Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wordzzle - Week Fifteen

What? Is there a pattern developing here? This is the second week in a row I've decided to play along with Raven's Wordzzle challenge. If I'm not real careful this just might become a habit.

If you'd like to join the fun please go by her site and check out the particulars. Even if you don't want to join the writing aspect of it, you can visit a great site and get acquainted with a host of others who play from week to week. You can find her by clicking here.

This week's words were the following: perpendicular, carpentry, garage, lute player, radishes, tin roof, wildflowers, stop light, gargantuan.


While sitting at a stop light, my wife noticed one of those pick-ups with a lumber rack on it and magnetic sign on the door that read, "H&H Construction...Call us first!"

Without skipping a beat she read aloud the above name and catch phrase and then said, "That would have been a novel idea dear, don't you think?"

I of course, knew exactly what she was referring to. It had only been about a month earlier when her brother Francis, the lute player, and I set out to show her what great carpentry skills we each possessed. Little did we know what a gargantuan mistake that would turn out to be. The whole process seemed easy enough at the beginning. Simply follow the the instructions that came with the kit and according to the sheet, two hours later I would be the proud owner of a brand new storage shed.

Three and a half hours into the project we both wondered who in the hell had come up with that ridiculous time frame in the first place. It took us that long just to figure out where all the pieces were. Well finally, after a series of frustrating bungles it was time to put the tin roof on this sucker. This would have been the final step had we have built the walls perpendicular to the ground! Instead our handiwork had produced something that looked more like a parallelogram and we came to the realization that we would nearly have to start all over again if this "two hour" project was going to come out anywhere close to decent.

It was about this time that my wife came out of the garage with that look in her eyes. I just stood there with my face as red as a bowl of radishes, half from anger and half from embarrassment.

"Wow, you boys have really outdone yourself this time! And to think, last year all we had to look at where this um...this a... this building is was some nice wildflowers.


The mini-challenge had the following words: gravy boat, cat carrier, Madison, Wisconsin, March Hare, gratitude.


Just before heading for Madison, Wisconsin I put Fluffy into the cat carrier. She was obviously as mad as a March Hare with the whole process. "What gratitude," I thought. I'd even let her lick the gravy boat from the previous night's dinner as a treat too.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why... Thank You!

Do you have rude drivers where you live? How about rude pedestrians? We've got 'em both and I'm guessing you do too.

I'm not talking about the jerk face that cuts in front of you at 65mph with no turn signal on, nor am I talking about the butt-for-brains that feels it's perfectly alright to saunter across the intersection when the light is in your favor.

No, today's snivel session is dedicated to arrogant humans everywhere that have forgotten a simple wave or a nod of the head can be an appropriate response to an act of kindness.

Pet peeve #1: Holding the door

I was taught that holding the door open for someone was, and still is, the right thing to do. Man or woman, boy or girl, young or old, it doesn't matter; everyone deserves the same courtesy. Apparently, there are those out there who feel it's their right to just blow through the door without so much as a hint of appreciation in their demeanor.

I certainly don't expect any big to-do, but even a simple grunt in my direction would be ok.

Pet peeve #2: Letting a driver merge in

This one really chaps my ass. You very likely have experienced this scenario. There you sit in a long line of cars waiting for the light to turn green, (hopefully you're not at a stop sign when this happens), when you notice a poor unfortunate sole trying to join the fray by turning right. Being the kind, considerate individual that you are, you motion to him or her and leave enough room for them to squeeze in. They inch forward and take the opening you've relinquished to them and then it happens...or should I say, then it doesn't happen. You get no hand wave, no glance from their rear view mirror,!

What the hell?

Is it any wonder why people continue to be more and more rude? After a while I think a fair amount of people get fed-up with this lack of response to their kindness and become less and less likely to offer up these simple little gestures of goodwill.

I for one am not going to buy into this pattern though. I will continue holding the door open for people even when they hurry past me while talking on their cell phone, totally oblivious to the rest of the world. I will also continue to let people into traffic even though the guy behind me will flail his arms wildly at the annoyance of having to wait an extra five seconds and even though the person merging in could seem to care less that someone gives a rip about them.

Why the soapbox moment about things that seem so trivial you ask? Are these two activities a big deal in the overall experience of life? Maybe they don't appear to be on the surface, but perhaps they somehow contribute to the underlying mood of people around us. Just little ways to either make somebodies day better or worse.

