Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sometimes you just don't get no S*!T done!

OK, maybe that title is a little bit of an exaggeration (as you probably know, that's just the way I rol'), but still...nothing much done on the house.  What we have gotten done is:

Sunday I show a guy my airplane.  That took most of the day but at least he is very interested in buying it.  We subsequently took him to dinner.  After that, I finish up with him while the family heads home.  I get home a few minutes later to my wife telling me about the trip home.  Apparently they pull into the driveway and start unloading.  At that point the youngest is screaming at the top of her lungs, the oldest starts projectile vomiting, and the middle starts telling the neighbor that she needs to go potty...really bad.  Of course the neighbor looks at my wife and says: "Uhhh, you are going to have another problem here...anything we can do to help?"  Luckily I drive in the driveway right after she gets it all taken care of....shew...narrowly avoided that disaster!  Gotta love mommies!

Monday: since we were up all night with a puking kid I decided to take the day off to get some stuff done (and sleep in)...well, at least I take the RV to get it emissions tested (as redneck as I am getting unlicensed cars are a problem for the county).  Of course it failed.  Unfortunately we had some appointments to get to so I put the RV in the driveway of our old house (nothing like trying to redneck up a suburban neighborhood while we are at it).  About this time I get a text (yes, a text, we are rednecks with a knack for technology) from my step-dad that he is down at the new house to get some work done: "Call me when you can, The camper was broken into.  House looks OK".  So I call him a half an hour later.  At that point he tells me that the Sheriff responded in about 10 minutes but nothing looks like it was taken.  Mainly just vandals.  Great, that's the THIRD time the Mr. Officer has been out there and we still haven't moved in!  Should we be getting concerned???  Apparently no.  Mr. Officer said this is very rare, and the guys that did it (and the same thing to a few cars down the road) are very lucky: "People around her shoot.  They are lucky they didn't get themselves killed".  Good...glad to hear it's somewhat rare and the neighbors tend to take care of the problems.  That doesn't negate the fact that the Sheriffs are getting to know our property as good as we are!

Tuesday: Stop by my parents house to help move a concrete fountain base so it can be acid washed.  I drive the camper (again, trying to redneck up another neighborhood...this stuff is infectious!) so we can go drop it off at the repair place (yes, I know, rednecks should fix crap you can see it's a busy week!) after our Dr. apts.  The parents are nice enough to watch the kids for us while we do all this.  We took care of that stuff then went to Benihana for dinner.  After that we went back to the parents house to get the kids and help move the newly acid washed concrete base.  I pick up the base with gloves on of course, but rest it against my arm in the process...hmmm...maybe THAT wasn't a good idea!  I go clean it up, but sure enough, a couple of small "spots" on my arm the next morning.  Luckily no pain or anything and the next day it clears itself right up.

Wednesday: after work we go get the oldest from school.  This is her first day back after being sick.  Then we take our minivan to the emissions place to get it tested while we are waiting on the fix-it place to finish up the RV (the state of AZ is getting a lot of our money this week!)  After that I take the camper back to my parents to help them move the now finished base one more time.  No more acid washing my arms :D.  At this time they need to go pick up my brother at the airport.  I hop in the camper and start driving to the new house to put the camper away, and I drive over a water trench in the road...not fast, and I didn't hit it very hard, but the next thing I know I hear a very loud bang and am dragging something.  I stop, get out, and the nearly full propane tank FELL OFF THE RV!  HOLY CRAP!  Good thing that didn't happen going 70mph down the road!  I have some tools, but my parent's aren't that far away and all of my "good tools" are back at the new house.  I call the parent's back to bring wrenches to take the tank off completely so I can drive.  Sorry just gonna have to wait at the airport!  Finally I get the tank off and have my step-dad help me carry it to the camper for transport.  His first words are "You should really wear shoes" (I like my crocks!), to which I reply "why?" of course.  At this point I am completely covered in road dirt, looking as blue collar as possible and we get the camper to the new house.  Now I gotta do some serious welding to fix the broken bracket.

