The Great Subaru Rim Swap

   Normally, I would not have written about this ordeal, but I gained so much misinformation from trusted sources that I needed to clarify for anyone searching for similar answers. The question, can you safely change your factory alloy wheels from one car to another? You may be surprised by what I found.
Subaru Impreza and Forester Rim Swap   I recently upgraded my grocery-getter to a 2016 Subaru Impreza. My wife had already picked up her 2015 Forester before leaving Montana, Yay no sales tax! The newer Impreza was at the limits of our budget and left me with little money for the silver rims I wanted. We scoured eBay and junk car sites trolling for a set of "lightly used" stock rims to replace the set that came with the car. This proved to still be too expensive, not to mention a little sketchy.
   I really like the style of the wheels that came on the Sport edition Impreza, but the graphite color really clashed with the dark gray body color and made me like the car less. After chewing on this for several days with no real monetary answer, it struck me to check the Forester's dimensions, and sure enough all the specs were identical across the board with the exception of color and style.
   Me being as thorough as I am, I wanted an authority to sanction the swapping of rims from the Impreza to the Forester and vice versa. Now the actual tires needed to stay with the vehicles because they are different sizes, and not compatible. This prospect proved to be trickier than I thought.
   My local Subaru dealer barely listened to my question and shot it down because it required more than five seconds of thought. They claimed that the calipers would be in the way, laughable, did I mention the rims are the exact same dimensions? Next, a National parts supplier gave me a pan legal response that it was not a good idea because cars are designed with specific wheel diameters which affect speedometer, and odometer reading as well as vehicle control. Great, but did I mention the OEM tires would stay with the vehicles?
   My local warehouse club also got weak-kneed when their computer said they were not allowed to do the swap. I went deep into forums discussing similar issues and found little expert guidance. I did notice that the same rims on my Impreza were used in the late 1990's on a Legacy Outback and other stock alloy rims had been used interchangeably between models over the years.
   Finally, I stopped at a couple local tire shops looking for someone to just try it. Both shops were willing to at least try and saw the matter clearly. Within a half hour both cars were off the lifts and my expense was the mounting and balancing for eight wheels. So yes, you can move whatever wheels around you want as long as the diameter, width, lug pattern and offset are identical. The other reason for me to be this thorough was that both cars are still under warranty and I did not want to give anybody a reason to pass on any future, covered repairs.


Truth In Media

   Half of the country is in mourning while the other half is kicking sand in the eyes of the vanquished. After observing a fairly benign interview with baroness Conway, my uneasiness lies in not how we got here, but what we have to look forward to in the future months, and years. The baroness quickly turned a simple examination into the same stale, rancid meat of her now infamous campaign.
   A banal question of facts is undercut with partisan bile. Undermining every criticism, every single time with accusations of extreme bias, leads intelligent citizens to believe that we no longer exist in a free Democracy, but an ongoing, diluted FOX news commentary. A time and place where our leaders talk down to us, or even worse shout at us like misbehaving children.
   What if the far right is willing to reach out to foreign countries to aid in the illicit co-opting of our government leadership? They are Americans, this is the country they want, who is to say that is not their privilege? If they want it and are willing to do anything to achieve this, who am I to deny their success. But how do we really know this is the way the scales have tipped? We can no longer trust anything, especially mainstream news organizations according to the president-elect.
   It is every American citizen's right to believe whatever fantastic horseshit they want, after all this country was founded on the freedom of religious worship. My concern is that there will be absolutely no questioning the authority of the president without the fear of prosecution. Sound familiar?
   We know there is no truth in the world any longer, we have been stretched and pulled to the breaking point. Our civil fabric is riddled with holes and snags. The problem with the dark forces behind the clandestine power grab is that they have grossly underestimated the fragility of our bonds. Or...maybe they know how frail we are as a country of open ideas and endless possibilities. They already prefer darkness, isolation, and secrecy. Time will tell if their real motive is to downsize the federal government to an endpoint, where only disconnected city-states remain.
   When did we stop being a collective of Americans and became a foul nation of disenfranchised haters. Since 9/11, a new distorted view of patriotism has heralded in an age of bigotry that reaches far beyond Muslims in our country. The new world order has been mocked and trivialized by the very people that wish to see its fulfillment. Somehow jesting that it is a ludicrous notion, while executing the precursory steps in broad daylight.
   I trust my instincts, but so do the misinformed that believe the lunacy fed to them by sidebar prophets. This is the problem with everyone being "in-the-know." The power mongers have properly manipulated the era of social media and are now dominating political outcomes. All that I would ask, is that my fellow Americans question the source and motivation of everything, especially the blind gospel, so innocently consumed without hesitation.


