Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hot Corner

I finally got Allen to come down and help me build the attic vent louver for the west end gable. Well, I guess I should say, to just build it; I didn't really do anything other than buy the lumber and stain it. These things are extremely confusing because the miter cuts can be kinda complex and he has built many over the years, whereas I've built none! Here, he is nailing together the outer frame of it.
This is an example of one of the compound miter cuts for the louver boards that go inside the frame. The angle of my roof is such that it makes the rake of the cut too long to be able to be cut on a miter saw, so these must be hand cut with a circular saw.
Here, he has a couple of the louver boards in place. I think the boards ended up being about 2 1/2 " on center apart. He normally builds them about 3" apart but that didn't quite work out with this roof pitch. Now, most people just buy the pre-made gable vents but ya'll know Rurality said recently, I can't do anything the easy way apparently. I've had several people say that to me actually. It's not that I want 'hard', I just don't want 'cheap', as in cheaply made.
Now, Allen suggest that these vents always be made of cedar or cypress or pressure treated lumber; something that resists rot because they can have a lot of moist air passing through them, especially here in the south. Attics can get very hot and humid at times. My attic is so small and this vent is large enough, I don't think mine will ever heat up much but I went with pressure treated lumber anyway. And yes, I meant to stain it that red color. Some people are put off by the red accents on the house but I like them! Ya'll will see more what I'm talking about when I show the west end after it has been fully painted.
Oh, here Allen is nailing on a little support piece on the back (inside) of the vent. This will hold the louvers straight and keep the longer ones from eventually sagging in the middle.
So, this is the finished vent. Well, not quite; it needs another coat of paint to cover that caulking and such. We got it installed too but ran out of sunlight before we could get it trimmed, but should be able to finish that tomorrow and I'll show the finished product in place.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

All I Ask For Anymore

Ah, the season of unbridled greed and avarice has begun! I suppose it is time for my annual rant against rampant consumerism. I was relieved to see that only some fights broke out at Mal-Wart this year and thankfully, no one was killed. Well, if they had killed some of the people fighting, that would have been okay, just as long as no innocent people just trying to make a living were killed.
It occurred to me a few days ago that, not only is Christmas not about Christ anymore, it's not even about Christmas anymore; even a secular Christmas I mean. It is simply just a season to Buy Stuff. It's like hunting season only I think most hunters actually have more reverence for their rituals than most people do now for the "holiday season". It means nothing but excess and indulgence. Oh, the media does some bits on charity gift drives for the Salvation Army and such but really, it just doesn't even occur to people to NOT buy stuff. It's what you do, you know! Buy stuff! It doesn't matter if they actually might use it or need it, you are TO BUY STUFF. It's what we live for.
But how is it that a few people can shake off the mind-numbing media/ social voodoo and say, 'hey! NO! I want this season (Christmas, Solstice, Hanukkah etc.) to mean something? I'm not going to indebt myself to people who wouldn't piss on me if my head were on fire, in order to buy heaps of gifts that will be discarded before the debt is paid off.' Now, don't get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with the giving of thoughtful gifts to the ones we love. As long as we can still see that having the ones we love, is the best gift of all.

*Trace Adkins

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Much

The Spirit of Festive Fall Holidays alighted on my bed this morning and asked me to convey well wishes to all of you out there (if you celebrate) for a wonderful Thanksgiving! May we all realize and be grateful for all the blessings in our lives, even it is something as simple as a warm bed and a dry place to sleep.
Hope everyone has a great day filled with much laughter and love!!

Edit: My brother sent me an email that contained some very thoughtful sentiments for this day I thought I'd pass on. I choose not to omit the religious slant but even without that, you can agree there is much to be thankful for.

LOOK AROUND . . . thank You, Lord . . .

for our wonderful country
for close family ties
for an opportunity to help others
for a place to live, clothes to wear, food to eat

LOOK WITHIN . . . thank You, Lo
rd . . .

for eyes that see the beauty of Your creation
for minds that are curious, creative, and competent
for memories of pleasures and recent accomplishments
for broken dreams and lingering afflictions that humble us
for a sense of humor that brings healing and hope

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Did It!