Thursday morning: I wake up, put my pants on, and go to work.  About two hours into working I look down at my lap to brush some breakfast off my shirt and notice...I have on the nasty, laying in the road, blue-collar looking jeans that I wore last night! one can say that I'm not giving this redneck thing my best effort.

More to come...hopefully tonight we can actually get something done on the house!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Paintin' Doors and My First Unregistered Vehicle!

Yesterday, I dragged my step dad down to the house to help us paint the doors.  Everything else in the house has been painted, now it's time to do the doors and baseboard.  We had this grandiose plan to put screws in the end of the door, hang it horizontally, and I would use a handheld sprayer while he cleaned the next door.  Once I was done spraying, we would use two pieces of rope to lift the door by the screws and pull it off and set it on the sawhorses in the back of the shop.  There they would hang by the screws until dry. know what they say about best laid plans!

The next morning, he shows up with some lumber and says: "I bought another sawhorse kit so we can do the baseboards as well."  Great!  Let's whip those babies out!  He measures and I cut 4 legs, and we start assembling.  One side done...where is the other one?  "Seriously?  I forgot the second set?"  I guess so.  Now he runs to Wal-Mart (for the first time today) to get another set.  No luck.  Wal-Mart doesn't carry them.  " matter, lets just get the doors done and I will get the other set for next time.  The baseboards are already primed anyway".

Next we thinned the primer way down, and then put it in the sprayer.  We were able to get through 1.5 doors...the sprayer popping and spitting the entire time before we decided this wasn't going to work.  Now what do we do?

Well...we decide that doing the doors by hand was the next best option.  The only problem is that we got rid of all of our "by hand" stuff when we were done with the kids rooms (we didn't think we would need it again any time soon).  So off to Wally World we go again.

At Wal-Mart we were looking for pads, no not those kind, the kind you paint with!  My step-dad has a bunch of pad brush things that we were going to use because they were just about the right size for the doors.  Unfortunately Wal-Mart only had one pad refill.  We took it and bought another brush that came with a pad.  This should get us going, but we also needed some brushes.  I started looking for a three-inch brush, and found a cheap one that would be great for using and then throwing away (I hate cleaning brushes).  This cost $3.57.  Then I glanced at a pack of brushes...same exact make/model and had a 1", 2", and 3"...the price??? $3.27...ummmm hello.  So I bought two packs of brushes.  This turned out to be a good decision because, the 2" brush was just about perfect...the 3" would not have worked as well.

Now it's time to check out.  We walk all the way up to the front of the store and my step-dad mentions that we should probably see if this pad works on his brush...sure enough, no joy.  All the way back to the paint department to get another full-up brush with pad assembly.  Now back to the checkout line.

At this point it is 12:30ish...and I am getting hungry.  "Should we stop at subway and get some lunch?"  "Sure".  Which we did.  This was also a great time to rethink our strategy of how we are going to do this.  After about 10 back-and-forth ideas later, we decided to simply screw another set of screws into each edge of the door (now we have 4 screws on each door, one per corner) and go ahead and hang it in the same spot.  We then screwed a block that could rotate out of the way to capture the other screws so we could both push on the door from either side without it swinging.  This worked surprisingly well, and you can see my step-dad working with the pad/brush thing on one side of the door in the picture above.

So...5:30 at night we finally get all of the doors primed.  Hopefully just one coat of paint will do the trick and we will have them painted and completely done next Saturday.  Knock on wood!  This week I will make another saw horse, and attempt to get the baseboards painted.  This shouldn't be too difficult and might even be a one-person job.  If that works well, we will only have doors to hang next weekend...which would mean we can start moving in the following week (or possibly the week after depending on a lot of things).

Unfortunately I also have to take care of another redneck item this week.  For whatever reason, we never received a notice in the mail that our camper registration was due.  So now we have a unregistered camper, sitting in front of our house, and the tags were due 2 months ago!  I don't know why we now got a letter saying it was expired...but we did get that one, just nothing prior to that.  Unfortunately the emissions are due as well, so now I have to deal with a 3-day tag, the emissions line, then figure out how and what information I need to take to the DMV in order to get the registration renewed.  It's awfully hard to just mail it in without an official letter!  I guess it will be figured out soon enough.

