Archive for August, 2008

This Old House Part 17 of 63453 – Stripping Paint

August 27th, 2008 Comments off

So Sheila is in Indiana now, I have no job, and about 1/2 as much stuff in the
house.. I am getting tired of the unfinished house.. The lack of dishwasher, the walls that need repair, the unfinished floors, the draftiness of the
windows, etc.. So I have finally gotten back off my ass and started back working on the house.. The main project is to finish the Kitchen and Dining
Room.. I am going to do the house in thirds.. First the Kitchen/Dining Room, then the hallways, bedrooms and bathroom, then the massive front room.. I
have sorta ruled out an addition at this point.. Mainly cause its a huge financial thing where as restoring and updating all this other stuff can be done
in steps..

So I have finally admitted to myself that I will never ever finish my walls.. I started dry walling the doorway I moved about 8 months
ago. [[iframe]]d it out about 6 months before that..

So first it looked like this for the first 6 months:

Then for the last 8 months its looked like

I found a drywall and plaster guy who is going to
cleanup the mess that I started and will not finish.. One thing as I get deeper into this process is there are some things I will do that are worth my
time and effort, and others that I will not.. Wall repair is now up there with refinishing floors that I will leave to professionals.. Electrical and
plumbing for the most part I still am glad to do, the exception being running a new water feed to the house cause I don’t have a trencher.. So I am going
to get the walls in the house all skim-coated and smooth again, and all the ceilings drywalled and nice and smooth.. No more cracks.. No more vomit
colored off-white old lady color walls.. The best part is it costs far less than I thought.. For some reason I think plaster and I think “oh that has to
be expensive”..

Along with the walls though I needed to get doors for the now moved doorways.. I went downtown to this awesome place called
Rhyne’s Corner Cupboard that has all sorta of antiques and lots and lots of architectural salvage stuff.. Both Sheila and I had totally forgotten about
it as a place to find hardware for the house, until the week she moved and went there to get a new bedframe.. When I got back from Indiana I went there
and I found some really awesome french doors that are from the same era as the house.. They are being sent off to have all the paint stripped and I’ll
get them back in 2-3 weeks.. I asked them about sending other things from my house to be stripped; the guy who does their stripping is glad to do other
stuff so I took them my back door, and sashes from 6 of my windows, and a whole bunch of trim..

The only bad thing is now my backdoor is a piece
of plywood and my windows are just little crappy storm windows..

This means the only paint that I need to strip
myself is just the inside of the window frames, which I can easily do. The window sashes I am going to have re-glazed and stained when i get them back..
I am going to caulk up all the huge gaps in the weight pockets of the windows and that should eliminate most of the draftiness from the windows.. I never
realized how big the gaps are but in all the windows i have fully taken apart there is a 1/4″ gap around all of them pretty much.. This will also mean
that getting the house painted should be far less since the windows will not be involved.. Basically I am going to end up restoring all my original
windows like the pros do for about $100 a window.. That’s so much cheaper than replacing them with horrible vinyl ones, reduces waste, and also is
historically accurate..

So i still am in the planing stages of everything.. I still need to get a few more cabinets for the kitchen.. I found the
manufacturer of my current ones online and am waiting on a quote to get a few more base cabinets made up that match so i can reuse the cabinets instead of
replacing all of them.. I still need to figure out the flooring situation for the kitchen (is the hidden hardwood ok to refinish or do i need to replace
it?).. I need to go appliance shopping for a fridge, oven, and dishwasher.. I have had very little luck finding the trim for my house.. I might end up
ordering it from a place in Charlotte I know does old house mouldings with a pretty short lead time.. I have some electrical and plumbing work to do
before hand as well.. I also need figure out what sorta countertops I want as well..

Needless to say there is a lot to figure out before I rip
apart the kitchen.. I’ll be blogging more about this as I get deeper into the project.. I am putting the 2 classes I have taken on project management to
organize this remodel, so hopefully I can keep it on schedule and organized.. Yes I really do have pert charts and graphs, and I know what my critical
path items are for staying on schedule.. Maybe this MBA was worth something..

Categories: Grayland House Tags:

How to make Pad Thai

August 26th, 2008 Comments off

Pad Thai Recipe

I am pretty good at making Thai curry dishes; I always have loved Pad Thai, but
never knew how to make it.. I have tried about few times and finally have it down.. I thought I would share it with all of you.. It’s really quite simple
and doesn’t require any crazy ingredients you need to get from an asian market.. Everything you need you can get at Harris Teeter or a normal gringo
grocery store..

