Monday, June 29, 2015

Reaching My (minor) Wood Goal

We are slated to take a vacation at some point, and as usual, I have some level of reluctance because there is so much to do around here and the weather has not made it easy to get a good day's work in. Nonetheless, vacations are very important to us and not only do we always have a great time, but it's a really rewarding family experience to travel together. I think more families should do it, be engaged with each other's company, and welcome the quirks and complications that arise, because as one writer succinctly put it, that's when the adventure begins.

That doesn't mean that I can't get things done around here. The key is to set reasonable goals, and I set one with the firewood. Since we dipped into the pile last winter, I needed to replenish that section as well as finish stacking the far end, but there's always a conflict as to what end to attack. I decided to get the replenishing done before any sort of vacation happens, which needed about a cord of wood. This meant cutting the logs and then splitting and stacking them, but I managed to get it done. Yesterday, in fact.

It felt good to finish that section, and the wood pile looks much nicer. It still amazes me how much wood we burn, or for that matter, that I actually cut and split it, but that's what makes me a real-man in training, right? The beauty is, once I get this year's wood done, I get to start in on next year's. It would be very cool, and I mean very cool, if I could year two done by the first snowfall. You never know, stranger things have happened.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Pordeshia for the pic.

Insulation Realization

Insulating the barn continues, and I finally got off my butt and worked on the kitchen area. It wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be, and it is light years easier than insulating the roof, which is angled and reaches all the way to the floor. Putting the insulation in up there was a bear of a job, though it makes doing the walls a piece of cake. In fact, I have been cruising along for the past couple of days and was about to do the final push when I realized a few things about the insulation, all good things.

I did some investigating into state requirements for insulation on newly constructed buildings, and learned that if you're planning on living in the house, you can pretty much do whatever you want. I sort of new this, but I just read up on it and found that you can forget about insulation if you want to, it will just come back to haunt you if you want to sell the unit, or of course in the winter time. The state has established extremely rigorous guidelines, so much so that I think it makes it almost prohibitively expensive to insulate a new house, at least for the average person. The rigidity comes into play if you're planning to sell the place, where you have to disclose what you've done and the buyer gets to decide if they'll accept it.

The point is, we'll insulate properly, but somehow knowing that Big Brother is not overseeing our every move makes it easier. I was also reminded that wall requirements are lower than ceiling requirements, which could save us some money. Originally I had planned on putting an extra layer of rigid board over the insulation to up the R-value, but I now think I can just put it over the ceiling. The walls are already at the required level, so all that's left is to drywall them. How cool is that?

Finally, the kitchen area needs to be addressed. I spoke with mom about it and we decided that since it's the one area of the house that has plumbing, we should insulate to a fault, which would mean rigid board, fiberglass, and then an additional layer of rigid board, just for good measure. I'm fine with this because it's a limited area and the cost and work would not be unthinkable. There are some issues with how the pipes have been installed, but I think I can modify it to make it more protected in the event of cold weather, I just need to get some verification from certain individuals. After that, I think we're ready to put in rigid board and then, if you can believe it, dry wall. Then again, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, counting chickens before they hatch and all.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Kelly and Debra Fuller for the pic.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Good Vibes at Tip Top Tire

I'm liking Tip Top Tire these days. Besides being a local and small family run operation, they usually have pretty good prices and they're a cool operation. The place isn't glamorous or fancy, which is fine because I don't need to sip espresso while I wait for my car to be done. I recently bought new tires from them and as usual, got a good deal. I take the car in to get the tires rotated because they can take me right away and they charge a fair price. This time around, I went in and they did the rotation for free since I bought the tires there. I don't know if this is standard practice, but I sure was stoked. I think the fact that it came as a surprise is what made it nice.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Zip250 for the pic.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Minding Moms Peas and Qs

Something that's been eating away at me is mom's garden plot, where I built a trellis for her peas. Last year we got some dwarf variety that only grew to about 3 feet, but this year I think we got a different type because it seems to keep going. It became obvious that the the structure I built was going to inadequate, so I knew I had to build on it, but how? I realize it's not rocket science, but you want something tall that will hold up the plants, which become heavy over time. I figured rather than sit impotently and sweat about it, I was better off just doing something about it.

I searched the yard and found some long stakes lying around and secured them to the pre-existing ones. I then extended the trellis with some old deer fencing that I had used for our home garden, which is now defunct. Then I tied it all together with twine and voila - suddenly we have a bigger, better trellis. Whether or not it will hold is yet to be seen, but for now, it looks good, and sometimes that's all you can hope for.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Brent Looyenga for the pic.