So there it is, I have turned my shop into a paint booth, and I now have unregistered vehicles in my front yard.  Redneck transformation is still in full swing!

Friday, April 6, 2012

All Jacked Up

So...this is just another story I feel like telling.  It has actually been requested by a few people.

A couple of weeks ago...on a Sunday afternoon/evening, I was doing a bunch of stuff around the house when my mom called  me out to the yard to help with something.  At the time I was working inside getting ready to paint, so I had my hands full, but I figured...what the heck.  So I go outside, and the next thing I know I am hooking up a trailer and filling it with piles of concrete blocks that she decided she needed moved.  Not exactly what I needed to get done, but oh well...I guess I am a sucker.

Anyway, we loaded two types of these blocks, ones that were somewhat shaped, but broken, and ones that didn't resemble any kind of shape, either broken really badly, or were just old concrete that someone had broken up by hand.  We were taking the shapely ones to the fire pit to build it up a little taller, and the misshaped ones to a pile behind some other rock on another piece of property.

After we are loaded, I drive over to the fire pit, pull up to it, and start looking backward at mom so she can tell me where to stop backing up.  We park, build up three rows on the fire pit, and then load everyone in the trailer (the kids wanted to ride to the other pile).  I get in the car, put it in gear and start driving.  About two feet after I start moving I hear a scrape.  "No problem" I think: "I am just dragging the trailer receiver on the ground as I come out of this ditch.  Then, out of nowhere a big cloud of dust is covering the trailer, my wife, my mom, and my kids.  "Hmmmm....why isn't the car moving any more".  I get out, and look under the car.  Sure enough, a big decorative boulder is lodged in front of the rear axle, right by the left shock.  Great...the grinding was the rock making its way to the rear axle...this can't be did that rock get there?  It is a long ways from the rest of the decorative rock line!  No is there and I need to get it out.

So...How do I get it out?  I just took the big flat jack out of the van and left it at the other house.  I know!  I have the HI-LIFT jack that I am borrowing from Brad.  I can't lift the wheel/axle, but I can probably lift the frame by the trailer receiver enough to get that rock out.

I go get the jack, and test it's functionality.  I lube it up really well with WD-40, and test it out.  It looks like it is mostly working, but the direction toggle isn't staying in the up position.  It is probably the fact that I need to have at least 100# on it for it to work correctly.  So I stick the jack under the receiver, and start cranking.  Sure enough the van is lifting...GREAT  I this should be easy!

I get the van up to the point where it might be enough, I let go of the handle, and everything looks good, so I start to turn away.  Right as the jack is out of my field of vision, it slips down a notch with a thud.  The next thing I know, I am punched in the face with the handle, and I no longer know which direction I am facing.  Next, I turn around and my mom and wife are yelling at me that they think I should be laying down.  OK...I'm not sure why, but what the heck...I feel like a nap anyway.  Then, mom comes over and starts putting her hands all over my face!  I say...what the heck are you doing? are bleeding!!!

I found out later, my wife said it looked like blood was gushing out of the corner of my eye.  Luckily (and I mean I was really darn lucky) it wasn't.  It missed my eye by about 1/8th of an inch!

Well...I lay on the ground for about 30 to 45 minutes while my step dad goes to the store to find "Steri-Strips".  Unfortunately they don't have any, and the stuff they have doesn't hold worth a darn.  We ended up using gauze and Band-Aids anyway.  At least we had some time to keep pressure on it to slow the bleeding.

Now that we have it patched up, I sit up, and notice my 3-year old is sitting in the corner of the trailer, knees to her chest, and tears rolling down her face.  I realize at that point both of my daughters had seen the whole thing.  To make matters worse, we just took them to their first funeral the day before.  I can only imagine what was going on in their heads.  At that point...against my moms better judgement, I stand up and rush over to the trailer.  At the point I stood up, all was well again!  The 3 year old lights up, and the 5 year old runs inside "Daddy is standing...he's going to be OK!"  I help the 3 year old down from the trailer just to show her that I really am just fine, and we all start getting in the car...time to head to urgent care.

