Film Friday – Corner Cabinet Up-Cycle/Rebuild

Way back in November of 2015, just after our return from living abroad for two years, I bought a set of hard used, little loved corner cabinets from a local salvage place. I have spent an hour and there installing, building trim, sanding, de-gunking, stripping old paint, priming, painting, and more painting. It has only taken 18 months, but they are now installed and look like they have been in our living room since the very first day.

Here is a slideshow/video tale of the steps taken in the project: What it was to what it became.

My Week in Review

This past week has been a week of mish-mash happenings:

90-day Post-surgery hip appointment: Could have gone better.
Fruit tree pruning
I built a lid for the compost boxes
A rat didn’t like my lid and chewed through the side to get at the worms in the compost bin
I said dirty words
Mounted 7 up-cycled cabinets in the garage
Finished painting 80 liner feet of 1/4 round trim.
Sweep and cleaned GROP
Organized some stuff into new shelves and cabinets.
Finished painting the corner shelf doors – 5 total coats of fresh paint
Installed the hinges and hung the doors on wrong cabinets
Said dirty words
Re-hung doors on the correct cabinet.
Scratched paint
More dirty words
Touched up paint
Finished corner cabinet install
Did some Physical Therapy for my Old Man hip
Mowed and edged the yard
Read a book
Made a few Instagram and Twitter posts
Amazon sent me a new tool!
Flew drone one afternoon after J-O-B
Planted the boxwood shrubs
Bought garden starts at Nursery: tomatoes, corn, squash, zucchini, peppers,herbs, lettuce, etc…
50+ hours at my J-O-B, hustlin’ to keep us fed and the lights on
Watched about 2 hours of NetFlix
Gave away a bed in our home office
Had to delver it to new owner
Drank some French wine
Worked on cedar log garden table
Bought couch/guest bed for the office/TV room
Braved the gauntlet at IKEA – three hours to pick up a pre-ordered couch ūüôĀ
IKEA gave me a $50 discount for the trouble
Had to source clear glass Victorian-style pull knobs for the corner cabinet doors
Spoke to both of my children for Father’s Day
Heart Happy
Planted summer garden
There was some coffee drinking and puppy snuggling
Took top off of Jeep for the first time in 1.5 years
Started Raining the second I took it out of the Garage
Made grumpy noises
Had coffee and listened to a bluegrass jam session at favorite coffee shop
Watched a movie
Was prolific on Twitter and Instagram
Murdered some dandelions
Rode around neighborhood on errands in topless Jeep when it stopped raining
Made happy noises
Sent some J-O-B e-mails from home
Started reading American Gods out loud with my awesome wife
Went to be to start it all over again on Monday morning

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A Year Later – The Garage is Finally Legal and Inspected

Holy crap… I got notice from our former garage contractor that the city permit for the build was about to expire. WhAt tHe FUCK!?!? Apparently, he had never called for the final inspection. It just never ends with this guy and the inattention to detail.

After a flurry of calls and e-mails, the city inspector came out yesterday and looked at the framing, roof, gutters, paint, electrical final. He signed off thew garage as legal and conforming¬†but, said that we should have not moved in and started the insulation and drywall until the final was signed and in hand. He was the guy that did the initial inspection and remembered us and the build, so I didn’t have to tear anything out. While I appreciate the contractor¬†letting me know about the expiration, I would have preferred that the inspections were done a year ago when the structure was done.

Update:

The day after the Final Inspection was signed off, I got a notice that a Waste Diversion Report (WDR) needs to be submitted to Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) for all demolition projects as well as any new construction and alteration permits where the project value is $30,000 or greater. Normally this falls to the party that pulled the building permit, but as I did the demo myself it got forwarded to me.  Links to the forms are below in case anyone in Seattle needs them.

SPU Waste Diversion Report Manual Form
Seattle WDR Letter 2016

Apparently, if you live in Seattle, our local utility company wants to make triple-extra sure you did not dump any building or demo waste inappropriately. I have the receipts from the equipment company and the hauling company, so there should be no issue.

Getting Stuff Done Over the Weekend

We had a really productive weekend around the house – so much so that I to take an old guy nap on Sunday. In no particular order:

Organized and cleaned up shop from Garage sale two weekends ago
Took 10 boxes of good stuff to Goodwill
Bought and brought home cabinets and wine racks from Habitat for Humanity in Tukwila
Sourced and purchased some additional boxwood shrubs and mulch for the yard
Mowed the new sod in the yard for the first time
Took the puppies for a walk
Date Night: Burgers and a late 3D showing of Wonder Woman.
Cleaned house
Spent 1.5 hours looking for either one of my orbital sanders
Said dirty words the whole time
Sanded Corner cabinet doors
Shocked the hot-tub with chemicals getting ready for water and filter change
ad a couple of nice glasses of French rosé in the sunshine.
Made lid from up-cycled ceder fence boards and used hardware for the compost bins
Hung two paintings
Organized dining room
mounted 6 stringed instruments in the hallway
Installed new toilet seat
Ran the chainsaw a bit
Made some woodchips and used as garden bed mulch
Picked up 4 huge rounds of cedar from a neighbor who has a tree cut down to split for kindling
Took out trash and recycling – there was a LOT of the latter
Met new neighbor
Another walk with the puppies
Made a trip to CostCo and dropped more $$ that we wanted to
Paid $12 for a used plywood miter saw station – SCORE!
Drank lots of coffee
Murdered some dandelions in the yard
Paid some bills
Wrote a couple “Thank You” notes
Read a little
Didn’t sleep enough

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Visit to a Kayak Museum in Portland

I read about a supposedly gem of a kayak museum in Portland maybe 18 months ago. Hmmm… Skin on frame kayaks… A museum… Huge collection… Quirky hours… ¬†Hmmm….

