Saturday, June 30, 2007

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The Rodger's mansion in Novi (now Shiro's)

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Front entrance to Shiro's

Friday Night Fights

I'm not sure why, but I got very sleepy at work Friday afternoon. I mean it! It was hard to stay awake, even after having two cups of coffee. I think it's because there wasn't much going on: No big problems or excitement, nobody calling on the phone, etc.

Anyway, I thought, since I wanted to watch the Friday Night Fights (which start at 10:00 PM tonight for some reason) it would be a good idea to catch a nap when I first got home. So, I lay down with my book and tried to nap. All afternoon, I could hardly stay awake, now, when it's okay to, I couldn't fall asleep!

I gave up in disgust at 6:30 PM. I filled a bucket with water and went out to replant what was still left alive in my first hanging baskets into the front garden. So, I still had the four asparagus ferns and maybe seven impatiens left. I put them in the front where the pansies are dying off. I did notice a few of the moss rose seeds had germinated (finally). When that was done, I started at one end and worked my way to the other, weeding.

I came in around 8:30 PM and reheated some of the leftover rice mixture. Ate that in front of the TV and (you guessed it) dozed off. BUT, I woke up just in time for the Fights! Watched them until midnight, then read a while and went back to sleep around 1:00 AM. That's me, Mr. Night Owl!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Another Recollection: My First Job

I got my first job when I was 14 years old. That summer and then after school for a while, I worked at Bud Reichenbach's truck farm about a mile down the road from my house. The Reihenbach family was large (as were most farm families back then) and I think they had 12 kids. All of them, boys and girls, worked picking vegetables every day. I think my brother Joe and one of his friends worked there, too, along with some Mexican field hands who lived in New Haven.

Any of the work was physically hard, with no shade and the hot afternoon sun in July and August, but as I recall, picking mustard greens was the worst. The oil from the mustard greens would get on your arms and burn like fire!

I became friends with one of the younger Mexicans, Armando, who taught me the ins and outs of knife fighting. He was a nice guy, but I heard that later he was arrested and convicted of murder after a fight over a girl.

I believe I got paid 85 cents an hour (it's hard to remember all the details from something that happened 45 years ago). But, I do remember what I did with my pay. It sounds silly now, but I always thought that anybody who had more than one pair of shoes must be rich so, as soon as I had enough money saved, I bought two pairs of shoes on the same day. One regular pair dress shoes for school (no tennis shoes allowed back then) and one pair of Beatle boots.

I was a pretty naive kid...

Thursday night, working outside for a change

I got home and got to work, after stopping at (where else) Home depot for some things. First thing I did was to plant my two new Caladiums in Jake's patio garden. I forget now how many coleus I originally planted (enough to fill the bed in other years), but most of them died off (see Photos). This weather is killing me!

I weedwacked the patio, Jake's patio, and then the driveway. I followed that up by using the blower on both patios and the driveway, especially in the driveway. I think it's all the sawdust I've been making and then just blowing out of the garage that's encouraged the weed/grass/moss growth.

I had to buy a new sprayer (the old one cracked at the rim) so I had picked up a 2-gallon Ortho sprayer. Why? Because it came with three different tips, one of which was a foam tip, so I don't have to worry so much about the wind blowing the herbicide onto the lawn. I sprayed the patio first, then Jake's patio then finally the driveway. I am trying not to bend over too much (that's how I always hurt my back). I am just trusting the foam tip.

Oh, the rose photos. I must tell you B___'s folksy saying for bare root roses: "First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap." Meaning it takes three years to get a good bloom on bare root roses. That's okay, I can wait... But check out the little flowers I got this year in Photos.

Finished spraying the driveway at 8:30 PM. I went in and washed up (remembering to rinse off the bottoms of my Crocs so I didn't inadvertently track herbicide over the lawn later). I warmed up a burger and the last two ears of sweet corn for dinner and read until bedtime.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

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The newly planted Caladium (you will notice the few coleus, barely making it, although I planted enough to fill the bed). This heat is wrecking my gardens! Global warming sucks!!!

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Second new rose to bloom (again, click the return button)

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First new rose to bloom (click to enlarge then use your Browser's return button to get back)

Wednesday Wet

Well, we finally got the rain! Severe thunderstorms raced through the area, starting around 11:30 AM. First thing I did when I got home was to go out in back and check the rain gauge. It showed 1 and � inches of rainfall at 5:20 PM! That was the good news. Bad news is a LOT of blown down maple tree branches (some pretty good sized). I'll clean 'em up tomorrow when it's nice again, I guess.

Today is a maintenance day here at the San Jose ranchero. I did three loads of laundry, ran the dishwasher and started hanging things back up in the kitchen that I took down for painting: potholders inside one cabinet, the calendar in another, the measuring cups and spoons, the small cutting board, the basting brush and all the non-stick implements back on the rolling cart. I am using either little or big gold cup hooks this time.

Dragged out the grill and made five hamburgers. Why five? That's how many buns I had left over. When I made the quarter-pounders using the peanut butter jar lid and the Saran Wrap, they fit perfectly on a normal hamburger bun. But, I bought the kind that have onion in them and are the size of Kaiser rolls. So, I had five large buns left after I discovered my mistake. I made these five patties by hand so they were bigger. I ate two for dinner and then went to read.

They are having fireworks in Detroit tonight and, while I can't see them, I sure can hear them! Finished my book and turned out the light at 10:45 PM.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tuesday and it's another hot one

It was even hotter and muggier today! I had planned on planting the new new flowers, but decided against it. The weather folks mentioned the possibility of a stray thunderstorm, (my grass and gardens would LOVE some rain) but that never happened.

When I got home, I took Jake's advice and removed the two door molding blocks I installed at the corner of my bedroom door and the linen closet. I had originally cut them at a 45 degree angle but, again, the corner wasn't a true 90 degree angle, so there was a gap. I thought I could fill it with caulk, but Jake said it would look dumb. After reflection, I realized he was right. But taking them off proved difficult and I messed up some of the wall paint (another touch up spot) before I accomplished my mission.

My daughter Melissa, er, I mean M_______, called and we talk for a looong time (as usual). After we hung up, I went back to work!

I took two new blocks and cut them down so one butted up against the other (I'll tell you, cutting them out in the garage was a bugger as it was so hot in there). I nailed them in (looks great, now!) and put on all the rest of the remaining hallway molding. Then, for the first time in days, I took the air compressor and nail gun out of the bathroom and put it back downstairs. It's nice to be able to walk into the bathroom again!

After that, I made dinner (the rice mixture - after reading Jake's comment about it, I was hungry for it again). I watched a little TV, but went to bed before 10:00 PM.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Monday

I woke up at 4:00 AM with my knees and upper thighs screaming in pain. Kneeling on that wood floor yesterday was sooo stupid. Dammit! I know better (because my doctor told me NEVER kneel) Oh, well, you live and learn and this particular lesson was painful (and one I won't soon forget!)

Hot today (high of 88 degrees F.) and, when mixed with high humidity, it was downright brutal. But, when I got home and changed, I made myself go out (out of the lovely air conditioning) and polyurethane the last pieces I needed to finish the hallway. I am hoping they will be dry enough to the touch that I can install them tonight.

Went back inside (ah!) and I decided to install the "silent furniture glides" I'd bought at Lowes, at lunch. Even though my table and chairs were (at least in my mind) expensive, the wood chair legs ended in, well, wood. And, after seeing what my old wood chairs did to the self-stick tile floor (which, I no longer have the time, money or energy to replace this year), I thought I'd better protect it. So, I bought six sets of these hard nylon (or plastic something) glides with a nail attached. I am drilling a pilot hole two sizes smaller first, as the last thing I want to do is split the chair legs. Then I am pounding them in with a rubber hammer. Seems to work great, but only time will tell.

So, at 7:00 PM, I went out to check on the polyurethaned molding. No way is this gonna happen tonight as they are sticky as hell to the touch. Gave up and decided it would be an early night, tonight. Warmed up two ears of sweet corn and a hamburger for dinner and went to see if there's anything on TV.

