Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Little Town

I live in a great big county, geographically speaking, in a tiny state.  I live in the biggest town in the county.  For the longest time we were a 3 stop light county and all three were in Kingwood, my little town.  Wal-Mart is still new, and I'm pretty sure we still have more churches than bars. 
It is the kind of town where this business closes every evening and it looks just like this....
...and it looks just like this the next morning!  Gotta love that.

 As I was driving around my little town this afternoon, I had to stop for 2 teen-age boys in baggy, droopy pants and sideways hats to cross the street in front of me in a practiced coolness. 
I was buying it....they were irritating as heck as they swaggered oh, so slowly in front of me.
But then, tough guy #1 stopped and oh so gently scooped one of these beautiful blossoms into both hands and took a little sniff...and somehow maintained his cool!  Another one of God's reminders that I am not to judge, but to love.  Gotta love that. 
Gotta love my little town.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Tiny Whiny

I just realized yesterday that now that I am retired, I don't get to join in the anticipation and celebration of Fridays anymore.
Sunday is really the only day that marks my weeks now.

But on the other hand...every day can be Friday, huh?

See?   Just a tiny whiny.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ooopsa! Ahhhh.

So, this happened about a week ago, but I have  been waiting to get pictures of the whole process.
It all began when we got our windows remember that.  It was one of the big trucks with cool tools and gadgets.  Anyway, with that stack of windows laying under the tarp just waiting, I just couldn't anymore.  My little husband wanted to wait until we got the upstairs and roof on just in case something might fall down and break one of the windows.  I finally talked him into doing the ones in the bedroom since it won't have an upstairs, only roof.  We got the directions out and started reading.  We got to the part that tells us what else we need that isn't included with the window.  One of the things was a drip cap that would go over each window.  My little husband went to measure the windows to see how much we would need in total, in case you could buy it by the strip instead of by the piece. 

Then I suggested he measure the window openings in case it needed to span the entire opening (which is always slightly larger than the actual window) and not just the window.  Here comes the ooopsa!  He starts measuring and we find that all but three of the window openings are not big enough for the windows. 

What????  That is a major ooopsa.
OK.  Take a few deep breaths.
And here comes the ahhhhhh.  My little husbands first response was to pray....right there in the grass on his knees.  I was SO proud of him.  Neither one of us had a meltdown.  We considered our options.  I pointed out that it must not be the end of the world because people change their windows all the time.  It has to be doable, right?  But how?  Hmmmm.  Hey.  Let's call Uncle Lloyd (who is a major contractor by trade, in TX).  You can only imagine how hard this was for my little husband.  No one wants to admit to a miscalculation.  We tried to make it Lowe's fault, but they send us what we asked for.
Off we come to the house to make the call and Uncle Lloyd was so happy that we called and he had some good advice. 
If you are getting tired of the story you can skip right to the pictures.
We went to our local, small time, hardware store, where we try to do as much business as possible, to find what Uncle Lloyd said we needed.  Mr. Gibson says he doesn't have anything exactly like that, but gives us the catalog to look through.  I am really good at imagining how to repurpose things so I was busy imagining how to repurpose nearly everything in that catalog into the HEADER HANGER that we needed.  We were just about 3 pages from the end of the book, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a whole section of HEADER HANGERS!  What??!!?!?!  Why didn't we just look in the index to start with????  Oh well, problem solved, header hangers ordered and here to us in just a couple of the meantime, we had to do some deconstruction to get ready for the header hangers...have a look:
Step 1:  Unwrap the pretty wrapping.

Step 2:  Remove the trimmers holding up the header.

Step 3:  Use the pry bar for stubborn trimmers.

Step 4:  Check outside to see what the heck the problem is.

Step 5:  Pose proudly with the first of many successful extractions.

Step 6: Realize there is still a bit of a problem.

Step 7:  Take a break and a photo to document our progress.

Step 8:  Sawzall!

Step 9:  Ahh.  A window hole big enough for our window.

Step 10:  Pounding in the life saving header hanger!

Step 11:  Stand amazed that after only about 82 nails in each header hanger
the openings are finally ready for windows.

