10 Jan 2016

A full work week to start the new year, and things are going well. I’ve lots on my plate, which is a good thing. Interesting new projects combine with ongoing operations to make my working days exactly as I like them.

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On the home front, I’ve been working on building Marcia a quilt ladder, which she’s been wanting for years now. I’m fabricating it out of shop scraps and 1-1/8″ dowels. Here’s the fit assembly, before I started on the finishing:

Quilt ladder fit assembly.

Quilt ladder fit assembly.

All of the material is pine, so after the fit assembly looked fine, I took it all apart. On Saturday, every piece got sanded, then wiped clean with a damp cloth. I rested the materials for a couple of hours, then gave everything another light sanding to deal with the initial raised grain. Another wipe down, then a coat of pre-stain sealer. This is an important step with soft woods, since they tend to take up stain unevenly. I let that sit overnight.

This morning, after shopping, I came back down to the shop, and sanded everything again with 320 grit. Then I applied the hickory gel stain:

Quilt ladder hickory stain

Quilt ladder hickory stain

Each piece got a coat, followed by a couple of minutes of rest, followed by a wipedown to remove any excess gel stain. I’ll let that cure for a couple of days, then do the assembly. The last step will be a couple of coats of polyurethane. So by next weekend, perhaps, this will be done.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Matthew Q. McClintock, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who died on Jan. 5, 2016, in Marjah District, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his unit with small arms fire.

3 Jan 2016

Happy New Year, y’all!

I’ve spent the last two weeks holidaying, eating, reading, relaxing, doing chores, and fixing things around the house. Tomorrow, I go back to work. Grumble.

Not really grumble. I enjoy my work. I appreciate and respect the team of people I work with. Especially, I love to stay busy. I have specific goals for the next two weeks – a lot of stuff to accomplish and document in a relatively short amount of time, so I’ll be very busy indeed. That makes me happy.

In the woodshop over the last few days, I’ve been working on building a quilt ladder for Marcia. Pictures in a week or two, as it approaches completion.

That’s all I’ve got for now: I’m looking forward to this year.

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DoD has reported no new casualties in the last week. Ciao!

27 Dec 2015

Another busy weekend gone by. I was doing some clean up in the shop, and came across a stack of 2×2 acoustic tile matching the small section of drop ceiling in the basement kitchen. Wonderful – I have a few of those that need replacing. A couple of them had holes in them, not hard to replace. Another one, though, was severely bowed by the HVAC vent attached to a floating, insulated feeder. The additional weight had bent the tile nearly an inch out of true. Were I to just replace it, the tile would be good for a year or so, but as the moisture in the house fluctuated over the seasons, it’d have bowed again. So I glued a plywood reinforcing bar to the back of the tile, and let it cure overnight.

Reinforced ceiling tile

Reinforced ceiling tile

I installed that back in the kitchen today.

Also today, I worked on (finally) patching the section of sheet rocked basement ceiling that I pulled out when we had the upstairs fridge water line leak., back in the middle of the summer. I first put the work off because the remaining rock had to dry out. Then I put it off because, well, I forgot about it. I so rarely go through into Marcia’s fabric room. So today I cleaned up and made the opening rectangular, and lapped in some half-inch ply to perform as a stop as well as something to screw the new rock to. Using offcuts from 2″ x 2″ x 1/2″ drywall (I don’t keep full sheets laying about), I patched the hole, and overlaid the gaps with mesh tape.

Patching drywall

Patching drywall

I then applied the first coat of mud. More work on that project tomorrow. Remember – I’m not planning on being back in the office until 4 January.

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The unseasonably warm weather has continued – I was walking the dog after dinner while wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and dock shoes. I could have been wearing shorts – it was still 65 F out at 1830 this evening. But according to the NOAA, we’ll be back to normal, below freezing overnight temps by the end of this week.

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Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors. They died Dec. 21 of wounds suffered when their patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle near Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

  • Maj. Adrianna M. Vorderbruggen, 36, of Plymouth, Minnesota.
  • Staff Sgt. Michael A. Cinco, 28, of Mercedes, Texas.
  • Staff Sgt. Peter W. Taub, 30, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Staff Sgt.  Chester J. McBride, 30, of Statesboro, Georgia.
  • Technical Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, 45, of Bronx, New York.
  • Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa, 31, of Coram, New York.

 

Knife work

New walnut knife handle

New walnut knife handle

Another kitchen knife with a broken plastic handle retrieved from the edge of disaster and made real purty with some walnut, and brass screw rivets. Turns out the hardest part of this project was finding where I’d hidden put in a safe place the brass rivets. Once all of the assembly and sanding was done, I soaked the handle in butcher block oil for 15 minutes or so, then wiped off the excess and let it rest for a couple of days. I’m pleased with the outcome. This fillet knife is one of my favorite kitchen tools, and I’d been without it for a while now. Glad that it’s home. Ciao!

Spring Snows

Yep. On the day that encompassed the Spring Equinox, we had an inch of snow. Lovely, really. More to the point, it never really shifted over to warmer rain and melt away before Spring proper. So, Winter, still, then. Lovely. A couple of school districts closed, several were delayed by a couple of hours (until the snow started falling … odd, that), but other than that, nothing too exciting.

My week was full of working each day on things that I hadn’t planned on doing. Like most weeks, really. The weekend, though, went exactly as planned. Several hours of remote work getting things done, and the balance of the time in the basement, helping Marcia move stuff back in, or building additional bits for storage of stuff for Marcia’s sewing room. Pictures when it’s done – now it is a right mess.

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Gladly, still no new casualties reported by DoD since 14 December 2014. Ciao!