I did it!! I topped out the siding on the highest part of the house! YEA!!!! This side has gone very well and much quicker than the north side. I think because I don't have all those freakin' rafter tails to cut around. Now, I just need to build the louver for the gable vent and install that but all the siding is up.
Just before the sun went down I finished caulking so I can start painting this last lift as soon as I can get back to it. I'll be heading to Mama's house tomorrow for Thanksgiving so it will probably be Friday before I will have time for work again. I'm going to boonswoggle Allen into helping me build that louver over the weekend too and get that installed.
I'm really starting to get inspired and excited now; I can see the light at the end of the tunnel it seems. If the weather and lack of real work will just hold out, maybe I can finish this thing before I croak.

*The Dave Matthews band

Monday, November 23, 2009

What Goes Around Comes Around

I connected today!!!!! Woooohooo! The siding is officially connected all the way around the house. I know, it's not finished but I have to celebrate what little things I can. I ran out of siding today also, so tomorrow I am going to get Allen to go with me to buy another (and hopefully final) load. He gets a slight discount at the building supply since he is a licensed homebuilder.
Can you tell that I was off just slightly on my siding elevation? Saturday, Mouse helped me bring the lines around to connect to the back wall to see just how far off I was, before I ran the siding on around. It was only about 3/8" maybe. Not too bad. So, we adjusted one side up an eighth and one side down and kinda squinted a little and worked it out. Looks darn good to me.
I have one inside corner on my house and Allen gave me the idea of how to do the siding here. You could just butt the siding end to end but you would have to cope each piece to fit into the other, since each board is at an angle. I just ran a 1x1 piece of trim board up the corner and butted into it. I think it looks cleaner and it certainly goes faster.
A lot of people have asked me how I have managed to run this siding by myself. Well, it hasn't been easy, that's for sure, but I have learned a few tricks and have only had to ask for help on a few long pieces that had cutouts in them, which made the board very vulnerable to breaking. The most obvious trick is to put a couple of nails at the correct height in order to rest the next board on before nailing. Anything up to about 6 feet long I can hold and nail at the same time but anything over that and it really helps to have these little helpers. Of course, I have to caulk those nail holes up but it's not that big a deal and it's just one of the things you have to deal with if you are doing it all by yourself.
The hardest thing was to start the first board on a run because there was nothing there to put a nail in. But I had a brainstorm and saw that I could screw a small block under the wall and then just measure down and put a nail at the proper elevation. The siding laps down somewhere around a half an inch below the wall sheathing (to be able to maintain a level line on siding), so I couldn't just hold it flush with the plywood. Now, if I hadn't been able to get up under the wall like that I would have just had to come up with some other idea. There is always a way.
Allen is scheduled to go back to England about mid-Decmeber so I really need to get this end of the house finished before he leaves. I try not to ask him to help much but I trust his set up on this scaffolding and plus, it's all his and I can't move it that high up by myself. But that will just give me extra incentive to get finished!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How Long Has This Been Going On?

I just happen to be going through some of my archives the other night and realized that, come February, I'll have been blogging for 4 years. Four years... that's kinda hard for me to believe but I'm not sure why. And what is even more astounding to me, is that you people are still reading and I keep getting more regulars! I'm not sure if it's that I'm interesting or you crazy folks just like watching a train wreck.
Anyway, I've thought a lot about the whole blogging thing and how it has morphed so from what I started. Well, I really didn't know what I was doing when I started; I just thought it would be something fun to do and something that a friend (Rurality) encouraged me to start. Damn you Rurality! you've destroyed my mind! lol! Just kidding, but she probably had no idea what a monster she was creating. I have always liked the idea of keeping a journal but for some reason, was never able to keep it up for very long. Maybe there is just enough of an exhibitionist in me to enjoy the publicity of blogging more than a private diary but one of the main reasons I like blogging is because it does serve as a journal. That and I can actually have some contact with other folks, which is great considering that the way and area I live in can be somewhat isolating at times. And folks from all over the world!! how cool is that?! But I tell ya, nothing makes me feel better than to receive an email or comment from someone who says they were down and discouraged, but after reading my blog some, saw that they could do more things than maybe they had previously believed and DID! There have been many a day I've thought to myself that it is stupid for me to be writing this blog and going to all this trouble but if I can encourage even one person to try a new skill or help themselves out of a bad situation then I am happy to have gone to the 'trouble'. Even if you just feel better knowing that you're not as nutty or as big a ding dong as I am about life, it still makes me happy.
I was recently reading another blog where many of the commenting bloggers were saying that they would be mortified to know that people they worked with or other casual acquaintances had read their blog. I found that interesting. Maybe I'm too stupid to be self-conscious but it doesn't bother me to know that there are definitely people I work with that read here. Maybe I'm just an open person, I don't know. Now, of course, there is plenty I don't write about on here and never will but I don't think feelings are anything to be ashamed of (and I think some people do); it's certain actions that might be cause for shame but I'm here to say that we are all human and sometimes we all feel things we maybe shouldn't, even though many people won't even admit that. I mean, who's the stronger person? one that is tempted and provoked and still resists or one that always does right but was never really in danger because they just don't have the feelings? I think I'd rather be accused to having too much feeling than none at all and I'll never be ashamed of caring for another person. The thing is, everybody has their own unique trials and don't ever let anybody tell you otherwise. I once worked for a man that most people would envy in that he had more money than he probably even knew. There was very little in this world that he literally, could not buy. But he slept with a loaded gun in the bed with him. Nobody has it all. Nobody is immune to insecurity or fear.
Well, I'm not smart enough to be philosophizing to ya'll people but just keep this in mind: even the lowest construction worker learns, in his first days on the job, that you can do just about anything if you put your mind to it. You might be a little slower than some until you get the hang of it, but you can learn just like they did. It's just one step at a time, so don't ever give up.

*Ella Fitzgerald

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Today Than Yesterday

Well, the second lift is completely done and I'm inching my way up this side. Since it's getting dark so quickly now I really need to get my butt in a higher gear and get to work earlier. However, some mornings lately it's been pretty cold and frosty on that ladder and pickboard so I've been a little lazy. I'm about out of siding also, so I think next week I'll have to buy another load.
I've worked on the stained glass window some more also. If it rains much this weekend I think I'll try to do even more. It won't take a huge amount of time to finish so I've got to get going on that too. Ugh! So much to do, I just don't need to think about it all. Just one thing at a time.

I know the blog hasn't been very interesting or exciting lately. I've just been kinda blah and not getting out much. I have had a kinda weird rash of calls lately from people I haven't heard of in a loooong time. Funny how stuff like that happens all at once sometimes. Cat Daddy stopped by out of the blue last Sunday morning. I was very surprised to see him; I didn't think he was coming home much. He wanted me to help him straighten out his 401K distribution. So we did that and talked a little. It was the first time I had seen him in a few months I guess.
One of my good work buddies called early one morning. He had heard I was back at work and felt bad when he realized he woke me up but I was glad to hear from him. I hadn't talked to him in about 6 months or so. Then, a girl I went to college with called one night. I hadn't talked to her in a couple of years and was kinda embarrassed that I didn't recognize here voice, but hey, it had been forever since we talked last. She seemed kinda miffed but I couldn't help it.

Oh, while I was working at our office, I found out that the Big House that I worked on a couple of years ago has recently won a construction award in the restoration category and the RR job I was on won for Heavy Industrial Construction. I was proud but I didn't think that job was that heavy of industrial work. But who cares! We won!

I wish I had something funny or exciting to write about but things are kinda ho-hum right now. Maybe that's a good thing. I do have some stuff to write about if I can get my thoughts together enough in the next little while.
I can't believe how fast this year is winding down. Sometimes I feel life is just slipping away and picking up speed every second. Well, hope to have some fun this weekend and hope you all have a good one too.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kissing With Confidence

Thought ya'll might enjoy a collage of the last bit of fall color around here; it's fading fast now but what's left seems very intense.

On a completely unrelated subject, I promised Molly a while back that I would post my recipe for tooth powder, since she has been looking for one that is palatable. I like the one I use but can't guarantee anyone else would. Now, I know some of you might be thinking, what in the world is a tooth powder? Well, it is basically what a lot of people use in place of toothpaste. Now, don't go all 'eeeewwww' on me here. Tooth powders actually clean better, in my opinion, than synthetic, chemical-laden commercial toothpaste. The main ingredient is baking soda, which, being a base, neutralizes any acids in the mouth which cause tooth decay. One of the main things you will notice after using a powder, is that your teeth will stay cleaner much longer than with paste. You know, that filmy stuff that forms on your teeth after a while, will not be there. Everybody that I have made powders for claim they like them very much because of how clean your teeth feel for so long. Plus, they are cheap to make and all natural.
Powders might take a little getting used to but now I can hardly stand the taste of commercial toothpaste. What about fluoride though, you ask? Well, I've been using powders for years and my dentists says I'm a 'good tooth person'; my teeth are in good shape, in other words. No bleeding gums and good strong enamel. It is estimated that most adults get 4 times too much fluoride through toothpaste and drinking water and excess fluoride has been directly associated with brittle bones and breakage.
Most recipes for powders call for salt in addition to baking soda but I omit the salt as I don't think it's necessary and try to limit my intake. And since baking soda itself contains sodium, the taste can be overwhelmingly salty if more is added.

So, my recipe is something like this:
1 cup of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon myrrh powder (antiseptic)
1/2 teaspoon ground sage (whitener)
15 drops or so peppermint (or spearmint) oil
2 or 3 drops of cinnamon oil (use with caution!)

You can also use these powders in any combination: clove, oregano, citrus peel, horsetail or prickly ash. Any of these can usually be found at any decent health food store if you don't grow your own and are inexpensive. One half teaspoon of any of these in a cup of soda is enough that you won't taste the herbs and of course, you can add more according to your own tastes. Go easy on the oils until you experiment a little to get the flavor you want. The cinnamon oil can blister the crap out of your mouth if you go overboard. Some recipes also call for tea tree oil, as it is such a good antiseptic, but the taste is horrible to me, even in tiny amounts.
I mix all this up well in a bowl and pass through a sifter and then store in a small glass jar on my vanity counter. Since it is just me using the mixture, I just wet a clean toothbrush and dip into the jar but, if you will be sharing, many people will put the powder in a shaker or just use a small spoon to dip out a little. I know store bought toothpaste doesn't cost a fortune (although it isn't really cheap either) but this is really easy to do, costs very little and is very healthy and natural.
Now, I know some of you might still be skeptical as far as 'real life usage' but I've used a powder for years now and have often been told I have very sweet kisses by, uhhhh, several men. I mean, if their reactions are any indication to tooth health, then you should definitely give the powders a try.

*Will Powers

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where Is My Mind?

I guess it's just scattered all over the place lately and I haven't been able to get it together enough to write anything down. Been working at my company's new offices, building a conference table. That's what that monster of a thing is in the pics. My part mainly, was to weld together the steel frame and then the boys will pour a concrete top on it. The top will be ground and polished so the steel grid work will show in the concrete. I think it will look pretty cool.
I was having to weld in a finished room over carpet! We put plywood and welding blankets down over everything but it's virtually impossible to stop all the slag from getting to something.
The offices are a little over an hour from my house so driving to and from didn't leave me much time after I got home and certainly none in the mornings. I was having to get up at 3:45 a.m. to get to job on time.

