Home Improvement

What’s Stuck In My Head – 10 September

I have no idea why this song has been stuck in my head for two days now. My best guess is that I’ve enjoyed having my brother helping me paint most of my house the last couple of weekends, and that brought up many talks about music and our parents. This was one of our father’s favorite songs.

I’m not going to get into anything about the song other than it’s a blues standard. I will mention that Maria sang backup for many other artists including Linda Ronstadt. And you know how I feel about Linda.

May I present to you; “Don’t You Feel My Leg (Don’t You Get Me High). Enjoy!

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

Hurricane Update…

Bet y’all thought I forgot to post about Hurricane Dorian yesterday. I didn’t forget, we are going ahead with our Labor Day house painting plans, so I was a bit busy.

And just so you know how serious we take this storm, I give you this;

Phase One of the “Fuck Hurricane Dorian” supply run. Which doesn’t show the wine in the fridge. Also not pictured is the beer, because we already drank it.

A quick storm update as I have to get back to painting. It’s looking like the EOC will activated at 0700 tomorrow morning. I should know more this evening.

This is the 5AM forecast track – hot off the electron press;

Image courtesy of the National Hurricane Center

The track has the storm farther east again, and moving at a paltry 8 MPH. My grandmother can move faster than that, and she’s been dead a really long time! This crawl will allow the storm to grow even stronger, and totally messes with the track. Too much time over open water just makes the storm even more unpredictable. Also, it’s not expected to be close to us until Wednesday or so. Hopefully, this means the EOC opening can be pushed back a bit. But, Tropical Storm force winds are expected to be felt here sometime Monday. So who knows.

Here’s today’s “only using this because it has hurricane in the title” video. And yes, I know I’m really stretching it this time.

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

The Time Of The Season

Faithful readers of this blog will know that my last post mentioned a certain tropical storm was headed my way. Well, that hasn’t changed. In fact since I wrote (and edited) that post, lots of things have changed. And then changed again. And changed some more. Some things even went back to what they were at the start of this whole shebang.

Here was the storm track then;

Note the last projected location on the map. The storm went way east of there.

And here is this morning’s track (as of 0800 EDT);

Image courtesy of the National Hurricane Center

Yes! Once again #Floriduh is dead in the sights of another hurricane. Sheesh!

On the plus side, it’s expected (more like hoped for) to be less intense than just yesterday’s models. Those had it as a Category 3 storm and sitting about 100 miles due east of my house Monday morning. Now it will (again, hopefully) make land fall about 100 miles south of me as a weak Cat 2. This, sadly, will mean my brother can expected an almost direct hit.

On the bad side is most models have it turning north once it hits the center of the state. This has two issues. First, it puts my area on that dreaded NE quadrant again. That will be the most intense section of the storm. Second, this will be my home for the weekend;

Notice the lack of beer and food. Not to mention sleeping areas.

For this storm my team has been assigned the day shift. We’ve been night shift for all previous storms. My guess for this change is because the last two storms the day shift has been stuck at the EOC for 24 hours when the storm hit, while those of us on nights just did the planned 12 hour shift. I think my manager is hoping to reverse this trend. Not gonna happen.

So, once again, a storm has ruined plans for a 3-day weekend. Now granted, this was a “working” 3-day weekend as we had planned to start painting the inside of the house. We may still be able to get some of the work done, at least the major prep stuff. But if it’s raining too hard painting is out of the question. Paint doesn’t seem to dry very well when the humidity is 1000%.

So here’s a video that only relates to the post because I used it’s title for the title of this post…

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

The Week That Was, Or Is, Or…

This last weekend was a bit tough, physically and mentally. Both Wifey and I had trouble sleeping which carried over into just being plain grouchy. Not to mention whatever the problem is with my back and/or legs was extremely bothersome all weekend. I have had 3 of the 4 tests ordered by the neurologist done, with the last one, an EMG, scheduled for tomorrow morning. I had an EMG before, and it’s not all that fun. It’s not painful, but not it’s not exactly comfortable either. Hopefully I’ll know more by the follow up appointment early next month.

Ont the plus side, the hole in the kitchen wall has been patched. So hopefully, no more froggies under the sink.

