August 2012


Ever since Erin started driving, Melissa realized that she no longer needed to work for the school system in order to match her schedule with the kids’. Now that Erin is a sophomore in college, she finally decided to look for a full-time job this summer.

Last week, she found one.

It has all been relatively agonizing since she thought it would be nice to continue working for the school system – just full time. To that end, she interviewed for several positions throughout the summer at the main office but none of those panned out. So she applied for a job with Verizon at a local place where they do a lot of corporate accounting and she landed that one. So she will be starting there in October and after staying home for 20 years, she will be heading back into the work force and will probably do that until we retire. Unless she hates it, then who knows?

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The garage air conditioner has been very nice.  I turn it on when I get home and it cools the cars down which makes it much more pleasant to go into the garage for all those things you usually go into a garage for but it has made all the difference to me since I can now go out there and spend time at my workbench.
I’ve been able to work on my long-term transition to more hand-tool work.  I haven’t accomplished a whole lot yet other than practicing with various hand planes and saws.  I have sharpened everything I have including some saws which is a rather tedious skill to try and develop.  It’s similar to plastering the ceiling in that sense.  But I have managed to make a couple of them cut better than they did so that’s encouraging.
I’ve started a simple project to actually produce something: the English Layout Square that I saw in Popular Woodworking.  I’ve seen that one done on the Woodwright’s Shop on PBS also.  So that one is about half done and it going well.
Air conditioning is definitely a good thing.
I also have a guy at work who is building a shop and who wants to buy my table saw and dust collector so I’m pumped about that.  That should free up some space.

I haven’t updated anything since the Fourth of July holiday.  This is getting to be typical behavior now that Facebook is so easy to use from my phone.  And twitter.  But I must keep this up – it’s at least readable later.

After the fourth, things got hot.  There was a period in there where the temperatures soared above 100 (up to 114 at times) for many days.  We stayed inside for the most part where I could mess about in the garage now that it is air conditioned.

I also decided to finally tackle a nagging home improvement project: the popcorn on the ceilings.  People hate that stuff nowadays which is unfortunate since it is so common.  But since we’re trying to complete the kitchen, it made sense to do the ceiling first and work my way down to the flooring.  I took down the old fluorescent fixture and scraped the popcorn off the ceiling.  That was a huge effort and a huge mess but not complicated.  Only then did I order an asbestos test kit and have the stuff analyzed.  Luckily, my house is not one of those that used the asbestos popcorn so I’m good.

I tried valiantly to redo the surface of the ceiling to make it smooth but that sort of thing is a skill that is acquired only after much practice and I never really got it perfect although it looked pretty good.  To complete things (and hide the minor imperfections) I bought some spray-on stuff that you knock down with a trowel.  It gave the surface enough of a random texture to avoid calling attention to the imperfections but not the dust-catching monstrosity of popcorn.  It looks pretty good.

We also decided to replace all the lighting and so bought a bunch of recessed cans which I mounted in the ceiling.  They went in easily but wiring them up was a huge job which was a bad idea to schedule in the hottest part of the summer since it involved getting up into the attic.  Paul came over to help and he ended up doing most of the work since he works outside every day and was more used to the heat.  We wired up the kitchen half of the room and left the dining room half for later in the fall.  So the kitchen now has a new ceiling surface and new lighting.  I also ordered some LED-based lights for under the cabinets.

Next: new counter tops followed by new flooring.

But that will have to wait for awhile to keep the costs spread out.

In the meantime, I also scraped the ceiling of the laundry room which is tiny; barely a closet really.  I managed to refloat that surface with joint compound very well and it looks actually like a real plasterer did it.  It would pass for smooth although I will lightly texture it like the kitchen just to keep things consistent.
I guess I’ll just keep going with this until the whole house is done.  Gonna take a long time.