On the way to the urgent care, I try to call them.  Mind you this is difficult when your eye is swelling shut and you aren't the one driving, and you fell like Mike Tyson just punched you in the head.  Anyway, I make the call, and tell them to put me on the list (they have a call in program where you can call ahead and wait at home for the return call before coming in).  I told them not to bother calling as I was already on the way in, and I would rather just bleed in their waiting room than at home.  They took my info, and put me on the list.

As it turns out, there wasn't much of a wait and I got right in.  Apparently looking like I did in the picture above (taken in the waiting room) makes them move reasonably fast!

So now I go talk to the nurse.  One of the first things she asks is "Do you feel safe at home".  It was all I could do to answer honestly!  "Hey lady...look at my face and tell me what YOU think!"

Then I get to see the doctor.  She peals everything off ans starts poking around (more like playing with her own life if you ask me...that nonsense hurt!) and asking me if this hurts or this, or this.  At one point she stops and says: "You aren't going to like hearing this, but I think you need to go to the emergency room".  The only thing I could think of at this point was exactly what I said: "Well...I am going to have to pee first".  That was NOT what they were expecting and the entire room started laughing!  Then she continued and said that she was afraid my sinus cavity may be didn't feel like it, but we couldn't be sure without a CT scan.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to the ER we go (after a good pee of course)!

We show up at the ER, and they were basically expecting me because the urgent care called nice of them!  We got right in with only a few minute wait.  They basically took me right back and started asking the same things again.  When they assigned me a room, the first thing I noticed was amazingly clean, white sheets that I was about to get as messy as possible.  Anyway...they wanted to start with a vision test.  I told them I could see just fine, but they wanted a baseline, so they took me to the "wall of letters" and said: "read the lowest line I can".  OK...A-X-C-D-V-B-blah blah blah (yea I really remember what the letters were) all are on the last line.  Nurse dude looks at me and says: "that's the 20/10 line and you just read that with the busted eye?  Are you a fighter pilot or something?"

We go back to the room, and they have me keep ice on it for while waiting for the CT machine, which didn't take long.  We did the scan, and I had to wait for the results.  They wouldn't let me eat or drink until that was all interpreted, so by this time it's about 10:00 and I haven't had dinner or anything to drink after working hard since before sun down!  Oh won't kill me.  They come back and say that everything is fine and nothing is broken.  Now I can say that yes, I have had my head examined, and they didn't find anything...or maybe I should wish they did find something...

Anyway, they come in and start shooting me up with drugs to numb everything. sorta worked....after she pumped twice the amount of numbing agents in as she normally would without getting the desired affect, she asked a different doc to come in a confirm.  They decided to start, and got through two whole stitches before I started hollering: "Hey...I can feel that!"  She stopped, and the other guy pumped a different drug in me, and started the test probing...nope, can't feel a thing...EXCEPT WHEN YOU SOW THE STITCH!  Dude...I think it's not fully numb.  Well...I let them power through one or two before they get out of the sore spot, and can finish up.  We still don't know why that area never numbed, but oh's done now.

Nine stitches later, with a couple of them redone (she was quite a perfectionist) I am all stitched up, and it looks great!  Nice and even and will heal very well.

Being 1:00AM, I decide to take the next day off.  Later that day I start seeing some very positive things from having these stitches.  We go eat and I get all kinds of weird looks.  Mostly just double-takes from women, and head nods from guys.  Also, I noticed the service was GREAT!  Hmmm...I may like having this look.  I did look pretty much like a bad-a$$!  Well...that lasted for a couple of days anyway before it started healing.

