August 30, 2003

Spaghetti Western

About 7 years ago Thieves Market was going out of business, 25% off, so I treated myself to a good pair of boots -- Tony Lama's. They felt so good that I went back a week later to get another pair. Tried a pair of Justin Boots, but the arch was contoured a tad different and were not as comfortable as the Tony Lamas. So I got a second pair of Tony Lamas. Wore out the soles, resoled, wore out, resoled, wore out, resoled. The uppers were dying (my fault, I am horridly neglectful of simple boot care such as clean and polish.) So about a year ago I got another pair of Tony Lama's, this time on-line from The Cultured Cowboy in Greenwood, South Carolina. (With the Internet everyone is your neighbor.)

Needless to say, I wore out another pair of soles and took them down to the Shoe Doctor for resoling. He did an excelent job and my Tony Lamas now have an Italian Sole. Mama Mia! The Man With No Name walks again.

Posted by at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2003

New Toy (& work)

So the Wednesday's paper had a Fry's ad with a Linux Box, Duron 1.1G, 128M ram, 40G HD, mouse, keyboard, powered speakers, CD, floppy, 10/100 ethernet -- $199.99. Valkyre's been using an old Gateway P-II 200MHz. Today she got a bit of a speed increase. Took Windows off the Gateway and put it on the new box, the Gateway's boot drive is now the D: drive of the new computer.

That killed most of the day, but I did manage to get the room insulated:

Posted by at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2003

My New Van

Click for BIG image It came in, my new company van. It's a brand new 2002 Chevy -- six miles on the odometer. Has an AM/FM radio good enough to pull in from the Inland Empire. It has air conditioning, a V6 (my old van had a V8!), auto, manual windows and locks. It is much better laid out inside for storing stuff -- I should be able to label my shelves and drawers so I'll be able to actually find things I know I have.

Caught a bit of flak for showing up at work in the middle of my vacation. But the van was in, they want the old one by Friday -- which meant that someone else would be assigned to move my stuff from the old van to the new van. And they would mess it up! I came in strictly in self-defense!

Posted by at 07:06 PM | Comments (1)

August 26, 2003

Window = emergency exit

The reason I wanted the four foot wide window was because the bedroom window serves as an escape route in the case of fire blocking the hallway. I believe the requirement is 18 inches wide -- that front opening is 20 inches wide and 43 inches tall.

Posted by at 07:03 PM | Comments (1)

Second Window in

Today was shopping day. As noted yesterday, I needed to bring the drywall into the room before the window blocked my access. So I stop by the In-Laws to borrow the Pickup, hit the Home Depot, load six sheets of 5/8th inch gypsum board (fire rated!) two 60 pound bags of stucco mix, three rolls of R-13 insulation, and a baker's dozen keystone blocks (they go around the trees, another ongoing project.) Loaded all by myself onto the cart and all by myself onto the truck. Oy Vey! Building material is *heavy*

Speaking of heavy, I think I've overloaded my trailer. It's a lightweight 4'x8' folding on 8" tires -- 1080 pounds GVWR. What with the plaster and stucco and other scrap there has to be a minimum of 2000 pounds. But it at least serves as a place to hold the scrap until I can haul it off piecemeal. Meanwhile it's blocking the window. So I use it as a ramp for the drywall:

And, yes, that's my eldest helping me unload the truck.

Posted by at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2003


I have the framing all completed, but I can't put the window in! If I do I'll have to carry the six sheets of drywall through the house to the bedroom. If I go get the drywall first I can pass it thru the 4' x 4' opening.

Posted by at 04:11 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2003

Day of rest

Sunday is a day of rest, so I worked only a little bit. The front window is being changed from a 64" x 40" to a 48" x 48"side slide. This will give me the required 20"+ x 40"+ fire escape route when used as a bedroom. It will also raise the bottom of the window from a mere 17 inches off the floor to a more reasonable 33 inches.

I'll finish framing the window and install it tomorrow.

Quit work about 2 pm, relaxed in the tub for a while, fired up the bar-b-que (charcoal -- none of this gas nonsense!) and did up cheddar cheese burgers -- served with a 3/8" thick slab of red onion.

Posted by at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2003


While working their room I notice that, as is common in kids' rooms, there is scribbling on the walls. There was the usual wide sweeps with the crayons done when they were toddlers. And then there was this. About four inches across. Done with what appears to be a fine point ballpoint pen.

Posted by at 08:02 PM | Comments (1)

August 22, 2003

New Window

So I remove the old window.... It is a 36"x53" which is nearly 15 feet of perimeter that I have to clear to get to the nailing flange. 15 feet of 1 inch thick concrete. That took a few hours of beating with a hammer and picking out the pieces.

Then, since the new window is a stock off-the-shelf 36"x48" I had to raise the sill a few inches. Which I did using old redwood 2x4's that I salvaged from when I dismantled the kids' loft beds.

