Monday, February 28, 2011
I guess it was worth going to Ruth Eckert Hall last night - the BW was very enthusiastic afterward, and loved it to pieces. I thought it was sort of long, and didn't really have a good time until about 65 minutes into it, when they started playing with the one 15 note phrase that I associate with that music. It started quietly, and traveled to various sections of the orchestra, and finally wound up with the whole chorus (more than 100 singers) blasting it out. That did choke me up a little. The last 20 minutes made the evening, as far as I was concerned.
Tomorrow I get up at 6:00, get over to Coral Oaks, and try to get through a four hour presentation in as close to three hours as possible. The BW will drive herself to a local surgery center by 9:45, and should be ready to be picked up by 12:00. She will take a book, so I don't have to be there by 12, but I don't want to get there by 2:00 either. I got everything ready today and put the materials in my trunk, and I won't put out any pass-outs until Wednesday so I don't have to pick them up.
After I get her home I'll get a ride from our house back to the surgery center with Jack so I can pick up her car, buy him a couple of beers, and then do the certificates and get ready for Wednesday. The BW should be just fine then, and I'll spend another day with a table full of goodies in the back of the room.
Then I get to weigh in again on Thursday. The clock keeps running.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
I painted the mirror frame today, but first there was a short delay while I glued the bottom piece back where it should have been. When I was putting the thing on a combination of the saw and a folding table, I accidentally took hold of just one of the long sides, and the bottom piece broke loose. The plastic backing held it to the other pieces, but it folded back loosely. Fortunately, I mixed up some more 5 minute epoxy and got both ends to seal tightly to the side pieces. Then I painted the back, and later the front. Now it rests for two or three days, and when the paint is cured I'll stick on the velcro strips. One day later we hang the thing and it's done (I hope).
Tomorrow we are going to Ruth Eckert Hall to hear Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 preformed by a combination of the Master Chorale of Tampa Ban and the Florida Orchestra. The do it Friday in Tampa, Saturday in St. Petersburg, and Sunday in Clearwater. We got a bargain on the tickets - the BW said she wanted to sit in the back row, and the only back row seats were $67 each. She said "Forget it" on the speakerphone, and the guy said "Wait!. He came back with on offer too good to turn down - two tickets for the price of one, so we paid only $73 dollars for two tickets after adding the tax and service fee.
This is my kind of music - the stuff I have been listening to and playing since I was a punk kid. I think everyone else likes it too because today's paper had a little notice that yesterday's performance was sold out.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Yesterday I cut four pieces to the right size and shape, then started to carve out clearance niches for the mirror clips. I could only find a 1.25 inch wood chisel, so eventually went to Home Depot and bought a quarter inch chisel for about nine dollars. While there I noticed that the same company had chisels made in the US guaranteed forever unconditionally, and made in China (different color handle) guaranteed to be good when you bought it. An assortment of three (half, three quarters, inch) sold for $20 made in the US and $10 made in China. I donít know if the company makes the same profit on both sets, but it reminded me of the time when Hong Kong Air won a Navy rework job. Our wage rate was about $50 per hour (salary, benefits, productive overhead, and G&A overhead) and their wage rate was $10 per hour. I figured then that the open border idea would raise the standard of living in other places and lower it here.
Anyhow, once I had the quarter inch chisel, it went fairly smoothly. It was sort of fun making chips, and the garage looked like an old time carpenterís shop, with the sawdust and chips. The back saw made very fine sawdust, the cuts were like glass, and the chisel worked like a plane if you cut with the grain of the pine moldings.
Then, after I finished the second, bottom piece (both sides just needed to be cut) I tried it on the mirror and realized that it bowed too much to be held down by just Velcro, so I went back to Home Depot, bought another piece that wasnít warped too much (they all had some bow to them) and started to cut another piece. By then, along with everything else I had done, I was shot, so I stopped for the day only partly done with the first cavity.
Today I finished the second bottom piece, gathered up everything, and tried to glue the thing together with five minute epoxy. I had bought some of that because the one hour epoxy that I had planned to use in the beginning wasnít hard on the test piece after two days, and I didnít trust it. Unfortunately I didnít buy corner clamps, so it was supposed to go together on the floor and be held in place with bricks, one on each corner with a washcloth for padding.
