December 7, 2009

Ready Wrench Winners Announced!

winners.jpgThe Ready Wrench contest is over and we've picked our winners. Like we said in the contest rules, of the five Ready Wrenches that we're giving away, three of them were being decided by random drawing. Those winners are readers Mark, Ben, and Jim. Congrats.

The other two winners were chosen based on the content of their entry and they are readers Paul and Todd. Paul because he dropped the line, "The back of the house was pretty much made of sawdust and wishes," and Todd because he has somehow gotten away with depriving his wife of a kitchen for over a year of renovations. We've posted their entries after the jump. They're worth checking out, particularly if you're in the middle of a project and it feels like it can't get any worse.

Again we'd like to thank Black & Decker for assisting with the contest and providing the prizes. If you didn't win but are interested in a Ready Wrench, they can be had at for about $25. We would also like to thank all of the readers who entered. We enjoyed looking through the entries and we hope to give you more chances to win stuff with more contests like this in the future.

Paul's entry:

I just finished building a deck off the back of my house. The deck itself was easy - 14x18 and only 4 footings. Attaching it to the house, however.. not so much. The back of the house was pretty much made of sawdust and wishes.

First, the concrete stairs were poured by the last homeowner's five year old (i assume) - which meant an entirely rotten sill and the back wall had sank 4 inches. second, none of the foundation's concrete block's bays were filled with cement. third, there was no solid corner post to the exterior wall - the corner was literally made of bits and pieces of 2x4 stacked and nailed together - none longer than 3 feet. Also, since there was no header above the patio door, the door itself was the only support for 6 feet of roof line.

so, $1400 for the deck. $800 for the back of the house. indeed, my 3 day $1400 project turned into a 6 day $2200 nightmare. (and i only had a permit for the deck.. but shh..)

i guess my current project is recovering from the above.

Todd's entry:

Let's see; while I see that the request is for home improvement projects - ours is about 2 years plus now and will most likely continue for at least another 3. Our home was a one owner built in 1964 - and looked the part. ALL of the kitchen appliances where original, including the built in rotary phone with retracting cord. The room looked like something out of the Brady Bunch. The baths we not much better with either pink or light blue tiles and fixtures. To date we're into about $70,000 in hard earned CA$H, but it's certainly been worth it. We hope to tackle the basement walkout family room next; with it's 12 ft. long stone fireplace and inlaid cruise ship style shuffle board - it's sure to be a show stopper when we can afford to finish it. My wife has been quite the trooper, putting up with no kitchen for a year - looking at a new $2,500 air jet tub for 2 years (without being able to get in) - yeah, the master bath is finally done - and yeah the tub was everything she thought it would be and more. This home will be a great investment for us, you know the old 'diamond in the rough' story...but it will also be a great legacy to leave to our children. No pain no gain. So far the only embarrassing moment; pex crimp style fittings........don't work unless you actually crimp all those darn little rings....forgot to crimp one elbow about three feet from the valve when I turned it on, boy you get alot of water our of a little line in short time! Next project??? Are you kidding? Take your pick; Laundry room, kitchen lighing, entry floor, re-point the 3-flu chimney, insulate, insulate, insulate, strip and redo stone porch, seal driveway.....oh yeah don't forget to change the oil on the cars, do the brakes on the truck, front tie rod ends on the wife's car...pray for no snow - leaves still coming down.......WHEN does it end? Answer: Somewhere between retirement and death.

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at December 7, 2009 5:00 AM
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