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July 27, 2006

To Paint is But to Dream...

After returning from our exciting weekend trip, I was supposed to start painting (on Monday). It is now Wednesday, and in the time it takes matthew to fully insulate 8 walls and 4 bays of the ceiling, I have managed to somewhat sloppily paint 1/6 of the entire space. I am not handy.

But, I would like to put forth that I was not just twiddling my thumbs all that time.

I vacuumed.

There was wallboard dust everywhere, and before painting, I thought I should vacuum a little bit. Well, there's no such thing as vacuuming "a little bit" when you're in a construction zone. Once I got started, however, I realized that the floors were so dirty anyway that someone might come along and not even notice all my hard work. So, I took a picture to show just what kind of hard work I was doing:

When you look at it like that, it makes it seem like something was actually accomplished. I was too lazy, though, to move any of the wallboard scraps out, so I'm sure there's still a lot of dust under those.

The shopvac lost some oomph about 10 minutes into the endeavor, and after taking it apart, I realized that the filter could use some cleaning. A lot of cleaning. The following is a close-up of the filter, after I knocked most of the really fine dust off:

As James Brown would say, "Good God, y'all" (wait...did he say that...?). I also noticed that the hunks of dust coming off of the filter bore a striking resemblance to the one thing that anyone ever went to see in New Hampshire:

maninthemountain.jpg old.man.mountain.jpg

And just like The Old Man in the Mountain, the Old Man in the Filter was eradicated by the wrath of Robbi.

So, I had to clean the filter out 5 times before the whole floor was cleaned. And that, my friends is what made me deserve an ice cream.

With all the dust flying about, Iggy did not manage to stay clean. For a while she perched delicately on her small tuffet, but pretty soon the heat and the boredom overtook her, and she flopped to the floor. When she got up, she had the equivalent of doggie bed-head.

And now, I am waiting for a call from the NY Times re: a job I'm supposed to finish today, but still nothing. It was a nice excuse to stop with all that silly painting, but now that the heat of the day has arrived, I should probably return to it.

Posted by ribbu at 10:59 AM | Comments (2)

Back up!

Okay - so, I got ahead of myself here. The actual chronology of events has been lost. Well, not actually lost. I have it, in this wicked steel trap I call my mind. And I will share it with you now, so that it is found.

After moving all our shit and selling the house, we went to a wedding.
I don't have any pictures of it here, because they are all on matthew's computer. So, you will be spared wedding pictures.
Then, we spent the weekend at Lake George, where Iggy learned to swim. There was other excitement, including a power outage, which was all captured on film and then downloaded to matthew's computer as well. So sorry.

The return trip, however, was just downloaded to my (better) computer, and captures perhaps the biggest excitement of the whole weekend (sorry Andy, everybody's been to a wedding - but this... this is really something):

We were driving home through Pennsylvania (prettier and less congested than New Jersey, and, let's face it, a better state all around) and found ourselves adrift amid a virtual flotilla of trucks. Big trucks.

Big trucks with Cingular ads on the back? you say.

Big trucks with big NASCAR cars inside!!!

Yes. Now, as exciting as this was for us, you wouldn't believe how exciting it was for the citizenry of the great state of Pennsylvania. There were people lined up along the roadside to cheer on their favorite NASCAR driver's car's truck (driver). For miles and miles and miles.

It was hard to get them to hold still, so the pictures aren't the best. If you look closely in the following one, you will see people jumping up and down waving their arms on the overpass. I believe for #24, who, after some research online, actually turns out to be someone I've heard of. Wasn't he one of the Defenders of the Earth?

Ordinarily, this would lower the desirability of PA as a drive-through state, but it's up against New Jersey. It's hardly a comparison. I mean, it's like running a footrace against a pegleg.

Actually, come to think of it, a pegleg would probably give me a good run for my money.

Posted by ribbu at 10:09 AM | Comments (1)

Well it's 7am...

... and we're coughing up the phlegm, spitting out the taste of the night before (o-o-ore)

well, not really. But, it is 7am.