Finally I nail the new window in place. It's a Window Master side slide vinyl double glazed low-e glass and will gain/lose far less heat than the single glazed aluminum window it replaced. That, plus the insulation added to the walls, should cure the winter chills in that room at least.

Posted by at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2003

Day 4, falling behind

Click for larger image
Managed to get every scrap of old plaster and drywall, and every nail, off the two walls.

Posted by at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2003

Day 3

Starting Day 3 -- picky little pull every scrap of plaster off the studs and break loose the outside stucco off the windows so they may be removed.

Posted by at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2003

Rip & Rebuild

The girls' bedroom is the northwest corner of the house. The house, built in the mid 1940's, was never insulated.

I am correcting that minor oversight.

Not to mention that the room has not been painted in 15 years.

So I kicked the girls out of their room -- their dressers are sitting in the living room, they'll be sleeping in the living room on the sofa and a camping cot.

Moved everything out of the room. Several boxes stored in the patio room, about two barrels of trash dating back a decade. That was yesterday. Took a picture this morning, left.

Then I started ripping the plaster off the interior of the two outside walls, tossing the chunks out the front window into my box trailer. Am down to picking the tiny pieces and pulling nails. Not a bad day's work -- but not as far along as I hoped I would be.

Posted by at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2003

ZeoBrite SUCKS!

Click for Full Size image
The Pool has been in for about 11 years. We had *no* problems with keeping it clean since Wendy went and got a Sand Filter capable of handling a pool five times bigger. Overkill is good. At least no problems for 8 years. Reading up we found you are supposed to replace the sand about every 5 years. So, after 10 years we go to replace the sand.

I read about Zeobrite on the internet -- supposed to filter better than sand, catch smaller particles, run the pump less, etc. $9 worth of sand versus $100 worth of Zeobrite. Hey, if I get a cleaner easier to maintain pool it's worth an extra $20/year.

So we got the Zeobrite and replaced the sand with it. That was last year. Since then we have had fine silt floating in the water feeding algae. We ran the pump 2-4 times longer than with sand, back washed 5 times as often, clairifier, algaecide, you name it -- we had 10 years experience keeping the pool clean with sand with no problem. After having a green pool that the kids didn't want to swim in we figured out the solution:
Click for Full Size image Dump the Zeobrite in the garden (since it promoted algae growth so well it HAS to be good for the garden!) and rip the label off the filter. We went and got 200 pounds of sand and will be refilling the sand filter with SAND and hopefully will be able to filter out the last of the Zeobrite. that is floating in my pool. Maybe we'll be able to swim in September.

Posted by at 05:00 PM | Comments (8)

August 14, 2003

Not Idiots

Was posting on the newsgroups under my alter ego / sock puppet and we got into a side track of how simple minded some (many? most?) people are. At times I dispair for the future of mankind. Which is when I dredge up the following memory:

A Math Counts competition a couple of years ago. I take youngest daughter, am dropping her off in the hall where they will be competing. We meet up with the other three members of her team, all boys:

Me (to daughter): Are you with these idiots?

delivered with no pause between speakers:

Boy#1: We're not Idiots!
Boy#2: Yes we are!
Boy#3: (giving me The Eye) How do you know we're Idiots?

Me: You're male.

short pause to think about this...

Boy#3: So are you.
Me: Right.
Boy #3: OK.

I did not insult the boys by calling them idiots as I included myself with them. They figured it out in zero time. If you know you are an idiot you are not one.

The idiots on the newgroups are real idiots -- they do not know that they are.

Posted by at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2003

Goodbye old friend

It's an oldie but a goodie -- a 1987 Dodge Ram Van, 3/4 ton, V8, auto, ps, pb. No air, no radio. It's been mine for 10 years, give or take a little. They are taking it away and giving me an '02 Chevy van. They will be selling it off at an auction as surplus junk.

They discourage techs from trying to purchase their own vans back. Only dealers are allowed to bid at the auctions. Seems that some people, in the past, have stuffed new engines, transmissions, brakes, etc. on to be surplused vans and then purchased them. Other spew was people could complain about a company agent bidding to raise the sell price. That's from the people in St. Louis. My best bet is seems is to try to buy the van from whatever dealer wind the bid, probably for a couple of hundred dollars more than he paid for it.

Posted by at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2003

Bye Bye Berlyn

My wife's sister's daughter is moving to St. Louis, taking her newborn daughter with her. We all met at grandma's house to say good-bye. Managed to take a couple of pictures, the full size versions are available at the family on-line photo album under "My Photos".

Left to right, above, are Tiffany, Berlyn, Tiffany, Berlyn, Berlyn, Jason, Tiffany, Sally, Berlyn, and Tiffany.

Posted by at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)