After a little inter-web research, I found that the Lincoln Street Kayak and Canoe Museum is the work of one man, Harvey Golden, and the collection is made up mostly of boats that he has hand built after surveying traditional native boats all over the world. I was in!

Mr. Golden uses the museum as a repository for his boat collection and as the home of his publishing house, White House Grocery Press. The museum is open to the public here and there as he is in the office and has set hours from 5-7 on Wednesdays.  Knowing all that, I was almost vibrating to get a peek at his boats and paddles. I had stopped by the museum a couple of times when visiting Portland, but the timing was always off and I was never in town during the posted open time Wednesday afternoons. I was going going to be in The Rose City for a long holiday weekend and sent Mr. Golden an e-mail asking if he might, by chance, be around when I was in the city and to my great surprise, he got right back to me and agreed to let me stop by one Tuesday morning РI brought him a coffee when I showed up at the planned 10:00 on the dot.

His collection of boats, paddles, gear, accessories, and models is amazing – as are his books on the subject of kayaks. Here is the kicker though and why I am spending some time discussing a specific museum visit: he was amazingly generous with his time and spent over an hour and a half with me to explain the collection, bits & bobs, details, accessories, etc… I really, really appreciated it. His generosity of time is not something I see a lot of these days.

If you are into kayaks or boats in general, stop by the free museum and take a look at his books as well. I am about 70 pages into the super-detailed and annotated Kayaks of Alaska and want to build them ALL…

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Film Friday – Recycling Sawdust and Wood Chips

I spent last weekend in Portland, Oregon and happened by a custom furniture shop downtown called The Joinery. ¬†The workmanship of their wares was terrific and the sales staff was really accommodating. ¬†They knew I wasn’t going to buy any of their very nice pieces and yet still explained their ethos and process, details of the builds, and even let me wonder around taking a couple of pictures. ¬†If Mid-Century to Japanese Fusion to 21st Century Modern is your thing and you are as allergic to IKEA pressed wood crap furniture as I am, them look them up and see if they have a piece of furniture that you have to have to fill that void in your living-room/soul.

Aside from their furniture, they had a display of pressed hardwood sawdust pucks – making furniture produces some waste and normally this sawdust goes to landfills or in my case, used for mulch and compost roughage. ¬†Their display piqued my interest and I started asking questions. The Joinery and like establishments produce exponentially more sawdust than my little shop does, so their way of dealing with it is that they have invested in a sawdust briquette press that makes these hardwood hockey-puck-ish sized briquettes that are burned in pellet stoves, regular wood stoves, or fireplace inserts to provide heat. ¬†There is no glue or bonding agent used, just pressure from a hydraulic ram-press keeps the pucks together. The shop goes a little beyond expectation though and GIVES THEM AWAY FOR FREE to the public at their other sales location and workshop (48th and Woodstock in Portland). ¬†I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me to see a company do this. ¬†The shear fact that this is part of their business model makes me want to buy a small occasional table or some such item just to support what they are doing.

I am so turned on by this that I¬†am looking into a small briquette press for my shop. ¬†The ROI time for the model that meets the size/cost requiremnet for me (a UK made press, a couple of Chinese machines, and one Canadian model) would be like 2 years for my limited use, but it would be worth it to me as there is only so much mulch that I and my neighbors can use. ¬†I would like to use the briquettes for some house heat and to heat the shop and green house in the winter, giving away what I didn’t use. ¬†Stay tuned for updates in my hunt and go by The Joinery’s website of shop and support them if you can.

Making the yard pretty for 2017

Our back yard has been a mess for over a year: Stacked with left over construction debris, seriously over-grown raised garden beds, unturned compost bins, blackberries along both fences, piles of landscaping stones, weeds, etc.… The front yard was presentable, but only just barely. 2016 was the year of house and garage construction and 2017 was meant to be the year that we focused on the yard. Surgery delayed that a bit and the state of the grounds at La Maison du Talley was getting embarrassing.

I had a couple of guys come out and take a look at our mess to see what it would cost to get it back in home-show worthy shape. I didn’t like either answer.  Without going into too much detail about the different bids, the low one was $3500 and the high was almost $5000. There was no way in Hell that the frugal DNA coursing through my veins, passed down from both the Talley and Webster lines, would biologically allow me to spend that kind of money on grass, mulch, and a few flowers.

After I was well on the mend and cleared by my physical therapist, I did some planning, logistic estimation, material cost math, and decided to do it myself with a bit of casual day labor.  I also decided that the mature ornamental cherry trees I wanted for the parking strip would have to wait, that I didn’t need to bring in topsoil and plant grass seed. I scaled back the dream a little bit, bought 86 rolls of sod, 19 bags of mulch, 8 bags of garden soil, some boxwood shrubs, 15 Spanish lavender plants, and let my sweet wife buy all the pretty flowers that her heart desired.

In two days, the front and back yards were transformed!  I hauled away 1600 pounds of yard waste, made one dump run for trash, one run full of recyclables, and we spent less than $1000.  We will spend the next few weeks watering and fussing over little details, but by July 4th, we should have Ireland-green grass, pretty flowers, healthy fruit trees and the BBQ grill roaring. Money and time well spent.

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Stuff that my wife has said that leaves me speechless

Continuing in the theme of previous posts about the shocking and funny things that occasionally spew forth from my wife:

  • Laurel has started calling the Amazon Cart the “Gift Basket” then mumbling curse words under her breath, after accidentally buying everything that was in the “Cart.” Our¬†Amazon grocery and regular Amazon stuff accounts got linked and she bought a ton of stuff, including a CB for my Jeep, a 20 gallon waste oil container for my shop, and a Ninja Blender. ¬†We had no idea until stuff just started showing up at the house. ¬†It was like Christmas in May!

