All The Things

It’s been a super busy weekend.

We started prepping to put an AC Unit in the shed. That’s a post for the Hubs to write. It’s a scary and well measured operation. One for which I stand around and be available, but don’t actually do anything.

The other big thing we did was hang a shelf.

I know, it sounds like nothing, but it was something. We were both nervous about doing it. Would it look like we wanted? Would we actually hit the blocking? Would we straight up hate it?

We started small, one shelf. And it went pretty flawlessly.

Which never happens in this house.

We hit the blocking.

It was level.

We liked it!

And then the Hubs tells me the shelf is too wide.

I took a minute to come unhinged and swear at the house. I freaking measured! I bought the odd sized expensive pipes!


The Hubs threw out ideas. I calmed.

We went to Lowes and bought new pipes. To the tune of $12 each. Came home, tested them, then went on Amazon and found them a lot less expensive. Ordered them. When I return the $12 ones, I’ll be picking up another can of spray paint.

Yes, a setback. But not insurmountable.

Today after church, we hit the ground running and got ready to put up 6 more shelves.

After a small learning curve that involved mud and paint, the Hubs picked up the rhythm and soon all the pipes were up, in the blocking and level!

Right now it looks like some medieval torture rack:

The shelves all fit:

And we came to a screeching halt.

I forgot about the screws to secure the straps.

Those are in the shed right now, I have to finish painting them in the morning. We took the time to mark off and pre-drill all the holes, when the screws are dry, they can go right to work securing the straps.

One step closer.

I put the hall bath back together, including Mayhem in the sink:

Someday I will find a better vanity and replace this one (it’s falling apart and leaks which is why he spends so much time in here). That will mean more drywall repairs, more painting, and possibly even tile repairs. I’m kicking that down the road for now.

We ended the day with a nice dinner and walk on the beach.

The water is pretty close to swim ready for me!!

There was a bunch of junk all over the sand, and some lady was making sculptures:

Big Blue stopped in to check them out!

And then the sun set and we headed home.

What Makes a Shed a Shop?

Guest Blogger – The Hubs

I have often said that my cutie pie makes a house into a home simply by being there. Okay, I’m sure I’ve said it at least once…maybe. Anyway, it’s true. I have said that my cutie pie changed my experience from existence to living. I’m sure of that! – mostly.

Anyway, not so long ago, my cutie pie spent a lot of money on a shed built to my specifications from Tuff Shed. It’s big, with a loft and a bench along one whole wall. It has a nice vinyl sliding window and is up off the ground.

The intention of said shed, was to gather gardening goodies from the garage along with additional add-ons from the attic. Most of that has been accomplished, but it remained a shed – not a shop.

In each house we have owned, there has always been an area for me to have power tools (grunt) and pegboard (ugg ugg), benches, vices and wood clamps (grunt, ugg, ook)!

Our first house had a nice basement, our second house had a shed converted into a shop, and our third house had a large garage I could take over for the same. But this house? Yeah, it’s got nuthin’! At least until now…

So the shed was always intended to be a shop. “But what makes a shop?” you ask. Well it’s simple. POWER! Voltage. Electro-Motive Force. Lights. Electricity! And that has been the goal of my most recent project.

But where to get power? The shed is detached from the main house and on the opposite side from the power breaker box (on the outside of the building…don’t even get me started about Florida electrical code). So how do I get enough power in there for outlets, lights, fans and even the absolutely necessary A/C unit? (Did I mention this was Florida?)

Well, it turns out that our original A/C condenser was on that side of the house, and the original 240v circuit that fed it is being used today by one of our two mini-split heat pumps. The other heat pump is on the opposite side of the house with its own, brand new circuit.

Well, that’s interesting… Did I mention that my father taught Industrial Electricity for thirty years and before that ran his own electrical contracting business? Did I mention that I was trained for electronics in the Air Force and then went to work at an avionics repair company for a few years afterward? Hmmm.

