Saturday, December 12, 2009

Engineering WIN!

This morning I was up quite early and headed out to the house to get the debris out of the yellow bathroom. I brought Elias along with, and let him sit in the front seat of the car. Ok, his butt was in the seat, but he put his front paws on the floor and his chin on the dash. Quite funny, really:

Yes, I took this at a stop light, in case you were wondering!

The day started quite poorly, I must say. I let Elias off leash to have a bit of a run, and run he did - he spotted a deer in the greenbelt to the right of the property, and headed straight for the fenceline - then hopped right over it in a low spot and took off after the deer. I ended up sprinting after him, which was pretty much futile since he is a lot faster than I am. Fortunately, the deer escaped, and then Elias got sidetracked with other fun doggy smells, but ended up running several houses down the road before he decided he had tired of the game and came back to me. You know when you catch your dog and want to yell at him for completely ignoring your calls to come back, but instead you tell him what a good boy he is for returning? Yeah, it was one of those moments. Gah. Anyway, Elias has lost his yard priveleges until we get the invisible fence up and the hot tape on the perimiter fence. I don't want any repeats of this morning!

Next, I had to put the tailgate back on the truck - by myself! Let me just say that that sucker is HEAVY! It was a bit of a struggle but I managed:

Woohoo! Tailgate on! Now, off to load up tile.

Then I went to start up the truck to pull it around the back of the house... and it wouldn't start. The engine turned over a few times and then quit. Finally, on the fourth try I got it going, then had to decide whether to take it in to a service center and waste my entire morning, or take it around back and load it with tile, then hope it starts next time. I decided to take it around back - I HAD to get the debris out of the bathroom this weekend since the plumber comes on Tuesday. He won't plumb if he can't access the pipes, and the bathroom was ankle-deep in tile bits, cement, and rusted wire mesh. So cleaning that up was the top priority, and to do that I needed the truck. So, I decided that if it doesn't start when I'm done loading tile, I'll borrow FuzzyPony's truck to jump it, and then I'll take it in to get new batteries next weekend since I'm pretty sure that's the problem.

Getting the tile out of the bathroom was somewhat of a challenge. With the pink bathroom, getting smashed tile out was easy - there's a window that opens right into the carport and is in close proximity to where we park the truck. However, the yellow bathroom is at the other end of the house. I didn't want to be carting bins of rubble through the house to the carport, since that would have taken way too much time and made a huge mess. I had considered bringing the truck around the back of the house and parking it right under the yellow bathroom's window, then tossing the debris right into the back of the truck. However, a quick inspection showed that the window, which has the little casement cranks to open it, was painted shut. I tried breaking the paint seal with a boxcutter and failed miserably. It's not just one or two coats of paint holding that window closed, it's probably a half-dozen coats of paint. In fact, I bet that window hasn't opened since 1957! Anyway, I had to scrap the window plan and go for option C - taking the tile out through the back door off the kitchen.

The problem with this route was twofold. First, I had to go through the hallway with the lovely original wood floors, and I didn't want to scratch those up with ground-in bits of tile. So, I had to protect the floors in some way. Oddly enough, I found an old moving quilt in the wellhouse, so I carefully swept the floor of debris and laid the quilt down.
Floor protection: check.

The second problem was actually getting the debris from the bathroom to the truck. The hubby and I have been using a recycling bin (which you can see in the picture of the quilt) to take small loads of tile out, but it generally takes both of us to pick the bin up once it's full of tile bits. Since it was just me today, the only way I could still pick up the bin was if it was only half full, and that didn't seem like a particularly good (or expedient) solution.

As I was walking through the carport, I notice our wheelbarrow sitting there, and thought how great it would be if I could just use that to transport debris instead. Of course, the problem with that is getting the wheelbarrow up into the truck bed - if only I had a ramp! Alas, there were no ramps to be found, or even any boards that would make suitable ramps - except for the old bookcase that the previous owner had left sitting in the carport! I quickly unscrewed the 10 inch wide planks from either side, knocked off the back of the bookcase, put the planks back together... Volia! A ramp!

