Aug. 1st, 2007

melstav: (Default)
It's been a while since I've posted anything substantive here. Thinking back, I think the last time I was in the middle of putting in the marble chip bed around Janet's rosebushes. Well, I finished that, and it looks really nice. I should take a picture of it sometime.

I also went adn bought an 8'x11' plastic shed (mostly plastic. it's steel-reinforced) from Costco and built that in the back corner of our yard. 'Course, before I could build it, I had to build up the ground so it was nice and even and level.

By the time I was finished with both of those projects, I'd used our minivan to bring home one load of marble chips and two loads of dirt.... at about half a ton or more each. The suspension in that van was Definitely not built to take that kind of abuse.

But those projects are done, and they look nice. Putting up the shed gave us the ability to move a bunch of stuff out of the garage. Between that and reorganizing, we have enough space that we could conceivably put one and a half cars into our garage. Or a car and a motorcycle. But we're not going to. We're going to turn it into more of a working and work-out area.

Few weekends ago, I started on the next project. We want to put a deck in the back yard. We drew up plans using Lowes' Online Deck Builder (which is great, except for the fact that it doesn't put dimensions on the final design. It tells you how long each beam and joist is supposed to be, and how far apart the posts need to be on each beam. But useful information like "How far is Beam A supposed to be from the house?" And "How far is Beam A supposed to be from Beam B?" and "How far in, exactly, am I supposed to start the beams?" are consipicuously absent. Sure, I can use a ruler to build a rough scale and figure outt wehere everything is roughly supposed to go, which I did. But I shouldn't have to. Surprisingly enough, even with these failings, it was sufficient for us to get a permit issued. Well, between that and the map that shows where and how big the deck will be in relationship to the house and yard, which was also required documentation.

Over the last two weekends, I conned Kevin into giving me a hand using twine to mark off the footprint of the deck and the placement of the beams. It was only about 2.5 hours worth of work, total, and it wasn't strenuous. It was just something that required at least two people to do. I suppose, *maybe* if I were using full batterboards instead of single stakes to place the lines, I could have roughed in the lines and gone back to fine-tune them all by myself, but that would have been a much longer process.

The next steps are:
1) Mark the placement of the posts, so I can go rent an auger and get the holes dug.
2) Mark our siding where the ledger board(s) needs to be, cut the siding off, and mount the ledger.

The more I look at this project, the more I don't want to do it. I'm a bit intimidated by the idea of mounting the ledger. If I cut the siding wrong, it'll look like crap, and if I fail to properly seal around the ledger, I'll give water a way to get under the siding, paving the way for rotting out the side of the house. Definitely not what I want to do. I'm pretty sure I can make an argument for hiring someone to at least do that much.

Speaking of motorcycles, I did, finally, get the motorcycle into the shop this weekend. It's been sitting in our garage, untouched, like forever. The license plate still had the 2003 tab on it. We're going to have the shop get it road-worthy, and then we'll list it for sale. It's pretty apparent that I'm not going to ride it. I got a call from them on Monday saying that they had the estimate. They were surprised that they didn't have to take the carbuerators off. They were afraid they'd totally gummed up and would have to be taken apart to be cleaned. They replaced the spark plugs, flushed the old gas from the carbs and the fuel line, and pulled and cleaned the mix adjustment screws for the carbs, and when they jumpstarted the bike, it came right to life. Their quote for everything that needs to be done (including everything they already did as part of the "estimation" process) and everything they "recommend" comes out to more than we want to spend on the bike. So, the recommended maintenance can wait, and there are a couple parts that I'm just going to have them sell to me, and I'll install them myself.
melstav: (black and white)
I got off the bus this evening, and some woman got on. I start walking towards home, and I notice something black on the ground just a few feet away. I take a step toward it, and I instantly recognize it as a cellphone. Whether the woman who got on the bus didn't notice it, or if she decided to leave it there either out of apathy, or hoping the owner would come back before someone else random walked off with it, I don't know.

I picked it up, headed home, and started scrolling through the contact list looking for likely numbers to call to track down the owner. While I was doing that, someone called the phone. Happened to be a friend of its owner, who was with the owner, and they were looking for the phone.... And they had backtracked to the bus stop where I found the phone. So, I went back and gave the guy his phone back. He was extremely relieved. It was an expensive phone. He shook my hand, thanked me profusely, and got out his wallet and asked if I wanted anything for returning his phone. I told him it wasn't necessary. Figured the karma boost would do me good.




The not-good is that the outer pane of glass in the tall window right next to our front door has shattered. Almost all of the glass is still in the window (just a single shard fell out) but there isn't a single piece of glass from that pane that is bigger than a quarter of a square inch. When standing inside, it looks like all of the cracks radiate out from a point that's about shoulder-height... puts it just under eye level standing outside. (for me) Could be something hit the window. Or it could just be built-up stresses from settling and from people slamming the door shut over time. So, that's yet another thing that we have to pay for.

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