The only thing you may not have in your kitchen (aside from ingredients) that you need is a wok.. I bought a really inexpensive one
at Target for maybe 15 bucks.. It’s some sorta carbon metal something or other.. It works just fine.. You do have to follow the seasoning directions
though so be sure to do that.. Also you really do need to clean it and season it almost as soon as your done cooking.. I had mine start to rust up on me
when I waited about an hour.. Follow the directions that come with your wok.. Don’t expect to take it home and immeditly start using it. I have seen
non-stick (teflon) woks.. I have no idea what the hell those are.. You want a regular wok that you have to season not some non-stick modified pot that
white people use..

OK so onto the ingredients.. I typically prepare all of the ingredients first then put it all together at the end.. Cooking it
really only takes 10 minutes..

  • 8ozThai Rice Stir Fry Noodles – They should come in 8 oz baggies at the grocery
  • 2 Tbsp or so of Peanut Oil – You use this in the pan for lubrication. You could likely use any other oil if you wanted but
    I wouldn’t
  • 6 Garlic Cloves chopped – Some recipies call for a few cloves minced. I usually use about 6 or so. It’s a lot but
    it’s worth it
  • 4 Fresh Hot Peppers Seeded and chopped – I have been using 2 serranos and 2 red hot chillis. You can use what
    you’d like and experiment.
  • 10-20 Ounces of Meat / Tofu sliced into small pieces – I usually use chicken anywhere from 3/4 of a
    lb to 1 1/4 works. I haven’t tried beef, and I wouldn’t use pork as its too easy to turn pork into rubber if not cooked just right.. I am sure you can
    use Tofu here if you are not a meat eater but time wise I don’t know what alterations are necessary..
  • 3-5 Green Onions
  • Fish Sauce – You will use just a tiny amount. I little bit goes a LONG way, but I think it is an important
  • One Lime Juiced
  • 2 tbsp or so of Brown Sugar – You will play with this to get it to your taste
    but about 2 tsbp is what I use
  • 2 eggs – I normally pre scramble them in a high ball or similar glass. It makes it easier and
    ensures you don’t fuck up and put egg shell in your food
  • Cilantro – Lots of it – I tend to chop up enough that its the size of my
    fist or even more. Go heavy on it
  • Some peanuts chopped up – I dunno a few table spoons per person. You add it at the end after
    its all cooked so only chop up what you will use for that meal not the whole serving size if you are going to save some for later

So on
to preparing this awesome meal.. The cooking part usually takes about 10-12 minutes.

  1. Take the asian noodles and soak them in hot
    water for at least 10 minutes. I usually do this first while i am cutting all the other ingredients
  2. Heat your wok to medium high with a tbsp or
    two of peanut oil in the bottom. Put in all your garlic, peppers, and meat and stir fry it until your meat is cooked most of the way.. This usually takes
    5 minutes or so. Just move the stuff around in the wok every 30 seconds or so.
  3. Add the noodles (drain off the water first) and green onion and
    cover the wok for about 2 minutes. I usually just use a cover from a large pot i have. Don’t stir or anything just cover it and leave it alone. I
    typically break up the noodles some with the spoon in my wok first and stir it around a bit. The noodles will get steamed in this step so don’t worry
    about it if they are stuck together a lot they will be easy to separate when this step is done
  4. Remove the cover, and pour in the lime juice,
    sugar, and about 2/3 of cilantro. Take your fish oil and shake a bit on there. The container I have lets drops out and I usually shake about 5-10 drops.
    The fish oil will smell sorta gross. it’s OK.. It will start to smell very good in a second. Stir this around for a minute or two until evenly
  5. Push the noodles and everything to the side exposing a portion of the bottom of the wok. Pour in your egg here and scramble it. This
    usually takes a minute or two. It’s just like making eggs for breakfast. Don’t worry too much about a piece of meat or something falling into the eggs
    but try and keep the 2 parts separate until the eggs are cooked. Once the eggs are cooked stir the whole concoction together.
  6. Put the rest of the cilantro on top along with
    your chopped peanuts and serve.
Categories: Cooking Tags: