Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Views on Marriage

In this increasingly post-constitutional nation, We the people are constantly bombarded by the loudspeaker voice of the media.  Right/left and Religious/not.  It's hard to find a quiet space in your head to reason issues out.  Here's my thought on the Gay Marriage issue.

Understand that I have friends all over the spectrum about this issue.  Maybe they will all understand what I'm trying to say.  Some may think I'm being intolerant, some maybe too.

Here are the parts of the issue as I see them:
Gays and those who sympathize with them make two points.  One, that their lifestyle is natural and they should be able to wed as much as heterosexuals. Two, that there are times when the absolute rule of written law is applied and therefore denies significant others such things as visitation rights and inheritance.
Christians and other religious people make the point that marriage is a rite of Christian faith and that can not be applied to people engaging in behavior that is contrary to the Bible.

The gay community or it's activists often have proposed local statutes allowing gay marriage. Christian groups have tried to push a Christian marriage amendment.  Both are continually denied by the voters in America.

Right?  Wrong? And what about the new Federal statute mandating gay marriage nationally?

Here's what I think.  Marriage was originally instituted by God through the Hebrews.  I will not debate this.  Since this country's founding, marriage has not been tied to religion. Therefore, trying to define marriage by religious principals must fail.  I don't really care what the union is called, People are going to live their lives as they see fit, even if they don't get a certificate.  The debate over denial of loved ones visitation rights, etc. should be settled in favor of all people in a relationship.  Maybe a written, signed document is all that should be needed.  Compassion, right?

I'm in favor of Federalism, and states need to have their rights re-established and allowed to decide this issue internally.

Final point. I know the LGBT community is supposedly happy about the supreme court usurping state's right and federally mandating gay marriage, However, this is unconstitutional and every American citizen should be against and frightened by the abuse of our Constitution in any case.  You know that the left would be screaming murder if the court had mandated the definition of marriage in alignment of Christian principles.  What I'm trying to say, is that this LGBT victory should not and probably will not stand not on the merits of the issue, but just because of the illegal, unconstitutional way it was instituted.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

I installed laminate flooring!!!

We had become sick of the carpeting that was in the house when we bought it.  A sickly, dirty, grey indoor-outdoor low pile type.  There was a spot in the middle where it was unraveling and the floor seemed uneven, it was too dirty to clean and we have had numerous kittys that had grown up to full cats he.  Now that we have grandkids running around here, we needed a floor that was clean and easily cleanable.  We chose laminate flooring.

During "Crazy Days" in Devils Lake last year, we went to Lamotte's Paint and Glass and purchased the Shaw flooring and underlayment we needed.  It's sat for a year and it was time since we were home to tackle the task.

The old carpet
The old carpet pulled up easily enough  dragged it and the equally nasty padding out to the garage, uprooted the nailboards along the wall, removed all the staples that held the padding and tried to make the old flooring as clean and smooth as possible.  The house has settled over the years and the floor is noticeably lower along some of the walls.  I knew there would be places where I'd have to build up areas.

Because we had a number of large pieces of furniture, and we were still have to move around the house, I started with the living room and mover items to the dining room. At first, the old hardwood floor looked like we could just refinish it maybe.  But, because  of the drop on the edges, boards were pulling apart making gaps and such.  I decided to just continue with the original plan of laying new floor.

That was probably smart, because when I got to the center of the room, there were two large sections that had been filled with interlocking boards totally unlike the rest of the floor.  There had apparently been an archway between the living room and the dining room.  It had been removed and the floor where most of the separating wall had been was patched in. This would not be the biggest issue.

Where the arch had been.

Entire living room exposed.
I cut off the old carpet and mover the furniture into the living room to get to the dining room area.  Then I found what would be the biggest challenge.  Okay, issue. Problem.  In the middle of the floor, yeah, that spot where the carpet was fraying, A square hole cut and patched in the floor.  A true "WTF" moment.  What did they do? What were they trying to do? What on earth were they thinking?

