Friday, February 12, 2010

Keys, Keys, Keys

Yesterday in the mail I received my final Corbin P-Series key, a P-8 to be precise. I now have a key for every easily identifiable lock in the house. That amounts to 31 keys.

There are seven doors in the basement that also have mortise locks, but there is no distinguishable identifying mark on the mortise lock to indicate what kind of key might fit it. The doors are an older style door, so I suspect that the mortise locks are older as well.

Many of the locks and strike plates need additional work though. The house has settled over time and not all of the doors close correctly anymore. The mortise locks need to be disassembled, cleaned and oiled. Some need to be repaired. It's fiddly work and a good project for the winter months when I'm bored.

Oh, and if anyone needs or wants any bit keys (including Corbin P-Series), I have many, many extra that I acquired while looking.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Old Friends

When I was in high school, Calvin and Hobbes were in their prime. I looked forward every week to the Sunday paper. I'd carefully cut out the strip, take it to school and tape it to the inside of my locker door. By the end of the year, there was a thick matte of paper that I'd take down, laugh at, and then throw away.

By the time I went to college, I stopped following Calvin and Hobbes. They were winding down. I'd pretty much forgotten about them until one day I ran into a few Calvin and Hobbes books that Ms. Huis owned. I looked through them and they reminded me of their absolute brilliance. When someone reawakens the love of an old interest and you share it together, it's divine.

So we have a soft spot for Calvin and Hobbes at our house, which is why we've let our five year old read those same books. She really enjoys them, although some of the subject matter is definitely beyond her. However, some is not.

Two weeks ago, we were talking about desert after supper, when Pumpkin piped up, "Oh, I'm a dessertatarian." To which I replied, "You mean you only eat desert? Where did you get that from?" And of course the answer was Calvin and Hobbes.

But the one that made me reconsider giving her access to Calvin and Hobbes at such an early age happened just before Christmas last year. We were playing in the living room.

P: "Daddy, is there really a bad Santa?"

K: "What? What do you mean a bad Santa?"

P: "You know, an evil Santa."

K: "Well, does this bad Santa do?"

P: "If you're bad, he brings toys and things you want, but if you've been good, he punishes you with socks and underwear."

After a few follow up questions I discovered the source of "evil Santa" was Calvin. I have to say that as funny as Calvin was 20 some years ago, he's even more funny filtered through the eyes and mouth of a five year old.

Friday, February 5, 2010

It Could Happen

In February, our current President will meet the Dalai Lama. I've been thinking about this for about a year.

Imagine that rather than a dog named Bo, Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha opted to get an Andean Llama. I relish the thought of hearing an introduction on a February afternoon, as the Dalai Lama is receiving a tour of White House.

President Obama says, "Dalai Lama, Obama Llama. Obama Llama, Dalia Lama."

Say it out loud. It's funny. Really. Well, it makes me smile anyway.

Back to the house. I've started putting trim back around our dining room window again. Once it's done, I'll post pictures and explain a classic case of scope creep.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Project 2 - Done

Well, it looks like a I missed a week there. Big news at the House of 42 Doors these days is that late last week we received a mail from the Wisconsin Historical Society. Our roof/mortar/gutter project received final approval and is now closed out. What does that mean? It means we can claim back 25% of the cost of that project as a tax credit.

Thanks to this project and the electrical/sewer project of 2007-2008, we have reduced our state tax liability to as low as it possibly can be for the next five to seven years. We can't reduce our state taxes to $0, though. Wisconsin has an alternative minimum tax rate so that we'll always have to pay something.

I also just heard from Ms. Huis that the full set of Corbin P-series keys (1 through 12) that I bid on and won in E-bay came today. I'm now just three keys short of having a Corbin key for every Corbin lock in the house. That means I'm still short the seven doors in the basement, but they aren't Corbins and I'm afraid that finding keys for them may prove extremely difficult.

Projects on the house have been going agonizingly slow. I've been doing most of the work and that means slow progress (although it also means much fewer expenditures). I also happen to have a project going on on each floor of the house. So many projects at once means that while it takes longer to get through them, it also means that I can switch projects when I start getting frustrated. This is good. The house likes to oppose me whenever it can.