So, in other news, I'm laid off again. I know the people at the unemployment office are getting tired of seeing me reapply so much. Hopefully, this time I will stay off for several weeks. I have to make some pottery to fire with a plaque I was commissioned to make because it is very inefficient to fire a nearly empty kiln. So, that's a good excuse to throw some. Anybody need Christmas gifts? Other than that it's back to the siding and on rainy days I'll work on my window for the bathroom.
I've been pretty busy the last week or so but I guess I've had a bit of a writer's block too and had many things on my mind. Just having trouble getting thoughts together. We had another very bad accident on one of our jobs; guy got caught between a concrete truck and a concrete wall and you can imagine the results. He is still alive but a good friend of mine was the supervisor for that section and I feel bad for him. Several of my buds from that job have called lately and they are really having a hard time. The work is incredibly hard and they are working them just too much. The guys have said they wish I was working with them but are glad I'm not there because they wouldn't want to have to see me go through what they are. I hope the job is over soon as planned.
We have a few jobs here and there and the company is bidding practically anything now to keep us working and for when all those guys come back from Georgia. Daddy Rabbit is remodeling a couple of bathrooms in a church, if that tells you anything. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if we find ourselves building a shed in somebody's back yard! But work is work and that's fine.

If you have emailed or commented lately and I didn't reply or was late, please forgive me. And those who asked about saving some of the pics of the lake for screensavers or whatever, that's fine. Help yourself and glad everybody enjoyed them.


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Upon Still Waters

This is a very large, very nice lake that is only about 6-8 miles from my house. I'm embarrassed to say that I rarely go down there but I usually don't have anyone to go with me. And I'm usually working too much to have time but I took Mouse by there yesterday while we were just out cruising around.
Most of the fall color has faded but it's still very pretty. I need to get my fishing license and visit here more often.
Did I say that I've got to go back to work this week? Darn it! But, I'll make a little more money to buy some more siding with anyway.

*Cowboy Junkies

Friday, November 06, 2009

Little By Little

Well, I was thinking I should give up on my attempts at levity but thankfully, some of you finally commented on that last post and I scraped my plans to only write about the house from now on! Anyway, I am going to show what I've been working on lately, which is the west end of the house. I'm getting there a little at a time. I think my legs are getting a good workout going up and down those ladders so much. I cut one board yesterday 3 times and it was still too short! Haha! that just old carpenters joke! I did cut it three times but didn't mess it up. Hopefully, I will get the siding up today as far as I can reach on this lift. I'm completely finishing the siding as I go up (painting, caulking etc) so I don't have to set scaffolding back up.
My little lettuce garden is going okay but seems to be growing slow. Hurry!!! I want a fresh salad!
I forget what this is called but I'm gong to have to move it and banish it off to itself. It's taking over this flower bed and STINKS. Smells just like licorice. Bleh! Pretty flowers though, that's why I keep it.
The weather has just been beautiful lately so I've been trying to work outside all I can. Have had to take some time to split firewood and other stuff occasionally though.
They called from the office and I have to go work next week a little. Darn it! It should only be for a few days, so that's not too bad. I'm really liking this stay at home and work and then just work my real job every few weeks! Wonder how long I can keep that up?

Mouse is coming to visit this weekend so I don't know if I'll have time to post for the next couple of days. Hope all of ya'll have a good weekend and things are going well for you.

*The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Someone Out There

Lately I've been musing over the process of how we go about trying to meet people these days and I've noticed a stark difference between now and my younger days. Perhaps I was very starry-eyed in my youth but there seemed a certain mystique to courtship back then. I guess that is just the way we chose, or more likely were taught, to view it. Now, at my age, it seems the process is something not entirely unlike purchasing a horse. Is his back still holding up? Does he kick or bite? Has he been gelded and does all his, umm, 'equipment' still function? Not that there's no romance to it now, but I think practicality has become a much higher priority and considering my circumstances are a little different than most women, I find myself scrutinizing men over the craziest things. Does he give me ample reason to believe he can outwork me? Did he gaze too longingly at my welding machine? The hell with him looking at other women, he better not get it in his head he's going to hog Big Red. That's my machine buddy!