I meant to do an all-nighter painting, but overslept and ended up getting up at 4:30. I started painting the primer on, and after getting one measly corner done, started having visions of the whole paint job crumbling because I was too lazy to wipe down the walls. There's drywall dust everywhere, but I was secretly hoping that since I vacuumed the floor and I couldn't really see the dust, then that would mean that I didn't have to go through the excruciating task of wiping the walls from top to bottom with an old raggedy sponge I found under the work sink. Luckily, my overzealous guilty concience kicked in, so if the paint starts falling off the walls in two months, I can definitely say it wasn't because of the wallboard dust.

So now I'm waiting for the walls to "thoroughly dry" as the paint can instructed. I did some gardening in the meanwhile - the weeds here have gotten out of control. But, I think I can probably get back to painting now, which, thankfully, isn't nearly as miserable as sponging off the walls. Although, it is a lot slower. That drywall just eats up the paint.

Yes, it's very dry drywall.

Posted by ribbu at 07:00 AM | Comments (1)

July 14, 2006

Robbi Returns

It is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that a miracle has occurred at the barn.

But before we get to that, Robbi has returned from the tundra, righting many ships that had been sailing at a funny angle in her absence. Iggy and I drove to the airport to fetch her only to find that the 120 pounds of salmon she was supposed to have brought home had not traveled with her. Fishless, we set of down the highway toward home. We got about halfway to Baltimore when the car conked out, leaving us irritated and hopeless on the side of I-95.

Instead of despairing we borrowed a cell phone from a trucker, got a tow to the Nissan dealier in Columbia, and called Christian to rescue us.

While we waited for our ride home, we sat on the hillside at the Nissan dealer.

Once we finally made it home, it would have been nice for me to let Robbi rest after her 4,500 mile journey. Instead I made her pack all of the plants into the van so that we could drive them to Chestertown. I made all sorts of excuses about the amount of work ahead and the limited days in which to do it, but mostly I wanted to show her the insulation.

So we piled into the van.

And drove to Chestertown.

The entire time I described the wonders of the insulation. Robbi listened in rapt attention, so excited to see the insulation that she could hardly contain herself. Once we got to Chestertown we raced to the barn, bounded up the stairs, and found...


Already up!

With much of the finishing complete!

See the care with which they worked around the cross-bracing on the beams. Amazing. This is what we never could have done had we chosen to do the work ourselves.

Robbi took it all in.

And remarked how very tall was the ceiling in our bedroom.

I was sorry that the cats were not there to appreciate our work.

Iggy was less impressed. She still yearns to live in the million dollar house across the street.

The workers were so efficient that Ken didn't even have a chance to frame out the space for the glass block window. They hung and finished the sheetrock on the wall where it is supposed to go. Apparently it is no big deal to cut a hole and do the framing after the fact.

Though happy for the most part, Robbi was disappointed to have missed out on the wonders of insulation. The thought of it got her all riled up.

After basking in the progress, we took our load of plants to Bob and Seiko's house and dropped another load of boxes and things off at the storage unit.

And then we went home. And Robbi slept.

Posted by bogenamp at 08:14 AM | Comments (2)

July 10, 2006

Not for Bob

Ok, for everyone not named Bob or Seiko Behr, here's the story: Robbi and I are conspiring to keep them in the dark regarding progress on the barn from here forward. Bob has it in his mind that he will be called upon to spend the month of August hanging 120 pound sheets of 4 x 12 foot, 5/8 sheetrock against the tall and sloping ceiling of the barn. He is trying to keep a stiff upper lip about it, according to the reports from Coffee Point, but Robbi can tell that the thought of it exhausts him.

Considering that taking the course of hanging the wallboard ourselves would likely result in delay, frustration, misery, and quite potentially serious injury, we have decided to go the route of hiring capable, experienced, savvy men with appropriate tools and forearms to do the work in our stead. They are slated to begin this week and, if the projected schedule holds, should be done by the end of July. Robbi and I are waiting like gleeful children for the moment that Bob and Seiko, having returned from Alaska, climb the stairs to survey the insulation only to find that the sheetrock is hung and finished. Perhaps even the outlets, ceiling fans and heaters will have been installed? Now I'm getting hubris, I fear.

