My House is Haunted

Z had headed to camp up north just a few days before we signed the papers. Once he was home, we brought him over to the new house so he could think about how he wanted to set up his room and we could complete the move-in.

I know this because as I was walking past the downstairs bathroom this morning, the toilet paper began unrolling itself faster and faster. I was alone in the house, save the pets, who were not anywhere near the bathroom. No windows open, no fans blowing, and I wasn't walking nearly quickly enough to cause a stir. Have you ever tried to re-roll toilet paper?

The ghost kept his presence secret and let us celebrate the closing that evening with take out pizza and champagne in plastic cups on the front porch in peace. I think he was sizing us up.

After they left (after a thorough sweep of the house and garage), he went out and bought all new smoke detectors. While relaxing that evening with a bottle of wine, sitting on the bare wood floors in our new home, we decided there must be a spirit in the house messing with us. The name "Nigel" came back to mind, and thus our ghost was recognized.

I related this all to T, who was working at the house the next day. He replaced all the batteries with fresh, new, out of the package batteries. Later he texted, "Well, we've certainly made an impression on the neighbors." A photo of two firetrucks and a rescue truck parked in front of our new house followed.

Upon entering the kitchen, Z looked around but then pointed to the oven and said, "What's with that?" Both T and I looked, but didn't see anything except the very cool built-in slide-out spice racks on either side of the oven -- and we looked a little closer: the front pieces are carved like ornate spindles, wider at the bottom than at the top... at least on one of them; on the other, it was wider at the top. We looked, and looked again. Sure enough, one of the "spindles" was upside down. Z swears they weren't like that before, and no one else had noticed. Hmm.

Things went along smoothly for a while. Keys and cellphones disappearing and reappearing in other rooms, lights we know we turned off before leaving the house were on when we came back, things like that still happened and we just accepted it. We co-existed just fine, until Nigel decided trapping me in the garage would be great fun: I was getting in the car parked in the garage -- I had opened the garage door via the button by the back door as I walked out of the house -- when suddenly the door SLAMMED to the ground and the light went out. I shakily got back out of the car and turned on the overhead garage light -- I expected to see a broken coil or something. Nada. I used the emergency release cord so I could get the garage door open and the car out. But before I let the garage door slide back down, I whispered loudly, "That wasn't nice, Nigel." Later that night I told T we'd need to get a garage door repair guy out soon. A few days later (of NOT using the garage), we had someone come out, but he couldn't find any problems with the door or the mechanism.

It had been relatively quiet for the last couple of months in terms of ghosting activity, so when I saw the toilet paper unrolling, I was actually kind of relieved. It's good to know even our family can't scare off a ghost. I think we're well-matched. And it's certainly a good conversation starter. Regardless of how you feel about ghosts, we feel fortunate to have Nigel to blame for anything we can't explain.

AAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!! With the ladder bump-bump-bumping down the two sets of stairs behind me, I located the smoke detector in the basement and without hesitation, ripped out that battery.

Obviously, that must be Nigel's room.

There was no fire. No smoke. But the smoke detectors started going off again. T thought it was better to be safe than sorry, so he called the fire department.

Nigel, our resident ghost is back.

What we did find is a dormered window that leads nowhere in our house. As best as we can tell, there is a small room behind one of the bathrooms. And no way to get to it.

There have been numerous other weird things that have occurred since we moved in. Nothing ever dangerous or mean since the garage incident, unless you count driving the pets insane. Yes, Gracie the dog and Murphy and Coco the cats apparently see Nigel, and he can really spook them, which in turn spooks me sometimes. You know the look your pet gets on their face when they see something they believe they can stalk, but then decides it would be a really, really bad idea? Yeah, I hadn't seen it either until we moved here. The cats especially will stare intently at a spot in the room, and look like they're about to pounce, but then they get a wide-eyed terrified look on their faces and then dash madly from the room. If they could, their little kitty paws would be up in the air as they screamed "Run for your lives!"