So the next time someone holds the door open for you, please say a simple "thanks", or the next time someone lets you into the flow of traffic, give them a little wave (with all your fingers up!).

If we fail to repay kindness with more kindness, then the next time around, we may not be so fortunate.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wordzzle- Vegas Style

I've read some of the short stories that many of you have come up with through Raven's Saturday Wordzzles and have enjoyed seeing how a few abstract words can be blended into so many different types of stories. Thought I'd jump in and give it a go this week.

This is week 14 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: flamingo, monster trucks, Darth Vader, cucumbers, sugar-free, banking, determinate, thurible, sarcasm, drums

And for the Mini Challenge: procrastinate, memory lane, alley cat, argument, Florida

The idea is to use these words in a short, but coherent paragraph. I opted for a story with dialog in it so it isn't exactly one paragraph, but it is short. Hopefully that slight alteration to the rules doesn't tweak anybodies melon. Be sure to go by and see Raven for her contribution and to find some other participants.


While sitting in one of the many lounges of the world famous casino the Flamingo, in Las Vegas, a cocktail waitress walked up and asked me what I was drinking.

"I'll take a sugar-free vanilla latte if it's not too much trouble."

Noting my obvious sarcasm, she replied, "Perhaps I can bring you some nice cucumber sandwiches to go with that sir?"

"As lovely as that sounds, I think I'll take a Corona instead. Oh by the way, where's that sound of drums coming from?" I asked.

She informed me it was coming from a cover band called the "Alley Cat Strays", who were performing on a stage just past a bank of nearby slot-machines. I procrastinated for a moment, then decided that this was a show I could miss. Instead, I would walk over to the sports betting area and make a couple of wagers. My attitude was determinate that I'd be a winner; in fact, I was banking on my intuitions that told me the horse I had picked "Thurible Go", would win. I nearly got into an argument with the guy sitting next to me when I placed my bet.

"Are you crazy son?" he said, "That horse is the long shot! If I was your father, I'd have taught you a thing or two about the dark side of horse racing."

His voice and words took me down memory lane, because they reminded me of James Earl Jones as he portrayed Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies I'd watched as a kid. Well, in spite of all my wishful thinking, it didn't pay off. My horse pulled up lame in the third turn. Oh well, I thought, maybe I'll take my chances betting on the Monster Truck races they were holding down in Florida next.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wood or Composite?

It's another busy week around here. Trying to get the exterior of a house painted, but the weather doesn't seem to want to cooperate. When we started last Friday it got up to 101 degrees and the last two days it's been around 55-60 and raining.

April showers bring May flowers, but May rain is just a big pain. Oh well, by tomorrow it should level out and be decent again.

While we had our little heat wave (yes that's what we call 100 degrees in Oregon Songbird) I recalled a deck project that I worked on a couple of years ago. I remembered it because it was about 104 when I was working on it and as you will see from the following pictures it was in the full sun. Good South-west exposure, with zero shade.

Outside of the heat it really was a fun project. The client had an old cedar deck that had been neglected for quite some time. The wood was extremely dried out and the underside had areas of rot where it connected to the house. Apparently when it was first constructed, the builder never put any metal flashing between it and the house, so over the years the wood soaked up water and rotted both the deck and the siding on the house.

I completely removed the old deck and started from scratch, and yes I put the proper flashing in place for them. I suggested they go with a composite material decking instead of wood again, so they wouldn't have to stain/seal it every year or two. The up front cost is a bit more, but I have never had anybody regret going this route once it's in. The only maintenance on this baby is to wash it once a year.

All of the under pitting (framing) is pressure treated lumber too. Even though it has no contact with the ground I like to use this type of lumber because it provides for a worry free type of construction. In twenty five years, this deck will look pretty much the way it did the day it was built.

Here are some before and after shots with roughly the same perspective. For some reason the last one I didn't have a before shot of. In case you're wondering, the composite material is from a company called TimberTech.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Water Boy

As you look at this picture of the back flow prevention valve for my sprinkler system do you notice anything about it that stands out? How about that the PVC pipe on either side of the brass valve that is a nice clean color of white? Why would this be new when the rest of the assembly is about six years old you might ask?