The next day I was back at work, and the stories started flying.  My favorite: "Don't mess with my wife!"  Others I heard that day were:
"Jeff [my boss] said never be late with another project"
"I was in a bar fight...and the bar won"
" means no.  Haven't you learned that yet?"
"What did you do to piss her off?"
In a meeting...someone walked in and said: "I want you all to look at him and see what I do to the people who hold up my projects"

Anyway.  The scar is looking very good and clean at this point.  I am starting to get back into that "bad-a$$" look again.  I kinda like it, and why not, if I am going through all that work and pain, I might as well have a badge of honor to show for it!

Wheelin' and Dealin'

This picture has nothing to do with the story below, but I did take it today as I had to move the camper back to the front of the house since I am going to use my shed to paint in.  The shed and the front of the house are the only two places with outlets in cords reach.  Yes, there is a reason for parking there as opposed to somewhere else.  It may be redneck, but it is redneck with a purpose!  Yes, the house still looks very redneck from the outside, but we at least got some screens put on.  Also, part of what I need to paint/prime is the new skirting.  Once that is done, things will really start looking much better!

Today was rather uneventful.  I took the day off work to have the microwave and dish washer delivered.  I did not pay for installation because in the past I have gotten away with not getting the installation and the guys decided to install anyway.  Well...not today, but I was still able to redneck it up a bit.

First, a side story: As part of the junk left behind by the previous tenants, there were two small refrigerators in the office on the side of the shed.  Back a few weeks ago, when my mom and wife were cleaning up the shed and office, they decided to open up these fridges.  In the top one (they were stacked) there was nothing but a pickle jar with (I believe) one pickle left in the juice.  However, as soon as they opened this fridge, they both about passed out on the spot.  The smell coming from this fridge made a hazmat suite seam very attractive.  The bottom fridge had what appeared to be a wine cooler (or something...I forget exactly what it was) still nicely wrapped and capped.  This fridge didn't smell quite as bad (although a pile of cow poo would probably make it smell better) but it was so nasty they didn't even want to touch it with gloves on!  The inside was completely covered in mold and grime.

Anyway, now that the appliances were delivered, I gave the old microwave to the guys.  In the dealings, I started discussing what they do with them and learned that they actually get paid for the appliances they bring back to be recycled.  It isn't much, but it supplements their income.  So I told them: "Hey, I have two more fridges in the back if you want those as well, you are welcome to them".  Then, I asked them if the installation kit to the dishwasher was included in the box (knowing full well it wasn't). just so happened they had extras on the truck!  I just successfully negotiated the removal of two rank refrigerators for a free installation kit.  Now that's how they do it in BFE!  Maybe I will get the hang of this redneck thing after all :D

So I end up taking them back to the shed, and point them to the fridges.  I tell them: "If you want to open these, buy all means...but you must take them outside first!  I don't want them opened in here."  They looked at me funny, but then I told them about the pigs that lived here before...they understood.  They never did open those...but who cares, they got a bit of a tip!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The end of the nastiness...almost

Today was mostly spent working on sealing the new floors. This is a very big step as it is the last thing we are going to do to remove the nasty smell in the house. I can't even begin to paint an image of how bad this house wreaked, and how nasty it was in general. It was no wonder the sellers were willing to take a price that was basically equal to the price of the land, excluding the house.This house is only 6 years old. When we bought it you wouldn't know it. The previous tenants, we will call them tenants for now, managed almost destroy it.

Let me paint a picture: Imagine seeing house pictures online that a realtor posted, and this house had a great layout, but even the "selling" pictures showed what amounted to hoarders living there. Then, because we are completely insane people, we decide to look at the land and house anyway. When we (us and the realtor) got to the house and walked inside, the smell was so bad that we almost lost our lunches...all of us. It was absolutely putrid. Furthermore, my allergies started acting up, indicating there were obviously cats in the house. It was also obvious that more animals had to be in that house because of all of the bodily waste smells, and the massive door and floor-board scratches that were present. I am guessing big dogs were locked in one of the bedrooms, likely for days on end. Needless to say we determined that we were not going to pay for the house. We then put together a price based on the land and the other features present, and made the offer. Low and behold, they took it! Great, now what do we do with this nasty house, which, by the way, has an awesome floor plan? Well, after lots of consideration, we decide to see if it was salvageable. It is only 6 years old, so possibly the "guts" of the house were still OK. Lets get our good friend Mr. House Inspector out there to give his thoughts.