Fun Father's Day

Okay, falling behind again, as usual. It's amazing how the days creep up on you and before you know it, a week has passed. I am trying to avoid this but it seems to keep happening so maybe I just need to live with it... nah.

I wanted to talk about Father's Day (FD) but that was ages ago, but I'm going to talk about it anyway. It wasn't that much time, was it? I didn't want to make a big deal about the day because I'm a bit cynical about all these contrived holidays, but I didn't want to be a stick in the mud, either. Mom and the kids kept asking me what I wanted to do and the truth is, there really wasn't much I wanted to do, but at some point I couldn't keep saying that. I started sounding too much like my dad, way too pragmatic and not so much fun. Not really knowing what I wanted to do, I figured food was always a good outlet, so I decided on pizza and ice cream. No argument from the kids, but I'm sure mom wasn't so thrilled, though to her credit, she went with it.

I even got a FD breakfast, with pancakes and bacon, though for the record, I cooked the bacon. Sunday breakfasts are a bit of a tradition in our house, and it's always nice to have a slow and hearty meal together as a family. Afterward I figured I should get some work done outside, not only because there's a ton of it that needed to be done (there still is), but also to burn off some calories to earn my pizza and ice cream. I ended up working some more on the garden, getting more tomatoes into the ground, then I mowed the lawn (so cliche) and went to work on the woodpile, which is light years away from being finished, but more on that later.

At some point everyone, including yours truly, was getting hungry, so we headed out to W. Leb to eat at Ziggy's and then to Fore-U for some ice cream. Everyone seemed to want veggie pizza, though I personally think pizza does best with a salty meat on it, but that's just me. They have a pretty good deal over there where you can get a specialty pizza and a free small cheese pie to go along with it, so we did that, though somehow the pizza didn't blow me away. Then it was off to Fore-U, where there were some pleasant surprises, though the place was packed. I think mom was impressed, it was her first time there, but it's usually pretty crowded. I love that place.

First off, we had a coupon for a free sundae with the purchase of the same. One of the things I want on FD just happens to be a hot fudge sundae, so N and I got one each and A got a cone of chocolate PB ice cream. The idea was that we would all share in the fun, that way the ice cream gets spread out a little and one person doesn't end up eating a ton of ice cream by themselves. At least that's how it works in theory. Plus, mom didn't want to eat a ton of ice cream, it's just not her thing. Since it was FD, Fore-U was giving away ice cream cones, and since we had a coupon, we ended up buying just one sundae. How cool is that?

We sat under the tent and watched the crowds enjoying their treats, then it was back home to relax for a few minutes, maybe even take a nap, before heading over to ultimate frisbee. The weather was perfect, it cooled down enough to make it bearable, and we had a good crowd of players and the teams were well balanced. It was a lot of fun, and we all got a good workout, enough to justify the thousands of calories that we consumed that day.

In the end, I didn't want to make a big deal about FD, but it turned into a fun and enjoyable day without too much planning while also getting some necessary things accomplished. Best of all, we got to hang out together and just enjoy each other's company, then work up a good sweat. I love when that happens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jeremy Hall for the pic.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Playing in the Band

A has been pretty dedicated with her electric guitar and has even playing in a band, which is an awesome experience for any kid. Not only is there the cool factor of being in a band, which anyone can appreciate, but it has really inspired her to practice more diligently and inspired her to venture into new and challenging musical arenas. She has an awesome guitar teacher but somehow being in a band highlights the need to practice and really learn to play various songs. Best of all, she's having fun with it.

Her band has played several concerts already in the area, and it's a lot of fun to see. Their roles in the band are not set in stone and they have the opportunity to try different things, so while she is the rhythm guitarist, she has also filled in as singer and on occasion has had to play lead, both of which she enjoys but finds intimidating. This is especially true when you're playing in front an audience of your peers.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Andres Horrilo for the pic.

Happy Fathers Day

To Dads Everywhere,

Hope you have a great Father's Day, and thanks to Titiolian for the pic.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Doors Opening

The kid's involvement with various video projects has opened all sorts of doors that could lead to potential projects in the future, and some of which are happening in the here and now. It seemed like there was a flurry of video activity this winter and several movies got made. In succession the kids made a documentary, a music video, and then entered into the 48 Hour Film Slam, which they had not wanted to enter in the first place. Either way, they won some awards and plenty of recognition in the process.

