Saturday, September 17, 2016

Garage Workbench Redo

As I had mentioned earlier, my project for this vacation has been a redo of the workbench I have in the garage.  Not a huge project, but satisfying - and I only had to buy less than ten bucks of boards, I had everything else I would need.  I do spend a lot of time in the garage and at my workbench in the warmer times of the year and I felt it needed to be better organized.

New and improved!
I first got the workbench as a kit back in 2010.  At the time I modified it to be 10 inches higher to accommodate me and my aching back, and that's when I added most of the shelving in the garage as well.  Other than that it has evolved since by adding tools, shelves, power tools, and eventually the metal pegboard.

The height of everything is built for me, I can reach it all as needed.  The brackets I was using for the shelf above ran on the front of the stud keeping me from raising the pegboard so I just used a 2x4. I also added a lip at the back of the shelf so I can't push anything off the back.  Below the shelf, the pegboard holds some of my most commonly used tools, keeping them all very handy for me.  Raising the pegboard allowed me to build mini shelves between the studs for even more storage.  I had the dozen red bins since I got them for free a long time ago.  They've just been sitting in a box in the basement since.  Now I have tons of spots for all the little clutter.  As of now more than half are still empty - we'll see how long that lasts!  To the right of the little red bins I put all my nail and screw boxes.  Seemed reasonable at the time.  It does have height there that I may use for other things later.

The 'before' picture.
Sitting on the right of the workbench are two box shelves that I built in middle school.  A total of four this size - the other two are on my workbench in the basement - and two larger ones that I still have them all to this day.  A big one on the other side of the garage holds firewood, the other holds painting supplies and such in the basement.  I considered trying to mount these on the wall in the same area but they are not very light.  In the end I decided leaving them where they were, sitting directly on the right supports for the workbench, was still the best option.  Unfortunately, due to the new shelf I built, the gray bin on top for rags doesn't slide into the corner anymore, but I think I can work with it.

The modifications for the workbench included dropping the lower shelf and adding an identical shelf above that.  This gives me a handy area for my growing power tool collection.  The bottom is tall enough to comfortably fit the air compressor and anything I may need the space for in the future.  For now it also holds the fire pit and odds and ends.  The only other thing I added was a 1x4 screwed in along the top so there is no gap in front of the red bins where thing could have dropped.

That's it, that's my new and improved workbench.  I think it's pretty neat.
A few pictures of the process, start to finish, after the break:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Birthdays, Vacations, and Moms

Yeah.  Birthday.  Here we go again - wait, what?  Terry is having a bash out at a place with a bar and big TVs for the first Packer game to celebrate her birthday - on my birthday - and I'm included for nothing?

DSCF5118No brainer, right?  Well for me it wasn't so simple, and went from possibly scary and/or embarrassing to a perfect, fun birthday for me.  See, I was first presented with the idea on one of our outings on the boat, it was one of those things where everybody looks at you and says, 'right?' and so you just say 'okay, right,' without being able to think about it much.  First of all, it was to be on the day of the first regular season Packer game.  Second, it was on my actual birth day.  And third, it was at the beginning of my long needed vacation.  I had plans, kinda (hint: this is why OCD is a label on this post).  Certainly not great plans, but still, I do what I do on Packer Sundays (-and noon, Sunday Packer games are prime viewing but becoming less and less common.)  So I went with it at the time.  Later when I was thinking about it more and having a rather fruitless - for me - discussion about it with my wife, it was settled - I was going to someone else's birthday party on my birthday.  Not an accurate way to state it, but the funniest!
It turned out to be a great private room at a local place with our own bar, bartender and buffet.  Not to mention the one huge projection and two big screen TVs to show the Packer game.  We didn't have near enough friends show up to fill the room but plenty of friends were there to have fun with and we were able to spread out as necessary.  Of course, Terry included me in everything even though she planned and paid.  I was very happy for the friends that showed up, all our mutual friends and through Terry and even a few of my own friends were nice enough to show up - and bearing gifts!  Thank you all, and many thanks to Terry, this was a pretty good day!  And the Packers won!

DSCF5128Of course, I guess I was having such a good time still after the game that we stopped off at a local tavern for a few, and then I guess I had even more at home.  The problem with day drinking is night doesn't tell me when to stop, I guess.  I paid for it Monday, like I haven't in years.  I did get the few things done that day that were required, but otherwise I was bottle-flu-boy all day.  Eh, you live, you learn, then you forget and learn again.

Vacation.  As I said, I am on vacation this week.  Thank goodness because I never would have made it to work on Monday (see above).  I like to have one big, main project on my staycation vacations, in addition to a list of smaller things to complete.  This year my main project has been a reset, of sorts, of my workbench area in the garage.  I was going to post about that here and now, but that is worth it's own post, maybe tomorrow, but if I state that it usually takes a few days it seems.

