Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend recap

One of the kids' read-aloud books was called something like "Daddy's Busy Day" -- I'm sure that's wrong -- but it was partly sponsored(?) by Johnson&Johnson; I believe it had an actual Band-Aid® in it.

Anyway, the idea was that Daddy did about a dozen things with the kids -- trimmed the hedge, painted the garage door, mowed the lawn -- all in one day. Once when reading the book to the kids, I laughed out loud when Daddy was doing the 4th thing or so. The kids didn't know what was up with that, and I said this story was science fiction. After just *reading* about 3 or 4 of those projects I was ready to go lie down.

Well, last Friday, the lovely Carol was discussing her honey-do list with me and noted that I had four projects scheduled for Saturday. "Too many," she said, but I took that as a challenge. Here's how it turned out.

  1. First up: the easy project -- finding the dog-barrier and installing it in the station wagon. The former denizen of the cargo area was an 80-pound Ridgeback mix. Or Great Dane mix. He had destroyed the suction-cup-mounted dog "barrier", and we replaced it with a wrought-iron Canine Prison Special (I made that name up). It's been gathering dust since 2007, but I found it and used the broom and vacuum cleaner on it before re-installing in our Subaru wagon.


  2. The garage window came next. The previous weekend, I tried installing the new pane of glass, but found it was ¼" too wide; apparently we had a miscommunication. I tried leaving off the rubber gasket-like thing that protect the edge (a bad idea) but even then the pane just wouldn't fit.

    With the quarter-inch trimmed off, it went in easily this Saturday morning. Not that I didn't make a few mistakes (I ended up restarting about half-way through), but it wasn't much of an ordeal.

  3. Next up was hanging a vertical mirror. This is about 4' high x 1' wide, and has a plastic frame. The frame is big enough to accommodate a screw, so I located a stud and drilled the appropriate places on the mirror, both the top and bottom. As the mirror wasn't centered around the stud (I drilled about 2.6" from the left-hand edge), I put a wall anchor in about 2.6" from the right-hand edge, along the top of the frame.

    Naturally, I forgot to make sure that I was facing the correct direction when drilling the holes, so I ended up with an extra one. Three down!

  4. The front door had some unsightly holes that the lovely Carol has been complaining about sporadically for some time. I had put wood-dough into most of the holes earlier, but had missed one (boo!). Also, I was sufficiently un-subtle with the wood-dough... repair was beyond the reach of mere sandpaper. I found a small container of spackle, which I thought might be easier to work--not! It was rock-hard. It was impervious to water.

    There was another little Tupperware-like container of spackle -- this one became useful with a little water added. Hooray! I filled the hole I'd forgotten (after scraping some rough paint-edges with a handy scraper) and feathered out some of the mess I'd made earlier with the wood-dough.

    • Somewhere in there, I remembered that I'd lent my electric sander to someone... who was it? Eventually I remembered and gave them a phone call... nobody home.
    • We had been talking about putting some of our valuables into a fire-resistant safe. I called a couple of places -- closed Saturdays, or no models on display. Hurmpf -- did a little online shopping and saw this one. If put into a wall, it would stick about 10" through the other side. I found a place it might go, but wasn't sure how deep the thing could protrude without causing problems (there's an air-duct behind this wall). So I climbed into the attic to eyeball the air-duct and guesstimate whether a 10" intrusion would be a problem.

      While exploring up there, I discovered an astonishing amount of rodent calling-card material. Bleah.

    • Sometime in there, our friends called back. Yes, they had the sander, yes, I could come pick it up. Great. I wanted to go to Blockbuster, return one DVD and pick another one up.

      So off I went. Picked up the sander, then off to OSH to pick up d-Con or similar -- and a couple of outdoor floodlights while I was at it -- then off to Blockbuster, and back home. Whew!

    • By now the spackle was dry and I put primer (oil-based -- しかたがない) over the areas I'd worked -- on both sides of the door. I grabbed an electric fan from the kids' room and pointed it at the door. Yippee!

Now it was about 4:30 and time to start on dinner. I popped open a cold one and preheated the oven to 400°F for "Tandoori style roast chicken." The spices sure smelled good. I basted it with olive oil (they said lemon juice but I have my principles) and about half an hour in, lowered the heat to 350°F. Total cook time: about an hour for a 5½# bird.

The other dinner item was kale with cream. Cardiologists need not panic; there's about a tablespoon of cream for about a pound of kale. Oh, there's a tablespoon of butter, too. And boullion. Salt, pepper, a little nutmeg and that's about it. Boil the kale 20-30 minutes (leaves only, no stems -- the lovely Carol had stripped the leaves off the stems for me), then combine with the other ingredients in a large skillet for a minute or two.

She came home as I was finishing up the dinner prep. Everything was pretty good, if I do say so myself. I got a good start on the dishes (the roasting pan would have to wait though).

At this point, some of you may wondering if I was after something. Nope -- I was just into being productive; I was in "the zone," a rare occurrence.
We watched Kate & Leopold, which we both enjoyed. Definitely unrealistic, but that's where the willing suspension of disbelief comes in -- it's a fantasy for sure!

The door got done the next day (yes it was Sunday). I found the appropriate paint for both sides of the door (both latex -- hooray!) and did the deed. The electric fan came out again to accelerate the drying process, and I put the doorknob back on once the paint was dry.

After that, I ran out of gas. I haven't put the rat-poison into the attic, and I haven't replaced the burned-out floodlight for the patio. But that can wait 'til next weekend.

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