To concerned friends and critics, alike...

...who keep insisting I should "slow down" or "take a break" or go "on a real vacation where you relax," I am about to share with you one of my hard-won secrets of life:

Work can be fun if you are goal-oriented.

And, I am. So, it is.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunday's labors...

Got up at 6:47 AM and warmed up a cup of coffee (no breakfast, though). Didn't bother with the traditional "shave and shower" but threw on some grubby clothes and went out to start watering the lawn. Put the sprinkler in the first spot, turned the water on and set the stove timer for 30 minutes. I will repeat this 8 times to water the front lawns and the back lawn by the patio.

So, while I was waiting, I installed the baseboard and shoe molding in the hall (except for were the wall curves). The one corner was tricky. But I remembered something my old mentor at the cabinet shop used to use, and it worked! I also used Jake's advice and instead of trying to bend the baseboard in the curved area, I took a 1 x 4 and curved the back by sanding it, then rounded the top edge to mimic the other base boards. Then I stained it and the one new door molding.

I picked up some paraffin (the kind your mother used to put on top of jelly jars) and used it to wax the wooden drawer guides (an old-timey remedy).

Next, I used the "Goof Off" and the painters knife to get all the tiny (and not so tiny) drops of paint off the hallway floor. I had to keep rinsing the Goof Off off with water, so the floor looked pretty bad. However, I suspected it might, so I had picked up some Mop and Glow and I put that down once the floor dried. Both my knees are now killing me, so now I climbed into the shower after shaving and let the warm water beat on my legs awhile.

I need to stain all he wood I got yesterday, so I ran over to Home Depot for another can of stain, some more fertilizer and two caladiums for the garden on Jake's patio. Of the nine coleus I planted there in the spring, I think maybe four are still alive.

I arrived back home and began to clean the sink and stove top. Skipping my normal weekly house cleaning for a month left them (and so many other things) a mess!

Next I fertilized and watered all the container gardens It was 2:50 PM when I stopped and heated up three burgers for lunch, then took a nap. When I got up from the nap, I started staining the new molding I bought on Saturday. Messy, messy job, but this time I did it outside on the grass.

I finished that at 6:45 PM. Cleaned everything up, and then went out in the back to fertilize the rear garden. I am trying the Miracle Grow Liquifeed system. To do all the gardens (did the front yesterday with it) it took 3 and 1/2 bottles of the liquid and you're supposed to do this every 7 -14 days. We'll see how well it works.

Went inside about 8:00 PM, warmed up two hot dogs and watched TV until 10:00 PM, then I went to sleep.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

State of the Gardens Report

The relentless heat, the lack of rain and the lack of my attention this past month have all taken their toll on my gardens. In spite of me applying fresh mulch this spring, almost all of them have weeds or grass in them. In the past years, I had a habit of almost unconsciously weeding them as I spent time outside. However, this year, I've been stuck in the house.

As far as the herbs go, the dill completely died, the basil (which last year was maybe two feet high) is only about 8 inches and already trying to bloom (its as though the plants are saying, "We aren't gonna make it! We better procreate before we die!" Although, I'm guessing plants don't use big words like "procreate." They probably just use the "F" word.)

As I have noted before, the original hanging baskets all died out except for the asparagus ferns (which I still need to replant). And, I can't get the damn white price stickers off the new green pots! Why in God's name didn't they put them on the bottom?

The best garden of all is the one in the back, but don't forget, the mulch back there is probably 8-10 inches thick.

I am making a public vow today, right now, to get my gardens back into shape!

Saturday morning, not so easy...

Got up at 6:30 AM after sleeping with the window open again. Whenever the weather's cool enough, I like to open my bedroom window. I seem to sleep better and don't wake up all stuffy from the A/C.

Today I did something I haven't done in almost a month - I made coffee! Then I hooked up the trailer and headed off to Lowes.

I won't mention any names, but when I was fretting about not having secured the trailer sides in there holders, "somebody" told me the weight alone would hold them down. So, it's 8:00 AM and I was on my first trip to Lowes (Yes, I ended up having to go back) going down Warren Road, almost to Wayne Road, when I heard one of the maybe three noises you don't ever want to hear when towing anything: a truck, pulling up next to me and frantically beeping his horn. He said, "Your trailer sides came loose and are jumping up at down at every bump. Your tailgate ripped off about 1/2 mile back!"

So, I drove a bit until I found a place to turn in. I got the three remaining sides back in place and strapped them down (not knowing what ones I would need, I fortunately had brought all my straps). Then I drove back and got my tailgate out of the center of the road. Thank God no cops were around! The vibration had snapped both 3 inch deck screws I used to attach it to the sides.

Went to Lowes and got what turned out to be my first load along with a ballpeen hammer and a box of big nails. Then I nailed the sides and tailgate in (leaving � inch out so I can pull them out easy). Oh, why a ballpeen hammer? Because it's the only kind I don't already own and I'll be damned if I need two hammers of the same kind!

So, back to shopping. I originally went to Lowes after deciding, since I'd already REALLY screwed up my garage floor and sawhorses with the wood staining, I might at well go ahead and buy the five kits of door molding, and all the base board and the shoe molding for the living room and the front entry. I'll stain it all now and polyurethane it, then remove the old and install the new at my leisure. But, now that I am here, I can't find the kits! I even asked a guy who worked there (but, he was new, he said) and he helped me look. Nothing!?! I guess I had that mixed up and I got them at Home Depot, but I could have sworn I bought them here. However, I did find a fluted door molding that matched the one I wrecked so my $32 mistake is now only a $10 mistake. Got the baseboard and shoe molding and some other stuff, loaded up and drove home.

Unloaded the trailer and went to Home Depot. Same thing, only this time the guy I asked had worked there a while and he said, "We've never carried that!" So, I took my empty trailer home and looked through my receipts and, sure enough, I got the original kits at Lowes. They must have stopped carrying them and I bought the last of the stock or something. Now what to do? I can't have one style in part of the house and another elsewhere.

So, I took the car and trailer back to Lowes and bought 13 lengths of the fluted molding and 10 of the wood blocks with the carved circles so I can duplicate the kits before they discontinue the molding, too. Took off the trailer and went to do my other Saturday morning errands. First the library, then an exploratory trip to the grocery store my barber recommended.

I bought some hamburger and hotdogs, with buns for each and what they call their "six-pack" of sweet corn - un-shucked but in a plastic bag (excuse me, but I like to pick out my own sweet corn?). I was unimpressed with the store, to be frank. The only thing I liked was they had a bagger at every open checkout. So, I got home, it's almost 1:00 PM and I haven't done a lick of work yet!

Then Jake and Carla stopped by. We chatted a bit out in the back. I asked Jake about the evergreen branches on the north side of the house that had grown back and were now rubbing on the shingles, and before I knew it he got the ladder and was up on the roof, lopping them off. Thanks!

They left around 2:30 and I decided that, with as frustrating a morning as I had, what I needed was to tuck into one of my new library books, read bit and take a nap. So, I did.

When I got up, I cut the baseboards I needed to finish the hallway and that side fluted molding, stained the ends of the cut pieces and the whole fluted piece and set them aside to dry. Then I watered all the gardens. Put away the hose and dragged out the grill. Finished grilling dinner at 9:30 PM and came inside to eat. Finished eating and went back to my book and bed.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

TGIF - now I can get some work done!

I stopped at Home Depot again at lunchtime and bought some rose fertilizer, some sulfur to make the soil more acidic around the rhododendrons and some spray gadget that fertilizes while you are watering. I need to pay more attention to my gardens!

When I got home, I changed clothes, threw a load of clothes in the wash machine and started putting up molding. I used the molding from the linen closet for the office door, but this time I used the belt sander to get off the excess material to allow for the wall curving (I learned my lesson).

