Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sept 1st 2010

I began assembling the five panels up tonight. My back was hurting and I was home alone, so I used temporary supports to hold everything in place.

I also used my metal vice to start bending the metal tie down straps. This is how they attach to the gazebo on the inside and outside. Now those bolts I put in make sense!

After four of the five panels were up, I snapped this picture with my iPhone. Looks good!

Aug 28th 2010

Without this little finger plane, I would have had a lot more challenges building this. This little Stanley saved my neck. Without it, my dado cuts would have been far more challenging to finish. Plus there is something profoundly satisfying with working with hand tools.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Aug 25th 2010

Update on the gazebo. Working on the fourth panel now. Slowly getting there!

Aug 18th 2010

First panel finally done. It's a lot more work than I anticipated.

Aug 14th 2010

Initial cutting done for the gazebo panels. Sorted by panel and arranged on the deck.

Aug 5th 2010

Does that look like $850 of cedar? It is. Dang lumber is expensive.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Aug 4th 2010

Today a few things happened - I had my second full day off from both jobs since Memorial day - that was nice. I snapped this picture of Lydia watering the fruit trees (if you look REAL close you can see our first red apple on the left!) - she is listening to Homer's Odyssey on her headphones.

And Jill had her eye exam. Looks like her eyesight is still good enough! So she keeps driving for a couple more years.

We bought a new bunk bed. I was originally going to build, but just don't have the time. Will pick up on Friday. I also got M.I.A.'s new album which I'm thrilled about :)

I finished staining the deck. Tomorrow I start the long gazebo process. I can only afford half the panel wood. The wood for the "walls" or panels of the gazebo will be between $800 and $850 it turns out. Cedar is EXPENSIVE! And that's with a 10% off coupon. Dang.

Aug 3rd 2010

I went through three sheets on the belt sander working on the table. I was covered in sawdust. I actually took this picture AFTER I had taken the leaf blower to myself and gotten most of it off. Then I stained the table.

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 2nd 2010

Today I used the hammer drill to finally attach most of the outlying lighter toned boards to the concrete blocks underneath. Then I put a coat of semi-transparent cedar-toned stain down. It's a lot of work! This picture was taken when I was half done. Tomorrow night, if it's dry enough, I'll put coat #2 on.

July 31st 2010

When I built the deck, I saved some scrap boards. I'm sure some of my neighbors wondered why I had a small stack of wood on my front porch, but I needed them to be outside but not get rained on, since I didn't waste any finish on it. I took those boards and drilled holes in them. Then laid them across the gaps and centered the anchor bolts with them. Poured the concrete underneath and so those scrap boards held the bolts at the proper height.

I also used a belt sander to round off the corners of the table. I found that my perfect little 45 degree angles caught peoples pants legs as they were sitting down. So round off they were - this is stage one. After Jill inspects it all, I'll put on finer sandpaper and finish it.

I also poured concrete in the center portion of the deck finally. I had gotten Jill some beads ( went with Christmas colors that also remind me of M&M's) and she made our "J-P" logo into the concrete. Jill came up with this symbol when she was just a sophomore in high school, so it's been part of our relationship for almost as long as we've been together!

Friday, July 30, 2010

July 30th 2010

Worked on the deck tonight. Removed the edge boards and excavated post holes. Will pour concrete tomorrow and set anchor bolts. Metal "L" straps will then attach to the anchor bolts. The upper part of the "L" strap will go up the outside of each corner of the gazebo's support corners.

By the way, the gazebo I'm building is based on this one, minus the seats (since my table will be in the middle):

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 24th 2010

I moved the table off the deck and pressure washed them today. This Thursday-Friday I'll refinish the deck and sand down the table for it's completion - all in preparation to build the gazebo on top.

July 21st 2010

My wife looking awesome. But she always looks awesome.

July 17th 2010

Sophia's birthday party! She had a lot of fun.

July 15th 2010

The kitties like to snuggle in a Yin-Yang style curled around each other.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 7th 2010

Alexander and I built this scratching post for the kitties today. Xander did all the rope work and nailed it to the 4x4. And he helped me attach it to the base. A wee bit blurry because it's an iPhone pic and the light wasn't super.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 5th 2010

A couple of catch up pictures!

Possibly the best father's day present ever. A wonderful note from one of your children. AWESOME.

Peter wanted ear plugs for 7/4 festivities. Unfortunately, one of Lydia's dove's passed away that night - most likely from fright from the loud booming.

But the next day, we got Cougar and Mittens. Mittens is the gray cat. They are 8 weeks old and slowly getting used to suddenly being around a whole flock of children.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

June 19th 2010

Peter just comes walking in the house. Doesn't say "look what I found" or anything. Just walking around. I thought he was playing with a stick. Nope. A snake. It was kind of cute.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 3rd 2010

Tonight was one of those rare treats - not only was I not working but it was a pleasant evening. Sophia is trying to earn points and wanted to mow the lawn. She mowed the entire front herself!