The very next day is when the weirdness started. I was working at the new house by myself, and the downstairs hallway smoke detector started going off. I was cleaning cupboards, so I dragged the step ladder to the hall (did I mention we have 10' ceilings?) and tried resetting the detector. No luck. I finally pulled the battery out. Sweet peace. As I dragged the ladder back to the kitchen, more beeping! Only this time it wasn't the hallway, it was coming from upstairs! I raced up, worried that there was something on fire for real, and checked the house from top to bottom. Nothing! I dragged the stepladder up the stairs, reset... reset... RESET! Ripped the battery out of this one, too. Silence. Until, basement beeping commenced.

When T and I were signing the closing papers for our house, I noticed they had his middle initial wrong on a page -- an "N" instead of an "M". I said, "You'll have to change your name -- your middle name is now 'Nigel'!" I had no idea why that name came to me.

When we came over after closing, it was a beautiful day, and I decided to open windows in all the rooms to let in some fresh air. I finished, and joined T outside where he was taking pictures of the house to send to friends and family. I looked up at the house and immediately saw I'd missed raising a blind. I went back inside, up the stairs, and could NOT find the window that was still closed!

Oh, and there's a hidden room in the house.

Back outside. Back inside. Went back out and asked T to see if he could find the window. He looked at me strangely, but went inside to humor me. A few moments later he, too, came out of the house puzzled.

Easily Replace the Torsion Springs on Your Garage Doors

Installation of the New Garage Door Torsion Springs

Identifying the right replacement spring for your garage door is relatively simple. You need to make three measurements on an UNWOUND spring. Since most torsion spring failures involve the spring snapping in two, simply place the two unwound halves together again and measure.

The first measurement gives you the length. Measure for the inside of the cone where the springs start to the other end of the spring. The second measurement is the inside diameter of the cone. Lastly, count twenty coils and measure their length. With these three measurements, a garage door spring company will be able to provide a spring of the proper length, diameter and wire size.

Finding the proper garage door torsion springs may be somewhat difficult as many suppliers will only sell to certified garage door dealers. For instance, in Houston, TX, the fourth largest city in the United States there is only one vendor who will sell to the general public. Luckily, in this case, the garage door torsion spring replacement cost is about the same. Also, fortunately, at least one of the big box hardware stores sells the torsion springs online. Be sure that you have the springs on hand before you start the project or the door will be essentially unusable.

Next, install the springs themselves. Again, this part can be dangerous if you do not have the correct tools. Locate the springs on the torsion bar using the marks made previously and tighten the exterior screws securely.

DIY Installation

The actual removal of the spring s is fairly straightforward. There are two cable drums located on either end of the torsion bar. Before loosening the screws that hold them in place, mark their position with a small file or a marking pen. This small step will save a lot of aggravation later. Loosen one cable drum first and see if the two springs will slide off without removing the other. If so, your job just got a lot easier. If not, loosen the other cable drum and remove the spring from the other side.

Once the turnings are complete, securely tighten the screws on the torsion springs. Check that the torsion bar is properly centered and that the cable drums are taut. Now, with the power still off, remove the locking wrench that is holding the door closed. The door should raise one quarter ot one half its height. Different pros differ on exactly how much a properly installed should raise so follow the manufacturers instructions.

The DIY installation process for a garage door torsion spring replacement is divided in four distinct sections: finding the proper springs and tools, removing the old springs and installing the new ones. Included at the end are some tips form the pros to make the entire process safe and easy.

Before You Get Started

Installing the parts yourself can reduce the cost to the actual purchase of the springs, usually around $100 - $150, and a set of turning rods for about $25. The process is not difficult if you can follow a set of instructions but short cuts are not advised as the springs can pack quite a wallop if not handled properly. Improperly handled springs can cause damage to the door and inflict severe bodily injury.

Do not attempt this repair unless you are completely confident in your abilities and equipment!

Unwinding the Springs - The Most Dangerous Part

Removal of the old torsion springs is the most dangerous part of the procedure but the danger only involves any springs that are not yet unwound. As mentioned, one spring is probably already broken and poses no significant danger. First, mark the location of each spring before removal so that installation can be done in the same place.

Next, since, both springs must be removed together, loosened and unwind each before removing either of them. First, loosen the two screws that hold each end of the UNWOUND spring first. Next, and this is very important, place a specialized tool known as a winding bar into the hole located on the side of the WOUND rod.

