mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)

Michelle's birthday was yesterday, the "big four-oh", and (no surprise) it was no big deal. Forty is supposed to be the big number, but like me it came with  sort of a "yeah, ok, whatever. Is there cake?" kind of attitude. I got her a silk(ish) scarf in deep blues woven with celtic knotwork. I picked it up at the KC feis while she was otherwise occupied. I hid it in the van and just left it there, so she's been driving around with her gift eight feet away for weeks. For herself she got a Mylander torte, a layer-cake sort of confection of marzipan, raspberry jam and Kirsch brandy from Andrés. I don't care for them, but she loves them and, well, there you go.

The drought almost completely destroyed ten years worth of maintenance on both yards, reducing any area not shaded by the sun to dead ground and weeds. I finally mowed the back last weekend after not touching it since May, and most of what I trimmed was mulberry, creeping charlie, carpet weed and something I've always called "tassel grass" for want of a better name. Those latter two don't really mow, they just bend over and bind the lawn mower blade. It was slow going.

The front of the house. Note the conspicuous absence of a porch.The margin of the driveway is obscured by a strip of carpet weed a foot wide, and is now damaged enough that I'm going to have to bite the bullet and budget to replace at least the first twenty feet before the next summer is over. I know how to do a slab, but I've never actually done it before, so yet one more challenge to overcome.

The house remains front porch-less. I made the mistake of destroying the porch without first purchasing the materials to replace it, and during the destruction two things happened: my Lowes card didn't get paid down as fast as I anticipated and the weather turned unmanageably hot. Now the temperatures have cooled and we have a different source of funding for the materials, the plan is to have a porch we can use (just a deck with steps) by Halloween, and a completed porch (with railings and lights) by Thanksgiving. Once renaissance festival is over and the Seamlyne queue is cleared, that's quite doable. I should be able to have "Phase 1" done in a weekend, and "Phase 2" in two or three. If I can somehow find an air-powered framing nailer, it will go really really fast.

Many difficulties with Katie just now that I plan to write about in our family blog, The Road Less Ordinary. Having to think long term, but the short term is a minefield.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Need the heat to break. I hate to whine about it, but it's starting to affect my overall attitude. I'm fatalistic by nature, and the constant, unrelenting heat and dry is adding a measure of apathy that is really dangerous. It's started to bleed into my overall attitude - home and work. Not good.

I discovered last weekend that the dry conditions have exacerbated all the problems in our foundation: the blocks on the North end of the house are literally being shifted apart from one another. There are gaps in some places wide enough to stick a pencil into. I'm not panicked about it: it's on a gable end, thus non-load bearing, and there is a second foundation (actually a first foundation, to be technical) just three feet inside it, so having the outer foundation crumbling won't cause the house to collapse, but it's just One More Thing.

The yard is dead - I don't think it's just dormant. I've never seen it as dry as it is; even the crabgrass couldn't survive. The only things living are the carpet weed and scraggly mulberry bushes trying to gain a foothold. We've kept the vegetable garden and the herbs watered, but other than that I am content to let the lawn languish. I've put a lot of work into the lawn over the last several years, but...as I said, apathy.


Seamlyne has more paid orders in its queue at this moment that it has ever had in its history, and most of them came in within a few days of each other, and a variety of regions are represented. The only scary part is that several of them have deadlines within a few days or weeks of each other, so keeping up with them will be a challenge. We can do it, though, I've no doubt of that.


The day job hasn't changed much. For one of our projects - adding a data push from our system to a third party - I am at the mercy of the third party, and they are notoriously slow and unhelpful. A fair chunk of money depends upon the completion of the project, and I've no confidence that it will happen in a timely fashion.


Several weeks ago I committed to some fence repair for a friend who is putting her present home on the market. I'm replacing about a hundred pickets. I made this commitment while the temperatures were still reasonable and like an idiot put off the work, little reckoning that the temps would rise and stay above a hundred degrees. I'm about half done, working last Saturday and Sunday morning. The fence is in shade and it wasn't actually that bad.

