Wednesday Construction Update

The construction projects here are moving along.  The landscaping crew has been here over a week and are making great progress.  Soon we’ll have a nice new hill and patio area.  Here are a couple of shots of early progress:

View of the hill looking into the backyard. This was two days after starting.


This area is being leveled for my marquetry workshop.

Getting my workshop up and running is a slow process.  The building that will go in the area pictured above won’t arrive until March and then I’ll have a lot of work to do to get it setup.

Currently the garage space looks like this:

Current state of the garage workshop. I actually have a couple of tools I could really use.

At this point most of the tools are on carts and I have moved enough stuff into the house so I have some workspace.  Not much but some.  Some of the tools pictured here will be going into the workshop shed when it arrives.

But the big news is the arrival of my full shop dust filter:

This was a major project. This is the shop air filter. It removes particles down to 1 micron and will help keep the dust out of my lungs. It also weights close to 65 pounds making it a beast to attach to the wall.

With this and the dust collector I can now actually run tools in the garage without covering the whole place in sawdust.

Slow progress, but still progress.

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We’re under construction here.  Well, in the yard, outside.  The crew arrived last Monday with a big digger and a microwave to heat their lunch.  In the yard is a slope that needs work.  They’re building new paths and placing retaining walls.  They hauled away a lot of trash and rubble.  The crew is also laying the groundwork for my new marquetry shop.

It’s a timeless process – one that we all do from time to time.  We do it with homes, cars, and even in our lives.  The process of renewal and restoration.

One reason we bought this house is because it was, as they say, “Move in Ready.”  A nice real estate term meaning we just had to move our things in and start living.  Life is never that simple.  We’ve had to have repairs done, buy new widow coverings, and soon realized that the yard wasn’t setup the way we’d like it.  So we set about planning.

I also retired as part of this move – which requires its own set of changes and renewals.  I’ve worked since I was a teen and miss parts of “work.”  Yes, the money and benefits are greatly missed, but it is more the sense of accomplishment that I miss.  The ability to point to a product or company and say, “I work there or I make those.”

As part of our new year traditions, Heather and I make a list of things we’d like to accomplish. This involves some thought and a large pad of paper where we list the things we’d like to do.  I was just looking at that list and most of my items are what I’d call enabling steps.  I’d love to do more woodworking, and that requires more space and setup.  It also turns out to be a long process.  We started the process of planning the new yard areas and where to put my workshop back in August.  There was the planing, signing contracts and now finally a crew has arrived to do that.

I should say the first part of the work.  They are really just laying a framework for our gardening efforts and my shop space.  It will still be months before it is all complete and each time I look at the construction progress I am reminded of the work that still needs to be done – the electrical line, the irrigation system, where to put the compost piles …

I guess there is a metaphor in there somewhere about life.  We have to plan, execute and adapt to the place where we find ourselves.  There needs to be a grand vision and the patience to work through all the details.  In the end, it might even come close to what we first thought it might be.

It would be nice to come back here next year and post, “We did it!”  Nice, but life is always uncertain and the best we can really hope for is to be closer to our goal.  It’s possible that I might not make a single piece of marquetry.

I’d like to write here that I am hopeful that things will be alright and that I’ll be cranking out marquetry pieces by the dozen.

It’s hard to be hopeful in this world right now.  Disease, hate, and all the negative things often pull me down into pessimism.

But, there is always hope, and on my hill the digger machine is building a new backyard.  If we trust to prayer, love, and compassion, we could build a new world.

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Friday Wisdom – Keep on Truck’n

I’ve applied for a job as a garbage truck driver.  There’s no training program.  They say I’ll pick it up as I go along.

I have two friends – a truck driver and an astronaut.  Personally I find the truck driver to be more down to earth.

What do you call a truck driver who doesn’t drive anymore? semi-retired.

What’s a truck driver’s favorite part of a movie? The trailer.

I was working for a carnival driving the truck with the giant eye glasses.  It was quite the spectacle.

A truck hauling raspberries spilled the load on the highway – there was a large traffic jam.


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A New Year

I know that we’re all waiting for 2020 to fade into a distant memory, but it’s worth pointing out that it could be a while before that happens.  Still, the up coming year should be different than last.  I’m not going to promise better, but it won’t be the same.  As a planet, nation, families and as individuals business as usual will be different.

Yeah, there’s the vaccine and a new president.  I got a new house, a new state and city.  Heck I even got new glasses last week.

That was almost fun.  I saw the eye doc on December 1st  and on the 29th I got my new glasses.  It’s my first true pair of progressive lenses and they only had problems with the order twice before delivering.  I only had to have one major hissy fit with them on the phone to get them to deliver – basically I just pointed out that they’d called me each week with a new story on why the glasses weren’t ready and if they couldn’t produce them they should give me my money back.  Magically, ten minutes later the pair was perfect and ready for pick up.  Seriously, ten minutes – you can check my cell phone records.

Since last week I’ve been trying to get used to these glasses.  It’s the first time I’ve had glasses I could wear all the time as this is the first time I needed correction for distance.  My last prescription was just for reading and computer work so I was used to taking the glasses off when I stood up to walk anywhere.  It’s nice to not have to do that anymore and I’m happy that the world isn’t as out of focus any more.

My world, not the rest of the world – that world still has issues.

I’d be ecstatic about my new glasses, but they don’t work so well with the computer or reading as the focal area for near objects isn’t as big as I’d like.  Honestly, I’m a bit afraid to complain too much about that because they might send these glasses back to the lab and who knows how long that would be before I got them back.

Another thing that will be different this year is my workshop.  Currently I’m setting up the garage and last week got my dust collector and air filter installed and working.  There’s a lot more setup to do there.  On Monday the landscaping crew starts working and one of the things they’re going to do is to level an area where I’ll be putting a shed for part of my workshop. 

As it happens, I mentioned that I was a woodworker at the eye doctor way back in the beginning of December and they suggested that I might consider getting prescription safety glasses.  Now, I’ve had that thought before and now seemed like a good time to go ahead and order a pair.  You know, now that I’ll have more time for woodworking, it seemed like having proper shop eyewear was is order.

Yes, I still don’t have the safety glasses.  Ordered two pairs, got a small discount, and the whole thing was sent to a lab with quality problems.  When I was getting my walking around the house glasses I made a few choice comments about the safety glasses and the promised that they were to be delivered on Thursday.  That made me happy that on New Year’s Eve I’d finally have all the glasses I ordered.

You didn’t think it would be that easy …

Yup, on New Year’s Eve the lab called the optical shop who then made a trembling call to me – their favorite client.  I will admit that from time to time I lose my sense of humor about paying for things I don’t receive.

I did feel bad for the person selected to call me.  Personally I think she upset the boss over something and was being punished.  When I heard that I wasn’t getting my fancy shop glasses, I took the opportunity to complain about not liking looking at the computer with the pair they had delivered, but not before they had offered to give me a free pair of glasses.

Clever tactic on their part – screw up and then do something nice to make up for the inconvenience.  Interesting business practice.  Maybe it will catch on.

So I went back to the optical shop to select my free pair and can happily report that they agreed to provide me with a nice frame and the computer/reading glasses I’d like to have.

I just have to wait two more weeks.  sigh …

And that friends is where we are with the world.  New president in three weeks, vaccines in three months and maybe by summer we can feel like the world is finally moving on.

Maybe, let’s just pray that the lab doesn’t screw up again.

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