Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 In Summary

When we told our four year old today that tomorrow was the last day of the year and that it would be a new year in two days, she asked, "What does that mean?"

I could have said, "Well honey, it's a completely arbitrary day chosen out of the approximately 365 days it takes for our planet to go around the sun. It has achieved its significance solely through a long series of historical decisions made by people over thousands of years. People ascribe meaning to the day, when in fact there is absolutely nothing significant about it from a religious or astronomical perspective. Furthermore, not everyone in the world agrees that it is the beginning of a new year. Millions, maybe even billions, of people in the world don't believe that there is a new year in two days. They have chosen their own New Year."

Instead I said, "It's like the birthday for the world. It's the day the world turns another year older." That seems to have satisfied her.

For me, 2011 will be the year that I started to ignore the blog. I did succeed in posting at least once every month (February isn't really a month), but only just barely. I'm not sure if this is an indication of fewer and fewer projects completed, or if it reflects an increased level of comfort in leaving things the way they are.

So for the record, here's what 2011 brought the House of 42 Doors.

  • Early winter of 2011 was snowy, with entirely too much time spent blowing and moving snow.
  • We had an early melt and the promise of an early spring. Sadly old man winter came barreling in though, and pushed spring thaw out until early April.
  • In mid-April we had tornado warnings and sirens. The girls ran to the basement while I watched the swirling clouds from my front porch.
  • Spring involved the big project for the year - putting in the raised beds. It was significantly more time and money than I originally anticipated.
  • The local factory finally sold to a demolition/recycling company. While there's not word if they are going to demolish all of it, demolition has started on some of it.
  • I found out that we didn't have enough shingles to re-shingle our garage, even though we ordered them when we redid the roof on the house. Currently I have a promise from the roofer that he'll get me the additional 300 square feet of shingles. I owe him a call after the first to check on the status.
  • I also discovered that acorn flower is tasty, and a fantastic medium for mold. It's astounding how fast it gets moldy.
  • I put in external outlets in the dormers and heat cabled in the gutters. The winter these last few months has been so mild, I've had no cause to use them yet.
  • The dining room french doors are half finished. Only one more french door needs to be stripped and stained.
  • I've almost finished my first radiator cover. Pictures forthcoming.

Really, its been a much quieter year. Next year is looking to be very busy though. We have two roofs to replace.

Here's wishing all of you a happy and safe New Year.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vintage Hubbell Brass Light Switches

I have searched high and low online over the last four years for these light switches.

And I've had no success. My hope is that by putting up a few pictures, somebody out there there will find these and comment on them. As near as I can tell, these brass Hubbell light switches are original to the house. Harvey Hubbell designed these switches in the 1920's and was granted a patent around 1926.

I'm a little puzzled about the chronology though. Our house was built in 1921, so there is a chance that these switches were installed a few years after the house was finished. What I'd really like to do is get my hands on a Hubbell catalog from the 1920's in hopes of finding the first year these switches were sold.

When we bought our house, there were still about 10 functional in the house. The rest had been replaced by more modern toggle switches. When the house was re-wired in 2008, our electrician took out the remaining and replaced them with modern toggles. When he was done, I put back the functional ones in the public spaces of the house - the front entry, the living room and the dining room.

The problem is that the switches do break. They have one flaw in the design where metal fatigue causes a break after 90+ years. Two weeks ago, I lost the three way switch in the living room and now it's been replaced by a brown plastic toggle switch. It looks fine, but the brass ones look so much better. So I've decided to see if I can find replacements, or replacement parts.

Occasionally, unusual stuff shows up on E-bay, so that's probably my best bet for now. I did find these, as modern replacements, but they are still not quite the same. And using these are prohibitively expensive.

Here is a picture of the light switch outside of the wall. You can see that there is no visible screw or fastener for the plate.

The plate comes off by untwisting the round beveled ring around the switch. This screws onto the main switch and holds the plate in place.

The switch is screwed into an electrical box, similar to a modern switch. One difference though is the size of the switch. It's gargantuan compared to a modern switch. Also the wires are attached to screws on the front of the switch, so they have to be snaked around the switch to the front. One unfortunate side effect of all this is that there are live wires that are uncomfortably close to the brass metal plate that you touch when you turn on the light. When I installed the switches, I grounded the switch, to help with any stray current, but originally, they would not have been grounded.

