Sometimes I surprise myself. I did that?!
Vent cover. I never heard of them. I took them for granted. I never look at them. You can buy them. It’s better than the old metal one. Ah! Finish?! You gotta do it yourself. Really?! I did that?! Yup! I finished it to match. Myself. Not bad. Yes, the cats were curious at every step. There is some skill involved. Ha! Undaunted. Edges, sill, vent, nail gun, oh my! Easy! Right! I gotta say… don’t try this at home. (Wink!)
I also gotta say that I took pictures as I went along. Gee, everything deserves a picture….
Nothing is lost
How chaotic is your file system? Your storage system? Slides? Digital is easy. Negatives reside somewhere lost in my past. There were a lot of boxes of black and white negatives stored away somewhere.
When I started shooting slides, I began to develop my own not too long after. That was hell. Try to hold a water bath within a tenth of a degree for 30 minutes while the developing tank requires constant agitation. I bought cardboard mounts, ten thousand at a time. Heat sealed, I used our iron more than my wife.
Storage. At first it was fine. I stored box upon box in the top shelf of our bedroom closet….until space ran out. Then it was a closet – floor. Finally we build a custom cabinet. That was $$$. Hey! I was a neurosurgeon with a $$ budget. But even those drawers were eventually full. How many slides? Near to 110 thousand. Who’d think that would take so much space! I was cheap now. That last cabinet was simply too many $$.
So, I planned and built one. I had no experience building drawers. I borrowed a table saw. The kids pitched in. We built 26 drawers and a cabinet out on the deck in the NYC weather come what may.
To illustrate – I went on a search for the pictures of the project. To be sure I had not that long ago seen the pic of Jules on the deck helping. Aha! Find it?! Sure?! My organization is only as good as the information storage. I had scanned the picture/slide? Or… aha! Dammit. And this is funny. I took pictures of the new slide storage system with a digital camera. Oh! Rich! Digital to document film. We did this project in the summer of 2003. By the next summer I would be switched over 100% to digital with my purchase of the Nikon D70. Little did I know what was to come.
Meanwhile chaos again, as if you might care for my plight. The initial set of drawers was a built in. There have been a couple moves since then. 28 or so drawers sit in a closet again. Ha ha! And the cabinet I built sits in my office. 26 drawers built to last a lifetime storage of slides. It is half full of what was anticipated, the other drawers empty. Who knew the future and what would come of my slides? But, disorganized is the operative word. Operative? Ha! I still have dreams about doing surgery.
Pin me down
Need a date? 2003. Canon G3. It was my first foray into digital camera thanks to a gracious gift from Lisa. Smart – Lisa. She saw the future. I was still heavily invested in film and film cameras. Too soon Kodak faded and disappeared in the rear view mirror.
In the space of a month I shot Ginny and Pat, my dog Nellie, sights of NY, and at Jule’s track meet. Ask me how I pulled off the selfie? Tripod and timer? It wasn’t hand held. Cellphones were not yet iPhone for years to come.
Meanwhile I was caught up building a cabinet and drawers to house my slide collection. Twenty six drawers, enough to house the current collection and for many years to come – which would be only one more (year). I overbuilt! It was a fun project and the kids helped me enormously. The completed project holds some but not all. Alas, the collection never grew much more. Film was gone in a year for me. I got a lot of drawers that sit empty waiting for slides that never came. It’s bittersweet. Digital images have far surpassed my film consumption in many fewer years than it took to accumulate my collection of slides. Progress? Improvement? Better? Worse? For the most part I think progress is/has been good. Here, Colleen and I have had a fierce recent debate over the earth and the environment and the preservation of natural resources. Stay put or go back? We, just like time, are always moving forward. We discuss and we agree for the most part.
I ordered 13 boxes of flooring – 20 sq ft x 13. One box was damaged and another delivered without a question. 14 boxes and I was short about six boards to finish the space completely. We bought another – whole box!! Ha ha. It comes in 2 ½ inch, 3 ½ inch, and 5 inch width. I had just installed 3 ½ inch. Our new box was 2 ½ inch. My bad! Oy!! I buried the narrow boards in the closet. No one will notice – maybe the new homeowners, eventually.
Can you see? The newest boards added are now narrower? The trim board at the bathroom floor transition is slightly narrower, (by an inch). Nope! Looks good! I’m sitckin’ with that! It was amazing that mostly the rows fit together like a puzzle with hardly (just a few) any cuts with the saw.
Flowers?! My reward for a day’s hard floor work, a photographic walk thru my garden. Yup, all planted for summer, good to go. In a weird way it is like diving in the Red Sea. Same flowers (same fish), they change every day. Flowers bloom, others fade, I am challenged to capture beauty and essence. Technique, focus, and composition are critical.
And so on and on… it makes Colleen smile … the floor or the flowers?
Does my living room look less worse? Cluttered? Ha ha. The floor us complete! Awesome! We did it! Colleen would defer. But, indeed, she helped! Assembly required, we had to return everything to its place. Note: a few (only a few) things did not return.
I had saws on both decks. Thank goodness. The sawdust! See the spider webs revealed by the stray dust?! (We got lots of spiders!) I cannot be certain, but, we passed, cat inspection. Mistakes? A few. How about waiting a day for a new floor nailer? 16 gauge nails do not fit when it calls for 18 gauge. Duh?! Yeah, guilty! Not too bright! In the end… great job, looks fantastic, I’m glad it’s done.
