Currently we still live in an HOA, but the neighbors in the area seem to agree it's useless since there is no common areas so it may be dissolved soon. Still, I applied for my HOA approval of the patio additions and I got the approval letter in the mail the other day. I will post a summary and photos of how I did it once it's finished. Shouldn't take too long. The patio itself took forever just because I was having trouble finding concrete suppliers that weren't involved in the states renovation of I-35.
I will be putting in a pergola with a raised wall along the outer patio edge for seating and a brick smoker. I had considered a pizza oven or a pizza oven/smoker combo, but after realizing my oven will get hot enough, just minus the fire baking, I decided a smoker would get most use from me. I intend to make the fire box on the side that can function as a grill as well. This will all be mainly cinder block construction with fire brick linings and a stone veneer On the outside. The pergola will have steel tubing (which I bought the other day) welded to the anchor plates I stuck into the patio. I'll then wrap the steel in cedar and finish the top. This way when the wood rots, the concrete wouldn't need to be busted up to remove old wood posts.
We're having some early spring rains coming through, probably all we'll get til summer, but I expect to get the posts welded on Wednesday, and after that things should take off pretty quickly. Meantime, here's another project I did! I drive a 2008 Chevy Aveo. It's far from something anyone would like to drive but it was cheap and proves to remain cheap. I get 40 miles to the gallon on average, replacements parts are inexpensive domestic, and it's been paid off for a number of years now to boot. Last August I noticed the A/C struggling so I looked into since Texas is at it's hottest during this time. Proved to be good timing with this 70-80 degree winter were having as well. I took it into my local Firestone and they diagnosed it and gave me a over-inflated estimate.
Ok, so I go to Firestone cause them and Hankook are the only manufacturers of my factory wheel size. I use them for tires and diagnostics and that's it.
Anywho, I trimmed the fat and did it myself. Cost a quarter of what they wanted to charge me, it was a complete overhaul though. These guys were a great resource, and they actually had the same problem.
It seems that the Korean made compressors fail too easily in all year models of Aveos.
They "explode" and send metal shards throughout the A/C lines, condenser, and evaporator. To diagnose if this is the problem, one can loosen the timing belt, and if the compressor can be cranked by hand, it's a indication your compressor has failed. To really check, empty the freon and take the lines off the compressor. There should be a metal screen like in the photo above and it will have caught metal flakes if this is what happened. I replaced the compressor, the condenser assembly, expansion valve, and flushed the lines and evaporator using mineral spirits and a air compressor.
The evaporator probably should've been replaced or had a pro flush them, but I'm not concerned with it being contaminated. This car is wearing out its welcome.