Contagious Couch Nap

Tonight I pulled Monica into a couch nap: her on top of me with a blanket on top of us. All that was missing on this windy winter night was a smoldering log in a grand stone fireplace.

This nap lasted from 9:30-11:30, pushing our actual bedtime past midnight. Don’t be like me. When you’re tired, just brush your teeth and go to bed. This was actually my second nap today. Do I suffer from some kind of energy issue? Or is this hereditary? My dad falls asleep all the time. Maybe exercise would break sleep’s hold over me. Actually, that seems counter-intuitive. I don’t know.

That damn bench

I can’t unsee the skew now. It’s like a curse. Perhaps it was because I was working on the floor immediately in front of it, which is not it’s best angle. There’s no correcting the legs, but I could realign the trim. I just have a couple scraps of trim, so I’d need to fudge it a little. Or maybe I should just let it be.

I made $100 on craigslist today by selling a few things from around the house. People just gather more and more things; you can’t stop it, so you need to constantly shed things to maintain a balance. Also, I spent a lot on ebay over this past month, and I’m trying to make up for it.

A clunky turquoise ring on my finger

Speaking of eBay, I got the clunky turquoise ring I mentioned. It’s pretty bulky, which I like, but the color is less a deep forest green and more an aquamarine. As such, it just doesn’t match my palette, and I’ll return to seller. I originally planned on getting a tattoo wedding band, but I’ve yet to do that. After almost four years, it’s probably time.

Bench Pre-Postmortem

I woke this morning and expected some praise for my nearly complete bench project, but Monica’s immediate reaction was that the legs looked skewed. She’s right, but I was a little disappointed there wasn’t any praise. I got up for the praise. She followed up the skew statement with “I’m impressed that you finished” which is almost a compliment. The thing about marriage is you often want to hear your spouse’s honest opinion even when you don’t.

Looking at it objectively, there are a few changes I could’ve made to improve the look. I think the legs look especially crooked because the front trim follows the leg’s bow rather than trying to hide it. I didn’t correct that bow in the legs because it was too laborious, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be as obvious as it actually is. Monica did admit that it was most noticeable from her view, which was playing with Zavian on the floor immediately in front of it. Hopefully no house guests do the same.

I am happy I (practically) finished and that we have a bench. We’ve spent the past year sitting on the steps when we slip on our shoes, and this will give us a sturdy location for that specific task. If my projects tend to be more functional than aesthetic, so be it.

I didn’t miss yesterday

I emailed yesterday’s blog post to myself from my bed last night, but it seems to have disappeared. It was about how Monica and I are starting to learn the Scrubs/Donald Faison/Bel Biv Devoe dance that has since become a Fortnite dance. It’s tough; we’re only a few steps into it. Also we saw Le Weekend, which was a 2014 film about a couple in their sixties visiting Paris and going for broke. We both gave it a solid B. I guess that’s pretty much the extent of the lost blog post.

A homemade bench nearing completion

I spent a lot of my freetime today knocking out more on this bench. I’m narrowing in on the finish. I attached the legs via some 1″ dowels. I don’t know why I thought I’d have to drill those through the surface, and I’m glad I didn’t. The rest of the time I poured into the trim, which I’ll admit is not the best color right now. I have some stain that should darken and enrich the grain. I also need to remove the screws, drill out the holes, and insert some dowels. That’s all for tomorrow.

I hid a lot of crimes in this bench. Nothing’s really square, and the slabs themselves are still really bowed. I see a lot wrong with it, but hopefully the average visitor to our house won’t scrutinize my handiwork. It is sturdy as hell, though.

The USPS website says they delivered my turquoise wedding band, but it’s no where to be found. I asked the mail carrier, and he said he was pretty sure he delivered it. He told me that I can call an 800 number, and they’ll check on the GPS coordinates of that “delivered” scan. Maybe he left it at another house.

Bench Project 2

A wooden bench made from bowling alley floor

Hey, that looks the same as yesterday, doesn’t it? I spent another couple of hours on it at ADX. I mentioned it’s all warped (or bowed, really), so I cut two channels into the bottom of the seat via the table saw. I chipped them away really, only about an eighth of an inch deep. I didn’t want the table saw to hit any of those hidden nails.

I also evened out the edges and cut some trim for the top. Next comes assembly, and I can fortunately do that in my basement. I’m not quite sure how I’ll attach the legs to the seat. I think I may fudge some pocket screws to secure it, and then drill down holes for large dowels from the top. I’ll put some dowels in the trim too. We’ll see if I need to use a router on the edge of the trim.

