Monday, June 13, 2005

Lawn - it's a turf war out there!

So I chose a hot humid weekend to take on our lawn. What was once weak soiled and sandy, with ant hills as far as the eye can see is now a dirt pool strewn with staw. Here's how it went down:

1) rented a tiller: $24.63 for 4 hours from Northampton Rentals, on service center road.
2) stayed refreshed: $11.99 for 12 pack of Rolling Rock, ice cold.
3) a nice neighbor: John, born to rake and scatters seed like a sharecropper
4) pizza me! $11 from John helped me afford the $20 double pizza party. This rocked, and I ate all I could fit into my stomach.
5) three bales of staw for strewing $20

John was and always is a great help. I sort of paid him back for his labor by supplying him with our oldest (but still stout) airconditioner. This AC unit requires a pair of vice grips to set the temp, but heck, that's the best kind! John and I, along with pal Uncle Jesse, form a three man work party that meets to get things done for each others' wives. Mostly its a great opportunity to get together and drink beer outside, play with powertools and kavetch. I like the beer part the most.

I'll post some pictures of our new lawn a-growing over the next bunch of weeks. With any luck the grass will take root and the ants will be heading for less green pastures.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Shelves...a vast improvement for books, a slight improvement in mood

So I finally made some shelves. Well, I am actually still technically "making" them. Should be done, trim that is, sometime soon, if all goes according to my wife's plans. That could be the single source of my life's troubles at the moment. Her expectations, versus my lallygagging.

I wanted to make these shelves for a long time, maybe since we moved in. But time was never carved out for the doing. So my wife gradually and logically went more and more stir-crazy at my inactivity. I needed a motivator, but really I needed a cheer leader. One week (after months of keeping her ire under rap) on a Wednesday she got me motivated...and by Saturday morning I was buying $399 worth of Mahagony. Is that how you spell it? Agony!? Geez.We need a dictionary on this thing.

Anyway, I couldn't get it all done in just two days, like she had hoped and I had, um, promised. First, I had to learn how to use the radial arm saw. My own father built practically our whole house with his radial arm saw, but I wasn't ever old enough to work it. He died before I had the chance to buy a house and have him show me how to use it. So, now I own a house and want to get busy (real busy!) building stuff, and I've got to learn my methods the hard way. What's a bummer is my Dad was really great with tools too. A natural. I know, I know, to young boys and girls everywhere, no one swings a hammer like good ole Dad, but my Dad was a step above ordinary. Extraordinary I believe is the word. I kept a chair my Dad used to sit in down in the basement shop where I cut all the wood, just to watch over me.

Secondly, I had to overcome a lot of self doubt about being able to do this project and not 1) cut off an arm or 2) make it look like I was a failure in shop class. Thankfully it came out rather stunning. It's a bookcase on a large scale. The wood and the simplicity make the design work with the house. Besides, the trim should hide the nail gun mistakes.