Month: July 2008

Preparing The Way Stucco Repair

Preparing The Way Stucco Repair - Orlando, FL

Preparing The Way Stucco Repair

‘Preparing The Way’ is the name of Jarrod Brown’s stucco repair company, but I prefer to think of the job he did as ‘Stopping Up The Way’ for the ants and the water. The stucco is fixed, and I am surprised at how much of a relief it is to have it that way. Knowing we’d have a gallon of water sloshing around our house during the next hard rain storm made it difficult for me to relax. Call me a nut.

This is Jarrod at work. He did a great job and was pleasant to have around while he worked. He also does a bunch of other stuff, so give him a call if you live in Orlando.

The hole in my stucco was SO big….

Stucco Repair

Me Sitting Outside My Stucco Hole

Today the stucco repair guy came (ya, I was surprised he wanted to work on a Sunday, too), and we found the hole in the stucco that was letting in all the water. At first it didn’t appear to be anything more than a screw hole, but ants kept going in and out of it so we dug a little deeper. Then a chunk of the wall came loose, and we were suddenly looking into a cavern in the wall, pictured at right. It was so big I could see daylight from the inside of the house.

It’s patched up now, and it didn’t leak during the storm that followed so I guess we’re good to go.

(That really is a close-up picture of the hole.)

Hertzler Moat

Moat

Our New Moat

Part of our leak fixing project has been digging the sod away from the house and changing the slope of the grass so water flows away from the foundation. Andrew dug out one side of the house and is waiting for the stucco repair guy to come before finishing. This has left us with a new moat that has remained full for the last few days.

It looks like the solution to this problem will be gutters, stucco repair, getting the house painted, and a lot of digging. We need to replace the carpet in our house, so it’s important we get this solved before that happens!

A First – Andrew and Audrey Drove Off Without Us

Cathy called me today just after Andrew and Audrey drove off by themselves. Andrew passed his driving test (“It was easy,” he said) and has his regular license now.

He was very happy to discover yesterday that the additional cost of our insurance (due to him being a licensed driver) will be half what we were expecting. Since we’re making him pay the difference in insurance, this meant he had six months of insurance saved up rather than just three.

Facebook – Probably Here For A While

Jerry Hertzler's Facebook profile

My Facebook Profile

A few months ago I suspected that Facebook would not be long for this world. It seems to me like they are “AOL version 2″, offering convenience for their users at the price of captivity. I thought that the two factors of developing social network openness (where you can take your social network profile and use it on any social-network-aware site) and a growing knowledge on the part of Facebook users that they were, indeed, captives to Facebook would begin driving social networks to other places.

But instead it looks like Facebook may be growing into another 800 pound gorilla in the Internet world.

800 pound gorillas can be good or bad, depending on the temperament of the gorilla. Google and Microsoft are two current examples, the former being liked while the latter is a favorite villain. Facebook probably won’t be regarded as a villain or a nice guy but rather as frustratingly arrogant. They do things that seem good to them but stupid to everyone else. At least that is my experience as I’ve worked with their advertising model and used their site. But they’re getting better, and I’m rambling now.

All that to say, I’m considering integrating Facebook as much as I can with Hertzlers.com. The badge on this post is one way to do this. I’m hoping I can figure out a way to integrate photos as well. We’ll see.

The real driving interest in this to me is the potential application to student outreach and ministry. Right now Facebook is where students live online. Finding ways to reach students on Facebook is another way to go where students are. You can see one example of this on my Facebook profile.

Click the badge, then find the “Life Questions” section. This will lead to an article on EveryStudent.com.

More Water Where It Shouldn’t Be

2008-07-17 AC Overflow

Our Overflowing A/C Unit

My caulk plug on the outside wall washed away, so I’ve spent the last two afternoons soaking up water as it gushed in during our afternoon downpours. Last night I plugged the hole with roofing tar and placed a piece of plastic to shield it from any more rain, so I’m hoping that holds until we can get the stucco repaired.

So today when I saw yet more water where it shouldn’t be I just laughed.

Fortunately, this problem was easy to fix. Our inside A/C unit’s drain pipe had clogged and began spilling out onto the unit’s platform in the garage. This is not the first time this has happened, so I remembered the solution; vacuum out the drain pipe. Fortunately my neighbor’s wet/dry vac was handy, and I had the problem fixed in less than a half hour.

