Saturday, August 31, 2013

Interesting Factoid

This is the first month of August since 2002 that we have NOT had a hurricane!

Finally Friday (and three days to labor)

Friday was another hot and humid day, with temps in the mid-80’s. Michelle did a morning “breakfast run” to McDonalds so I had “second breakfast” of a sausage and egg McMuffin.

I had planned to go home for lunch, with a stop at GFS for charcoal and more kitchen bar towels. But, I was feeling stuffed and the idea of eating another hamburger seemed too much.

So, I went to the Newburgh Grill and had a cup of mediocre clam chowder and a mini Greek salad. Then I went to Lowe’s and got some "Cowboy" lump charcoal, their version of bar towels and some paint stripper.

Just after 4:00 p.m., my boss sent most of us home for the Holiday (nice). She and Reggie, the poor Help Desk guy, stayed to cover for us.

So, I got an early start on my long weekend labors. I started by cutting the front lawn with the push mower. Now, I’ve managed to keep the black walnuts on the front lawn to a minimum (by throwing them into the empty lot next door, so the squirrels can still find them). But the side lawn is a real hazard! There’s another black walnut tree just behind that big maple with the tree garden. Unfortunately, both are NOT on my lot.

I have to address these soon before I turn an ankle! But they are falling faster than I can get rid of them.

Then I took the push mower out back and cut all the spots the lawn tractor can’t reach. Speaking of things I can’t seem to keep up with, there were a lot more ripe cherry and Roma tomatoes. So I picked them all and put them in my old plastic colander (that’s my veggie-picking basket – lightweight, and a built-in drain when I rinse my harvest).

The green peppers were finally coming in and the yellow squash plants were dead. The peppers weren’t quite big enough to pick, but I did pull out the squash plants.

I opened the shed to find out what kind of seed was in the Pennington bag, but still can’t tell Carl. All it said was “sun and shade mix.”  So, I locked the shed back up and went inside for the evening. It was 7:40 p.m.

My daughter Melissa called just after I came in. We chatted for a while. They are s-l-o-w-l-y adjusting to living life in Michigan again. Apparently, its quite different here, in a lot of ways, from North Carolina!

After we hung up, I still didn’t feel like eating dinner, so I snacked on all the cherry tomatoes (delicious, and I couldn’t get them any fresher!)

It was just after 10:00 p.m. and I was debating on whether or not to just go to bed when the weather alert went off. A severe thunderstorm was heading my way. Sure enough, about 20 minutes later, it blew in. “Severe” was putting it mildly! It wasn’t lightning and then thunder, but continual flashes (like a strobe light) and rolling thunder. The wind thrashed through the trees and seemed to keep changing directions. I sat in the dark living room and watched it all.

The rain came in sheets and then I heard a weird sound. It was small hail hitting the windows! The storm only lasted about a half hour, but it was intense! After it was over, I went to bed.

Sidebar: I went out Saturday morning and checked the gauge. That short, but wicked storm dumped 3/4-inch of rain on my yard! Thanks, I needed that. And, I didn’t see any major tree limbs down. I didn’t need that…

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Short Thursday Update

(Hey, nothing much happened!)

Thursday was mostly cloudy, hot and humid. I went home at lunch and ate a burger.

By the time my 3:00 p.m. walk rolled around, it was uncomfortably warm outside.

When I got home, I set up the sanding station again. This time I did the final sanding on every bench board with 150 grit sandpaper. Now, if this were, say, a cradle, I would sand it again with even finer paper. However, this is supposed to be a rustic, old barn wood bench, so this was the last time.

I got everything put away and the garage door down at 7:40 p.m. I cut up three hot dogs and added them to a can of bean for my dinner (there were only four pretzel buns and they were gone).

I was watching some taped TV when my Brother Carl called. He wanted to know “exactly” what kind of grass I had planted. He had a bald spot in his lawn from digging up something. I knew it was Pennington and I knew it was their version of “Sun & Shade,” but I didn’t remember if it was fescue, or rye or whatever. It was about 9:30 and there’s no electricity in the shed or I would have went and looked. But he said since I bought it at Home Depot, he would just go to his and figure it out.

I went to bed early, not wanting to sleep through the morning alarm again.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thought for the Day

"If women are so bloody perfect at multitasking, how come they can't have a headache and sex at the same time?"

~ Billy Connolly, Greatest Living Scottish Thinker

Not a Great Day…

I woke up to the alarm on Wednesday, but shut it off and went back to sleep. I woke up 45 minutes later! So, I had to hustle a bit.

I walked in the bedroom, just after my shower, to get dressed. Caley was standing on the bed. She looked at me, then turned her head and barfed a big, wet hairball!! So, instead of getting dressed, I mopped up the mess and then took the bedding down to the laundry room. Sigh…

I made it to work with five minutes to spare. That’s still early, I suppose, but late for me!

The highlight of my day was going to Time Out for lunch. I had a pulled pork sandwich (first time I’ve ever seen it offered) that was fantastic!

The afternoon at work had even more frustrating things happening. For example, I was composing an email and tried to type the word “Paul.” But, when I hit the shift key and then the “P” it typed “1.” I thought I’d fat-fingered it, until I realized that the two keys aren’t even close on a the keyboard. I kept trying for “P” and kept getting “1.” So,  tried the shift lock and got “p” WTF!?!

I had to shut down the program and start it back up before it finally began to work again. Thanks, Office 365!

One good thing was that my boss returned from a lunch meeting with vendors and brought back five boxes of “Jimmy Lunches” (a box with a Jimmy Johns sandwich, a pickle, a bag of chips and a cookie). Of course, we had all eaten already, but I grabbed one for dinner tonight.

Finally, it was 5:00 p.m. and I was banging that drum! After treating the cats and changing clothes, I started the Wednesday night wash (this time two loads). I went out back to check the rain gauge and found another 1/2 inch of rainwater. So, I got a respectable 3/4-inch of rain on Tuesday.

I set up the sawhorses outside again and finished the rough sanding on the bench sides. The, I used clamps to hold each of them while I cut them down to size with the circular saw.

Next, I tried my idea for using the wire brush attachment on the drill to gouge the wood a bit. It worked great! Roughs up the wood, but looks quite natural.

Then the fun stuff! I got the propane torch, finally got it to stay lit and then started burning selected boards. Safety Note: I had a bucket of water and a wet rag close at hand. As my Brother Carl pointed out in his previous comment this, too, is a popular method to “age” wood. Plus, it’s freakin’ fun!

I noticed this showed the effect of the wire brush off, so I took a photo for you. It was too subtle to show up on the raw wood.

Wire Brush Effect
Some of the Burnt Wood

I finally quit at 7:50 p.m. and put everything away. I made sure I wiped all the burnt wood with the wet rag before going in (I don’t want any late-night surprise visits from the Fire Department!

I had my Jimmy Lunch for dinner. I took the “Vito” (their version of an Italian sub). I would normally take the “Turkey Tom” but didn’t feel safe eating a sandwich with mayo that had set out all afternoon. It was pretty good! And the chocolate chunk cookie made for a great dessert!


I finished folding the laundry, making the bed, etc., and watched some taped TV. But, I was beat and went to bed at 10:00 PM.