Here is a picture of the internal switch. This is a three way switch.

And this is the switch itself. It seems rather clunky. The switch is a pivot point and there is a spring on the back half of the pivot. The switch offers resistance and a very loud "click" when the switch is thrown. As the bottom half of the pivot moves, it forces part of the teeter totter part on the right to move up or down and make contact as appropriate.

For many of the switches, I have all the parts and I might be able to solder them back together, but I'd have to be sure that the soldered joint was stronger than the original piece, otherwise it's just not worth it. So if anyone runs across switches like these and knows anything about them, please let me know.

Monday, October 31, 2011

One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

It's hard to not anthropomorphize the House of 42 Doors. I often think of her as a beautiful, temperamental model who just happens to have an addiction to heroin, shopping and small furry animals. The last few weeks she's been acting up again.

It started after I had begun an improvement (presumably unappreciated). Every winter the gutters freeze up, causing varying degrees of ice dams to the house. We haven't had any leaks since the new roof, but I'm not willing to risk the roof, integrated gutters, soffits or beadboard that could all be affected by year after year of leaks.

So I decided to install two external outlets on the sides of the dormers that I could plug heat cable into. These in turn are controlled by a switch on the inside of the house. When the snow comes, I just flip a switch, the snow melts, runs down the gutters and I'm done. When the southern sun shines on the roof and melts the snow, causing it to run into the gutters and freeze, again the heat cable can come to the rescue.

In the time that I spent running the wire and getting it all hooked up, the house decided to give me three mice in the attic, a broken cold water faucet in the bathroom and a broken 1920's Hubbell light switch.

The light switch saddens me the most. They are irreplaceable.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Acorn Flour

A month has slipped by and every day that I look at my garage roof, it continues to look, well, the same. I've gotten in touch with the roofer that we bought the shingles from, and after explaining that according to my measurements, I was 256 square feet short, he suggested that he come out and measure it himself. After all, "I want to make sure we get you the correct amount. Too many shingles is no good either."

That may be true, but at least if I had too many, I could have started by now.

So for the last three weeks I've expected to see John climbing around my garage roof with tape measure in hand, trying to avoid the massive wasp next located in our inherited and defunct satellite dish. So far, I've been disappointed. I called today to remind him of the situation, but not surprisingly, he was not in the office.

I have other options of course. I did hunt down another distributor, but unfortunately, they are located just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. Hardly a hop, skip and a jump away.

In the meantime, we've been doing standard fall activities; tidying up the yard, washing windows and putting up storms, stowing the screens, chopping wood, etc. One new thing I added this year was acorn gathering. We have two very old (probably 250 to 300+ years) white oak trees in the back yard and this year was a bumper crop. Doing anything in the backyard in the last few weeks was dangerous. An acorn falling on your head, dropped from 40 to 60 feet hurts. A lot. Most of them have come down now, especially with the massive wind storms we've had in September.

I'd known for years that acorns were edible but never bothered to research. Thanks to Ye Olde Internet, I have made acorn flour. Acorn bread is quite tasty - earthy, nutty and mushroomy all at once. The smell of drying acorn slowly roasting in the oven is very pleasant.

The garden is winding down, and except for one very confused pea shoot, everything is dying and like us, preparing for winter.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Why Must I Do Your Job?

This is a rant. Warning issued.

Three years ago we had the new roof put on the house. At that time I told the roofer to order enough shingles to shingle our garage. I also told them we would wait to re-roof the garage. It wasn't in the budget. The main roof, gutters, electrical work, sewer line and tuckpointing had tapped us out.

So for the last three years I've been tripping over 53 bundles of shingles in my garage, waiting for the job to bubble up on the priority list. I was set to do the tear off and shingling next weekend (Labor Day weekend), so I started to put together a list of all the items needed. When I got to the part of the list called "shingles", I put down a check and then started wondering...

My garage roof is 1,316 square feet. Each bundle of shingles covers 20 square feet. See the problem? I'm short 256 square feet of shingles, or 13 bundles. Can someone please explain to me why I must do everybody's job? Why do I bother hiring people when they can't even do basic [expletive] math?

