Thursday, January 20, 2011

An addition to our library

We love this House. I think because of the stress involved in keeping it in good condition, we don't say that too often. But, we really love this House.

In addition, we have also become great admirers of Harry Fenn's work. And it truly is an impressive opus, to use musical analogies. So, when we heard that the first edition of Picturesque America is available for purchase, we jumped at the opportunity. Ebay being what it is, one is never certain. Also, the price seemed really low. We've actually looked at these volumes during our annual pilgrimage to our favorite antique book dealers in New York City, and the price was more than double. We balked and left the volumes in his store, only to be contacted 6 months later that they can be found on Ebay for half the cost.

We exchanged looks and pounced on it. Luckily, our bid was not challenged, and the package arrived today. And let me tell you, it is magnificent. The leather cover, the gold leaf embossing, the paper... Here, take a look for yourselves:



Naturally, kids wanted to "read", so we showed them a few pages, and then displayed it safely away from their little hands. As much as they appreciate a good book, they still have a tendency to accidentally "break" (their term) the pages. That is why we decided to save the "reading" of this particular volume until they are a little older.

But, that doesn't stop mommy and daddy from enjoying it, when the kids are off to bed. One night, we found this little nugget:



If, in fact, it is an original, this is really a great discovery. Well, off to enjoy the essays and the engravings.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Heating This Old House

As you probably heard me complain too many times, it is not easy or cheap. We considered several options, including conversion to gas, but none are really going to address all the issues. It is just a matter of fitting the pieces of the puzzle: better insulation inside the walls, new windows and doors, and finished basement. One other piece is the actual heating system we have, but with the furnace replaced in 2003, there is no reason to touch it. Or is there?

Apparently, there is. The thermostat that was managing the system, RiteTemp, was acting a little funny. We would have either extreme heat or cold. We never had completely comfortable. So, yesterday, we decided to replace it with this baby: Honyewell TH4000.


The results are amazing. It actually maintains the temperature at the level we want it to be. For example, if I wanted 70, it is always 70. Always. With the old thermostat, the heat would go up to 70-71, the heating would shut down, the temperature would slowly dip to 67, we would start walking around wondering why we are cold, and then the system would kick in again and crank it up to 70-71.

Our theory is that this move might actually save us some money on the oil. Let's see.