Their documentary was entered in the CSPAN contest and didn't win anything even though I thought it was better than some of the entries that did, but what do I know? It did, however win a special recognition award at the Vermont Freedom and Unity Awards. Then their music video, which for the record kicked some serious butt, won the music video contest in her age bracket, and her 48 Hour Film entry won the grand prize at the White River Independent Film Festival, which floored me because that really took me by surprise. It was a pretty exciting stretch for the kids and parents alike.

This is where things got interesting. One of the organizers of the Film Festival, ST, took a liking to A and she introduced her to a professor at Dartmouth who works with incarcerated women, helping them express themselves through written words. They have a regular meeting in conjunction with Dartmouth students where they tell their stories or read poetry. This professor, PH, asked A to help her film one of her classes, and hinted at future opportunities for A to be involved. I'm not sure what will come of it, maybe nothing, but it's been an interesting experience for A to see firsthand what some people go through in life and to take part in the process of documentary filmmaking.

It was hard work and a little stressful for her because it was a fair amount of responsibility and she had to take charge of the situation - nobody else knew how to operate the camera besides her brother, and he was too young to be allowed into the detention center. Despite the challenges, she did a stand up job, impressing everyone involved, even me, and I wasn't there. I love when that happens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to HHH Honey for the pic.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Just Doing It

Like Nike says, just do it. I had one of those days yesterday where there are so many potential things that need to be done that it makes me want to simply shut down. Back when I was single, that's probably exactly what I would have done, but now that I'm a real man in training, there's simply no time to sit around feeling sorry for myself and I have to take action and just do it. Life is much more satisfying that way, and real men don't become real men by whining, do they?

The weather was beautiful and I finally had a chance to do some outside stuff. The incessant rain has not only encouraged the growth of the lawn, but it makes it hard to mow it. Not impossible, but cutting the grass in the rain is a drag, not to mention a little precarious because we have hills. Either way, the day of reckoning had arrived, and the time to act was now. Complicating the matter was the usual domestic duties of preparing meals and cleaning up afterward, which not only takes time but breaks the rhythm of the day, not that I'm whining, of course.

N also had a dentist's appointment in the AM, so we had to go to that, but as soon as we got home, I went to work. First I made the kids lunch and did the dishes. In the back of my mind I knew I had to make supper, but the dish was a one bowl meal, so I could put it off until about an hour before supper, leaving the afternoon open. The kids made plans to meet up with friends later for a swim, so my day was open. I first went to mom's garden to augment her trellis because the current one was too small. I rigged something with 6 foot stakes and some deer fencing, which I hope will hold. It met with mom's approval, so it's a step in the right direction.

Next up was my own garden plot, which is ready to be planted. I have about 15% of it filled, but there's still plenty of space for more tomatoes, which are growing like gangbusters in the greenhouse. I put a few more into the ground, bringing the total to about 15, though I have about 70 more. Is that crazy, or what? There is also zucchini, cucumbers, and basil, though my primary focus is growing tomatoes, as you can well see. After attending to my green thumb, I came home and spent about an hour cutting wood, which is actually moving along nicely. My goal, which I just thought of, is to get this year's wood split and stacked by the end of the month. Yeah right, good luck with that one, though it's about 70% done.

After the wood, I figured the best plan was to make supper because the woodpile and the lawn can slide, but mealtime cannot. I came in and prepared the meal, and then I had about half an hour before mom got home and we sat down to eat, so I had to make a decision. Do I sit back and wait, or go for it? As any real-man in training can tell you, of course I went for it. I broke out the lawnmower and started cutting the grass. Yes, I was tired and hungry, but you really have to seize the opportunity when it's given to you. How else can you justify all that patting your giving yourself on your back?
I managed to get the mowing done just as mom pulled into the driveway, which also gave me some street cred with her. It's always good to accrue points when you can. We sat down to supper and afterward A went to sleep over at a friends, then mom and I went to the garden to do some weeding and to check on the new bionic trellis. Then it was Miller Time, one of my favorite times of the day.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mark for the pic.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Last Busy Weekend?