20 * 53 < 1,316

Must I check everything?

Un[expletive]believable. So now I'm stuck with 53 bundles of shingles that I wasted money on and have been tripping over for three years. The shingles were special ordered from the west coast and I paid a fortune to get them shipped here. I put a call into the roofer to see if he has any ideas on how to make this work. Got his voice mail and I'm waiting for a call back. I'm not confident.

Hopefully he's learned how to do his [expletive] job in the last three years.

End rant.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What I Learned from AD

I have been a closet architect for many years. That doesn't mean I dream up design solutions for Imelda Marcos' shoe collection. It means that I have an appreciation for art, design, space and synthesis; and also that I wish now that I had taken a different path in college.

I considered architecture as a major in college, but my university did not offer it. I could have transferred out after two years to pursue a degree in architecture, but for a variety of reasons, it didn't happen.

Three years ago my wife had the option of ordering a magazine as part of some promotional deal or charity event. Ever thoughtful, she chose a one year subscription to Architectural Digest for me.

I was over the moon, to say the least. I had never once seen a copy of the magazine, but the name made me think of something polished and professional, something that discussed the newest trends in architecture without losing sight of the historical foundation from which these new trends arose, something you'd find in an architectural firm lying around to prove how professional the firm really was.

About 10 months into the subscription, we ordered light fixtures from Rejuvenation, and they had a promotion which gave a free year's subscription to Architectural Digest for any customer's who bought over a certain dollar amount. About year after that we bought more from Rejuvenation, and again, it extended my subscription for a year. The upshot of all of this is that I've had the opportunity to see about three year's worth of Architectural Digest, without actually paying a subscription fee.

Finally, this month was my last issue, so I thought I would try and summarize what I've learned from Architectural Digest in the last three years.

  • White is a very popular color in good architecture.
  • Good architecture is mostly about interior design - the colors, the fabrics and the accessories.
  • Building placement is important. Good architecture is almost always located by a big body of water. The ocean is best. If you can incorporate an infinity edge pool, you get extra points.
  • If you own sculptures and paintings that are created by world renowned artists (Rodin, Picasso, Rembrandt), you leave them hanging on your living room wall, or sitting upon a credenza in your office.
  • Surprisingly, historic European estates are significantly cheaper than modern estates located near modern metropolises. I found a 17th century Scottish castle for about $10 million, while a 3,500 square foot, modern house near New York was $21 million.
  • If you live in New York city, especially Manhattan, and the opportunity arises for you to purchase your neighbor's apartment, do so immediately. You can knock down walls and have a stunning apartment. You get extra points if you can purchase and incorporate several adjoining apartments.
  • The majority of people who own good architecture do NOT have children, or at least do not plan their architecture around their children.
  • A good designer can be used to help re-decorate almost anything, e.g. houses, pool houses, guest houses, planes or yachts.
  • If you can't find a neighborhood to live in that suits you, sometimes it's just better to buy several hundred or thousand acres and start up your own gated community that reflects the architecture and values you'd like.
  • Only rich people can own good architecture. Also from what I can gather, many rich people who own good architecture are actors, directors, investment bankers, venture capitalists, or directors at charitable foundations.
  • Homosexuals make great designers and designers make great homosexuals.
  • Rich homosexuals are at the top of the heap when it comes to good architecture.

About forty percent of AD I really enjoyed, but it was not the magazine I thought it was going to be.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Local Factory Sold

I haven't been blogging much lately. As I continue to complete tasks for the house and learn about all the things that I was so blissfully ignorant of for the first 30+ years of my life (calcimine paint, picture rail, asbestos shingles, double hung windows, lathe and plaster, etc.), all those topics that originally seemed fodder for a posting are now commonplace. I don't blog about them for the same reason I don't blog about changing the oil in the car or mowing the lawn. They are just part of every day life. But events still occur which are newsworthy.

After hearing rumors swirling for several weeks, I finally got confirmation - the nearby factory has been sold. When we bought our house in 2007, it employed 600 people, and then by the end of 2008, it shut down. Since then the parent company has been trying to sell it with one caveat - they would not sell it to someone who could use it to manufacture the same product.