It was supposed to be started on Monday, well, that never happened.  So much of Tuesday and the first part of today went into the garage.  And the thing about tearing up the workbench area to redo it is that once everything was deconstructed I had no idea where the tool was that I needed when I needed it.  I found my way eventually.  Anyway, more to come on that.  Now...

I love my Mom, and I know she loves me, and us.  And the internet.  Thank you for stopping by, Mom, and at 49 years old now but at the risk of sounding like a selfish teenager that gets embarrassed by their parents:  Gawd, Ma, this isn't facebook!  I know you love us, thank you for stopping saying it in every single comment recently, but now you're commenting on almost every effing post.  Back off!  When I need a president for my fan club I'll let you know.  Gawd!

Seriously, I love you but I feel your presence has been great recently.  You texted me, sent a card, and commented for my birthday before I could write about it.  My name is not even on this site, on purpose, let alone my details.  And if the only comments I get now are from my mom I need to seriously rethink doing things here.  Please call me, it would seem we need to get together soon.

Sigh.  Am I a bad son?  Happy Birthday to me.  Gawd!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Another Lake Voyage

It's been a busy week and I've neglected to post pictures of last weekend's venture on Lake Mendota with Terry and her sister, Becky, on Terry's pontoon boat.  Again, it was a beautiful day - sunny but enough clouds to keep you from roasting out there.  It turned out to be a little windy so the adventurous plan of crossing the lake to visit Picnic Point was just not feasible for the boat and horsepower we had this day and with this wind and in this direction.  The waves were a little much, as you may see after the break.

DSCF5082We settled for veering off to the old, standby cove where it is always easy to anchor and relax with other boaters, out of the bigger waves in the middle of the lake and in shallow waters where you can touch the bottom.  Still, I appreciate their willingness to venture out in the boat more this year, even trusting me in the driver seat.  I did grow up around boats a bit when younger and this all reminds me of how I loved the water and boating then, and still do now.

The specialty drink of today's venture was something with vanilla fluff (marshmallow) vodka, orange soda and topped with a floating marshmallow Peep.  A very sweet way to enter the lake!

There was also one very amusing moment when a mutual friend texted Terry by mistake, which led to each of us texting him back different things, trying to give him major hell, of course.  I think he finally got it and understood his mistake.  Thanks for the comedy relief, James!

I will see all these people and more this weekend so I'm sure to post something about that next week.  I'll be on vacation, finally, and I have a project to document, so stay tuned...!

A self-indulgent dump of boating pictures after the break, captioned for my pleasure!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Stump Flowers in September

I know I haven't posted anything recently.  Well, life happens.  I'm sure I'll have something to share soon.  Until then, here's an updated picture of the plants we potted to fill the stump.  Some are showing the wear of late summer.  The cucumber plant in the bucket is headed for the compost bin, we got 4 cucumbers off it.  And, finally, the monster plant in back is flowering.  I took a lot of pictures outside yesterday - the good, the bad and the ugly of it all.  You can see them over here, if you fancy.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New Roof!

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We had a new roof put on the house and garage recently.  Not terribly exciting for anyone but us, but I did enjoy taking almost one hundred pictures of the process.  No, I won't ask you to look at them all.  But I did want to post a couple pictures going back to when we bought the house.

First picture is the house as it was when we bought it.  Our little, bland, white house.

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Late 2013
This next picture is after we had the windows installed in November, 2013.  The new windows, aside from being so much more efficient than the original windows, look so much better.  Inside, the fake wood grain finish blends right in with the original trim, and outside we had black flashing installed around the windows to make them pop a little.  We think it worked out rather well.

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Today, 2016
Finally, the third picture is our house now, after the new roof and gutters but before the power company removed the electrical wire protection, top left, that they put on when the permit was pulled.  No, you can't really see the roof, but it looks like any other new roof.  We got ours in black onyx in keeping with the black and white theme.  We also repainted the foundation and front railings since the second picture, 'black as Swedish death metal,' as the paint mixer at the store put it.  We also changed out the front door light and added new, black, more visible house numbers.  And, among other things, we still want a new screen door for the front, and perhaps a new mailbox - black, of course.

The only real difference that you can see in this last picture is in the drip edge along the roof line.  We have no overhang so I came up with the idea of making the drip edge black on the front and back gable ends of the house to give the roof more definition, and we are very pleased with the result.  Even the roofing crew that installed it was impressed that I came up with it.  One even told me he wishes more homeowners did something like this.  The black edge does exactly as I intended, and with the twin peaks out front it looks very good, indeed.