 

  • We were waiting¬†in line one night outside¬†The Showbox in downtown Seattle, an iconic music venue right by Pike Place Market, and a guy walked by with a big strait ginger beard that would have made any self-respecting viking proud. ¬†My wife and I have a deal: ¬† She keeps¬†her hair long and I don’t grow a beard. ¬†I looked over at her as he walked past and said with a raised eyebrow, “That could be me.” ¬†Without a seconds thought she replied, “It sure could. ¬†You will notice he is walking alone…” ¬†Point, set, and match.

 

  • I was standing in the kitchen doorway, unnoticed by my vegetarian-hippie-raised wife as she was delicately eating a strip of bacon and heard her say: “I don’t even recognize myself anymore.”

 

  • ¬†While out to eat one Saturday¬†night my sweet bride made a flippant comment about it “…being OK¬†to miss the previews…” for the movie we were running a little late to because dinner was taking a while. I gave her the stink eye as I LOVE the previews and she said: ¬†“Thou shalt not glare on date night if you want to sleep with a real girl tonight…”¬†

 

  • After I made a joke at her expense on the way home from the same movie, she snapped back, “It is mother-fucking date night. You have to be nicer to me.”

 

  • One evening after two too many glasses of wine, Stamps-With-Foot got a little sick. ¬†It is the first time in like 10 years that this has happened. ¬†She felt BAD and demanded I call the ambulance. ¬†I said no, while holding her beautiful long hair up and out of the way. ¬†She said: “I am dying. ¬†Why won’t you listen to me?!” ¬†I said: “I am sober and you are not. ¬†You are not dying, but you will feel really crappy tomorrow” ¬†Her reply was: “That seems plausible,”¬† which she said in a perfectly sober and lucid voice before returning to the continued hugging of the porcelain with nary another word about requiring emergency medical assistance.

 

  • She is hooked on The Get Down, a Netflix TV show. ¬†She came sliding into the living room one Saturday morning as I was drinking coffee and snuggling puppies on the couch. ¬†She dropped into a low martial arts-ish stance and started singing Kung Fu Fighting, made some chops and kicks in the air, executed a jump turn, and then vanished to continue her TV binge watching. ¬†About an hour later she emerged and said as she walked to the kitchen, “I was born in the wrong decade. ¬†I would have been a disco queen in the ’70s.”¬† No preamble, no justification, no reasoning, just a statement of fact.

New Summer Vacation Plans

My summer plans have been changed for me.  I had planned out another summer vacation spent with The Ruminator, but he is 16 now and has decided that he wants to stay home in Arkansas and be a lifeguard for the summer.  I get it, I am his boring dad and it is hard for me to compete with ladies in swimsuits for the summer.  I had pigeon-holed some time off and funds for sailing lessons/trip, diver certification for him, some diving, and ending the summer with a rock climbing road trip all the way down the west coast.  While all that sounds cool to me, I am not a handsome young man facing all the unsaid possibilities of tanned ladies in my close proximity, hanging on my every word for 2.5 months.

I now I find myself, for the first time in 14+ years, in a place where my yearly vacation time is my own and I can spend some time/money taking my wife and myself someplace where it will be just be just the two of us ‚Äď cue the romantic accommodations, bubbling hot tub, chilled champagne, soft candle light, and put Barry White on the turntable.¬† As an aside, my wife felt super sorry for me over the canceled summer plans and after a glass of wine, she has agreed that I can buy a sailboat to soothe my wounded heart.¬† I almost fell over stone cold dead from the shock of her statement and recorded her saying it a second time for legal reasons ūüôā

I flew down to San Diego last week and took a look at a 33’ sloop-rigged blue water boat for sale in the marina.  It has way too many issue that need to be addressed to make any serious passages and I am not willing to spend the time covered in fiberglass bits, retrofitting a 15 year old toilet, huffing hull paint, and wading in stagnate bilge water.  While a steal of a deal for what the boat is/could be, I will keep looking.

Right now though, I am thinking of starting the summer with a little road trip to see her family in Oregon, wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, and a couple of days taking advantage of my friend Dr. G’s house and hospitality in Northern California.  There will be a long weekend in the Bay Area and Napa with friends and family.  We are also going to make a good part of the local Washington/Oregon festival circuit this summer.

Garage Sale Saturday

We have a LOT of crap.  No, like a lot, lot.  In an attempt to simplify and sort our life out, we need to purge and are using the normal options: Craigslist for some of the furniture, books to the used book shop for credit, eBay for anything with real value to nerdy-folk, Goodwill for this and that, and we are having a garage sale.

Starting a couple of weeks ago, we started the planning and logistics to be included in the yearly West Seattle Community Garage Sale.  It is huge with more than 180 individual sale sites, press, an online map, etc… and increases our changes of selling more stuff due to the increased possibility of traffic.

We had a yard sale before our move to France, but this one will be larger and as we have a garage now, it will be a proper all-weather shindig.  My mom and a couple of neighbors are throwing stuff in and we are selling tools, books, bikes, furniture, dishes, electronics, computer cables, sports gear, fishing gear, clothes, shoes, picture frames, puppy crates, posters, some more tools, nick-knacks, furniture, and gobs of other stuff.

Stamps-With-Foot is hoping to make $700 from the sale.  I am not that optimistic, but you never know.