Imagine that there's a factory that is custom designed to make widgets. Widget Inc. decides to close it and won't sell it to anyone else who makes widgets. Being highly specialized, it is difficult to convert the factory into making anything else. Its not surprising that it took this long for the factory to be sold. What really surprised me was who it was sold to.

It was sold to a Canadian metal recycling company who specializes in the demolition and recycling of building sites. There's no official word on what happens next, but if I was a betting man, I'd say the days of the factory are numbered.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Raised Beds Done

Almost every day since my last posting, I've been thinking about posting. And everyday I'd say to myself, "I'll wait until the raised beds are done. Then I'll have something of substance to show and actually write about." And then everyday progress on the raised beds was soooo slow.

Monday I finally finished. We started digging the raised beds last April. I had hoped to be done by the end of May, so that we could put in the garden on Memorial day, which is our traditional time to plant the garden. Obviously, we didn't make it. The project took more resources than I thought it would.

  • 180 linear feet of pressure treated 2 x 4's
  • 7 yards of class 1 gravel
  • 2 yards of river sand
  • 1400 pavers
  • 3 bags of silica mortar sand
  • 576 linear feet of cedar 2 x 6's
  • 288 linear feet of cedar 1 x 4's
  • 200 linear feet of cedar 2 x 4's
  • 4 boxes of stainless steel decking screws
  • Time to completion- 2 months

I knew it was going to take a lot of time to build - just moving that much dirt takes time. And we ran into several issues with the weather. If the weather had cooperated, we may have made it by the Memorial Day deadline. We also made the mistake of measuring the bricks incorrectly and digging the hole for the path to the wrong size. At least we caught it before we started laying the base and the brick.

We still have a bit of dirt to move around. Throughout the process, our strawberries have blossomed and started to set berries. We didn't have the heart to move them and lose this year's berry production. Once they have finished producing, we'll move them to one of the other beds and then fill in the hole they are currently in.

But now it is done and I have officially turned it over to Ms. Huis. It is now her problem to plant it and weed it. My job is to simply eat from it.

A view from the second floor of the house.

Same view from close up and the ground.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Ultimate Enabler

The glory and the damnation of the Internet is that it is the ultimate enabler.

At any given time there are at least five projects for the house that are rolling around in my head. I consider them from every conceivable angle, adjust them, re-examine them and then shelve them for later examination. In this way I work through what is affordable, what I have the time to do and what I have the skill to do. Currently I have two projects in mind that involve some very serious soldering. I won't go into detail about what they are yet. I'm still considering their affordability and time commitment, but it's sites like this and videos like this that convince me that it is feasible for me to attempt this.

After all, it can't be that hard can it?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just an Eighth of an Inch

My job consists of many different roles, but one of them is analyzing IT failures. What happened? When? Why did it happen? Were the appropriate processes and procedures followed? How can we prevent this from happening again? What I've noticed over the years is that disaster rarely happens because of one cataclysmic failure. Disasters often happen because of a large number of poorly made smaller decisions. All of these in aggregation create a situation that is tenuous and rife for failure. One one final mistake or poor decision is made and the whole system comes crashing down.

This means that small things do matter and details do count. Life gives us plenty of opportunities to self correct. When we repeatedly spurn these opportunities, that's when disaster strikes.

I have a friend who does a fair amount of metal working - machining and blacksmithing. He had a project one time where he needed to drill holes to match up with a mated set of pegs. The problem is that the jig he used was off by 1/64". A very small amount, but since he used the previously drilled hole as his reference point for the next hole, by the time he'd drilled his 48th hole, his last hole was off 3/4" from the peg.

When I measured bricks for our new pathway in the raised beds, I measured the bricks as 8 inches long, and Ms. Huis carefully (and painstakingly) figured out the exact dimensions of the raised beds to accommodate these 8 inch long bricks. We moved 10 yards of dirt to accommodate those figures. Two nights ago I laid out some bricks in the holes we dug, just to estimate how it would look. They didn't fit. So I measured the bricks again. It turns out they are 8 1/8" long. That 1/8" is not much, but compounded over 40 sets of brick, it adds up.

Looks like we're going to have to do more digging.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dig This

Digging. Why does it seem so many of my projects involve digging?