With LAX coming to an end and track over, I'm hoping this would be our last busy weekend, and believe me, it's been a crazy one. A finished track last week and they had their year-end party, which is always fun, though this year they had some sort of pot-luck in lieu of a BBQ. Kind of a bummer because you can't beat grilled food for a summer get-together, and it ensures that there is enough food. This time around they seemed to run out of food, and we were looking forward to a burger, or at least a hot dog. Plus, I've found that with pot-lucks, you tend to get a lot of sweets, but I shouldn't complain. We managed to get our fill.

A put together a slide show, which was a last minute thing and drove her a little crazy. It wasn't even her idea at first and became a bit of a burden because it took time gather the pictures and put it to music, and since she takes this sort of thing very seriously, she got a little OCD on it, but the end result was a very nice piece of work. During the moments when she was stressing over it I had to remind her it wasn't even her gig and it didn't have to be perfect. I don't think my advice had much effect.

Now with track done there is only LAX to wind down, and that's happening this weekend. N has a big tournament and it takes place on Sat and Sun. It's about 1.5 hours away so it's a lot of driving, and my weekend is pretty shot because I'm in attendance of the games. Sat wasn't so bad because the games were early in the AM, but N also had his final drum corps performance at the Alumni Parade in the next town. His games ended at 11:00AM, then we made the drive back home. We had about an hour to kill so we stopped at assorted snowboard shops along the way and looked for boards for A, but that's a story for another time.

Now as you can imagine N was soaked with sweat after his game, so he changed into his parade uniform and played his drum in the parade. Talk about a busy day, and it was hot on that parade route. Then it was back home to chill out until suppertime, which I was in no mood to make and was saved by the fact that mom had brought home all these leftovers from the African lunch at work. I was so stoked!

For today, Sunday, we had two more games of LAX and then N wanted to be home in time for ultimate frisbee. His games were later which always complicates meals, and we were cutting it close in terms of our return time. Fortunately, his LAX games went early, we got out of there sooner than anticipated and arrived back home around 5:30. That gave us enough time to change, pick up A and her guitar, take him to the UF field and then take A to band practice. I did poster boy work while she played, and then we came home.

Wow, what a day/weekend. I'm looking forward to a little down time but I'm thinking it's not going to happen anytime soon. Once one activity ends, there are others just waiting in the wings. Oh well, that's how you live a full and fruitful life, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Scott Ableman for the pic.

Saved By The African Lunch

The other day we had a crazy busy day and I was voicing my angst over the challenges of putting supper on the table, and mom came to the rescue on that front. It was the usual bout of nuttiness with LAX, book club, work and other assorted adventures, keeping us out of the house for most of the day. For the most part this is not a bad thing because it means there's a lot to do and the kids are having fun (who cares if dad is having fun?). However, being out of the house all day makes it difficult to put a healthy meal on the table, and it reminds me of why fast food and prepared food is so popular. It's just too darn hard to cook unless you have a solid chunk of time in the kitchen, and even when you have the time, it's not easy to find the energy.

This time around I was thinking about the day ahead and told mom that I didn't think I could pull off making dinner, though admittedly I was whining a bit. She reminded me that she had all this leftover food from the African Lunches that they hold at work. All I had to do was make rice, and she had the chicken curry and ground nut stew. I was practically doing cartwheels in the kitchen. Plus, it was a one bowl meal, making setup and cleanup that much easier. Don't you love when that happens.

I will say this, life sure is more enjoyable when you can appreciate the little things in life.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Priscilla for the pic.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Road Game

LAX had been a lot more hardcore this year, and this weekend we made a long trip up to Stowe for a game, which is unusual because usually it's much more local and low key. However, it seems like it's what needs to be done because N's team is particularly strong this year and it has been hard to find a good matchup. We have played all the local teams and won by wide margins. The game against Stowe was a bit of a trek, but it was the best matchup so far. We played a select team up in Burlington that crushed us, so that was tough competition but not a good match. N's team beat Stowe but it was a good game.

It highlights the fact that this year's team is really strong, and a testament to the coaching, I think. DW is a hardcore coach, and he's really put together a great team. He burns with a passion for the game, you can see it at every practice, and the kids have responded. They have really learned the game and embraced the system. It's cool to see, though it's a lot more work for the parents. Whereas last year we played I think 5-6 games, this year we've played at least a dozen, and we've traveled far and away to play them. I'm not complaining (well, maybe a little) because it's been a great experience, and since LAX is such a short season, it's good to get in as much as you can.

It should be interesting next year when a lot of the players and coaches move up to the next level. I'm not sure what to expect.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Bill Jarvis for the pic.