Engineering WIN! Never mind that it looks like it should be on the Epic Kludge list, it WORKED!

Problem solved. It took me about an hour and a half to get the debris out of the bathroom and tear out some of the leftover wallboard. There's still work to be done, but at least I am now confindent that the plumber will actually be able to work in there on Tuesday. I also got a teeny bit of drywall sanded today when I took a break from shoveling debris - still lots more to do on that before I can apply a second coat of mud and smooth everything out. All in good time!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Attic access

Last night (Thursday), we added an attic access point in the front bedroom. Until we did this, the only access point was in the utility room - and it was a LONG crawl from one end of the house to the other!

New attic access spot. It's framed out, but we need to add some trim strips on the outside to finish it and cut a cover board to fit.

Attic access in the utility room. You can see how they've used trim strips to finish it out.

We cut the new access point primarily because the plumber needs to get to that end of the house, and we didn't want him having to crawl back and forth every time. Hopefully this will make his job easier!

Death and destruction

Ok, there is no actual death in this post, with the possible exception of the small spider behind the toilet who may have been crushed during Wednesday night's work. But there was a LOT of destruction.

I should precede the pictures of mass destruction with the news that we have chosen to go with a solar water heater, and as part of the installation package, we will be getting the entire house re-plumbed with PEX. Work starts next Tuesday and should be finished by Friday. YAAAAY! We're finally making real progress!

Of course, the plumber has to have access to all the bathrooms and the kitchen. The pink bathroom is already down to the studs, but we hadn't started demoing the yellow bathroom. The husband will be out of town all next week, so we knew we didn't have much time to do the demo work. So, Wednesday night, we went out and had at it.

Here's what we started with.

8:00 p.m. Demo begins with taking the mirror of the wall to find... a huge hole in the wall? Eeenteresting. Oh well, less wallboard for us to demo. :)

8:20 p.m. We've pulled out the vanity (except the base, which we're going to have to cut out), the toilet, and the electric heater (black box on the right), and capped off the wires. Nice stubby PVC piping for the sink - we'll have to cut these off under the house and cap them.

8:35 p.m. Most of the wall has been taken out. Check out the 8+ inch cast iron sewer line in the wall. YIKES!

8:40 p.m. The husband starts taking off the fixtures for the shower. Here he's reassembling a handle so we can donate it to Habitat for Humanity.

8:45 p.m. The front are of the shower is ripped out. We thought about stopping here since all the pipes the plumber will need are exposed, but decided it was still early and we still had energy, so why not demo the whole thing?

8:50 p.m. Husband demonstrates the "smash tiles then rip entire wall down" technique. I must say, we're getting really good at this. Too bad we're done with this now.

9:15 p.m. Demo is mostly complete - what's left is tearing down the wallboard, carting all the smashed tiles out, and then pulling nails out of the studs. I should mention that the window is painted shut, so we won't just be able to toss the debris out the window.

9:15 p.m. The side of the shower.

9:15 p.m. The back wall of the shower - no more tile, just wallboard that has to come out.

9:15 p.m. A close-up of the giant cast-iron sewer pipe. They must've built the house around it!

This weekend, my job is to clean out all the wallboard, toss all the debris in the truck and haul it to the dump. Did I mention that the husband is out of town? Wish me luck!

Does anybody actually work for MONEY anymore?

So we got a bid for the electrical work on the house earlier this week. It was, as expected, enough money that the husband and I could buy two plane tickets to Europe and spend a week - two weeks, if we're frugal. Needless to say, we're wanting to get some other estimates.

I've called some friends who have done remodeling projects and asked for recommendations for electricians, and I've got a few. I also perused the Craigslist ads for electricians, in case I could find someone who sounded likely. We've had good luck with Craigslist in the past, so figured it was at least worth a look.