Got all the door molding (except for the last piece I need to buy tomorrow) done (no additional baseboard or shoe molding yet), hung up and folded the laundry, then stopped a little after 8:00 PM to go outside.

First I added some mulch then put the correct amount of sulfur around the base of each plant. Next I watered each plant with two gallons of water. Since I was right there, I gave each tomato plant two gallons, too.

Now, onto the roses! First I pruned back the original one. Then I mixed up (yep, you guessed it!) two gallons of Miracle Grow Rose fertilizer. BTW, one of the new ones had a pink bloom on it (I'll take a picture when it's not so dark) and the other has a big bud on it.

After I put everything away and disconnected the hose, I came inside and put a Marie Callender's turkey pot pie in the microwave. 9:30 PM, pot pie is done and I'm calling it quits.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thursday's Mistake

I went to Home Depot at lunch and bought four replacement hanging plants for the front of the house. There is no saving my impatiens - they are dead. I guess I'll put the asparagus ferns in the front garden. Can't really figure out what happened. I kept them watered, so it must have been the heat.

When I got home after work, the lady who cuts my lawn was here. She explained that she hadn't cut it this week because she didn't want my grass to burn up any faster. I agreed and thanked her for paying attention. She asked if I wanted three rhododendrons (she's redoing her garden) because she never had much luck with them. I said I have had one in the back for two years that's never done well, but sure, I'd take them. Does anyone out there know of any special needs for rhododendrons (other than a lot of water)? If so, please let me know.

Back to the molding. We are at one of the tricky spots as the wall on the one side of the office curves over to the doorway to my bedroom. So, I got my trusty gauge and figured out what I needed to cut off the top block (wider than the bottom, remember), the bottom block and the molding (which are both the same width). The top block is just small enough that I could use the band saw to cut it. Then I did some additional shaping with the belt sander. Perfect fit!

The bottom block is too tall for the band saw, so I figured out the angle on the table saw and cut that (it's a blind cut, meaning you can't see the saw blade). A little sanding and "Bingo!" another perfect fit. Adjusted the fence on the table saw and cut the fluted molding. I'm not sure if I didn't press up against the fence enough, the fence moved or the board thickness varied, but this time when I finished, I looked and about halfway down, I had cut right through the face of the molding! Damn!

I tried to figure out some way to save it but it was impossible. I ruined it. And, while it doesn't seem like a big deal to you, remember that this is part of a kit; I can't just buy a replacement piece. So, I'll have to buy another kit for $32.00! Although I suppose it won't hurt to have spare parts in case a machete-wielding madman attacks my molding, or something.

Anyway, I quit in disgust and went out to plant the three rhododendrons, next to my original one. Got done with that about 8:00 PM and went in to make dinner. I warmed up the last of the meatloaf, reheated a baked potato and, this time, steamed some frozen broccoli.

Nothing interesting was on TV, but I finished all my books, so I watched a movie on DVD, "The Long Kiss Goodnight," one of my all time favorites. When it finished, I went to bed.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wednesday and wanting rain...

Got up before the alarm. I really didn't sleep well last night. Up every hour or so. Too much goofing off, I guess.

Somewhere along the way, it dawned on me I had not answered my Mother's question when she asked me for a good recipe for old-fashioned meat loaf. If you remember, I did go and make her the bacon wrapped meatloaf and, although she seemed to really like it, I don't think that's what she meant. So, since I love meatloaf, I am now on a personal quest.

When I got home, I made the first test meatloaf (I'm not going to publish the recipes unless asked until I decide the winner) and popped it in the oven along with three Idaho potatoes at 6:00 PM. Now, back to work!

Stopped at 7:30 PM when dinner was done. I got the baseboard and shoe molding to the bathroom door, the bathroom door molding, the baseboard and shoe molding to the office and the left side of the office door done.

Dinner was good, the meatloaf, a baked potato with sour cream and steamed frozen sweet corn. The meatloaf had a very good flavor, but I would have preferred it to be a little firmer. Ah well, the search goes on...

After dinner, I went out to water, and water and water. Got back in the house at 9:53 PM. Everything is watered except the grass and to be honest, I think I am going to have to give up on it. I've got big brown spots everywhere and, unless it rains, and rains a LOT soon, I have real lawn problems.

Watched TV, but got bored with it. Switched to reading until I fell asleep.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tuesday, the Captain takes off...

I had an errand to run after work so I didn't get home until almost 7:00 PM. Decided to take tonight off after doing one important thing: checking the rain gauge. In spite of the on-and-off showers, there was barely a trace showing! Disappointed, I filled the bird feeder and went inside.

I got a call from my daughter-in-law Jyl. We talked about the house abit and she mentioned her sister Brenda is in the hospital. Get well soon, Brenda!

I warmed up the last of the left overs, went through the mail then went and watched TV until I went to sleep at 10:30. And, that was that!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Monday, feeling good about myself!

I got up at 5:30 AM and stayed up because I need to get used to waking at that time again and I want to get as much as I can done today.

First, I put the up door molding on the door to the laundry room. Already I've run into problems as I had to scribe and recut the one side to allow for variations in the plaster wall. Not my finest work, but passable. I installed the bottom rail on the South wall and then started fitting the tongue and groove bead boards (this would have been much easier had I NOT stained and polyurethaned first, but I thought it would be a lot less messy and stinky this way).

BTW, the stud finder I bought is useless (I think it's the thickness of the plaster and lathe) so I'm using the old-fashioned way, measuring and then hoping I hit it. By 10:30 AM, I had that wall done.

BTW, about 1/4 of the boards are 1/4 inch too long. So, I have to do a lot of cutting and fitting in the garage and its hot and humid (high temp is supposed to get to 98 degrees F.) Its brutal! I took a break at 1:30 to eat some bean soup I had thawed and then warmed. Then I took a nap for a bout an hour - that heat is wearing me out!

The air nailers are worth their weight in gold. I could not have done this without them. It was a bit tricky fitting the wood around the heat duct, but other than that, it went pretty well. Last thing I did was to put up the door molding on the door into the living room.

7:00 PM and the kitchen is done. Not "done" done, there are things I have to touch up, got to put everything back and the hallway baseboard and trim molding still needs to go up, but if there's anything I've learned from my friend B___, its that molding can wait.

I had promised to post before and after pictures, so I carried back enough "stuff" (including the now-found coffee pot) to make the kitchen look sort of real, took the pictures and posted them. It was 9:00 PM, I warmed up a left over hamburger for dinner, watched a taped TV show, then went to bed at 10:00 PM, well satisfied.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Okay, Impatient Imp...

(BTW, I love that name) I finished the kitchen (not the hallway, though) at 6:30 PM. I moved enough stuff back in the kitchen to make it look representational for the before and after photos. Go take a look.

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Stove and pantry - before

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Stove and pantry - after

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From the laundry room doorway - before

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From the laundry room doorway - after

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Wall - before

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Wall - after

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Sink to the wall - before

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From the sink to the wall - after

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From the hallway - before

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From the hallway - after

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From behind the table and towards the corner - before

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From behind the table towards the corner - after

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Base cabinets - before

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Base Cabinets - after

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At the counter - before

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At the counter - after

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New Door Molding Detail

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New window treatment

Sunday and Father's Day

I got up at 6:30 AM today. I went out and started watering. Found the cheap-ass hose in the back sprung a leak (and, I was gonna replace it with a non-kink hose on sale in the Spring, but talked myself out of it. Damn!) I patched it up with electrical tape, but it only held a few minutes.

I watered everything, a lot! It's supposed to be in the high 80's again toady, with no rain until maybe Tuesday night. I am ashamed to note just how many weeds I have in my gardens. I have really let things outside go. This kitchen refresh has taken its toll in more places than just my wallet. After watering the gardens, I switched to the lawn sprinkler for the first time this year. The grass is actually turning brown in spots. So, set the timer on the stove for 30 minutes and then moved the sprinkler. Repeat process until front lawn is completely watered. Then put it in the back between the reflecting pool and St. Francis garden and let it run for an hour.