But I woke up feeling better this morning, so I thought I’d post a fun little video. I went looking for something by The Monkees first. The Monkees were my favorite band when I was a youngin’. I still listen to their CDs when I get tired of the radio. (Check out this post from some Monkees fun!) Instead of using a (silly) Monkees video, and I went slightly off-course. Which, of course, is par for the course for me. (Let’s see how many more time I use “course” in this post!)

I recently finished an older book by one of my favorite Florida authors, Dave Barry. For those that don’t know who Dave is (@RayAdverb on Twitter), he is a long time humor columnist. I grew up reading his column in The Miami Herald. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1988.

The book I just finished, Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs made me wonder about the musical tastes of his readers. The basic premise is that Dave wrote a column about a particular artist, which I won’t mention so you can buy the book and read it for yourself. This opened a floodgate of responses, that went on for several columns. The book is the result.

Not surprisingly, there are songs listed that I totally agree with (see the chapter on Barry Manilow), some that I’ve never heard of, and some that I disagree with. It’s one of the latter that I want to talk about.

Gee.. I wonder what song he’s talking about??

I will admit that the fact that the horse is not named at any time during the song (they do spend many days in the desert, and don’t let the horse go until after day 9), so there was plenty of time to name the horse. Even “Jim” would be a good name.. Obviously I’m talking about A Horse With No Name.

The band America has always been a favorite. A simple little acoustic group with good harmonies and simple lyrics. Well, may not simple lyrics. While Daisy Jane, Sister Golden Hair and Lonely People are straight forward, Ventura Highway is any thing but. And I won’t even get into Muskrat Love.

(Song writer Dewey) Bunnell has explained that “A Horse with No Name” was “a metaphor for a vehicle to get away from life’s confusion into a quiet, peaceful place”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Horse_with_No_Name

I can dig that.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

Mama Told Me There Would Be Days Like This

On the way in to work this morning, I had great post in my head, even tied in with a video. Then I showed up and let’s just say, it all went to hell in a handbasket really quick.

But (and there’s always a but, isn’t there), it really started last week. During my younger days, back when I was active duty Army, we averaged 22 months between moves. You read that right. We moved on average, every two years. This meant two things; we lived out of boxes quite a bit, and we didn’t collect much stuff.

We’ve now been in this house just over 22 years. Not only is there crap everywhere, it’s falling apart. We have had the entire house repiped for inbound water already. Now we seem to have a drain leak under the slab as well. We only found this out after having the majority of the kitchen drain system replaced.

Yes, you can see right through the kitchen wall!

Luckily, our home owner’s insurance is working with us. Otherwise we would probably just walk away from the house and let the bank take it back. We’re that fed up with the whole situation.

But that has nothing to do with today. Well, not a lot about today anyway.

I had a task set for early this morning at work. I am usually the first tech in every morning, so I had set up to do some work on a computer before everyone else showed up. Shouldn’t take more than an hour tops. Cue the “best laid plans” meme…

Starts off, my tool kit was missing from my desk. I do have a second set, but the pieces are nowhere near as useful as this kit. The screwdriver bits are not exactly the correct size, and as I still have my wrist in a brace, it’s difficult to get hand tools to work correctly at any time.

The main task was to clone a hard drive. Not the most difficult thing believe me. We have hardware and software to make this as close to hands-off as we can be. Naturally, it was anything BUT hands-off.

To make this as quick and painless as I can for those not tech oriented, here’s how it went down.

  • Can’t find my good tools
  • Had to use the old crappy tools
  • Took replacement drive down to the machine to clone it
  • System will not boot to my USB drive (Hiren’s) to use the software
  • Bring both drives back up to my desk to try the hardware
  • Let the clone device run for 30 minutes, nothing happening
  • Plug the dock into my Ubuntu laptop – and nothing. The laptop won’t even boot with or without the dock
  • Plug the dock into my laptop and boot to the Hiren’s USB to clone
  • 2 hours later the software says complete! Yay!!!
  • Plug the new ssd into a test machine – won’t boot (There is no joy in Mudville)
  • Reclone the drive using a different test machine
  • Same error after that clone attempt
  • Did a quick repair, well actually, a co-worker did the repair since he has that test machine we were using
  • Took the new SSD back down stairs and tested
  • Finally!! It booted. (And the peasants rejoiced!)
  • Total time for the “one hour max” job – 4 hours!

