Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cold Weather Construction Company

FINALLY got a full day to work on the project.  With Holidays, work, out of state travel, and bad weather, it's been frustratingly slow going.  As soon as I got home in the morning got to work.  All my lumber had frozen into a single mass, sort of like a bowl of hard candy.  A few good whacks with a sledge would free it up.  My concrete washout had filled with rainwater and frozen solid---the kids were ice skating on it.  Wish I had gotten a picture of that..
So the fireplace frame is done, which holds the really really heavy parallam beam up which will support the upstairs...I dropped it at one point and the corner put a palm sized soft spot in the subfloor.  It will be easy to patch and it's going to be under a kitchen base cabinet anyway. 
Next, framed the wall that holds the sliding glass door facing the lake. With diagonal bracing, everything's more solid. 
Next was lifting the parallam header into place that forms the opening into the bay window seating area, and holds the big wall in place (in anticipation of Sunday's impending wind/snow storm)  Getting this beam in place was scary and I have splinters in my neck from shoulder-loading it.
So starting a 72 hour shift right now.  I'll be at work while this storm passes, then I get 6 days in a row, with predicted nice weather, to work on this. 

Thanksgiving Break

 The George Family met us in Penasquitos Ranch (roughly halfway between our homes) for lunch out, at Claimjumper.  We burned off our meal at a nearby park----Rob had packed up a volleyball kit.   It was fun and the weather couldn't have been better---it was the only nice day of the week.
   Day before Thanksgiving a co-worker that often bow hunts at our cabin gave us this wild turkey.  Cooking it fell on my 'honeydo' list before leaving for work Thanksgiving proper.  Two years in a row eating fresh, wild turkey.  I don't think we could go back to store-bought again.  This was delicious and my family, that rarely eats any meat, devoured it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Raising A Wall

Had plenty of time to think about how to get this two story balloon framed wall from horizontal to vertical.  This is the only one that's two stories tall, the rest will be single story and stacked up. 

Friday, November 12, 2010


The Burnett House.  Right in the middle of where 'The Battle Of Richmond' was fought.  Slave quarters to the left.

The draw where the Confederate Army hid from the Union troops then took them by surprise.  A huge loss for the Union army.

What was really interesting was the cemetary---the slaves and masters were all buried together.  The slave's headstones were just as ornate, and many of them had kind words like 'servant and friend'. 

I got a call asking for help evaluating a software product for DHS that's meant for fire departments to use.  They roped me in by saying I was 'uniquely suited' for the eval, which I think meant willing to spend a week in the middle of nowhere.  It was a real struggle to do a good job with some very boring data entry.  The countryside was beautiful but all the meetings were indoors. 
Tried not to think about all the work I could be getting done framing.  This was my small way to answer a call to public service for my nation.   Very, very small indeed. 
As I travelled back to Lexington for the trip home (Veteran's Day) I stopped at the site of The Battle Of Richmond.  Thousands of soldiers---Confederates trying to protect their way of life and financial interests largely dependent on slave labor, from Union forces trying to keep a young nation together and end slavery---both sides certain they were right and willing to die far, far from home.  Right here in this field. 
It was very queit and I was glad to be alone here.  Really made my 5 days away, where the biggest threat was boredom, seem petty.  If they survived the battle they had weeks, even months, of travel home.  All I had to do was find someplace for lunch here in the deep south, then a mere 7 hours later sleep in my own bed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Housing Crisis Fix

   In my ongoing bid to become Earthczar, I have an obligation to confront a variety of issues.  Today I'll solve the housing crisis.
    I have friends, families, co-workers and neighbors all facing foreclosure.  Typically people got way overextended assuming they'd be house poor for awhile, but they'd have their foot in the door so as the market climbed, they'd eventually be in a good spot.  Others kept refinancing as equity rose and actually lived off the proceeds as supplemental income.  The wise choice is to always leave yourself some margin, but that's not what I'm preaching today.
   So, you have good people that bought more house than they can afford.  No one wants to put them on the streets, and most of them really want to live up to their obligations.  They are just overextended and don't want to be slaves to a house they are upside-down in---owing more than it's worth.
  Here's the fix.  Put together a list of ALL distressed properties in a database.  Sit down with the distressed owners and figure out what they CAN afford.  Match them with a list of homes they can move down into, and roll the terms of the original loan, at the re-figured lower principal, over to them.  They don't have to default and are not homeless.  They are matched to a more realistic living situation.  You'll still have the highest priced homes defaulted with no one to move down into, and the people at the very, very bottom  will have to rent or earn more, but for the vast majority it will be a solution.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Not A Rush Fan

   During the election melee I was accused of listening to Rush all the time and forming opinions not based on what I think, but instead by words streaming from my radio.
   While working at the new place, I was, in fact, listening to the radio when 'Rush' happened to come on.  I decided to really listen and give an honest appraisal of what I thought.
   I listened through the whiny voice inflections.  Lots and lots of words that just never went anywhere.  In the beginning you think it's going to say something but really never does.  I'm not sure why there's been so much staying power; I didn't hear a single thing that made sense to me, out of what little I could understand.
   Geddy Lee is WAY over-rated.