sailing the NorSea


WEEK 21 2011

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First Post, 17 March 2002
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One Year Ago, This Week, 2010

Saturday 28 May2011
Saturday - the side yard is mostly done. I can't believe it took as long as it did. It looks pretty good, the concrete that I dyed  and placed around the edges is OK, not quite as red a tint as I'd hoped, but not gray, and I probably should have used mortar, not concrete, for a better finish. The remaining task is to get sand in between the paver's. I thought it would be easy, and tried using the base sand. No luck with that. After sweeping, and adding more sand, and sweeping and sweeping, not much happened. The sand is just too coarse, and even a light rinse with the hose showed many empty joints.

What's needed is mason's sand, or the polymeric stuff they sell at the hardware store. But someone bought all the polymeric sand at Home Depot and Lowe's, I suppose for a large patio or drive. I didn't feel like driving down to Palmdale for it, and will check again at HD in a few days, before making that drive.

Home Depot by the way, here are the beginning of summer, had a reasonable turnout of customers. Nothing like a few years ago, but not as thin as last year. You can, for example, still have staff ask if you need help, rather than hiring a detective to find them!

In the evening I went over for pizza at my friends place. Home made pizza, the best kind! Then we watched some episodes of Glee, entertaining, though my friend said the quality wasn't up to the episodes in the first part of Season 1.

Friday 27 May 2011
Friday - Scoring, chiseling and laying the paver's took up most of the day. I didn't have enough pavers, so had to make another trip to Home Depot for them. Then it turned out that my abrasive wheels were the wrong kind (metal cutting), and I had to go buy some masonry wheels. Which were the wrong size, and another trip was used up getting the correct wheels (4", not 4.5"). Eventually, however, all the paver's were wedged in, and things look pretty good. Because the air conditioning and water heater both have drains in this area I had to make small basins for the water to fill.

My tomatoes are doing OK, though cut worms already destroyed two plants. I have placed nails next to the stalks, which apparently keeps the worms from wrapping about the stem and cutting through. We'll see. I also need to set up an irrigation system for when I'm not home.

Thursday 26 May2011

Thursday - back to work on the paver project. First I dug things out a bit more, then put down a layer of pea gravel and tamped it. Then I put down a layer of sand, and screeded it level. This took a lot longer than it should have, because the adjacent walkway was raised by old roots, and it was hard to find a good level. Actually I didn't want the base quite level, as it needed to be slightly inclined away from the house!

Once that was done I discovered that I needed more "edge" pavers. The pavers are octagonal, with a square "key" block on one side, so they won't lay flat against an existing edge, in this case the sidewalk and side of the house. I had initially bought some that were cast with a flat edge on one side, but not nearly enough. A trip to the local Home Depot revealed that they had none now, and a trip to Lowe's showed their pavers to be different sized than Home Depot's. I checked with the HD in Palmdale and a couple local masonry places and they had none.

I tried cutting, with an abrasive wheel, and it was a slow process. Too slow. If the paver (concrete, by the way) was scored and then struck with a chisel it would break in roughly the correct orientation, but there was always material sticking out, preventing a close fit. So I decided to use the edgers that I had for the edges normal to the house/walkway and just fill in the gaps with tinted concrete along the walkway and house. There would be less cutting and fitting that way, but there was still quite a bit as the  planters dimensions were just a smidge small. Why couldn't they be just a smidge large?


Wednesday 25 May 2011

Wednesday  - Not actually feeling very well, so I mostly slept the day away. Bah.

I did read Book #49, Brothers In Arms; and Book #50 Mirror Dance, by Lois McMasters Bujold. These are the sequels to The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game. Entertaining, fast moving, light reading.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Tuesday - Next on the list of things to do is to clean up the garage and side yard. So I started in on installing the pavers that I bought several years ago, into the side yard's dirt area by the house.

It's only about 40 square feet, and as I already had the pavers, pea gravel and sand cluttering the place up, I figured it'd only take a few hours. Hah! What with moving stuff, digging through hard dirt, tree roots, and bits of concrete left from the house's construction it was barely excavated by nightfall. And I should mention, this is where the cactus used to be, so the earth is still full of the small, penetrating, painful needles. Bah.

Some comments from Phoebe, to my niece:


Book #48 was The Vor Game, by Lois McMaster Bujold, successor to yesterday's The Warrior's Apprentice.

Monday 23 May 2011

Monday - The water heater is installed, and working! I puzzled on how to lift the new unit, then realized I had a nice lever in the form of the tilting utility trailer. I tilted it down, manhandled the water heater onto the back, bungee-ed it securely, tilted the trailer back level, then rolled to where it would be a simple side-ways maneuver onto the pedestal.

Good idea, but I needed a counterweight at the trailer tongue, to keep things stable (the default trailer weight distribution is perhaps 50 lbs on the tongue, so it was slightly tail heavy) while I fooled around moving it. Just as I had settled on a 5 gallon drum of paint as the counterweight a former colleague from NASA drove up, and I talked her into standing on the other end of the trailer while I did the grunt work. Then she helped me get the rest going, so by late afternoon I was able to use my own shower again! Thanks Can! Yay!!

Now I have the urge to paint the entire garage, not just the pedestal. It needs it, not having been painted since 1987...

Book #47 was The Warriors Apprentice, by Lois McMaster Bujold. This is some entertaining military sci-fi, well done.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Sunday - I didn't get the water heater installed. I needed to do a bit more in the way of "mud" in the morning, then I had to wait for that to dry, then I had to paint, and wait for the paint to dry. By that time is was early evening and there was no-one available to help me lift the new unit into place - it's heavy and has no good places to grip.

I did use the shower at my friends place, so I'm not too "whiffy".

My lawn boy had a scout event to attend, so he was only able to mow the front yard, then I dropped him off at the Park and Ride in Palmdale, for a Sea Scout jaunt down in, I think, Marina del Rey.

Book #45 was Saturn Alia, by Grant Callin. This was a nice SciFi book, concerning a treasure hunt of sorts, after a mysterious alien artifact is discovered near Saturn. It's mostly "hard" science, and reasonably well written.

The successor, Book #46, is A Lion on Tharthee, in which the humans actually meet the aliens. Again, well written.

Picture of the Week
Cat advice for Jess
Photo Notes:My niece has some surgery scheduled next week,
 so the cats have been giving her some advice...

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