Much of my energy last week was spent trying to get my hands on the 46 sheets of 4x12 sheetrock our contractor Eddie said it would take to finish the barn. The story is probably more interesting to me than it would be to anyone else, but suffice it to say that there were mountains and valleys of joy and despair in the quest to get the sheetrock to the second story of the barn. The problem being that carrying 4x12 sheets up the stairs was not a tenable option. While a boom truck could have delivered through the front sliding door that Michael and I opened a few weeks back, the electrical wires along the street in front of the barn were too close for comfort. Eventually Jimmy, the wallboard savior, hatched a scheme to remove our back bedroom window and, using the boom truck, slide the wallboard, sheet at a time, through our bedroom wall into the main room.

Enough of my ramble. Here are the pictures.

Behold, 26 sheets of 4x12 foot, 5/8 sheetrock:

Just to give you a sense of how long is 12 feet in the context of sheetrock, I placed my dog as a strategic marker of scale.

I know you can't get enough of this. Here's another look.

To recap the excitement that I missed. Jimmy and his boys removed this window.

And this stud. And the insulation I had hung on either side. And the wire that Calvin and his guys had strung between the studs at about waist height.

I toenailed the missing stud back into place, restrung the wire, and rehung the insulation. And things were good as new.

Except that now there were 46 sheets of wallboard waiting to be hung. By someone else.

A parting image of the glory of sheetrock.

I can't wait to see Bob's face.

Posted by bogenamp at 03:20 PM | Comments (1)

July 09, 2006

Scorned on the Fourth of July

I am long overdue in reporting on the fun that was had over the Fourth of July weekend. Christian reminded me of this today in a tone of voice that made me realize he meant business.

So, to keep Christian happy and to commemorate what was a very nice evening, let's get to the main point. It was: to cook and devour enormous steaks. Christian and Emily attempted to enage the butcher at Whole Foods in a thoughtful discussion of various options. What type of steak was the best for grilling? What were the relative virtues of the various cuts? Apparently, the butcher was not intersted in thoughful discussion and thrust these three fine T-bones their way without a satisfying explanation.

Seeing the steaks, I was not displeased.

Cooking the meal was an elaborate affair. In addition to the steaks, we had asparagus, potatoes, and some very fine biscuits. Everything had to be timed just so. And so we timed everything just so. When the time came to turn on the gril, we turned on the grill.

Except for the fact that we could not find any matches. The lack of matches made it impossible to turn on the grill. Until I hatched a bold scheme. Which was not wholly endorsed by Chris, and even less so by Emily. But the sheer force of my resolve prevailed and so...

Christian turned on the gas...

I used the gas stove to light a rolled up magazine solicitation card on fire...

And used it to light the grill.

With inches to spare before my hand would have burned to bits. At last there was a use for those damn business reply cards that fall out of my New Yorker each week.

While the grill was warming up, the potatoes were marinating.

Once marinated, they were folded up neatly in tin foil and placed on the grill.

We checked on them about ten minutes later. They were still fairly uncooked. We waited another five minutes. Still, progress seemed limited. Why were they taking so long? Our thoughtful planning was getting fouled up. It was at this point that we noticed the lack of flame in the grill. And the corresponding lack of heat.

We hatched a terrible theory. And listened for confirmation.

And reached the horrible conclusion. After two years of faithful use, the propane cannister had run dry, and so with it our dreams of grilled meat. There was disappointment.

But not dejection. Christian and Emily pointed out that broiled steaks were the next best thing to grilled steaks.

While the steaks broiled, we continued apace with the carefully timed other courses.

See the lovely asparagus scaffold.

See the ripe red tomato.

See Chris grow crazed and violent. I was taken aback by this outburst. Was it related to the grilling disappoitnment?

I thought to myself how lucky I was that the knife he wielded was so small.

In the encounter with Christian, the tomato was not victorious.

Once he calmed down, Christian was kind enough to set the table.