5/13/2017 Update:
The sale went OK, though I think that the weather conspired against us a little. We made $480 total with some Craigslist help and did get rid of a ton of crap. What didn’t go will be headed to next week. ¬†Side note: ¬†Someone puked wine on the side of my garage after a little neighborhood after party. ¬†

Film Friday – The Garage Build Film Part 1

I’ve had a number of¬†people on various web forums, 6 sets of neighbors, a few friends, and a ton of folks¬†in our area ask me some detailed questions about our garage build: size, foundation, demo, siding, wiring, roof, the car lift, etc… ¬†As I have been making some videos while rehabbing the hip, I thought that I would turn my garage build into a three part YouTube series to answer most of the questions and have all of the information documented in one spot. The first one is done and up now and the second should be done in a few weeks.

This one and the next are from pictures taken during the build, with a voice over.  The third will be a mix of videos, stills and some drone shots.  I learn something every single time I put a video or slide show together, so my hope is they get more and more watchable.

I didn’t have the time or facilities to do it in this video, but I would like to use my own guitar, banjo, ukulele, fiddle, and mandolin picking for the soundtrack on future videos. My son, brother-in-law, and any friends I can con into it will also be future soundtrack contributors.

Spring has Sprung!!

Holy Crap, it has been sunny and over 70F for two solid days here in Seattle for the first time in 6 months! Flowers and trees are blooming.  Mason, bumble, and honey bees are flying about.  My grass is green.  This all makes me sooo happy.  In a couple of weeks, we are taking a little referral bonus from my J-O-B and doing a front and back yard makeover to include a little fruit tree planting, grass for the back yard, and veggie garden.

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Footnote: ¬†I cursed us all. ¬†12 hours after I posted this, there was a huge thunderstorm in Seattle. ¬†Lightning, buckets of rain, power outages… ¬†Probably all my fault.

Hip Rehab Milestone

Today was a big day for me: ¬†I got rid of the crutches and started using a cane. ¬†My grandfather’s cane to be exact. ¬†Also, I drove to work. ¬†The first time in 6 weeks that I have been behind the wheel. ¬†It tasted like freedom. ¬†I was temped to play hooky from work, call in sick, and drive to Montana or Alaska or Mexico…

Tax Day – 2017

ūüé∂ūüé∂Hello tax-day my old friend.
I have mailed my return into you again.
Because an audit softly creeping…
The sound of silenceūüé∂ūüé∂

It is income tax deadline day and time to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Once again, and for probably the rest of my life, I have had to pay someone to do my taxes. It is not because I lack the math skills or the initiative or the reason to do them. No, it is because they are so damn complicated. I tried to do it myself 3 years ago, just to see if my numbers were somewhat in line with our accountant’s… Nope, not even close. I would have underpaid a bit more the $3900.00… That would have been so bad for us!

I have resigned myself to hiring professionals to keep me from doing anything stupid and to pay the correct amount. ¬†I gladly pay my taxes as I really like having navy ships, great roads, infrastructure, medical care, libraries, the FAA, etc… ¬†These things cost money and it is a shared burden that I gladly buy into.

It does however chap me a little bit to pay a fair chunk of money every year and then confronted with government waste and pork-barrel politics. Over 5 BILLION in questionable funding in 2016, including:

  1. $300,000 to study boys and girls playing with Barbie dolls.
  2. $450,000 to research whether dinosaurs could sing.
  3. $460,000 to have computers binge watch the television show Desperate Housewives in an attempt to predict and understand human behavior.
  4. $12 million by the IRS on an unused email archiving service. It failed to install the activation software.

 

And then there is the 2016 Congressional Pork Report

Flying the Drone

I have had a remote controlled camera mounted drone for about a year. I got it specifically for an airborne camera platform for taking stills and video of cool scenery and of me doing awesome stuff on my bikes, boards, boats, and jeep. The house remodel and garage build have gotten in the way of life and I haven’t filmed as much as I have wanted to. I have 7.5 total flight hours on the drone and am using it and thinking of novel ways to employ it a little more now that I am limited in my mobility with the hip rehab. I took it out last weekend, filming at the beach and this weekend, I got it in the air over my neighborhood on the first REALLY nice spring day.

I am a good little pilot and have my required FAA license, my aircraft is marked with my license number, I only fly where I am supposed to, stay under the 500‚Äô ceiling, don‚Äôt go near airports, no flying over peoples‚Äô homes, etc. I have had a few ‚Äúconcerned citizens‚ÄĚ and tiger moms at the park get cranky about a drone over their heads, but I point to my prominently FAA license displayed on my case inner lid ‚Äď printed at 300% larger than the original, cite the FAA and WA state statues calmly in an almost blas√© manner without taking my eye off the drone. I have a bright yellow round ‚ÄúH‚ÄĚ landing target, an airport flight-line safety-yellow parka, and a couple of small orange cones. I look legit, so I am left alone except for kids who linger hoping to see me crash it into the ground.

I plan to do a more and more filming with it this year, including a stint as the Team Zero FTG videographer for the 2017 Sea to Ski Race. I was originally going to compete in the kayak leg, but the hip said ‚ÄúNO!, not this year‚Ķ‚ÄĚ I also really want to get it out on a few hiking trails around Rainier, make an aerial film about West Seattle, use it to work on a mockumentary film I am piecing together about our dogs lives and how we are the ones that have been trained.