A good, straight on picture is after the break:

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Nice Weekend

DSCF4999I had a pretty nice weekend, I hope you did, too.  On Saturday I got several outside chores done, including getting firewood cut with my new chainsaw!  It's bigger than I actually need, but it was a really good deal.  I had been saving scavenged wood for fire pits but that would be a lot of cutting with the hand saw, now I can scavenge away and not worry about the work of cutting it up.   A few more fire pits and the saw will have paid for itself rather than buying expensive bundles of firewood from the store.  There's a lot of trees in Madison, and a lot of falling branches that are free for the taking.  Later that day we also went over to my sister in law's house to see our newest and tiniest nephew.  Well, I'm not posting pictures of that, so that's that, then.

We were invited by Kate's friend Terry to go out on the boat Sunday.  I was not sure that I wanted to go, but I'm glad I did.  Thanks, Terry!  I was able to kick back and have a few drinks and not drive anything anywhere.  Again, it was a beautiful day for it, not too hot and not too sunny.  Still, don't let the clouds you see below fool you - I came home with minor sunburns on my arms and knees.  My own fault as I skipped the sunblock because I wanted more color.

A zoomed in look across the lake at the Wisconsin State Capitol building in the distance.
A few more pics after the break:

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Atwoodfest 2016!

Atwoodfest, a neighborhood festival on this near east side of Madison, happened this past weekend.  Bands, beers, vendors, beers and friends, all day each day.  Well that would be a bit much, but we did manage to spend a few hours down there both Saturday and Sunday.  The weather was beautiful, temperatures in the low 80's and the sun made it quite warm, however not as hot as last year.

After Mike's visit on Saturday (see last post), we walked down to the festival.  It's just a great atmosphere - and it seems to be getting bigger every year.  We tried some food, though not as much as years past, and bought frivolous festival wares.  We saw some friends and coworkers on our walks up and down the street.  This Atwood Avenue area is only about a 15-20 minute walk from our house, depending on your gait, but then you are on your feet the whole time unless you are lucky enough to come across a rare chair, ledge or curb..  My legs and feet held up well this year, but it did take a toll on my back.  Thus I have the extra time to write this now.

Some more pictures after the break!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Old Friends, Again!

Last year was my 30th class reunion, and it was the first one I had attended.  I talk about that here.  At that time one of my great friends from and since high school, Gary, came back to the area for the reunion from down south and I was able to spend some good time and have some fun hanging with him again.  That post about Gary's visit is here.

Mike and Me.  Man, I hate posting pics of myself....
My other great friend from high school is Mike, and he and Gary were friends well before I nosed in.  I got myself invited to a Ronnie James Dio concert here in Madison, with Dokken as the opening band.  That was in late 1983, maybe 1984...  'twas a long time ago now.  We lived in a town less than an hour away.  Mike was a year younger than me and Gary in high school, I'll repost the picture of all 3 of us from 25 years ago, a few years past high school, somewhere below.

We've been mostly out of touch for many years, just checking in when things happen and such, and I think that goes for all three of us.  But it should also be expected, as we all live in different states now and have our own lives that are busier and more complicated than back then.  I just happen to be closest to where we came from to be able to benefit from getting the chance to see them sometimes on their travels back for other reasons.  I'll take it, these are some of life's treasures.

Me, Gary, and Mike at the Black Bear Lounge, 1991
Mike and I had a couple chances to meet up in the recent years when he came back in the state, but for circumstances it ended up just not working out.  He seemed to want to make it a priority this time, and I was more than happy to see him when he showed up here midday yesterday.  I knew his destination was the hometown but I didn't realize at that time it was for his class reunion.  He had his young son with him and they had been on the road for some time.  After a welcoming and settling in we had grilled burgers for lunch.  Kind of a last minute plan, and I thank my lovely wife for doing all the work so we could visit.

 Mike is one of my oldest and best friends.  He was coming to my house and I wanted to impress him because, you know, we're still friends even though we haven't been close recently so he hasn't seen the cool little house and yard we have and all my toys and creations that go with it.  I did give him the nickel tour, also so we could separate and discuss 'adult' topics without the boy listening.  Yes, stuff happens that I won't write about here.  Man, I miss hanging out with him like we used to, but that couldn't happen today.  Still, he's got a great boy and I know Mike is proudest of him above all.  I did make one faux pas during our visit when I forgot what was actually in a music video I played on the TV with the boy in the room.  Nothing terrible, just a little inappropriate.  Typical for me, I know I have the most unspoken embarrassing moments between me, Mike and Gary of our shared, youthful experiences.  Thankfully they've always seemed to have my back when it counted, as I have theirs, and always will.  We have more years behind us than ahead of us at this point, we have to value what is there for us when we can.

Thanks for stopping by, Mike!  I enjoyed our visit and hopefully we can spend more time in the future.