When we were just about to sit down to eat, Christian recognized a teachable moment for Ruby. "With a big enough knife," he said, "You can beat the reddest, ripest tomato."

Ruby looked at Christian with stars in her eyes, amazed by his wisdom and prowess.

This entry really had to start with the steak and the grilling adventure, but before we cooked we watched the Germany/Italy world cup semifinal. And while we watched, we ate gummy bears.

Usually the consumption of gummy bears is not controversial. This time, however, there was a problem.

I noticed this gummy on the table, lonely, uneaten. I asked Emily, who was sitting beside me on the couch, what she knew about the abandoned gummy.

"You dropped it," she said.

I hadn't dropped it, of course. I would never drop a gummy bear.

But she was my guest, so I didn't want to openly contradict her.

"So it's yours," she continued, "and so is this glass of water, which you just drank out of."

The glass of water in question had been hers. Apparently (according to her story) I took a sip without thinking.

I hadn't taken a drink of water without thinking, of course. I would never do such a thing.

But she was my guest, so I didn't want to tell her that she was out of her mind and living in a fantasty realm.

While we watched the game, Christian lounged. As did Iggy.

And Emily worked on some horrible law-related data-checking task. Why is her photo so large and prominent, you ask? Because she is my guest, and I have to make it up to her for the previously aforementioned wrongs, slights, and insults. (Notice please the contested glass of water in the foreground.)

After dinner (which happened after the soccer) we played Celebrities, a fascinating game that makes us laugh. I have no pictures of us playing, which is probably good, because, in the course of playing Celebrities, we often do inappropriate things.

After celebrities we played Sorry, which is a generally photogenic, family-friendly enterprise.

At Sorry, Emily lost twice. Was there some correlation between losing twice and twice accusing me of minor crimes during the soccer? Who can say?

Eventually I had to eat that lonely red gummy bear.

Posted by bogenamp at 10:53 PM | Comments (3)

Insulation, Week 3

I came home from work on Friday night eager to kill some time before heading over the bridge. And so I made a big bowl of guacamole and played Nintendo for a while, licking the wounds of the week with good food and the regressive pleasure of video games.

Then I packed up the van. Boxes of books, for the most part. With a few bookshelves thrown in. I have started to prepare for next weekend's move in earnest, dismantling the physical space we've spent so much time and energy putting together. The task is made less painful by the fact that my heart has already moved across the bay.

Eventually we were loaded and Iggy was ready to go. She really hates having to sit in the tight space between the two seats.

On the way out of town, I stopped at Matt's again. We took a trip to the Home Depot to get some new staples and a new dust mask (and a mystery item to be revealed later in this entry).

Saturday morning I headed for East Coast Storage, which Robbi had found for me online. I had spoken earlier in the week with Darlene, learning all that I needed to know to make an informed decision about my storage needs. The plan was to rent a 10 by 15 foot climate controlled unit. There are non-climate controlled units available, but in the July/August Chestertown humidity, no item is safe. We're storing a bunch of books and other things that we'd rather not risk getting all soggy.

Darlene showed me the ropes and I pulled the van up to the loading dock.

Iggy was invited in, but preferred to stay in the van.

Darlene showed me the unit. As I said, 10 by 15. Apparently this unit was the floor model where they keep the sign meant to lure and inspire. The paragon of all 10 by 15 foot units, you might say. And never before rented out, according to Darlene.

I bet she says that to all the guys.

Once the unit had been inspected and approved, I started unloading the van. Look at this stack of boxes, can you tell which of these boxes was once used by Bob Behr?

Give up? It's this one. How can you tell? Because of the carefully cut handles. Bob doesn't mess around. No box goes handleless under his watch.

Iggy was wary of the storage facility at first. The endless succession of identical garage-style doors were unnerving to her delicate sensibilities. Though invited, she would not follow me to our locker. Then Darlene appeared with a bag of Snausages and won Iggy's heart. Darlene loves dogs, apparently. Iggy got a lot of Snausages. After that, she was willing to follow me to E13

The contents of the van lined one wall of the unit. Next Saturday we'll bring all of the furniture over.

