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Saturday, July 14, 2007

On The Sixth Day, Rest


Talking Away
She was happy and chatty this evening after her
mid-day nap.
Or something like that. Today, Kirstin is exactly four months old. It's pretty crazy to think that it's been that long already, but I'd not have it any other way. She's such a little doll. Say what you will about being wrapped around a finger; I won't deny it. :)

I got up a little earlier than I normally would on a Saturday so I could return the concrete saw right when the store opened this morning. I managed to get a half-day rental rate in part because of that (which is good, because it saved me about $20). Regardless of that, it was well worth the saw, because it made that job go quite well.

Short of going down to the basement this morning to look around and showing Beth, I really pretty much stayed out of that area today. I really wanted to haul some more concrete out, but it didn't work out that way. At least not today. My hands were probably the most sore of my entire body (although one knee wasn't feeling that great, but that was (I'm guessing) mostly due to the precarious nature of my posture last night while chipping away at the wall. Regardless, an Advil seems to have taken care of that problem for the day.

It's Prairie Pioneer Days in Morris this weekend, so I ended up meeting up with Beth (and Erik, Jill, and Henry) in the forenoon. We hung around for a while and had a reasonable time. Did a lot of walking, and by the time we all made it back home again it was most definitely time for a nap. So I think we all slept for something like 2-3 hours this afternoon. It was a good time. Everyone was tired.

I do intend to get the lawn mowed tomorrow if possible. It shouldn't take that long, because most of it is fairly short, but it needs to be leveled out again, and it's been something like three weeks or perhaps even a bit longer since the last time it was mowed). But, after our little half inch of rain last night, I'm afraid that it will perk up for a week or so now, which means that if I don't mow it now...it's going to take longer when I do take the time sometime in the next week.

Anyway, that's about all she wrote for today, so until next time...
"Never mistake motion for action."
- Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

--MZ

Day Five...

Well, it's now just after 12:30 when I write this, and it's too bad I don't have the camera (it's with Beth and Kirstin who are not here tonight due to the work being done) because it's really something that needs to be seen to understand.

It started out innocently enough. The intention was to use the electric concrete saw to make way through the floor and wall. As it so turns out, the electric saw burned out yesterday, so it is out of commission. Fair enough. So I ended up using the gas concrete saw instead.

The main problem: I'm working in an enclosed space. So, there was a bit of a change in plan so as to accommodate the change in equipment. As in, we needed to make sure that the area could be as well ventilated as possible.

That required a little extra work, but it turned out well. We just took a few extra breaks when it got to smell quite much in the area. But I'm very happy to report that all of my work done in the 'sealing off' of the area in question went very well. It functioned perfectly -- absolutely no problems whatsoever. I pulled a slight negative pressure on the area in question so we were always drawing air through the area, and that worked out quite well.

Anyway, we got the sawing done in short order. It didn't take long at all -- went pretty well, and the saw itself was quite light (I expected a real beast). The sledgehammer work was really mastered by Erik -- he rocks at that business. I wasn't bad, but it seemed as though most of the block courses I went through were the ones that were core filled...so that makes it much harder.

Regardless, as of right now, we've got a doorway into the cistern and a hole cut and cleared (of concrete) in the floor for the sump basin. The hole is about half dug out right now, and there's a lot of concrete left to be hauled out of the basement, but the bulk of the work is complete.

We had a really productive evening, even though it meant we didn't eat until about 11PM tonight. But, there were some fireworks lit off, and we got just short of a half inch of rain while we ate tonight.

So overall it was a really good day. I've got to bring the saw back right away in the morning, so it's bedtime right now. And I've got a lot of cleanup to work on, but the most major portions of the work are complete, so that's a Good Thing.

Anyway, that said, I bid thee adieu. Until next time...
"Hell is paved with good samaritans."
- William M. Holden

--MZ

Friday, July 13, 2007

Day Four For The Daring...


Random Toilet
The bathrooms at church are in
the process of being renovated.
That said, one of the toilets
has been placed carefully in an
area definitely not a bathroom,
yet shockingly would appear that
it could possibly be used as a
bathroom.
So I'm writing this post somewhat late (it's actually day five) of my week off, but I have a good excuse. When I went to write the daily update last night, the Internet service was out for a while. Seeing as how I was awfully tired from the day's events, I decided to head for bed rather than wait it out or write a draft of the post.