A couple of short snips of video that I have done recently:

What I Want Thursday ‚Äď April 13th, 2017

Below are the things that I really want and that are present for me today:

To unclutter my life: less superfluous stuff
For my hip to be 100% and to never have to use crutches again
A wish for Brodie to be well and 100% cancer free
More time with my children and family.
Sunshine!!
Summer BBQs and cold rosé in the back yard.
For the basement (mostly the bathroom) to be done.
Hand-written letters ‚Äď on actual paper ‚Äď from my kids, friends and family.
A warm, sunny beach vacation
For the US Political system not to be dysfunctional and a little/lot less crazy

Brodie is having surgery again today

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Brodie, our 9-year old French Bulldog/Boston Terrier mix, is having surgery today.  This is his 2nd in three weeks.  He had a growth on his foot that was causing him to limp and three days after I had hip surgery, my wife took him to the vet to have it removed.  The pathology came back as a Basal Cell Carcinoma and they didn’t get it all with the first surgery.  It has been really hard on Stamp-With-Foot.  I am down with the hip, not able to even tie my own shoes yet and she has had to deal with me, work, veterinary oncology appointments, Dr. bills, diving me to appointments, our health insurance, pet insurance, our 2016 taxes, house stuff, etc.  The issue with Brodie has hit her really hard and there have been lots of tears and lots of worry.

Brodie is, after all, my wife‚Äôs ‚Äúfur-child.‚Ä̬† She loves him with all of her heart.¬† True story:¬† We took some of our wedding pictures with Brodie and while posting some of them on Facebook, my bride cut me out of one photo and pasted the ‚Äúnew‚ÄĚ one of just her and Brodie ‚Äď he was wearing a bow tie and looked smug.

The prognosis for his full recovery after surgery is really good.  They are going to have to take one or two toes, but the disease has not metastasized into his lungs or lymph nodes, so the amputation will hopefully be the end of it.

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4/24/2017 Update:

Great News! We got the tests back and it looks like they got everything by removing the one outside left front toe. We are all very relieved! Brodie just wants the bandage off, the Cone of Shame to go away forever, and all the stitches out. He has take the bandage off himself like 4 times, much to the displeasure of Stamps-With-Foot.

Diagnosis: Getting Old is Better Than The Alternative.

There are milestones in this life that makes each and every one of us feel the passage of time, the gravity of the age we have reached, and the cool creeping hand of the debt that we all must pay:¬† Waking up to stiffness, uttering the phrase: ‚Äúback in my day‚Ķ‚ÄĚ, the day your children grow taller than you, CHOOSING to eat your vegetables, your kids making adult decisions (or not), when your babies have babies, realizing that you own a t-shirt that this older than the lady who cuts what is left of your hair, etc. and so on‚Ķ

I have been really feeling all of my 43 years lately, for various reasons, but mostly due to hip surgery.¬† I have, to this point lived an X-Games sort of life: lots of road & trail running, cycling, skiing, snowboarding, rock-climbing, mountaineering, diving, kayaking, canoeing, parachuting, lifting, sailing, skateboarding, tumbling, boxing, surfing, and various other activities that have led to many broken bones, strains, ligament/tendon tears, and the like – I didn’t brag about being awesome at any of it , hence the myriad of injuries…

That abuse has caught up to me and I have had to have major hip surgery to repair both bone and soft tissue after trying intently to ignore mounting pain for a couple of years.¬† The immediate prognosis after a mostly, but not completely successful surgery is three weeks down in bed, five weeks on crunches, six weeks in a RoboCop-esq hip brace/isolator, and six months before I will be allowed to return to ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ activity.

My road running days are over РNo more long slow distance days on the blacktop.  I will be allowed the occasional trail run after 9 months or so.  No more heavy packs hoisted on my back and carried into the wilderness (30# is OK), and no multi-day/multi-summit peak-bagging.  I can cycle again, but downhill mountain biking and cyclocross are not suggested.  I have had and will continue to have arthritis in that hip and I am guaranteed another 10-20 years of use, depending on how well I behave and listen to my Dr., before I will need a full hip replacement.  Unawesome.

I start physical therapy in earnest next week and I will do exactly what I am told.¬† I will have spent the remainder of this year slimming down some, working in and on my shop, taking lots of walks when I am cleared to do so, and then figure out when to spend my time activity wise.¬† Right now, I am leaning toward kayaking, crag climbing, a little skate boarding (longboard ‚Äď no vert), canoeing, easy snowboarding, camping, light hiking, and some road biking.¬† Today though, I and just hobbling along inside the house (can‚Äôt drive yet) actually looking forward to going back to work next week.

Boat Lust

So, you may or may not know this about me, but I have MAD Boat Lust. ¬†I am a member of the Center for Wooden Boats, I get Wooden Boat Magazine & Small Craft Adviser Magazine every month, go to the Lake Union, Portland, and Port Townsend boat shows every year… ¬†I follow three sets of Blue Water sailors on YouTube, am trying to con my wife into taking a sailing vacation (I am getting a hard NO! on that one currently), and almost bought a used 22′ deep lead keel sailboat last summer for “my son.” ¬† It is pretty bad. ¬†To date, however, I have not come home to tell my with that “We” just purchased an Amel 55 blue water sailboat, a 47′ diesel powered Cabin Cruiser, a Chris-Craft in need of some “light repair”, or a¬†Hans Christian 33 kept¬†in Bristol Fashion that “I” am planning to live on since said purchase would leave me homeless, devoid of my puppies, and divorced.

If my son, The Ruminator, lived in Seattle I wouldn’t mind a swing keel Columbia 22 or a Catalina 22 to gunk hole around the Sound in with him. ¬†A Catalina 270 LE would make my heart go pitter-patter as well, but I am a realist (-ish) and very aware of my current budget and available storage space. ¬† A sailboat that I would only use a few times a year and have to pay moorage of, would make me very unpopular at home. ¬†But, if someone has a 19′ potter taking up space in their life that needs a new home, I would be game…

While what I WANT is a sweet little sailboat, what I NEED is a small outboard that that sits on a trailer in or beside the garage, that I can pop over to Blake or Vashion Island on, run up the Duwamish River a little piece, do a little salmon fishing on with my son or friends, haul a crab pot or three in season, find a secluded weekend beach for summer camping, etc… ¬† It needs to have a little cabin to get out of the shifty weather here in Puget Sound, some storage space to keep gear dry, needs to be light enough to be pulled behind the jeep when fully loaded, and fast enough to handle the tidal flow in the PNW.