Rock Stars

A has been playing a few regular gigs around the area with her band, and it's been a cool experience for her, not to mention her family because we get to be groupies. The model works because the kids have a built in set of fans, namely family and friends, but what a nice way to get support for your art. She has two gigs over the past week, one at the big city middle school, and another in WRJ for First Friday, which was kind of cool.

The middle school gig was a week ago and it was a big deal for the Dojo, sort of their big soiree for the year. Interestingly, there was a good turnout, and though it wasn't quite sold out, a pretty good crowd came out to watch. All of the bands played and they really got into it, and it was a good show. The kids really went all out and I enjoyed the performances, some of which were exemplary. I think a lot of the kids must live in the big city and their supporters came out to watch, which is a great thing.

The next gig was this past weekend in WRJ, where they hold a big outdoor soiree on Friday evenings called First Friday. It's actually a cool thing where the local businesses open late on the first friday of every month (thus the name) and bands from all over the area come and play. There are free snacks and it's a good time. A's band played in a local venue and they had a pretty good turnout because a fair amount of foot traffic passes through. It was also their first gig playing without their leader, TS, who usually plays with all the bands. They did a fine job, though you could tell their were a little apprehensive at first, but eventually the warmed up and jammed.

A fair number of A's buddies showed up to support her, which was very cool, and at some point the second band came and we stayed to watch them. I went over to the closest Chinese take-out and got the kids supper, which worked out well because N's teeth were starting to bother him since it was day 1 with the braces.

All in all a fun evening of music, food, and friends. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Stefano for the pic.

Quiet Day of Rest

Last Monday we had a much needed quiet day of rest, and you sort of forget what those days are like when you're running around at warp speed. Last weekend was crazy and it seemed like every day we had multiple activities for both kids, some of which involved lengthy car drives to the other end of the state. I think the kids sort of enjoy it because there is a lot going on and it's all fun stuff, but it sure does get tiring.

When Monday came around, it was like hitting the brakes, and we spent a mellow day just taking our time getting ready and actually heading over to the big city library for a couple of hours. It was nice, and libraries are great places to just relax. It's like being in a big living room. We checked out a ton of books and it's still my goal to find something that speak to N.

In the meantime, we'll gather up some energy to hit the ground running for the rest of the week.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Marica for the pic.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Gardening 101

As usual we are gardening this year, and as usual l am a bit behind schedule... sort of. I have plenty of seed starters going in the greenhouse, but until recently our plot was in need of some attention. R has the other plots cleaned up and cranking out green, but I still needed to get on the tomato plot. It didn't help that it was so hot last week, but at some point you just have to deal with it, or at least time it properly to minimize suffering.

Well, I finally bit the bullet and did it. It took a couple of hours, and it was hot, but sometimes the perfect time just doesn't come around. Plus, like all things that hang over your head, it feels immeasurably good to get them done. Most of the weeds in the garden were fairly big which ironically made them easier to remove. The plot looks a lot better and now I can sit back and wait for the tomato plants to grow a little more in the greenhouse with the hopes that they'll hit the ground running, literally and figuratively. I must have about 100 plants and am not sure what to do with all of them.

Then again, just plant them, right?

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Cuba Gardening for the pic.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Still Burning Wood

I recall in years past burning wood into June, and this year we've dipped into the pile once again and stoked up the stove. After a series of brutally hot and dry days, we're in the midst of a cool spell that's chilly enough to warrant a fire. Talk about crazy. I don't remember the last time I saw the sun (actually that's not true, it was scorching hot on Saturday), and it's been raining like crazy, to the point where I even felt a little concerned about flooding. Thankfully that hasn't happened, but the rain has been never-ending, which we needed but would be more convenient if it just happened at night.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Felipe Metzelder for the pic.

No Rest For the Weary

The kids were done with camp for a few hours and we had to jump right back into the fray with activities, for better or worse. A had a rehearsal the evening that we picked them up, and N had LAX practice, which in the end we couldn't make it to. Then, the very next day, A had a meditation class before her big concert and N had a LAX tournament all the way in Manchester. I wasn't sure if he was going to play in it because he was out all week and was gassed from camp, but he wanted to play, so R and I had to divide and conquer.