It has been a while since I put that kind of effort into that kind of activity, and my hands - even now, three days later - are sore and don't want to make a fist. I feel the strain deep into my wrists and forearms. It's a good ache, because it means that I did something.



mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
I'm not a person who loves the heat, as I've said many times. This prolonged heat wave, lacking even the respite of an occasional rain shower, is getting to me. I can't get cool no matter what I try, even in my basement shop which typically hovers around seventy degrees. It's almost like my operating temperature has risen to match my environment. It's only at night, after I've showered and gone to bed still damp, laying under the ceiling fan, that I start to feel better. Autumn can't come soon enough.

On the bright side, if there is one, I am becoming somewhat acclimated to the temperatures which makes venturing out the heat a little easier - as long as I stay out of the sun. I committed a long while back to doing some fence maintenance for a friend, and I've managed to get the hours of work in while the fence is in shade, though I'm sure her neighbors don't think much of the early morning noise. (Sunday, I stayed out a little longer than I should have, and I have a very mild sunburn, my first of the season.) I've got about four more hours worth of work to do.

I've begun to think that a move to more temperate climes - the Pacific Northwest, for instance - should be a serious consideration for my family. Katie deals with the heat little better than I do despite the resiliency of her young age, and if we are to assume that climate change will continue as predicted, summers in Missouri are only going to get hotter.
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For the last several weeks, I've been in "production mode." In general terms, this means that I've been focused on a particular project or two that isn't necessarily creative but nonetheless needs to get done. This has been the case at both my day job and Seamlyne.

As a result, my creative side is going out of its mind. I've got a project in mind, an animated short film, and I've found a software package that will allow me to create it (AnimeStudio, if you're interested). I set myself to an hour a day working through the tutorials and it looks awesome; the learning curve isn't terribly steep, but as usually happens something came up. Several somethings, actually. Many tights orders and a huge project at work. So much for learning time.

On the subject of Seamlyne, I've grown increasingly frustrated there. It's making next to no money, and what money it is bringing in is being pulled out for personal bills. That's its purpose, I know, but there's nothing left in the business account to actually, you know, run the friggin' business. I've twice had to put the "sorry, long turnaround time" message on the website knowing that, should an order actually come in, we'd have to wait for the deposit to clear to buy the fabric for it. Seamlyne's only line of credit is burned up, too.

Frustrating.

Tax season is officially behind us, but we only filed last week, and it's a tax bill we can't pay. We'll have to apply to have this year's taxes rolled into the payment plan from last year. Lowe's won't get their payment until late, and it's getting later every month. Yes, our money situation sucks mightily. We're more behind than we have been, and it isn't likely to get better soon, if at all.

Hurts to type those words. I've never said it "out loud" before. Signs of the times, I guess.

Victim to this also is the Front Porch Project. I've got everything but the wood, which I had planned to buy at Lowes, but we haven't made a payment there so the account is closed for business. Yet another hole in the house, and though this one at least doesn't let the bugs in, it is right in front where it is plainly visible and unattractive. I imagine we'll have to save (if we can) and buy our lumber at The ReStore. It won't be treated lumber, but porches were built with untreated lumber for centuries.

Let's see...I don't want to keep whining about money, but that's what I've got just now. I need to get to work, so we'll just let it go for now.

DIY Update

May. 14th, 2012 02:05 pm
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It turned out to be quite the weekend. We got a lot of gardening done, in spite of a persistent migraine for Michelle. In the garden now we have cucumber; zucchini; bell peppers, poblano chilis; two tomato plants (couldn't tell you what kind, those are all Michelle's). Left to plant are garlic (which we won't harvest for a year and a half), bush beans, and potatoes.

It looks like the shed I hoped to finally build is going to have to wait yet another season. Our front porch, which has been cracking for many years but has remained basically whole has started to crumble: the bottom step lost a corner, the other steps are showing cracks, and it will only get worse from there. Time to pull out the sledgehammers.

