Sunday, April 16, 2017

Home Building - Are Stellers Moving In? And Home Show

There were four Steller Jays poking around under the dead leaves in the backyard.  Yes, the snow is pretty much gone, except on the north side of the house, and that follows the shadow line as the sun gets higher each day.

The Stellers seem to be having a territorial fight over our backyard with some magpies in the last couple of weeks.  But I haven't seen more than three at a time before this morning.  This one came up on our deck.  The others were too far away and obscured by the branches of our still bare high bush cranberry bushes to get a decent shot.  The last time we had a magpie nest in our yard, we lost access to half the yard to screeching, dive-bombing magpie parents.  But we also got to see a nest full of chicks learn to fly.

Stellers have seemed more comfortable with people, often coming very close.  But that might not be true if they have babies.

 It's gray today, after lots of sunshine.  While the bike trails through the woods are still full of snow, the last two days I've been able to take a loop along the street-side bike trails/sidewalks with only a little water here and there.  But even with a fender on the back tire, my jacket or backpack shows I've been on the bike.

We went to the home show yesterday.  I still object to having to pay to get to have companies pitch to me, but since we have some long delayed home repairs - starting with our front porch.  We're comfortable with it, but guests do make comments.

Last time we went was long ago at the Sullivan Arena.  There's an advantage to having lots of companies related to homes all in one place.  We got to talk to lots of folks.  Even a company that uses a helical drill to put in metal posts instead of sonotubes if we switch to wooden steps, which we're thinking about.  But it seems they're a lot more expensive.

I talked to Adam about rain gutters.  Our old plastic ones I put in myself long ago, still are working fine, except the down spouts keep detaching from the gutters.  The part you use to hold the downspouts in place has broken in each case and the ones they have are for a different size.  Adam sells metal ones.  They also have some heat wires to put on the roof along the overhang that create places for the melting snow to get to the gutter instead of building up big ice dams.  We also got ideas for window upgrades - they even sell electric shutters for windows.

I also got to talk to some solar energy folks.  For under $10,000 (plus a federal rebate of 30% until 2019) I could get solar panels installed on our house.  They aren't useful, he said, in the three darkest months, and the price that MLP buys back energy is too low to be worth it, he claimed it would pay for itself over a period of time.  I didn't catch how long, but I did notice the average electric bill prices they listed were higher than ours.  So, while gun sales have dropped after Trump's election, perhaps solar buyers may be rushing to get their panels installed before the subsidies drop. 

A woman named Lisa, who was here from Minnesota, was selling, what I learned now online, is a "whole body vibration" machine for 'only' $2495.  I did get to stand on it and do some exercises.  It essentially vibrates and is supposed to help muscle tone.  This was a whole technology I knew nothing about.  Whether it actually does what they claim, is not really proven by science according to science based medicine website which seemed to one that wasn't industry based.  I did see them online ranging in price from $3999 to under $200, though the lower ranging ones only had a base and no handles.

What stood out as we walked around the basketball arena at UAA's newish sports center where vendors had their booths - plus a few more in adjacent areas - was the number of mortgage companies and realtors.  While I'm sure they were there when we did this in the Sullivan Arena long ago, they seemed to make up a much larger proportion of the vendors.

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