Friday, April 29, 2005

Twisted steel

I saw the coolest thing at work today. During today's safety walk (for an hour each day managers walk the mill to look for any safety problems) I saw a spectacular steel jungle. In the rolling mill (which is where the steel billets are reheated, cut into strips and rolled into rebar) they were casting 3 bar. 3 bar is about as big around as my index finger and when they make it, they roll it out in strips that are easily 50 yards long. Each row of rebar is put on the cooling bed less than an second from the ones before and after. Once one row gets screwy, all the rows after it do to. So what you end up with is 15 - 20 spindly steel bars going every which way. It looks like spagetti or a tumble weed, only it's red hot and huge.

Watching the melt shop (where they turn scrap metal into liquid steel and then steel billets) is unbelievable. The steel is so hot that when it pours into the caster you can't watch it with your naked eye. It's like staring into the sun. You have to wear special sun glasses to even look at it. It makes these crazy sparks that literally fly 5 - 10 feet from the pour. The billets come out red and cool to gray within 5 seconds or so but are still so hot that you can't touch them for hours.

I have a cool job.

Update on Tufty

... and here we have Tufty featuring the scotch tape and duct tape roof. So far this is the winner. Even after a torrential downpour I stayed toasty and warm. Tufty almost fooled us into believing it was beginning to behave. The Service Engine Soon light turned off for two days! Today we found out that he has earned his name, the light's back on. In some twisted way, I'm really enjoying this. I look forward to finding out just how much can go wrong before we finally foist him off on some dealer. I think he needs a jingle, so I'll be working on one. Send any lyrics you think would be appropriate.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Clang Clang ... Here comes the Crapmobile!

So the first attempt to contact paper over the sunroof didn't stand up to the speed test too well. It's Tufty the Crapmobile!

Up close on the first unsuccessful contact paper sun roof.

I don't know why car makers don't just use the stylish contact paper and duct tape roof featured here. Since we refuse to spend any more money on this piece of crap, this is the look for at least the next few months or until something else goes wrong and we beg some dealer to take it.

Friday, April 22, 2005

The evilest car ever

Ryan and I bought a cheap car (Oldsmobile Intrigue) last summer thinking that we could pay it off quickly and not have a car payment for a while. This was the .... biggest .... mistake .... EVER!!!

Shortly after buying the car, the Service Engine Soon light came on. So, we took it back to the dealer where we bought it. The verdict? There was nothing wrong with the car. That dealer sent the car to the Oldsmobile dealer. The verdict? There was nothing wrong with the car. Ok, we thought, we'll deal with it later.

Of course in New Jersey you have to get your cars inspected regularly. When Ryan went to have it inspected we were of course rejected even though there was nothing wrong with the car! We took it to a mechanic (yes, that's three) who said, big surprise here, there is nothing wrong with the car. That said, he told us that if we fixed this air pump thingie it should turn off the Service Engine Soon light. Indeed it did ... for a few hours. Shortly after we drove the car from the mechanic the light came back on. So, back we went to the mechanic. Now the code for the light was different. Great. The cause? The spark plugs. Fabulous. Got them fixed. We have now spent $530 dollars on a 6 year old car. At least the light was off.

Ryan took the car to be inspected today. On the way to the inspector, a rock/brick/piece of frozen airplane poop crashed into the top of the car and SHATTERED THE SUNROOF. Great. Ryan still took it to the inspection site after closing the cloth part covering the sunroof. By some miracle of God, the car passed inspection. Now of course, we have another $500 or so repair to the sunroof. Running total: ~$1030. But wait! The story is not over yet.

Driving away from the inspection station what happened? The stupid Service Engine Soon light turned back on. I would really love to put a couple of slugs in the car and put it out of its misery. But I can't do that. I just read a story the other day of a man doing just that, putting his car out of its misery and he got arrested for discharging a firearm in public. Any other bright ideas?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Home improvements

Since Ryan and I will soon be embarking on the wonderful world of home ownership, we have been reading/watching everything we can get our hands on about home repairs/decorating/renovation. This blog kills me. I can only hope that our new house doesn't turn up such interesting surprises.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Becky coming

It's finally official that Becky and boyfriend, Brad are coming to New Jersey to intern at Ryan's base this summer. What this means for me is many hours of conversation that I understand very little of. It also means that Peanut and I will get to live together for the first time in a while. She may be horrified at my housekeeping skills after living with Dad and Laurel, but it should be a great summer. Another good thing is the free labor that Becky and boyfriend represent for our new house (and from the pictures below, you can see it needs it). Between beach, bonding and work, I have no doubt I'll have an unbelievable summer.

La la la

... and look at all that closet space! Gonna have to do something about the old closet shelving cleverly disguised as closet doors though.

Master bedroom

Ryan's arm in this picture of our new master bedroom makes it look like a mini house, but the corners only slope to 6 feet, so it's actually a good-sized room and kind of feels like cathedral ceilings.


The kitchen has new maple cabinets, terra cotta ceramic tile and nice appliances.


The littlest bathroom (and only).

Our new home

The front of our new house. Imagine it with shutters, a front light, house numbers, tidy cables and a mailbox. Ahh, the joy of home ownership.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A sad state of affairs

Some of the top stories in the news today:

  • Britney's pregnant
  • Mom trades her daughter for a car
  • Police arrest a man and blow up his luggage
  • AIG's CEO gives his wife 1.2 billion dollars in stock before he gets ousted
Granted, there was other news on the sites today as well, it's just an interesting commentary on our society.
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