27 February
I’ve spent a tense couple of days trading emails with my target hosting provider trying to hammer out the details of migration and transfer. As of right now they’ve migrated WordPress over to an instance on their servers and I just now got them to understand that I want to move the domain over as well. I sent over the Auth code Friday morning and got the ball rolling, so let’s see how fast it takes to get the rest of it moved. While this is all happening, I’ve been juggling tabs in my browsers like a circus clown, switching from account to account to communicate with the various companies involved. It’s making me feel schizophrenic. One minute I’m using my namesake account, next I’m using my idiotking account, and then I have to switch over to Gmail for authentication, which means logging out of my work account…

It’s been weird because the content is frozen while we sort things out; not having the site there to record on is like not having my phone in my pocket—I feel like there’s something missing. I have a problem with losing things, as documented here many times, and when something is unavailable or out of my reach I feel unmoored. This site has grown into something more than just a place to post pictures or links to funny websites; it’s an imprecise digital history of my life. Here and on Flickr are how I mark the years of my life, because I can’t keep track of it all in my head. It’s one of the only good habits I’ve ever been able to keep, and even when I’m having a slow month of posting, I’m still thinking about posting something. Even if it’s a list of shit I did over the weekend.

1 March
I’ve finished up a pile of small but time-consuming tasks in the bathroom. There’s kick moulding all the way around the perimeter of the bathroom, finished off with toekick at the bottom edge. Various holes and dents in the wall are patched and painted. There’s a coat of eggshell white on everything except for a few places I can’t see without direct sunlight.

I have the wall heater hooked up to a thermostat as of this afternoon, but for some reason the thermostat isn’t waking up. I called my neighbor and double-checked the wiring diagram it came with, and he confirmed my research. I’ll have to track that issue down later this week when I’ve got some time.

I ordered the sinks on Friday, and the marble folks are going to be here on Wednesday to measure for the countertops, which is a big relief. Once that’s all in I can hook up water and get the last big utility working in there.

2 March
Jen hit the Costco on Friday for bulk quarantine supplies, and Saturday morning Finn and I hit the store for the remainder. I’m watching the news with a wary eye not because I think it’s the second coming of the 1918 Spanish Fever epidemic, but because I know I’m standing square in the crosshairs of the virus: a low white blood cell count and a commute that takes me to and from a heavily trafficked city in a thin metal tube. Our leadership has been very cool about keeping people informed and offering telecommuting as an option, and I’m going to take them up on that when the first case hits D.C.

Sunday I took Finn and a friend to the mall for the afternoon. We walked inside and I asked the two of them to meet me at the same spot in two hours, and then I walked away and let them figure out where they were going to go. Then I texted Jen and said, “I have set them free on the mall. Should I be worried?” because I was a little worried. We texted back and forth and she made me feel better about it, and I put the worry out of my mind. We’ve been trying to give her more freedom in small doses. Apart from some stupendously dumb choices she’s made on her own in the last two weeks, we know she’s a good kid and normally does the right thing, so I put it out of my mind and looked for some work clothes. At 5:00 I walked back to the rally point and found them sitting on the floor drinking bubble tea, chatting happily with each other.

4 March
Laying in bed at 9:40 with a snoring dog next to me. I took Finn and Zachary snowboarding today (more on that later) so I’m a wee bit tired and emotionally wrung out; the two of them could not have done better today.

Meanwhile, the guy came to measure the counters and recommended two smaller sinks, so we’re changing the order to reflect that. We also need to buy the faucets before they come to install, as they’ll cut the holes for those while they’re here.

Date posted: March 4, 2020 | Filed under bathroom, finn, friends, housekeeping | Leave a Comment »

There’s been a round hole in the floor of the new bathroom for several years now, covered over with duct tape, and yesterday we decided that something needed to be done about it. We dropped Finn off at a friend’s house and Jen and Hazel and I went toilet shopping at Lowe’s. We settled on a nice American Standard chair-height model with cleaning jets (but not the one with electronic controls, because WTF) and loaded it in the back of the Scout.

I’ve installed multiple toilets in my day and I have to say, this one was by far the easiest to put together. The parts are all built with care, the box came with every tool I needed, and the directions were clear. The only snag I hit was that the quick-connect water bib I’d bought was about 4″ too short, so a quick run back to Lowe’s was needed to source parts at the correct length. This time I went with SharkBite connectors for the water lines and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they went together. If that hadn’t been an issue, the whole toilet would have been ready in an hour.

Sunday’s task is to repaint the walls and ceiling in a uniform color, and cover those areas that are still bare drywall mud. There are a few more places where I can put wood trim in, but until the countertops and some special-order trim sections come in, I can’t finish the rest of it.