First One of Its Kind

With 26 translations of EveryStudent.com going, we still have just a few translations of our follow-up site, StartingWithGod.com. One thing we did to try to make it easier to produce new translations of this site was to create a tool so our translators could enter their text directly onto the site. Our Romanian language site, StudiuBiblic.ro, is the first one produced using this tool.

The idea of using a tool like this for producing new translations wasn’t completely successful. Our initial version proved too difficult for a non-experienced translator to use, and some more features need to be added before we can produce multiple new versions simultaneously. So the future of this tool is unknown at this point.

I’m A Motorcycle Owner

Motorcycle

1986 Yamaha Maxim

Last night I became a motorcycle owner, and today I did my first commute to work on it. It was the first time I’ve enjoyed the commute to the office since when I rode my bike to work back in Budapest. It was really fun!

Big Leak

Water coming in

Raining Inside

Today we had a strong storm, and the water came flowing in our new house hole. I scrambled up to the attic looking for a potential roof leak but found nothing but heat (!) and dry insulation. But back down on the ground the water kept coming in, so after the rain let up a bit I got the garden hose out and sprayed until I had repeated the leak. Sure enough, the hole is in a rusted-out seam of our stucco near the foundation, just above the grade. The seam rusted out because the bottom of it goes below the grade and sits in water every time it rains. Normally stucco is not installed below the grade of the yard, so this should never have happened. I think some caulk should plug the hole until I can fix the source of the problem.

After stucco repair, gutters and a drain field should probably eliminate the excess water in the area of the leak. This whole problem seems to be caused by poor construction, so it’s a bit frustrating.

Not Just Another Motorcycle

While we were away Cathy talked me into buying that Yamaha Maxim I had been riding. It was actually harder for me to find a justification for it, but I finally found one. I’ll use our auto savings for it until we need to buy another car. Then I’ll sell the motorcycle and put the money back into the auto savings fund. That’s the plan for now anyway. I get the motorcycle Sunday afternoon. Woohoo!

Our Screenagers Came Back Home

After a week at camp without their small screens (all campers turned in their phones and iPods for the week), Andrew and Audrey returned home tonight. The first dilemna they each had to overcome upon arriving home related to their small screens. The screen on Audrey’s camera broke, her phone recharger didn’t work, and Andrew’s iPod recharger broke. This created some re-entry stress for the two of them. It reminded Cathy and me of our own re-entry stress last Sunday night as we walked into the problems that awaited us after getting back from vacation ourselves.

They had a good time at camp, though. And in just three weeks they leave for their missions trip to New York City, and they have a lot of work to do in the mean time.

Small Screens

If the last ten years saw huge advances in the information available on a computer screen, the next ten years should see advances in what you can see and do on a small screen. That is, the small screen of a cell phone or an iPod. Campus Crusade recently began using video iPod’s and short film to create spiritual conversation opportunities for our staff members and students, but one of the things we want to begin developing are ways to make our message available to spiritually interested students on their cell phones – when our staff members or students are not around. We have some ideas but no proven model that works. I’m thinking of taking this on as a project.

More Rising Waters

Wall Leak

Rising Waters In Our House

Returning to real life in Orlando after two weeks of vacation in Illinois and Wisconsin has been an uncomfortable jolt, but it’s nice to be with our friends here in Orlando again. Including our week in St. Louis, we were gone three weeks.

Our vacant house seemed available while we were gone, though, and several things took up residence while we were away. Ants, an armadillo, and more rising water.

We can deal with the ants. The armadillo who dug a burrow under our palm trees in the backyard will probably be more of a challenge than the ants. But the rising water has us completely perplexed.

This is leak #3, and we still haven’t finished leak projects #1, and #2.

The water is visible at the floor level, but we’re not sure if it’s coming in through the window or through some gap in the wall system. Unlike the other houses in our area which are built with concrete blocks, our house has pre-fabricated, steel reinforced concrete wall sections. Between the wall section and the foundation is a seal of black stuff, and I’m wondering if that seal has not sprung a leak. I think I’ll have to tear into the drywall to find out.