Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Uncle Keith

Uncle Keith was actually my great uncle, brother to my maternal grandfather. He was always the cool uncle who would show up and want nothing more than to play board or card games with my brother and I all day while my parents did their thing. For years, those were my only impressions of him and I savor them.

As I got older though, I began to learn about other parts of Uncle Keith, mostly the darker sides to his life. He lost his wife only a couple years after they were married and sunk into depression which evidently came back off an on the rest of his life and even required electro-shock therapy (way back in the day) at one point though I never saw him that way. He was always happy and full of laughter when in my presence. He was the complete opposite of his brother, my grandfather, and that caused a lot of tension in the family. My grandfather is a very talented mechanical oriented guy who I think of as a Jack of all Trades. Keith on the other hand was the opposite. He was into plays and musicals most of his life and had not a lick of common sense for going about the world. I have written stories about this lack of common sense on this blog in the past and our family lore is full of many many more. He also was a hoarder according to those who had been to his house, a concept that I couldn't even imagine.

Soon after I was married, I volunteered to meet Keith who was on his 'last hurrah' tour of Iowa and show him around his old stomping grounds. I spent the day with him and learned a lot about his past that I didn't know, particularly his military experience in World War II. The picture at the head of the post is the one I now think of when I think of Keith in the military. He served on the U.S.S. Iowa for a time and was some sort of assistant to a general and was on a ship in the bay when the treaty ending the war was signed. But during the time we spent that day, I could also see signs of dementia starting to make itself known and he would become confused at times.

Shortly after that visit, my wife and I were heading towards Pennsylvania on a route that took up by his hometown in Indiana so we decided to drop by and visit Uncle Keith at his home. I blogged about the experience on here but in summary, I learned what a hoarder was. Since that time, they came out with a television show on the subject and I have yet to be able to watch even one full episode because seeing those people remind me of Keith and how he lived and it just brought horrible sadness.

Keith was getting pretty frail at that point and a few years later moved to a nursing home. Last Christmas time I sent my normal card and letter to him at an address that I didn't know since he had always lived at the same address my entire life. That was also the first Christmas in my life that I never got a card back from him or the two dollar bill he would always send on my birthday. Dementia had reared its ugly head and his moments of clarity were few and far between. I still have every single one of those two dollar bills.

Last Wednesday, my Uncle Keith passed on at age of 90. All the imperfections that I have come to know in adulthood made me happy that he would now be in a better place without them. He is at peace at last. However the old memories of those long afternoons spent playing games with my cool uncle have come back from the back recesses of my brain and I am saddened at his passing. Today I am out of state saying my goodbyes.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Beginnings of My Workbench

What you see above is my 'shop' in its present state. At our previous house we had a two car garage that wasn't much wider than our two cars but was about four feet longer. It allowed me enough room to put the workbench in the above photo beneath the black cabinets up against the wall of the garage. The problem with that was for the same reason you see in this picture, I stack all my tools on it and it robs me of any place to actually work on a flat surface.

Our current garage is about the same depth as our last one but fortunately has eight extra feet to one side. Because I no longer have a garden shack, a third of it is taken up with the lawnmower, tiller and snow blower along with other odds and ends and the remaining two thirds is pictured above. Since I now have the room, I am setting out to remedy my flat work surface problem by making an old fashioned wooden workbench reminiscent of the ones I had in high school shop. You could assemble a tank on top of those, could drive a steel square pin into a steel round hole and not cause it to shake in the slightest and every other year or so spend some time sanding the surface to get it to look like new again.

The douglas fir that you see stacked up on the left side of the picture is my new workbench in raw format. It is stacked on my current workbench which is a hollow core sliding closet door on two aluminum saw horses. It is a flimsy affair that is a disaster waiting to happen. After getting the previously mentioned butcher blocks done, I started in on making the legs which required me to laminate several pieces of douglas fir together. I'm currently working on making the numerous mortises and other details in them before moving onto the stretchers.