While that was going on, I was busy inside. First, I took the last of the deli ham and fried it along with two cut up scallions. Then I added four scrambled eggs and, after they set, some American cheese and made a great omelet for breakfast.

Now, to work. Got out the ceiling paint and touched up some spots over the sink. Then, got out the cabinet paint and gave the caulk a second coat and rolled the left-side cabinet by the sink (You could see where I touched up the paint, all too clear). Also touched up some spots on the rolling butcher-block table, since I had the paint out. Then I tried to install the light over the sink. The side hits the wood in front! So, I cut the metal base out, then repainted it and when it dried, put it up.

Because it is Father's Day, I will tell you that I had a nice email from my daughter Amy, when I was inside I took calls from Acenter (Carla's Mom) and my daughter-in-law Jyl and, when I was outside, I got nice voicemails from my son Jeremy, my daughter Melissa and Luanne.

I also must report I completely blew Jake and Carla's Father's Day present on Saturday! Back in the day, whenever the kids would ask me to guess what a present was, I had a standard answer: an elephant! They would all laugh because it was a shirt or something. So, after reading the card, Jake handed me a small package and said, "You have to guess what it is." I felt it and tried seriously to guess what it was and finally said, "I have no idea what this is." It was a small carved elephant! So, had I followed tradition, it would have been perfect. Sorry, Jake. I blame this on my mad cow disease.

I put on the base board and shoe molding behind the refrigerator and tried to roll the fridge back into the kitchen, but I couldn't get it to go over the metal molding (it rolled "down" over it just fine, but I couldn't get it to go "up" by myself. Fortunately, Jake and Carla showed up just then and with one quick lift in front and a push in back, the fridge is back in the kitchen!

Next Jake and I moved back the table back and pushed the hutch back as well. Other than the fridge, nothing can go to its rightful place until I install the bead board, but I am very close! Jake put up the new mini-blind and I fluffed up the new curtain in the drier and then installed that. This is seriously starting to look good!

I have had baby back ribs, covered with spices and garlic and sitting in bourbon and apple cider, baking in the oven at 250 degrees since noon (it's now about 4:30 PM). Carla brought over some homemade potato salad that looked great! She got busy making a lemon marinade for some shrimp and scallops. She partially cooked some bacon in the microwave and soaked some skewers in water. Then she assembled everything: A nice big scallop, wrapped with bacon and outside, two big shrimp, wrapped around the scallop and skewered. I wish I had thought to take a picture as it was very impressive-looking!

The ribs went on the grill after basting them with a mixture of Sweet Baby Ray's Hot and Spicy barbeque sauce and bourbon. I continued to baste them for about 15 minutes. Jake and Carla put the shrimp/scallops on the grill as well. Then the magic moment: it was all done! The ribs were tasty, the shrimp/bacon/scallop combo was excellent and the potato salad was perfect!! A delicious Father's Day feast!!!

Jake and Carla cleaned up and then left. I treated myself to a long-awaited nap. When I woke up, I decided no more big jobs today, so I putzed around a bit, then read my book in the now liberated living room, then finally went to bed.

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers!

As I usually do, I am thinking about my father. I guess if I had to name one thing I learned from my Dad, it was to not fear hard work, but embrace it. It has served me well throughout my life.

Regrettably, the only time I ever told him I loved him was in the hospital the night before he died. On the other hand, I did get to say it!

I still love you, Dad, and miss you every day.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Saturday, not so over easy...

I woke up late at 8:30 AM (which could be expected since I went to bed at 2:30 AM). But, this is a problem as I have a 9:30 AM appointment to get my hair cut! So, I hustled through a shave and shower and just made it to the barber in time.

From there, I headed up to Novi and the J. C. Penny's in the Twelve Oaks Mall. They are supposed to have the curtain I need for the kitchen (the one in Westland didn't). Hurray! They had it. I also bought some 300 count Egyptian cotton sheets that were on sale. From there I went back to I96 and Telegraph to the Causal Male store, which is having a Father's Day sale. I got five shirts and two pairs of pants. Stopped at Farmer Jacks and got some ground chuck, hot dog buns and hamburger buns for dinner tonight.

I pulled in the driveway, unloaded everything and then remembered, I forgot to get the receipt to take the light fixture I bought for over the sink back (It's too big and would hit the curtain rod). So, I dug that out and went to Home Depot. It took while but I finally found a different one that would work.

I was starving by now, so I stopped at Leo's Coney Island (next to Home Depot) and got their daily special: meat loaf and mashed potatoes. When I got home, Jake and Carla were there. They said they didn't want to be in the way, but wanted to help. I said that the big thing today is to polyurethane the wood, but that's one brush and one can so, you can hang out if you want, but I got nothing for you to do.

Well, that didn't last long. Jake filled the bird feeder and cleaned out the reflecting pool. Then he asked if he and Carla could replace all the plugs, switches and covers in the kitchen (I bought all new ones because whoever lived here before painted over them, as did I). So, they had an interesting time trying to find the right breaker on the switch box - they were never marked, you see. Jake turning them off and Carla using the tester to see if they were, in fact, off. Carla seemed to enjoy the vibrating tester a little too much...

Meanwhile, I started the long, long process of polyurethaning all the wood. About 3:00 PM, they left to get some burgers at a little diner on Farmington and Five Mile that's supposed to have the best burgers in Michigan. I forget the name of the joint, but I've passed it a million times. I never knew it was famous! I asked the not to bring me back any as I was still full from lunch.

They came back afterwards and finished up (thank you, both!) and then left. I stopped about 8:00 PM and made hamburgers and hot dogs. I learned a neat trick from TV. I used the top from a jar of peanut butter (the 40 ounce jar) and put a piece of Saran Wrap over it, and, if you pack it full, it's a 1/4 pound burger, just the right size for a bun. However, I kicked it up a notch, by adding a chunk of blue cheese, the making a second patty and squished them together. So, I now have 1/2 pound burgers with blue cheese locked inside.

After I pulled them off the grill, I ate one hot dog using Jake's newest trick: You put a stripe of red hot sauce down the dog, and then add yellow mustard. Very good! Ate a burger (I somehow managed to cook it perfectly), fantastic taste and promptly got filled up!

Went back to polyurethaning. Finished up around 11:00 PM with my back screaming (too much bending, I think). But, I got it done!

At midnight, I had just completed Friday's Blog, (sorry, again, folks) then I made myself a drink and sat in the rocking chair on the front porch, enjoying the warmth (it's still 75 degrees outside), smoking a cigarette for the first time in months, watching the first of this year's fireflies dance across the lawn and reminding myself to water everything first thing Sunday morning. Then I went to bed...

I apologize to loyal readers...

... for this post being a tad late!

Woke up at 6:30 AM, ready to finally finish this kitchen project. I took today (Friday) and next Monday off as vacation days to do just that! So, after shaving and showering, I skipped breakfast and coffee (actually, I'm not sure where the coffee maker is right now) and got out the cabinet yellow paint. I painted the do-dada's and all the cabinets I'd marked (in the daylight, I inspected every door and ones that were light in paint, here or there, I stuck a sticky note on) and the places where I put paintable caulk or spackling compound. I am using a 1-inch brush, so this isn't a quick project. Cabinets look fine, but the caulk will require a second coat.

Finished up, cleaned up and joined my friend B___ for lunch. When I got back home I started cutting out the "feet" for the door molding. Once I got the look I wanted, I clamped a block of wood as a stop on the chop saw and made 12 identical blocks (see photos). Then I cut down the door side molding to the correct new height. Next, I ripped the blocks to the right width on the table saw. I had just put the saw horses outside so I could spray the stain on all this wood when I noticed the wind had picked up! Walked around the outside of the house to try and find a calm place but nothing!

