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Blog Archives for July 2009

Honda Accord Brakes

Monday, July 27th, 2009 - Comments (2) in Cars, Life, Projects

On Friday I had the pleasure of doing the brakes on Rachelle's 2004 Accord. The pads had plenty of meat on them, but her rotors where slightly potato-chipped. The warping was only really noticeable when hitting the brakes rather firmly at high speeds. When someone does something stupid on the highway and everyone jumps on the brakes, the whole car would shake and scare everyone inside.

I got ceramic pads to replace the original Honda metallic ones. They shouldn't be as grabby and aggressive or wear the rotors anywhere near as much.

Here's a pic of the brakes before just as I took the wheel off:

old rotor

Next came off the brake pads and then the caliper to get full access to the rotor:

old rotor and pads old rotor 2

In order to get the rotor off, there are two phillips head screws that have to be removed (completely retarded). They're on so tight you have to use an impact driver to get them out without destroying them. The impact driver looks like a big fat screwdriver that you hit with a hammer. When you hit it, it twists. The one I have says it can turn a screw with 200ft-lbs of torque! Once the screws were out I had to thread two 6mm x 1.25 bolts into two other holes in the rotors to pull them off since they were rusted in place.

rotor removal

The new rotors don't have those 6mm holes though, so hopefully I'll be able to get these off when the time comes.

new hotness

The Other Other White Meat

Friday, July 24th, 2009 - Comments (4) in Life

Maybe you've heard (I put some pics on facebook) and maybe you haven't. We're expecting a baby around January 20th!

I took this video during her 13 week ultrasound. You can see things like the heartbeat, the brain, arms, legs, spine and if you watch the whole thing you can see it moving around toward the end. The quality is pretty crappy because I took it on my point-and-shoot digital camera and it was rather dark in there.

Here are some ultrasound pics we've gotten so far:




We don't know the sex yet but will in a few weeks. We're definitely going to find out if it's willing to flash us. My mom told me she doesn't want to know ahead of time. I told her I'd try my best to not let it slip, but I have a feeling she'll find out.

The rest of the (non-cropped) pics are here:

Mini Vacation

Friday, July 24th, 2009 - Comments (0) in Life, Vacation

A couple of weeks ago we went on a little vacation for a few days down at Chautauqua Lake. Rachelle's parents rented a house from a friend of theirs right on the water and we were able to take advantage of it too!

The house

This little house was where we (her parents, brother and us) stayed. The monster house in the background is where her dad's friend and wife live. We got there on Tuesday afternoon and left Thursday afternoon. We didn't really do anything while we were there, we just kind of wallowed around, it was fantastic. Rachelle's dad and brother went fishing for at least 12 hours a day; that still boggles my mind.

view from the deck

The view from the deck was very pleasant. Every once in a while you'd get a whiff of rotting seaweed which smelled like a hot sick ass, but after the first hour or so you could barely smell it.

Me reading a magazine i dunno

The flag picture was taken by Rachelle while she sat on the dock. It was kind of cool and there was a lot of wind off the lake that evening so I had my hood up and she thought it was a funny pic with the flag in the background.


On Wednesday night we watched some show on TV that had a piece on bed bugs. The next morning Rachelle totally found one on the couch that her brother was sleeping on! Before that show I would have just thought it was some harmless beetle or something, but it was totally a bed bug. When we got home we washed all the clothing we took with us and I even vacuumed out all of our luggage.

Closet Facelift

Friday, July 3rd, 2009 - Comments (0) in House, Life, Projects

Over the past few days we've been renovating our bedroom closet. The closet wasn't terrible to begin with, each side had a bar and a shelf, but it could be better. Rachelle wanted some kind of shelving unit with some drawers and found what she wanted at a combination of home stores locally. We got the shelving unit from Home Depot and the black shelf hardware from Lowes.

There wasn't much demolition to be done. The shelf and the bar just lifted out, but they were set on pieces of wood that were nailed into studs. I was rather surprised how hard it was to get that wood off the wall.


We set the top shelves and bars up way higher which allowed for a lower shelf and bar too. This setup allows for the same amount of bar space while adding 7 shelves and two drawers.

before after

The only casualty was my left thumb. I had to cut the bars and shelves down to the right size with a hack saw. By the time I got to the last shelf I was trying to do it quickly because it was getting dark outside and the mosquitoes were coordinating an attack. When the saw finally went through the last little bit of metal, things bounced around and somehow the saw ended up hitting my finger. It didn't really hurt too much, but bled for like 2 days. At least I think it hit my finger with an up-stroke, the teeth on the saw are oriented to do the most damage with a down-stroke. Whenever I do work of this nature I just expect to get hurt somehow; blood is a good indication that you're actually getting something done.



Friday, July 3rd, 2009 - Comments (0) in House, Life

We recently refinanced our mortgage. I hate moving and am planning on dying in this house so it was a good time to take advantage of the low interest rates. I was really surprised this whole process was actually rather stressful and annoying. I would think everyone involved (banks, lawyers, appraisers, etc) would have this process down so it would go smoothly, rather than furiously doing some things, then waiting for weeks and more furious stuff and more waiting.

Our original loan was through Chase so they were the first lender I went to. When you get a new loan with the same company you can avoid certain fees, specifically NYS mortgage tax and possibly other things like title insurance. Unfortunately Chase didn't work out. Their rates were pretty high and even though I was saving on the mortgage tax, they seemed to make that up in other fees (surprise, surprise).

We tried giving a local bank a shot: Fairport Savings Bank. They failed miserably. I scheduled a meeting with their mortgage guy and sent him PDF copies of statements and other stuff so he could prepare some real numbers for us. When we get there we find he had a death in the family and wasn't there, so we met with the branch VP. I don't think that guy even knows what a mortgage is. The numbers he gave us were way off and he even told us we would have to pay an entire year's worth of interest at closing. 1 year! I think he meant to say 1 month and asked him again, but he was sure it was a year. Then I contacted the original guy a few weeks later asking for more accurate numbers and he never got back to me. I finally got him on the phone and he said he would email me some good faith estimates that day. I never heard from him again. One reason we were trying with them was their website said they'll waive the NYS mortgage tax. I thought it was a local bank trying to get more local customers. Later I found out that only applied to current FSB customers; that wasn't explained anywhere on the site.

I also called HSBC since they have most of our money. The guy was honest on the phone and told me there was a 5/8 overlay for refinances. This means any interest rate they advertise (on their website, on TV, in print) is really 5/8 of a percent more just because it's a refinance. He said they did this just because they had too many refinance requests they needed to scare some business away. Lame!

Then we went to Canandaigua National Bank (CNB) who ended up having the lowest rate and similar closing costs to others. We ended up going with them.

So there was this mad dash to get a rate lock since the rates were going up. It was only good for 60 days, and since so many people were trying to refinance, appraisals were taking around 50 days to get done. That made me kind of nervous, but it all worked out. So we rushed around at the beginning then waited 2 months then had to rush around at the end (or so I thought). If you close at the beginning of the month you have to pay more interest at closing than if you close at the end of the month. I sweet-talked our lawyer into scheduling the closing for June 30th when he really didn't have time until July 3rd. When we got there on the 30th I found out for some reason they treat the transaction as if it happened 6 days later, so even though it was June 30, in lawyer and bank land it was July 5. It's ok, even with the extra interest we were trying to avoid, the closing costs were way cheaper than I expected and we don't have to make a payment until September!

According to some online calculators, just with the new lower interest rate we're going to save a little more than $40,000 over the life of the loan. Well worth the stress.