Woodworking is really calming for me and something I enjoy immensely. Wood can be made into about anything with enough patience and thought. I love taking a stack of raw lumber and building something that could still be around in my grandkids time if so desired by my future generations. None of my ancestors were woodworkers that I can tell but I've seen numerous antiques over the year built out of wood and lovingly cared for over the decades fetch high prices at auctions. I hope to eventually replace most of the cheap laminated plywood furniture in my house with real wood furniture as time permits. Fortunately for me, time is in a bigger supply now than it has been in previous years.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Butcher Blocks Galore

As I mentioned in my last post, our last house had a rolling island with a butcher block top. Although we never used the island for an island since the kitchen wasn't big enough, we did use the butcher block top all the time. We used it chopping all our vegetables, home made pizza making and other assorted baking. It was great. So when we moved to this house and it didn't have any butcher block surfaces, I knew I would have to remedy that.

The kitchen at our new place is horribly old and decrepit looking. It doesn't have any of the more modern features that make better use of space like lazy susan corner cabinets, pull out drawers, etc. It also has old laminate counter tops full of scorch marks, chips and tears. There is a peninsula on one side of the kitchen where we do most of our prep work and I thought about tearing up a chunk of laminate counter top and replacing it with a butcher block one but that seemed like a lot of work to a kitchen that I plan on redoing sometime in the near future. So I decided that I would be better served making a thinner butcher block service that I could sit on one end of the counter top that wouldn't be too high to use and would cover one of the worst burn marks.

I searched around and got a good deal on some Goncalo Alves hardwood that is sometimes called tigerwood or zebrawood. It looks really awesome with a natural finish which I want for anything I'm eating off. I jointed up the strips, glued it together in sections, planed the sections, jointed the sections, glued the sections together and after some decorative routing and lots of sanding, applied a coat of mineral oil and beeswax over it. I can't believe how much trouble it is to find mineral oil. The local box store showed me mineral spirits which aren't the same thing and tried to tell me it was. I finally went to a small drug store and they had it in the colon lubrication section. I wasn't aware that was what it was used for besides protecting butch block tops.

The final result looks awesome and I can't wait to have our first stir fry where I can chop up all the veggies on the same board which out using our small plastic ones and doing a lot of transferring to various dishes to find room to get everything chopped. I had some leftover pieces that were quite a bit more uniformly darker than all the rest of the pieces and I made a small cutting board out of it when it isn't lifting our dish strainer up so the water drains over the sink lip instead of all over the counter. My next project is to take up my butcher block making skills and make a huge butcher block wooden bench like of days gone by where I can do some assembly projects that require a large flat space up off the floor not currently found in my garage. I hope to take a few more pictures of it in process than I did for this project.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Keeping My Back In Joint

I swear that just a week or two ago I had a couple weeks worth of blogs all written up in my backlog waiting to be published and now, I have nary a one. Time has a way of going by so fast.

My jointer finally arrived but not without its own worries. I ordered it off the internet with delivery but I got a call from the company telling me that the delivery company they go with provides me three options. I can find a way to get the pallet with 280 lbs of jointer off the semi by myself since the driver is obligated to not help, pick the jointer up at their nearest distribution center where they will load it in my vehicle or pay an additional $34 for liftgate service.

The first option was pretty much off the table since I can't lift 280 lbs from five feet in the air to the ground without severe hurt or perhaps death. I called to see their nearest distribution center but found out it was in our capital city and would cost me much more than $34 in gas not to mention time to go get it. So I pretty much had to pony up the $34 for the lift gate service.

I wasn't completely unaware of this since I had been reading the reviews and many people griped about the extra money. I had no problem with the money since it was a bargain delivered to my door. What worried me was that lots of people complained that the driver simply dropped the crate in the middle of their driveway and left leaving them with a 280 lb obstruction to drive around until they found a way to move it inside. I figured that if this happened I would try hauling it on my two wheel dolly and if that didn't work, simply open up the crate and haul the pieces up to my garage one piece at a time.

Unfortunately, the driver was running late and it was twilight when he finally dropped off my package but fortunately, he wheeled it inside for me on his two wheel dolly. All I had to do was sign for it and wait until the following day to open up and assembly it. Assembly wasn't too bad and took me half a day. The only problem I had was that the cast iron table and cutter assembly was still about a hernia worth of lifting for one person. It has threaded studs on the bottom that dropped into holes in the base so even if I got it up there by myself, there was a good chance I would strip the threads on the studs to where they wouldn't work and that was just no good.