Buying a finished boat, even used, like a Ranger 21, a C-Dory 19, or a Boston Whaler 21′ Cuddy are WAY out of my price range, I have been perusing Craigslist for a 16′ -21′ hardtops, but the ones I have found are either gold plated & upholstered in unicorn fur or need to be sunk. ¬†So, in due course, I have been thinking about building the boat of need mentioned above. ¬†I know, I know… I have a shit ton of projects already with the shop and house, but I won’t start the boat until Stamps-With-Foot agrees that the house is good and all the little projects at home are squared away. ¬†Happy wife, happy life.

To digress a bit, my current boat lust dream is a Devlin Boats Dunlin 22 Cruiser with all the bells and whistles, but that too would be spendy, require me to quit my J-O-B to obsess over the details properly, I would have to rent out boat house space for the duration of the build, have the time to build it, and would probably cause my sweet bride to up my life insurance just before “accidentally” pushing me into a wood chipper.

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Back in reality, I am looking hard at building a Devlin Noddy 18.  It is something realistic to build over the fall and winter, in the space I have available in the F-Bomb garage, and within my current budget.  Powered by a 4 stroke 50HP Honda or Yamaha, a sardine wood stove in the cabin, a crab pot winch arm on the stern, and lots of LED lights.  noddy16plan-devlin-boats_2017Devlin Boat Works in just south of us in Olympia and in addition to being a design house, that are a proper boat works and build all manner of craft there at any given time.  I have asked to go down this summer if they have a Noddy or similar hull under construction.  We will see if it can be arranged.

I will just lust a little while longer to satiate my boat lust…

A Little Trip to China and the Phillipines

My body clock is finally back to normal after a recent 11- day trip to China and Hong Kong, ¬†with a stop in the Philippines on my way back to Seattle – just in time for Daylight Savings Time (insert grumpy face…).

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It was a trip for my J-O-B and not a vacation, but I did have a chance to get out one day in Hong Kong and an afternoon and one evening in the Manila.  I took my GoPro with me and I carried it around as I walked the streets of Hong Kong and during my entire Junk ride.  I am working on putting together a small film about the ride and the boat.

I spent 7 days in the southern city of Dongguan. ¬†It is a vast web of medium to heavy industrial firms that build all manner of parts. ¬†My employer manufactures aircraft and medical cable assemblies there, but there are hudres of machine shops, PCB board houses, mold makers, and the Apple production site is in the area as well. ¬† The trip to the factory every morning was eye-opening: ¬†traffic hazards, Grade-A people watching, construction, etc… ¬†I rolled up to an¬†intersection on my last day there just as the motocart got t-boned by a mini van. Red lights are really just suggestions in China.

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When I arrived in Hong Kong, my hotel room that had been reserved had been given away to another party. ¬†before I could even ask, I was swiftly upgraded and put in a “Tower Suite” with 3 rooms and a view of the harbor that was sunning. ¬†Probably the 2nd or 3rd nicest room I have ever stayed in my entire live – my suite a few years ago in Shanghai was stunning (no view though) and huge the suite in the Riad l’Aziza in Marrakesh is #1. ¬†The only thing that would have made it better is if Stamps-With-Foot could have been there to enjoy the room and view with me. ¬†Below are¬†a few shots of the harbor view from my window.

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The one day that I had off, I had a leisurely breakfast and then headed out early in a light drizzling rain through Kowloon Park to the Metro and on to a tourist market and a street on Kowloon Island that deals in very high priced antiques – window shopping for me, thank you very much.

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After a little market stall bargaining, I made my way to the docks to get a few shots of the harbor and tour the maritime center.  I happened to be taking pictures when a Chinese Junk boat glided into the frame and docked 50 feet from where I was posted up.  Luck would have it that it was a tour boat and I signed right up and paid the nice lady standing by the gang plank my money as I hopped on board.

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The boat is called the Duk Ling and is that last surviving original sailing junk left in Hong Kong. There used to be 1000’s of them. ¬†They were ubiquitous¬†and feature prominently in 70s era Kung Fu movies shot around HK. ¬†I am told that they were casualites of the 1999 hand over and modernization of the harbor.

Built in the 1950, and rescued from a watery grave after a monsoon in 2004, The Duk Ling sails Victoria harbor as a floating time capsule. I took a harbor tour aboard from Kowloon Island to Kowloon and I smiled the whole way.

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My room in Manila, where I spent three nights, was not as swanky as the Honk Kong suite, but the view was just as sweet.

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I was in the Conrad – Pasay , which is connected to The SM Mall of Asia. ¬†I was told proudly by the hotel staff that it is the 11th largest mall in the world, but that is, to date, an unverified claim. ¬†Regardless, it was huge and had a whole section that was grouped with music and instrument shops. ¬†I may have bought another ukulele‚Ķ IF that happened, that would make three. There were¬†two stores here that only had ukes and uke related items for sale. OK, I admit it… ¬†I picked up a little pineapple shaped mahogany Kala. I couldn‚Äôt help myself. Iit was retail and even in Manila it wasn’t a great deal, but it was about 10% cheaper than I can find online in the US AND I have a cool souvenir from the Philippines.

The Jeepney bus is still everywhere in Manila.  As an owner/caretaker of a 1986 CJ7, it makes my heart happy to see the pride that some of the owners take in keeping their vehicles in immaculate shape.  It sounds as if they too will soon be a victim of the modern world: while I was there, it was announced that there was going to be a government crack down and all the old Jeepneys would have to be retired Рpollution and safety issues.  The owners got super pissed and held a protest and a day long strike.  I hope that they remain a fixture of the city in some way or form..