I just looked and stared trying to understand.  Nothing was coming, so I went into the basement. Apparently, when the furnace, ancient and since replaced by us, was installed, it was done by cutting a hole in the floor and lowering it in.  They had cut the floor joists but rebuilt them.  It all seemed strong enough but led to issues down the road.  just behind the square, the floor boards had buckled up. Probably because the house was settling and the floorboards hadn't been secured properly where the cut had been made.  The buckle was a hump from side to side extending back towards the wall gradually diminishing.  The floor was going to have to be leveled.  There is the foundation floor that runs at a 45 degree angle under the hardwood floor. I really didn't want this to bea major pain, so I first tried a planer. That would have taken forever. Next I tried a belt sander. It had been suggested course paper would just chew right through it.  Nope.  I had some success with a chisel, but it still was going to be too much work. Then I had an idea. If a board offends thee, cut it out.  (Isn't that a proverb or something? My lovely wife suggested I discuss it all with a friend in Devils Lake who spends all his time remodeling older houses.  I went to him and he suggested exactly what I had in mind. I'm never sure if my revelations are cathartic or just gas, so it's good to get a second opinion. Out came the skill saw and I cut out a section of the hardwood flooring.  The main floor was still buckled, but it wasn't any higher than the rest of the hardwood.  Then it was a matter of cutting sections of wood in varying thicknesses and filling in the low spots.  I finished with a plate of sheet metal across the entire section.

Dining room showing the furnace drop hole.

Hole patch and the buckle beyond
When the Dining room had been done, (I think it was an add on), They had put in pressboard flooring before the tile. It extended in a tab into the dining room. I picked a line close to the opening, but inside enough to keep the air vent inside the tile area.  I removed what I wanted gone with the skill saw. The final issue was that the deepest drop in the floor was on the far wall. It was about a inch drop at the most extreme.  I used the removed pressboard to build that up.  I suppose I should have just gotten jacks, crawled into the space under there and jacked up the whole thing, but I was thinking the wall would have raised, and it might have caused more issues somewhere else.  On top of that, that is the side of the house where they had added the garage which probably added to the drop.

Having dealt with the floor issues It was time to move all furniture out and start laying the floor.  When we bought our supplies, we had gotten two rolls of underlayment, and realized we need more.  What they gave us the second time was a different kind, but I didn't know enough then to know if it was very different. It was. so I called them and they ordered the proper material and we did a straight-across swap.. The customer service was great.  The undelayment we used was Sound Solution. It absorbs sound and this product has what they call Vapor Bloc. A film that keeps floor moisture from damaging the laminate flooring.  It overlaps tapes to the next roll.  It was very easy to work with. It's just rolled out and not nailed down.    I rolled out one row, and started laying the laminate flooring.
Soun Solution Underlayment
The  pieces were easy enough to fit together.  It might have been easier with two people doing it, But I think what I really needed was a small rubber mallet. Eventually, what I used was a peice of short board that I could slap against the edge for the final fit without damaging the interlock edge.  Then it was just a matter of steady work. Row after row. I had my skill saw on the porch to cut the end pieces. The unneeded section I used to start the next row for a stagger. I also had to make cutouts for the heating/AC vents. The hardest part was along the far wall because it works better when you are pushing the pieces into place rather than pulling them because the wall is in the way.  I finally reached the kitchen walkthrough, and had to cut strips that were just an inch or so wide.

We still have to purchase the baseboards to finish.  Halfway through, I had an idea that it would have been a good idea to paint the living an dining rooms before laying the floor. Then, while talking to Laurie on the phone, she suggested the same thing.  Well, that's what tarps are for, right?

Over all, it wasn't that difficult.  Sometimes the parts were uncooperative, and I would get frustrated, but it's done and it looks great.  I cut sections from the old carpet to put under the furniture pieces so they'd slide and not scratch the new floor.

Laying of the floor is finished
Living Room

I wonder what I can fix next?