So I called up Dan, my colleague at the Child Behavioral Modification Therapy Institute and he was all too happy to give me a hand, well two hands and his back. Together we had the table assembly set in place and spent the rest of the time until lunch talking. I soon had the jointer up and adjusted and started on the first project I had lined up to justify its purchase. I am building a butcher block for our kitchen countertop. We had one at our last house and loved it and since we have a lot more counter place at this house but no butcher block, I'm making one that will just sit on top. More details on that later.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Hazards of Hazard Insurance Escrows

I'm not sure if I have caught the hint yet or not but I think I am beginning too. Let me explain. When we bought this house, the bank screwed up the loan causing but stress and delays in the process. When we sold our previous house, the same bank screwed up the loan causing much stress and much much longer delays in the process. Now it appears as if the bank has screwed up yet again with our insurance. I think they are hinting that they don't want me as a customer.

When we signed up for our loan, we also set up an escrow account to automatically pay our insurance and property taxes. We have done that in the past (with the same bank) and it works slick since I don't have to think about it. It just happens. So we set it up this time too.

After I received the third refund in the mail from my bank and a letter stating that I was required by the terms of the mortgage loan to have hazard insurance on our home, I began to suspect something was up. I called my insurance company first and they said that I was indeed insured but that the bank can't seem to get it entered into their system correctly. They have been going back and forth for a month and just the previous week had faxed the bank our entire policy over again.

The bank on the other hand first told me that I was insured until I asked them to pull up my account and see if my policy expired on September 24th as their letter stated. They did and said oops, their fault. Then they went right into a blame game against our insurance company stating that they keep switching policies. In order to drop one house and add another, we did have to switch policies but only ONCE. So I kindly asked the bank to get their act together and find out what was wrong.

The bank returned my request the following day, the first time they have ever returned a call in this entire affair, and said that I wasn't getting refunds from them. Huh? I read them the check which was issued by the bank and said hazard insurance refund right on it. The bank again back tracked and said it was the fault of the insurance company and that they needed to send them the policy again. And so the fight goes on and I'm here in between hoping that the insurance company is right, and all the paperwork which shows that they are, the I have hazard insurance. I will never be doing another loan from this bank again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


When we bought this property, my eyes were focused on the house since that was obviously the reason we were there. As the shock of writing a big check to purchase said property, my eyes gradually widened there scope of vision and noticed other things. One thing that soon jumped into vision were the number of dead trees scattered throughout the property. They seemed to be everywhere.

Now granted we are not far removed from one of the harshest droughts that we have seen in the last forty or fifty years, but many of the trees had been dead for some time judging by their lack of branches. Chalk it up as just one in a long line of things that the previous owners neglected. Some were probably casualties of the recent drought but whatever the case, I decided that since the weather was classic fall weather, they should be dealt with why the getting was good. As it turned out, my timing was perfect because the following day was the start of a two day rainstorm that softened the ground and would have made moving this wood a muddy affair.

My brother is a certified chainsaw instructor and regularly wields one from high up in trees hanging from ropes. Best of all, he was in the area so I invited him over to 'see' our house for the first time and to perhaps cut down a few trees. Bless his heart but six hours later, he finally cut the final and sixteenth dead tree down on our property and cut it up into pieces. I played swamp boy cleaning up all the debris and chucking it down in the timber as well as loading up the rounds and hauling them to the fire pit behind my house. I'm a bit sore but it is nice to have that project crossed off my list. Well almost anyway. I have a massive oak and two black cherry trees within feet of my house and all also dead. But I'm going to pay someone with a cherry picker and most importantly insurance to remove those.

Now all I have to do is split the wood and I'll have roaring fires all winter long in our wood fireplace. Or so I thought. The next day I pulled the electric insert off to one side and found out that who ever had inserted the insert had butchered up the bricks in the fireplace. So the only way I am going to be having fires in it is to rebuild the fireplace or to add a woodburning insert and still perhaps end up doing some masonry work. I haven't decided yet. For now, I've got some garage projects that I want to get done first.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Raindrops Falling Between My Walls

We were getting the beginning of what turned out to be a nice two day rain, the first such long event since sometime in early spring, and I found myself lying in bed early in the morning listening to it. Having just spent the night laying in that bed, I thought I should get up and go into the living room where the windows on three sides would give me good views of the passing storm. As it turned out, I didn't get much time to do that.