Date posted: February 17, 2020 | Filed under bathroom | Leave a Comment »

Football is over and now it’s basketball basketball basketball, which is my least favorite time of year. Not because I love football, but because I pretty much despise basketball, and it’s a long couple of months before anybody starts talking about baseball, which is only marginally more interesting than basketball.

I got about five hours up in the bathroom on Saturday and had to do a bit of catching up to see where I’d left things. First on the list was to set the right-side front cabinet in place, level it, and then reset the left side to match the height. Because of the way the walls and floor slope, I had to shim the right side a fair bit to get it to level, requiring the left side to be raised up about 1/2″. Now that all of the cabinets are set, I pulled the toekick skin out of its package and started measuring. Toekick skin is the stuff that goes across the base of the cabinet, from the floor to the section that juts out. Unfortunately what I have is all sized for a flat, level installation and doesn’t give me any extra for overage, so I re-ordered a batch with an extra inch of height to cut down.

I finished the moulding in the closet, shimmed one of the doors out so that it will close properly, mudded the edge of the shower wall, and did a lot of finish work throughout, as well as cleaned up the whole room. Without the countertops, toekick moulding, a strip of cabinet edge finish, and something called scribe moulding to finish off the top edge of the linen cabinet, I’m at a bit of a standstill. All of this is on order—I’m waiting to get the quote back for the countertops this week.

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I got the Scout out of the garage and made a dump run on Saturday morning with Hazel. We were able to haul all of the old windows, their weights, and two giant bags of trash out of the backyard, which is a great relief.

On Sunday I couldn’t venture far from the house, as I had the dog and the girls to watch (Finn had a friend over) so I put the dog outside and started cleaning up the basement. I’ve had a pile of lumber on the main section of the floor for months and decided I’d use some of the leftover scraps from the bathroom to build a simple overhead rack for 6+’ lengths. Once that was done the rest of the floor cleaned up quickly.

Then I went and looked at the two kegs of beer in the kegerator. Last I remembered one was empty. I figured it was time to get it out and clean it, so I disconnected everything and lifted them both, and found they both still had beer inside. So I cleaned out the hoses and taps (the taps were disgusting) hooked up the gas, and poured a glass of beer. I’d forgotten exactly why I’d disconnected the grapefruit IPA, and after having only about half a glass, just how powerful it was. Still, it’s nice for sipping.

* * *

Then I looked over the road bike. Last week I was able to get the old bars off, the new bullhorns on, and mount the brake levers. But I haven’t been able to get the old brake levers and cables disconnected. Most of the replacement kits I’ve seen have a particular type of cable and housing, with two kinds of barreled tips at the ends of the cable. This bike has neither. It’s so old the cable was custom-cut and threads through the old Dia-Compe brake system. The cable doesn’t even come off the brake levers—it’s built into them. So I cut off one end and removed the front brake lever; now I have to sort out what to do next. I’m resisting the urge to bring it to the bike shop and have them fix it, because there’s no rush and I have to remind myself that this is part of the fun.

Date posted: February 10, 2020 | Filed under bathroom, brewing, family | Leave a Comment »

I’ve kept my activities low-impact while I drag myself out of the hole this illness has got me in. I felt like I was up to some small stuff on Saturday, so I wandered up to the bathroom and made some forward progress. The first thing to do was to remove all of the framing around the toilet window that was put in when the drywall went in and redo it. See, Mario put it in and measured the casings at 5½” wide, when everything was supposed to be at 4½”. I left it purposely for the very last so that I could see what all the other casing and moulding measured out at, and about halfway through the job I knew I’d have to pull it apart and redo it all. It actually didn’t take that much time to fix. It was easy to pull off. I ran it through the table saw to narrow the casing, lopped the edges off the stool, and cut the top casing down before putting the crown on top. Then it all went back in place and while the wood putty dried I gave much of the rest of the new woodwork a coat of semigloss paint. I cut some small pieces to fit in where the cabinets join the doors, installed more kickplate under the back stairs, and put a coat of paint on the toilet window before calling it a day.

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On Sunday I listened to the Ravens game while I painted. Pretty much every piece of woodwork got another coat of paint, and I spent a couple of hours focusing on the closet doors, which came primed from the factory. They look worlds better. The whole room really looks worlds better, actually.

Tomorrow (Monday) I’ve got to call the cabinet place to see if they can get me a short piece of fill wood for the right-side cabinet on the front wall, so that I can stand it off the side by about 2″ before putting it in permanently. I’m going to go get valves for the water supply pipes and install all of those, and get some lumber to finish off the inside doors in the closet, but I’m waiting to see how we’re going to organize the space in there before putting kickplate in. I can also set up the kickplate for under the sink.