A was in charge of the home front and I drove N to Manchester, which is a bit of a trek and one we know all too well from hockey. There was some miscommunication about A's meditation class and that added a little drama, but I think it worked out. N's tournament lasted a big part of the day because it was four games, and it was hot. We got a few breaks with the clouds and some showers, but for the most part it was a hot day and I think the kids were pretty tired. The original plan was for mom to take A to meditation, bring her home where I was to pick her up after N's LAX to take all of us to her show. This meant leaving his LAX tournament immediately, getting home ASAP and picking up A and getting her to the gig.

However, that plan quickly changed because she had to be at her show much earlier than we expected, so mom took her, which of course made our lives easier. N's LAX tournament was fun but they ended up beating every team by a wide margin. So far this season they have won every game except when they played the Vermont Select team, against whom they got crushed. I think they're better off losing to a good team than beating everyone else handily, but that's just me. After the tournament, I got N a burger and some lo mein noodles and we made the trek home. The plan was to stop at home, drop off his gear and change, and then head to A's concert.

Once again there was a miscommunication and we got there way too early. I thought the show was starting at 5:00, but that was time she had to be there, and the show started at 6:00. We played outside for a bit and then watched the concert, which was pretty cool. There were 8 bands playing and it drew a fairly sizable crowd with a good number of young people. I'm guessing many of the band members go to the big city high school so friends and family attended. A's band was one of the last and they rocked out, which was fun to see. Afterward they had a party at EBAs and we chowed on pizza and socialized with the rock and roll crowd. It's an interesting and eclectic group of kids.

By 9:00 it was time to go, and in line with how our day was going, the sky opened up and it started pouring rain. I'm talking buckets of rain, and the drive home was a little tense because the storm was pretty substantial. The lighting was constant and lit up the entire area, which was actually kind of cool. It was a little stressful but we made it home fine and turned in for the evening. The kids were exhausted, as were mom and dad, but it was a fun filled day. I think we could actually use a day of rest.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mark Morton for the pic. 

Reaching My Goal

About a month ago I set a goal to finish insulating the second floor of the barn, which loosely translated meant at the time putting all the fiberglass in. Now this sounds simple enough, but it's not. It's not only a bear of a job putting in the fiberglass into a cathedral ceiling, but in certain sections I still needed to put rigid board in and seal it with foam. This last part was the big thorn in my side, and I felt like technically I wasn't finished insulating until I got it done. I had actually finished putting the fiberglass in the rest of the ceiling a couple of weeks ago, and could have declared victory at that point, but it would have been a shallow victory for an anal-retentive OCD individual like myself.

I think I mentioned this but the last part involved a section of the roof that extends beyond the dormers, and in the grand scheme of things it's small. However, it involves working inside of a knee wall that has already been framed, so I have to crawl in there and do the work. There are sections where I am literally working blind, which is really hard to do, and the weather has been swelteringly hot. Hmm, what else can I whine about?

Either way, it took awhile to get it done. I had a big sheet of 2 inch blue-board that I glued to the surface, then set about sealing the gaps with foam, which always makes a mess, especially when you're spraying it up into a surface. If it doesn't initially grab, the whole mess comes crashing down in a sticky clump. I ran out of 2 inch board and had to use 1 inch foil backed board. I have a ton of scraps leftover from putting in the ceiling vents, so I just put in a mish-mash of the stuff and once again sealed with foam. That was the hardest part, and once it was done I could just install the fiberglass. I had leftover faced R21, but not a lot, and I ran out of that, as well. I didn't want to buy another bundle because I needed at most 10% of a package, so I used the un-faced stuff that I earmarked for the kitchen, figuring if I ran out downstairs, then I would buy some more. Does this make any sense?

The point is, I finished the darn insulation to the point where I finally feel justified to declare victory. Sure, there a few loose ends that need to be attended to, but I feel for certain that installing all the fiberglass has been accomplished, and right now, that's good enough for me.

I can start thinking about finishing the kitchen and then it's time to install some more rigid board to achieve the magical R35 insulation value that we all long for. Then, if you can believe it, it's time to start thinking about either flooring or drywall. Can you believe it?

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Lauren Randolph for the pic.

The Pick Up

The kids finished up camp last week and it's always fun going and picking them up, though A is usually beside herself with excitement that it's hard to talk to her. The kids are all sad at having to say goodbye, which is a nice thing because clearly they enjoyed their week, and it's interesting to see who they have bonded with because it's such a variety of kids. Plus you get to see some old familiar faces that you haven't seen in months, and there's a free lunch of really good food. Say no more.