The gas meter and line to the house is inches from the porch, so the plan is to demolish the porch - a reinforced concrete slab on a foundation of cinder blocks - a little at a time, starting at the meter and working back from it. I'll take the rubble a bucket at a time and find a place to dump it on some back country road between home and work. The slab will go first, then I'll take down the cinder blocks, taking care to preserve them for future use.

The new porch will be long and narrow, about 5' x 15', and extend from the South edge of the existing porch to under the double-window in the living room. It will have a railing of turned spindles.

To that end, this weekend I installed a new storm door on the door to the side porch, and we'll use that entrance from now on, until the new porch is safe to use.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Random thought: it's been several years since I took out the wall between the living room and the dining room, creating the arch and opening up the space. Late at night, though, I still mentally go for the light switch where the wall used to be.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It was a good weekend. Let's start there.

Back in early March, I saw a truck with a chipper on the back parked at one of our neighbors' houses. I called the guy over to chat with him about the two large brush piles in our front yard, one by the fence (the remains of a redbud tree) and one under the maple tree (misc branches, including several from the maple itself.) He quoted me a price, and we set the date for the last week of March. I set that date so that we'd have time to save up the money to pay him.

Between that day and the last week of March, he called or stopped by a few times to see if he could do the work. No, I told him, last week of March - unless you like working for free. One of his calls came as I was walking into the doctor's office to have my vasectomy!

...and I started to get angry.

Courtesy snip... )
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It was very busy, and very productive, and, for the first time in many weeks, something close to normal. 
 
Technical Matters
 
Saturday we went out as a family. I had some electronics from work to drop off at The Surplus Exchange for e-cycling, ultimately deciding to keep the two PCs - I'll convert one of them for my own personal use. Nothing wrong with them that a little TLC (read: not being used by DataGuy) wouldn't cure. I've been pointed to Zorin as a possible alternative OS to Windows, and I'm going to give it a shot. Frank pointed me to a DAW* called Reaper - if I can make a go of that on the new OS, then I'll be able to jettison Windows on the downstairs (shop/studio) PC.
 
Family and Health
 
That done, I took my family out for a late lunch/early dinner to Ghengis Khan, the original mongolian barbecue. Miraculously, the kids both ate well: they loved the flavors, and watching the guys cook their food on the large (large? gigantic) flat-top grill was just too cool. (Ironically, I can make the same sort of food with the same flavor profiles at home and they turn their noses up at it.) Jami flirted shamelessly with our waitress, a curvy, pretty blonde girl with some beautiful tattoo work. Apple don't fall far from the tree, I guess.
 
That was all fun, but the best part was just being out. Michelle didn't have a migraine and we were able to function normally - or close enough that it doesn't matter - for the first time in a long time. It was wonderful. She is making progress every week, and while some days are better than others the trend is toward the good.
 
She has expressed an interest in walking/exercising again, so to that end I moved the treadmill from the garage to the dining room, a job that I should probably have had help with but just did anyway. It's a pro-sumer levelI'm guessing the thing weighs about 150 pounds and is large and unwieldy to boot. My hand-cart is one of the small variety, good for moving the odd stack of boxes, and I pushed it and my thigh muscles to the limit of their operational specs, but by god I got the thing done. 
 
It was a stupid thing to do. Had I lost control of it I could have easily destroyed the treadmill, or a nearby piece or furniture, one or all of the pets, or me, or some combination of all of that. My back and legs are both reminding me of the folly of pride.
 
Music
 
My birthday is tomorrow. I'll be 46, and I'm trying not to do the mental countdown to 54 (the age at which my dad died). We don't have anything planned, and I'm totally okay with that. (It's amazing how one's priorities change when one's health - or the health of one's spouse - goes to shit.) I did splurge for a birthday present for myself, though.
 
I've always wanted a phrase recorder/looper. It's a device that goes between your guitar and amp, about the size of a kid's lunchbox with two foot pedals on the face, one for "record/playback", one for "stop." It records what you play and plays it back: the performer just taps the appropriate button with his foot as he goes (I've heard it called a "stomp box" for that reason.) Because it's foot controlled, you can create and use phrases on the fly, and add a lot of depth to your performance. I've experimented some already, and the results are encouraging.
 
