Lets All Panic About Nuclear Reactors!

Little Boy

The local TV news KOB would like everyone to know that UNM’s Nuclear Engineering Lab has a 1966 built nuclear reactor. Now panic.

It is a lesser known fact that UNM has a nuclear reactor on campus. Students use it for training. But in light of the threat of nuclear meltdown in Japan, some are wondering if it is even a good idea to have it.

It’s not a lesser know fact anymore since KOB is questioning if UNM should have one. Meanwhile New Mexico has a large number of military labs (maybe the most of any state) where nuclear bombs have been made for years (and who knows what other kinds of experimental weapons). New Mexico is the home of the Manhattan Project after all.

Meanwhile while everyone is panicking, they are buying out the local stock of potassium iodide.

Master Bathroom Remodel: Plumbing Finished

It’s been almost two months since my last post on the master bathroom remodel progress. I had to wait for a special order shower head to arrive which took over a month. I also had to pay for the previous months remodel.

Shower connections

The special order bathroom fixtures I bought were very expensive. I can’t believe I spent so much on them. Non stock fixtures are simply not cheap and i really didn’t like the stock fixtures. I think i will be really happy with them once they are installed but I didn’t expect to pay that much for them.

Today a plumber friend came over and help me install the new shower and vanity plumbing. OK, really he did all the work. I have never done any copper soldering before so I wasn’t able to do this myself. Now that I see how it’s done it’s really not that hard and i think i could do it myself next time.


The first thing which needed to be done was to replace the dual control shower controls with a single control and route the shower head from the west wall to the south wall. There wont be a regular shower head installed here, it will be a handheld shower with a slide bar. Therefore I thought it would be best to install it on a separate wall from the shower controls.

I decided to move the vanity from the north wall to the east wall. I think i can better utilize this small space and install an extra cabinet next to the sink by having the cabinet on the east wall. The connections points however were too far over to be hidden under the sink. The cold water outlet and the drain pipe both needed to be moved over several inches.

I can now start putting the walls back up. Before I do I will put some insulation in to act as sound dampening materials. I also ordered the electric radiant floor heating for both the master bath and bedroom. Warmly Yours is having a 15% off sale for order of $1500 or more which i took advantage of. It may take me a few more months to pay that off and start work on the bathroom again.

Master Bathroom Remodel: Electrical Nearly Complete

Recessed fixturesbroan exhaust fan

The two recessed lighting fixtures are installed. The fixture over the toilet is a Broan 744 Recessed fixture with exhaust Fan. It’s supposed to have a noise rating of 1.5 sones, which isn’t the quietest but not the loudest. It’s the quietest recessed fixture I could find. I’m done with all the attic work in this location so I put the ceiling back up hopefully I won’t change my mind about something and have to take it out again.

I still want to put in two electrical outlets, one for a heated towel rack and one to put in a cabinet (so I can put all my rechargeable stuff and hide it). I have to decide where I want to tie into the existing GFCI protected circuit.

I special ordered some bathroom fixtures from Lowes on Wednesday. I can’t believe how much I spent on them, but I just didn’t like the cheap in-stock stuff. Bathroom fixtures just simply are not cheap. They were supposed to call me on Thursday and let me know how long before they arrive and it’s Saturday and I haven’t heard anything back.

I’ve put together the base cabinets I bought from IKEA to figure out how to lay them out. I’ve drawn out several ideas but it’s hard to tell without actually seeing it.

Kitchen Stage One Complete

Stage 1 completeIt’s been a few months since I moved in and started working on the kitchen remodel so I’m glad to report that Stage 1 is complete. Stage 1 is what you see here, with half of the upper cabinets installed including the appliances. Every bit of it built by me. Stage 2 will complete the kitchen with the rest of the cabinets, paint and tiling.

When I first made the offer on the house I wasn’t initially planning to remodel the kitchen. But after spending a few hours in it, it was clear that I was not going to be happy with the wear and tear that had been put on it for 20+ years. I used Home Depot’s design service to do the design, which turned out to be a good deal. It’s costs $100 for them to come out and do the measurements and plug everything into the computer. They give $100 off materials if you buy from them.

When choosing the materials for the cabinets I looked at both the lowest cost and highest cost cabinets. I’m pretty disappointed at the amount of particle board used in the construction of both version. The lowest cost is totally made of particle board except for the doors and are complete do-it-yourself. Where as the more expensive ones are about 50% particle board and are installed by someone else. I went with Mills Pride cabinets that Home Depot keeps on stock because of their much lower costs, significant in some cases. Despite the fact that they are made of particle board they are of pretty good quality and very easy to assemble. Well worth it for the money I saved. I would say it cost around $1000 for this section of cabinets (the maple doors were as much as the cost of the cabinet boxes, that’s the real expense).

Stage 2 will involve taking down the wall on the right and putting in a cabinets along the bottom (this is where the refrigerator originally was). This will open it up to the living room more. I’ve never pulled down a wall before (just as I never did any of this kitchen work before). I will also probably pull out the original tile back spash and put different tile up. I will finish it up with paint, trim and what ever else will be needed. I figure it will cost about $2000 to finish it up (doing it all myself of course) but don’t know when I will start it. In the mean time check out my Flickr photo set showing the stages of the remodel.