This time around the kids were a little more calm since they're becoming veterans of the experience It's great to see them again, but I think they are not as enthused to see mom and dad, which is a good thing because it just means they had a good week. The true test is whether they want to go back again the next time, and they always seem to. A had a ton of stuff because she was not only the DJ of the dance, but she had her guitar on top of her enormous quantity of living essentials.

It takes a couple of hours for everyone to say their goodbyes that includes a lot of tears and hugs, and as the crowd dwindles we have to pry the kids away at some point. This time around there was a supposed plan to meet at the ice cream stand nearby, and I was under the impression that tons of kids were going to be there. This was not at first the case, and when we arrived it was just NP and her mom A. We all got ice cream and hung out and soon enough other campers arrived. Before we knew it, it was a party, and the kids had a great time. Now of course I'm biased in this regard, but there were a couple of girls that N seemed to be bonding with, and they looked cute together. I got to know their dad and maybe there's a rendezvous somewhere in the future, though they live in the even bigger city, and these sort of social endeavors never seem to work out. They really have to evolve organically.

Afterward we headed home to regroup and unpack, and within an hour or so we were off and running again because A had a big gig the next day and she needed to rehearse. No rest for the weary, as the saying goes.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to quejaytee for the pic.

Monday, June 1, 2015

First World Problems

I was fixing the downstairs bathroom sink and ran into a small complication that really set me back in terms of time. Bathroom sinks seem to regularly clog up and require semi-annual cleanings, which for the record are not pleasant endeavors: it's usually some slimy black, hairy, gelatinous disgusting blob that is causing the backup. I guess it's a good thing I can't identify what is in there because that would surely cause me to lose my lunch. Either way, the fix is pretty easy, even for a real man in training as myself. I basically have to get under the sink, remove the trap, and clear out the pipe. This is easily accomplished with a wad of paper towel pushed through with a rigid wire, and out comes the blob.

I often run into complications in putting the sink back together. I was taught that all the connections under the sink should be hand, not tool, tightened, but there always seems to be a leak. I have to fiddle with things but mostly the problems stem from the ball joint that controls the sink plug. You know the one, it has a rod that goes up and down on the faucet and holds water in the basin. The ball joint is held in by a bolt of some sort, and though I should have intuitively known this, there is a gasket that creates a seal. I never gave much thought to this gasket, but if you've ever worked with them, they tend to degrade over time. When I put the bolt on this time, the water kept leaking, not matter how much I tightened it. Finally I took a look and lo and behold, the gasket was broken. It seemed like it was made of plastic, which doesn't seem like the best material.

I had to drop everything and drive to Aubuchon, where they seemed to be under-staffed because several customers, including yours truly, were standing around waiting while the one guy working the front was helping a woman buy seeds for her garden. For the record, she seemed oblivious to the fact that she was monopolizing this guys time while we stood around looking like fools. I walked to the back and told the manager that he had customers that needed help. He seemed stressed and snapped back at me, "We're helping customers back here." Geez, do you want my money or not?

I told a woman who was also waiting about my experience and she said they never seem very happy at this store. I managed to coax the information I needed from the guy, got a new gasket which was made of rubber, and it only cost me 75 cents. I was bummed that what normally takes about 20 minutes took me about 2 hours, but I should be grateful that getting the part I needed was, for the most part, pretty easy, and that they even had it. In other words, stop whining about little things and be grateful for all the good in your life, right? 

Oh well, to complain is human, especially when it involves First World Problems, right? Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Karen Rustad for the pic.

Singles Week

The kids were away at camp all last week and R and I had the house to ourselves. You'd think with all that free time I would get so much done, but it's never that simple. Something always seems to come up to complicate things and slow the process down, not that I'm making excuses or anything like that. Plus, the weather was brutally hot during that week, which hampered my efforts to do things outside.

Nonetheless, I did manage to get a few key things done, most notably the insulation on the second floor of the barn and transplanting the tomato plants in the greenhouse. I had various household duties like fixing the bathroom sink and mowing the lawn, not to mention doing poster boy work. One thing R and I decided was that we wouldn't do much in the way of cooking this week, which of course meant fewer dishes to wash. All in all it worked out okay, though I find I miss the kids and life seems a little less rewarding. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the kids love to get away and really love camp, and it is nice having a respite from the big load of responsibilities that comes with raising kids, but with greater challenge comes greater reward, right? At least that's what they tell me.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Michael Veltman for the pic.