When I got into the living room, I heard a drip sound that sounded eerily like water dripping onto tile. I looked around but couldn't find any water puddles however, I did narrow down the sound and it sound like it was coming from the wall behind my easy chair. I went into our bedroom bathroom which shares that wall and could hear the same sound. So with no signs of water on either side of the wall, my stomach sunk at the thought that water was indeed running down within the wall.

I went downstairs to the basement and quickly located where the water was coming out. It was dripping off the vent pipe for the plumbing system onto the remaining piece of drywall that I hadn't yet torn out. I had torn out lots of drywall underneath the upstairs bathrooms which was stained and had mold growing on it. At the time I thought it was from leaks in the plumbing which actually did have leaks when I first moved into this place. Now I realized that it was coming from a leak int he roof and running down the vent pipe to where it had a bend in it right above a two foot square piece of drywall remaining in the downstairs bathroom closet ceiling.

Since it was still raining hard, I went up into the attic to confirm my suspicions were correct and they were. I was fortunate because the pipe basically went straight down to the basement and the water running down it wasn't touching any other wood or drywall along the journey. In fact, there was only a small chunk of insulation in the attic that was touching the pipe that was wet.

I made a quick trip to the local hardware store and in-between down pours, I went up onto the roof and immediately found the problem. The rubber boot around the vent stack had been torn and inverted so that it actually funneled rain along the pipe instead of shedding it away from the pipe. Not wanting to be shingling in the rain, I cut one of those cut to size rubber boots, put it in place and slathered the whole thing with roofing sealant which cured my leak problem. Next spring when the weather is a little bit better for fiddling with shingles, I'll add that to my list of things to do for a more permanent fix.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Plumbing From the Outside

Back when we first moved into our new place, I set up my daughters swimming pool and went to fill it from the outside spigot by the walkout doors of our basement. I heard the water running but nothing was coming out the end of the hose and investigation showed that instead it was pouring out the side of my house about a foot off the ground. I had a busted spigot.

Normally replacing an outdoor spigot is a easy affair and I have done it a couple times over the course of my life but this one was much harder. Instead of the extension running through the wall into the interior of the house where the heat keeps it from freezing, it runs parallel between the siding and the fireplace brick on the inside of the wall. The only way to access the spigot was to rip off the siding of the house, the sheathing and any insulation in the way.

I have put the project off for nearly two months because I knew what it would involve. It would involve several trips to the hardware store because I wouldn't get everything I needed the first time along with dozens of trips up and around the house to the garage to ferry needed tools back and forth. Plus since I have copper piping, I was going to have to learn how to solder, something I had never done before.

With the recent bout of cold weather, I decided that I needed to get the spigot replaced before winter because I suspected that the water that had wetted the inside of the wall cavity had destroyed the insulation and leaving the copper pipe behind the valve joint vulnerable to rupturing. When the latter ruptures, the water to the house would have to be shut off until the problem was fixed and that is not something I wanted to do when the weather was below freezing.

So on Tuesday, I started right in on the project by removing the bottom two courses of the masonite siding which was pretty easy since it was rotted out from the water damage. Behind that was old felt board which is about the most useless stuff ever designed in my opinion. It too was rotted out from previous water damage. I didn't have to worry about any insulation because the water had caused it to disintegrate into a pile of dust at the bottom of the cavity. The spigot has split the pipe about two inches ahead of the valve seat.

I went to the local hardware store and got everything I thought I needed to complete the project. As it turned out, I turned in a stellar performance because I didn't have to make any other trips to finish. With my newly purchased compact copper tube cutter, I soon had the old ruptured spigot removed and the new one in place with fluxed copper tubing and fittings in place. Soldering copper tubing turned out to be remarkably easy and I soon had the joints soldered and the water turned back on. No leaks.

