Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Floored! (Part the Third)

Tuesday afternoon I made yet another attempt to get My study floor into a semblance of order.

For those of you just tuning in, I've been intermittently trying to level the floor in the room that adjoins My office on the second floor of a 95-year-old house. Long before Red and Chala and various cats and I moved in, some unknown event caused the front part of the house to sag. Repairs were attempted by an unknown party, but not particularly good repairs.

If you look closely at the joist in the foreground of the above picture, you will see three, count 'em, three separate pieces of wood pretending to be a joist. The real one is the one in the middle, and off to the right you can see how I chose to deal with large gaps -- Custom-cut 2" lumber to match the desired taper, and glue and screw down onto the top of the proper joist.

Like this:

Here you can see the old joist, on the bottom; the old piece of tongue-and-groove lumber reinforcing it on the east side; The angled board that I cut to fit; and an additional 2x4 that brings it up to the correct height. At this point (roughly in the center of the floor), the drop from the starting point in the northwest corner is now over four inches.

And yes, I did count the cats after I put the floorboards back down at the end of the night.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How to Carry Lumber In Your Car

(Cue official-sounding theme music with ticker-tape piano melody and an aggressive horn section) A Springy Goddess special report!

So let's say that you want to build something -- For instance, a gazebo for your dark legion of cats -- But you really don't want to spend $50 to have the requisite lumber delivered.

Well, unless you only live a quarter of a mile from the lumber yard, you probably don't want to walk the lumber home. That said, I have done exactly that -- Hauled 2x4's in a grocery cart, or carried a single piece of wood on My shoulder for untold blocks. Not My idea of a good time, though, especially not on a hot or rainy summer afternoon. For the purpose of this essay, I'm also assuming that your buddy with the 3/4 ton pickup truck has gone to the lake for the weekend, and that you must bring home a long, long board in a fairly short car with a fold-down back seat. A Cavalier, for example.

First things first: You'll need the usual lumber yard packing stuff such as nylon rope, shrink wrap, tape and red hazard flags, but you will also benefit greatly from:
  • One or two cheap tarpaulins, for protecting the trunk and also for stuffing between the lumber and the dashboard.

  • A sturdy cardboard box, an old pillow, or a thick chunk of styrofoam. This goes on the armrest between the front seats, elevating the lumber so that you can still reach the shift lever.

It's desirable to do this project solo, because in addition to dropping the rear bench backrest you'll also have to move the passenger seat all the way forward and then tilt the front passenger-side backrest all the way back. This also frees up the passenger-side seatbelt, which in the above photo is keeping the pile of lumber away from the driver's side of the vehicle.

Over the years, Red and I have determined that 10' lumber is the longest that will actually fit inside a Cavalier. 8' pieces are even more manageable; in fact, I brought home six of them this very afternoon. Essentially, I just opened the trunk, loaded them in, shut the trunk lid, and drove home:

Yesterday, however, I purchased five, count 'em, five pieces of 2x4x12' construction spruce.

To bring home twelve-footers, I load them in through the trunk and slide them as far forward as they can go... Right up the center of the car and onto the armrest, where they are duly elevated several inches by a chunk of foam and an old cardboard box. Again shown is a bunched-up tarpaulin, which keeps the radio and the air conditioner from developing a bad case of scratches and splinters.

I still have to deal with the back ends, however. To protect the trunk lid from damage, what's needed is another chunk of styrofoam or another soft, thick material. The wood itself has been wrapped in an open-ended plastic bag, and the foam has also been placed inside the bag. Nylon twine is wrapped around the wood and plastic, in front of and behind the foam, which keeps the foam block in position till I get home.

Oh, and don't forget to take your car out for coffee afterwards.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

July 13 is Think Like a God Day

Because I said so.

Here's how it works:

Pick a god, any god. Perhaps you practice a religion; feel free to ask yourself, "How would Athena play this sudoku game?" "If I were Loki, would I go for coffee, or swing by the service station and gas up the car first?" "How does Diancécht really feel about crescent wrenches?"

Or you can make up your own deity on the spot, ex nihilo or by grabbing the first object you...

...Hey, look, everyone! It's Malmetricia, the goddess of tape measures that don't quite snap all the way back.

And remember: Ixnay on the iting-smay.

Because other gods smite right back.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Correlation, causation, and... support stockings?

Well, it's been quite a day. I am pleased to announce that yes, I have made progress on the to-do list that I posted last night.

First, the university stuff: I have obtained a signed prerequisite exemption form for Intro to Calculus and am now in a position to register for the class.

And the proofreading project: I did four of the remaining seven chapters this evening.

Tidied My desk a bit and culled some papers in a box of files.

Folded laundry. De-lumped the Dark Legion's litter boxes. Tossed our karategi into the dryer.

I also did a few family errands, including troubleshooting a television, getting some keys cut, paying a bill, and wrestling some drapery hooks into a somewhat reticent living room drape.

What I find interesting about today's burst of energy is that this morning I decided to wear My handy-dandy 20-30mmHg support pantyhose.

Coincidence? I. Think. Not.