Friday, August 28, 2009

The Time of Plenty

We're approaching fall and there is produce everywhere. There are pumpkins on the vine. The squash are turning. The tomatoes are breaking their vines with the weight of their fruit. The beets are sweet and large. The carrots are long and crisp. Our CSA boxes are backachingly full of tomatoes, melons, onions and corn.

Last night our neighbor dropped off a brown grocery bag full of pears, apples and a peach. Today one my employees bribed me with a dozen ears of sweet corn.

I love fall.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Brick pavers are heavy.

This is an obvious fact. But if I asked you exactly how heavy, would you have any idea?

On Monday I saw a listing on CraigsList for 1000 brick pavers for sale. I contacted the seller and was thrilled to hear that they were still available at a very good price.

They were an hour away, and I opted to drive down to see them. I wanted to be sure they were real brick and of a color that would match the rest of the brick around the house. The directions to the place sounded familiar, but it wasn't until I was well on my way that I realized the house I was going to was on the way to our CSA, which we've visited three times over the last two years.

The bricks turned out to be perfect. They are 8" x 3.5", and I figured that as long as I was down there, I might as well load up the Ford Taurus and take some back with me. I figured if I could get a third of the bricks in the Taurus, then I could come back another time with my wife and our two cars and get the balance.

As it turns out, estimating weight is not one of my many skills. I loaded up the Taurus trunk, back seat and passenger foot well with as many bricks as I thought I could safely take - about 275. Other than bottoming out the Taurus once, the trip was uneventful, but I was nervous the entire way that something was going to happen.

Once I was home, I weighed a brick to see how close my estimate of two pounds each was. It turns out each brick is closer to five pounds and that I overloaded the Taurus by a few hundred pounds.

We were able to arrange for the sellers to deliver another quarter of the bricks last night (for a fee of course) and I think I'm going down tonight to load up another quarter. They'll be following me with the last 250.

I had no idea when I bought these that it would be such a hassle to get them here. The ironic bit is that the guy selling them pulled them out of a sidewalk for a lady who happens to live within 15 minutes of us, and then transported them back to his house an hour away.

If only we had known.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not Strictly OSHA Approved

The time off was fabulous, if perhaps too short. I have yet to find someone who will pay me for working on the projects I want to work on, but I suppose it's the same problem we all have.

The goals for the holiday were several.

1) Finish repairing, scraping, priming and painting the soffit.
2) Kill some of the weeds in the lawn with weed killer.
3) Scrape, prime and paint the integrated gutter on the back porch.
4) Take a day trip or two to see some fun things in the area.

As expected, not everything was accomplished. The only item on the list that was completed was number 2. We lost one entire day to Ms. Huis having the flu and one entire day to rain.

The soffit is mostly done with just the final coat of paint to put on two sides. I did not rent a lift or a scaffold and there's no doubt it would have gone faster, but the hassle of setting up and moving a scaffold, as well as the added cost just didn't seem worth it. Besides who needs a scaffold, when I can build this?

I didn't walk on this, only used it to hold my paint tray so I wouldn't have to go all the way down to the ground to dip the roller or the brush. The other sides of the house weren't bad as I was able to reach the soffit by standing on the first floor roofs. Once the soffits are painted, it'll be time to start working on winterizing the house.

Its hard to imagine, but old man winter will be here before I know it.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I've got all of next week off and nothing planned.

Well, that's not strictly true. I have a lot of things bouncing around in my head that I could do. Enough really for me to retire for a few years, but still nothing is concrete.

I'll let you know how it goes, but for now, it's a case of finish up the work stuff and fly out the door.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer Fun

Hot. Humid. Sticky.

Perfect weather for the beach, the air-conditioned mall, or peeling paint off the walls.

We've gone on at some length in the past about calcimine paint. What we've noticed is that when it is warm and humid, the latex paint on top of the calcimine becomes rubbery and releases easier from the wall. Scraping in the winter results in paint chips. Scraping paint on a hot and humid day can result in pieces of paint coming off that are a square foot in size.

We took the opportunity that the weather gave us and almost finished pulling the paint off of the wall in our guest room in just a few hours. The one wall left is the one by the chimney and it's clear that it has suffered some serious water damage followed by some very poor plaster patching. Getting it to a decent state is going to be difficult.

The room was originally pink, then blue, then the blindingly bright yellow in the pictures. Over that was two or three coats of white latex. Here you can see a patch of white latex, over the sunny, cheery yellow and the gray of a washed wall. Good Summer Fun!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You'd Be A Lot More Welcome...

If you'd come with your own bat cave, batsuit and batmobile.

We left the window open for you. Glad you were able to see yourself out.