Construction-wise, the weekend's task was framing out the space for the glass-block window that is to hang between the bedroom and the big room. Uncle Ken was planning to come help me, but due to a string of mechanical malfunctions to his various lawn mowers, he was not able to. He advised me to put up the insulation, leaving a hole where the framing was going to be. I did some crude measurements, erred on the side of leaving Ken more insulation to work with, and, hung insulation around the window-to-be.

Eventually, this window will be placed into the hole. Robbi and I have both dreamed of having a glass block window in our home. And now we will.

While I was working, Iggy discovered the cat door.

I tried to explain that she wasn't likely to fit through, but that she should feel free to sniff it to her heart's content. She took me up on the offer.

Ok, ok. Before we conclude, time for the mystery item mentioned earlier. The item is a present for Bob. What is the occasion, you say? No occasion, I say. Bob just needs a gift every now and then, to let him know that he's a nice guy who is doing a good job with things.

Firmly lodged in the gift-procuring mindset while strolling the aisles at Home Depot, I was drawn to the fact that this item, on its very packaging, was to be considered a "great gift idea."

And that it came with a "carrying case!"

And what is this fabulous item, you say? End the suspense, for god's sake!

Behind door number three is...

A brand new Power Shot, to replace the one so badly maimed by my relentless dropping of it last weekend from the top of the 8-foot ladder to the unyielding beams of the barn's ash floor.

Bob, I took the liberty of opening your gift and using it in Saturday's insulation hanging. I hope you don't mind. It worked very well. It's intact handle ejected staples with an ease and fluidity I regret not having been able to enjoy for much of last weekend's work.

Perhaps we'll have to enshrine the broken Power Shot in a memorial to the weekend of insulation madness. Or perhaps not. There may be yet more heroic milestones ahead that will make the days of insulation seem like child's play.

Hanging the wallboard, for example...

When are you coming home, Bob?

Posted by bogenamp at 08:15 PM

July 04, 2006

Insulation, Week Two

All week I sat at my desk at work, struggling with the irrelevance of my quotidian task. I would pause frequently, gaze up at the stamped tin ceiling of the fire house, and think to myself, "I was born for bigger, better things. I was born to insulate." The days dragged by at the pace of glacial molasses, but eventually Friday came. And as eager as I was to get to Chestertown, I was more eager still to avoid the hordes heading east across the bridge to be the first on the beach Saturday morning. And so I came home and twiddled. I packed the van, ran the dog, watched television in a passive sort of way that brought no real joy. My heart lay across the waters, on the second floor of a dark, hot barn.

Eventually 8:00 rolled around and I felt comfortable setting out. I stopped at the fire house on my way out of the city to pick up my enormous roll of Prodex insulation (700 square feet!) and then proceeded to my friend Matt's house for yet further delay before braving the traffic. [Those reading on will be rewarded with a photo of the Prodex in its glory.]

My sojourn with Matt was idyllic. He was kind enough to procure a pizza and was thoughtful enough to add intrique by topping it with diced slivers of a fresh jalepeno from his garden and carefully shredded bits of lightly microwaved smoked salmon jerky from Bristol Bay. I'm convinced that (considering the mushrooms added by the pizza makers themselves) we were the only two men in Elkridge, MD sampling this particular delicacy that night.

Does this make you hungry? I hadn't thought I was particularly hungry when I arrived at Matt's. Then I ate half of the pie.

After dinner we moved an air conditioner from the basement to Matt's writing nook (he is a sensitive literary type, too) and then proceeded back to the basement where I proceeded to thoroughly trounce him at darts.

Ok, fine. Matt emerged the victor. But the final tally was closer than it has been in the past.

My subsequent drive to Chestertown was uneventful. I arrived, unloaded the van and was ready for bed, but Iggy insisted on seeing the barn. We took Matt's utility light over and set it up. He claims to have used the sucker to mow the lawn in the dead of night, and I can see that such a claim was not overstatement. I think it might be useful to hail a small planet. Skipping ahead to the next morning, here it is, in all of it's dual-halogen glory.

