Saturday, October 21, 2017

Finally Friday

I woke up early again on Friday. It was a little chilly (mid 40's) but supposed to warm up to near 70 degrees later.

I made a fried egg sandwich for my breakfast. Then I got dressed in work clothes (figured I'd shave and shower later).

I pulled the truck outside and got my space organized to work on the cradle.

Sidebar: More and more I wish I'd built a workshop out back when I was working and had the money!

I finish-sanded the two rockers. Then, with great difficulty, I screwed them onto the cradle bottom.

Sidebar: I like to screw them on, rather than just nail, because I assume they will take the most stress.

I took a break and had a cup of coffee sitting on the porch rocker.

Back at work, I cut out eight braces for the rockers. I used the brad nailer and glue to attach them.

I let the glue on those dry while I filled in the screw holes with wood putty. Then I double-checked I hadn't missed any nail holes. Found two I forgot to putty (whoops).

It was after 1:00 p.m. and I was hungry. But, before I made myself some lunch, I wanted to tighten the bolts holding down the toilet in the main bath.

Sidebar: Ever since that two week bout of diarrhea a while back, the toilet rocks a little when you sit on it. Even Amanda has mentioned it. I assumed all my mad dashes and dives to it loosened the bolts.

But, when I took the little decorative cap off, half of the bolt came with it. It had rusted completely through!!!


So, I drove to Home Depot and bought a toilet wax ring kit that came with new bolts. On the way out, I bought two hot dogs. I topped them with mustard and onions and ate them in the truck before heading back home. Lunch solved!

I was tired, so I didn't attempt to fix the toilet then. Instead I took a long nap.

When I woke up, I put the garage back in order and pulled the truck inside. Then I shaved, showered and got dressed.

Amanda had to work until 5:00 p.m., so she picked up Keldon from her mother's afterwards. Then they both picked me up. That's when I learned that our dinner plans had changed ("if it's okay with you"). Seems her mother and father were joining us (no problem) and the restaurant had changed.

Instead of Archie's or Daly's (good food, low prices) we were meeting at Outback ("if it's okay with you"). Now, I am not impressed with Outback's food (mediocre at best) or prices (don't forget, these folks all have jobs - I don't). But, what could I say?

After dinner, her folks went home and we wen to to Michael's (all their Halloween stuff was discounted 50-70% and Amanda loves Halloween.

They dropped me off around 8:00 p.m. I thought briefly about working on either the toilet or the cradle, but decided against it. I fell asleep watching some taped DIY shows. I woke up just after 11:00, so I watched the news and the Tonight show. Then I went to bed for real.

Birthday Shoutout!

Happy Birthday to my dear daughter, Melissa!!! Enjoy your special day!!!

Friday, October 20, 2017


I woke up at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday. I ate waffles for breakfast and had two cups of coffee before dressing in my work clothes. I watched the news for a bit, then posted to the Blog.

I finally pulled the truck out of the garage around 9:00 a.m. It was still cool, by the way.

I closed the garage door and, inside, I set up my sawhorses, got out the track saw and began cutting out the cradle sides.

Sidebar: There are angles EVERYWHERE and the track saw is invaluable. I can't believe I was able to make Yanessa's cradle (which was much more complicated) four years ago without it! Thanks again to Jake and Carla for that awesome Christmas present!!!

I got the sides cut out and then made the curve with the saber saw. Next came a lot of sanding with both the belt sander and the orbital sander. I quit around 11:30 a.m. I needed a break from standing on the cement garage floor and to breath some fresh air. I opened up the garage door and swept up the sawdust to date

I made a cup of coffee and sat on the porch rocker for a while. It had warmed up nicely. Then I made a quick trip to Home Depot to buy the paint.

Sidebar: Yes, I said paint, not stain. I think that's a little weird, but it saved me from applying a ton of birch veneer edging. What seems even weirder is her color choice (I would have guessed white, pink or blue). She said the nursery colors with be white and slate and could I paint it slate.

So, I got some slate paint (hey, I just have to make it. I don't have to live with it, LOL). I grabbed a hot dog on the way out for my lunch. I ate it in the truck and then drove back home.

I started assembling the front and back with glue and nails from the air gun.