Making Do…

Sewing room, reassembling

Sewing room, reassembling

I’m still recovering from a weekend of painting and remote work … but Marcia’s sewing room is coming back together. Saturday I did the walls and bulkheads, cutting in by hand then rolling out the flats. Sunday, after several hours of remote work, I crawled about on the floor, painting the trim. Sunday evening, I moved some of the cabinets in, and started moving in tables and equipment. Marcia’s happy, I think. Me? I’m just tired. Sorry for missing last night.

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Three months with no casualties reported by DoD. Huzzah!

Ciao!

Ice

The weather liar says this is the first day of meteorological Spring. The weather itself says, “ICE!” They’ve been treating the roads and such, but there’s an eighth to a quarter inch of ice on lots of the rest of our area. Trees are deeply unhappy, with branches coming off due to weight. Lovely, really. And such a pleasure when taking the dog for a walk.

Today: Patching systems remotely for work, weekly food shopping, roasted coffee:

Roasted a Columbian today

Roasted a Columbian today

I generally roast early enough that the beans have enough time to rest for at least three days (and outgas most of the CO2) before first grind and brew. No different today: We’ll probably be drinking off of this Columbia SO coffee by Thursday.

I also cleared most things out of Marcia’s front sewing room, and did wall work: sanding and re-spackling. Later in the week, I should be able to get the shoe moulding installed, do the final sanding, and get some primer on the walls with the intention of color coat on the weekend. We know where intentions lead, yes?

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In computing news, I puzzled my way through getting bhyve (the BSD Hypervisor) running on Serenity, the FreeBSD workstation/home server. It’ll be better to experiment with things in a virtual machine, than directly on the host. What I wasn’t able to do was get the tap and bridge networking up and running while *also* using PF, the host-based firewall. I like using firewalls as one layer in a robust security posture … but for now, not so much. The first experiment: PostgreSQL. I’ve worked some with Oracle’s database, and with MySQL (and the MariaDB fork thereof). But there are capabilities in PostgreSQL that I want to explore, and a small Python based project I’d like to write to spend some time with both the language and the database. More if there’s more to report at a later date.

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Gladly observed: still no new casualties announced by DoD in the most recent week. Ciao!

Cold Holiday

It was colder than 6° F when I got up shortly after dawn this morning, with about two inches of snow that was drifted and icy. No real fun driving out for the groceries today, as a result. The temperature had warmed all the way up to 15 by mid-afternoon. According to the NOAA, we’re not supposed to see the fun side of the freezing line until next Sunday or later, and we have some snow coming again in the mid-week. So, an utterly normal President’s Day weekend, then.

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Being cute:

Lexi being cute

Lexi being cute

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I managed two coats of glossy white enamel on my fabricated shoe mould trim yesterday. Today I applied some of that trim to the basement foyer area, and got another coat of mud on the areas of drywall needing repair. Tomorrow, a bit of sanding and some primer, I think…

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Wow! We’ve made two months without an announced casualty (since 12/14/14) from DoD. Cool.

The Continuing Saga

I was back in the basement this weekend. Yesterday, I finished up the flooring install. There were a few long runs left, and some fiddly bits around doorways, cabinets, etc. that I had left until the end. All done, and caulked in the two doorways that won’t have a transition jam.

This morning, after shopping, I went out to get some of the materials needed for the next round of work. Primer, painters caulk, high gloss white for the trim, etc. While I was there, I looked at the shoe moulding. The closest I could find to what I wanted in size ran nearly a buck a linear foot. And it was still too thick. My goal was 3/8″ x 3/4″. I don’t need more than that because the flooring is pretty tight (but not SUPER tight) to the walls. I’m in general 1/8″ off each wall, so a 1/4″ overlap is more than sufficient. But raw select pine is a lot cheaper than processed shoe moulding, and I have tools…

Shoe moulding for the basement.

Shoe moulding for the basement.

So I bought some 1×6 select pine, and used the router table and table saw to mill my own shoe moulding. The “foyer” area of the basement is going to get the stuff on the left, which has a 45 degree chamfer on it. The bulk of the moulding is going around Marcia’s sewing area, and for that I did a quarter inch round over with a tiny reveal, less than a 16th of an inch. Frankly, if I could have gotten the plastic stuff, or even the primed poplar in 3/8″ width, I’d have gone for it. But wide shoe moulding irks me, and I might as well use my facilities.

Above, all of the moulding has been sanded and wiped down. Sometime in the next few days I’ll prime, then paint those.

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During the upcoming week, I’ll be taking Marcia to physical therapy appointments. But thereafter, she’s on her own. She’s supposed to be driving by the 16. Yay! She is making great progress! The stairs are hard, but she’s doing them leg over leg, and they’re getting easier each day (or at least she’s making less noise!)

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No new casualties were reported by DoD during the last week.

Going Fast

The year sure is flying by. It seems that New Year’s Day was only a couple of days ago, and already 1% of my year is gone already! As anticipated, I did get some flooring installed in the basement on Parade/Bowl Day, too:

Vinyl plank flooring

Vinyl plank flooring

The flooring goes down pretty easy. I made use of my Dremel multi-tool to get under the edges of door jams and such. In the last couple of days, I fabricated some maple edge transitions, and got them installed today (pictures some other day). There’s still floor prep + painting and moulding to apply before the project is done. In fact, I still have to peel up another 10×10 space of vinyl sheet from the basement kitchen area. But that should go quickly, one hopes.

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Tomorrow, Marcia trades in her right knee for an upgraded titanium model.  Wish us luck.

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.