Michelle's grandmother Ruby actually made it possible. I'd gotten a small amount of money from her mom that I figured to use as seed money for the "looper fund". It was the check from Ruby that made it immediately possible, and, cannily, she sent two checks. I'm just guessing here, but I think she knew with just one, my birthday money would probably just go to pay bills, and she didn't want that, so she sent a second, larger check for the household. ...aaaaaand off to Guitar Center I went.
 
I've wanted one of these things for a long time, at least two years, when we saw Tim Thompson use one. Using his (same model as mine, I think - it's not like there's twenty different brands) he was able to deliver a really complex performance, just him alone on stage. It was impressive as hell and I decided then I wanted one. Just took me this long to do it. You can read about it here if you care to.
 
Home Improvement
 
With the treadmill out of the way (it had been in the garage) I suddenly had enough free space to do something toward the house. A month or so ago I purchased a cabinet for the kitchen to complete what I call the "coffee wall" - the length of counter space where I keep my coffee maker. Tossing on another 30" (plus a planned foot of additional counter) will complete the "L" of cabinets, and I've started forming a plan as to how to make the countertop. 
 
I pulled the cabinet out of mothballs, so to speak, and started the finishing process. First: 75/25 mineral spirits/polyurethane as a grain sealer, then Golden Oak stain. It was completely dry this morning, but I didn't get up early enough to put on the first coat of poly. I'll do that this evening. In doing the finishing, I found the cabinet was more damaged than I thought (I knew it was damaged, but failed to note how badly...the discount was worth it, though). A back corner at the bottom is completely gone so I'll have to put a new bottom in it, possibly a portion of the back.

So, that was my weekend. Long, busy, tiring, productive. Mostly normal. 
 
* digital audio workstation. 

 
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Michelle fought the good fight, treating her migraine with all the weapons in her pharmaceutical arsenal. Finally, after two weeks, she called her neurologist. At the Thursday appointment, the doctor said, heavily paraphrased of course, "You've had your shot. Now it's my turn," and put her in the hospital. There she was treated with several doses of a drug so powerful you can't take it at home until you've had it under the care of a full nursing staff to make sure your body can tolerate it (read: make sure it doesn't kill you.) It took about six, maybe eight, doses, but it did finally break the cycle, and she came home on Saturday.

She brought with her the home-use version of the medication - it differs only in the delivery method. $1000 for eight days worth, of which insurance covered about 80% and, thank god, her parents covered the rest.

With all of our other financial considerations - a massive debt load and four pay cuts in the last two years - we have talked about bankruptcy, and I must admit with this hospital stay I was seeing lawyers' phone numbers in my head. Again, we are quite grateful to her parents as it seems they intend to help us with the bills. I don't know how we'll ever pay them back unless and until the day-job hits pay dirt.

If Audrey Hepburn had a younger, librarian sister, that would be Michelle's neurologist. Young, slender, a little taller than average, very pretty but with enough small flaws - a little bit of an overbite, nose a little too prominent - to keep her from being striking and aloof, she is soft-spoken and very very kind. We both like her a great deal. She was, nevertheless, very firm when it came to killing this migraine.

Well done, Doctor B., and thank you.

It is my hope that the migraines will be controllable now, and that Michelle can continue her recovery from Summer 2011's adventures.

It's funny. I nearly died from neglect as a toddler, and was sick quite a bit as a child. Given my stress level since our children were born, you would think I'd be the one who was sick all the time, but I just keep forging - sometimes trudging - along.



In other news, I continue working to make my shop as comfortable as it can be. If last year is any indication - not quite 10k in gross sales - I'm going to be spending a great deal of 2012 there. My goal is to purchase an apartment sized washing machine sometime in the next six weeks, hack its main-board and put my own timer on it for use in dyeing fabric. Anything to keep us from being chained to a plastic bucket for and hour and a half every time someone orders a pair of tights.



MoneyGuy and DataGuy are going with one of our partners to the NADA conference this weekend. The last time we did this we got a significant (if somewhat short lived) lift from it. I'm hopeful it will be the same way this time, with longer-term results of course.

