...and crafting a purposeful recovery

Month: March 2020 (Page 1 of 2)

Visualize and Realize

Way back when (so long ago I don’t exactly remember) I picked up 3 funky light sconces at The Restore. For those unfamiliar, it is a reseller of salvaged building materials, fixtures, etc. run by Habitat for Humanity. When I first got Sparta I’d brouse through their inventory, trying to imaging possible uses for weird and random stuff. I have purchased several things:

  • twenty pieces of tile for fireplace pedestal
  • peg board for bathroom vanity doors
  • light fixture for dining table
  • aforementioned sconces
  • and so on

Often, my purchase would sit for months awaiting a calling I had vaguely envisioned. Such was the case with these sconces.

Previously painted baby-poop brown, now stripped thanks to Cristina.

Only after arriving at a decision on floor color did I choose a suitable hue for these.

Cristina painted these! Darker than baby poop.

This metallic brown (Rustoleum’s “Aged Rust”) ties in to my floor color and draws from the copper wall, sink, etc.

Did I mentioned that the flooring had arrived last Thursday? After a ten day trip, my much-anticipated cork flooring showed up – all 750 pounds of it. It occured to me that it will ultimately represent 10% of Sparta’s gross curb weight (if she ever reaches a curb). This cork flooring is distributed by Green Building Supply of Fairfield, Iowa. I chose it for it’s attractive pattern, comfortable walking surface and superior insulating/sound-proofing qualities (so as not to disturb the mice below). It is plank flooring and snaps together just like laminate which I’ve plenty of experience with. Although more expensive than I’d planned (about $2,200 delivered), GBS was great to deal with and the product is as advertised – high quality!

What a load

Speaking of floor, I have been at that for the past three days (challenged by the persistent light rain forcing me indoors to saw) and I am thus far pleased with the results.

Started in the bedroom on Saturday
Ran down the hall and into the kitchen on Sunday

And then I hit a brick wall when I noticed my uneven floor was making it impossible to have tight seams in one area in front of the kitchen counter. On Monday I returned to sand this area flush.

I even had to pull a nail which refused to drive any deeper. I probably had hit a steel joist.
By Monday’s end I had cruised through the kitchen.

So it is now Tuesday morning and the weather does not call for rain. I will have to totally clear out the Observation Lounge and then it will be a straight shot to the far side with no weird cuts to slow me down.

But first I must deal with this mess

By day’s end I should be done with the floor and maybe hang a sconce or two.

Day 10

Nominative determinism is the hypothesis that people tend to gravitate towards areas of work that fit their names. The term was first used in the magazine New Scientist in 1994, after the magazine’s humorous Feedback column noted several studies carried out by researchers with remarkably fitting surnames. These included a book on polar explorations by Daniel Snowman and an article on urology by researchers named Splatt and Weedon.” – from Wikipedia

Seriously, I didn’t make this up. I found it on Wiki today after I came across a news story about a distinguished fellow named “Dr. Larry Brilliant, an epidemiologist who is a veteran of the eradication of smallpox and is now the chairman of an organization called Ending Pandemics, warned that if Trump sends everyone back to work by Easter, “I think history would judge it an error of epic proportions.””

When I was a kid back in Fresno we used to laugh about this dentist by the name of Dr. Hammer, swearing we’d never go to him.

There’s a single word for this phenomenon, aptronym, and other examples have included:

  • Thomas Crapper – manufacturuer of flush toilet
  • Early Wynn – famous MLB pitcher who won twice on opening day
  • Anthony Weiner – notorious, well, you know.
  • Jules Angst – reputable psychiatrist who authored several books on anxiety
  • Marina Stepanova – record-breaking hurdler
  • Last names Blizzard, Freeze and Raines – meteorologists
  • Larry Playfair – an NHL player noted for fighting
  • Igor Judge – …..

OK, you get the idea. Clearly, I need to get out more.