My plan to measure the diagonal distances and equalize them didnít work because the BW wasnít up to holding on to one end of a steel tape Ė she kept grabbing the tape with her loose hand and pulling it far away from straight, and she couldnít reach the floor. We were messing around for eight minutes, the epoxy was getting mighty stiff, and we still werenít done. She finally got down on the floor, and I finally gave up and just put the corners together so they matched and put weights on them to keep them in place. Then I got three pillows for her to kneel on and helped the BW get up again.
Then I left things lie for an hour, took the assembly to the mirror and tried it out. It fit (I think) so I used spackle to fill and even the joints. One corner wasnít together enough to have the glue hold, but the plastic backing plate holds it together solidly enough to I can put it up. I may wind up spackling that joint again after itís up.
Now the frame is in the bathroom, waiting for a couple of coats of paint and carefully measured pieces of stick-on Velcro to go with the ones Iíll put on the mirror. After 24 hours (full strength after 24 hours) Iíll then see if the thing fits and looks OK.
Besides that, I took Jack to lunch today, got my class list from Coral Oaks, printed a bunch of P&L statements for the Kiwanis board meeting next week, and did a few other errands. Iíll get the frame done sooner or later.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I had a pretty good night last night after finishing the day with a naproxen and rubbing on the Biofreeze every time I got up. Then I started today with another naproxen and more liniment, then went along pretty well until almost 5:00.
I drove the BW down to Clearwater to get some more medicine because Mailhandlers didnít want to approve it for her, and her doctorís office is fighting over it with them. On the way back I got material and a miter box and back saw to make a frame for a mirror. In the big bathroom we have a three by six foot mirror hanging on the wall over the two washbasins. The BW wanted to get a new mirror installed because there is a quarter to half inch band at the bottom where the silver has peeled away from the back of the mirror. Itís a perfectly good mirror except for that, and I didnít see any reason to throw it away. I drug my feet for a couple of years until she agreed that I could make a frame for it and stick it on with Velcro self stick strips. Then I stalled for another year or two. The problem was that while we were living in an RV, I got rid of most of my power tools, and a lot of the hand tools. I didnít want to try cutting precise 45 degree cuts on a table saw with wood longer than six feet and an adjustable protractor. I donít have enough enthusiasm to get it done all in one day, and the BW had to leave for another doctorís appointment, so I made careful drawings based on the mirror measurements, the location of the top and bottom clips (so I can cut away clearance spaces for them, and the width, length, and height of each clip. After I had that I made drawings of each piece.
Then I took a break and finished the book I started yesterday and did my spark entries. When I finished that it was about 5:00 and I suddenly realized that my neck and shoulders hurt a lot. All day long it was just as if I was stiff and sore, but not in much pain, and I thought at first that it was sitting in one place for an hour that was the trouble until I realized that I was past due for another naproxen. Within an hour I was back to pretty good, and a little more liniment fixed me up again.
I made 9 quarts of bean soup yesterday and froze most of it, and worked on finishing off the pea soup for lunch today, but it will take another day or so to get rid of it. I hadnít intended to make the bean soup quite yet, but when you get up at 4:00 you have time on your hands.
I still hope I'll heal up in a few days and not need the medicine.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I got a little more than two hours sleep last night. I thought I had just pulled a muscle when the right side of my neck hurt so bad that I couldn't get out of bed a few days ago, and the muscle rubs the BW bestowed didn't do much for me, but I was better during the day. I learned to use my left elbow to get up for a head break at night, but then the left side got bad too. Then everything got really, really bad, and the burning sensation came back. I now think that I have a problem with a herniated disk in my neck. I first had a problem when I was 39 years old, then again in 2003 it was really bad because of the rig I used to torque the lug nuts on our new motor home. After a few years (two or three) I managed to recover with the rehab exercises and 2.4 grams of neurontin a day, and eventually get off the neurontin.
Now I feel the same way, and I finally realized that loading, unloading, and carrying around the three treated 4 by 4's and hammering in the stakes one handed with a 12 pound sledge started the problem, just like the torque wrench and stacked extensions did in 2003. Then finally the stuff I did yesterday topped it off. The neurologist told me never to lift more than five pounds when this started last time, and that really is a terrible limit to handle. I never did take it that easy - the BW was worse off than I was - but I did back off from heavy work. If this keeps up I'm going to make an appointment with Dr. Karp again. I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I never felt any injury, so we'll see how it goes. It hurts all day now, and I remember that lasting for months the last time.
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