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Letters home to mom

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    • Coda
      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
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      A happy young lady shares a table at a tony restaurant with her cat; they both wear festive, cone-shaped party hats. The woman gaily says to the tuxedoed server, “One martini and one glass of milk.” The cat does not … Continue reading →

All evidence to the contrary …

Posted by joeabbott on March 6, 2016

Despite and outward appearance of neglect or a potential lack of activities, I’ve both thought about this blog often and have had a lot going on. Each project or weekend I seem to frame in the narrative that would carry it onto these pages. And yet I’m not making time for sharing a few of the minor activities that provide the breadth of experience to our lives. Let’s rectify, shall we?

Property

Suzy and I bought five acres of property in a neighborhood some 65-miles north of our current home. We like the Seattle area, so we wanted to stay “local”, but a couple decades of living in SeaTac (a neighborhood that is home to Seattle’s international airport) have left us looking for a little more room during the day, a little more dark during the night and a little more quiet at all times. So, after many weekends of visits to various parts of Western Washington, we settled on the land we purchased and are excited with the potential it represents.

But, it’ll be somewhere in the 3-5 year range before we build a home.

We plan on retiring to this property and it doesn’t make sense for us to have two homes. The property is too far from my work to be convenient, but I might be able to commute from there to work for a year or two. Much more than that and I’d start hating the commute, but I could live with it a bit. So, for the next couple years we’ll spend a weekend or two a month making forays from our current home to the property.

We’ll see what the land has to say to us, where our home should be built, where we should put in gardens, and where we put in my workshop and our hobby barn. With room for chickens, of course!

imageShed

To house a few property maintenance tools, we’ll erect an outbuilding on the lot. We petitioned the home-owners’ association and received their blessing to put up a shed and have talked to both our new neighbors about the plan. Without concerns from our future neighbors, we started plans on what to build.

Knowing my proclivities to build stuff, I quickly sketched up a small, 4’x8’ building and then planned out the cost. Without trying to save money (and planning for cedar siding), that structure would cost almost $900 with the majority being for the cedar siding. For a small building, this seemed bit too much.

So, we ran around the city, looking at everything from Home Depot to Tough Sheds to Craig’s List and then a few more. From all we were seeing, $900 seemed in the ballpark with the exception being for “plastic” or “tin” sheds.

As I started sharpening my pencil to see where I could save some on costs (mostly considering going with a man-made siding), Costco had a sale on a “plastic” shed from Keter.

Now, I really dislike most plastic sheds as they look cheap and feel even more flimsy, but the Keter surprised me. The decking/floor was solid, the sides held up without moving to a gentle shoulder-bump, and, from a distance, they looked reasonably like a “real” shed.

image

With the model for sale being hundreds less than my plan and for the overall floor plan being ~7’x7’, it looked like a winner.

However, the boxes it comes in were so large, Suzy and I took a few days to work out how we’d manage it. We initially thought we’d just rent a flatbed truck from Home Depot (next door to Costco) and drive it home (about 1.5 miles at most). However, the Costco by our house sold out of these! We found a few more at the Costco some 25 miles distant, but didn’t want to pay for a truck to get it home.

So, after a bit of measuring and figuring things out, we inserted a couple heavy boards across the bed of my truck and put a heavy piece of plywood over them. This allowed for the shed boxes to sit above the wheel wells and it actually fit in the bed. Nice!

Unfortunately, the boxes are so heavy, we’re not sure how we’ll get them back into the bed for the transport to our property … it took all we had just to slide them out of the truck and onto the garage floor! Oh well, we’ll cross the bridge when we get there.

Letting my redneck fly!

I’m not really a “gun guy” … not anti-gun, but they don’t play a big role in my life. That said, I do own a BB gun and, for the most part, it just sits in a closet. But, I wanted to build a small box to store it in. It was part that, and part wanting to use up some old 3/4” MDF sheet board that I had in the garage for the last 5 years or so.

The box was going to be pretty simple: a four sides and a bottom butt-jointed and strengthened with dowels, splines or biscuits, and a top that pivoted on a simple dowel hinge. Here’s what it will look like (with the sides blown off for visibility):

image

I pulled out my MDF and was happy to see that its 49” length was sufficient to make the longest parts … actually, my original model called for 48” long parts but I added an inch to avoid cutting. I then started cutting and had the sides, ends, bottom, lid, and inner supports all cut when I started grooving the sides (notches for the supports to fit in), when I realized that the part was too short.

What?!?

I then realized that, when I started cutting my boards, rather than cutting the sides 12” wide by 48” long, I cut the board the wrong way! And all my parts ended up about 34” long.

Holy buckets!!!

Talk about spitting mad. The worst part is that I’ve done something very similar to this a couple times before. There must be some dyslexic confusion in my brain that causes me to be blind to making this error.

Well, needless to say, I can’t use those parts and I put the gun box plan on hold for a while. And, I need to find a way to avoid making this mistake again.

So, I got in a little shop time but have nothing to show for it. In the coming week, I’ll share with you a Mason Bee Box that I built for Suzy (and our Mason Bees).

Coda

Along with the above, work is keeping me busy, various video game exploits are occupying my evenings, and spending time with Suz as we bop about the city fill our days. So if I’m neglecting this blog, I’m not neglecting life and we have a lot going on. And to that note, I’ll try to leave a bit more “evidence” of our doings here on this page.

Thanks for dropping in.

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