Bench Project 1

Wood is in surplus here in the Pacific Northwest. People leave perfectly good lumber out by the street for other people to casually take. Compare this to the midwest where the only thing people give away are the copious and amber waves of grain. It always comes back to the trees with me.

An unassembled bench made of slabs of bowling alley lane

I spent the evening at ADX, a shared maker space, hacking away at a slab of bowling alley lane I found out behind a furniture making shop. I should’ve realized that there’s gotta be some terrible reason if a furniture maker threw out this wood. Actually, there are plenty of terrible reasons. When the bowling alley contractor assembled this, they dispensed nails by the handful. I cut through this by hand because I was afraid I’d break the table saw blade on all the nails scattered about like dozens of baby Jesus inside a king cake. Also, it’s warped to all hell.

It’s a terrible craftsman who blames his wood, or his tools, or his general lack of experience. Let’s see if I can assemble this properly. If not properly, at least to the level of novelty collapsable bench.

Birdwards

A couple robins outside

I still haven’t quite figured out how to focus my zoom lens on birds. As you can see above, they’re still slightly out of focus. I just want to take clear pictures of birds without actually understanding the functions of this 8 year old camera. That’s the kind of laziness I’ve come to expect and rely on in this modern life.

I found a decent deal for the Pixelbook with pen on eBay and I swooped in on it. I’m most excited to try it out as a development environment. I’ll post my thoughts when it arrives in the next couple weeks. eBay lacks the near-instant gratification of other online sites, leaving me to pine after dumb purchases and build up overblown expectations for a week or two instead of the now standard two day turnaround.

It gets dark here very early now, and there are a lot fewer streetlights than I expected for a city this size. I have a few clip-on LED lights that I wear and attach to the stroller when I walk to pick up my son from preschool. I’ve noticed more than few bikers wearing those LED enabled helmets, and they really increase visibility. I’m not ready to drop $179 on a bike helmet; I’m sentimentally attached to my current helmet. Instead, I’ll 3D print some brackets to attach to my helmet a discarded bike light I found.

Nemesis Mushroom

An orange capped mushroom with white speckles

I don’t know what kind of mushroom this is, but it looks like a sesame seed bun. I found it at the post office, and I wasn’t tempted in any way to eat it because mushrooms are gross. They all have that same slimy texture, and they hide frightening gills under the caps. Most if not all varieties of mushroom will shut down your liver or instantly kill you. On your dead body, mushrooms will shower enzymes upon you, and in a micro storm of death and decay, they will eat you too. Please don’t ever eat them, and whenever possible, avoid thinking about them.

Turquoise Friday

I’m really susceptible to peer pressure. Perhaps because I always been the quiet sort without a ton of friends. I’m very comfortable being alone, though. It doesn’t usually bother me. It’s also pretty hard to be alone when you’re married with a kid, so maybe let’s just forget this first paragraph and start again.

I’m pretty susceptible to peer pressure, and the marketing around Black Friday and Cyber Monday activates that weakness. I don’t fall for any of the sales, and I haven’t been in a door buster stampede, but I get the itch, y’know?

So, I’ve mentioned I’m into flea markets, and I used to frequent thrift stores like they were my house of worship. These days everything is online, including my pointless spending on used merchandise.

I was considering a few auctions for last year’s Pixelbook, but the reviews I read stated it was vastly overpriced. Those reviews were posted prior to a Chrome OS update that allows it to run containerized Linux apps. I hear that’s still buggy, though. I can sit on that purchase and wait for a better deal.

Instead I bought a giant turquoise ring. I was watching an old video of Freddie King using his guitar to narrate a story, and he had some clunky stone rings. That man had style to match his talent. We’ll see if I can pull it off with not much of either.

I’ll use it as my wedding band for a while, maybe.

In Defense of Chicago

My wife, Monica, questioned my retelling of why we left Chicago. Trees and access to nature were part of it, but surely there were trees in Chicago. Humboldt Park has a few, and so does Grant Park, maybe. No more than a light peppering, though. Never enough to enter into a clump of them, to turn around and see them guarding your path back.

Chicago has its share of other problems, with corruption and shootings, a despicable waste management stream, a winter wind that will race through the streets and slice you in two. But it also has an earnestness and community, a muffled unity against the cold, phenomenal Mexican food, the best public transit system (until NYC works out those ceaseless delays, if ever), amazing architecture and pale copies of that architecture, really lovely people, among a million other things.

We’ll probably move back in a year or two.

(I wrote this last night on my phone, so I haven’t broken the streak.)