Well, that 30a/240v circuit for the one heat pump is WAY overpowered, but there’s no reason it has to stop right there. Honestly, the black box you see above was replaced shortly after this pic was taken because it was too worn out to provide clean power (electrical contacts in the box were seriously compromised from 20-years of connect…disconnect…connect…disconnect…etc.) So, the A/C folks came back out and replaced it when the computer in the heat pump refused to run because it couldn’t get clean enough power.

Well I have a shed that needs power to become a shop. And in the U.S., 240v power is really two 120v circuits on either side of the sine wave (look it up, kids). In fact, the 240v that comes in from the street is really just divided into its two halves in your power panel anyway. So I could take the 240v from this external box and make it two 120v circuits in the the shed/shop.

Of course it had to be trenched with proper conduit and underground cable:

And like magic…POOF! We have a shop:

If the ceiling fan above right looks a little familiar, it was last seen swirling around above the living room! But it works just as well here.

With a dual switch by the door for lights and ceiling fan, plus half a dozen outlets along the bench, plus one dedicated to the eventual A/C unit above the window, this has become a proper shop.

Now if I could just organize all the garage, garden and attic stuff, I could move around in it and maybe do some work!

Gardening in December

How weird is that? But, I think we have found the sweet spot for enjoyable yard work. Yesterday while the Hubs mowed…

Yes, mowed.

I finished up what I started Friday. I went out in the morning and weeded both front gardens thoroughly. I got a fairly respectable pile of weeds. I guess I haven’t been keeping up with it too well! I cut back the plants that needed to go to bed for the winter and trimmed up the rest.

Saturday I hauled bricks into the front and then set to work.

We started like this:

And finished like this:

And then I ran around the yard and took some rough measurements to get a handle on how much mulch I need to order. My notes looked like this:

In a perfect world, the Hubs will be able to look this over and say, “Yes, a ton of mulch is what you’ll need.” In my world, he’ll say, “Enjoy moving it.”

And that’ll be fun, too

My mommy sent me cookies, and they arrived yesterday:

A huge unexpected pack of all my favorites! The Hubs was sad because she did not send Russian tea cakes. My feeling is if they don’t have chocolate or coconut in them, they are not Christmas cookies. But he likes them. Of course he also likes thumbprint cookies (which he’ll be making this afternoon), so there is no accounting for taste.

As I write this, he is installing a new fan in the living room. Let me know if you don’t think it’s an improvement.

Here is the old one:

And part of the new one:

I’m already seeing a vast improvement!

Definitely better! It’s nearly impossible to find a fan with a light kit that isn’t super ugly, this one is not perfect, but at least better than a boob light. Since I hardly ever turn it on, it doesn’t really matter much. It’s quiet and not wobbling, so that’s a point in the win column!

The old one is going out to the shed to hopefully provide some air movement.

We finished up the connection yesterday and now there is power in the shed. The Hubs has some more he wants to finish, but then he will regale all my dear readers with his exploits. I will issue a spoiler alert: We managed to avoid this:

Not Thirty

You know what really sucks? When you come face to face with the fact you are not what you once were.

Yesterday I dug a trench so the hubs can bury a cable to get power to the shed.

Today I hurt in places I forgot I even had.

It really sucks getting old. It sucks a LOT.

On the upside, the trench got dug:

It’s about 30′ long and a foot deep. Some of it was sand, which was its own kind of pain, the sides kept caving in. But some of it was some kind of petrified rock. Not sticky like clay, just a booger to dig out. I also found one of the lines for the sprinklers. Fortunately, I was on my hands and knees so there was no way to break the line. Small blessings!

Today we buried the cable. The Hubs is gonna do a guest post to share all the joy this little project entailed. Suffice to say, it’s not yet over. When we were ready to hook into the house power, it started to rain.

In other news, I finished the Neighbor Blanket. I got the new yarn on Tuesday and finished it up Thursday.