Well as it turns out, yesterday morning due to the 100 degree temperatures I decided it would be a really good idea to turn on the sprinkler system. So I went out to the front yard and lifted the lid off the control box and promptly dropped it right on to of the PVC fitting that connects to the valve, shearing it off cleanly.

This meant instead of going into the garage and turning the timer to the run position and letting the miles of underground pipe, sprinkler heads and drip emitters do their magic, I would spend the next hour hand watering the entire yard so I didn't come home to a wilted, brown, thirsty yard at the end of the day. Not a big deal really, as I enjoy spending time in the yard, but I did feel a bit silly spending all that time dragging a hose around when my butterfingers move was the reason for it.

Later that evening after coming home from work and relaxing for a short while I decided it was time to fix my little irrigation guffaw. Going out to the shed I soon realized that I didn't have any fittings of the correct type on hand, so it was off to Home Depot for a materials run. Returning home I gathered up all the necessary items to complete the repair: new fittings, primer/cleaner and glue, cutter and of course a Dr. Pepper.

Perhaps I should tell you that the valve is approximately 22 inches below the ground level to protect it from freezing during the winter. Code only requires it to be twelve inches deep, but being the anal retentive type that I am, I decided to make sure that even if the next great ice age were to happen, my sprinkler system would still be operational. Why do I tell you this little bit of trivia? So you will have a feeling for how fun it is to cut and work on this pipe while barely being able to reach it comfortably.

Alright, I have all the parts cut and ready for assembly. I take my time to prime all of them first to ensure I get a good bond. Next I grab the can of blue glue to start fusing them together and when I go to pull the dobber out of the can I realize it has set-up to the consistency of cured rubber cement. (Note to self, blue glue has a limited shelf life once opened.)

So with a fading smile on my face I head back to my favorite place. . . Home Depot. After another fun and exciting trip to the only stinking hardware store left within a twenty mile radius of my house (all the little guys have disappeared now) I am back home and ready...again, to do this simple repair.

I open the glue and low and behold, it's liquid. Things are starting to improve. Unfortunately it's a short lived excitement, because I discover that after I have glued a couple of the fittings together I've miscalculated the size of the valve and now have to re-cut the PVC to accommodate it and best of all the fittings that I've already glued together will now no longer work.

What does this mean? Yep, you guessed it, another trip to Home Foofoo for more parts. It's now eight o'clock at night and I'm tired and sweating like Rosie O'Donnell at an all you can eat buffet and I decide to cut my losses and call it a night. Believe or not I didn't break out the profanity card at this point. I guess it was past that time, so instead I just laughed.

This morning on the way home from work, I grabbed the next round of fittings, (and a few extras,) came home and fixed it without any further incident. Yaaaahooo!

Thank the good Lord there are others who are plumbers by trade, because I will be the first one to admit, I am not one!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm Alive!

Holy Cow it's been a while since I've sat down and put anything together on this blog. After posting almost daily for a few months, to stop for over a week seems like a lifetime.

Part of the reason for my absence has been the huge amount of work that has been coming my way lately. This has been a real boost to both my attitude and my bank account. With the extended rainy season here in the Pacific northwest, the rising gas prices and the downturn in the economy, the work wasn't as plentiful as if has been in past years, but the past couple of weeks have been a real turn around. Yeah!!!

I've been spending quite a bit of time in the evenings researching new products and other application techniques for the concrete coatings that I do, so this has also left me with a pretty limited amount of time to write or to even cruise by all of your sites to stay in touch. For that lack of communication, I apologize. Over the next week I'll get by to check in on you all and say hi, but if you don't see me right away know that it's nothing you've said or done, I'm just simply stretched a bit thin right now.

I know some bloggers will pack it in when time gets crunched, but that's not my intention. I just have to strike a balance between family, work and friends. I'm sure everyone reading this can relate to that statement in some way.

Thank you to those that have come by to check-up on me via comments or emails. It's greatly appreciated and let me apologize again for my extended silence. I probably should have put some kind of short post up before, that said all is well , but like most things in life, hind sight is 20/20.

More to follow in the near future...promise

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Catch Up - Memes x2

About a hundred years ago I was tagged by a couple of you to do a meme and I'm finally getting around to doing them now.

I usual I won't be tagging anybody else with these, but if you feel so inclined feel free to join in.

