Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter

House repairs and renovation

Happy Australia Day! Now I'm going to do the Australian thing and talk about real estate. Later this year it will be ten years since I moved into this house. It's got me pondering maintenance, repairs and a little bit of renovation. It started when I got my stepfather, who knows more about this kind of stuff than me, to look over the place and identify what needed fixing or upgrading. He cam

Home life

Standing on the inside looking out – graphing my house temperature in the heatwave

So, how did my old wooden house cope with the heat? It's not brilliant, but it's also not unbearable. I was at home most of Tuesday, and graphed the temperature rise. Inside temperature from the thermostat / Outside from the BOM Moorabbin Airport readings. Unlike last time (2010), the overnight temperature had been a lot warmer, and thanks to this being just day one of a four-day heat

Home life

Ceiling fan – and the forthcoming heat apocalypse

I've got a new ceiling fan in the kitchen. The bloke at the lighting shop said that in a kitchen, a metal fan is good because it can be easily cleaned -- whereas in a bedroom, quieter wooden fans are more often used. He also reckoned for the size of the room, the larger 52 inch blades would work well. So here it is in all its glory. I'm still getting used to it being there up. Sometimes

Home life

Insulation is back in my roof (just in time for winter, it seems)

Well, I'm getting there. Last week I had a ceiling fan installed in the livingroom. It'll help on hot days, and because I have ceiling ducted heating, also helps distribute heat better on cold days as well. To do this, the old light fitting was removed. I'm hoping it might be worth something -- I was never that keen on it, but it does appear to be an original, making it about eighty year

Home life

Cleaning out the roof

I spent about 4 hours in the roof on Sunday, with an industrial vacuum cleaner from Kennards, trying to clear out some of the residual insulation and other crap from up there. I had thought the half-day hire would be enough, but man, it's hard work manoeuvring around up there, let alone with a big vacuum cleaner accompanying you. The placement of the heating ducts didn't make it any easier,

Home life

Proof that roof insulation works

The lack of insulation in my roof at the moment does make a noticeable, tangible difference. Normally I have my central heating set to 20 degrees until 9:30pm, and I used to have it set to 12 degrees... I came up with that on the basis that when the insulation was in the roof, overnight it would never drop below about 15-16 degrees, even in the middle of winter. Now the insulation's gone, if

Home life

The plan for the house

I was chatting to a carpenter bloke about various things around the house, which helped solidify some of the ideas I'd been pondering for some time now. After years of inaction, I'm finally starting to move on them. I've had the Attic Ladders people come in for a quote, and they're now booked-in to install a ladder into the ceiling this Thursday. It'll be in the front hallway. They're also arra

Home life, News and events

The heat in the house

I spent the day working at home yesterday rather than venture out into the world of 43 degree temperatures and train heat troubles, though admittedly I also missed out on comfy air-conditioning at work. My house doesn't have air-conditioning. It does have internal blinds in most rooms, the exceptions being the kitchen and the bathroom, which get a little warmer than the rest of the house on day

Home life

Wacky idea

I've previously joked to my architect brother-in-law that given the relative space in my front garden (larger, somewhat wasted space) and back (smallish) garden, I should organise to have the house moved forward by 2-3 metres. We laughed it off, but by chance I found there are companies that move houses from anywhere to anywhere, such as this mob. The cost? $50-70K. I wonder how much of that is

Home life

The gurgle

It seems at my place that once or twice a year, the back toilet will become a temporarily slightly clogged. The flush fills up the bowl with a suspicious amount of water, and empties more slowly than usual. And it becomes a battle of wits: should I call in the plumber (with his special machine) again or hope the problem goes away before anything overflows? My natural procrastinating stance usua