Square Roots & Solatubes

Mom, Casey and Dad travel to the construction site to figure out, and ultimately place the proposed Solatubes.  You know, tubular daylighting devices (TDDs).  This is in lieu of putting in sky lights.  For our house, conventional skylights present a challenge somewhat, as the combined roof pitch and skylight location causes the “tunnel” portion between the roof and room ceiling to be 10+ feet tall.  It could be done, but is a bit extreme in our opinion.  Therefore, we are going the TDD route instead.

The manufacturer claims that the Solatube will lighten an area approximately 300 sq. ft.  So, exactly how big is the 300 sq. ft.?  Kinda need to know this to help determine tube spacing and locations.  Is it 10 ft. x 10 ft.?,  20 ft. x 20 ft.? 

Dad says, “Hey, Casey, what’s the square root of 300?”  

There’s a three second pause, and out comes, “17.3 ft.” 

“Shit, really?…How did you do that?” 

“Daaad, it’s easy, the square root of 3 is 1.73.”  Dad,  “of course.”

The Dustpan

By mistake I threw the dustpan away, oops. 
It happened the day I cleaned the concrete pad outside the walkout basement.
It was the favorite dustpan.
We ventured to Home Depot on a Saturday.
It was a popular dustpan shopping day, and the aisle was jammed with customers.
After a short wait, we retrieved the dustpan we wanted, the same as we had before.
Who knew dustpan shopping was so popular on Saturdays.
The joy of owning a new dustpan carried into Sunday and beyond.

Fireplaces and TVs, Oh My!

Russ and I agreed that I would be in charge of the fireplace. It didn’t take long and this rabbit hole went deep fast. Now we have a file about 3 inches thick of information, drawings, pictures, etc. Plus we are watching TV at our current home with our TV on top of a stool on top of the TV cabinet.  Craziness.


It all started with a visit to the Fireplace store, the local one our builder likes to use. After viewing several natural gas fireplaces in the store, I casually mentioned we plan to put a TV above the fireplace as low to the ground as possible, so the fireplace would start at the floor. Then, he said, “you will be surprised how high the TV will end up.”   I wasn’t completely paying attention but I asked why.  He talked real fast about fireplace heat, codes, and TV installation rules and I glazed over.

We walked out and I wondered, HOW HIGH and what defines that height?  Then I started obsessing about it. I printed installation manuals from the fireplace companies websites and read stuff.  The funny thing – I had no idea what they were saying. Then I found mantel height information, 13 – 19 inches above fireplace top, depending on the brand.  I got distracted by questions and answers and chats online about the trend of TV over fireplace.

Russ finally engaged, for his own sanity sake, in the conversation with me; maybe I was a little consumed. The wall we plan to put TV and Fireplace in some combination (stacked or next to each other) is 20 ft, but 4 ft is window – that leaves 16 ft.

The next weekend, we visited 2 more stores, talked with sales people and put our TV up on a stool. I learned the mantel height info was for “combustible” mantels and we will put up a NON-combustible mantel. We made the assumption that the NON-combustible mantel could go a few inches above the framing height for the fireplace. Of course, most installation manuals don’t really address non-combustible mantels related to framing height, we have more work to do.

I’m calmer now because I made a chart:) That always helps me, and now I’m free to concentrate on other important details for building the house. My current favorite is the Regency P36 with louvers (the P33CE is a few inches shorter but the fireplace is pretty small). That decision happens a little later, thank goodness.

Fireplace Framing Heights


The month of May has always been busy for our family and this year May was no exception,  you could even say it was a month on steroids:)

Chris came home from Penn State and we drove to Durham, NC to get Casey home from Duke University, 1050 miles round trip.  Spent a day packing her up too.

Once home I headed to Cincinnati to work with my IdeaConnect Partners then picked up Karim, friend of Chris, on my way to the family cottage in Michigan the next weekend, 600 miles total.

The rest of the family headed to Michigan to our family cottage to install the docks, 700 miles round trip.  We stopped to eat in Greektown at the dusty grape, oops, I mean the Golden Fleece (their Gyro meat is made in-house and to die for, really), and then Chris and I took Karim back to Ohio to his internship and then home 400 miles.

goldenfleece picniceastbrady

While home we – painted a room, picnicked, went boating, found property to buy along the river, waterski’d, wakeboarded, sailed the hobie, kids went to cedar point, attended academic awards dinner for Jen, celebrated 2 birthdays, had two different friends of Chris visit for a weekend (diff weekends), sent Chris to New York for his internship and sent Casey to China for her summer studying Chinese (ok that was early June, but really,  all that prep was in May – shots, shopping, packing, etc).  at least 1000 miles, probably more.

JenBday LindaBday

almost 4000 miles, super amounts of FUN, a future life change (now we want to be living on the river), and now an empty house again — well, Jen is home and now with a driving permit — but that is part of June’s story:)

I love MAY!