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Sunday, July 19, 2020

Keeping Cool and (Grand)Child Labor

Most of the Midwest is suffering from an unusual heat wave this week. It's absolutely miserable because there's humidity mixed in with it. Our central air conditioner has just been chug chug chugging away, pumping that cool air back into the house. Actually, I do realize, that air conditioners don't "make cool air"... rather they remove the heat from the air and dissipate it outside of the house.

But the stuff circulating back in sure is nice!

A couple of weeks ago we decided to do a little preventive maintenance service on our exterior AC unit. It's always good to do this once a year and check it often as well. Because it always seems that these things break down on the hottest day of the year, just like everybody else's unit. Then you wait in line for your turn from an AC repairman!!!

Because we have a big huge cottonwood tree in our yard, every Spring our yard is full of floating soft fluffs of cottonwood seeds that drift through the air. It's the same kind of fluff that's on dandelions, but we have lots lots lots more of it because the tree is huge. The tree is located in the backyard but it drifts all over, even up to the AC unit on the south side of the house.

The flying fluff collects on the exterior fins of the AC unit and impedes the airflow needed to run the unit efficiently.

Just look at all that junk built up on there!

Like I said, a few weeks ago, we decided it was time to give it a good cleaning before this hot humid stuff began.  We gathered our supplies and brought around a really soft brush and the Shop-Vac to give it a good cleaning.  It's located on the south side of the house, but fortunately it's in a shady location.

Steve removed the outer protective cage so we could do a thorough job cleaning the thin fine copper fins.

I started vacuuming it from the outside, one section at a time. You must be very very careful to never bend the fins. There is a little device called a fin straightener that's kind of like a comb that can help straighten them out again if you do.

Steve worked on the inside of the unit, cleaning it from the inside out.  He removed some big leaves and other little things like tiny sticks and dead bugs and pieces of fuzz.  He also used our leaf blower to get rid of some of it by blowing from the inside to the outside.

Fortunately, the condenser coil and fins looked pretty clean when we were done. There wasn't a lot of dirt or gunk built up. They do make a specific coil cleaner to soak and rinse away any build up. It's a special stuff to make sure that it does not corrode the copper tubing. You can't use just any household cleaner, it may wreck the coils.

This time we didn't need to use any because this was in pretty good shape. But it's good to know that the product is out there in case you need it.

We put everything back together and I am happy to report that the air conditioner has been running amazingly efficiently and seems to keep the house cool without running as much. It's on an automatic controlled wifi unit, but it seems to need to run less each cycle to keep the house cool. We will see what the bill is at the end of the month, with all this hot weather, I really don't care what the bill is, because we were comfortable and dry and we could sleep well at night in the central air conditioning throughout the whole house.

One of the things that we decided to do was to flip around the slanted openings of the register grids in the house. Now it blasts the cool air upwards and into the room, instead of shooting it down across the floor.

This brings me to the GrandChild Labor part of the post:

Little grandson Clayton was over with his toolbox, so we set him to work flipping all of the registers in the house. Before this winter comes, we can have him come over and flip them all back to keep the heat blowing downwards across the floor.

Yes, we take advantage of the grand child labor laws. You can make kids work for you, as long as they are family members. You don't even really have to pay them. (But we do--- lol)

When they come over, we make up a list of jobs to do, and they can choose which things they would like to take care of.

Here is granddaughter Chelsea swiffering out the dust from underneath the couch.

Clayton, with his handy little tool box, is installing some curtain rod brackets, so I can hang a lace valance halfway up the window.

There are lots of little projects that kind of accumulate before they come over. So I wait until they get here to add them to the list. Sometimes it even involves moving furniture and rerouting the cables for my printer.  Clayton is bringing in this old fashioned folding table to put in my office.

Clayton helped me re-measure and re-align my four seasonal framed prints in the office. He loves using all of the new tools that we bought him for his birthday. He got a gift certificate to Harbor Freight and went shopping with Grandpa to fill a tool box.

He did a great job
 using his tape measure and level 
and hammer and nails.

Both of them decided to team up on me, and do some hairdressing. I was pampered and primped and styled and coiffed in a multitude of hairstyles. I think they had fun. I sure enjoyed it.