Do not grab hold of the bar in any way as it may unexpectedly unwind and cause harm!

Determining and Finding the Right Garage Door Torsion Springs

The main consideration for a garage door torsion spring replacement cost is whether to do the job yourself or hire a professional. Depending on your area, a quality garage door torsion spring replacement cost, done by a professional garage door technician, will run anywhere from $225 - $450 depending on the parts needed and your degree of urgency.

Professional Installation Versus Do It Yourself

Instead, brace the winding rod against your chest or the door and loosen the holding screws. The springs will want to unwind but the bars will allow you to do this procedure in a controlled manner. Once the screws are loose, you will insert and remove each winding rod in turn to allow the spring to unwind one quarter turn. It will take approximately 25- 25 insertions to full unwind the spring. At this point the spring is no longer dangerous.

Installing the torsion springs is simply a reversal of the above process. First, slide the springs onto the tension bar. It is important to remember that the springs are engineered to be placed on a certain side. That is, there is a left-wound spring and a right-wound spring. Be sure that you place the appropriate spring in the appropriate location.

The door should move freely and easily up and down. If so reinstall the garage door opener and test. Check the that the electric eyes are properly aligned and the garage door torsion spring replacement is complete.

Now using the winding bars, apply torque to the spring according to the manufacturers instructions. Typically, you will insert the winding bar four times for every foot of door height. For example a 7-foot door would require 28 quarter turns to each spring to properly carry the load of the door.

Some Pro Tips

Unplug any automatic garage door openers before starting and place a locking we wrench on the door to keep it from opening when working.Many cones on garage door torsion springs are spray painted and color-coded according to size. Be sure to look at the color of the cones to confirm that you are purchasing the right torsion spring.Vendors who will sell to the general public will often also sell the winding bars that are a very useful tool when installing garage door torsion springs.Never grab the torsion bar or the cable drums when there is still a spring attached.Dont forget to mark the positions of the cable drums before removal.

Removal of the Old Garage Door Torsion Springs

Next, place the cable drums back onto the torsion bar and reinstall according to the marks made earlier. The cable on the drums should be completely wound around the drum with little or no slack.

The following installation guide is intended for the most inexperienced do-it-yourselfer. Please do not take offense if we oversimplify or explain at great length. The goal is to allow the most uneducated handyman to replace a garage door torsion spring with a minimum of effort and cost and a maximum of safety.


Carbon Monoxide Safety - InfoBarrel

Carbon monoxide is a gas with a toxicity level that can cause permanent damage, in some cases death. It is a silent killer because people don't realize what is happening. Education on the preventions, warnings and symptoms of this toxic gas is of up most importance. How else can one stop something, they don't know anything about? Many carbon monoxide related deaths are due to carelessness, or the lack of knowledge of the dangers and warning signs.What to do for protection: Install CO detectors in the home. There should be at least one on every floor. These should have battery back up, especially since more fires and candles are burning in a power outage.

Have annual inspections of all appliances, and keep up proper maintenance.

Only use a gas oven to cook food.

Avoid setting anything on fire inside a closed in spot unless there is proper ventilation. This includes a large amount of candles or a grill.

Be sure that the flu of a fireplace is open, and that chimneys are free of debris.

Avoid running a car in the garage. Have the garage door open upon starting an engine.

In the event of an accident or car running off the road, make sure the tail pipe is not blocked. There are incidents to where families have died because a bank or snow pile was blocking the tail pipe.

If burning candles inside a car, be sure to crack a window.

Never let children, or anyone else ride in the back of trucks. Yes, this has lead to poisoning.

Never ride in a car that has part of the floor board rusted out, or a car that doesn't have proper exhaust system. This includes a catalytic converter.

Avoid using machinery and tools that are fuel operated areas that are not ventilated. This would include sanders, grinders, lawn mowers and weed eaters.

Avoid using paint thinners in areas that are not ventilated.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

The first symptoms of poisoning are almost flulike. With continued exposure, the symptoms escalate to headache, vomiting and nausea, dizziness and confusion. Until finally passing out, stop breathing and death.