Or NOT. Take a look at these ads for electricians in the Austin area:
  • Electrical work in exchange for dental work. State licensed electrician for over 20 yrs. No job too big or small. Also interested in Motorcycles, dirtbikes or Harleys
  • Licensed Electrician willing to barter for guns, jewelry, electronics or dirts bikes, four wheelers.
  • Will trade electrical work for car, truck, or laptop or just about anything
  • Will trade services for good work truck. Late model Chevy, ford, or dodge. Please, nothing older than 1999.
  • I'm a licensed electrician with 20 years of experience looking to trade services for ???? Things I could use: work truck, electrical tools, nice furniture, laptop, truck boxes. Will consider most offers of value.
I could go on... and on and on and on! The kicker is, all of these ads include a licensed electrician's number, and a lot of them are Master electricians! Since I don't want to trade my truck, laptop, car, tools, or any of my furniture, and I don't have guns, dirt bikes, or four wheelers to trade (oh, and I'm not a dentist either), am I SOL if I want electrical work done? Isn't anyone interested in cold hard cash?


You know you're remodeling a house when...

So last night I was doing laundry - again - and I found six screws in the bottom of the washing machine. For a moment I couldn't figure out where they had come from, and then I realized that I had stuck them in my pocket for "safekeeping" when I was pulling face plates off of electrical outlets.

That was my second clue that we're remodeling a house.

The first has been the nightly loads of laundry. It's cold, and the temperature in the house is only set to 55 degrees, so we bundle up when we go out there to work. We get covered in cement dust and sheet rock dust. Every night when we come home, there's an entire load of laundry that needs doing. Fun, fun.

Another clue that we're remodeling was found in a blog a friend of mine sent me a few weeks ago, There, I Fixed It: Epic Kludges + Jury Rigs. If you haven't seen the blog, it's really good for a laugh. Anyway, I realized that I could be sending in pictures of kludges from the house... yikes! Yeah, that's why we're renovating!

Deciphering tractor lingo

Now that we have two acres, we have to figure out how we're going to keep it mown. Eventually, the horses will have three pastures and will help keep the grass to a reasonable level, but we'll still have to mow to make sure the weeds don't take over, and we'll have to mow the bits that aren't pasture. Obviously, mowing 2 acres with a push mower is out, so what are the other options? Welcome to the world of riding lawnmowers!

Initially, I figured we would just want a little riding lawnmower that we could attach a utility cart or something to, large enough to mow and haul a bale or two of hay or a bag or two of grain. These little guys are referred to as "Yard Tractors," because apparently a "riding lawnmower" just doesn't sound manly enough. Of course, these come with different engines, horsepower, and different sized cutting blades. John Deere and Cub Cadet appear to be the best names in this group, and Briggs and Stratton engines are the most common but not necessarily the best, while Kubota's diesel engines are at the top (and their price reflects that!) but Kohler seems to be the preferred gasoline engine.

Then we discovered they make slightly larger lawnmowers that you can buy attachments for. These guys are referred to as "Garden Tractors," and you can pretend you have a real tractor when you use the small box blades for moving dirt, harrows for harrowing the garden, or even move mulch with the little front end loaders! I should also point out that a lot of them come with snow blowers, but we all know how useful a snow blower would be in Austin, TX. Good brands in this group include the John Deere and Kubotas (again, pricey), but also the Troy-Bilt Big Red Horse garden tractor. It's a best buy, with a 22 hp Kohler engine, but even on the Troy-Bilt site I can't find any accessories for it that would make it useful for anything other than mowing.

As the gadget lover in me (and the husband!) were considering what we could do with all the fun attachments you can buy for the John Deere, we started thiking, well, if we're going to do all that, perhaps we should look at something a teeeeny bit larger... fatal last words, right?

Enter the world of the Utility Tractor. These little guys are like a real tractor, but smaller. They have augers, tillers, front-end loaders, backhoes, mowers, mulchers, shredders... we'd need a whole new shed just to store the attachments you could get for one of these things! Now at some point, we will need to rent or borrow a tractor with a tiller and box blade to move dirt away from the foundation. We'll also, at some point, need a tractor to move dirt around to make an arena, and to auger holes for wooden fence posts (that point is a loooong time away). There may be a few other things we'd need a tractor to do (dig a French drain for the house, auger holes for the barn if we choose to put up a pole barn, etc.) but in general, most of our time will be spent mowing... and we do not need a tractor for that.