The first one is from Lady in Red who I met while commenting back an forth with Ron. Whenever I see her name pop up I think of Sammy Hagar singing, "Red, Red, I like Red. There's no substitute for Red." This is what she had to ask:

The rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people

This is from John Grisham's 2005 book, "The Broker"

Leaking like an old dike, the Hoover Building practically sprayed gossip onto the streets of Washington. And there to collect it was, among many others, Dan Sandberg of The Washington Post. His sources, though, were far better than those of the average investigative journalist, and it wasn't long before he picked up the scent of the pardon scandal.

I'm only a couple of chapters into this one and am hoping it will capture my interest like so many of his others have done.

The next one is from a darling southern girl by the name of Rhea who resides in the BIG ole' state of Texas. Be sure to go by and say Howdy. You might throw in a couple y'alls too. Those go over big down there!

She offered up the following:

The Rules:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your entry.

And the winners are. . .

1) At the ripe old age of six years old, I was the bat boy for my oldest brother Gene's little league team the Senators. I remember getting to wear a uniform just like the players and at the end of the year got a small wood toy bat as a sort of trophy.

2) I was once taken to school (high school) in the back of a police car. The officer, Dick Davis, yeah that was his real name, accused me of truancy and after searching me (WTF) made me get into his car and go to school. He then proceeded to march me into the office like a criminal and had the principal call my mom, who happened to inform them that I had a dentist appointment in another hour. So I was in fact not cutting school, but was simply outside the school grounds talking with some friends when perhaps I should have stayed at home waiting for her to pick me up. The principal and the cop both had egg on their faces and I got to look cool for a couple of days as word made it around campus that I had fought the law and the law didn't win!

3) I suffer from CRAFT. (Can't Remember A Flippin' Thing) My mom might argue that this is an inherited trait that has only affected the males in our family, i.e. my dad, brothers and I, but as much as I'd like to blame it on genetics, truth is, it's probably just a form of laziness. I say this because I have an uncanny way of remembering numbers of all sorts and when I was cooking for a living, I could recall intricate recipes without having to look them up. Apparently these things had/have some sort of subconscious importance that makes my brain retain them while virtually everything else glides over the synapses without leaving so much as a trace burned in to the memory banks.

4) My Eustachian tubes in my ears never turned vertical like the vast majority of people's do. (This is what allows fluid in your ears to drain properly) As a result, I was plagued by more than my fair share of ear infections as a kid. Later when I took up SCUBA diving, it made it very difficult to clear my ears as I descended in the water.

5) I once fell in love with a girl who broke my heart. I thought she was the one for me and I would have done anything to have had it work. She went into the Marine Corps back in Quantico, VA while I was living in northern California. She broke off the relationship a couple of months later and left a rather large hole in my heart for quite some time. Later, when I met Lisa, I would realize Ann had done me a tremendous favor by saying goodbye. Whenever I listen to a Garth Brooks song in which he sings, "Some of God's greatest gifts. . . are unanswered prayers." I reflect on what I thought I wanted and how He had a better plan for me.

6) My mind is like a Los Angeles freeway; no matter what time of day it is, it's always busy. I'm almost constantly in motion and relaxing is not something I do real well unless I'm camping. This is when my alter ego takes over and I am the picture of mellow. Put me in the great outdoors with my tent trailer and I become the poster boy for the phrase "Chill". Back in civilization I'm like a one man wrecking machine trying to do thirty-six hours worth of stuff in a twenty-four hour period.

I now have just one more meme that Kimmie asked me to do and I will take care of that in the next couple of days.

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My Butt's Draggin

You've probably noticed over the past week, my posts and visits to your sites have been a bit lite. That's because I've been working quite a bit this week and I'm just flat worn out. We did an epoxy coating on two separate garages as well as a decorative coating system for a basement and spent the better part of today out at Intel filling in holes and voids in the floor of one of their laboratories.

It's been great to finally be this busy with all these floors to do, but as I said, I'm beat. So if you haven't seen me around lately that's why.

I've sat down a couple of times trying to get inspired to create a new story to write about, but seem to be coming up empty. So with that I'm turning to you for ideas. If something comes to mind I'd love to have the input.

Well that's it for now. Next week should be a bit lighter, just one house to prep for painting so far.

Thanks for hanging in there even when I haven't had a lot to say.