Car dealers and their ilk are shit to do business with. The dealer group we did all the ad campaigns for (which I have written about before) owes us 16k and is showing no signs of being willing to pay - in spite of the massive customer response (and presumably, profit) the campaigns generated.


mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
The day was productive, but not in the way I thought it would be. I had thought I'd get a dye job done and maybe assemble the tights once the fabric was dry, but I just decided to get the basement wiring project finished. That's the way things typically get done around here: I Just Decide to get something done and I work on it until, 1. the projects actually does get done; 2. I run out of money; or 3. I run out of time.

For years - decades, really - to have light in the basement where my shop is has meant pulling a cotton string attached to an ancient ceramic bulb socket, and there were four. Two of them had four-foot fluorescent lights plugged into them so there has always been plenty of light, but you had to walk through a dark basement to turn on the light farthest from the door. Kind of a pain. There was one set of lights actually controlled by a switch, but the switch was placed in a spot convenient for the way I once had the shop configured Way Back When, but not for several years since.

When we first made Seamlyne a business back in 2000 - officially, not the paying hobby it was for a decade before that - we bought two commercial sewing machines on credit. No way those could go upstairs, so I began the process of finishing the basement as well as I could. The job is about half done, having reached a point of stasis: done enough that it looks like an actual room instead of a concrete block dungeon, as long as you don't look between the shelves at the back. With carpet, pictures on the white-painted walls, a table lamp, and track lighting to supplement the harsh task lighting over the cutting table, it can be quite comfortable down here (where I happen to be writing from at this moment.) There's even a worn old loveseat, much the worse for wear, but still sittable.

If you count the spare refrigerator, a hotplate, and large plastic shop sink, there's even a rudimentary kitchen. It's got all the amenities except for a bathroom, which I simply don't have the money for - below grade, it would have to be a toilet that pumps waste up, and those are très expensive.

...except for light switches by the door. Now we have them. I divided the basement into two zones: laundry, close to the door; and shop, away from the door. The exposed ceiling is starting to look like a bowl of noodles, but I'm okay with that. It's messy but safe, and all to code, or will be after I go to Lowe's to pick up covers for the junction boxes. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Michelle woke without a headache for the first time in about two weeks, and so We went to the Nelson Atkins Museum, our first family outing in quite a long time. The kids loved it for about the first half hour. Jami particularly liked the Egyptian section, especially the mummy. Surprisingly, Katie liked the Asian section.

Before we left for the museum, Michelle started to feel the headache and so took a preventative dose of medicine. Before we left the museum, however, her headache spiked and we were constrained to get lunch to go and just come home. She took a percocet and retired to the family room. Since a dye job can't really be interrupted once started, and since I didn't know if we'd be making a trip to the ER for Even Heavier Meds, I came downstairs to install light switches.

I can already see what I want my next wiring project to be, though I'm in no rush - it's just a re-route and not critical. The circuit I tied into for the laundry-side lights also powers the furnace, and I want the furnace to have its own. I'll run another 15amp circuit if I must. I know how at least.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

As to the tights, I'll make them tomorrow. 
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Day Job

 Well, the Big Server Move of 2011 appears to finally be done, at least from my perspective. There are still some data issues that need to be addressed but those aren't mine. DataGuy has his work cut out for him in the MS SQL transition from 2005 to 2008. Better him than me. That transition was the hardest we've ever had because we moved all the sites and data at once and immediately cancelled our previous contract, leaving us with no fallback position in case something went wrong, which of course it did. DataGuy went on vacation that week, leaving me the sole responsible party, cleaning up a mess created from a decision I never would have supported had I been consulted, which I wasn't.

I came close to quitting my job that week. If we didn't have the debt load we do, I would have. In any case, as I've already said, the company has the remainder of 2011 to improve my life, then I start shopping my resumé.

Home

Unable to stand it anymore, I mowed the front lawn on Monday. The back was already done, a tough job because of the India crabgrass, which doesn't mulch or get blown back into the bag, but binds in the mower blade and kills the engine about every fifty feet.