Are you reading this, husband dear? We do not need a tractor! :)

P.S. Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl this year and would like a nice John Deere yard tractor with a utility cart. Maybe an LA100 or XP300 model. However, please do not get my husband a tractor. OK?

P.S.S. Beware of the John Deere Web site. Who knew you could have so much fun when shopping for tractors?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Decisions, Ducts, and Drywall

It's really been a rollercoaster of a week. We started out the week looking at estimates for PEX to replum the entire house so that we could install a tankless gas hot water heater. We thought that TESS was going to come out and mark all our gas, water, and sewer lines for us. We planned to call the roofer to come out and fix the furnace vent, so that it would no longer vent into the attic. And we'd planned to have an electrician out to get an estimate on replacing to four panel boxes we have.

Well... where to start. I guess we'll go from easiest to hardest, and I apologize in advance for the long post.

First, TESS looked at the property and determined that since the City of Sunset Valley runs our water, wastewater, and gas, it was't TESS' responsibility to come out and mark our lines. So I called Sunset Valley, who informed us that once the lines got onto private property, they had no idea where they went from there, so they couldn't help us.

In other words, we still have no idea where the water and gas lines are. We can make guesses based on where the meters on the street are and where the pipes enter the house, but we don't know exactly. So any time we dig a hole it's going to be fun, unless we can get someone out who can some how do a survey of the property and locate the lines.

Next item on the list, a tankless hot water heater. Wednesday I read some reviews of the tankless system our plumber was recommended, and they were abysmal. Out of 241 reviews, not many had good things to say, and even those that did said they had had challenges with installation, including running new gas lines to accomodate increased capacity (which we would have to do), running special venting systems, and more. Then, once the systems were in place, owners complained about the noise, the time it took to get hot water to the tap, "cold sandwiches," where the water runs hot and cold intermittently, and not getting any hot water at all if you're not at the minimum flow rate (tankless heaters only start heating water once the minimum flow rate has been exceeded). And that doesn't even begin to touch on complaints about customer service... in fact, the manufacturer or the systems we were looking at have had their Better Business Bureau status revoked due to customer complaints! So we started to seriously reconsider using a tankless system. I briefly looked into point-of-use tankless systems, but none of them produce enough hot water for a shower, so we quickly ruled those out.

One of the reasons we'd been interested in tankless was because of the fairly big rebates and tax credits that are currently available for these systems, but solar water heaters have even more incentives. Solar heaters are a big thing here in Texas, since we get 360 days of sun per year. We did the math on the solar heater and the rebates, and it ends up being between $40 and $500 out-of-pocket to install a solar system. Yeah, $40. Plus, since the storage tank for these systems is an 80 gallon tank that must be electric, we wouldn't have to re-run the gas line. Bonus!

So, we got two comparable estimates on the solar option. One would even include running the house with PEX for an extremely reasonable price. We checked with some other folks with solar heaters and they LOVE them, so that's good. But... and you knew there had to be a catch... we need a new roof to install a solar heater. A new roof... which we hadn't planned on till after we do the addition... sometime... later.

But then we realized that we could put a new roof on the half of the house that will have the solar panels on them, NOT the half of the house that will have the addition. Ok, so that could work. Now, we're shopping for metal roofs (which also come with a nice rebate). Fortunately there is a manufacturer in Seguin, less than 45 minutes south of Austin, and we have a friend who can help put it on. But, we have to measure our roof nine ways to Sunday, since the entire roof come pre-fabricated custom for our house, with numbered assembly instructions. Sort of like a giant jig-saw puzzle.