I will say this once again – I hate Micro$oft! Windows is without a doubt the biggest computer virus of all time.

Early morning texts this morning with Wifey;

The “pig” is a local brewery, The Red Pig. In retrospect, I’m not sure beer will be strong enough for today. May have to go straight to the whisky!

But, it’s finished for now. Here is the video I had planned for today, even if I can’t remember what I was going to post! It’s my favorite Bob Dylan song Tangled Up In Blue. In a way, it’s still kind of fitting. I’ve been tangled up in something all day, and my language has been quite blue!

Blood On The Tracks is also very telling for today….

Peace,
B

Twitter Instagram FaceBook

P.S. Feel free to send me a beer, or a scotch, or a bourbon.

It Is Finished (For Now Anyway)

(This is part four of my “Home Repair as Therapy” series. Here are links to part one, part two, and part three. Go back and read them if want to get caught up. Don’t worry, this post will still be here.)

Once again Wifey® and I took a Friday off in conjunction with a holiday weekend (Memorial Day this time), to give us a four-day weekend and a chance to finish the floor work.  This is the job that we started way back in August of last year. And in reality, even several months before that, when we started tearing up the carpet before we any idea what we were going to replace the carpet with!

I won’t go into all the steps it takes to get everything ready. You can read all about that part of the “experience” in the earlier posts that I’ve linked to above.

So I’ll just post some pictures for you to enjoy and marvel over.

IMG_20180526_152457.jpg

The finished floor in the master bedroom.

IMG_20180528_141921.jpg

Son-the-younger and his girls putting the floor down in his room

MVIMG_20180528_150218.jpg

Measure twice and cut once? More like “I’ve cut this damn thing twice, and it’s still too short!”

IMG_20180528_152118.jpg

My team!  Without the help of these fine folks, this project would not have happened. I owe all of them so much!

There is still work to be done.  The quarter round molding needs to be replaced. But I’m hiring someone to do that. I do not have the tools, nor the skills to do miter cuts. (See the caption above).

Our next big project is painting the entire house. The girls are getting the murals they asked for. And don’t worry, I’ll overshare those pictures too.

And just in case you’re wondering, we are NOT for hire. There is not enough money in the world for me to this again. My feet are the size of picnic hams, I can barely walk, and just trying to get in and out of a chair is an adventure. As I’ve said before, “I’m too damn old for this shit!”

Peace,
B

Twitter  FaceBook

How I Spent My Easter Weekend (A.K.A. Home Repair As Therapy Part 2)!

I’m sure you, my faithful readers (both you are), know that I am no longer a religious person. So, since Wifey® had Friday off for Good Friday I decided to take the day off as well. I didn’t list anything religious on my request for the day off, just put it down as home repair.  And that’s just what we did. (Previous post on home repair)

I spent almost all of Friday pulling up the carpets, the carpet tack and the quarter round molding in the girl’s rooms (we had already removed all the furniture from one room). The plan was to get at least one room cleaned up and the adhesive for the flooring (Smurf juice as we call it) painted. But Wifey® went above and beyond. While I was ripping all the stuff out of the first room she removed all the light stuff from the second room. So, when I finished the deconstruction in room one, we could move all the bigger stuff out of the second room too. This allowed me to rip the carpet and other stuff out of that room as well. We then “Smurfed” both rooms, with much help from son-the-younger as well. So we had both rooms fully prepped before dinner time. This put us about 6 hours ahead of schedule.

 

We settled in for the night. Which meant Netflix for Wifey® and a baseball game for me and son-the-older who came by, at our invitation after he finished work, for dinner. Son-the-younger just hung out in his room for the evening. He wasn’t feeling all that well.

Saturday morning meant laying the flooring. With both Wifey’s® and son-the-younger’s help, things went rather smoothly. We finished the first room just after lunch (taking alternate lunch breaks). I started with the more difficult cuts, but son-the-younger picked up the technique quickly and took over. Once the first row was laid, Wifey® took over with the placement of the full pieces of the flooring while son-the-younger and I took turns cutting pieces of the flooring for the ends and beginning of rows, to keep the staggered pattern going.