I had about two feet of three different stud bays exposed and put new insulation in the two bays that didn't contain the spigot. I wasn't sure what to do about the bay with the spigot. I could see by the numerous splices to the copper tubing and the patch in the sheathing that it had been repaired at least twice before. Obviously the installation wasn't ideal which makes keeping it warm enough to prevent freezing a challenge. The actual spigot was only about an inch behind the sheathing meaning any fiberglass bat insulation would be compressed or very thin at best. So I decided to try something else. I put on the sheathing and then filled up the cavity with expanding foam. I hope that it surrounds the pipe better providing better insulation.

Since I don't plan to leave any hoses hooked up to the spigot through the winter which is the most common cause of spigots splitting, I don't think it would freeze. Never the less, once I find where the pipe enters into the house, I plan on adding a valve someplace handy so that I can shut off the water to the spigot and drain the line completely every winter. My only problem is that most of the basement ceiling where the pipe is located is dry walled. I've already removed quite a bit of it that had sustained water damage over the years from leaks, some of which had black mold on it. I plan to replace it with removable ceiling tiles in the future so if a leak should occur, I can replace the damaged tile with a new one and prevent any new mold from growing. But what I have removed has not contained a pipe. I need to do some more exploring yet to find it.

Since I plan on replacing the siding in the next couple years, I didn't add any wrap since there wasn't any wrap on the rest of the house anyway. I resided the area with primed hardboard since they don't make masonite anymore and caulked the whole works well. The next warmish sunny day I get, I need to go get some paint to cover my patch and probably to repaint the garage door which I patched up a couple weeks ago too.  All told, I made my dozen trips around the house to the garage to get various tools and to cut sheathing and siding to size but I only made one trip to the store. It wasn't quite as bad a chore as I thought it might be and it done for the year.

My list of outside work needing done before the snow flies is now down to the before mentioned painting and the removal of about a dozen dead trees on our property. I have helped lined up for Thursday to tackle the latter job so by the time you read this post, I will probably be ready for the snow to fly!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Child Behavioral Modification Therapist... Or Trophy Husband

The hospital where my wife works had a meet and greet for all the new doctors over some drinks and appetizers. When we showed up, there was only a handful of people standing in a group chatting so we got something to drink and went to an open high table. We had been there for only a few seconds when another younger couple walked in the door and walked right up to our table to introduce themselves.

The wife introduced herself as a doctor and the husband introduced himself as a child behavioral modification therapist. I was taking all that in and about to respond with something about his title being a mouthful when I must have taken a bit too long. He chuckled and said that he actually was just a trophy husband.

I have been conflicted on how to respond to people these days when they ask what 'I do'. My most common response has been that I'm an engineer in-between jobs. I have also tried telling people I'm retired but my wife doesn't really seem like she likes that when I say it. 'Stay at home dad' just doesn't seem quite right when I only have one daughter and she is at school all day. So when I heard this guy use two pretty good lines in one go, my attention was captured.

This fellow had been a stay at home dad for over 14 years for three kids, the youngest I believe a freshman in high school. While our wives chatted doctor stuff, we two dads chatted about our lives, him as a veteran stay at home dad and me a rank amateur. We ended up having a lot in common. We both liked the out doors. I was spending lots of time while the kid was at school fixing up our house. He had his house completely gutted down to the studs at the moment. We swapped house fixing tips and promised to help each other out when needed which might work well for me since he had an old truck that I can borrow from time to time. He also gave me the helpful tip of staging thing so that when his wife got home he was sweeping up the last little bit of carpet or washing the last dish. Shhhhh! Don't let my wife know this one.

Unfortunately other people kept stopping by and we were parted but not before swapping phone numbers. I did try out the trophy husband line later on in the evening and got a nice laugh out of several people but I still fell back on the engineer between jobs line after the laughter died down. Still, it just doesn't seem to cut it among a room full of doctors whose eyes glaze over immediately upon hearing the word engineer. Perhaps I just need to go with child behavioral modification therapist. Whatever I choose though, I am not alone anymore.