Have I been alone too long and had to do for myself so much that now, any man that comes to sway my heart must complete a series of labors that would make Hercules sink to his knees in despair? No mythical beast slaying here, just help me split that cord of firewood, make yourself presentable enough to attend some hoity-toity art gallery event, all the while assuring me that my art is surely better than anything else like it you see. Oh, and keep your damn boots off the coffee table.

*Cowboy Junkies

Monday, November 02, 2009

Mercy On Those

I briefly mentioned in my last post that our visit to run punch list on our building was not entirely enjoyable. This particular university is kinda sequestered away on top this mountain and I believe they enjoy being in their own little world, as it were. Many of the faculty, students and townspeople certainly seem to maintain a standoffish attitude. At first, I thought it was just me but Daddy Rabbit explained the history of the school to me and how they had been treated while building the project, so, it wasn't just my perspective.
I think it is a very nice building; state of the art facility with all the latest 'green' innovations in building. The structure actually senses when there are people present (inside) and appropriately adjusts the lights and heating or cooling. You would think people would be thrilled to have such a great building, wouldn't you?
Most of my work consisted of adjusting doors in which the margin had gotten slightly out of even so they might rub just slightly or something. I also adjusted all the fire doors to stay open and close and latch correctly. These are pairs of heavy doors in the hallways that are held open with magnets, which are tied to the fire alarms. Fire alarms go off and it shuts power to the magnets, so the doors close, shutting off that part of the building and forming a fire wall. Int he first year after a building is put up, it can settle just slightly, the doors are getting very heavy use and things can move a tad until everything settles in. That's why we offer a one year warranty to come back and adjust things at no charge. So, the faculty and staff made a list of things they would like for us to fix and that's what I did. Now, I don't expect anyone to pat us on the back or anything because it is just part of our job. We want the client to be happy with their building.
I thought it was interesting though, that hardly anyone would speak to us. You know, when you are in a hallway and someone walks by, you just usually nod and say some kind of greeting, don't you? Not there. They make sure they are looking the other way so they don't have to acknowledge you. Is that normal? Have I been out of 'polite' society so long I have forgotten how things go? There was one professor in particular that was one of the rudest people I have ever met. He just stared at me at first like he smelled something bad and then later actually harassed me for doing my work. He was trying to work he said and that tapping with my hammer was disturbing him and did I really have to do that? I controlled the words that came out of my mouth but not my tone of voice. I replied that if he wanted the work done, then yes, I felt that I really had to do that. The last day I was there I was adjusting one last door so that the students couldn't pick the lock. I heard footsteps approaching and looked up only to see this butthole coming down the hallway. So, I was going to be polite and I nodded and said 'hello'. He just continued to walk towards me without saying a word and he was looking straight at me so I know he knew I spoke. I thought, well, I'm pretty sure he heard me but he is an old bastard so maybe he didn't. So, I waited until he got about 15 feet way and I said hello again and nodded. He just stared down at me and kept on going without a word. I would hate to know that I was such a self-righteous old ass that I couldn't even be bothered to say hello to someone who has come to fix things for me.
At the end of the week I had come to the realization that the only friendly people I met (and there were a few) were from other states. They were not from this area. And I have to say, I was fairly disgusted to see such unfriendly behavior in a southern state. We are supposed to be gracious, friendly and have good manners. 'Course, this wasn't Alabama so I felt a little better but still...
I don't understand people like that, who believe they are better or smarter because of what they do for a living or where they are from. Does this kind of stuff happen where you work? I really don't want to believe that the trades have become SO disrespected that this type of behavior is reserved only for us. I know also that there are butts in every profession (and good people too) but I just get so tired of people running from us, or walking way over on the other side of the hallway, like we have the plague. If I have to go up there again, I'm going to make sure I wear my work boots and stomp up and down the hallway in my bright, florescent work shirts so there is no doubt that I am a construction worker. hee hee.

*Phoebe Snow