Sidebar: The 15 degree angles I mentioned made that quite difficult. You not only had to hold two angled pieces in place but then nail in the right spot, at an angle. This would have been easier if I had another person to hold stuff!

The sides were a bit easier, nailing them to the front and back. But it was more difficult to nail them blind, on an angle from the bottom board.

I quit around 6:00 p.m. I swept up the sawdust again.

Then I took a couple photos of the progress to date.

I set the cradle aside (to let the glue dry overnight), disassembled my work table and pulled the truck inside.

I disrobed and put my sawdust-covered clothes in the washer. I took a rinse-off shower and then got "dressed" in my bathrobe and slippers (I was beat and had no intention of going anywhere).

I warmed up the last of the kielbasa and sauerkraut for dinner.

I started watching taped TV shows, but crashed like a rock before 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Twisted, but I love it!

Hump Day

I woke up (or so I thought) at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday. I got a cup of coffee and then went back to bed to watch the news. I apparently dozed off, because I was awakened by the coffee (which had been in a cup in my hand) on the sheets! Damn!

So, I stripped the bed and washed the sheets. I ate some oatmeal for breakfast.

When the washing machine stopped, I went down to put the clothes in the dryer.That's when I found the floor drain had backed up again (second time in less than a week).

I gave up and called my sewer guy. He said they could be out at 1:00 p.m. with the water jet.

I skipped my shower (really didn't need any more water on the floor). I just got dressed and pulled the truck out of the garage. The sun was shining and that's when I noticed the big scratch on my hood!

Sidebar: I can see a scratch or ding on the sides, back or front of the truck (shopping cart, somebody opening their car door too wide, even some asshole keying the truck, etc.). But, how in the hell did that get there?

I need some touch-up paint. I don't want it to rust!!!

I worked on the cradle until the sewer guys showed up. I had to invent yet another fixture to work on the heart with the Dumore.

They promptly arrived at 1:00 p.m. with the sewer jet machine in tow.

I asked if they needed an extension cord (they do with the root cutter) but they said no, the water jet runs off a gasoline motor. So, they went off to do their thing and I got back to work.

Five minutes later, they came back, embarrassed. Seems like somebody left the key for said gasoline motor turned "on" and the battery was dead. They asked if I had a battery charger. I told them I did and went out to the shed to get it.

We shot the shit while the battery charged up. The one guy (who said he owned a Harley, but thought my bike was super cool) offered me $3,000.00 on the spot to buy the Royal Enfield. I told him I'd probably end up having to sell it in the Spring to pay my income taxes, but I wanted to hang onto it for now.

I mentioned it was just one of a long list of things I've bought and never been able to use (like the kayak and/or the shotgun). The other guy wanted to see the shotgun and I ended up selling it to him!

They finally got the motor started and jetted the sewer line from the downstairs drain all the way out to the road. I put $500.00 on the credit card and they left just after 2:00 p.m.

I went back to work on the cradle.

I quit at 4:00 p.m. I put everything away, but left the truck outside. I ate a few grapes for a late lunch then shaved, showered and dressed.

I left around 5:30 p.m. to go and meet Amanda and her mother at the Elks Club. We were all supposed to play bingo. However, Amanda (who pulled in just after me) was by herself. Seems Fran (her Mom) wasn't feeling well and decided to stay home.

So, the two of us carried on the tradition of sitting there for almost four hours and not winning a goddam thing!

Sidebar: I had hoped to win that $500 bucks back, BTW.

I was starving, so I asked Amanda if she was hungry. Turns out she had come directly from work and didn't eat dinner, either. So, I followed her car to the Ram's Horn (Middlebelt and Joy) and we finally had our dinner. Well, she had dinner (side salad with a baked potato - extra butter, no sour cream) while I went with breakfast (eggs over easy, sausage links, hash browns and rye toast).

She said her food was delicious and I know mine was!

We said goodbye in the parking lot and I drove home. I got there about 11:15 p.m. I treated the cat and undressed. I thought briefly about watching the news, but decided to hell with it and just went to bed. It had been a long-ass day...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Then it was Tuesday...

It was a tad warmer on Tuesday morning. I took the trash and recyclables out to the road at 6:30 a.m.

Sidebar: You can't see it from the following photo, but there was a small sliver of light from the moon and you could easily make out the dark, round shape. Under it (and brighter than it) was Venus. Absolutely stunning. Wish I had a better camera.