We took a break, going on a beer and dinner supply run. Then started in on room two.

wp-1522529068910..jpg

Wifey & son-the-younger workin’ it!

We could have finished before dinner time, but son-the-younger had to make a trip outside the home, so it was only me and Wifey®. We managed to finish all but the last strip in the main part of the room (a strip about 1 1/4 inch wide) and the closet. We were both too hungry, so we stopped until son-the younger could come back to help. Needless to say, by this time I had already cut myself once (not surprising) and my body needed a rest.

After a lovely grilled shrimp dinner (courtesy of yours truly), son-the-younger and I got back into it. He was working on the small strip while I would take on the closet. As luck would have it, I managed to cut myself yet again (again, not surprising). Since I do take an aspirin a day for a cardiac problem, Wifey® had to take over my work, while I tried to get the bleeding stopped.

IMG_20180401_082103.jpg

If you think it looks nasty now, you should have seen it last night.

We still managed to get both floors completed by 8:30 PM. Which put us a full 12 hours ahead of schedule! We expected to do the floor in the second room Sunday morning. But now we’ll just wait for the girls to come over to dye eggs with Daddy (son-the-younger) and let them decide if they wish to rearrange their rooms. We also plan on painting the entire house this summer and we’ll let the girls pick colors for their rooms.

So, as this project nears completion, we face the next project. Cleaning out our very cluttered garage. We have a contractor coming by Monday afternoon to do some work on water damaged walls and ceilings (you can see some of the damage in the corner in the left picture above). One of the main jobs is replacing the entire ceiling in the garage. But it’s not all work today. The little store we went to yesterday for our beer and dinner supplies, had 6-ounce filet mignons for $6 each, and 5-ounce lobster tails for $5 each. So guess what we’re having for dinner tonight? Oh, and Wifey® made some compound butters for the meal too.But, son-the-younger will need to do the grilling tonight, my body still hurts. And yes, we did invite son-the-elder to dinner.

And I can’t say thank you enough to Wifey® and son-the-younger. Without their awesome help, we would still be doing room one today (Sunday) and I would probably have to go to an “Urgent Care” for sutures (probably more than once). My family ROCKS!

So, what did YOU do this weekend?

Peace,
B

Twitter  FaceBook

The Joys Of Truck Ownership

One of the joys of owning a ten-year-old pickup truck is I’ve come to know every bump, grind, screech, and jangle it makes as I traverse my way thru life in it.  Plus the joy it gives my granddaughters when they get to ride it in. They just love being able to sit up high and look into the other cars.

This truck has served me well, it’s moved both of my boys, more than once. Helped friends move more times than I can count. Not to mention the almost constant trips to county landfill with yard trash that for whatever reason the contracted waste folks refuse to pick up. (Other than just getting 2 paid holidays a year I wish I had their job – they don’t do shit).

The truck has given me very little in the way of repair problems. Had to replace the water pump (not unusual, but not my fault), and the clutch, which was, probably, completely my fault. And an outside mirror, which was son-the-younger’s® fault. But we found the replacement parts on Amazon and could fix it ourselves.

So, since I don’t listen to the radio while driving (the DJs in the Orlando/Daytona area just plain suck), I get to listen and talk back to my truck all the time.  This morning on the way in I heard a completely new sound. What the hell could it be I wondered? It’d not a “clunk”, not a “grind” more of a rusty spring “squeak”.  Now I know I need new struts on the front end (those are what have replaced the old shock absorbers, at least in mid-sized trucks), but that’s not what it sounded like. These usually just go “thunk” right before maxing out your credit card.

Now I do have to mention I have a pretty good hearing impairment. After playing in bands in my school days, years of DJ work (both on-air and parties) and then 20 years of military service with lots of “booms”, my ears are fairly shot.

music

The story of my life. Think my brother can relate too.

After about 3 miles of this unknown noise, I’m starting to worry about it. And as usual, I get impatient driving and go around the line of folks who can’t seem to do the speed limit in the left lane (morons). As I pull up next to the truck that was directly in front of me (also an older model pick up, but not as old as mine), I hear this squeak loud as hell! It was that truck all along! I have no idea what his problem was, but when we pulled up to the red light and stopped, he was still squeaking. While stopped!!  Hope he doesn’t blow up or something anytime too soon.

