I was referred by Audrey over at the Appliance Blog Forums. That was very nice of her to do and I appreciate it very much. This seems to me to be a great site, and I really like the way you've laid out your forums. Very professional, but also very welcoming and not a bit cold. I look forward to participating with you all as often as I can. Lessee... simple bio on Robin - 40something years old, grew up in Dallas, and if you have to ask what state then you shouldn't be on the internet...lol... was the child of a broken home, meaning daddy walked out with his mistress on my 6th birthday (what a present that was) and proceeded to have mom committed the next week. Yeah, sweet... anyway, was raised after that by a retired Air Force Colonel who believed that to learn to be an adult you needed to learn more than how to drink beer and drive fast. So began years of instruction in the finer arts of home repair. How I hated working in that 100+ degree Texas heat every summer, building patios, putting in a fence, landscaping, then on to tearing down the car and boat motor, etc. Into expanding the house, then rewiring, then plumbing and paint, then roofing. Left at 18 thinking I'd had it bad, and joined the Air Force. Did every mountaintop, jungle, swamp or desert assignment that I could find. Got out after 5 years and joined Ericsson, building Cellular Telephone networks. Spent 17 years there with them until they got tired of us and sold off our services division. So now I'm at a small firm, EXi Parsons Telecom, but still doing the same job basically. In the 17 years at Ericsson, I relocated 11 times. Yes, lots of moves. In 10 out of 11 I bought a house. Basically I don't like to rent, and the relo package they offered had so many benefits if you had a house that you'd be an idiot not to take them up on it. Out of these relo's, I have built two houses, and 8 that needed some kind of repairs or improvements. I moved to North Carolina about 5 years ago, discovered Lake Norman, and ain't goin anywhere for a long, long LONG time! My last house, prior to the one I'm working on now, was by far our favorite. It was a center-hall colonial built we think in 1929, in Andover, NJ. It was 5,000 sq. feet on a bit over 6 acres, 5 bedrooms, large wet bar and pool hall, really big place for us. It was started as a 3 bedroom and the entire house was built around the fireplace (big walk in fireplace, still had the original iron pigs hanging in it for pot racks). The reason we say "I think" it was built in '29 is because the township didn't have any property records prior to 1968, and we found hand hewn floor joists with builders markings and measurements, and the cernter span had engraved the date of "laid on October 8th, 1929". Now it could have been a re-used timber, but we're pretty sure it was original to the house. The house was expanded in 1979, then 1989, then again when I bought it. It had a master bedroom that was 24' x 18', with a 4 foot deep balcony that ran the 24' of the outside. Then it had an 18' x 16' sun room off the end that hung out over the tree line. Fabulous house, but all these improvements were done by Joe Blow with no get up and go.. . . Meaning no permits, no licenses, no inspections. So when we bought it, at a steal, we had to (1) dig up the original septic system built for a 3 bedroom, lay in all new leach field and new septic, (2) replace all the plumbing (cast iron and lead) in the original portion of the house, (3) roll in a new 1/4 mile long gravel drive, (4) put a new roof on the original section, (5) refinish the floors downstairs, (6) replace all bathroom and kitchen faucets and fixtures, and my personal favorite, (7) rewire all the electrical IN EVERY ROOM! Now I'd never profess to being an expert on what many of you do, and am not a professional in this area, but have now rebuilt in total 13 houses, some from the bare bones wire and walls up. This last one was our masterpiece, and if I'd not found Lake Norman I'd probably still be living up there (or maybe shivering up there this time of year) with the black bears, dear, and ghosts (that's for another story). BUT, I will say that I've fallen through floors, ceilings, roofs, garages, burst water pipes, shocked in more ways than any human should be and live to tell about it, and pretty much done everything wrong learning the way to do it right. So I'm willing to participate in your forum and at the same time hope to learn something from your fine community. Whew... if you made it this far, you should join me in doing a shot of really good herra dura tequila!!!