What to do in an emergency:

It's possible that they just simply never wake up. When there are light symptoms of poisoning: turn off the supply if possible, gather everyone in the building, and proceed to exit for fresh air. Go to the emergency room for treatment, and have a blood test for exposure. If the symptoms are more severe try to exit the building ASAP! Before you pass out and call 911 or get assistance.

Carbon monoxide is not visible, it is tasteless and does not produce an odor. This is why it is a silent killer. This is why learning the symptoms are so important. The detectors are so essential because many times the carbon monoxide poisoning will occur at night while people are sleeping. It's possible that they just simply never wake up. It is sad to lose any life, but this can wipe out an entire family.


Dashcam catches toddler falling out of car

This is the horrifying moment a toddler fell out the back of a moving car and the driver didn't even notice.

The incident was filmed on the dashcam of the vehicle behind, whose passengers are heard yelling out the window.

The child can be see rolling out the back of the van onto the busy motorway after the vehicles boot shoots open while travelling on a road in Suzhou, eastern China.

After falling out the back of the car, the child is seen getting to his feet and chasing after his grandfather's vehicle.

The driver of the car that filmed the incident then runs to pick up the child, before his grandfather eventually returns.

The grandfather told local media that the toddler was initially riding in the backseat, but climbed into the rear cargo hold when he wasn't looking.

The child then pushed against the boot door, which was broken and could not be securely closed.

By the time the grandfather realized what had happened, the child had already fallen out.

More auto news from The Sun

How to Detect Carbon Monoxide Leak at Home

In order to avoid CO leak, it's important to keep a tab on certain aspects of your home or office.

Keep the grills outside and do not use them indoors especially charcoal grills are more risky if used in the house. Do not operate the car in the garage with the garage door closed and do check the exhaust system of the car. Install all the appliances with the help of professionals and do keep a tab on the ventilation of these appliances. If the fireplace uses wood then do get your chimney checked as the fumes of the burnt wood are dangerous if inhaled. In conclusion, CO gas is injurious to health and exposure to this deadly killer can leave a person with a permanent damage. Even though the gas leak is difficult to detect but with the help of these symptoms you can avoid harmful effects. After all, safety of your loved ones is your priority.

Detecting Carbon Monoxide Leak

If more and more people in your home or office are showing these symptoms, then it's better to consult a general physician and inform him about your doubts. Also an effective way to detect CO leak is by installing CO detectors at a correct place. It's advisable to buy a government approved detector which has good ratings from other customers as well. These detectors should not be placed within four feet of kitchen appliances as there may be chances that you might encounter false alarms and end up disabling the beeper which could endanger your life in case of a leak. Also, there might be a case where the person might be exposed to low levels of CO. This further can aggravate the problems as the leak can go unnoticed. Therefore, it's better to get your home checked and tested by health department in your area who can detect the leak in the air.

In order to detect a leak, it's important to be alert for the following symptoms:Flu like symptoms excluding fever and body aches, unexplained lethargy, dizziness, vomiting, hallucinations and difficulty in judgment, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, visual change and memory and walking problems. These symptoms disappear when you are outside and when you are in the area where there is gas leak, the symptoms recur.

Rarely does one go without reading about accidental deaths in homes in the newspaper. One such danger is from poisonous gases in and around your home. If the carbon monoxide level in your house is above the safety levels, it can cause brain damage and be fatal to human life. The problem with this lethal gas is that it is odorless, colorless and tasteless, making it difficult to detect. The major problem in recognizing the gas leak is that if a person is exposed to it, the symptoms are similar to flu. Carbon monoxide is the by-product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels.

Carbon monoxide is dangerous to a person's health as it replaces oxygen in blood and easily combines with hemoglobin causing problems in vital organs such as heart and brain. This dangerous gas is emitted through faulty appliances in home like gas heaters, generators, kerosene heaters and wood burning stoves. Therefore, wherever these appliances are installed, the area should be properly ventilated. Even fires are the culprit in increasing the CO levels and cigarette smoke too, is known to have harmful effects. Similarly, another chemical named methylene chloride, which is used as a solvent in paints, gets absorbed easily by the body and can be changed to CO. Also, automobile exhaust emitted by car are harmful to health. Even in car garages, automobile exhaust with inadequate ventilation resulting in dangerous levels of gas can make people sick.


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