So, now we have the epic "where do we start" problem. We need a new roof for the solar heater. (BTW, we won't be fixing the furnace venting issue until after we put the new roof on - or rather it will be a part of that project.) Plus, we need to run new PEX plumbing for the new water heater. To run the PEX, we need to demo the yellow bathroom so that there's access to all the pipes within the walls - and currently, there's no wall access for that bathroom at all. We also need to get the tile put in the utility room under where the water tank will go... but to do that we pretty much have to finish reconstructing the pink tile bathroom (which I need a new name for since there's no more pink tile in there) since the tile is connected via the hallway for the bathroom and the utility room. We also need to get the electric done before the water heater goes in, because we need to run a 220 volt outlet inside the wall to where the water heater will go (the current 220 outlet is run through conduit around the window outside the wall. Very attractive... not.)

So then, enter the electrical. We need to get a new 200 amp meter installed from Austin Energy, put in a new 200 amp panel box, then rip off the wallboard where the 4 panel boxes are, makes sense of the spaghetti, and reattach it all. I make it sound easy but you would not believe the mess that is the electrical. We've got wires with no conduit on them on the outside of the house, wires running haphazardly through the brick in random spots... when we finished tearing out the tile in the shower yesterday, we found what looked like 100 amp cable that looked like it was going through to one of the panels, but it was attached to... nothing. We think it might have been the original power feed for the house, but who knows?

So, we got out two electricians to give estimates. We have one informal estimate, and while I won't give numbers, let's just say it's enough money to fly me and the husband to Europe for a week or two. No, I am not kidding. Ye gods.

We're considering the options at this point. Supposedly the power company should come out and install a new meter for free, I will check on this tomorrow. A 200 amp panel box isn't all that expensive, and we can mount that ourselves on the outside of the house. Assuming the new meter goes on the house as well near where the old one is, the distance between the panel box and the meter won't be more than a foot or two, and we can do the conduit and wire for that, even if we don't actually connect it up. Once the power to the house is off, we should be able to tear out the wall where the panels are, label and disconnect each and every wire, and then add a junction box to extend the wires (if necessary) to get to the new panel box. Apparently there is already a junction box in the attic, so we may be able to re-use that if we just need to extend a few wires. Once all that is done, perhaps then we can get a master electrician out to finish up all the connections to various breakers, hopefully for a lot less money. Because while I know we need a new panel box, I'd really rather go to Europe for a week with the husband.

You know, writing this all out it doesn't seem like these decisions were that hard, or that figuring all this stuff out was that time consuming. But we have spent hours on the phone, researching on the Internet about this stuff, and going round and round on each decision. It's tough, and not a little stressful, especially when we really want to get some PROGRESS made. There's no way we'll make a January move-in date with everything that has to be done, but we probably will move the horses out in January and find some responsible neighborhood high-school kids to feed them twice a day. We'll see.

And now, on to pictures of the progress we did make this weekend.

We pretty much finished ripping out the pink tile bathroom. We're down to studs everywhere now. At this point, we need to cap off the existing water supply lines in this bathroom, have the PEX run, and we can start rebuilding.

The source of the water damage we've been noticing was definitely the shower.

Right side of the shower frame. What's left of the stud is black with rot from water damage.

Left side of the shower wall frame. You can see where the stud has rotted away at the base.

This is what is left of the 2x4 that formed the curb on the shower. It practically fell apart in my hands.

The husband with a trophy of destruction. :)

We were relieved to find that, although the studs that formed the shower surround were completely rotted, none of the load-bearing studs on the house have been damaged too badly. We may stub some extra supports in just in case, but the damage seems to be minimal on the important parts.

I finished tearing out the baseboards in the hallway, in preparation for the eventual tile that will go in there. An enormous pink flake of paint came off with one baseboard... dare I think that at one time, the entire room was pink to match the bathroom? That's almost too hideous to contemplate!

I should also mention that I met the neighbor across the street, and quite a lovely lady she is. When I met her, she immediately asked me what construction work we were doing, since currently there's a huge pile of tile under the carport that we need to haul off to the dump. I said we were working on the bathroom, and she immediately said, "Oh, you mean the pink one?" Apparently this bathroom is famous (infamous?) far and wide!