So now I’m back to the regularly scheduled tunes that my familiar old truck plays me every day. Such a nice symphony 🙂

Peace,
B

P.S. A shout out to my son-the-younger® who helped me through a very rough patch yesterday. I felt myself spinning into a well of depression. Since I know he also has bad periods of depression, I asked him for help. And he came through. Together we replaced the ceiling fan in his bedroom (See Home Repair as Therapy to see how it helps me), and then he cooked Wifey® and I a most wonderful Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya for dinner. I even have leftovers for lunch!

I know he won’t read this (he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter so he won’t get any notification).  So for family and friends who read this, please pass this along, along with my most heartfelt thanks.

Love ya kid!

Wonder Woman (And No Not The Movie)

(Or How We Spent Our Labor Day Weekend)

If you read my Home Repair as Therapy post, you have the beginning of the story. This weekend Wifey® and I put down the flooring. I estimate we put down about 1000 square feet in all. We did two rooms and the hallway over the three days. Plus I took the Friday before off to finish up the prep work for the first room and take the all the carpet and tack we pulled up to the dump. It was a lot of work, but it was a smart decision to do it on Friday.

The adhesive we put down was a very bright blue.  I asked my granddaughters if they could guess how many Smurfs I had to squeeze to get that much Smurf Juice.  The 8-year-old replied, “Papa how could you squeeze a Smurf? They’re not real. They’re fictional!”  Smart kid she is…

0903170754

The Great Smurf Bloodletting

Saturday morning Wifey® was not doing well.  She had some kind of stomach bug going and had been up on and off since 3AM. Never the less she was right there with me laying out the flooring in the living room.  It took us about four hours to do the room, about 370 square feet.  The hardest part was the cutting, I think I went through 15 blades in my razor. So I spent most of Saturday on my hands and knees cutting and placing the flooring.

0902171330

Living Room Floor

Having already had surgery on my left wrist it was very uncomfortable. And even with knee pads, my knees were quite sore. After the floor was in, we moved the furniture from the dining room into the living room, where Wifey® showed off her Tetris skills.

0902171700

Two Rooms In One

We were most pleasantly surprised when Wifey’s® brother stopped by and invited out to dinner, his treat. There was no way either of us had the energy or the will power to cook that evening. So son #2 prepped the living room floor for us and off to dinner we all went.

Sunday morning found us quite stiff and sore, but in better condition than expected. I made us a nice breakfast of sausage gravy and biscuits, which we enjoyed thoroughly, so we got started a little later.

Wifey® was feeling much better, so all I really had to do was the cutting. She did most of the actual placing of the flooring. Again about four hours to lay in the floor for the dining room, about 350 square feet. Son #1 came by after work and helped us move all the furniture back to at least close to their intended locations. We had planned a cookout for Sunday (beer can chickens, YUM!), which son #2 cooked perfectly.  So we stopped around 4PM leaving only the hallway left for Monday.

0903171440

Dining Room

So Monday rolls around. And if we thought we were achy and sore on Sunday, this was worse.  Without a doubt this was the worst leg workout I’ve ever done. But all we had left to do was the hallway.  Should be quick and easy we said. It’s the smallest area, so it shouldn’t take long. We’ll be done and time for a relaxing dinner and some TV.

Nope! We didn’t take into account all the cutting around all the bedroom, bathroom, A/C and linen closets. We made sure to eat a good breakfast on Monday (more of the wonderful biscuits and gravy, I even added two fried eggs on top of mine). It was close to 7:30PM by the time we finished up. Since we had to trim pieced on both sides of the hallway, it really was the hardest part of the entire weekend. But it really looks good. And we can say “We did it ourselves”.

0904171923

The Hallway

There is still much work to be done.  All four bedrooms still to be done. Then painting (inside and out) and putting the quarter round molding down. And the kitchen floor tile needs to be replaced. (No pictures of that mess). Not to mention all the stuff that’s been piled in places that it doesn’t belong (like the china and glassware) needs to go back.