Back inside, I made some coffee and oatmeal. I ate that watching the news and then posted to the

I shaved, showered and got dressed in work clothes. This time I wore long pants as it was still chilly. I put on my work jacket and a ball cap (to keep the sawdust out of my hair).

I pulled the truck outside and began constructing yet another jig. It took a couple of variations, but I finally got it right. I locked in the rockers and began sanding.

I ate a lot of sawdust in the beginning (I should try and find those masks I know I have "somewhere") but when it warmed up, I opened the garage door. That was much better!

I left my hat and coat in the garage and took a break for lunch. I had split pea soup with crackers leftover from Sunday. I went back to work and, by 4:00 p.m., finally had them rough sanded into shape.

I pulled the truck back inside, got the trash and recycling bins back in the back and took in the mail.

Sidebar: The mail had two bills in it (one from my doctor and one from the place she had my lab work done). I swear I can't afford to be healthy anymore!!!

I took a rinse-off shower, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt (it was a nice 70 degrees out there) and then started planning dinner.

Now, as I said, Tuesday was National Pasta Day. I remember seeing a recipe for pasta with prosciutto and peas in one of my magazines. perfect! I have half a pound of prosciutto, sliced thin, that I never put out on Sunday (I forgot). And, I have frozen peas. But, I looked through the recent magazines and couldn't find it. Must have been in one I recycled.

Sidebar: I think it was in Bon Appetit.

I went online and found a similar one by Martha Stewart. So, I made that.

I did the prep work first (I'm learning, lol) while 10 ounces of frozen peas thawed. I finely diced a shallot and took half the prosciutto. I cut the prosciutto in half lengthways and then thinly sliced them crossways.

I put a pot of salted water in my pasta pot and brought it to boil. Then I added in a box of fettuccine.

I made the sauce while the pasta cooked. I put a tablespoon of butter in the large skillet and sauteed the shallots for about five minutes.Then I added 2/3 cup of heavy cream, the thawed peas and the prosciutto. I brought that to a gentle simmer over medium heat. I simmer that until the peas were cooked through (three to four minutes)

I drained the pasta, reserving one cup of the pasta water in case I needed to thin the sauce.

I added the zest of one lemon and a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice to the sauce. I pour that over the pasta and added in 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, with a generous helping of salt and black pepper. I stirred that all together and ended up thinning the sauce with about a half cup of pasta water. Then I plated it up.

I must say, it was very, very good!

I watched NCIS, at taped TV show and then NCIS New Orleans. I skipped the 11:00 news and just went to bed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday, October 17

Tuesday, October 17 is National Pasta Day in the United States - Enjoy!!!

Monday, monday...

I woke up at 5:00 a.m. on Monday. It was 44 degrees, but not as windy as Sunday afternoon.

Sidebar: I have grown accustomed to the 70-90 degrees October days. This really feels like Fall. I don't like it!

I had more biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast.Then I stripped the bed and put the bedding in the washer.

Sidebar: This was a Sunday chore I never got to.

I watched some of the morning news and then filled in the Blog. At 9:30 a.m., I shaved, showered and got dressed for a quick trip to various stores. First I went to Michael's. I need a heart to trace for the crib and I knew they had thin, unfinished wood ones. But, they were either too small or too big. I bought one of each, just in case I could somehow use them.

Then I went to Home Depot and bought a Styrofoam cover for the outside faucet.

I was still annoyed with those hearts, so I drove to Target. I figured I could buy some cookie cutters. I couldn't find any, so I asked a store employee. She checked and they do carry cookie cutters, but only on line.

I did find a heart-shaped little pottery dish about the right size, so I bought that, instead.

I stopped at the quarter car wash and vacuumed out the truck (it needed it).

Back home I left the truck outside. I treated the cat. I put the bedding in the dryer and then went out back. I rolled the hose box back in place (if you remember, I left it on the sidewalk, half way back - that sucker is heavy!) and then I put the cover on the faucet.

Back inside, I made some lunch. It was still in the 40's (it never got to 50 degrees all day) and I was chilly. So, I made a can of Campbell's bean with bacon soup and ate it all!

I changed clothes and went to work in the garage. I sanded the hell out of the cradle bottom and added wood putty where needed. That will have to dry overnight.