I resigned myself to applying the stain with a rag, instead of spraying. So, I got started. What a pain in the butt! I stopped to eat a ham sandwich at 6:30 PM. Then, got back to work. To give you and idea of the scope of work here, there are 6 three-piece door moldings, twelve "feet" and twelve decorative wood blocks, three 8-foot bead board bottom molding and three tops. Also, there are 16 feet of baseboard molding and 16 feet of shoe molding. Then, there is the bead boards themselves - 4 inches wide and three feet long, and, at three boards per foot, there are 60 of them!

The woman down the street who now cuts my grass stopped to ask me what my "secret" was because there are no weeds growing in the mulch in the back garden. I told her there was no secret, it was because the mulch is somewhere between 8 - 10 inches deep. Then she gave me a great compliment. She said she had told her mother how much she loved my back yard. She told her she usually stops the mower and just sits there a while, because it's so peaceful. I told her, believe it or not, I designed it just that way.

Since the drying racks are 2 x 2's lying on the floor and the top of the trailer, there is a LOT of bending over involved (see photos) so by 8:00 PM I had to give my back a break. I laid down and slept until after midnight, then I went back out and worked, with the garage door open and the radio on until 2:30 AM when I finally finished. I suspect my neighbors think I am crazy...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

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Stained boards drying rack, View #1

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Stained boards drying rack, view #2

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Stained board drying racks, View #3

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Cutting the "feet" of the door molding, with a block to keep everything the same dimension.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Quote #1

"Suicide is a person's way of telling God, "Hey, you can't fire me! I quit!'"

~ Bill Maher

Quote #2

"I try to take one day at a time, but lately several days have attacked at once!"

~ Unknown

Thursday and I'm feeling a little better...

I picked up a plastic paint shield on the way home. No way am I going to take a chance on taping fresh paint again!

When I got home I took a fresh look at the wall, then took a razor knife and cut just below all the places where the paint had pulled off and scrapped the paint back to that line. Then I prepped the little tiny area above the kitchen window that I never painted.

I was really hungry so I decided to forego the 10:00 PM suppers I've been eating and eat at 6:30 like real people do. I warmed up the last two chicken thighs and the last baked potato watching a taped TV show.

Now back to work! I opened the can of wall paint and painted above the sink, then I used the shield to carefully paint the hallway walls where the paint came off (all in all, it was about a 6-foot stretch and right at the top where it meets the ceiling). Looks pretty good!

Then I made mixtures of water and Miracle-Grow fertilizer in my watering can and watered all of the container gardens. Finished that up in the dark. Got cleaned up and went to bed.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wednesday's child is full of woe (really!)

On my way home, I stopped at Home Depot to get some stuff and a 1" x 4" board. I've decided I don't like the look of the door molding at the floor. So, I am going to use the board to make some blocks that the molding will sit on (I know, I know, I'm beginning to obsess with all this, but I do want it to look GREAT!)

Got home and started to prep the area over the sink and the ceiling around the attic door (see photo). BTW, I got an inspiration for that attic door. It has a cheesy white plastic ball on a rope to pull it down. But, when I was looking for new kitchen curtains, I saw some tie-backs that I think if I cut one of the tassels off, it would look really old-fashioned (like an old bell pull) and still let me pull down the door.

It amazes me how long it takes to prep a paint area versus how short it takes to paint it. But, when I pulled off the tape, I ran into some problems. The wall paint came off with the tape! Now the wall looks like when you get sunburn and it starts to peal!! Help!!!

My Mom called at 7:30 PM to tell me she's heading out to Lake Orion next Wednesday to stay for the summer. I hope you have a great time, Mom!

Quit at 8:30 PM to go out and water (still really hot - day after day of high 80's and no rain). I talked with my neighbor who told me the bad news. They passed the variance on the property next door. The Township's reasoning? "It will make a good transition from the 'Commercial' zone (on Plymouth) to the 'Residential' zone (my house)." So, I have both the construction and then twenty apartments next to me to look forward to! If I didn't love this place so much, I think I'd sell!!!

Finished watering in the dark (after 10:00 PM) went in and stuck leftover corn and a steak in the microwave. Stupidly, I lay on the bed and checked the TV waiting for it to warm up. Yes, you guessed it. I woke up at 3:30 AM and ate my dinner...

All in all, not such a good day...

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Prepping the hallway for a ceiling re-paint

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tuesday

Stopped on the way home (where else?) at Home Depot to pick up a temporary lighting fixture and a one inch paintbrush.

Got home and changed clothes, after dropping a letter off to my neighbor (his address is 11665, mine is 11655 and the postman constantly puts our letters in the wrong mailbox). He asked if I was going to the rezoning meeting (the property next door, again). I said no, but I did write a letter, voicing my opposition. He said a bunch of people were going and he'd let me know how it turned out.

So, I dug out the primer and, using the one inch paint brush, carefully primed all the new, raw wood, including the shelf brackets, now turned into do-dads. I took down the original 1950 light fixture and wired in a temporary one, so there won't be a big mark when I finally install the new one (see photos). After that, I used the primer to cover the last application of spackling compound around the attic stairs (you remember them, right? They are still up there, awaiting removal, replacing the stripped bolt and thus, redemption.)

So, now it 7:30 PM and I am ripping down the door moldings that need it. Wind has not really abated, so I don't think I will get a chance to spray the stain on tonight. Got everything cut to size. Used the blower to get rid of the sawdust. I noticed my old enemy (grass growing in the driveway) is back.

Then I hauled the blower out back. Jacob had done the patio proper on Saturday. But, the concrete pads under the picnic table and sail boat were awful. So, I blew it all off (she'll cut it up next week, I'm thinking) and did the old Jake's patio while I was at it. I filled the bird feeder, the suet cage and the birdbath with fresh water. I went inside and it was 8:50 PM.

I used the microwave to heat up two ears of corn and the one rib eye steak for my dinner tonight. Fell asleep before finishing the show I turned on. Woke up at 2:00 AM and turned off the TV and the light and went back to bed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

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Temporary lighting fixture over the sink, while I primer that spot

Monday, Monday...

Well, its finally happening! I stopped at Farmer Jacks to get some eggs and they have a huge sign on the front saying "Entire Store for Sale 10 - 30% off!" Went inside and here and there, everywhere, are empty shelves. So, I suppose if I had any room left in my freezer, now would be a good time to stock up on frozen fish, shrimp, etc., but I don't. I just felt bummed and left.

Got home, got changed and got started again! Jake had pointed out a gap in both the upper and lower cabinets where the "L" meets and suggested quarter round molding. Instead, I just used caulk to fill the seams.

When I mentioned how "bare" the space over the window is now (although it lets in a LOT more light, so I like it) he had suggested some kind of fancy scroll work. So, Sunday I had picked up what is really a shelf bracket, but I thought it looked neat. However, it's over an inch wide. So, I cut another 3/4 inch board and attached it to the back of the single 3/4 inch board I had in place (I got to use the brad nailer again!) Then I attached the two shelf brackets. Finally, I used spackling compound to fill in any spaces (and, also to fill the one hole I drilled in the wrong place).

That completed and drying, I went back to the door moldings. I measured and then cut the rest of the molding to length, but it was now 8:00 PM, so I will rip the ones down that need it tomorrow.

I heated up two chicken thighs and a baked potato (topped with sour cream and scallions) for dinner. Watched a taped show, and then went to bed.

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Cutting door molding, View 1

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Cutting molding, View 2

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The only "Paint Booth" memories...

I love this imagery!

from the AARP Magazine article "50 Things You Need to Know by 50"

#12 - How to Die

The point of the party is not your leaving it. Apologize for any breakage, thank your hosts, listen when they say they were glad you could come, mean it when you say you had a wonderful time, then grab your coat and go. Make sure the door closes behind you. Don't forget your hat.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sunday and slowed down...

I woke up Sunday morning at 5:30 AM. Threw a load of clothes in the wash machine and tried to find something for breakfast (I used the last of the eggs yesterday). Finally settled on pork sausage, which tasted great, but I wish I had some bread for toast (to kinda soak up some of the grease).