Then we all target shot in the back yard with the pellet shotgun. Even Peter! Alexander got the hang of loading it and we all had a great time.

Then it was s'mores time!

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24th 2010 pt 2

The conclusion of a wonderful four days off from both jobs :)

May 24th 2010

This morning, we wanted to do something special with the kids to reward them for being so good to Miss Pam, the Jenkins and Miss Dot while we were gone. So we woke them up early and drove the nearly one hour to the Edmonds-Kingston ferry terminal. Just to the north of that is a diving park and since the low tide at 9:00 am was a -.2, it was a decent enough low tide to see sea critters. We caught crabs, saw starfish and anemone's, ALMOST caught an eel and got sand in lots of places. It was a really fun two hours followed by a lunch at Arby's!

May 23, 2010

On Sunday, our day started out with a wonderful breakfast at the Harrison House. Fresh fruit, homemade granola cereal, grits with salsa, fresh lamb sausage and a poached egg on top followed by a really good coffee cake. After that, we drove back to Roche Harbor for our 3-hour 9+mile Kayak tour. Started out by snapping a picture over my shoulder of my bride gearing up. Jill had control of the rudder in our kayak.

Just outside of the harbor, we saw this bald eagle watching the water. Later he/she was seen soaring majestically over the water.

The guide spotted these two sea lion's sunning themselves on a rock. They have to sun for 8 hours a day or they have trouble digesting their food, which weakens their immune system. No humans are allowed within 100 meters of a sunning sea lion in Washington state, so we had to be careful not to drift too close.

One of the cool things I call "tree sculptures" from the wind.

I snapped this photo of the rest of our group. Four other tourists and three guides.

Our lead guy was fascinated by the fact that my Pentax is waterproof, so he asked if he could take a few shots with it. He snapped this photo of us. This was before it got real sunny and I found out I should've listened to my wife and applied more sunscreen. See those large patches of skin on either side of my widows peak? Yeah, they are red today.

After the kayak trip was over, we ate at the Roche Harbor cafe. I had a delicious Asian salad while Jill had what she declared was the best fish and chips she's ever eaten. The halibut was lightly battered and fell apart in your mouth. The fries were crispy in a way we've not had before. YUM.

Afterwards, we drove down the west side of the island, hoping to see some whales. Alas, we did not, but I took this neat photo of a lighthouse. I thought I was focused on the lighthouse but I'm pleasantly happy with the fact I wasn't.

We then drove to Friday Harbor to get in line for the ferry. Had some ice cream and Jill had a Chai latte while we waited. And I fell asleep. Ferry ride home where we played Pente on a table and each won about half the games and we giggled a lot. Ate dinner at a burger place that brings your food out to your car. Then got home exhausted around 9 pm! What a fun weekend!!

May 22 2010

Our 20th Wedding Anniversary!! YAY!

Jill and I left early so we could drive north to Anacortes, WA and catch the ferry over to San Juan island. It was a beautiful day. We enjoyed the time to ourselves and knowing that the kids were well taken care of in our absence led to a very relaxing trip. We took the ferry over, enjoying the beautiful views of Orcas and Lopez island and then the marina of Friday Harbor on San Juan. We ate a delicious lunch at the Bluewater Grill and then wandered the marina. We met Popeye, the female one-eyed resident Sea Lion. Very friendly!

We also saw some other sea life amongst the beautiful yachts. Some anemone's clinging to the docks, lots of jellyfish and some scavenger shrimp. We also saw a lot of stunning boats, yachts, you name it. And that sea smell and sounds and views was so nice.

We drove to the north end of the island, first stopping by English camp. Way back in 1867, the US and Britain were on the verge of war over the islands and the British had setup their soldiers on the north half while the US soldiers occupied the southern half. We decided to visit the English half on Saturday (never did make it to the American camp). We got out and there was an older gentleman taking a picture of his wife at this sign with his cell phone. He asked Jill to take a picture of the two of them together at the sign. Turns out, he MADE that sign 25 years ago. He was the stone mason who put it all together. And his wife? They were newlyweds - she being 103 years old and blind. He called her his "lovely lady". He took her arm after she felt his stonework and carefully walked her to the car. It was very sweet!

The original English gardens are still maintained, although most of the buildings are long gone. They did have a photograph of the English gardens, with that guard house in it and a tall masted British ship moored to the now-gone dock. The picture was from the 1870's.
We then went to Roche Harbor, a resort on the north end of the island where you can look SOUTH to Canada. Roche Harbor used to be one of the top lime producing plants in the US, so the old brick work was all still there. I took this nice picture of my beautiful wife. Then she suggested the picture of the kilns.

We ate a REALLY delicious dinner at a restaurant called Pablitos Taqueria, which advertises "Gringo Loco" style food. Oh man was the lamb curry awesome. Then we spent the night at the Orcas room of the Harrison House Bed & Breakfast. NICE. We didn't get to use the private hot tub - it hadn't heated up - but we very much enjoyed the night nonetheless!! Here's the sunset from our balcony.