Grandpa decided it was time to remove all of the blades on the mowing deck of his lawn mower and sharpen them up. Clayton then helped him clean out the underside of the base of the deck, and reattached the blades.

Chelsea took care of gardening for me, she weeded out the flower beds and watered everything. They sure like to make things grow. Chelsea works in the little garden at the summer daycare center too.  They just harvested beans and cucumbers from their efforts and shared them with all of the kids attending the center.  They compared the tastes of home grown to store bought and commercially processed foods. What a great learning experience.

They both took care of watering the tomatoes, which are going gangbusters and growing all over the place in my new spot in the backyard. I'm glad that I moved my tomato plot over to this location. Our first summer here, they did not grow so well over along the fence line.

I think I'll have a bumper crop this year! We will eat a lot of them right from the vine and have fresh tomatoes almost every evening. But I also can them up for stewed tomatoes to use up in the winter months. There is nothing more pleasant than opening up a a jar of home canned tomatoes in the middle of winter. That smell just brings me right back to the summer harvest. 

This next project, Clayton does for me about every 6 months. We take off all of the dog tags from their collars and lay them out on tinfoil. Then he coats them with a layer of clear nail polish. This keeps the aluminum tags from discoloring and rubbing on the white ruff fur around the dogs necks. Otherwise the aluminum leaves gray marks on their white fur and looks terrible.

We put them to work watering all of the trees and shrubs around the house. These are the new birch trees we planted this spring and they need continual watering this year if they're going to take root and prosper and grow.

There was an uneven support block to the top of this pillar on the front porch. It created a little ledge. A danged little bird was always landing on it as a perch and pooping all over the porch railings! So we decided to cut it off level with the top of the pillar support. Grandpa helped Clayton use the little oscillating cutting tool. What a handy little tool.

Yes, he wore safety goggles and was extremely careful in learning how to operate a power tool.

Once Grandpa was done cutting away the extra wood, then Chelsea painted over the freshly cut surface. This will keep that danged bird from landing up there. Also, in the future, I want to box in all of the tops of the pillars with a little piece of pretty cove trim and paint it may be a contrasting gray or maybe red?

While she had the paint brush out, she touched up the ends of the additional porch railings that Steve added to our front stairs. Originally, there's only been one top rail and nothing underneath. That's not safe. So he added a few more to the sides to make it complete and look much better.

Regular doggy brushing is a task that needs to be done. It's easier for these little ones to sit on the floor to brush the dogs, than poor old Grandma and Grandpa. Binney totally enjoys it and will lay there for hours, getting groomed and relaxing at her mini doggy spa session. Finnegan, on the other hand, acts like we are killing him and hates it. Lol!

We gave the kids long brooms and let them sweep the accumulation of little bugs that cling to the front porch pillars and ceiling. Living this close to the bay as we do, we tend to get the bugs just the way people do on a boat. They need to be swept down from time to time.

Chelsea learned to use the leaf blower to take care of the bugs that were swept down onto the porch floor... fun! 

Steve has discovered that spraying our house siding and porch with some Home Defense, it cuts down on the accumulation and makes the job less "icky"!

Chelsea took care of weeding the front flower bed, and had quite a bit in her bucket to show for her efforts.

This little OCD Girl loves to take our big shop broom and smooth out the new fine gravel in the driveway. She goes row by row, section by section, until it's all smooth and neat. She gets upset as soon as Grandpa drives over it again, because he puts track marks on her nice smooth gravel!

All of our grandkids help in the kitchen with meal prep. They're becoming quite proficient at helping out with kitchen duties, and clean-up as well. 

Here they made pigs in a blanket on the left
and tacos on the right.

 ...and sometimes we work them so hard, 
they just need a break...

The littlest one, Claire, calls this her "Bear Cave". She curls up with her 2 little teddy bears and reads them stories. What a nice spot to take a break. And hide out from Grandma and Grandpa giving her too many chores?

That's okay, she's not going to be a chore girl for very long. She decided that she needs to get busy and "Do some doctor things".  It will be nice to have a doctor in the family~

Well, the coffee break is over, 
time to get back to work 
and find some more projects to do!!!

1 comment:

  1. Normal maintenance is a great way of saving on repair bills.
    Looked like you had an entire crew but aside from them working while having fun they were learning new Life Skills from the best teachers.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.


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