That said, I had a really productive fourth day. I started out the day by taking my load of assorted metals to the recycling place. That was about a $90 payday. Cool. And it's out of my way. I then went and got a few more items necessary for the upcoming sump basin work. My return home then found me in the attic, working on the electrical work I'd wanted to finish.

I wasn't all that stoked about climbing up into the attic and hanging around there during the mid-day period of time, but it wasn't that bad. I'm glad the air temperatures were only in the low 80's though. I ended up spending most of the afternoon in the attic, although I came down several times to work on other things. But as of 7PM, I had wired up a second ceiling box in the stairwell for a future light to be installed, cut all of the holes necessary for the new outlets and sconce lights (and their switches) in our bedroom, run wire to those new locations, and finished cleaning up what Beth hadn't taken time to clean for me. Not a terribly bad day.

There were a few choice times along the way. Getting burned by a jigsaw blade was one. That sucked. As if it weren't hot enough up there anyway. Drilling a hole in what ended up to be the wrong place (stairwell ceiling) was another. It really isn't that bad (it can be easily fixed before we work on painting the stairwell), but since the attic was full of insulation, I had to go by measurements and the presence of beams. It turns out (I later found out), what I thought was the cap plate of the wall was actually part of a double-wide ceiling joist (non-structural supporting, believe it or not), which happened to be three inches to one side of where I actually needed to drill. Ah well. A few pilot holes later, and things were good to go.

It was a damn dusty and hot day for me. BUT, all of my attic electrical work is now complete, so I shouldn't have to go up there again. At least any time soon. And not for that sort of work. If I do, however, I put marker flags in the insulation (when I re-buried the junction boxes) so I can easily know where those are in the future, should I need to get up there to fix or change something in the future.

That's thinking ahead.

Later in the evening, I also installed the panel outlets and wired up that circuit. This is to be used for the sump pump once installed and also for anything else. It's just good to have a panel outlet. Especially since there's no other source of power in that neighborhood of the basement.

It was a very long day, and as I write this, I ache. I know I used several muscles that I'd not used in some time yesterday. But it's all good. I slept hard last night, and in a few hours from now, I'll hopefully have a hole in my basement floor and through into the cistern. I'm sure there will be stories to tell about that forthcoming adventure.

It's started out interesting so far today. I've ended up with the gas concrete saw instead of the electric one because the electric one burned up.

But that's a story for a post late tonight or sometime tomorrow.

Until next time...
"The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time."
- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

--MZ

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And Now...Day Three


A Rainbow!
We had a brief bit of rain this evening, and Beth
spotted this rainbow. When I saw it, I had to get
a picture of it, especially since it was so large
and vibrant.
I have to say that while I don't feel overly productive today, a lot of stuff got done. We left home around 9AM and didn't return until around 5PM. About 150 miles, all told, in three locations, but several birds were killed with one major stone, so that's a Good Thing.

I won't really linger about the day since there were so many miscellaneous things that were done, but we managed to stop by a Home Depot to pick up some electrical stuff (and also a new kitchen light -- see below) for the upcoming projects. We also managed to get a few items of clothing and do some general stocking up of canned stuff and the like.

The light in the kitchen I'd never liked. Ever since we moved in. So I finally did something about it and got a replacement. I couldn't wait to put it up, so I did that tonight...and let there be light. It's significantly brighter than the old florescent fixture that was in its place (this is also a florescent fixture) and just better in general. Lights the kitchen much better and more effectively. So that's another piddly project that I can knock off the list (although I hadn't necessarily intended that to get done this week).

We had a random deer come through the yard a few days ago (Monday, I believe). It was very close to the house (within about twenty feet), and I was quite amazed by it. A large doe. While it's not unusual to see deer, it was unusual to see one that close to the house (given the dogs). Of course, the wolf pack was sleeping soundly and didn't even know the deer passed through the yard. Go figure. I grabbed the camera, but by the time I was able to get a semi-reasonable shot, the deer was not in a good position. So I'm left with the story.

We had a little more drizzly rain this evening. After which, the rainbow in the picture showed up. Kinda cool, since you don't see that sort of thing every day.

Anyway, I'm a bit on the tired order myself, so I'm going to call it a night. Until next time...
"Heav'n hath no rage like love to hatred turn'd, Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd."
- William Congreve (1670-1729)

--MZ

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Then There Was Day Two...


