Monday, February 2, 2015

The Great Wall of Innuendo and The RePurpose Whisperers

Before I get going with my regularly scheduled post, which, by the way, features TWO stories this time instead of just one because they're kinda photo essays, I have to share the following Yelp review I recently drafted to their site.  It pertains to a local business and I just wanna give all my local readers a heads up.  It'll probably leave everyone else scratching their heads and laughing at my misfortune.  Sigh.  It's hell to be me sometimes.

-Just got off the phone with the guy over at Sierra Plumbing Supply in Grass Valley who purportedly draws up irrigation plans.  I dropped off my diagram and measurements for a sprinkler system about a year or so ago.  I chatted with him at the time I dropped everything off and he said he would get back to me.  I never heard from him again.  Due to the drought, I was in no hurry to implement said system since I definitely was not going to be planting anything new at the time.  However, I may be implementing the system this spring and, as I mentioned, I just got off the phone with him to see what was up. 

He offhandedly informed me plans that old usually get thrown out if he never hears from anyone.   Huh?  I mean, what?  I mean, huh?

He was supposed to call me.  That's what he said.  And now all my measuring and figuring, several hours worth, is out the window.  His last remark to me after stating "we'd have to start all over" was to "have fun." 

I was polite, however, many expletives came to mind.  I just checked; they're still coming to mind.  A lot of 'em.  They’re right there, right at the tip of my tongue.

First of all, I think he was supposed to be the "Professional".  The one who stated he would call me when the plans were finished.  Yep, I just checked my memory again.  He was supposed to call me.  Usually, one does NOT have to baby sit a "professional" to find out how things are going, usually the "professional" gets back to the customer as soon as they can and tries to complete the sale.  Usually. 

At the very least a phone call to me might have been warranted to say they were about to throw away 3-4 hours of my work.  And then complete the sale.  

Maybe they are so busy over there they do not need my business.  I can take a hint.   I will have to get out and take umpteen measurements all over again and make a nice, purdy diagram.  And when I am finished, you can rest assured (after making copies) I will take them to anywhere other than Sierra Plumbing Supply-

And now, back to our regularly scheduled double blog post.

For 136 reasons, or at least maybe 2, this little project, The Great Wall of Innuendo, had to be completed. Besides making an overflow parking spot or two, this wall will offer support for the embankment and will now allow me to complete planting the lower embankment of the parking lot to prevent further erosion.  And hopefully prevent further cracks in the asphalt.  Here's an aerial photo of the driveway.  OK, a second story photo of the driveway.
You can kind of see the direction the wave is flowing.  It's like the San Andreas fault, which will sooner or later deliver California into the Pacific Ocean.  You know, like, in ten thousand years.  Or tomorrow.  Either one.  Take your pick.  Got a Ouija board handy?  What this flow will do here, if left unchecked for a decade or two, is sooner or later deliver all that recently laid asphalt down over yonder here.

See what I have to contend with around here?  Another previous homeowner solution.  Ol' Homeboy, the previous owner, just kept tossing dirt and dilapidated construction supplies over down yonder there.  Hillbilly style.  It kept slipping, he kept tossing.  Must have been a big malt liquor day to come up with that plan of action.  I want to get 'er done and forget about it.

Besides all the above, this is also the location where all my extra dirt goes.  I just moved a bunch of it to this location so I could put up Bernadette. my new water tank.  Future work will manufacture more dirt.  This is where it is all ordained to go. 

So I took me some measurements and did me some math.  Bought a little lumber and concrete.  Then it was time to dig some holes and plant a couple treated posts with the hopes they might attract others.

Dig it.
Let me tell you, digging holes on that slope was challenging.  Besides the slope, I'm still not quite 100% physically.  I think I'm in the mid 90's after my relationship with my appendix, Uncle Wiggley, ended last October.  The Doc said it would be a three to six month recovery, it looks like I'll be in the three to four month range. 

As with many of my creations, I had no concise plan or design.  I basically made it up as I went, tagging along with the contour of the ground.  I planted both the above posts first and let them and myself sit a couple days.  BTW, you always want to let your concrete cure a couple days, especially with a post, before bumping it around.  Surest way to crack your feat is to start banging it around as soon as it appears to be dry. 

In the meantime, I was treating my finally getting put to use cedar planks with Flexx-Guard, a rubberized asphalt paint which should help them last until long after I'm gone. 

Once the original two posts had set, I leveled and lag bolted one plank near the bottom.  Then I dug a hole somewhere in between and set a middle post.

I continued on with the same process between planks and posts and posts and planks and before I knew it they were all sitting in harmony like so many ducks in a row.

I cut the posts off thirty inches above the top plank and will eventually string some manzanita along the top of the posts just like the Deep Side Trail Rail.