Anyway, back to hanging the lower doors, drawers and sink front. This is a little more difficult, because now I not standing up, I'm crouching or lying on the floor. I got to use the brad gun again to attach the sink front and to reattach one of the boards a drawer sits on. I love that thing! For example, I could not have hammered a nail in the drawer guide without removing the counter top. But, I stuck the brad nailer in the opening sideways and put two 1 � nails in it to secure it. Perfect!

Luanne called and we talked for a bit. She lost another goat and has one in the house, trying to nurse it back to health. She seems a little discouraged with her goat enterprise (as she puts it, she's losing money and it's like having your pet die at the same time).

So, I finished up with everything cabinet-wise just about noon. Put on some street clothes and went to Home Depot for some stuff I need, then to Westborn Market for some stuff to eat. Got back home around 2:00 PM, changed back into my work clothes and ate a late lunch of Pinconning sharp cheese (I think I like this better than sharp Cheddar - you get the taste, but the texture is softer) and olives.

Back to work! I started measuring and cutting the door moldings. I was hoping to get to the spraying of the stain today, as it's a perfect day for it, not too hot and almost no wind (I want to spray the stain outside, you see). But, alas, it was 5:00 PM (when I promised myself I would quit) and I only had three doors done.

So, I dragged out the grill and started the charcoal. Since I'm using it, I'm making a LOT of stuff so I have leftovers for the week (no more Tuna Helper!). So, I made eight ears of sweet corn, four chicken thighs I had in a citrus marinade all afternoon, two ribeye steaks I picked up today that I put Jake's rub on them, one T-bone steak with Montreal Steak seasoning on it and three baked potatoes (I made them in the microwave first and grilled them to get a nice crunchy skin).

So, tonight I ate the T-bone steak and four ears of sweet corn. Then I headed outside and watered EVERYTHING (it's supposed to be sunny and warm all this week through next Sunday. I finished up in the back garden in the dark. I came back inside, checked the TV (nothing interesting), got my book and read until 10:00 PM when I went to sleep.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Saturday Story

I woke up off and on throughout the night, but got up at 6:30 AM. Took a shower and brushed my teeth, but didn't shave. Then I used the last of my eggs to make scrambled eggs for breakfast. I need the protein.

Then I examined all the cabinet doors. I decided that any flaws (and there were some, of course - I damn near dropped a pantry door and it catching it, smeared the fresh paint, for example) I'd fix with a sanding block and a brush. This saves me a whole day of spraying the second coat.

So, I set up a worktable (sawhorses and a board) and began to put on the hardware and hang each door. First problem I saw was that the hinges hold the doors out a tad (worst example is the pantry doors). But, after discussing this on the phone with Jake, decided to go ahead and hang the doors (its not THAT noticeable). Got five doors hung and decided to take a break and spray the first coat on the butcher-block table, its drawer and the other three drawers.

BTW, it is an absolutely beautiful day, sunny and, at 1:30 PM, still only 71 degrees (it's supposed to get to 77 degrees F. today). Why did I mention this? Because, it allowed me to, early this morning, open all the windows I can get to (my house is QUITE a mess!) and keep them open until the air conditioner kicks on. Which, in turn, allows the smell of the paint, etc. to dissipate.

Sprayed the butcher-block table, its drawer and the other three drawers. One bad thing happened. During my spraying, the screw-on container unscrewed! Quite a splash! But, I got it done and then cleaned the sprayer so I can use it for the stain, hopefully later today. BTW, my hands are red and raw from washing latex paint off them so often.

Decided it was time for lunch. Made some Campbell's chicken noodle soup and added some parsley and crackers. Then I had a piece of cheese and more crackers. I cleaned up, grabbed an apple and my book and headed out to the hammock for a break.

Oh my! That's nice! The perfect temperature, a little breeze, the gentle rocking, a tart Granny Smith apple and Lawrence Block's "The burglar in the library" all combined to make the perfect respite. I let it go for an hour before feeling guilty, but then I got up and got back to work.

I had just resumed installing the upper cabinet doors when Jake and Carl dropped by. They said they were bored sitting inside their apartment and came over to use my back yard (I think they have another, hidden agenda, but we'll see). They both seemed impressed with how my concept looks in reality. Then they went out to play horseshoes.

I must admit I was embarrassed on how the patio looked. This week's high winds had put sticks, leaves and even pine tree needles all over it. I just never got around to cleaning it up. But, Jake volunteered to blow it all off, which he did. Thank you!

I went out in the garage and disassembled the "paint booth" which actually worked pretty good. There is some yellow paint here and there on the floor, but nothing like the mess on the plastic "walls" and 'floor" I took down and stuffed in a trash bag. Straightened up the other stuff a bit and now, for at least tonight, I can park the car inside!

Back to the cabinet doors. I was on the ninth one before I screwed up and drilled the hole for the knob on the wrong side (hey! it's pretty easy to do!). Oh well, a little spackling and some touch-up paint and it will be okay. In fact, there are a LOT of little spots that will need attention. But, like I said earlier, I'm not that good with the spray gun where a second coat would be much better. So, once everything is done, I'll go back and revisit those spots.

They came back in and Carla said she was "starving" and did I mind if she made some dinner? Ah, ha! I knew it - the hidden agenda! They've been reading the blog and figured out I haven't had a decent meal all week! But, hidden agendas aside, she scrounged though my foodstuffs and came up with enough ingredients to make a fantastic shrimp and pasta dish. I was working, not watching, but I know there was extra virgin olive oil, garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and shrimp, all tossed in with linguine (I'm guessing). So, I stopped working and ate, they cleaned up and then left. I went back to work.

Sidebar: "Extra virgin olive oil." To my way of thinking, you are a virgin if you haven't had sex. So, you either are or are not a virgin, right? How the hell do you become an Extra Virgin? If you like, never even "thought" about having sex? Italians are a strange people...

Put on the last upper door at 8:32 PM, but not without difficulties. My drill bit broke off in that door and was sticking up a tad out of the wood. Used a pair of pliers to twist it out. Got another drill bit and resumed. Then the battery in the portable drill failed. I took it as a sign that, after getting this door up, I was done for the day. And, I was.

I fixed myself a drink and sat on the front porch for a while (or "a spell" as they say down South), enjoying the evening. Then, I went inside and checked the TV, but nothing seemed too interesting. So, I chose to go back to the book and bed. I fell asleep before finishing one chapter.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

TGIF and all that stuff

I thought I'd change this around a bit, so I stopped at Home Depot on the WAY to work. After all, they open at 6:00 AM and that way I can go straight home after work.

Speaking of work, I asked and got permission to leave at 3:30 PM. Stopped at CVS and picked up a prescription then got home around 3:50 PM. It was another hot day today, (88 degrees F.) but with the added fun of a brief rain shower and high winds (predicted thunderstorms missed us). I changed clothes and went out to water the roses, tomatoes and rhododendron. I checked the rain gauge and we got less than � inch of rain today. Filled the bird feeder while I was at it. Yard is littered with leaves and sticks the wind blew down.

Got back inside and taped up the butcher's block rolling cart. Long time readers may remember Luanne had salvaged it for me, I repaired it and then I painted it a deep green, which worked then but won't now. It's all about the yellow, now! So, I sprayed it and its drawer and the silverware drawer (again) with primer.

Not sure why, but I am not getting the nice coverage I did for the backs of the doors. In spite of my following the directions word for word, maybe I didn't get the gun clean enough. The wet surface looks "pebbly" if that's a word. But, maybe the backs were that way and they dried okay. I dunno. I tried messing around with the setting, but it only got worse. So, I sprayed the rest on the initial setting and am hoping for the best. I guess I'll know tomorrow morning.

So, I finished up at 8:20 PM. Put the gun parts in hot, soapy water to soak overnight and washed myself up as best I could without taking a shower. It may sound stupid, but I am too tired to take a shower right now. Made a box of tuna helper for dinner. It was gross. I really am going to have start thinking about meals again and thawing out stuff. Went to sleep.