Which brings me to Wonder Woman. When I was growing up I wanted to be a pro baseball player. My dad took a baseball drilled a hole through it and then threaded a rope through the hole and secured it. Someone could then swing the ball around while another person could take swings at it to practice hitting. Since I came along quite late in my parents lives and my dad had bad emphysema (smoking kills), he was not really able to practice with me. My mother refused to. She would say “I use my hands to make a living, I can’t hurt them like that”. She was a bookkeeper/secretary. Meanwhile, Wifey® spent the entire three-day weekend doing manual labor.  She too is a secretary. yet she loves to get in there and work with her hands. She cut several small pieces of tile (but at 4′ 9″ she just doesn’t have the upper body strength to do a lot of the cutting). Hell, I was damn near wiped out at every quitting time, and my hands are still very still from holding the razor while holding the flooring piece in place so it wouldn’t move and I could get a nice straight cut.

Not only did she work while sick on Saturday,as well  as the rest of the weekend, she also managed to get the laundry done AND all the dishes all weekend long. Now that is a definition of Wonder Woman.  Love ya Babe!

All in all, it’s looks damn good for a legal secretary and a computer geek!

Peace,
B

Home Repair as Therapy

This last weekend Wifey® and I got busy in some home repair work. It had started about 3 months ago when I pulled up the very old, stained and smelly carpet from the dining room and hallway. We’ve been in this house for 20 years now, and the carpet was installed just before we moved in. It was a very nice carpet, but dogs with bad bladders, kids and spilled drinks, kids with dirty feet and just life in general beat it to death.  It was time to go. So I ripped out some of it and hauled it away.  But the living room area was too much for me to do by myself, plus there were still pieces of the carpet under the china cabinet and the computer desk. I just cut around those since I couldn’t move them by myself. Not to mention the carpet tack running the perimeter of the floor that still needed to be removed. So that was Saturday. We emptied the china cabinet of all the glassware and breakables, cleaned off the two small bookcases of their breakable items.  So basically every flat surface in the house now is covered in stuff.  Mostly breakable stuff. And the cat loves to jump up on the table and walk around the breakable stuff.  Just waiting for a big crash in the middle of the night.

floor4

We finally removed all the carpet tack in the dining room and hallway, which wasn’t easy since the floor is Terrazzo and the nails they used were quite large. Many chunks of floor came up, hopefully the primer/leveling solution will fix that.

Sunday was the living room. This room still had the carpet in place. But the biggest problem is this room was added by the previous owners. As such it has just a concrete floor, and it’s not quite level with the terrazzo floor. This meant that the carpet installers had to add an extra layer of padding to make it close to even.  The padding they used was this thick black rubberized stuff. And I swear they used 900 gallons of glue to put it down. We spent 6 hours scraping by hand to remove this padding and glue.

0827171116

As you can see did one half the room moved the furniture around and did the other half. We even had the granddaughters “help”.

floor2

By 2PM we had most everything done except under “Spike the Tortoise” cage, which my sons insisted that I couldn’t help with, they had to do it. That meant waiting until after 6PM for the older one to get off work and come over.
0827171322

So we sat around and had lunch and made a beer run of course.

The new flooring will be delivered on Thursday, and I’m taking Friday off from work to start the prep work. We will start the installation of the new floor on Saturday.  With any luck we hope to get the living room and dining room done over the three-day weekend. I would really like to get the hallway done too, but it may have to wait.  Then it’s the four bedrooms to go, probably one per weekend until we’re done.

So not only is this project helping improve the house, it has, for now, dispelled the depression I have been fighting for the last two weeks. It seems to be that having a project (and not just a hobby), it what keeps me afloat. My depression was nowhere as bad during my military days as it is now, due to the mission that was always before me.

And I have to give a big thank you to Wifey®. Not only was she the catalyst for getting this project going this weekend, she turned in Wonder Woman!  For a tiny little woman, she held her own in scraping the floor, moving furniture and pulling up carpet tack.  AND she fixed us (including the kids) lunch AND did the laundry AND washed the dishes! I would still be pulling up the tacks in the hallway if I was doing it all by myself.  Thank you baby!

Check back in a week or two, I will post more photos as we continue the work.

Peace,
B