And what a lovely light it casts upon this naked, uninsulated corner of the barn. Seeing this sight, I was inspired to begin my task.

My task began with contemplation of the Prodex. I was hesitant to unroll the gleaming column, so lovely did it seem to me.

But the the minutes were passing and, looking around me, I knew that I would need them all.

And so I began fitting the Prodex up against the ceiling, leaving a 3/4 inch pocket of air above the Prodex. Apparently this is an important part of its functioning.

The job of the Prodex, according to the Web site on which Robbi found it, is to block the radiant heat that comes through the roof. Do I fully understand the intricacies of radiant heat? I do not. Do I know for sure that Prodex and fiberglass are not redundant factors instead of collaborators in insulating synergy? I do not. I must admit that I am charmed by its shiny surface, its light and pliable bearing, the gentle loft of the foam between the sheets of mylar. Given the heat of the barn, I am willing to dream the dream of hoping that the Prodex protects us from days of heat to come. And apparently, it will help trap what meagre heat our bodies are able to produce in the winter months.

Iggy misunderstood the meaning of Prodex. Once I explained it to her, she was embarassed for having mistaken it for a dog bed. I sent her back to the tuffet. Moments later she returned to the Prodex, undaunted. Apparently, it was the coolest surface in the barn. I hope that the presence of dog claw indentations does not lessen the effectiveness of Prodex. I scanned the instructions, and there was no mention of dogs.

I cut my teeth last weekend insulating some of the walls. The challenge for this weekend was tackling the ceiling. The precience of our purchase of the grand ladder became clear; I spent the majority of the weekend on the ladder, leaning back, staple gun above my head, fitting and attaching Prodex and fiberglass to the 23.5" space between the ceiling beams.

It was slow going:

But eventually the bare ceiling disappeared:

As did the roll of Prodex:

And eventually, the ceiling was a sea of kraft paper waves.

You can't see it, but underneath the mask, I am grinning the grin of a crazed, hot, gratified man.

The little montage above documents the work of several days. Along the way there were complications. Because this barn was never meant to be insulated, it is not layed out neatly for the ease of he doing the insulation. The dimensions are uneven and there are an inordinate number of diagonal cross beams that must be negotiated. And then there are the wires, which while necessary, do complicate one's best attempts to neatly orient the Prodex. For example:

Another man could have grown frustrated. I struck this pose, aiming to threaten the Prodex into straightening out.

My tactic was effective.

To my utter shock.

Another complicating factor was the heat. Saturday was hot. Sunday was ridiculous. It was 95 degrees outside on Sunday and easily another 10 degrees hotter on the second floor of the barn. I had to drink constantly and still could not stay hydrated. After approximately 15 minutes, my clothes were completely wet. Not just damp, but saturated with sweat, as if I had just climbed out of the pool.

These patches, for example, are from the sweat of my knees.

Every two hours or so I went back to the house and changed into another set of clothes, putting the ones I'd just ruined in the wash to be worn again some two hours hence.

It was so hot and humid that my mask also became saturated, making it possible to breathe through. I switched to the backup mask. Soon both were unusable (and sang with an inarticuable reek and funk). Out of options, I put one of the masks into the laundry with my clothes and Lo! it came out as good as new.

For the most part Iggy spent the weekend on the porch at the house (fiberglass is bad for a dog's lungs, too), but I brought her over occasionally to check out the progress. It's strange, but she really loves the barn. She's enthusiastic about most things, but it's clear from the way she races up the stairs whenever we arrive, that she knows that this is her new space and that she's eager to start living here. Or maybe that's just projection. Because it's certainly true for me.

Once I finished insulating the ceiling, the next order was the bedroom. I spent most of Saturday and Sunday on the ceiling and walls in the big room and had thought that the bedroom, small as it is, would be an afterthought for a short day of work Monday. I had underestimated the complexity of the bedroom and soon realized that Monday would not be a short day of work.

Here, for example: we placed this series of boards against the beam to create support for the header for the west wall of our bedroom. The boards made Prodex hanging rather difficult.