Later in the day, I was adjusting the $50 bandsaw I picked up a few weeks ago and to my dismay the lower support guide, a cast metal part that assures the blade stays straight, crumbled in my hand. A number of searches reveals that, surprise! Sears doesn’t carry this part anymore, and pretty much everyone else who has one of these saws is looking for the same part. So, I’ll do a little digging to see if I can find another part that I can substitute, or I’ll just throw the whole thing in the fucking trash.

Date posted: December 29, 2019 | Filed under bathroom, house | Leave a Comment »

Saturday I took advantage of a relatively light schedule and got a solid block of hours in the bathroom for the first time in over a month. First up was to get the linen closet leveled, centered on its pedestal, and secured to the wall. Before I could do that I had to install a section of wood, included with the cabinets, to stand it off the wall by about 3″. I clamped it to the cabinet, scribed it (the wall is not straight), and tried using the new band saw, but found that the band saw was in desperate need of adjustment. Instead, I cut it freehand with the table saw. I clamped it on to the cabinet and screwed it in place, then snugged the whole cabinet up against the wall: a perfect fit. Now the extra room will allow the cabinet doors to clear the door casing when they’re open.

Once that was secured in place, I knew where the woodwork around the window could be, and started putting that back in. I’d already cut the stool, so it was simply a matter of putting the surrounds back in, measuring, cutting, and milling the casing, and setting up the top moulding. After caulking and adding wood fill to the nail holes, I leveled the small cabinet next to it and secured that to the wall. At that point it was time to wrap things up, because we had advent plans for the evening.

* * *

Jen got us tickets to see the Moscow Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker in the city, so we got our church clothes on, gave Hazel her sedative and put her in the crate, and headed into Baltimore. We got there early because they’ve begun security checks at the theater, so we had about an hour to kill before the curtain went up. We all got a cocktail at the bar and found some chairs in the upstairs lobby to relax in.

The production was beautiful. The Hippodrome isn’t the largest of stages, so I got the feeling they had to adjust the blocking to fit all of the dancers, but they did an amazing job and we were all captivated. The pair doing the Arabian Variation took our breath away. By the time we got home it was 10:30 and Finn went right to bed.

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Sunday was a family day. The girls went to church while I ran some errands—a haircut and some Christmas shopping—and then did some small jobs around the house. When they got home, we went into Ellicott City for some lunch at Georgia Grace cafe, where the menu leans Greek and the food is delicious. Then we came back  and took Hazel for a walk around the neighborhood. Back inside, we caught up on our Advent activities around the dining room table. First, we made our family picture, and then we cut out snowflakes to hang on the windows. Then we lit a fire and talked about our Christmas lists. I started feeling lousy and went upstairs for a nap, and by the time I woke up Finn was just settling down in bed.

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I’m hoping this lousy feeling doesn’t mean I’m coming down with something, as I still don’t have a very healthy immune system. I did get a bunch of sleep overnight but woke up with the same sore throat and achy feeling.

Date posted: December 16, 2019 | Filed under bathroom, family, finn, hazel, photo | Leave a Comment »

Ending with a picturesque view of my butt. But hey, the cabinets are in!

Date posted: November 4, 2019 | Filed under bathroom | Leave a Comment »

Here’s the sink cabinets cut, installed, and anchored to each other and the wall. I started with the left side, got the access holes cut, notched the bottom, and set it in place over the piping. Then I put the middle cabinet in and attached that to the left side. After leveling it, I measured the right cabinet and cut the access holes. Jen helped me settle it in place, and I leveled them all off, anchored them to each other, and then to the wall behind. I have to clean up the shims at the bottom and install the kick plate, and then I can finish off the sill cover over the threshold and call that part done.

Next up is putting the kickplate platform under the linen closet and setting it and the other two cabinets into place. When those are done I can measure for the countertops and go find a toilet to install, as well as finish off all the kickplates around the perimeter of the floor.

Date posted: November 2, 2019 | Filed under bathroom | Leave a Comment »

I had a couple of hours yesterday to start moving piping around in the bathroom yesterday. First up were the drainpipes, which were pretty easy to get to and easier to extend with the right replacement fittings. The one on the right took a bit longer because I had to notch out one of the wall studs to get the pipe to clear. The one on the left might have taken 15 minutes in total, from cutting the wallboard to cementing the extension in place.

Then I started on the water supply piping. You can see where the cabinet edges are by where the blue tape is. I had to shut the main water supply off because I was still getting pressure upstairs, but I moved the left-side supply over and got one of the right-side pipes moved before I had to stop last night.

Does that look like shit? Yes. Will it clean things up under the cabinets and make life easier? Hell yes. Will anyone ever see it? Only if you’re looking at this post. 

Next, I’ll make a pass-through notch on the underside edge of the cabinets, then re-measure the supply pipes and use the hole saw to cut access holes through the backs and bottoms of each cabinet for the pipes. After that, I’ll set each of the cabinets next to each other and level them out before drilling holes to connect all three together as a level unit. Then I’ll take them apart, set them down over the holes and into place, and connect them back up as one unit before leveling the whole thing off and connecting it to the wall.