Ok! It’s a big freakin’ deal! I got 2/3 done. It is lookin’ rather spiffy. The furniture keeps moving around. Colleen has been good humored about it all. I think I have done an excellent job considering I am an amateur. I ordered, stained, and finished the floor vent. There are mistakes too minor to really mention. All it took was a few tools. I got about 25% to go. Consider, that I was nearly done in by a head injury a few mere weeks ago… Rain is in the forecast. I shall work (cut wood) on the deck, between the drops. Oh boy! What’s next?
Laying/installing floor is like a puzzle! The boards are of different length and color. You piece together a row at a time. No regrets permitted. You nail them in one row at a time forever! No gaps and no funny color patterns, it is both forgiving and precise! The cats inspect frequently. My wife – dearest understanding wife – sleeps next to a chop saw. Her underwear drawer is in our living room. As anyone knows, it takes time to put a puzzle together if one has never seen the original picture. Fun! To keep sawdust at bay I cut on the adjacent balcony deck. …except it was raining! Yes, we are sleeping in the bed while the work goes on. Did I mention, kids, don’t try this at home?
Installing 3/4 inch hardwood flooring? Simple… only a few tools required. Hey! It ain’t brain surgery! I do not know any carpenters who would work in a room full of furniture much less sleep in it while it was under construction. Ummm… you just push the furniture around as you go. I even got vent covers fit for ¾ inch wood. We are not inventing the wheel here. Someone already thought of everything. Stupid? Yes, there is a way to make stupid mistakes. I could not load the nail gun. Yes, yes , I finally figured it out. So far everything looks promising. The hardest part is cutting and installing around the door frames. The transition is critical. Mine is seamless. Easy? I have learned much about flooring. I consider it a satisfying accomplishment. If you are thinking of doing it? …don’t.
The worst shall be last
Did you ever have to do something and dreaded the project because it was too awful to think about? Have you ever been convoluted? My office was the last floor to install click lock floor. Daunting, there was so much stuff in the room with no where to go while I installed. I finally got the hang of it! It means that I should go back and re-do the other rooms. Ha ha! NO!! Meanwhile, the best (installed) is last, and, I will be able to use this floor for many years to come. And, my cats cannot make a mess that I cannot clean.
The hard part was dealing with a 45-degree cut. No problem on a chop saw. The Oscars – famous slap – occurred in the middle of the project. No problem. Just move the furniture around. Yeah?! Who doesn’t move all/everything out of the room before laying floor? … that would be this dummy.
Window and door
Our house needed replacement parts – a new (upper left) bedroom balcony door and a new (upper middle) studio window. Needless to say, Colleen wasn’t about to let me try to install the new ones. It was way too heavy (weight) a task for me to tackle. So, instead a couple of (small) guys came to do the job. Ha ha, these guys were good and this was not their first job. In one day, just one day, they removed and installed a door; and they removed a door, built a knee wall, and installed a double window. Slick! They don’t paint and spackle. Ok! I did it the next day. We matched paint and it was covered up. We have storage benches (brown). They are not made anymore. So, I built a bench the next day custom fit to the new height. A matching set of blinds will follow and you might never notice there was a door there before.
I hate power tools. In fact the spiffy nail gun popped one into my finger. Ouch! In all my years of surgery, I constantly had to use power tools in critical spots – no mistakes allowed. Since retirement, the table saw, router, and chop saw have been constant companion tools. Ok! Just do it. Fortunately, it has gone well. Meanwhile, I am used to finishing projects quickly. Brain surgery ain’t like auto repair, “The car will be ready next week, mam.” Nope, brain surgery with few exceptions is a one day completion too.
… as in, they’ve been constructing this building for years… at least two. We’ve lost track. It was initially a building without windows. None! Then they cut in windows, but not in the back of the building. There is a giant two story garage door there. And then they added the balconies. It might be commercial. But it is at the apex of a triangle intersection with busy traffic on both sides. There is no parking lot. So?? We can’t wait to see what this building is used for. At the rate of construction revisions, it might still be a while…
I’m happily exhausted. This has been a project in the works for a long time. It’s been a project in progress since the summer. So, for months the house has been a mess. Each step was painstaking. No mistakes!! Only perfection would do. It has to look professional. Otherwise – failure.
I’m cheap. In the past other craftsman have built bookcases in my homes and I have paid handsomely (very). This time I decided to do it myself. The wood was expensive. Sure! But the construction? I spent countless hours working on each step. I had a rough plan. And then I built it to fit the space, right down to the inch. Yes, there was some last minute adjustments in order to fit the pieces into place. Yeah, try and persuade a sheet of 4’X8′ plywood to move a millimeter or two. It’s easy to move it an inch. It’s the last few mm that determine perfection. Yes, there are errors. It ain’t brain surgery! No one dies. It’s unfinished yet. That’s the one big difference. Everyone expects you to finish brain surgery the same day. Now, that’s pressure. Think of it another way: it’s all in the finish…
Professional? Yeah. It’s not hard to tell the difference. But when kids make ‘em it’s a unique experience with loud squeals and a whole lot of sugar icing all over the place. You can do a “kit.” It goes together fast and looks great. But it’s not the same as individual personal construction. Icing dries slowly and I don’t have patience.
So I used a foam board construction underneath and built the thing one two three. (That would be – construct a foam board house underneath all the ginger bread walls.) Licorice sticks hide a multitude of sin. Of course, I am not responsible for the decoration. There is a time when too many cooks… There is only one rule: no blanks space should be devoid of confection.