IKEA Countertop - Backsplash Hack

   The kitchen was a mess, and I had avoided this intervention since day one. I swear I used the sink with my eyes closed for the first month. Before I even pulled a line, I knew there was a severe sag in the countertop. There turned out to be a one inch dip in the middle, for no obvious reason. The only solution seemed to be yanking out all the cabinets, and reinstalling them. I bit the bullet, and removed the cast iron sink, only to find the original cabinet had been previously butchered. I would spend the next couple days trying to rebuild the base and level out the 12' run for the new counters.
©2016 Zoll - IKEA Saljan Backsplash Hack
   We chose to replace the original delaminating countertops with a black mineral effect laminate from Ikea. We were nicely surprised by the finish, and even more impressed by the $240 total cost for our project.
   The surface is lightly textured and looks better than the smooth surfaces at the big box stores, even five feet away it could pass for manufactured stone. The whole kitchen took four, 6' sections. The island was a perfect swap out, with instant gratification. The rest would take patience and precision to achieve the desired results.
   Once the sink base was reconstructed, it magically resolved all the leveling issues and only took one small shim. Much relieved to not have to take apart the whole kitchen, I started test fitting the countertop slabs. The overhang on the front was too deep for this dated style of oak cabinets. Because the walls were fairly true, it made sense to rip a half inch off the back edge of all the pieces. By accident, I realized the waste strip would look sharp as a shallow backsplash. We had opted to hold on installing the full tile backsplash for budget reasons, not to mention the walls had just been fixed and looked great.
   Another trick I learned when finishing dark laminates is to stain the thin, raw edge revealed on the end piece overlays. Typically the base material is a medium brown and it detracts from the overall appearance. Guide the broad edge of a new, black Sharpie over the edge at a 45 degree angle. Immediately drag a paper towel over the wet marker line and it will buff out to make the ends look seamless. If you make a mistake, use rubbing alcohol to clean it up.
   The rest of the kitchen still needs the finishing details fleshed out. Knobs and handles, as well as the floating shelves will be added soon with before & after photos on the way. There will be several more related posts that cover the individual components of our economical reformation.


Updated Updates

   One objective of our current, subtle renovation is to take the cookie-cutter colonial and blow it out to feel as large and fresh as possible. These pictures are admittedly not as dramatic as the last remodel, where we resurrected a shaggy abode out of its pure 1970's funk. In this house we learned that the early nineties had its own issues, mostly just bland design.

©2016 Zoll - Family Room - Before & After
   The only, truly horrible problem with this house was the poorly chosen color palette in the interior. There are no less than five shades of soul-sucking beige, and to drive the point home they have a very flat sheen, robbing the interior of any hope of daylight. The colors also work against the hardwood floors which were the only selling point in the listing.
   My go-to approach for paint selection is the white canvas. I start by returning all the walls and trim to a neutral white. I first adopted this palette years ago to showcase our art collection, but I soon recognized the more important side effect of bouncing light and breathing air into any space.
   The family room had unnecessary crown molding and the decision was made to remove it, resulting in cleaner lines, while emphasizing the tall ceilings. Our initial inspections missed the sloppy masonry repair work on the fireplace. It would have taken a tremendous effort to clean and restore it. The dowdy red brick color was also in conflict with the upscale flooring. We pushed forward with the trendy, white brick paint job which yielded greater punch to the honey tones in the wood floor
   There are still small details to add, but I wanted to share the latest alterations. An unexpected result of this room's completion was a sense of renewal and purpose. All of my framed artwork has been wrapped up for over a year and I forgot how comforting it is to see "your stuff." My wife has patiently waited while I bounce around to extinguish small fires and fix necessities that supersede cosmetic updates. I would have to say that she is also very pleased to have at least one room that feels like home.