Mr. house inspector did find a laundry list of items...well duh...but one thing in particular that concerned us was the mold. Yes, there was mold. How the heck does one get a mold problem in a 6 year old house. Well...rednecks as they were/are, I guess nothing should surprise us. After consulting with our agent, we agreed that we could probably take care of the mold problem ourselves. It was only a little spot on a ceiling, surely we can whip that out. Long story short, a few weeks later (and after lots of sabotage attempts by the current owner...I will elaborate in another post), we were the proud new owners of a POS house with a ton of potential. Time to get to work!

First things first...get that nasty carpet out! Great, the house is better already, but now the yard also stinks. How to get rid of that? Well...see the post about Sheriff visit #1. It didn't get rid of all of it, but I got a good portion of it taken care of!

Second: 15 gallons of Odoban. Yea...15 gallons. This was just sprayed everywhere in the house and on the walls with a pump-up weed sprayer.

Third: Mold. Let's cut it out of the ceiling. OK, done, but wait, it goes on further...hmmmm...maybe a little further...darn...all the way to the it spreads...holy crap...the entire wall is gone, and we are moving into the next bedroom! Thankfully it stopped there and it wasn't bad enough to have to replace any wood, just clean it up. But now we are cleaning up a truck load of Sheetrock, insulation, bull-nose cornering, etc. This is about the time my step-dad stepped up. His OCD comes in really handy when doing things like trying to make a wall so it looks like it has been there forever. It's difficult to make it perfect, but it is really darn close.

Fourth: Seal the floors. 20 gallons of water protector and sealant. Smell again makes huge leaps out of the house...but still there.

Fifth: Linoleum goes out. This should have been planned with the carpet, but we though "oh...we will just put the new floors on need to rip it out". WRONG! The laminate was contributing largely to the smell. Out it goes! Now we have completely bare floors in the entire house, except for the sealant. (Side note...the animal waste was so bad in one room that we had to quadruple up on the sealant, and then later put a very thick layer of kills down prior to the carpet being installed).

Now that we have all of the mold gone, and the biggest majority of the smell, time to start putting things back together. My step-dad did a great job with all of the patchwork through the entire house (not just the rebuilding of the whole walls), we had new carpet installed in all of the bedrooms, and this last weekend I did the installation of all of the laminate floors. I am proud to say that I think we have conquered the smell! I am putting caulking around the entire perimeter of the laminate for two reasons: 1) to make sure the stink stays under the floor, and 2, to make sure any spilled water or anything else does not get under the floor. Hence the reason we are "almost" done still.

Just for fun, below are some pictures of the before, and one during, just to show off the amazing cleaning job my wife and my mom did on the bathrooms. That job in-and-of itself was an entire weekend just for bathtubs and showers!
This is the before picture of the nasty shower!
Here is after they cleaned it. I believe this was about a one full day job!
Interior of the house before...notice the carpet in the family room is just a piece of outdoor carpet laid on the floor with the bare sub-floor showing about a foot around all sides?
The initial living room. I love the redneck drapes!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm lookin' for Reno...

Now the story of the second Sheriff visit.  Mind you this happened only two weeks after the first visit.

This happened as I went out to the camper (the one that we immediately parked out front of the house), used the facilities, and was walking back inside.  Right in front of me and the house, a tiny white car comes speeding through our rutted, pot-holed drive and is stopped by a ditch created by the draining rain water.  This car hit this ditch with such force that I wondered if he broke anything.  Mind you this ditch was right behind a huge mesquite tree, so at the speed he was going, he likely couldn't see that ditch.  If this POS car had airbags I am sure he and his ~15 year old daughter (in the passengers seat) would have had a face full.

