Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fans installed

Upstairs ready for new tenant arrival.

And somehow I feel like I'm just losing days of time here. I think it's the fact that I don't have internet at the house right now, which has been wonderful for productivity (I wander outside and weed or move things as opposed to getting distracted by grantland.com or whatever... for... hours) but I think it screws with my sense of days since I don't look at my online calender as frequently, I don't see days listed on web news stories, etc etc.

First world problems of the Gen Y existentialist variety...

Friday, July 22, 2011

You know why I'm sitting in the green room watching Hulu right now?

Because I did stuff all day today and I deserve it, that's why.

Up early to scrape the last of the gravel up and pile it by the parking spaces. Realized that the back yard gets more sun than I remembered, especially early in the morning, which is not good when the temperature is expected to be near triple digits. Moved all the bricks that had been supporting the big pile of wood to where the gravel had been out back, thus freeing up another ten feet of driveway.

Drove north (did anyone ever say 'Go north, young man! (or woman!)'? Somehow I don't think so, or at least not seriously.), even though I always swear to avoid going up Rt. 58 and into Elyria or Lorain around midday. Stopped for lunch at Blue Sky Diner because a) it's delicious if terrible b) I was hungry and c) it meant I could get out of the car after stop and start traffic on a bright, sunny day where the temperature was expected to be near triple digits. The plan - and you know what they say about plans - was to stop by the Restore, then Goodwill/Sears (I had a gift card), then Lowes, then a used car dealership looking for, in total:

  • one brake light bulb for my Landcruiser
  • plastic sheeting, for to well cover the lumber
  • a ceiling fan/light unit for one of the upstairs bedrooms
  • a car with better gas mileage
  • anything else that looks interesting/useful
Here is what I did get:
  • two brake light bulbs for my Landcruiser
  • plastic sheeting, for to well cover the lumber
  • two green glasses (I love those for some reason) and a picture frame (Goodwill, in case you were wondering)
  • two awesome wood windows with original hardware that I have no need for at the moment but were in too good condition to pass up
After sitting in the car for way longer than I wanted to during all this (you know what's weird? When your forearms sweat because they're in the sun while your hands are on the wheel. It's weird, trust me. And mildly unpleasant. And creepily like that scene on the Golden Gate Bridge in 'The Core' which is an awesome movie but I digress.) I saw a very threatening sky, and knowing that thunderstorms were expected this evening I scrapped the last two stops on the trip and returned home, for to well cover the lumber.

Oh, first I had to spend fifteen minutes in the parking lot at Sears trying to pull out the old burned-out brake light because I am a dumbass and never remember things like 'these type of lights are push and twist, and then they pop right out'.

Home, to lay a tarp over all the bricks (keeping ground moisture seeping into the low boards to a minimum) then move the roughly forty planks to their new home, cover them with the plastic sheeting, and clean up the various planks and beams scattered about the yard on which the boards had been drying. Here's my clever tip for the day that most people already know but too many of us forget - water does a spectacular job of transferring heat, part of the reason that we sweat, so if you're working outside, especially when doing something physical, douse - just, seriously, *douse* - yourself with some water, especially the top of your head, every so often. It'll keep you from having heat stroke and it'll keep you working steadily instead of crashing to a halt while you move old oak boards in a desperate attempt to get them stacked, covered, and weighted down before the impending torrents... impend? on us? I did so, barely, powering through on endorphins and the thought of an orange soda from the vending machine in the green room (the machine never gets restocked during the summer, because corporate America hates actors that's why). Success. Sweaty, dirty, tiring, success.

Does this sound like a rant? I hope not. I don't like ranty-blogs. I mean, I don't really like most 'here's my day' blogs anyway and this has turned into one of those as of late, so maybe some more self-loathing is in order.

Anyway, now I have my driveway back! And the lumber has been well checked, mostly dried, and safely stowed. And I've been watching TV for an hour and a half now before Hamlet. Good times. Good times.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oh man! Today I did stuff!

97 degrees today and I decided to work outside most of the day. With the breeze, working mostly in the shade, and drinking plenty of water, it was fine (I think - check back tomorrow to see if I'm dead). Peaceful at times, actually - a good day's work in the great outdoors, or whatever a small backyard is considered.

All the joists are laid out and soaking up rays. 95% of the gravel has been moved from the yard to the new parking spaces, to be spread about soon. Tomorrow I'll flip the boards and figure out how to stow them where the gravel was, thus freeing up my driveway for, y'know, a car or something.