I put in a retaining wall and steps in our last house. That was about nine yards of earth. When we put in a new sewer line in the House of 42 Doors, the excavator left a nice pile of dirt that needed spreading out. That was probably three yards. The previous owner built a three car garage, and as part of that, there was a nice pile of dirt that he left next to the garage. That was another four yards. The compost heap in the backyard that had been there since time immemorial was four feet high and six feet in diameter, so another three yards there. The hundred or so yews I put in required digging, although only a little bit at a time.

And now we've started another project with more digging. This project started out as an idle drawing and an idea that I showed to Ms. Huis. She liked it, and grabbed it. We wanted a vegetable garden at the house, and cleared out a a 25 foot wide and 60 foot long swath of scrub (mostly buckthorn) to get it. Unfortunately, we discovered the land there was not suited for a garden. While the top 2 inches were nice black soil, beneath that was a two to three inch layer of compacted gravel. All of our root vegetables would grow two inches and just give up. Our carrots were like stubby, fat fingers. So the answer was raised beds. And what would go between these raised beds? Brick paths, of course.

So that means digging down about 12 inches, putting in about 7 inches of base, and then another 2 inches of sand. We have 276 square feet of path we're installing, so that adds another 10 yards of earth to the tally. I haven't done all the digging; there's been plenty of help from Ms. Huis, the in-laws and even our youngest. It's awful stuff though, with the old compacted gravel, and the tree roots from the scrub we took out.

I'll be glad when the project is done so that I can move onto other house projects. Progress to date can be viewed here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Storm's a Comin'

Yesterday was the first day of 2011 that it was warmer outside than it was inside. It was unseasonable warm - 74 F (22 C) - and followed by severe thunderstorms. Ms. Huis was about to go out running when the tornado sirens sounded. The womenfolk scurried into the basement while I watched the storm from the safety of my front door.

At first there was nothing, just clouds that looked like curtain swags, and the occasional bit of lightning. The bats were out feasting on whatever insects were around. It was dead calm. Eventually the bats took shelter and within 20 minutes, the real thunder and lightning started. It was 40 minutes of constant thunder and lightning. The rain came pouring down, but it was still calm. Then the wind came up all of a sudden; sudden enough that I went into the basement. Within 5 minutes it was gone, and the storm passed.

There was no damage by us, but a tornado did touch down close by, and on the way to work there were several missing fences and some twisted road signs. At work I heard stories of neighborhoods that lost siding, trampolines and small trees.

I know that thunderstorms are dangerous, destructive, expensive and life threatening, but I love them.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Is Here

About six weeks ago I was ready to write that Spring was here. The snow was melted, the garden was visible and I was looking at the garden with anticipation. Then we received a foot of snow, along with what felt like months of below freezing weather (I think it was actually 10 days). So I held off. But, I'm happy to report that Spring is here now.

The squill is a bit behind this year, thanks to the late snow storms. Usually we have a sea of blue by tax day (April 15th). I'd say we're a few weeks from that. I tapped our maple trees this year for the first time and they are now done. I pulled almost a gallon of syrup from them in the end. Not bad for just four trees.

I'd mentioned in the past that we had our door refinished. The last post is actually a good before and after picture. The sidelights show how bad the finish was compared to the door. Now I'll have to try and get them finished this year. We have a lot of projects in mind for the year, which I won't enumerate here. I'm not ready to make a list of stressors just yet.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Calling All Wee Folk

I'm a strong believer in the little people. I'm not talking about the Irish (although I do believe in them too). I'm talking about faeries, pixies, sprites, brownies, elves and the like. When we lived in Ireland, we always put out a bowl of milk for the brownies and more times than not, we'd find it empty in the morning.

Lest you think I'm naive, I know that the neighborhood cat would occasionally drink the milk, but what about when it wasn't the cat? Can anyone prove that it wasn't the brownies? With all the work that the House of 42 Doors entails, I'm willing to ask for help from anyone who can provide it. If there were elves who could make shoes, then why can't there be faerie folk who can do carpentry work?

I also know that workers will follow the best working conditions and salaries. This is why putting milk out for the brownies works. You feed them and they come. Available food is a much better working condition than no food. So to that end I've started constructing small tools in hopes of attracting a little assistance with my carpentry work.