Friday, June 8, 2007

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The clematis, in full glory!

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One of the dangers of not being able to empty everything before painting, LOL!

And now its Thursday...

Again, I raced home (in spite of the semis on I-96) and by 5:30, I had changed clothes and examined the paint job from yesterday on the cabinet faces. I decided, (need I tell you) with much angst, I will have to do a second coat.

Why? Three reasons. One was because here and there, in the now natural light, the paint looks uneven (lighter or darker in spots). The second was the fact I had read an article in Better Homes and Gardens that said one coat of paint is as thin as a piece of tissue paper. I need something that will hold up a few years (at least until I die). The last is that I keep telling myself that I have spent a lot of money on this and, no matter how long it takes, I'll be damned if it looks cheesy when I'm done! As I've said, I didn't plan on it taking this long, but my house is a wreck, has been a wreck and it can stay a wreck a little longer if it means it looks great when I'm done.

Taped off all the cabinets (again) and at 7:03 PM, began painting. It's much easier this time, BTW. All the tricky cutting in is done, and I'm just revisiting old ground.

I finished everything by 9:00 PM. Even though its dark, I still need to water all the container gardens. So, started filling up the watering can and taking trips out to the front. After that, I warmed up some bean soup I'd made and froze back in January (still tasted good!). I'm dead tired, so I just went to bed.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Pet Peeve #342

I notice as I become more and more of a curmudgeon, there are more and more pet peeves. But, I digress...

#342 - People at a drive-up ATM who get done with their transactions, then sit there while they put away the money, card and receipt in their wallet or purse (purses are the worst - you must have a lot of zippers or something in them).

For God's sake, take two seconds and pull ahead one car length, then put everything away so the guy behind you can get to his turn!

Wednesday

Raced home, changed clothes and by 5:40 PM I was painting the rest of the cabinet faces. I used the same procedure as yesterday, cutting in, rolling with the 3-inch foam roller and then pulling off the masking tape as time permits. The phone rang several times, but I couldn't stop. I didn't want to lose the wet edge (and at my age, you got a wet edge, you go for it! LOL!) At 8:35 PM, all the cabinet faces have gotten one coat. I will have to wait until tomorrow when it's dry to see if it needs two (I hope not!)

Checked the caller id after cleaning up. One call was from my daughter, Melissa, but, when I listened to the voicemail, she just had words of encouragement and an understanding why I didn't answer the phone (thanks, Babe! I will call you back!)

Also, I forgot to mention, when I got home, THE GRASS WAS CUT!!!

Heated up a Marie Callender's chicken pot pie in the microwave for dinner (a little pricey, but the only one I've found that is big enough for a meal, tastes great and browns in the microwave.) I ate it while watching the Military Channel on cable to see if I could find a D-Day show. But, if one was on, it was earlier than 9:00 PM.

The forecasted weather and temperature tonight is such that I thought it would be okay to leave the kitchen window opened a bit, because I am SICK of smelling latex paint drying!

Went to bed at 10:00 PM, but woke up at midnight (third night in a row) and thought I might as well post this while I'm waiting for Morpheus to call me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Interesting Factoid

More English, French and Italian soldiers died in World War I that did in World War II.

D-Day

As you may have noticed in the "Today in History" box, this is the 63rd anniversary of D-Day. The Allied invasion of France marked a turning point in WWII and we should all take a moment to remember those men who braved the massive German defenses on those beaches (if you ever watched "Saving Private Ryan" you got a sense of what it was like).

I am a little disappointed at the lack of ceremonies today. When I was a lad, it was a much bigger deal...

Tuesday

I stopped at Home Depot on the way home to pick up some more drop cloths and other small stuff. When I got home, though, the first thing I did was to grab my pruning shears and go out in back. I noticed over the weekend a lot of the maples are getting suckers where I had trimmed the branches. So, I snipped them off.

I also noticed two other things: The roses I planted this Spring are growing nicely (although someone told me I won't see blooms for two more years) and the original rose bush I moved into the back garden from the lawn is blooming (took some pictures and posted). The other thing I noticed was the lawn is still not cut. So, I called down the road when I was finished. She said when she came to cut on Monday, they were spraying (true) and it rained a little Tuesday morning, so she didn't want to put ruts in the lawn (good) so she is definitely going to cut the lawn on Wednesday (I hope!)

Then I changed into my painting clothes and got started inside. I am trying two tricks I read about on the Better Homes and Gardens website. Did you ever put masking tape on something, paint it and then find the paint had seeped under the tape. Well, I have. But they said that if you run the handle of your painting knife along the edge, the friction heats the glue up just enough to really seal it. So, I taped off all the cabinets and ran the handle of the painting knife along the edge.

The other trick they recommended was to use a foam roller instead of the 1/8 inch nap kind, because it disperses the paint better. So, I bought a 3-inch foam roller. I cut in and rolled as I went (so to keep the wet edge) and removed the masking tape as I finished. I got the upper cabinets along the wall where the fridge goes and the one upper cabinet that goes from there to the sink done by 8:10 PM. I decided that was a good stopping point.

I called my Mom, who had apparently called me on Sunday and left a message, but I didn't check the Caller ID until Tuesday. She said there were 32 people out at Lake Orion on Memorial Day, and she will be moving out there for the Summer as soon as her hearing aid comes in.

I warmed up the hamburger and rice mixture for dinner, watched a little TV and then went to sleep.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

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New rose #1

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New rose #2

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The original rose that used to be in the lawn

Monday

Hurried home and went out and filled the bird feeder. Amazingly, the suet I hung up on Saturday is all gone! While I was at it, I checked the rain gauge. We had an additional 1/2 inch of rain since I checked and emptied it on Saturday.

Oh, and just so you know, despite her promises on Saturday to cut the grass on Monday, it never got cut. This is starting to annoy me...

I changed clothes and now off to work! I took the orbital sander to the drawer and sink faces and the liberally applied spackling compound. Then, I used the air compressor tank and an air gun I bought today at Sears to blow the dust off them. Then I masked off the areas I didn't want painted. Now comes the fun part, using the Wagner Airless Sprayer for the first time.

Set up a mini-spray booth in the garage using the garage door (after
unplugging the garage door opener) and the chain that runs down the middle to hang drop cloths. I took some photos and posted the. It's crude, yes, but I hope it works, as I don't really want my garage yellow!

Next I assembled the gun per instructions and, after testing the spray
pattern on a piece of cardboard, sprayed the drawers and sink front with the primer. I cleaned the gun and switched to the real paint for the door backs. I was trying to minimize the overspray by using the low speed and less pick-up. But the first two doors had more "droplets" than "spray" so I gave up on the idea and used it on high speed and full pick up. I had a LOT of overspray, but the door backs came out beautiful.

By way of comparison, it took me almost eight hours to hand-paint the primer on the doors. It took less than three hours using the airless spray gun.

I quit just before 10:00 PM. Dinner was a leftover pork chop, eaten cold with just salt. Read a little and then went to sleep. Woke up at 2:00 AM and shut the light off, but didn't fall back asleep until about 4:00 AM.

Monday, June 4, 2007

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Funny, this doesn't look like the Paint Booth at Building 50

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"Paint Booth" View 2

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"Paint Booth" View 3

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"Paint Booth" View 4

Rainy Days and Sundays...

Woke up at 6:12 AM. My right elbow and shoulder hurt and I do not feel the slightest bit motivated. So, I putzded around a while. Then, I shaved and showered and left to grocery shop and run some Sunday errands. I got back home and put away all the groceries. Then I went outside to take some pictures of the clematis, which is full of buds this year and just starting to bloom.

I swept and vacuumed all the floors before resuming construction (I noticed I was dragging sawdust and other stuff everywhere). I am moving the drying room from downstairs (where it made doing laundry or feeding Scruffy difficult) to the kitchen, now that the walls are painted. I started the first of three loads of laundry I had to wash today.