The front wasn't so bad, but I got it in my head to clean the end of the driveway. Our driveway is about 150' long and slopes downward to the back yard, where the gate and turf beyond form a sort of dam. There collects all the dirt, gravel, sand, and shmutz runoff when it rains, and over the years it's created a rather thick bed for weeds. I mowed them all down, then grabbed the shovel, intent upon chucking all that over the gate to the back yard where it all belongs anyway.

That was a mistake: the heat got me. I felt drunk most of yesterday, but not the pleasant, buzzy sort of drunk I can reach and maintain for hours at a party, but the one-toke-over-the-line-Sweet-Jesus kind of drunk, where every swallow of any food or drink makes me nauseous and I feel vaguely stupid...or stupidly vague, either works. I hate to cancel performances - and had only done so twice before - but I had to cancel a gig at Spin! Pizza. The thought of standing and singing for two hours in 105º of heat index made me light-headed and, frankly, a little panicky.

Upon examination, I think the problem might be better addressed by opening the gate and merely pushing the shmutz to the back yard with a snow or coal shovel, instead of lifting and throwing it over. Yeah, that ought to work. I could even do it with the garden hose, maybe even give that job to the kids to do. I like that even better.


mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Quite a mixed bag of a weekend, but ultimately it ended up on a good note.

Side Work is a bitch, sometimes.

I'll try to keep this story brief. I've been doing the website for The Stage Coffee House & Deli. It's not a huge money maker - hell, neither is the coffee house - but it's a few extra dollars here and there in cash. Grocery stores don't mind cash. 

Actually, yeah, it got kinda long. )

Seamlyne

It's been very quiet, and I'm kinda glad. Flu-B (yep, officially) makes it tough to keep up on orders, so I'm heartily glad there haven't been any. There were two to finish up, and they're a few days further out for shipping than I'd prefer, so I finished both up today.

More general update-y stuff... )
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Quite a mixed bag of a weekend, but ultimately it ended up on a good note.

Side Work is a bitch, sometimes.

I'll try to keep this story brief. I've been doing the website for The Stage Coffee House & Deli. It's not a huge money maker - hell, neither is the coffee house - but it's a few extra dollars here and there in cash. Grocery stores don't mind cash. 

Actually, yeah, it got kinda long. )

Seamlyne

It's been very quiet, and I'm kinda glad. Flu-B (yep, officially) makes it tough to keep up on orders, so I'm heartily glad there haven't been any. There were two to finish up, and they're a few days further out for shipping than I'd prefer, so I finished both up today.

More general update-y stuff... )
mapsedge: (eyebrows up)
It was quite the day: busy, tiring, dusty, hard, sweaty, good. I'm ready for bed now, waiting for Katie and Michelle to get their showers. Last night Michelle and I were up until 2:00am dyeing, washing, rinsing fabric. Tonight, I think I'll be in bed by 11:00. It's worth hoping.

I spent most of the day - except for an all too brief afternoon nap - in the basement, working on making the shop once again, a shop. After we closed Seamlyne at the end of 2006 I re-purposed the space to computer consulting. Now that we're reopening (and my principle computer is now upstairs) it's time to re-purpose again.

Today, I finished carpeting the space - I did about half of it somewhere around 2005 and never made the time to do the other half. It's cheap carpet, but it warms the space adequately, makes it a little more barefoot-friendly down there. Rolled and folded for all these years, it's a bit wrinkly, but in just the few hours it's been down - taped into place using heavy duty double sided carpet tape - it's already starting to relax into place.

Now that the kids are old enough to join us down there as they wish, the goal is to make the environment down there as pleasant as possible. We got an old loveseat from Michelle's parents - it has a twin sized Hide-A-Bed that I can think of a few uses for - that will provide comfortable seating. A TV and DVD player provide entertainment; we'll get a converter box so the old TV can pick up the new digital TV signal; we have an old PC downstairs as well.