Then I cut out the other rocker. By then, my arms were aching. So, I took a break after blowing the sawdust off me. I made the bed up. It was 3:30 p.m. and I fell asleep waiting for the 4:00 p.m. news on Channel Four. I woke up around 5:30 p.m. and watched the rest of the news until 7:00.

I reheated the kielbasa, sauerkraut and potatoes and had a bowl of them for dinner.

I watched the Red Wing game. They lost 3-2, but it was a good game. Then I went to bed.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Sunday Story

I woke up early on Sunday. It was warm (70 degrees) but still spitting rain. I ate some more biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast while I watched the Sunday morning news.

I swept the floors and washed the kitchen and main bathroom floors.

While they dried, I shaved, showered and got dressed. Then I headed towards Westborn. I had visitors coming but I couldn't decide on what to make for lunch. So I went with a cheese platter.

I bought red and green grapes, regular green olives, black olives and bleu cheese stuffed olives. I bought spinach dip with small pita rounds. I got some thin-sliced prosciutto. For the cheeses, I picked havarti, sharp cheddar, bleu cheese and brie. Finally, I got a baguette, some water crackers and Town House crackers to go with the cheese.

Jake had called while I was out, but he called back and we caught each other up (with their busy life and my boring one, LOL).

I got out the dishes for the stuff, but only put the grapes out (after I washed them). Then I cut half the baguette into thin slices and cut some of the pita rounds in half. All that, plus the two types of crackers went into a bread basket. I set the cheeses out (still in their wrappings) to come up to room temperature.

A little after noon, the doorbell rang, and I welcomed my son, Jeremy and my granddaughter Riese. He introduced me to his girlfriend Stefani and her son, Rory.

We sat in the living room and chatted for a while. Then I excused myself and set up the cheese platter. I took off the wrappers and set them on a platter with one knife apiece (so as to not mix cheese flavors). I put out plates and napkins. I set some of the various olives in my cut glass veggie tray. The spinach dip went into a glass bowl in the middle of that tray. I figures I was all set, so I invited them to snack.

Sidebar: I wish now I had taken a photo of the spread, but I didn't think about it at the time. In fact, I didn't take a single photo!

And, like my mother before me, I forgot to put out the mixed nuts or the prosciutto.

I had let Jeremy know beforehand what I had to drink (lemonade, orange juice, Lipton's peach flavored ice tea and coffee). Jeremy did have a coffee with me, but they brought their own drinks (I didn't catch what they were).

Nobody ate a lot, BTW. No, seriously. I am going to be stuck with a ton of leftovers! Jeremy and Stefani shared some stories about their recent trips and Riese and Rory talked about their plans after graduating from High School (Riese is a senior and Rory a junior).

It was an interesting visit and then they left around 3:00 p.m. I put everything in baggies and refrigerated the cheeses, olives and spinach dip.

Then I changed clothes and dug out the router table (it was behind the Royal Enfield, so this was not small feat!)

I set the router depth up and the fence and then rounded the edges of the cradle bottom. Again, there was a blizzard of sawdust.

I was tired, so I blew my clothes off and put everything back where it belonged.

Then I took a short nap.

When I woke up, I watched TV (the movie Pulp Fiction - again). When I got hungry, I nibbled on some of today's snacks.

I started yawning around 10:30, so I shut off the TV and went to bed.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Amanda and Keldon picked me up on Saturday just after 9:30 a.m. We were going to the Great Pumpkin Fest on Maybury Farm in Northville, Michigan. It had the usual stuff: hayride, petting zoo, pumpkins, etc. plus apple picking.

We drove through periods of rain. Amanda kept checking to see if it was cancelled, but nothing was posted on their website. We finally got there and was at the gate to pay. The lady in the booth told us it had just been cancelled!!!

Sidebar: Amanda was PISSED!

When she calmed down a bit, she checked for events nearby that were inside. The closest was a Comic-Con at Cleary University in Howell.

So, we drove to Howell and checked it out.

We left there after Keldon won the door prize. We hustled to get back to Livonia (Amanda had to work that night because the usual night waitress quit abruptly). We stopped at the Subway on Stark and Plymouth Road and had a quick lunch.