Took two 2 x 4's and ripped them in half for the drying racks. Its raining off and on, now, BTW. Then I ripped down the lathe for the drawer faces and sink front. I put together one of the roller stands I bought yesterday to hold the lathe strips while I mitered them. I cut out all of the pieces and took a break for a late lunch (I ate the left over egg roll with the plum sauce). Tasted good, even on the second day.

Next I put together the new air compressor. This one you had to run 15 minutes with the tank drain plug open for a break-in period. Geesh, these things are noisy! Then, once it was ready, I glued and nailed the lathe on.

Then I applied the spackling compound to the nail and the corners and set them in the kitchen to dry. It was 8:10 PM, so I decided I wasn't going to be painting anything today and after folding the last load of laundry, I made dinner.

Probably inspired by yesterday's Chinese takeout, I made an old favorite of mine. I browned some hamburger; saut�ed onions, mushrooms and celery, then I added some rice and water. I ate the resultant mixture with soy sauce, watching TV. Then I went to sleep at 10:00 PM.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

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The new, kitchen, drying area

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The clematis looks great this year!

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Clematis Closeup

Saturday, shopping, painting and taking a break

Woke up to the alarm. I need to get all my errands run before the predicted heat and humidity hit. So, I just showered and put the packed up Bostich Nailer/Stapler and my overdue library books in the car and took off.

No problem on returning the Bostich. I did tell them about the broken valve problem, but they really didn't seem to care. Picked up some things I needed while I was there, then went to Harbor Freight. I picked up some great deals on roller stands, a 50 foot 3/8 inch hose for the new compressor and a swing-away trailer stand (I'm getting tired of perching it on a stool). Then I hit Sears for a Wagner attachment that will allow me to spray on stain. On the 'net it was on sale for $15.00, but the store had it priced at $25. So, I bitched a little, they went on line and ended up selling it to me at $15.00.


I went to the Library and gave them $9.00 US in past due funds (hey! I was trying to get a kitchen finished. Nowhere in the timeline was "Go to the library") Stopped at a store on Five Mile Road I noticed before, called a "Feed Store". Asked if they sold wild bird seed, and like I thought, they had several mixtures and prices. Bought 40 pounds of feed at much less than I've been paying and a couple of suet cakes. Got back home around 10:00 AM, and it's already hot and sticky.

Went in and filled out a check for my lawn service. I had mentioned to the husband last year I thought he should increase his prices. His answer was, "No way! You're my neighbor!" But, that's silly in the present circumstances. Gasoline is like twice as much. So, I changed the $20 a cutting to $25. When I drove down and gave Tonya the check, she said this is wrong. I said, "No, we are neighbors, but this is a business transaction and you are not charging enough. I don't care about your other customers, but I am paying $25 per cutting or I will find someone else." She thanked me and took the check.

Went back home and changed into my painting clothes. I put the first coat on the kitchen walls. I did buy one of those painter's knives and it worked great! The guy who painted the kitchen before had a lot of dried on "drips" and the knife just popped them off. I wish I would have had it yesterday night.

I didn't mention this, but yesterday, my friend B___ said to me, "What did you mean, you cut in the kitchen?" I said, "I did all the brush work in the corners and at the ceiling." He said, "I didn't know you could do that. I always was told you needed to keep the wet edge, so I always only cut in one wall, and then roll it. Otherwise, you see the cut in lines." I said, "Pshaw! My way will work!"

Well, I hate to admit it but, he was right! First coat of paint is on the kitchen walls and where I started is already dry. And, yes, you can see where I cut in. Damn it! Luckily, I bought two gallons of paint. So, I'll eat some lunch, eat some Tylenol, take a nap and then repaint the walls.

I did all those things, except my nap was shortened by a call from Carla, asking me if I'd like to take a break tonight and play some cards. Hmmm... let me think about that... ah, YES!!!

Sp, I got up and put the second coat on the kitchen and hall walls. During which, the much forecasted, but yet to be seen thunderstorm occurred. I took a break and gave the Thunder Beings the traditional Lakota greeting standing on the front porch to watch it rain. I would guess it rained less than a half an hour, but it came down hard, with lots of lightning. I checked the rain gauge afterwards and we got almost 3/4 of an inch of rain. No watering today!

Got the kitchen repainted, so I threw my painting clothes in the hamper and took a quick, rinse-off shower. Jake and Carla showed up as I started typing this. They had Chinese take-out: both shrimp and pork fried rice and a bunch of egg rolls. We ate, and then played cards (I lost, as usual). After they left, I read a book and then went to bed.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

I heard this on the radio this morning...

and remembered why I liked the song back in the day.

I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles, such are promises
All lies in jest,
still a man hears what he wants to hear,
and disregards the rest.

from: The Boxer
by: Simon & Garfunkel

Unfulfilling Friday

Well, the plan was to paint the walls tonight, but, like most things on this project, that didn't work. First thing was to remove the (I can't remember what it's called. The decorative piece between the cabinets over the sink that sorta hides the light. So, we'll call it a do-dad). I thought I could just take the do-dad out, but it covered up an inset in the plaster. So, I ripped it on the table saw to the exact height and nailed it in and put the molding that covered it back on. Looks bad. You can see the edges of the quarter round molding on the cabinets. So, I took a better measurement and cut a piece (from my scrap pile) 2 � inches x 40 5/8 inches and nailed that up. Covered it with the molding and it looks much better. I will probably put in something more decorative later, but this looks okay for now.

Next I had to scrape the walls. I noticed when I was cutting in the paint that, over the years, a ridge of paint had built up next to each door molding. Since the new molding is � inch wider, this is not good. I know my brother-in-law Terry, the painter, used to use a "painter's knife" but I don't have one, so I used a wide wood chisel. It took forever, and made quite a mess, but I finally got all six doorways done.

Now it's after 8:00 PM, so gave up on thoughts of painting and went out to water (still no sign of the forecasted rain). This time I took B___'s advice and hooked up the back hose instead of carrying buckets back and forth. Of course, since I had the hose in hand, I watered everything instead of just the roses and tomato plants. I really like how this garden is turning out, BTW.

Got in at 9:13 PM and rustled up some dinner. It was a big can of Hormel chili, with the whites and greens of two scallions added and topped with a slice of sharp cheddar. It sounded like it would go well with a Labatt's beer, so that's what I had. Then, no TV, no reading, I went straight to sleep.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Holidays on June 1, 2007

Arrival of the Swiss at the Port Noir - celebrated in Switzerland
Dayak Festival - celebrated in Malaysia
Independence Day - celebrated in Western Samoa
Jubilee - celebrated in Peru
Mandaraka Day - celebrated in Kenya
Mother and Child Day - celebrated in Mongolia
President's Day - celebrated in Palau
Republic Day - celebrated in Ireland
The Festival of Roses, Valley of the Roses - celebrated in Bulgaria
Reconciliation Week - celebrated in Australia
And International Children's Day - celebrated in Angola, Australia, Cambodia, China, Laos, North Korea, Uruguay and Vietnam

Tired Thursday

So today, after doing some research, I went to Sears at lunch and bought a different compressor and nail gun set. This one will allow me to shoot 2 1/2 inch finish nails so I can also use it to put up all the molding. It cost a bit more, but it came with three guns instead of one and was on sale with $50 US off.

However, I didn't even open it when I got home. Changed clothes and started to cut in the kitchen and hallway walls. Took my time so I wouldn't mess up the ceiling. Finished that at 8:13 PM. Now, I'm heading out to water. Monday it will have been two weeks since I put down the grass seed so I will stop watering then. It will either have sprouted and is growing, or not.

It was getting dark by the time I finished. As a matter of fact, when I took the buckets back to the roses and tomatoes, I set off my motion-detector spotlights.

Warmed up three brats for dinner at 9:30 PM, couldn't find anything interesting on TV so I went to bed.