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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Here in southern Texas, it is easy to forget the seasons. I'm reminded when I watch live TV (such as Good Morning, America) and see people wearing coats. It is October, after all. August marks autumn for me (due to some literary work I read in my distant past), so October should be pretty chilly.

As a little kid, we did spend a few years living in Jersey City, New Jersey. We were in an apartment complex. We lived maybe on the 3rd or 4th floor (I could be wrong, but it was definitely "upstairs"). We could see across the street out the front window. One rear window is in the bathroom, where you would have access to the clothesline: a loop of rope held in place by pulleys on our side and pulleys on the neighbor's side across the way. The other rear window leads to the fire escape landing.

On the side of us, just across the street is a school. I used to remember our New Jersey address but not anymore. School no. 6 on St. Pauls seems a very good possibility. That school just across the street is where I attended until we left New Jersey. I started in 3rd grade when we got to Texas, so I guess I finished 2nd grade there in New Jersey. If we go straight down that street, we'd get to a park; and the map shows that (Pershing Field Park). I remember passing that water reservoir and thinking it was the Hudson or some such big body of water.

Just next door to our apartment was a little store. We used to go down there and buy Bazooka bubble gum. We collected enough wrappers to get some prizes. One of them was a pinhole camera. Kinda cool but we would still need film and money to develop the photos. We were poor, so we might have used the camera one or two times.

For a while, we didn't have a car. So we did a lot of walking. Eventually, we did get a car. Parking was a slight challenge.

Anyhow, all this is to say that I have lived up north. I have seen the snow, which became slush. Schools had looong winter breaks (it seemed). Squirrels were fatter with fluffier tails than down south. Ice had to be scraped off of windshields. My father did have to deal with snow chains. The car battery sometimes was removed from the car and brought indoors. Long Johns were standard.

It was the late 70's. Elvis Presley died during that time, "Son of Sam" terrorized the area, Pope John Paul II was elected (though I know nothing of religion at the time), and the first "Star Wars" movie opened and swept the country (though we never did go to the movies), as did "Saturday Night Fever." As for fashion, please don't ever take me back to the 70's (*gag*).


Saturday, October 16, 2010

I've been reworking a paint job after rust kept coming through. Consulting with a representative at Sherwin-Williams indicated that the latex primer probably did more harm than good. The recommendation was to strip the paint and start over. GEM rust killer was recommended. Thankfully I didn't have to buy a whole gallon of the stuff; they had a small pump bottle.

A medium wire brush on a power drill was fairly useless for stripping the paint. Sandpaper worked well, but after a few passes, the sandpaper was noticeably less effective than when fresh. I resorted to paint remover and a scraper, followed by coarse sandpaper, followed by medium sandpaper. It took maybe a week, working on and off.

Since both the rust killer and the enamel paint required waiting overnight after treatment, I needed a string of dry days (the project is outdoors). The weather here in Texas has been very dry, so I tackled the project. I've applied two applications of the rust killer and one coat of paint, relying on the rust killer to act as primer. Another coat or two of paint should complete the job.

11/17/2010 update: We had weeklong rain several weeks ago. Where the rust was heavy, some of the rust is starting to reappear through the paint. This area of heavy rust is a metal square tube, so I'm thinking the rust is inside the tube and it's continuing to rust inside on through to the outside.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Whoa my allergies are kicking my butt today. Tree pollen and weed pollen are slightly less today than yesterday, and yet I was able to work outside yesterday all day. Today, if I just walk outside, I get a full-blown attack despite having taken medication (as compared to no medication yesterday). The difference is that elm pollen is 174 today, 61 yesterday.

Oh boy. I lovingly planted TWO elm trees in the front yard a year or so ago.  I hadn't count on it being a problem for my allergies. I'm going to need one of these.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Go Chile!  All 33 trapped miners have been rescued.  I'm proud of you guys and thank you for sharing the joy of the success.  At the time of this writing, I'm still anxiously awaiting the return of the rescuers to the surface too.

hmm... Texas flag looks almost like Chilean flag

dog cot

Monday, October 11, 2010

I've been feeling awful the past few days.  The weather in Texas has been beautiful, but it's kicking my butt with allergies and sinus headaches. I feel better today.

I've been working on making a dog cot based on instructions at the Columbus Dog Connection website. I'm only doing it because I can't find the size cot I need. I want it to fit in doggie's crate. Working through my headache, I finished it yesterday.  The project has taken a while, with the first step being to order the corner pieces on August 24 of this year.

The prices posted on their website wasn't true for me.  My materials cost (taxes included):
     $ 7.76          1 1/4" PVC pipe (2 @ $3.88)
     $10.00          fabric (1 yard)
     $11.67         3-way corner (4 @ $1.67 + $4.99 shipping)
     $5.15           screws and washers (20 each ... I bought more than my estimated 4 screws per corner)
So the material cost of the dog cot is actually around $35.

The finished bed is 23 x 38 inches. I used the sewing option. I think the screws they recommended are called lath screws. I saw a box of them for around $8 but opted to buy a smaller quantity of round head self-tapping screws and #8 washers. If I were making more than one bed or if I didn't opt for the sewing, I'd go for the box.

I found an awning place near my house and the guy pulled exactly one yard of the material (it was the end of the roll) and quoted $10 flat.  We made the exchange on the spot.  The best price I could find online was $15 total for material and shipping. Local was so much better. Its color is what I call "awning green" ... basically kelly green, I think.

I have some Spectra 65-pound fishing line from back when I was trying to dog-proof one of the other dog beds, so I did the sewing with that instead of going out to buy a more appropriate thread.  Hopefully it will work for the long run.

Despite the material giving me enough tension to make putting in the final cot corner difficult, it still sags more than I'd prefer. Looks like the screw-on version would've given a tighter fit than the sewing version. But it works okay. I makes quite a bit of noise as the fabric rotates about the pipes when you shift weight on it. Doggie has been using it in his crate since yesterday and seems to be doing fine. The cot fits through the crate door; I can easily take it out for cleaning.  I'd like to give it padding someday, perhaps lashing it to the frame such that doggie can't get to the edges for chewing.

I was so anxious to put the cot to use that I didn't take pictures.