Then we hurried to Hines park for "Halloween at Hines Drive Park." They had games, two magicians a putt-putt course and (supposedly) hay rides and free trick or treat candy.

The hay ride was eventually cancelled due to the rain. And, instead of the usual tent for the candy distribution, they moved the tables under the pavilion (due to rain and mud).

But, we had a good time!

Keldon as Iron Man!

Our candy haul!

When it finished, we drove to my house. They dropped me off and went on to Amanda's parents house (about a mile away). Amanda took a shower and changed for work. Keldon was staying there until Amanda got off work.

It was only 3:30 p.m., but I was beat. So, I took a long nap. When I woke up, I did a load of laundry and cleaned the house for my Sunday company.

I should have worked on the cradle, but my legs still hurt a little. So, I watched Alabama roll over Arkansas on a college football game.

I made kielbasa, sauerkraut and potatoes for a hearty supper.

I fell asleep watching TV and didn't wake up until 11:15 p.m. So, I stayed up and watched Saturday Night Live. Then I went to bed for real.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cracking Black Walnuts with the WALNUT SAW™

Friday the 13th!

I woke up to the alarm on Friday. I didn't realize it was Friday the 13th until I was making my bed. I flipped the blanket to straighten it out and knocked over a full, tall glass of water! It shattered on the floor and the combination of water and clear glass made it tricky to pick up without getting cut or missing any.

Background story: Friday was Grandparents Day at Keldon's school (Guardian Lutheran School in Dearborn). But Scott's parents live up North and neither Amanda's mom or dad could get off work. Didn't want him sitting alone, so I volunteered.

I left the house at 7:45 a.m. (program started with a church service at 8:45). Scott had just dropped of Keldon and spotted my truck, so we chatted for a bit. Then I went inside.

First we had a prayer service with songs in the school's sanctuary.

Then the kids went to their classroom and the Grandparents and VIPs (I was a VIP, LOL) went and had coffee and snacks. 

 Then we went to the classrooms and played games with our charges.

Next, everyone went back to the sanctuary and played two games: Name that Tune and Family Feud.
They used a mix of teacher, students and grandparents/VIPs, changing them after each round.

Sidebar: I watched the folks play Name that Tune and the first category was "Christmas Songs." I mentally got every one right. Same with the second and third categories. So, I volunteered for the fourth one. When I was up there, they announced the category: Miscellaneous. Damn!!! They were all recent songs and I didn't have a clue. But, I won the last song. It was the theme from "Mash." I think they took pity one me!

Keldon was picked for one round of Family Feud.

Sidebar: I was impressed with the Family Feud. They a very real looking board up on the monitors and it worked just like the one on TV.

After a brief closing prayer, we were all dismissed at noon. I eventually found Keldon and we went to the Book Sale (his mom authorized one book ONLY).

So, he picked out his book and paid for it then we headed home.

Sidebar: I asked him if he was hungry, but he said no. (his dad packed a ton of snacks and he had been munching on them all morning.

So, we went to my house and waited for his mom to get off work. He gave me two things he had made in school to thank me for coming. So, I put them on the fridge (like Grandparents and VIPs do).

He read his book for a while (until he got bored). So, I put him to work, picking up black walnuts with the the pecan picker.

Amanda eventually showed up and we headed out again to Apple Charlie's orchard on New Boston, Michigan. She WAS hungry, so we stopped and grabbed a bite to eat at Wendy's on the way.

Apple Charlie's is an old orchard. First thing was to take a hayride (of course). But this one was perfect! It was so low that the step was a metal milk crate.

Disclosure: Other than the picture of the milk crate all photo credits go to Amanda.

Then we checked out the petting zoo.

Yes,  that is an ostrich!

Finally we took a long walk in the orchard. Th woman who sold me the bag said all the nearby trees had been picked and she was right. The walk back was worse as Amanda and I had to keep sharing and switching the big bag of apples when it got too heavy.

We got some fresh squeezed cider and three donuts on the way out. Amanda also got an apple cinnamon loaf of bread and some jam for Scott.

They dropped me off around 6:30 p.m. and Keldon changed into his costume. They were going to a Trunk or Treat somewhere. When they left, I changed clothes and laid down.

I ate my donut and a big glass of cider for dinner. I fell asleep watching taped TV. It had been a long day!