The facing wall has been painted with our standard blend in color, Old Vine.

I currently have around twenty Rosemary clippings in water that should be rooted by planting time this spring.  Those plants will dot that slope and should eventually take over.  Their root systems are expansive, they are drought tolerant and their little blossoms attract butterflies and bees.  What could be better?

The RePurpose Whisperers

Here's a big secret I have learned over the years: Most anybody can take most anything apart.  Even if you have to resort to a sledge hammer and a pry bar, you can get it apart, especially electronics.  As a matter of fact, I intimately know a pry bar and TV mesh really well.  The BIG secret is putting it all back together again.

I'm pretty good at fixing things.  I have a general rule of thumb, which usually equates to me earning at least $25 an hour.  So, you know, if a thing is only worth $5 I'm not going to spend much more than 5 minutes to fix it.  I'm certainly not going to spend all day.  It it's worth $25, and I can fix it within an hour, I usually do it.  If it's worth more than $25 and I can fix it in an hour that's even better.  Simple.  Some larger things, like this house for instance, require a little more time than an hour.  Like a lifetime, for instance.

Besides the beneficial financial aspect of fixing many things, there's the "footprint" aspect as well.  We're giving new life to an article that might otherwise end up dying a dismal death in a land fill somewhere.  It's a double woot.

My lovely wife has a penchant for finding wonderful, artsy creations everywhere.  Garage sales, thrift stores, Ebay, you name it.  She's out there, knows her stuff and usually gets great deals.  Sometimes the items are ready for use, many times they land in my lap.

My lovely wife is a Repurpose Whisperer, she has the eye for everything wonderful, whimsical and creative.  I'm an Underbelly Repurpose Whisperer.  I work behind the scenes.  I make many of the things  become functional and look nice nice.  

Here's an example of how we whisper together.

My lovely wife, in her meandering collecting travels, came home a few days ago with a couple of these:

They were bought to replace a couple of these:
It's called a "jelly jar outdoor down light", and you can get one on Amazon today for about $8.50.  Both jelly jars framed our garage door and that side of the house greets all our unsuspecting guests.  Unsuspecting because, well, you never know.
So, you know, they've been on the list.  You know, that list that's about as long as my life.  That list.

"Upgrade the cheap disgusting jelly jars."  I think they were number 482. 

So my lovely wife, while looking for other exciting and whimsical things, came across two of those lantern lights.  They were at our local ReStore.  ReStore is kinda like a home remodel thrift store and profits go to benefit Habitat for Humanity.  Besides getting killer deals, it's all a worthy cause.  She paid $6.50 each.

Once she brought them home it was time for me to whisper.  The lights were pretty darn dirty, just like my mind most of the time, so I started to clean them.  Which I never do to my mind by the way.  Then my lovely wife suggested that ideally they be painted black to match the shutters.  So be it.  I can dance.  And I can  whisper too. 

I only took one apart at a time so that I'd have a return to template.  Just in case.  I'm not much of a written direction kinda guy, I do much better with a diagram or picture.  I just wanted to make sure I could get Humpty together again. 

I was a little dismayed to discover during the dismantling phase Humpty's "globe" was a five piece sectional of glass, but what the hey.  If I can't whisper then I might as well dance.  Or yodel.

Once apart I painted the white parts semi-gloss black and cleaned the glass.

Once the paint dried, it was time to put Humpty back together again.  Remember, the "secret" part.  The glass sections were a little tricky.  Humpty was trial and error.  He was in surgery about forty-five minutes.  But by the time I got to Dumpty I was a certified lantern light pro.  He only took about fifteen minutes to be put back together. 

During mid-surgery of Humpty, I had to develop a cradle of sorts so that he could freely sit upside-down and vertical.  There were too many complications trying to put him back together on a flat, horizontal surface.  I used a five gallon paint bucket filled with a sweatshirt.  I also laid towels down on the concrete garage floor.  Just in case one of the glass panels decided to go for a walk I wanted them walking on something soft.

Once in the cradle everything flowed infinitely mo better.  Ever so gently I whispered along until the panels were more or less aligned within the frames.  Then I slid the top piece over the frame's top screws, massaging each panel and frame until they were all snug within their respective realms.
Total time top to bottom, dismantling, cleaning, painting, putting back together and planting on the wall was just under two hours.  For both.  Installed.
Side by side
And on the wall

Repurpose whisperers do it all.

Fowl Update

Since we've had this uptick in temperature this January we've had an uptick in eggs.  We've gone from 0-1 per day in December to 5-6 per day this January.  There's no doubt about it, we've got fair weather layers.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Rain or snow?  Hell no.  It's gotta be just right.

They seem to enjoy sunny 60's and 70's weather.  I enjoyed the 60's and 70's too.

I think. 

Come on rain.