My only fear is that it will continue to be called The Pink Bathroom long after any hint of pink tile is removed. A friend suggested that we keep a pink tile and frame it, then hang it in the new bathroom. Hmmm... :)

The only pink tile left now is on the floor, which we will probably leave in and tile over since it's attached with thickset and is actually level with the concrete floor in the hallway. We'll take an angle grinder and scuff the tiles, then make sure to use a really good adhesive when we retile the floor.

The more-or-less finished product. The pipe for the shower is on the left. The white PVC pipes and white box are the water and sewer lines for the washer and dryer in the utility room right behind that wall.

We ended up taking out the raised portion of the slab that was the shower pan. You can just barely see the cast iron drain pipe in the middle. The green towel on the right is stopping up the sewer line for the toilet (must find a better way to do that).

So the issue we are facing with this bathroom is putting another shower in. We don't have much space (the previous shower was only 33 1/2 wide and 36 deep) and we have this huge cast iron drain in the middle to work around. We don't want to go with the three-side solid wall shower again, because it makes the bathroom feel so small. We've looked at several corner showers, and you can get them in a 34 inch footprint, but the drain hole in the shower pan won't be in the right place for our shower. This is the problem with trying to match something that was custom-built in 1951 to something that's more or less standard today.

Right now the best option seems to be to build another cement shower pan, then order custom-fit glass walls and a door. Not an inexpensive option, and creating a shower pan from scratch isn't exactly easy. A quick Google search and Craigslist review shows that nobody does this professionally any more. We may be on our own for this one... yikes. So, add another stress to the list. I suppose by the time we're done we'll be experts!

And speaking of expertise, I am now a bona-fide drywall taping and floating expert. I hope. I did get a lot of really good advice from Alexis though (thanks!). BTW, if you have any taping to do, use this stuff. It is sooo much better than paper tape!

The hallway, post-mudding. I sure hope that sanding it down will get all the (many, many) imperfections out! I actually didn't quite get finished today... I still have a little bit of work to do around the door into the bedroom. Hopefully I can finish that one night this week, then spray texture (MUAHAHAHAAAA!) next weekend. Oooh... and then I could paint... and put the carpet back... and then... the bedroom would be DONE! WOW!!! Ok, ok, I'm getting ahead of myself, one thing at a time...

I hear that people pay good money for mud treatments at the spa. They should just try taping and floating drywall... you get just as much mud all over you!

Also for the bedroom, the hubby installed a new vent, since the vent that originally served this room is now in the hallway. We still have to move the ceiling fan, since it's now in an odd corner of the new room, but that will happen later.

The new duct (shiny one at the bottom) coming out of the air handler. Fortunately the air handler is right next to the bedroom.

The new duct line, going into the ceiling. The hubby commented that the is the first time EVER than he has used duct tape on an actual duct. LOL!!!

The other thing we got done this weekend was to install the fire rock above the furnace, where it goes into the attic. Not sure how much that will actually help in case of a fire, but it's done!

Hopefully this next week I'll be able to get more done with the walls, and maybe we can see about getting a new meter and getting the roof measured and ordered. I'll also be following up on getting the PEX installed - we may be starting demolition on the yellow bathroom sooner rather than later!

Because every blog should have a cute doggie pic. This is Elias. He assisted with today's drywall endeavors by banging his tail into the (still wet) drywall mud. Um... good dog?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


In the last week, we have purchased WAY too many tools, power and otherwise, for working on the house. Given our ever-increasing collection, I found the following e-mail, which was sent to me by a friend who has more cool power tools than anyone should be allowed to have, to be rather hilarious.

So, we have here the definitions of various power tools:

A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light.. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, "Oh, shit!"

A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle ... It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race.

A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

A tool used to make hoses too short.

Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object we are trying to hit.

Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

Son of a bitch TOOL:
Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling, "Son of a bitch" at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

PS. Thanks Alexis for loan of the hammer drill!