This would probably make more sense with pictures. And it would probably matter more if anyone were reading this blog aside from me. You are? Well click on an ad to say hi or something.

Tomorrow: more stuff. Yes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lumbering about with lumber

Remember the other big pile of wood? With two straight days of near triple digit sunny weather, I'm temporarily covering my lawn with the stuff to dry and de-mold it, and see what condition it's in. Then maybe I'll sand some of it, but mostly I think I'll just be wrapping it tightly in plastic and putting it somewhere else in the yard for use next year. Oh the planning...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Paint paint paint paint

On the east side, this time. Pictures coming once everything is done, which might be by month's end oh the optimism.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oh I'm a lumberjack...

Best workout in a while - taking down parts of well-established buckthorn *trees* using a hatchet. I recommend a soundtrack of late-80s punk, or the NPR podcasts I was actually listening to.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cheap building materials you say?

In my never-ending quest for the right fittings for my reclaimed-materials bookcase, I traveled to my local Habitat for Humanity Restore, a veritable treasure trove of stuff I shouldn't be thinking about buying because I don't really at this moment have a use for it. Windows and doors, plumbing fixtures, contractor remainders of all types - it's a great place to pick up cut-rate materials, although you can never be sure what will be in stock. I left with four 4x4 beams (non pressure treated) at $2/piece. Worth checking out the one in your area.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Extensively throughout the yard(s), including a real thorough hack at the stuff growing around my old dwarf apple tree. (In an awesome turn of events, both the dwarf tree and the young apple I planted next to it last year are both bearing fruit; small and probably tart since I haven't been spending enough time on them, but fruit nonetheless.)

Of particular interest was the discovery of why buckthorn shoots keep cropping up around the dwarf apple - there's a thick stem *ball* that established itself *under* a low-leaning branch. No way to dig this one up, so I've cut all the shoots, dug up the few seedlings nearby, and am now talking with a brother of a friend who is a forester about paint-on pesticides for buckthorn. More updates once the devilish weed is dead.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Excitement on all sides

1) I finished drilling all the beams for the bookcase.

2) A '63 Cadillac plowed into my neighbor's rose bushes while trying to avoid another neighbor's pickup truck at an intersection. No one was hurt. The image of a giant boat of a car nestled amongst foliage, with a flattened stop sign on the ground nearby, will remain in my mind for a while though.

Monday, July 11, 2011

More hammering

And more scraping, trying to finish off the prep work on the east side before a new tenant comes into those rooms.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Did things?

Did I do things? I like to think I've been doing things that don't involve betraying my childhood friend and then dying in England (true story; just not mine), but I can't say for sure.

Such nice weather today - let me get some things posted for my actual job, and then go paint something.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hey here's a good idea for homeowners

No really, it's one of those things that, if you haven't done it already, you'll smack your head when you read it:

Drill holes in the bottom of your garbage cans/recycling bins so rain can't collect in them.

That's it. I did this soon after moving into my house, although after one heavy rainstorm. It's one of those things that you won't notice the positive effects so much as you won't notice the negative ones. Yes. Sentence structure.

For those craving specifics: I think I used a 3/4 inch spade bit on the recycling bins (our town uses 3 gallon buckets for recyclables), one hole dead center; and a 3/8" or so bit several times on the bottom of the trash can. You shouldn't be impacting the structural integrity of the can if you drill 2-3 holes spaced out from each other and avoiding any seams.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Paint goes on...

There are four sections of exterior wall that still need painting, and the plan is that they will all be completed this summer - maybe even this month if the weather continues to cooperate. All are second-story sections, three on the west wall (the windward side of the house, so these probably should have gotten attention sooner; at least the shingles are in good shape) and one on the east.

Other things have happened on the house since I last wrote, of course, but today's *fretfully* exciting update is that one of the four sections - the smallest, easiest to tackle, and least in need of tackling section, that which is north-most on the west side) is almostverynearlynotquite done! All it needs is to paint the five foot by one foot section that looks remarkably like the outline of a ladder's top.

Also, I swear to some overhead being that the gravel driveway expansion is nearly finished and ready for testing. In the words of Hamlet's father: SWEAR!

Update (Tuesday night): The five square feet of unpainted wall have been painted. Tada!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Today you may have seen me:

  • Drilling holes in the bookcase beams
  • Moving more gravel - I think it's just about done
  • Trimming a tree
But only if you were walking down my street at the very moment I was doing those things. For the rest of you - trust me; they happened.