Monday, October 8, 2012

MP3 Players Killed the Portable Radio Star

Because I spend quite a bit of my time out in the garage doing non-mental work, I like to have a radio tuned to talk radio going to allow me to do a little bit of mental workout too. At our old house, I had an old stereo out in the garage and though it still works, the old speakers attached to it were shot. I would have to turn up the radio way too loud to get them to work or they would just be filled with static. I dutifully moved the old stereo and speakers to our new place but haven't put forth the effort to mount it on some sort of shelf only to blast myself with sound assuming it survived the move.

So while in the general vicinity, I dropped by one of the large box stores (other than Walmart) and walked back to the electronic section to check out their radio selections. I was thinking I could buy a small boom box (ghetto blaster as we called them back in the day) that had a CD player and a tuner radio inside. I found shelves of speakers that plug into your phone or MP3 player, I found lots of home theater type of stereo systems but not one single radio. What was I missing?

Finally I asked the lady manning the expensive electronic desk where they keep them all under glass where the radios were. She looked at me puzzled so I said I just wanted a portable radio that I could play out in my garage. She looked puzzled but finally something clicked and she led me back to the aisle I was just in. I should pause here to say that she was probably only in her early twenties.

Back in the aisle, she walked clear to the end and pointed to the last shelf spot on the lowest shelf at the far end of the aisle and told me that they only carried that one portable radio. She said that if I went over to the alarm clock section, I might have more options and then left me alone. I looked at the one radio that they had and I must say it wasn't quite what I had in mind. It looked like something you might buy your young daughter for Christmas knowing that she will probably break it in a few weeks and you don't want to waste all that money on something more expensive. It was a small bubble shaped thing with a little six inch antenna and nothing like a much larger square shaped boom box with an antenna that could stretch out several feet for good reception.

As I paused and looked at the radio it finally hit me that I had just found out about the death of the portable radio. I'm sure it died long ago but I just learned about it. Judging by the selection on the other shelves, it has long been replaced by portable MP3 players or more likely smart phones which you can tune into radio stations of your choice anywhere in the world. I did end up buying that radio and despite the smallish antenna, it does receive the local radio station that I mostly listen too but I'm still in morning.

Friday, October 5, 2012


A little over a year ago I wrote a blog post on Crystal Griswold who was interrupting my evenings by using my phone number as a fill in phone number for her check fraud activities. I had loads of bounty hunters or collectors calling my phone and trying every which way to get me to call them back. It lasted for a long time and then eventually they must have removed my number because I stopped getting the calls. Then I moved and got a new phone number which really put an end to that. In all actuality, I had completely forgotten about bad gril Crystal Griswold.

So imagine my surprise when I get an anonymous post waiting to be published onto that blog post saying that she had been captured down in Phoenix, Arizona and was busted four days ago for of all things, check fraud. See for yourself. I've never been happier for Crystal.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Going Into the Closet

I've been working in the bedroom areas of the house the last couple weeks. Compared to the main living areas, these have been relatively straight forward. I put a coat of paint everywhere, remove and put up new curtains since the old ones for the most part were ripped, broken or missing, and replaced all the electrical outlets and switches. All of the latter are probably original to the house and are loose requiring careful positioning of the plug to get any juice, painted over in numerous colors and in a couple cases, weren't working due to loose wiring. The time consuming part of all of the bedrooms has been the closets.

Like everything else, the closets were disaster areas. The rods and meager shelving if any were all warped, falling off and missing. They were also very inefficient as storage areas and since this house lacks the storage area upstairs that our old house had, I needed to make them more efficient. So for the nursery and my daughter's rooms, I gutted them both completely and rebuilt them. Now they have lots of shelving and hanging space that makes the most of all the space inside a closet. Because the closet doors themselves were very rough as well, I have rebuilt them with new doors that required painting and there is nothing I dislike more in the painting world than painting closet doors. They have lots of nooks and crannies to get into with paint while avoiding runs and require multiple coats on all sides requiring lots of time. But I have persevered and they are done.

Now I am onto our bedroom which has two regular size reach in closets along one wall. Because the bedroom is quite a bit smaller than our last one which meant we couldn't put one of our dressers in it, it too needs better utilized storage space. After seeing a home remodeling show that turned two reach in closets like ours into a bank of built in closets, I have been trying to come up with a layout that I like. I think I have finally got it but unfortunately I really don't have a place to really build those built ins. I need an elevated flat surface like a workbench where I can glue up, nail and clamp them together while making sure they are square. I suppose I could do it on the unlevel and broken up concrete floor in the garage but as I get older, that appeals to me less and less these days.