Convention of Nominative Determinists

United We Stand (or sit)

“Concluding in 1982 after an 11 season run, “M*A*S*H” made television history when over 105 million viewers tuned in to watch the 2.5 hour final episode. This number put it at a comfortable first place for most watched episode ever, with second place going to “Cheers” at just 84.4 million. While there are more people with TVs now than ever, even “Game of Thrones” only hit 16.5 million viewers for their season 7 finale. The “M*A*S*H” finale was so widely watched that New York’s sewer system was flooded with over 6 million gallons of water due to people waiting to use the bathroom until the show concluded.” – from Trivia Genius

I came across the above factoid while combing through my emails this a.m.. It is noteworthy not for the primary subject – most everyone my age knows about the popularity of “M*A*S*H” – but for the simultaneous flush that occurred in NYC. If millions of people can be trained to pee at the same time, surely they can be persuaded to stay home during the Covid – 19 crisis. Perhaps Cuomo should demand the M*A*S*H* finale be broadcast 24/7 for the next month.

OK, you’ve noticed of late the frequency of my blog posts. Yes, I’m bored and sorry if I’m making my problem your problem. In truth, I do have a lot to say because I am getting so much done on Sparta. What, with no gym, no pool, no work, no travel, no library (I’m out of books!), etc., I simply have time to focus on the trailer. Plus, I have to finish prior to move-in and I have a month. Major tasks remaining:

  • Lay floor (scheduled for this weekend).
  • Order and install toilet. (money’s tight, no work. Sorry, Cristina. Camo potty for awhile).
  • Order and install oven. (same issue. Toaster oven and butane burner for now).
  • Install remainder of lighting. Already bought.
  • Complete minor wiring jobs.
  • Install 12v vent fans (arriving in April).
  • Install floor trim around perimeter. (After flooring of course).
  • Run propane line from trailer tongue.
  • Cut stove pipe passage through roof. (no rush ’till Fall).
  • Raise Sparta on blocks.

I am sure other tasks will arise. If you are still reading, thanks. If you are in California, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow”. We still have a drought.

“It’s only temporary, honey”

One step forward, two back

A couple of minor setbacks. First, you may recall that plastic blue conduit I put in the ceiling way back when and I threaded a string through for future use in pulling wire. I decided to run lamp cord through from one end to the other to power my stereo in the cabinet above the couch area. The string broke when it got hung up. Shoot. Now I have to rerun the thread and to do so remove some things. Like the overhead cabinet.

Cabinet removed to better access conduit hole in upper left.

Less bothersome was my decision to bring power to the old ceiling vent area. I hadn’t thought of this until now but I’d like 12v power there to drive a reversible fan – to blow and suck as needed. That also required undoing some things.

Easy to run wire under trim which I had to pull (10 screws, no big)
Brought the other end to the 12v connection for the dining table pendant lamp

That’s how I spent my morning. I received good news as well. My flooring will be delivered this Thursday. I know how I’m going to spend my weekend.

Close-up of cork floor sample against wall.

Night lights

Yesterday evening was spent in Sparta cleaning up in preparation for laying floor. While there, we were able to fire up all the 12v lights thus far installed. What a pretty sight.

Clearing the floor
Amber glow
Playing house
The long, long trailer.
Venus is alright tonight.

The crickets, singing frogs and absence of human sounds made it easy to forget the world for awhile.

Viva l’Italia

I talked to my son today who lives in Verona, a Northern Italian city squarely in the crosshairs of Covid-19. Of course I worry about him and my grandson, but they are observing all necessary precautions. And they are healthy too.

Unrelated but somehow connected, I decided to repair my long-idled 1966 Vespa Super 150 today. It used to be my tinker target of choice until Sparta came along. But with the upcoming move I fiqured the time was right. Naturally, when I broke her down I found several parts that need replacing – headlight, fuel flow knob, clutch cable, throttle cable, muffler bolt, etc. This vintage Vespa is a parts hog – always in need of something, especially after a lengthy rest. Plus the oil blended fuel had turned to kerosene. Yikes.

But working on this girl is a welcome change of pace and after draining the bad gas, I started her up just to hear that sweet “putt-putt” that only a two-stroke delivers.

Meanwhile another Amazon delivery – 150 feet of 10 gauge extension cord. I have been running on an old 14 gauge cord and that not a good way to go for the the load I will be drawing very soon. Safer and more efficient this way.

Viva l’Italia and all things Italian.