This Big!
She was all happy and smiling when Beth was
playing a game with her. Somehow I managed to
catch her smiling during the process (there
were many failed attempts).
I have to say that I figured the sheer productivity wouldn't continue with quite the same gusto as day one, but it wasn't half bad either. The biggest difference was this was the day I decided to use to sleep in for a while. That was until around 9:15 this morning, and it was really nice.

I also spent some quality time playing Super Mario Bros. (#1, the original) It was amazing that I more or less managed to get through the entire game again. I got close to doing it start to finish (without any warp activity), but didn't quite make it (I believe I ran out of lives when I got to 8-2 or something). I did, however, manage to play through almost three times by using the warp advantage. The third attempt I lost during the final castle. So I consider those two things to basically mean that I played the entire game through. :)

I managed to get a few random chores done around the house. These were mostly things I usually do on Sundays, but since our Sunday was a little on the odd order this week, I postponed that activity until now. I managed to start cleaning up the old aquariums in that I got all the stuff out of them, but they need now to be washed. So that'll get done sometime soon.

This evening I had a meeting and then I wired in a volume control mechanism for the sound system at church. That didn't take all that long, but by the time we got things equalized out again after a big change like that, it was getting late.

So that pretty much brings us to the now. Tomorrow will be a bit of a shopping trip for some parts for the wiring projects and so forth. Then I can hopefully get some more big projects done on Thursday. Ideally, I'll mow the lawn or something tomorrow and spend some more time outside on projects.

I don't really have much other major stuff to report, aside from the fact that I'm enjoying the sort of focused productivity I've had the last few days knowing that I have to get some of this stuff done in a specific period of time. A looming deadline, if you will.

So, until next time...
"There is a country in Europe where multiple-choice tests are illegal."
- Sigfried Hulzer

--MZ

Monday, July 9, 2007

My Girls


Cute Picture
Beth and Kirstin were having a moment shortly
before Kirstin went to bed.
So yeah, I managed to get this cute picture of the two of them tonight shortly before bedtime. They're cute.

Today was a pretty incredible day. I managed to accomplish about half of the tasks I had on my list of things to do, which was amazing to me. I started out in the morning with a trip to get my hair cut (which was about time), then a few errands (amongst other things making sure the concrete saw was in order for Friday and getting a repair estimate for the car).

I came home and went up into the attic to do some inspections, which turned out alright. I found what I was looking for in the electrical department, so I can pick up a few things on Wednesday and be good to go in getting those projects lined up and ready to go.

I also managed to take two years worth of aluminum cans to the recycling place -- 53 pounds of cans. Crazy. Nice part is that I get paid for those...so that's cool. I'll be taking some copper pipe and scrap metal there later int he week as well.

When I got home from that (around 1PM), I spent a few hours working outside. Amongst other things, I sprayed down the house and surrounding areas with an insecticide, so that's a good project down for a while. That should help with spiders in the windows and whatnot. I didn't get to mowing the lawn, but that's a project for later this week anyway. Possibly Wednesday, we'll see.

So day one of more or less being cut off from work (which wasn't completely true) was quite productive. Mark and Abby came out for a few hours tonight -- we had some good grilled stuff and lit off some fireworks after Kirstin went to bed. Good times. They also brought out their spare copy of Super Mario (the original) and Duck Hunt for the NES...so I'll imagine there will be some playing of that going on tomorrow.

I've got several things lined up for tomorrow as well, but there will be a lot less traveling going on. I plan to stick around the house and get a few other random things completed. I just hope I can keep up this pace...or something of similar gusto...throughout the week. I could get a load of stuff done at the rate it's been working out. It also feels good to get a few things completed. They don't really take all that long, but they're medial tasks that have been put off for a long time.

So that said, I'm going to head for bed and call it a day. Until next time...
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
- Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

--MZ

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Another Week Commences


I Mean Business
So we were coming home from church this
afternoon when a bird tried to take off
from a dead start on the road ahead of us.

We won.

The bird was stuck in the grille quite well,
too. It was tough to pull out.
So I missed a post yesterday; for the loyal readership, I'm sorry.