So I did some research and have plans to make an old fashioned wooden 'butcher block' topped workbench to fit the bill.  To do so requires the use of a jointer though which is something I don't have. I have lots of woodworking tools because I love working with wood but I've never owned a jointer. Mostly it is due to the lack of space I've had in my garage to store such a tool when not in use but with a two and a half car garage, one half more than I've had, I have the room. The other reason is that with a full time job, I couldn't justify the cost for only using it a couple times a year if that. But now with my new found freedom, I plan and hope to spend more time building things out of wood which makes the justification a little easier.

So I am on the lookout for a nice used jointer that I might pick up online somewhere or perhaps a new one if the price is right. I look forward to having one in my show and creating all those projects floating around in the back recesses of my mine. And for that, I have to thank our new house for getting me to go back into the closets.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Back when our daughter was growing up through the baby cloths and mountain of stuff one 'needs' to raise a baby in today's modern age, we kept packing it away in boxes for our next one. Some of it was new but a lot of it was stuff that we had bought at garage sales over the years. Regardless, there was no sense in getting rid of it only to have to go find it again.

Suddenly nearly six years slipped by before we had another baby. A lot of that reason was that for the first couple years we simply weren't ready. Having a baby in diapers that takes a lot of care and time and neither of us felt we could do that times two and still hold onto our jobs. After the first couple years, my wife's career was changing and with the uncertainty, of it made us hold off for the next three years while she applied and then got most of the way through her residency. By that time, we were both getting on in our years and were in the land of higher risk pregnancy according to medical doctors so we decided it was now or never and well... we were blessed with another child slated to arrive in ten weeks.

During the first pregnancy when we neared the end, my wife began to nest. Lots of focus began to be on finding those 'necessary' things for raising a baby. At that time, I was just starting the process of revamping an old bedroom turning it into a nursery so I got a lot of pressure to get the project done. Flash forward to this time around and due to my fortunate change of career, I have had the nursery done for a couple weeks now and it has been just sitting there waiting. This weekend, the nesting instinct kicked in and at my wife's command, I dutifully started carrying up all the boxes from the basement of baby stuff that we have hung onto for the last five years so my wife could nest.

Unlike nesting rabbits which blogger Ron is learning about right now, women nest by sorting through baby clothes, supplies, etc. and arranging them in the room to create the perfect nursery. I think if it were up to us guys, we would just stop by the drugstore on the way back from the hospital to pick up a few things with the baby in tow so if necessary we could try on a diaper or two to know the exact size. Probably we are fortunate that it isn't just us doing things.

On a side but related note, when I went to set up the old crib for the nursery, I couldn't find some of the hardware needed to set it up. I specifically remember untaping it from the crib rails and putting it someplace safe so that it wouldn't fall off during the move and I have yet to discover where. In the process of trying to find out what hardware was needed, I discovered that the crib was under recall. I didn't have the recent after all this time but fortunately (and unfortunately at the time) it was from Walmart and they don't seem to care. So for the first time since I moved to this town, I loaded up the parts of the crib that I did have and returned it at Walmart. Unfortunately they had to give me store credit so to use that up, I bought a cart full of potting soil but not before getting into an altercation with a lady whose cart was left in the middle of a narrow aisle. I hope that is the last time I go into Walmart as long as I live. Instead, I walked out and went to a store that sold better quality stuff and bought another crib.

Back to nesting, I suppose we males have our own version of it. I spent a restless night thinking of all the things I wanted to get done before the baby arrived. I want to get the broken spigot on the south side of the house fixed which means tearing a hole in the side of the house and replacing a bunch of siding. There are a dozen or so trees that are dead that I want to cut up for firewood and just so I can do it on my terms and not when they decide to fall down. I also have some ceilings in the basement that I want to remove due to the likely possibility they have black mold on the back side from past plumbing leaks that the previous owners didn't think to correct and which I have gotten fixed. Yes indeed, it will be a busy ten weeks of nesting.