I'm hoping this sawhorse will be good for a new roof on the back porch.

I'll let you know if it works.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Double Agent

Our family occasionally eats Boca burgers. For anyone not familiar with them, they are a meatless alternative to hamburgers. They don't really taste like hamburgers and when I've read the ingredients, I've always been a little uneasy. Not surprisingly, there seems to be a lot of processing involved in getting vegetables to look like meat. Still, I do think they taste fine.

Last night we had a new kind of Boca Burger - Grilled Vegetable Boca Burger. The package describes this as "The ultimate veggie patty. Tender chunks of grilled zucchini, bell peppers, and corn with hints of garlic, onion, mozzarella and asiago cheeses."

So let me get this straight - you grind up vegetables and soybeans, add cheese extracts, binders and vegetable oils to make a paste. Then you form this paste into a patty to approximate meat. And then, because presumably, you think that real vegetables taste better? look nicer? are healthier? you add them back into this pretend meat? Is this a product that is vegetables trying to be meat trying to be vegetables? I don't get it. It gets me confused trying to figure out.

Maybe I'll just go have some celery instead.

Friday, March 4, 2011

May December

As I've grown older I've noticed several things about being a man. The older we get, the more delusional we become. This is no more evident than around young women. There can be 20 years difference between a woman and a middle aged man and he'll think he might have a shot at catching her eye. Put 30 years between them, and he'll be convinced.

Where does this hubris come from? Does it come from a society that assigns us more and more responsibility, stoking our egos, until finally we believe the impossible? Don't get me wrong, there is some value here. Without this sort of delusional belief, we wouldn't have conquered small pox, harnessed nuclear power or flown to the moon. And Harrison Ford wouldn't have married Calista Flockhart.

I suppose in the end whether the belief is arrogance or visionary depends upon our ability to achieve it and how it's viewed through the lens of history.

Also, no work has been done on the house for the last three months due to winter and life generally being busy. Blog updates have been and will be spotty for awhile yet.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Last Page

Winter is good for two things at the House of 42 Doors. First is considering ways to insulate the house. Second is trying to catch up on reading. Most of the books I read are not interesting enough to warrant a post. The most recent two I remember reading were 52 Loaves and Billionaire's Vinegar. I picked them up for $2 a piece and they were well worth that.

At the moment I have a book sitting on my nightstand that keeps staring at me - literally. It's The Last Page by Anthony Huso. I'm having a hard time cracking the cover. Tony and I went to college together and I have fond memories of being part of a role-playing group he put together. I also have many memories (not quite as fond) of Tony beating the pants off of me in countless Magic The Gathering duels (I still have boxes full of cards thank you very much).

One of the things that Tony gave to me in college was a very, very early copy of the Last Page. I read it and thought at the time that it was undoubtedly as good as anything published I'd read. I told him as much and in retrospect, a more critical response probably would have been more helpful. (Sorry Tony).

At the end of our senior year, everyone went around promising to keep in touch and trying to exchange whatever phone numbers or addresses we had, which is to say almost none. Most people were just looking for a job and we were scattering to the four corners of the earth. When I asked Tony for a phone number, an address, or even just a promise to keep in touch, he said to me, "What's the point? We go through life, encounter people, make friends, enjoy the time and then move on. If we run into each other in the future, we'll talk then."

I was put off by this at first, but the more I thought about it, the more wisdom I saw in it. No false promises, no expectations, just the freedom of knowing that time spent together was enjoyed and that if life sees fit for the two of us to meet again, there needn't be any awkwardness.

Tony and I have danced around each other a few times since college. I saw him once in the late 90's for a very short amount of time. We caught up, but I had to run to some other engagement and couldn't stay as long as I wanted. Then he was in France while we were in Ireland, and Ms. Huis and I discussed visiting him, but before we could, he moved back to the States. I've kept tabs on where he is and what he's been up to through mutual friends and his blog.

Now after so many years, I find myself pondering this version of The Last Page. In some ways it appears to be very different from the early copy I read, and yet I can also see from the jacket and from the reviews that it is essentially the same story. For some reason, I've made reading the Last Page into some sort of symbolic act, one that carries a host of past memories, years of lessons learned and ironically, exactly the sort of baggage that Tony's advice was meant to avoid.