This certainly is one definition of “vacation”…
(Heads up, due to the large number of photos, it will likely be better to read this on my actual website rather than an RSS reader if that is where you are now)
Seeing as I’m going to be starting a “Real Job” next month, I wanted to enjoy the freedom of being unemployed this month. Part of that has been sitting around playing video games all day. (at the recommendation of one of my friends, I’ve been sucked into Rainbow Six Siege, I also had a brief resurgence of playing Factorio) Other parts of not having anything to do include hanging out more with friends, catching up on anime, podcasts and other movies, and long bike rides.
However, the biggest thing I had planned for this month was a trip back to my parents house in Connecticut. I have always had a really close relationship with my parents and so it has been very common for me while I was in college to come back to for winter break, summer break, and maybe even some other times when there was a long school vacation. Spending over a few weeks at a time with my parents in CT multiple times a year has become such a normal thing that it will probably feel weird not having that opportunity once my jobs starts. So because of that, I decided to take a two and a half week long trip back out to CT for what will probably be the last long trip for a while.
To fully understand the title of this post and where this post is going, you must first understand one of my favorite college activities: Booth. Every year, Carnegie Mellon has a spring carnival about 2/3 of the way through the spring semester. There are a lot of fun activities during carnival, but there are two that stand out above the rest, Booth and Buggy. While I’m not going to try to fit buggy in this post, you can check out the insane sport of “push tiny women in small box-cars up some hills, let them roll down some hills and then push them back up some hills” over here, or just strike up a conversation with my roommate Ethan. The other big part of carnival is called “Booth”. It is where roughly 25 student organizations each build small one or two story themed structures, to code, in the span of a 6 days (roughly 140 hours). Its hard to get a sense for what I mean till you see it:
Now, as you might have noticed or guessed, there is a lot of pre-fab work done in the months leading up to booth to make assembling a two story structure in 6 days possible. Still, the feeling of putting up walls, wiring and all the other construction project that come with building a structure to code is a great feeling, you get to step back at the end of the day and enjoy saying “I made that!” It is a feeling that I had actually discovered before going to Carnegie Mellon and doing booth, and I have my parents to thank for that.
My parents like to fix up homes, but not for a living, just as a hobby. My parents like to buy fixer uppers, live in a constant state of having one or two rooms/projects under construction for roughly 5-10 years, doing almost all of the work themselves. They are currently on their third house and if it was a number higher than that I might call that what they are doing flipping homes, but I think so far it has just been that by the time they get a home exactly how they like it, they have some reason to move and start again. My father gained most of his knowledge from working at his father’s factory with the resident carpenters, electricians, and machinists. In addition, he also has taught himself quite a bit over the years about proper housing construction and finishing techniques. My mom doesn’t exactly have the skills for most of the projects they do around the houses, but she does have a great eye for design choices and importantly is willing to help out wherever help is needed. I learned almost everything I know about wiring and carpentry from my parents and watching them work around the house while I was young.
By now, you can kind of see how the title of this post came together. Due to their jobs and everything else, my parents are normally pretty slow moving when it comes to renovation projects, and thats fine because there isn’t exactly a due date for any projects. When I went off to college, two very related things happened, my parent’s rate of accomplishing projects got a little bit slower, and now whenever I come home we try to get as many things done as physically possible.
So without further ado, I present some photos of the things that I did while I was home:
For those worried, this wasn’t the final state of the box, quickly after this photo we realized that as a subpanel it should not have shared ground and neutral lines to the main panel and separated out the ground to a different bus bar.
Not pictured here:
- I organized my dad’s whole shop in exchange for some of his duplicate tools for my new apartment.
- I organized and routed all of the Cat6 and Coax for the house to the final office location. (kinda visible in the water heater picture)
- I helped patch up a lot of the areas downstairs that needed sheetrock put on after previous projects.
- Wiring 8 new outlets inside and outside for the upstairs room and deck.
- A bunch of other minor things
Despite all of that, I don’t quite feel that those photos do justice to the amount of renovation that happens at my parent’s house, so a quick overview of some of the more major projects from the current house:
Opening up the Kitchen
The Dining Room Floor
This post could go on forever, I originally was going to have like 8 projects here, but I forced myself to cut it down to 3. I can’t wait to see what my parents decide to do next.