Probably the biggest step for me was taking my Old Computer Desk apart to its components with the intent of turning the two legs of the "L" into sewing tables. They're precisely the right height, and I'll be cutting at least one hole so I can recess the domestic straight-stitch and put the deck flush with the desktop - something like the picture on the left, there. (If you sew, and you've never sewn on a sewing machine with a working surface two feet square, you're really missing out.) I'll probably do the same with my small serger. It just makes the work go easier if the working surface of the machine isn't raised above the surface of the table: easier to maneuver the garment; easier to see what you're doing; much much easier on the back.

If anyone has a small computer desk and/or TV stand they'd like to see hauled away, please let me know. Those are the two pieces we're missing.

Michelle, thinking ahead, God bless her, made a terrific soup for our supper, so we wouldn't have to order-pizza-or-starve. She also made garlic-cheddar biscuits. Supper was very good.

There's more, I'm sure, but my brain is turning to mush. Time for shower and bed.
mapsedge: (eyebrows up)
It was quite the day: busy, tiring, dusty, hard, sweaty, good. I'm ready for bed now, waiting for Katie and Michelle to get their showers. Last night Michelle and I were up until 2:00am dyeing, washing, rinsing fabric. Tonight, I think I'll be in bed by 11:00. It's worth hoping.

I spent most of the day - except for an all too brief afternoon nap - in the basement, working on making the shop once again, a shop. After we closed Seamlyne at the end of 2006 I re-purposed the space to computer consulting. Now that we're reopening (and my principle computer is now upstairs) it's time to re-purpose again.

Today, I finished carpeting the space - I did about half of it somewhere around 2005 and never made the time to do the other half. It's cheap carpet, but it warms the space adequately, makes it a little more barefoot-friendly down there. Rolled and folded for all these years, it's a bit wrinkly, but in just the few hours it's been down - taped into place using heavy duty double sided carpet tape - it's already starting to relax into place.

Now that the kids are old enough to join us down there as they wish, the goal is to make the environment down there as pleasant as possible. We got an old loveseat from Michelle's parents - it has a twin sized Hide-A-Bed that I can think of a few uses for - that will provide comfortable seating. A TV and DVD player provide entertainment; we'll get a converter box so the old TV can pick up the new digital TV signal; we have an old PC downstairs as well.

Probably the biggest step for me was taking my Old Computer Desk apart to its components with the intent of turning the two legs of the "L" into sewing tables. They're precisely the right height, and I'll be cutting at least one hole so I can recess the domestic straight-stitch and put the deck flush with the desktop - something like the picture on the left, there. (If you sew, and you've never sewn on a sewing machine with a working surface two feet square, you're really missing out.) I'll probably do the same with my small serger. It just makes the work go easier if the working surface of the machine isn't raised above the surface of the table: easier to maneuver the garment; easier to see what you're doing; much much easier on the back.

If anyone has a small computer desk and/or TV stand they'd like to see hauled away, please let me know. Those are the two pieces we're missing.

Michelle, thinking ahead, God bless her, made a terrific soup for our supper, so we wouldn't have to order-pizza-or-starve. She also made garlic-cheddar biscuits. Supper was very good.

There's more, I'm sure, but my brain is turning to mush. Time for shower and bed.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Do you expect me to squeak?

No, Mr. Mouse, I expect you to die.


Some of you know that we've been having mouse problems. I blogged about a portion of the experience here.

Recently, though, we've been dealing with a rather special breed of mouse, one that knows how to balance on the snap wire of a traditional mouse trap to clean the trip bar of peanut butter on not one but three traps, not once but twice; a mouse that recognizes and avoids glue traps, both black and yellow. One that thinks, the little bastard.

Tonight, I set up my final attempt, my last offensive before we break out the poison. It's a live-fall trap made from a five gallon bucket and a toilet paper tube, which is baited with peanut butter and precariously balanced on the edge. A ramp provides easy access, and is likewise, smeared with enough peanut butter to get Mr. Mouse's attention. At the bottom of the bucket, just for insurance, a glue trap.

Here's the plan: Mouse smells the peanut butter, climbs the ramp to investigate. Just ahead he sees a morsel of peanut butter and a tiny "Reserved" sign. He walks into the dining area, takes one step past the tipping point and is dropped without fanfare into the bucket - and hopefully onto the trap.

