On Monday, we took advantage of warm weather, sunny skies, and a day off from school to hike in Gambrill State Park north of Frederick, which features an incredible 360˚ view of northern Maryland. We’re about 3 weeks too early to see trees changing color, but it was still fantastic to get outside.
My bones are creaky this morning because Finn and I camped out in the Chic Shack last night. Before dinner I built a screen for the second window so we could open them both and have a little cross breeze, and that was just right until about 3AM when the temperature dropped. I put fuzzy blanket over Finn’s sleeping bag (and took a corner of it for myself) and fell back asleep. I would have slept sounder if I hadn’t needed to pee at 4AM, but oh, well.
+1, Recommend, Would book a stay again
It’s 4:20 in the afternoon and I’ve just showered after working on Finn’s new fort? House? Vacation property? Think shed?) for the third time in three days. We put walls all the way around to the porch and braced them at the floor and ceiling. Yesterday we drove in to Second Chance and browsed the store to find a pair of reclaimed Andersen double-hung windows that would fit the south and west walls perfectly. Today we cut two holes in the walls and braced everything to set them in place. When that was done (and Finn was napping on the couch) I set up the compressor and sprayed the interior with white Kilz primer to clean everything up.
Now I’m sitting on the couch on the front porch, feeling the breeze blow through the windows, sipping a glass of homebrew, and feeling exhausted but content with the weekend’s accomplishments. The fort project hasn’t been free, but I’ve been able to re-use and salvage a lot of material from the prior iteration and older projects—and to have Finn hug me fiercely and tell me she loves me in the middle of a long day makes everything worthwhile.
On Sunday the heat finally broke and we were blessed with cooler weather and lower humidity, so Finn and I picked up five sheets of T-11 for the walls of her fort. While we were at Lowe’s I looked at cordless drills and impulsively threw one on the cart. I’ve had the same DeWalt 12V cordless since I bought my first house, and it’s been through about six batteries in the span of its lifetime. It still works, it’s powerful, but it’s heavy. I bought an off-brand battery last year to save a little money, and found that off-brand means it’s 70% as good as the name brand, it’s cheaply made, and thus has the annoying tendency to fall out of the bottom of the drill and directly on to my foot. The new one is probably half the size and weight and came with two batteries, Finn and I can work simultaneously and I can throw my corded Ryobi drill with no clutch into the woods, which is where it belongs.
While we were out I stopped in at the Harbor Freight and picked up a $15 angle grinder, as well as a $25 pneumatic DA sander. If I’m going to prep the Scout for a paint job sometime in the spring, I’ve got to get the tools together and start making some progress.
Sunday was, unfortunately, not my best day as a Dad. I was grumpy when I woke up and my attitude got progressively worse until about 3PM, when I dropped something on my foot for the fifth time and had to tell Finn we were packing things in for the day. I recognized that I was getting shorter and shorter with her, and I didn’t want to take my bad mood out on her any more than I already had. I was disappointed in myself because the last couple of weekends I felt like she and I were making awesome progress, she was engaged in what we were doing, and I was doing a decent job of teaching her basic carpentry and building.
Every day is a challenge, especially when we’re closed in together, and I’m vacillating between being outgoing and misanthropic for reasons I can’t pin down yet. I’ve explained this part of my personality to Finn in that I’m like a battery that gets run down, and there are some days when I just need to recharge away from everyone and everything. A modern workday filled with Zoom calls and bouncing from project to project seems to be draining me more that it would at the office, and some days I’m just a blank screen by dinnertime. I look forward to weekends because we get outside and work with our hands, and on days when I’m not being the best Dad I can be, I get very depressed.
To her credit, she is understanding, but she’s also eleven and I want to be the on my A game with her whenever we’re together. Especially when she’s having fun seeing her new fort come together.
We did get the back wall cut down and in place, and it’s actually looking pretty good. Once the walls are all in, we’re going to head down to Second Chance and see if we can’t find some inexpensive used windows to install, as well as a door of some kind—if we can find one that fits.
There’s five gallons of session IPA sitting in the kegerator, slowly carbing until next Saturday, when it should be ready for a first pour. I’m hopeful this will be the first truly good batch I’ve made this year, as the last couple have been disappointments due to brewing methods. In cleaning up the brew stand, basement, and kegerator on Saturday, I was looking askance at the cabinet filled with empty bottles and wondering if I should just recycle them all to clear out space. I’ve kept them with the idea that I’ll eventually brew another Irish Stout or something worth bottling, but in reality I hate bottling and don’t drink stouts enough to be motivated to bother.
This is Finley, on the platform of her new fort, using Grandpa’s Swiss Army knife to whittle down a stick into a sword and hilt, held together elegantly with tree bark.