Thursday, February 25, 2010

Building around El Nino

The lake's full just about to capacity, which is good...I've been delayed in building by rain and snow though. Twice now I've finished the concrete pour while the sleet started coming down, then scrambled to get it all covered up.
If you're like me and don't care to hear about aches and pains, skip this paragraph. My rotator cuffs (both sides, but more the right) have been giving me problems, especially at night. It was frustrating and scary---how'm I gonna build a house with arms that don't work? I decided to ignore it and try to mix 6,000 pounds of concrete and move heavy rocks anyway. Know what? Everything felt GREAT afterwards, much better than before.
The lower wall is all done. This upper wall is right on the property line. What doesn't show is the 'dead man', a concrete girder about 14" x 12" that joins the top of the lower wall with the bottom of the upper wall every 20'. They're covered by the gravel driveway. They'll keep either wall from bowing from the pressure of the hillside over time.
Most time is spent digging. Then build the forms, trying to re-use the lumber and screws as many times as possible. Then line everything with plastic---if you pour right on the soil, too much moisture is drawn from the concrete. Strip the forms. Lay a bed of concrete on the footing, start placing stones, backpour concrete against a temporary form on the backside to lock it all in. Later I'll pour an upper burb that ties everything together, which will have post holders. I have to put a fence on top of this wall since it's going to be parking right on the property line.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy St. Valentine's day

On a 4 day bender here at work...Day one, 380 pound guy fall from cliff into surf, at night. Day two, retired fireman passed out on Cowles Mountain. Today, this one first then an even more tragic call, not postable.
Busy is good, though

Friday, February 12, 2010

Typical Lauren...

OK. So, Lauren is our middle child. She's in seventh grade. She recently won the school spelling bee (including the eight graders!) but the biggest competition was a fellow seventh grader----Darren. Darren takes spelling bees seriously. (his Dad's the principal, too---a great guy) Darren asks for the word to be repeated, defined, used in a sentence---every time. Spelling bee tactics.
Darren was eliminated by the word 'straightforward'. He spelled it with a 'dash' between 'straight' and 'forward'.
So, Lauren's going on to the county spelling bee. A few days later she was in class writing an essay and got stuck on a word. She said, somewhat absentmindedly, "How do you spell....." When she saw Darren was the person in earshot, she quickly decided she wasn't about to give him the pleasure, so she just said "...Never mind" So Darren started spelling "N-E-V-E-R.." when Lauren blurted out "DASH!"
The class laughed, except for Darren who mustered up his best 'stink-eye' for Lauren. Didn't stop him from asking her to dance with him at the Valentine's dance today though

Monday, February 1, 2010


During my medic rotation where I'm taken from the copter to staff the ambulance (it's to keep current on things and really not a bad idea...Just a lot more work!) I had a patient ask me, on the way to the hospital, what my 'sign' was. She was a Gemini, she said, and her horoscope predicted a medical emergency...
I asked her whether she goes by the dates set over 2,000 years ago, or the actual sign she was born under?
Let me get this straight....The sky is divided into 12, 30 degree sections. (12 because there's usually 12 full moons in a year) Each of these sections of sky falls in the plane of the ecliptic where the sun, moon and planets transit. If you use your imagination, each of these zones has a group of stars that kind of resemble something that was around 2 millenia ago. So, when I was born, the sun shone through this group of stars, raining the attributes of that star formation down upon me. There are planets too. One is really bright, so it's given the attribute of 'beauty'. One is vaguely red, so looks a little like blood, so gives the attribute of 'war'. These planets wander in and out of 'my' constellation, so things about my life can be predicted by this.
Today's horoscope---"Good time for love affairs; you will be in great form, and look handsome. You will be full of energy, and take on the work of Hercules....All this from planets moving through a group of stars!
A few problems with this. First, the sun doesn't shine through the stars---they are very far away. Second, there has been precession over the last 2,000 years due to the earth's wobble, so you were most likely born under the constellation one before what you think you are; If you were born between Nov.29-Dec 17, you're actually born under the sign 'Ophiuchus'. So according to horoscope sites I'm a Taurus, though I was born 'under' Aries the ram. And what about comets? If a planet can move through and make me look handsome, how come a comet can pass through and it doesn't alter my horoscope one bit?
I tried to politely ask my patient some of these things. All she offered was, "I'd fully expect a Taurus to say something like that"