But not impossible. This time I used gentleness instead of intimidation.

And eventually, the bedroom ceiling was done.

The bedroom walls presented such challenges as this beam, which made an otherwise straightforward task rather complex. I am not known for patience. But I dug down.

Dramatic shot of Matthew and Prodex (on bedroom ceiling).

By this point, the Prodex was nearly gone.

Fortunately, the bedroom was done, and the need for Prodex done with it.

The finished bedroom from a slightly different angle.

Once the bedroom was complete, all that remained was the big wall that separates the big room from the bedroom and the stairwell. This being new construction, the work of hanging the insulation was easy and predictable, a refreshing departure from two and a half days of improvisation.

See how the studs are all evenly spaced? Notice the lack of intervening diagonal beams? I was glad to have saved this for last. At this point I was just about running out of gas.

Here's a shot standing on the stairs, looking up at the back of the big wall and the bedroom wall.

And another, for good measure. See the dust motes? In their midst are milions of tiny airborne shreds of razor-sharp glass fibers. This is why I wore the mask. This is why Iggy was not invited to hang out in the barn this weekend.

There is one more adventure to relate. Since our bedroom does not connect directly to the big room, we thought it would be fun (and useful) to have a cat door so that the cats could pass freely between the bedroom and their litter should the spirit move them. I had discussed framing the cat door with Michael and Ken, but had not yet gotten around to it given the pondfull of bigger fish to fry. Hoping to finish as much of the insulating as possible, however, I realized that the time had come and that there was no one but me on hand to get the job done.

I used Bob's table saw to cut two side supports the same height as the cat door:

And cut two narrow strips for the cat door to attach to:

I then cut a top support to span the two studs in question:

I then used the (harder than it sounds) toenail technique to fasten the whole shebang into the existing framework.

And so the cats will have egress:

Given the long list of potentially threatening factors (tall ladder, sharp box-cutter, searing heat, my already acute procilvity for unwitting self-mutilation) I am gratified to report that the list of casualties is light. The worst injury of the weekend happened before I even left Baltimore. I stabbed myself in the right thumb with a fork while scrubbing it too vigorously. In the barn I twice bumped my head against nails sticking down from the ceiling and twice banged my head against the boom of the crane that lifts things between the kiln room and the Florabana warehouse. I suffered the indignity of all-over fiberglass rash, but that's more irritating than actually painful. In fact, the greatest casualty of the weekend was none other than Bob's Power Shot staple gun.

Previously, the Power Shot had a nicely contoured handle meant to make the act of pressing and ejecting a staple much easier on the hand. After the 11th (or perhaps 12th) time of being knocked from the top of the 8-foot ladder, the Power Shot gave up and jettisoned its handle. I'm not sure what this sign of protest was intended to achieve, but it had the impact of making my stapling quite a bit more difficult. My forearm this morning is a work of art. A swolen, painful, badly fatigued work of art.

The other casualty was Seiko's hydrangia, which I pruned to appease a passerby who claimed that it was impeding her progress along the sidewalk and that if it wasn't pruned soon the city would likely intervene. Not wanting to see Seiko carted off to the Kent County slammer upon arriving home, I took matters into my own hands and pruned back the beast.

At the end of the day Monday, the barn was in a sorry state of repair. Because of the odd angles and uneven measurements, there was a great deal of fiberglass detritus.

So I cleaned it up.

This is going to be a nice space.

The other direction:

For the first time, you can really get a sense of how nice the exposed beams are going to look:

I'll leave you with this shot looking from the foyer through our front door and out the recently-opened front door into the street. I like the patch of early-evening sunlight on the far door. Our new home is going to be beautiful. Thanks Bob and Seko, for making this possible.

I'm now back in Baltimore on the morning of the 4th of July. There is no part of me that doesn't ache. I don't think I could do more work today if I had to. Or maybe I could. This afternoon I will grill steaks with Chris and Emily, the second year of a two-year tradition. And tomorrow, back to work for a three-day week.

Posted by bogenamp at 02:08 PM