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When I made it home from Asia, it was really nice to see/know that my sweet wife and Truffle missed me. Truffle demanded my time and attention for hours after I walked in the door.  I spent a little time in the sunshine, serenading her with a little ukulele while she napped on my lap Рwe were both happy.

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The New Kitchen Floor is Now Installed

It has been a while since I laid a floor tile – like 18 years. ¬†Things haven’t changed though and while time consuming and very detailed – lots of steps – I still remember how it is done. ¬†There was no way that I was going to pay someone to do a job that I can/could do, so I took on the task of installing a new kitchen floor in our house. ¬†the last of the major projects that I took on during our home remodel.

The job is now done and looks great.  Most importantly though, my wife is happy.  She has a new kitchen floor and it is exactly what she has wanted for years: a black and white checker board kitchen floor that is laid on the diagonal.  I am glad she is happy, because I REALLY don’t want to redo it for the next 90 years or so.

After ripping off 7 layers of old flooring, filling holes, patching a couple sections, removing 40+ screws and 100+ staples, and scrubbing the sub-floor clean, we were ready to start. ¬†Starting about 9:00 one Saturday morning, I cut and laid ¬ľ inch water resistant underlayment ‚Äď stapling in the field every 4‚ÄĚ and along the seams every 2‚ÄĚ with narrow gauge crown staples. ¬†Starting about 10:00 the next morning, I vacuumed the whole space 3 times to clear any and all debris and locked the puppies out of the kitchen.

Because there is not ONE SINGLE square or plumb wall in my entire 90 year old house, I snapped a grid in the middle of the floor, squared from the doorway leading from the living-room, so that it would look square as viewed from the main room of the house.¬† I applied glue on ¬Ĺ of the floor and started in the middle of the room and worked toward the south wall/breakfast nook.¬† Stamps-With-Foot cleaned tile as she pulled it from the cardboard boxes (success is in the details) and handed me them as I laid the field and she cut most of the edge pieces as I marked them.¬† Her help was GREATLY appreciated.¬† We laid the other half of the floor, starting about 6:00pm Sunday evening and finished the last piece about 11:30pm. ¬†Not too shabby for one weekend’s worth of labor.

I let the glue cure for five days before sealing and then applying 5 coats of satin floor wax. ¬†Pre-painted (by me) ¬ľ round trim was applied around the edges of the walls and cabinets before I very carefully brought the appliances back in and reinstalled.¬† The VC tile I used should outlast my grandchildren and just needs to be scrubbed every other week, then stripped and re-waxed once a year if so.

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Living in Crazy Times

It is like I wake up in a Hieronymus Bosch painting every day next to Bill Murray, alarm clock ringing and Punxsutawney Phil waiting on us РIt just keeps getting weirder.  We are doing our best to just keep soldering on: Being good little consumers and all, but I am not blind or ignorant, so I have done a little bit to make me sleep better at night and here are some suggestions if you would like to do the same:

  1. Charity starts at home.  If you know someone in need Рquietly help them.  A smile, a hot meat, and lending a hand goes a long way.
  2. Hunker down and get really active politically for the next 4 years, write and call local, state and federal reps, give $ to ACLU and PACs, vote with our dollars, and show up at demonstrations.
  3. If you live in Seattle or King County or Washington State, below is a list of political appointees that you should be contacting so that they hear your voice:
  • Seattle City Council up to date info, contact, staff, and committees can be found here.¬†
  • Additional info on for the Mayor, departments and judiciary are found here
  • King County elected officials’ contact information is listed here.
  • Washington state governor’s site
  • Contact information for the entire Washington’s State legislature¬†and elected officials can be found here
  • information concerning Washington’s Federal¬†Representatives and Senators as well as all Federal elected officials can be found here.

My Wife’s Prized Chandelier Almost Made Me Poop Myself

We are in the house remodel home stretch. Just small trim details left on the main floor. One of them being my wife’s chandelier installation. I had planned to install the kitchen floor this past weekend, but Stamps-With-Foot had other plans. She sat me down over coffee Saturday morning and made it clear that my plan was out and that her sparkly lamp was in. Always a fan of choosing my battles wisely Рinto the dining room I went.

I needed to caulk the new dining room crown molding and prep it for paint before I could install the ceiling medallion/escutcheon for the light. It took two passes and some light sanding, but all the cracks and gaps are filled and we were ready to hang the crystal and steel behemoth around 4:00pm on Saturday. I had my wife sitting in the attic holding the chandelier by its safety cable while I wired it to the ceiling junction box. Like in a really bad sit-com, there was a “ping” noise, the safety wire popped, and the stupid-expensive hunk of cut glass and metal headed to the floor. It happened like it was all in slow motion. Now this thing is not small. It is not light. It did not come with handles. From the top of a six-foot ladder, I instinctively reached way out and grabbed her prized chandelier as it fell. I teetered for a second on the top of the ladder, having flashes of crashing to earth and how many stitches I would be getting, before the ladder stopped moving and I was able to slowly walked the beast down to the floor. I did have to check my britches as it was a rough couple of seconds, anything could have happened. Thankfully, just one single tiny glass bit cracked in half from the jolt ‚Äď super glue will be the answer. The ceiling medallion also popped loose and I had to pull it down, remove the adhesive and remount it, afterward clamping it to the electrical box and taping the edges to the ceiling so that the glue would set up overnight.

