potential clutter.
  3. Do all needed repairs, patching, touch up painting. Your home should appear fresh and move-in ready. The last thing a potential home owner wants is to do more work after moving in.
  4. Clean, clean again and clean some more. Bathrooms, kitchens especially. If you have a large home consider hiring some help.
  5. Eliminate all sources of odors: cooking, pets and all other sources should not be detectable. Get a friend to double check this.

And here’s a bonus tip:
When you get a showing appointment leave 15 min early and return 15 min late. Give the potential buyer all the time needed to view your sparkling, move-in ready property.

Pergo Max and Pergo XP, What’s the Difference?

Have you been shopping for new laminate floor and wondered what’s the difference between Pergo Max and Pergo XP? After visiting both big box home improvement stores I have some information to share.

Pergo Max

pergo max
Overall our impression of Pergo Max was favorable. There was a color/finish we really liked. The installation cost though ultimately led us to another decision.
Retailer: Lowes
Attached underlayment
Lifetime limited residential wear warranty
Finishes/Colors: 24
Installation instructions (PDF)

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Pergo XP

Pergo XP
Overall our impression of Pergo XP was so-so. Although there are more choices in the Pergo XP line than the Pergo Max we didn’t see one that made a positive impression with us.
Retailer: Home Depot
Attached underlayment
Lifetime limited residential wear warranty
Finishes/Colors: 33
PergoExpressions Laminate in Jatoba
Pergo Accolade Laminate Flooring in Rustic Oak
Installation instructions (PDF)

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Want to see what floor we thought was better than Pergo XP and Pergo Max? Read Of Floors and Dust Bunnies

Writing, Ray Bradbury and Genetics

Today I learned of the passing of a great author who I long admired. Many have written great things about Ray Bradbury. I will cast my pebble in the proverbial pond as well. My involvement with Ray Bradbury takes me back to my 20’s and my first “try” at college… Valencia (formerly Community) College in Orlando, Fl. Then, I was a little more of a dreamer, a little less saddled with responsibilities and a little more in tune with the Literary and Musical worlds.

During this time I participated in my first Coffee Houses where I read poems. Yes, poems that I wrote and, no the poems did not very often rhyme. The Coffee Houses were staged at the College and orchestrated by one of my English professors Penny Villegas who is also an author.

I can honestly say that much of my writing is a direct result of Penny’s thoughtful feedback and critiques of essays, term papers, poems and even haiku in a mandatory English class and also in a Creative Writing class. Penny was quiet.. almost serene in nature but, strong in will and purpose. I’m sure I didn’t always see her in this light (especially when it related to for credit written work) but, time has adjusted the lens I use to observe and come to understand people and life.

So, now that we’ve had a short jaunt down memory lane, you may ask: Where does Mr. Bradbury fit into all of this? It was during a particular Creative Writing class when I think Penny asked if there any books we would like to read. I had suggested a book I was already reading¬† “Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity” which interestingly enough was a gift from my Grandmother where she asked that an inscription be placed in a book that “you would like to own, treasure and re-read”. Here’s a picture of my copy of the book.

Ray Bradbury – Zen In the Art of Writing

Long before reading “Zen” I already had read some other books from Bradbury and had picked this up due to my increasing interest in writing. It was a perfect combination… a “Sci-Fi” author writes a book about writing… I was sold on sight. So, we read the Zen book in that Creative Writing class and it was good. Reading, writing, performing and being published in the College’s Literary magazine and News Editor for the College Newspaper… I was writing, writing,writing… and loving it.

Increasing I think that writing is an inheritable trait. It might even have something to do with my writing. My Grandmother who gifted me Bradbury’s book is herself a writer.. for a while she even blogged. But, if anything she loves to journal. She has journals going back decades of everyday things and not so everyday. She loves to write and I think genetics plays a roll.

Rest In Peace Mr. Bradbury. Rest In Peace.


Tips for Organizing a Shed

After some procrastinating. We finally got around to organizing the shed. After the crazy move in two years ago this was the last place to get any Extreme Home Makeover “love”. Add to that some beautiful, unseasonable (e.g. 70ish) weather here in North Carolina there really was no excuse. Time to get the shed ready for the high season of lawn care. Suffice to say that we had piles of tools strewn all over the floor making it necessary to circumnavigate the lawn mower, yard cart and assortment of handtools and lawn chemicals every time we entered the shed. We inherited the shed (likely a Dutch Barn “Basic Barn” with a gambrel roof.) when we bought the house. It’s a great size with a good amount of room on the floor. The downside of this design is very little sidewall space and along the way I include a few tips for organizing this type of shed. So we tackled the right side of the shed. Really not as dramatic change on this side except for a lot less stuff on the floor and something I did with the trimmer/edger which I will get to a little later.

The right side of the shed – after the “makeover”

So, with the right side organized we tackled the left side. I set up my trusty Workmate as a table. It’s served me well for many years and is a great worksurface if you’re tight on space. Then, we moved some shelves from the garage and disassembled them into two sections for twice the shelving space and maximizing the vertical space we did have.¬† On the short wall next the door I used two of this Screw Hooks
that I salvaged from the garage to hang the extension cords. What a difference it made. Here’s a look…

Left side of the shed organizing project.

Overall it was a great project to complete but, there’s one part of it I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I have this Troy-Bilt Gas Powered String Trimmer
that always wound up laying on the floor of the shed (in my way and a trip hazard). Not the best place if you want access to anything else. So, I took two more of the Screw Hooks
and screwed them into the rafters. With my Wife’s help we got the spacing just far enough. The bag hanging off the far hook holds my supply of trimmer string.

Hanging a string trimmer in a shed with barn roof

Now, there’s no more stooping over to get the trimmer and I can easily grab and go.