Anyway, after he hit, his window already rolled down, he starts yelling at me: "Hey...I'm lookin' for Reno".
Me: " that a person?  You missed the city by about a couple of states".
Him: "Yea, he lives here"
Me: "Nope, sorry man, we just bought this house 2 weeks ago, and there is no Reno that lives here"
Him: "Yea...he lives here, I just want to talk to him!"
Me: "Sorry dude, he's not here and he probably shouldn't show up here"
Him: "Where is he?"

About this time the Sheriff's SUV comes strolling up the driveway.  Mr. Officer gets out, adjusts his gun belt, and looks at me standing about 5 feet from the intruding car and asks: "Do you know this guy?".  I said: "Nope".  Mr. Officer: "I didn't think so. [turning to the intruding car] you know why I pulled you over?"  By this time I understood...he was just running!

I let Mr. Officer handle business out on my front yard.  I check on them about every 20 minutes.  The second time out there, I see a second officer, and another car.  Mr. Officer gives me a finger (no...not the middle one...the index finger) and I pause, and wait for him.  The second officer comes and meets me as I indicate the first officer "fingered me"....yes...he got a laugh too...and then he proceeded to tell me the story.  "Well...this guy has a suspended license.  The other car is the girls mom.  She came to pick her up.  We will be towing his car away in a few minutes.  We won't be much longer"  "OK, thank you officer, take as much time as you need".

About the time they start putting the guy in handcuffs, I take this as a learning opportunity for my girls.  I take them out on the front deck, and give them front row seats to an actual police arrest.  "Now girls...this is what happens when you don't follow the rules.  Do you understand now why you have to do what you are told"?  OK...maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but I would rather do it now and hopefully not have to do it later.

After two or three minutes, a tow truck shows up, and they watch the guy load the car onto the truck. The officer tucks the guy into his SUV and then turns to us and apologizes for having this all happen in our front yard.  And then my redneck moment came out: "No problem at all officer.  I am actually glad you were here.  If you weren't...I can guarantee you that I would not have been so nice!". I am threatening a guy not just in front of a cop, but TO the cop!  Luckily, Mr. Officer just shakes his head, chuckles a little, and then gets into his car and drives away.

The real kicker of this whole story...two days later we get a letter addressed to Reno...I guess he wasn't just trying to get away from the cops!  Oh well...we had a good laugh about it and moved on.  BTW, that's another good story.  Reno XXXXXX makes the fifth last name we have found addressed to this many redneck families can you cram into a double-wide mobile home???  As many as will fit!

Ummm...the Sheriff is in our back yard!

Today wasn't a very productive day with regards to working on the house.  As a matter of fact, every Tuesday appears to be the "day off" from physical labor of that caliber.  Given that nothing was done, I figured I would share about the first visit from the Sheriff.

Obviously, being a city boy most of my adult life, I am not accustom to the "ways of the county".  There is a lot of conflicting, erroneous, and sometimes just plain wrong information.  One such conflicting set of information was in regards to "burning your trash".  Let me start by saying that YOU CANNOT JUST "BURN YOUR TRASH"...EVEN IN THE COUNTY!  As with everywhere else, there are rules.  Ask me how I know...

How do I know?  Well...I was someone that could do something about it.  But before I tell you how/why I was told, let me take you down the path of "discovery":
First, when discussing with my realtor: "Yes, out in the county you don't have to abide by the burn days that Maricopa county enforces.  You can simply burn your trash whenever you want"

Second, a friend at work: "Yea, just last weekend I went with my buddy out in the county and we burned an old couch.  His comment was that this one burned much better than the last...that implies he has done it before!"

Third, my thoughts turned to how to get rid of all of this nasty old smelly carpet (the description I will leave for another post...this house was amazingly put it mildly).  It would take forever to get rid of a trash can at a time and it was cost prohibitive to rent a dumpster or have someone haul it away.  So I looked up burning carpet online and found that congress is actually funding studies to figure out how to reduce landfill waste, and one of the more promising studies indicates that burning old carpet actually helps coal burn cleaner because of the heat it puts off.  So of course I'm thinking...if it's good enough for congress, it must be OK for me.