After getting the medallion in the air, I went to Home Depot, purchased some 1/8‚ÄĚ stainless steel cable and with a swaging tool -everyone should have their own‚Ķ ūüôā , I remade the safety cable. After waiting until the next morning, I spent an hour installing the beast. My wife danced around with giddy joy when I flipped the switch after all twenty of the 45watt bulbs were installed. Happy wife, happy life‚Ķ

I will be done painting the trim this week, the blue and yellow tape will come down,  and then the dining room is 100% done. On to the Kitchen.

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My New Coffee Cup and Various Other Weekend Activities

Stamps-With-Foot and I packed our weekend full of activities.  The SCA was holding their 12th Night Celebration here in Seattle this year and far be it from us to miss a costume do.  My wife went in a deep burgundy Tudor gown that she made and had to be sewn into for the occasion.   Her snood (hair piece) and jewelry matched the dress as well.  I was dressed as her man-servant.  We sort of matched, but she sparkled РLots of compliments on her dress and attire.

In addition to some serious people watching and taking in the fencing tournament, I spent some serious time at the merchant faire and picked up a tarboosh (Fez hat) for another costume event, a viking bearded axe, and a skull cup.  You read that correctly.  There is nothing like having your morning cup of Joe with a little cream and sugar, sipped delicately from the cranium of your enemy.  There was a potter at the event selling ceramic, anatomically correct, skull mugs and my wife bought me one for my desk at work.  It is the little things in life that make me the most happy.

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In addition to 12th Night, we also:

Took down the Christmas tree
Rolled up the lights outside
Cleaned up the living room
Played with the puppies
I washed/scrubbed the road salt off the jeep and put it in the garage
Washed and vacuumed out my wife’s Subaru
Helped out a guy with a dead battery
He stole my jumper cables accidentally, then brought them back
Made breakfast for my mom
Had coffee in my new mug ūüôā
Wrote a couple of letters
Cleaned up in the shop a little
Finished reading a book about bees
Had a great warm, long lasting fire
Cuddled
Watched Sherlock
Played Battlefield 1 with Dr. Brown
Started a new book

All and all, a good weekend away from my J-O-B.

Film Friday – Closing Out 2016 with a Snowboard Trip with My Son

For Christmas break this year my son, The Ruminator, wanted to do a little Snowboarding. I figured it would be a nice positive cap to a so-so year personally, physically, politically, etc…

Note:  This is the fist film edited and made since my switch from GoPro Studio to iMovie and since my conversion from a Windows 10 computer to my Mini Mac for video and Audio editing.  It was so much better to use and just worked!  See this post for more detail.

Stuff My Wife Says – Volume II

I have written previously about some of the things that have come up in conversation with my sweet, bubbly, kind, giving, gentle, well-adjusted, awesome wife. Well, with the passage of time I have… err… SHE has more to say on the subject. Enjoy:

  1. I was splashing my wife in the hot tub the other night and she yells “Onomatopoeia! Onomatopoeia!!” It is apparently her new “safe word”. My safe word is bacon.
  2. While Living in France, we bought a lot of wine that we brought back to the US. ¬†Most of it is in the normal .75L size bottle, but there are some .375L demi-bouteilles, a few 1.5L magnums, and one 3L double magnum bottle as well. ¬†Stamps-With-Foot has taken to calling the .375L bottles “Juice Boxes.” ¬†I teased her that it is because they would fit in her lunch box. ¬†She looked up at me with smiling, happy, dreamy eyes, then over at her 1984 metal Thundercats lunch box (really that is what she takes to work) and said, “Yes… ¬†they would…”
  3. Long story short, I made a crude off hand remark about a lady who’s “carpet matched the drapes”. Instead of smacking me for being a misogynistic and sexist asshole, my wife looked at me with great annoyance and said sarcastically “Great, now I have to think about her snatch!” ¬†I had nothing more to say.
  4. I failed to use my turn signal in moderate traffic while driving near limousine, France and lamented that I was being a bad/unsociable driver. Stamps-With-Foot said offhandedly while looking out the window: “Fuck that. This is France, do you know how many of these motherfuckers have cut me off over the last two years? Fuck them.” 30 seconds later she got all excited, bright eyed, wiggling in her seat with joy & happiness over a fortified Chateau we were passing.
  5. My lovely bride walked into the living room the other night with her phone and computer in hand while wearing mix-matched PJs. I looked at her with a raised eyebrow and she shot back with, “This is as sexy as it gets tonight, maybe all weekend.” Fair enough.
  6. We went out to my company’s winter event just after New Year’s and Stamps-With-Foot looked killer in a long tight velvet dress. As we were getting ready, she looked at me and said, “Tonight is a two drink minimum night”. I started to correct her and she stopped me, making it plain that she did not misspeak and that I was the Designated Driver for the evening.
  7. “I love puppies, diamonds, and PJs – in that order.” Not sure why she said this. It just popped up out of the blue one Saturday afternoon.
  8. Two months after the 2016 presidential election, I casually mentioned talking the “Bernie” sticker off her car window. She snapped back, “You will not touch it! I love that wrinkly old motherfucker and I need to hold onto the faith for a while.” Ok… Me no touchy…
  9. Our female French bulldog, Truffle, has a big personality and is super lovable. She is also pushy, selfish, sneaky, petty. During one painful week long interlude, she puked on my chest while I was asleep, pissed in Stamps-With-Foot’s car seat because we “made” her wear a sweater in 30 degree temperatures, tried to pee on my pillow because I had the audacity to move her from my spot at bedtime, puked on an antique wool Persian rug, took a dump on the front porch because the grass was wet, fucked up a couch pillow, tore the heart out of Brodie’s favorite toy, she chewed up 3 pencils, stole food from Brodie, and went all Cujo on a contractor working at the house. My wife looked at me one morning and said,¬†“No more girl dogs. They are too much work. Just boy dogs – they can be gay though.” I had no words.