Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Signs of Winter

For me, one of the true symbollic acts to signal the advent of winter is removing the screens and installing the storm windows. Then you’ve really taken steps to prepare for the cold weather. What’s nice about it is the windows let in much more light without the screens, though our windows were a bit dirty.

With this in mind, I set about doing something I’ve never really done before, and that was washing the windows. Now I did this before we left thinking that it would be too cold to wash windows upon our return from our trip. This was incorrect thinking, but how could I have known that before we left? Either way, it was a bit of a scramble to wash the windows in the midst of preparing for the journey, all by my lonesome, no less. I tried to be practical about the whole thing, so I only washed the outside because once it got really cold, I couldn’t really do that. Plus, washing the outside was a little easier since I could splash and spill water and not have to worry about furniture, floors, etc.

The storm windows presented a bit of a challenge, because we have two sets of glass to clean, and two sets of surfaces, both inside and out. Just thinking about it makes me want to ignore it, but I persevered and got it done, at least on the outside. I still have to clean the inside, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Sometimes ambition can work against you.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Looking at the Bright Side

It’s a total bummer that we had to delay our departure due to illness, but it was a no brainer. It’s not fun traveling when you’re sick, heck, nothing’s really fun when you’re sick, and the extra few days really helped us to get back on our feet and feel better. We made the right decision, though it delayed our reunion with mom, whom we miss terribly, none more than yours truly.

On the bright side, however, the delay affored me more time to finish what I originally set out to do, which was to complete that darn woodpile, and complete it I did. Not wanting to squander a golden opportunity, I went to work immediately and told myself that I wasn’t going to stop until it was done. I lucked out with good weather, cool and dry, though it rained one afternoon and I went out and split anyway. How’s that for being a hardcore Vermonter?

Now the pile is done, sort of. I still need to cover it with a tarp before the snow comes, but one thing at a time. Let me relish the sweet afterglow of accomplishment.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Broken Toilets

This is kind of a bummer that actually has a happy ending. You have to appreciate these moments. We ordered our toilets online and got free shipping, which is nice because it would have required a truck of some sorts, and yet it’s strange to think that they would deliver a toilet by FedEx. They each weigh about 100 lbs.

The site, National Builders Supply, is a great site. We got a good price on a toilet that is not always easy to find, a Toto. Plus, as I mentioned, we get free shipping. Anyway, I think we may have ordered from them in the past, and what I recall is that they sternly warn you to check the delivery for damages before signing the receipt. The problem is, the FedEx guy isn’t going to sit there and wait while you cut open the boxes and pull out the toilets to inspect them. The guy basically unloaded the boxes and left.

Last time I ignored this and it worked out fine, but this time around, when I opened the box, one of the lids to the toilet was cracked in half. Total bummer. I immediately called NBS and they said Toto would replace it for free. So I called Toto, and sure enough, they said they’d send me a new one, no questions asked. Whew! Dodged a bullet there.

I love when that happens. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I set my sights on finishing one goal before we left, and that was to complete year two of the woodpile before our departure. It seemed so plausible because I had a huge pile that was split and ready to stack, and the pile was at least 60% done. Then again, 40% of five cords is still a fair amount of wood, two cords to be precise, and before I knew it, my split pile was depleted and there was still a large gap in the stack.

With only a day left before leaving, it’s doubtful that I’ll get it done, but at least I tried, and that’s the important thing. Besides, I have all winter and spring to finish it, though if it were done, I could have focused on other important tasks, like working on my tan.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Toilets and Sinks

We ordered our new toilets for the barn, and went with what we’d purchased in the past. At least for me, there are two issues in making these choices: selecting a toilet (there are so many choices it’s madness), and then getting it home. KB offered to pick them up with his truck, but I’ve found the better way is to order them online and have them delivered, especially if you can score free shipping. Such was the case this time around.

Many places seem to be offering free shipping, I’m guessing to attract customers during these difficult economic times. Toilets are pretty big and heavy, so it’s a bonus for us. We went with Toto, just because that’s what we got in the past, and they get good reviews. Plus, this simplifies what could be an overly complicated situation where choosing a unit from literally hundreds of choices can bog a person like me down. No thank you. It’s done and over, now we just await their arrival.

Of course, we still have to choose sinks and, gulp, a bathtub, so we’re not out of the woods quite yet. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to engindeniz for the pic.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Building More Walls

If you can believe this, we may have finished framing the walls for the upstairs. First it required that we come up with a plan, which is never easy for the likes of us, but it helps getting some expert advice from KB. He’s done a lot of houses, even his own, so he can give lots of practical advice. The layout of the upstairs is complicated by the fact that with no dormers, we lose a lot of head room as you get to the periphery of the room. You have to factor this in when you design toilets and sinks so you don’t bump your head. Not a problem for a short person like me, but for anyone over 5’10”, it will be an issue.

We designed the upstairs to have the main bathroom, a laundry room, and a small office/sewing room. It came out nicely, I think, and the other half can be an big open spaced bedroom, maybe with a loft feel. I always liked that chalet feel. With KB at the helm, we went to work. I helped out with a fair amount of the upstairs, and things really moved along. The framing is done, and the best part was when I had to leave, KB was more than able to take it from there. He even gave me jobs to do on my own, like cutting out some of the framing. Can’t let the man down, can I?

KB said the next thing will be to purchase toilets, sinks, and even a bath tub. This means going out and choosing a fixture, then buying it. Never an easy process for me, but you do what you gotta do. I think we ordered our upstairs toilet online, with free shipping, so we may go that route once again.

As for sinks and tubs, a trip to Home Depot is in the stars. Until then, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So Long Burn Pile

After what seemed like years, we finally burned that burn pile, and it’s so satisfying to see all that wood gone. Plus, we have a nice charred section of the yard to remind us of our hard work. Most of all, it’s nice to get rid of that ugly stack of scrap wood, it almost seemed destined to become a compost pile or small forest ecosystem. It made mowing the lawn a big of a challenge.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Raking It In

I thought I was getting a free pass this year on the raking because we got this crazy early snow. I really hadn’t done much in the raking department, which for the record is my least favorite thing to do, no question about it. With the snow, suddenly it was all out of sight, out of mind.

Well, as you might have guessed, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky, and sure enough, all of the snow is melting, revealing a cover of... you guessed it, leaves. Part of me wants to just leave it until next spring, which is what a lot of people do. Another part of me thinks I’ll regret this course of action.

I usually do one final mowing in concentric squares that progressively blow the leaves out into the woods, but all it takes is a good windstorm to blow all of my hard work back into my face.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Almost Done with Woodpile

Just when it seems like the woodpile will never get done, things seem to move along and suddenly there’s hope. I would say we’ve reached the 50% mark, if not more. In fact, we are getting closer to being done with one row, and once that’s done, it’s all downhill from there.

That is, of course, until next year. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Walled In

As I mentioned, KB came over and started framing the bathroom downstairs but wasn’t going to finish it until next week. Say no more, I’m ready, willing and able... two out of three ain’t bad. The wood is there, all I need to do is cut it up, figure out how the spacing will be, and then nail it in. I even got the thumbs up from KB. Hey, I could get used to this.

I was looking at how he did it, and being the experienced professional that he is, I think he built the frame first, then nailed it into place. When I framed the windows, I did it the hard way, partially because I had no choice, but it was more my style to do it slow and methodically. Plus, when I measure out pieces and nail them together, it never seems to go according to plan.

This should be interesting. Since I’m pressed for time, I first cut the boards to size. Next I’ll nail them together, and then put the wall into place.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Keith Syvinski for the pic.