Well...let me tell you, not only is burning carpet and pad a little scary (I can't believe the flammability of this stuff...and it covers a large portion of every house I have ever owned!) but when it burns, it emits a black smoke that stinks very badly.  In this particular case it could have been animal pee and poo or the carpet, but either way, the neighbors did not like it.  The next thing I know I have a fireball about 15 feet high, in light wind, blowing likely toxic smoke in the direction of the neighbors houses.

Needless to say, about 10 minutes later my wife yells: "Ummmm....yea....there is a Sheriff in our back yard!"

Well...I go meet the guy.  One of the nicest, largest men I have met.  He asks me what I am burning.  My reply: "Just a bunch of trash."
Sheriff: "The neighbors are complaining."
Me: "I'm sorry about that.  It got a little bigger than I had realized.  I will make sure to keep it down in the future"
Sheriff: "Yea, that would be a good idea.  What are you burning anyway"
Me: "Oh...a bunch of cardboard and a couple of scraps of carpet"
Sheriff: " probably shouldn't burn that, or those tires over there (note...there were no tires in the fire).  If the environmental guys hear about it, they won't be very happy, and you don't want them on your bad side".
Me: "Ahhh....good to know.  Anything else?"
Sheriff: " should probably keep it to things like wood and paper and stuff."
Me: "Oh...OK, I will do that.  Thank you sir"
Sheriff: "You have a good day, and keep it under control".

Needless to say...I now know the rules about burning.  Sheriff visit #1 complete...transition to redneck in full swing!

Hello and Introduction!

Hi Everyone,
Welcome to my new blog "Going Redneck"!  This blog is a little late in starting as the migration/transformation has already started, but I will fill you in gradually as the days move on.  But first, a little history of what prompted me to start this.  As you can see from the text below, we are a pretty typical family in this day-and-age, and we feel we are at that tipping point that so many have already fallen over.  What makes us different is how we chose to deal with this tipping point pro-actively. 

As it stands right now, I am a highly paid software engineering manager for a major communications company.  My wife is a stay at home mom, and we have three beautiful girls. I grew up in the Midwest (Kansas) and my wife grew up in Tajikistan (a former war torn USSR territory).  My wife moved to the states when she was 14 and has since learned English, completed high school, got a finance degree from Arizona State University, and then went on to get her teaching certificate (and a masters degree) in special education before deciding to stay home and raise our children.  I, on the other hand, do not have a degree, but did graduate from an advanced (science/technology oriented) high school, and taught myself engineering.

We currently live in a "typical" 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom, 3000 square feet house in the Phoenix Metropolitan area.  At the recent downturn (and arguably "collapse") of the economy, we started thinking long and hard about what we would do should I lose my job.  Not that I am afraid of that possibility, but with no degree to get me in the door anywhere, we would be really "up a creek without a paddle" if that were to happen.  To compound that, our mortgage on the house we are currently in won't break even for about 10-15 years (rough estimate).  So we are essentially paying a very high rental rate for something that will likely never bring us the investment potential we were lead to believe when we bought it.  Furthermore, since we are "good people" and pay our mortgage on time and blah, blah, blah, we don't qualify for any of the government assistance that others may get. kick this blog off, I will give you the teaser of what has happened so far (I will expand later):  We just purchased 2.6 acres in southern Queen Creek Arizona, and it has a newer (2006) double-wide mobile home on it that was completely trashed (are rebuilding).    We haven't even moved in yet, and already I have been to urgent care and the emergency room, the sheriff has been to our place twice (including a car towing and arrest), we have found needles wrapped in a paper towel, and have had to deal with more scorpions than I have ever seen in my 15 years here in AZ, and a snake.  Oh, and I should mention that the first thing we brought to the new house was a 1980's era mobile home and immediately parked it in front of the house.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing more as our adventure continues!

Stay tuned for our updates on how we are essentially "going redneck" in order to live debt free with a lot of land for all of my and my families toys.