Oops, I did it again

Whatever the opposite of methodical is – ad hoc, seat-of-the-pants, extemporaneous – I’m it. Although I’ve been at this for 4 years, I’ve not necessarily used that time to plan ahead. Take power for example. I did have the foresight to plan a desk/workspace where the furnace used to be, but I neglected to power it up. Of course my laptop, phone, etc. will require juice. Fortunately, my desk is right next to Sparta’s power hub, so wiring a 120v outlet was easy-squeezy.

Don’t really need a GFI here but it was leftover.
Under desk
Antisocial distancing

Stay well, my friend.

Things are looking up.

No, not necessarily in the great, wide world of spores. That’s still pretty scary. But in Sparta I’m making solitary progress on the ceiling trim. The 1/8″ thick, 2 ” wide finished strips which I treated months ago can now be installed because I’m staying put. I tried tacking them up with my Stanley electric brad nailer, but the little 5/8″ inch nails don’t hold up. The heads are so little, the strips just fail to the floor, so I’m using 3/4″, #6 brass screws.

Note: Not even trim can hide wavy walls.

Trim, trim, trim everywhere and thank goodness. It covers a host of sins. Like when I misjudged where to drop the down-light wire in the bedroom. Missed it by that much. So I carved a little gap in my coving to cover most of the wire where the sconce will go.

Carved with my little Dremel and a cut-out blade
That should do it.
Mediocre is the enemy of good. Oh well, the sconce should hide it.

Back to quarantine and to cook a pot roast. Gotta use up all the food in the apartment by 5/1/2020.

Place of Shelter

So it is day two of Sonoma County’s order to join the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area in its Covid – 19 “shelter in place” policy. I have read the county’s extensive list of permissable activities and trips to the hardware store have been deemed essential. Cool. Although trips to one’s trailer are not specifically permitted, I am going with this: it is an outdoor activity involving only me. So, here’s what I have accomplished while staying safe and law-abiding.

I bought this copper light trim months ago. Trying it out.
These little 5 watts LEDs consume about .6 amps and generate the equivalent lumens of a 50 watt conventional bulb. All my lighting is 12v.
Little mail-order bulbs and mini-plugs. Note Cristina’s shelter in place activity in background. The bulbs are cheap. Like $2 ea.
This cupboard to the left of my ‘fridge I am leaving open to display plates, glassware, etc.. Note ubiquitous Baltic birch trim glued/nailed to front of shelves.
I have also installed shelves up top in the bedroom closets. All shelving is made of 1/2″ birch ply and is held in place with conventional peg “L” clips.

Today I will hazard a trip to Home Depot and will buy closet rods (regular wood dowels), tiny twist wire connectors and whatever else I stumble upon. BTW, I have found that HD has the best cheaters (aka reading glasses). They cost around $4 ea. and are much more durable than the crappy, overpriced Foster Grants ($24) you find at the drugstores.

Closet rod installed. Very exciting stuff!

Shut in

I have had no known exposure to covid-19 and I intend to stay that way, especially because I am in the catering business and cannot risk exposing my customers. So I am taking some precautions. Yesterday we cancelled our long-anticipated trip to Brazil, I didn’t go to my Friday Yoga session this morning and I am washing my hands raw. I am also staying in more often than normal, not running unnecessary errands, etc.. They have come up with a term for this, “social distancing”. I find this all a bit ironic as social distancing has been underway for years under the guise of social media. People’s reliance upon their devices has already resulted in reduced human interaction in the flesh. So we’ve had a head start.

The weather’s a bit marginal today and with rain in the forecast I am laying low indoors. So what a great time for my latest Amazon delivery. A bunch of trailer toys arrived this morning and I am sorting through them. Looking forward to getting over to Sparta for some trailer time.

Two of these for improved trailer security while away.
An AC/DC converter to run my 12v circuits off shore power. This is just to run lights and other low amp needs until I install solar system.
A nice little fuse block with plenty of circuits and fuses. Note: marine uses on included tags.
A simple little 12v fuse block w/ converter. Camera, action, lights.
Little silicon ball bearing rollers for under my pocket doors.
I just noticed this morning that I could see Sparta from the highway. This was telephoto.

Fun Stuff!

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