Bow before me and sneeze, mortals
My wrath will be measured in gallons

So I probably shouldn’t have been sanding, sawing, or crawling around in the basement, creating clouds of fine particulate dust to clog up my head and ramp up mucous production to biblical proportions. My body feels like I’ve been beaten with hammers and my voice is two octaves lower. I think that I will go home and crawl into bed and lie very, very still for a long time.

Date posted: February 28, 2011 | Filed under general | Leave a Comment »

patching the floor-before
This is where the old wall used to exist, so the entire section had to be rebuilt.

patched floors-after
Staggered boards in place, glued and screwed from below.

it's loud
Finn says, “It’s LOUD, Daddy!”

primed walls 2
And now there’s a coat of primer on everything.

Exam Room 1

Now with Real Doorway
This was the day the door went in.

Date posted: February 27, 2011 | Filed under house, photo, porch | 1 Comment »

I have an irrational love for old utilitarian vehicles, and when I saw this Wagoneer parked in Federal Hill this morning (I was freezing my ass off shooting pictures for a magazine ad) I had to stop and snap a few.


Styled by Brooks Stevens, a noted industrial designer, The original Cherokee was the longest continuous automotive production run, on the same platform, in US automotive history (1963-1991).


It’s also one of the last vehicles sold new in the United States with a carbureted engine. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry, if you’re interested. Our good friends R&K have a late 80’s model in almost mint condition (with woodgrain trim, naturally) that I love to listen to when it’s running.


Anytime I see a truck of this vintage, in this kind of condition, I stop to shoot pictures as quickly as I can. This truck is almost cherry and deserves to get out of the salt before it oxidizes into a pile of dust.


In the meantime, my heart flutters with love.

Date posted: February 24, 2011 | Filed under cars, photo | 1 Comment »

primed walls 2

Date posted: February 23, 2011 | Filed under house | 5 Comments »

Working very, very late last night, I streamed “Less Than Zero” over Netflix on my second monitor. What a time capsule that movie is. From the fashions to the hairstyles to the subject matter to the music selections, it’s a fascinating portrait of the excesses, glamour, personalities and pathos of the Hollywood filmmaking machine in the late 80’s. Andrew McCarthy, the poster boy for ineffectual, feminine protagonists of the John Hughes era, actually does a pretty good job overall. Jami Gertz was inexplicably cast as a jaded, experienced party girl, and she comes off as a whiny teenager (some of her line readings made me actually cringe). Robert Downey Jr. was amazing, as usual, and completely sold the character of Julian; James Spader had the smarmy evil creep thing down to a science by then—a little hair gel and a pastel suit were all it took. There were a ton of tiny details I missed as a 17-year-old that made me smile twenty years later, and I’ve had the Bangles’ Hazy Shade of Winter going through my head all morning.

Date posted: February 23, 2011 | Filed under entertainment | Leave a Comment »

I’ve been doing a lot of pick-up consulting work lately, which means there’s been a welcome dribble of extra cash coming in the door. Which is good, because the Scout STANK of raw gasoline last week when I drove it to work. The main source of the fumes were from the rear, and because she was parked on a slight incline, I’m inclined to believe the top seal is bad. So I ordered a new sending unit yesterday from SSS, and when the weather gets warmer I’m going to finally drop the old tank and replace it with the new one.

Update: The sender’s in, and it looks like the proper gasketry is intact on the tank. I’ll have to unscrew the round metal retainer ring in order to get the sender in properly, then screw everything back into place. The next issue is figuring out a good safe way to plug off all of the vent tubes.

Fuel Sender

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: February 22, 2011 | Filed under Future Plans, Purchasing, Scout | Comments Off on Sender Sent For.

As noted in the picture from Saturday, Finn had a blast at the playdate. That place is pretty amazing—imagine a space the size of an aircraft carrier’s hangar filled with thirty different themed areas: dinosaurs, space, a pond, a post office, a beach (with real sand), and a real fire truck, among other things. She wasn’t afraid of anything, either; when faced with a gaggle of kids, she walked right over and got in on the action, whether it was dancing, climbing, or exploring. I was happy to shadow her around until our stomachs started audibly growling, and even then she didn’t want to leave. For $15, it’s a ridiculous bargain and something that I will surely be taking advantage of on rainy days when Finn and I are looking for something to do. Gold stars, Mama.

Finn did great as my co-pilot all weekend while we let Mama catch up on her paying work. We hit the bank for cash, got breakfast, did the week’s grocery shopping, picked up primer for the porch (more on that later), and played together while I also tried to help straighten up the house and fix an ailing laptop for a friend. By 9PM, I was exhausted and couldn’t face any other physical activity. I don’t know how Jen does it every day.

Play-doh with the girl

As promised, the drywall guy stopped by on Friday and sanded the entire den, so it’s out there waiting for me to get started. The tentative list goes as follows:

  • Repair the floors with the boards Mr. Scout saved for us (thanks!)
  • Have Mr. C come by and help wire up all the outlets
  • Prime the walls
  • Sand the floor
  • Find some tile for the bathroom
  • Pull the sink and toilet and lay the tile down
  • Find the right beadboard and install that in the bathroom
  • Choose a vanity mirror and lighting for over the sink and the center of the room (I’m leaning towards one of these)
  • Start milling and installing finish molding
  • Pick a paint color
  • Choose a ceiling fan and install it
  • Paint the trim and doors

I also have to block out some time in the spring or early summer to buy and shoot more Tigerfoam up into the sill plates in the coal room, as well as install some simple stud walls and R-19 insulation to keep the chill from coming up through the floor, but that’s not immediately critical.

Just standing out there with the girls this morning was a revelation; the walls are clean, the floor is mopped (mostly), and I tore the plastic off the walls on Sunday, so the full amount of light can shine in. Even on an overcast day, it’s the brightest room in the house. It’s really exciting.

Date posted: February 21, 2011 | Filed under finn, house, photo, porch | Leave a Comment »

Wow, I had no idea National Bohemian wasn’t available on tap until recently. ‘Natty Boh’ Drinkers Tap Into Nostalgia at Frisco Tap House in Columbia.

Date posted: February 20, 2011 | Filed under brewing, entertainment, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Crawling in a tunnel

Date posted: February 19, 2011 | Filed under finn, photo | Leave a Comment »

Presumably, our drywall guy is right on schedule, which means that when he says “5:30 tomorrow night,” he actually means “6:00 the day after tomorrow.” Which means he will most likely show up tonight to sand the den when he said he would be there last night. Either way it sounds like I won’t have a whole lot of time to spend out there this weekend, because Mama has a ton of work to get done and needs me to take over childcare. I have a bunch of errands to run—food, supplies, and tools—so my shopping buddy and I will have plenty to do.

Also on Saturday Mama has us signed up for a big play date in Columbia, which sounds like a blast. Best of all, I got in touch with my old college friend Tim and asked if he’d meet us there with his daughter (who’s just a little younger than Finn). They live 10 minutes away but inexcusably we haven’t seen them since last year, so we’re going to be making some firm plans to get together in the coming months.

Depending on how scheduling goes (and how many empty bottles I’ve got socked away), I may also try to fit in brewing the Hefeweizen kit I’ve got stored this weekend. The American Amber has been going down right smoothly over the last week (one an evening is plenty) but it would be nice to have a lighter beer on tap for lighter weather.

Date posted: February 18, 2011 | Filed under brewing, finn, house | Leave a Comment »