Saturday, July 25, 2020

Southwest Portland Man and Rocks Agree to a Cease-Fire


PORTLAND, OREGON — After 4 years of battle, Scott W. Ferguson and rocks surrounding the Retro Ranch have agreed to an immediate cease-fire.


The skirmish started in the spring of 2017 when Ferguson and his wife, Beth Nichols, underestimated the depth of resistance they would encounter in trying to remove and relocate the rocks from the land they called home. 

The rocks, having occupied this territory since the 1960s felt it was their native land and dug in deeply for the ensuing battles and trench warfare. Battle weapons included shovels, rakes, buckets, sifters, wheeled carts and more. Hundreds of thousands of rocks were taken prisoner and relocated to more welcoming lands before the cease-fire was declared.


Ferguson/Nichols are awarding both a Purple Heart and Medal of Honor to their heavy-duty sifting screen as well the Silver Star for valor to George (a 4-wheel all-terrain cart). The rocks declined to comment.


It is hoped that this will be a peaceful co-existence, but a weary Ferguson suspects there will be the occasional flare up due to his wife’s seemingly insatiable plant collecting and garden rearranging appetite.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Water, water, everywhere or what do you mean we didn’t replace the discharge pipes!

Several weeks before the kitchen restoration project began, there was water on the laundry room floor after doing a load of wash. I should have known from past experience that once something goes wrong around the house it typically doesn’t magically fix itself. However, as this was a one-time occurrence, I was hoping that something just disagreed with the washer and that we were one and done. Silly Scott.

Immediately after the demo work was done and the dishwasher was removed we had another water discharge, this time through the unconnected garbage disposal. Hmmm – well this was obviously due to disconnected plumbing and not some other issue.

With the new countertop and sink in, the new faucet installed and the dishwasher reinstalled, we were good to go,,,.until we ran a load of laundry. This time it not only overflowed on the laundry room floor but urped up into the new kitchen sink. Well something is definitely wrong.


The NWHC came and routed the drain lines behind the washing machine but found no obstructions. Problem solved?!? No such luck. Come Saturday morning, the washing machine discharged more water than ever! It took every available towel we had to mop things up. 

Later that morning, two techs from Three Mountain Plumbing were out to route the discharge lines. They obviously encountered years of sludge based on how far they ran the cable and what it looked like coming back out. Touch wood – things have been working fine since then. (Well, our water discharge has been trouble free, we won’t talk about 2020 in general.)


Do we have an additional plumbing project ahead of us? Not in 2020, that’s for sure.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Kitchen Refresh Phase II – Episode (week) 3 – The Great Whitening (One step forward and two steps back)

Week 3 of the Kitchen Refresh was when we first saw the most dramatic changes and could envision what the finished kitchen was going to look like. Monday the Alpha Stone team came in and spent the better part of the day, routing the perimeter of the cabinets so the new quartz counter top overhang would nest properly. After 6+ hours of edge work they installed the sink and started to place the new countertop. After an hour or so of hit and miss they were not pleased with the sink opening so back to Alpha Stone it had to go.

They did their magic and on Tuesday afternoon came and completed the installation of the new countertop. After our 4 years of the brown tile counter top, the new quartz top is amazing.

On Wednesday, Robert and his assistant, Darko, came in and cut and set the tiles around the window and under the cabinets. Robert has done all of the tile and flooring work for the powder room, laundry room and kitchen/dining room floor. His level of craftsmanship is amazing.

The rest of the tile was set on Thursday and on Friday the finish electrical and plumbing work was completed. We now had a sink in the kitchen! With the new LED under-cabinet lighting, the white backsplash and white speckled quartz countertop, the kitchen was almost blindingly white - not unlike the explosion of the death star!

Faithful readers know we have standardized on the original Sierra ribbed ivory switch plate covers throughout the house. Beth has tracked them down on EBay and I have had covers machined to fit outlet shapes that didn’t exist in the early 60s. (Check out this cool hack here.) Unfortunately ivory switch plates on our new, white back splash just looked wrong. Beth has tracked down some of a similar vintage style in white plates. The search is on for the rest of what we need. Stay tuned.

So, we were able to enjoy the half completed kitchen for a few days – sort of. As this is the Retro Ranch, nothing is ever as easy as we would hope, so before the next installment and the kitchen is sheeted in plastic for two weeks of cabinet refinishing, there will be a brief blog about the revenge of the sewer pipes and the flooded laundry room. But at least we are not showering on the patio and The St. Louis Blues are still the reigning Stanley Cup Champions!