You know, I've posted just over 150 entries to this blog since its inception, and that's averaged out to about one per day. I don't consider it to be half bad. What confuses me, however, is when I go to read some other blogs I've randomly come across in my nomadic Internet activity (usually popular/recent on del.icio.us or by using StumbleUpon). Some of these people post two, three, five, or more times a day. I often end up asking myself two things:

1) Is the blog in question so important to justify so many posts every day? I mean, it's one thing to do it once in a while, but this is usually the norm, not an exception.

2) Do some people really have that much time (or interesting stuff) to share or write this stuff? I mean, there are some really detailed items I've read, and if they're anything like me, that takes time to accomplish.

I guess I'm old school in that I also don't understand the need for something like Twitter, either. Something about the effect of '8:55am - I'm in my car, stuck in traffic,' 9:01am -- guess I'm late for work.,' and the like not only seems completely uninteresting to me, but also seems a complete waste of time. Much like text messaging.

Ah well, moving on...

It was a pretty busy weekend we had. The Seidl's came to the area for the weekend, so a bunch of us ended up at a nearby lake for a good portion of a day (something like six hours). It was a really good time. Good food, socializing, and some water adventures. I don't water ski (namely because I was never able to get up on the damn things and when I nearly did, a ski came off and hit me in the forehead at which point in time I swore it off forever), but the tubing and kneeboarding business I can handle and enjoy.

There was no kneeboard around, but tubing most definitely did happen. And It Was Good. I'd taken a ride or two earlier in the day, but then decided I needed to have one of 'those rides.' You know, the one in which the uninitiated walk away from crying like a little schoolgirl. The one in which the number of broken bones are used in a scoring system. Yeah, that sort of ride.

I managed to get the ride I was looking for. And it freakin' rocked! Long story short, I really wish that someone would've had the camera running, because from what I heard later most of the shoreline was cheering when I took the spill of a lifetime. I knew I rolled across the top of the water at least once, but I was later told this was three complete rolls. That's right, Jesus walked on water, but Matt rolled on it. Jesus didn't exactly have a boat pulling him around in circles, either. So I guess he's at least one-up on me for raw talent.

Okay, I'm gonna go to hell for writing that, but it's all in the name of good humor.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that aside from apparently looking to be quite uncomfortable, I have suffered no ill-effects of said time on the water. In fact, I'd love to do it again sometime. But it was an awesome way to spend a really hot day, at least for a while.

After a shower and cool-off at home, we went over to the neighbor's house where we all hung around and had some more food after our water adventures. It was a good time.

It was incredibly hot out on Saturday; the heat index I believe rose to something like 107-108, with a high air temperature of about 96. It was hot and humid, which was more apparent than ever when we got home from the lake. Thank God for A/C. That's for sure.

Today wasn't quite as hot, and it's gotten cooler throughout the day, but it's still a bit on the humid order. That's supposed to get better throughout the night as well, so it will be a welcome change for a few days here this week (especially since I have many projects on which I intend to work). I've been prepping a bit for this week's activity (namely working on my list of things to do), and I have a few items to take care of tomorrow (Monday) morning in town. For one, get a haircut, and for two, get an estimate of what it would cost to fix the (namely cosmetic) damage on the car.

Yeah, that's right. Damage on the car. Long story short, I parked the car at the lake behind the neighbor's boat trailer. Not a big deal. Well, some girl (who obviously wasn't paying attention and had more than enough room to maneuver) managed to run into the boat trailer (and not realize it immediately), pushing it into the front end of our car. It broke part of a taillight on the trailer, and more or less just dented the front license plate and scratched the front bumper of our car. Initial inspection looks like it's simply a superficial issue (just a scratch and small dent, nothing structural or major), but the problem is that as it's on a big plastic piece (the front bumper), the entire thing will likely need to be replaced in order to fully repair the issue.

Well, I'll go get it looked at professionally tomorrow morning so that I can figure out what to do from there. Chances are I'll leave it as-is, but we'll see. It's really not that easy to pick out, but that's not the point. Regardless, I intend to convey my findings to the gal who caused the situation in the first place, if not for an actual collection simply as a pretty simple reminder to watch what the hell you're doing when driving. Eesh.

Yeah, the situation pisses me off (simply because it could have very easily been avoided), but at the same time it's an accident...and really nothing major at that. Nobody was hurt at all, and there wasn't anything that caused serious trouble.

So anyway, I've rambled enough for the night, so I'm going to sign off and will presumably post about progress on projects in tomorrow evening's installment.

Until next time...
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

--MZ

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