 

Date posted: October 27, 2019 | Filed under bathroom | Leave a Comment »

I was digging through old posts earlier today and found this photo, which helps me plan out exactly what has to happen to get the cabinets in place.

I’m glad I take boring pictures of things in progress, because this shows how the pipes were installed and what I’ll need to do to move the right side drain further to the right to clear the edge of the cabinet. I was thinking they were angled slightly upwards but they appear to be a pretty simple 90˚ bend, so all I’ll have to do is carefully cut a bit of the wall to either side of the final bend, cut the pipe, and add an extension. While I’m doing that I’m going to add doglegs to the supply pipes on both sides so that they come up correctly in the back of the cabinets.

I’m on the fence as to whether I’m going to extend the left side as well. Technically the pipe clears the edge of the cabinet, but it would be nice to have it centered. I guess we’ll see how hard it is to move the right side first. The biggest issue will be cutting through that diagonal sheathing in the picture; it’s 100-year-old true 1″ wood, and it’s hard as a rock. Oscillating saw to the rescue!

Date posted: October 22, 2019 | Filed under bathroom, house | Leave a Comment »

Hazel was hit by a car on Thursday. She got away from her lead and ran toward the front of the house, where we’ve always taken her for morning and evening walks; she has no concept of what cars are or how they pass by the house, so she ran out in front of one and got hit pretty good. She was able to get up and run to the back of the house, where she waited for someone to get her. The vet did a bunch of tests and x-rays and found that her pelvis was broken at the growth plates, and blithely recommended we keep her from walking for two weeks, before sending her home with puppy Advil. This did not help our dog, who metabolizes everything at the speed of light. Jen had to call back and get a sedative and anti-anxiety medication to get her to calm down. One or more of these medications has the bonus effect of making her stool into fragrant toxic pudding, which smells only slightly worse than her farts.

 

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So she’s confined to the back room, mostly in her crate, and she’s not supposed to walk. The usual practice of sniffing around for a good place to shit is forbidden, so we have to try to discern between HAZEL FREAK OUT and HAZEL NEED POTTY, and carry her out to the side yard (hereafter known as Diarrhea Alley), put her on the ground, and try to talk her into pooping in that spot while she looks up at us with half-glazed eyes wondering what the fuck is wrong with you humans? I think Jen may have better luck with this; I’m only right 1/8 of the time.

I crashed out on the couch for the overnight last night and missed it twice; At 3AM and at 5AM I was awoken by a smell similar to that of an overflowing festival port-a-potty only feet from my face. She sat in the crate on the other side from the mess, looking at me with stoned reproach, wondering when I was going to clean things up. That took a half an hour and three sleeves of paper towels. Then it’s time to feed her the drugs; I’ve gotten pretty good at saving them down her throat. SWEET ANXIETY MEDS.

When the sedatives do hit, she’s a bag of wet cement in the shape of a dog, which is kind of nice after two months of constant spastic activity, but calm times are few and far between. She’ll pace in the crate and whine and cry and carry on and scream, and we’ll take her out and she’ll just stand there in the rain for ten minutes and then we bring her inside and she pees on the floor, and while we’re cleaning that she’s in the crate howling. It’s enough to make me want to pee myself. The back room looks like a bomb hit and smells like stale bus farts. I don’t know how we’re supposed to do this for two (four? six?) more weeks while her pelvis supposedly mends itself; I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll grind through this hell and come to find her intestines have moved to where her lungs should be and her pelvis has fused to her jawbone. I can’t wait to see that vet bill.

We have two more windows sitting in the hallway ready to be installed, but I have no idea when that’s going to happen. We’ll probably have to wait until the spring to get them in, as the warm days are disappearing fast. I’m in a holding pattern in the bathroom as well; last weekend I was able to get a shallow shelf built for the front two windows and framed out the insides, but I had to stop at the outer casings. I also put cap moulding above the closet and the front windows in the dining room. The next big push will be to move the plumbing under the sink, but I don’t see that happening when I have to cut holes in the drywall directly above Hazel’s convalescent bed.

* * *

Finn and I drove down to Grand’s house yesterday to help him sort out his computer issues. He was locked out of his Gmail account, the account he’s been using since Verizon shut down their email servers, and he couldn’t remember any of his passwords or account information. Through some judicious use of internet forensics I was able to answer enough questions to get the authentication started, and then my sister-in-law called wondering why her phone was blowing up with two-factor requests. I switched the number over to his cell, made him a shortcut on his desktop, cleaned out his keyboard, and we were back in business.

Date posted: October 20, 2019 | Filed under bathroom, hazel, house | Leave a Comment »