Step 12:  Three beautiful windows installed!

OH.  And one little injury.  Hands too sweaty for bandaid to stick?
No problem...seam seal tape sticks!

So, what could have been a huge to do ended being nothing more than a slight delay and a learning experience...we still have upstairs windows, which we will not have any problems with now!

I am SO proud of my little husband.  Did I say that before?  Well, it's still true...
One oopsa so far isn't too bad for a couple of first timers, I say.
Laugh and learn....and pray!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fire Pit Rocks and Helping Out

This the crack of dawn...we drove up the mountain to Terra Alta and then further up the mountian to Aurora, with our friend Rick, to visit his friend, Ben, who has ROCKS!  And I need rocks to build my fire pit.  And I need my fire pit to burn the giant brush pile that is now too close to the house to burn where it sits.
Here's the view from the top of the quarry...I do live in God's country!

Piles and piles of rocks to pick from...

See what I mean?

All sizes, shapes and colors.  I love rocks!  When I went back to graduate school,
it was a toss up between a master's in Special Education and one in geology.  It mostly depended on
who wanted to give me the most money to come.  My dad is a geologist.  Our trips often
were "educational" and the thing he brought home to me from his trips were often rocks! 
Fairy crosses and a "raw" garnet are two I remember.

We filled the truck bed up just until the front tires wanted to lift off the ground. 
When we finished our loading we went to the top of the hill to help
Rick help Ben split wood for winter.  Yes, the winters are the price
you pay for living in God's country.

I love ferns.

Rick and Ben are way over there and my little husband and I
were taking the little logs out of the pile and making a stack
that didn't need split.

Little husband tossed to me and I stacked.

And then sometime in the afternoon, Rick delivered the rocks.

I think I have about 1/3 of what I need to make my fire pit.  Two more
trips to Ben's and I should be set.

Finally, I hammered a few nails at La Ti Da with my own little husband monkey, and called it a day.
Very tired arms...lots of ibuprofen and a little sewing to round out the evening.  Ahhh.

I am loving the opportunities to help out that I have now that I am not working...maybe I am making a difference in new places.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Oooh. BIG Boards! and Helper Bees - or Monkeys!

Today we saw a major change in the house...using some BIG boards and lots of helper bees.  It started with my little husband trimming the ends off of 24' glu-lams...3 of them...right from the window.

This is after it got hefted inside from went from the window to rest on the stairs in the middle of the house.

Cutting out the notches to fit on top of the walls...a little power tool...
...and a little hand tool.

Look at all those laminations.  This is only one of the 3 boards we put up.

Suddenly, my helper bees turn into helper monkeys!  Up the ladder to the top of the wall...

...over the wall...

...and onto another ladder.  Ever so much more fun than walking around!
Can you see all the heads?

The half a stair case and the landing sure came in handy.

Part one of the glu-lam up.

Checking the jack posts for level-ness.

Screwing parts one and two together.

Striking a pose!
Evidently someone on the other end had a hold of this,
because these fingertips are not going to be enough!
Olympic hopeful on the beam!

Or maybe that was the long jump and he's measuring his own jump...
or how long the next board needs to be.

Waiting to be told how long...

Rim boards up with the helper monkeys.

Need more boards cut, but the generator is hot and bothered and done for the day,
so we revert to arm power.

Really sharp little saw.

Cut and Carry service.

Put those joists in place...with a hammer, if need be.

Resting monkey.  End of productive 4 hours!

Look at those nice shadows.  I have a lanai in my kitchen for now.

View from as far up as my arm would reach.

Shadows from the landing.

It really was amazing how much we got done with all of the help we had.  Our best friends, our preacher, our Sunday School teacher and another church brother!  When we called they came.  That's what friends and church family are all about.  We were only expecting to get the glu-lam up and we got half a second floor!  Yea!
Tomorrow we are going to get some stones to build a fire pit at a quarry that our friend, Rick, one of the monkeys, knows about...and I have a window story to tell...and the rest of the joists to hang...
Shoot.  I don't even have time for a "real" job!