It came out pretty nice:

The color looks really weird in the Christmas lights!

But here is a better representation:

The yarn is a cotton/acrylic blend, which is never my first choice, but it makes it a bulletproof choice for a baby. This pattern is one I make often, it’s easy and it looks really nice in a variety of yarns.

I started this last night:

Actually, I started it Thursday, but decided it was too wide and ripped it out to re-jig it. This yarn is cotton/silk which is much nicer to work with.

We planted a couple of potatoes yesterday, It’s an experiment, but we are hopeful they will be happy and grow. We have enjoyed pretty good luck with potatoes in the past, but here everything we already know is getting relearned. Will be nice if we can get some favorites to grow reliably. I’m gonna try some herbs, I saw thyme at the Home Depot yesterday and it looked really full and healthy. Yes, I should have bought a few, but I’m a little short on space now that potatoes are here. I’ll have to dig another plot, and quite honestly since I just realized I’m no longer 30, I don’t want to do it.

But I will because I want fresh herbs more than I care about being old.

It’s supposed to rain for the foreseeable future. But it’s better than ice the Kraken will get later this week. The Hubs is in meetings at work all week, plus rain equals a potentially crap week for me.

I’ll be blasting Angry Christmas Music (better known as TSO) to help stave off any sadness that threatens to creep in. I might do a little insulating if I get particularly bored. I might bake. I might just binge-watch Castle and knit.

This HOUSE – Again

Let’s start with something positive, shall we?

WordPress is celebrating the fact I got 6 likes in one day!

I’m not saying that is not exciting, but the penchant for celebrating every little thing these days is a little like this:

I know not everyone gets my point. But let’s just say if you’re old enough to know what merit-based praise is, celebrating remembering to wake up is a little weird.

Damn. I was supposed to say something positive.

Oh well.

Saturday we had another setback. When the Hubs asked, “Do you by chance have a warm feeling about the house?” I knew something was wrong.

This happened:

The tub spout shed a vital part. There was no water being directed to the showerhead. And of course these things are 20 years old, so finding a replacement is not all that easy. But we were gonna try.

We headed off to Home Depot with a list. We had a lovely chat with the plumbing guy who told us he doesn’t have that part, but there is a plumbing supply house that would. But it’s closed on weekends.

Really? For the love of…

So we headed to the new faucet aisle. And chose a new shower faucet package based on the recommendation we got.

We picked up the rest of the list and headed home.

Opened the box, and discovered the new faucet set is not compatible with the old one.

Of course it isn’t.

The Hubs called the neighbor (plumber) to see if maybe he has one hanging around. He still has not gotten back to us.

I ordered one off Amazon. The reviews say it’ll match. I have my doubts. It’ll be here Tuesday.

Sunday after church we did a little wiring and insulating in the shed. When we came in, I got in the hall bath shower. The Hubs came in and I asked, “Hey, can we use this spout?”

Of course it’s a perfect match. Joy ensued because we don’t have to shower in the hall bath until Tuesday!

Take that, house!

We also mostly finished up the foyer. The light is hung, the art is in place, and some hooks are back. Not sure when the rug will arrive, but here is the light:

It was a booger to get wired up, but the Hubs bested it and it looks just like I had hoped! I’m gonna save the big reveal for the rug arrival. Stay tuned for that!

While the Hubs was doing some wiring, I raked up the pine needles and used some to give my little fig a blanket:

I don’t know if it’ll do a damned bit of good, but we’ll see in April. I think I’m supposed to pick off the figs and new leaves, but I just can’t bear to do it!

Here is where we are so far on the shed:

And wiring:

Of course once it’s all insulated, in the winter it will remain freezing inside. But in the summer, when it matters, it’ll stay cool. At least that is the hope. And since it’s not attached to this house, it might be a reality.

If I decide I need a project this week, I might go do some insulating while the Hubs is at work.

I’m still trying to pick the best paint-the-door day. Right now it’s looking like tomorrow.