If I could figure out how to reset the trap, that would be awesome, but it's the best I can do in fifteen minutes. The tube is taped to the bucket and the lightest touch tips it one way or the other, so maybe it will reset itself and I can catch mice all night.

Click on the picture for a larger version.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
Do you expect me to squeak?

No, Mr. Mouse, I expect you to die.


Some of you know that we've been having mouse problems. I blogged about a portion of the experience here.

Recently, though, we've been dealing with a rather special breed of mouse, one that knows how to balance on the snap wire of a traditional mouse trap to clean the trip bar of peanut butter on not one but three traps, not once but twice; a mouse that recognizes and avoids glue traps, both black and yellow. One that thinks, the little bastard.

Tonight, I set up my final attempt, my last offensive before we break out the poison. It's a live-fall trap made from a five gallon bucket and a toilet paper tube, which is baited with peanut butter and precariously balanced on the edge. A ramp provides easy access, and is likewise, smeared with enough peanut butter to get Mr. Mouse's attention. At the bottom of the bucket, just for insurance, a glue trap.

Here's the plan: Mouse smells the peanut butter, climbs the ramp to investigate. Just ahead he sees a morsel of peanut butter and a tiny "Reserved" sign. He walks into the dining area, takes one step past the tipping point and is dropped without fanfare into the bucket - and hopefully onto the trap.

If I could figure out how to reset the trap, that would be awesome, but it's the best I can do in fifteen minutes. The tube is taped to the bucket and the lightest touch tips it one way or the other, so maybe it will reset itself and I can catch mice all night.

Click on the picture for a larger version.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It was a mixed bag as weekends go.

The August Dormer Roofing Project of 2009 is officially finished. With the prospect of friends coming over on Sunday - one who hasn't been to Osage in years and one who's never been at all - I applied my energies to finishing the portion of the ceiling and wall affected by the leaking water. I have a little touch-up to do in the paint along the ceiling (you wouldn't notice if you weren't looking for it), but it's done and looks really nice.

That and a trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore was most of Saturday. That story, with an update on the shed project, is detailed here.

Sunday, Jami became feverish, hitting 101° or higher. Not sure what he's sick with, but he's a kid and the weather's been very changeable. Dinner with friends was postponed (bummer, that). By mid-afternoon I was feeling very out of sorts myself, but as I look back I think that was a product of a very bad sleeping night.

Dinner was chicken tenders made with Panko breadcrumbs, very successful there.

I have discovered the joys of MySQL and Wordpress. I've set up three websites so far: Bill Morris Music, Lezlie Revelle's Blog, and The Road Less Ordinary, a blog about responsible living, good food, and autism. What I'm learning there will serve me in good stead not only for personal projects but for work projects as well.
mapsedge: Me at Stone Bridge Coffee House (Default)
It was a mixed bag as weekends go.

The August Dormer Roofing Project of 2009 is officially finished. With the prospect of friends coming over on Sunday - one who hasn't been to Osage in years and one who's never been at all - I applied my energies to finishing the portion of the ceiling and wall affected by the leaking water. I have a little touch-up to do in the paint along the ceiling (you wouldn't notice if you weren't looking for it), but it's done and looks really nice.

That and a trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore was most of Saturday. That story, with an update on the shed project, is detailed here.

Sunday, Jami became feverish, hitting 101° or higher. Not sure what he's sick with, but he's a kid and the weather's been very changeable. Dinner with friends was postponed (bummer, that). By mid-afternoon I was feeling very out of sorts myself, but as I look back I think that was a product of a very bad sleeping night.

Dinner was chicken tenders made with Panko breadcrumbs, very successful there.

I have discovered the joys of MySQL and Wordpress. I've set up three websites so far: Bill Morris Music, Lezlie Revelle's Blog, and The Road Less Ordinary, a blog about responsible living, good food, and autism. What I'm learning there will serve me in good stead not only for personal projects but for work projects as well.

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