Saturday, December 24, 2005

Twas the night before Christmas

I have been really busy the last two days, focusing on the ******s that I am making for friends. Two will be complete tonight and the others soon. So at least I will have a gift and a promise for my friends. Those of you who have been following my other (Christmas gift) blog can get details there. Pictures soon.

Supposed to see King Kong today but haven't heard from Kim. No problem, I have plenty to do today.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Plumbing done !

On Wednesday night I finished the plumbing on my friend's pedicure chair. By Thursday morning there were still no leaks. The chair runs hot and cold water and drains perfectly. After Christmas Bryan and I will start tackling the job of concealing the pipes. Because of the shop layout, and where they wanted the chairs, we had to run the pipes on top of the floor to get to a sink. So we are going to build the equivalent of a speed bump to cover the pipes. Something that contains and protects the pipes, but low enough so you don't stub your toes.

Last night Kim and I went to see a movie. She wanted to see King Kong, but the last show had already started at 8 pm. We got to the theater at 9. The ticket booth girl told me that it takes 3 hours, so 8 is their last showing. So I bought tickets for a 9:40 showing of "Yours, Mine, and Ours" thinking Kim might like a comedy. Before it was half over she wanted to leave. I thought it was funny to that point, she said she was bored. I think she just had her heart set on King Kong. So, we're supposed to go see a matinee on Saturday. The "passive aggressive" in me says I should say I'm bored with King Kong less than half way through. :-)

Monday, December 19, 2005


1. The logsplitter repair is complete. It was so nice to fire it up, press the lever, and see the ram do its thing.

2. I am making good progress on the Christmas gifts, although I have slowed down somewhat.

3. My ex is "intending" to only let me have my son for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week. Our court order explicitly states that in odd numbered years, I will have him from noon on Dec 26 until noon on the day before he has to go back to school after Christmas break. That will be on Monday, Jan 2. So I will have him for a full week. If she doesn't want to abide by that, then I'll file a contempt of court order. It is what she agreed to in 2004.

4. I've gone out with "Kim" a few times now. She is a really nice, straight woman. Although she has a heavy accent, I can understand her. She wants to speak English better so I told her I would help. But I made sure she understood that any time I correct her it is not because I'm being mean. Rather, is is because I want to be helpful. For example, she most often drops the pronunciation of the "s" for any noun that is plural. Maybe she will say she is looking for her "key" when she means "keys". That's a minor thing. But sometimes she drops the past tense "-ed" suffix off of words. Perhaps she will say "I was confuse" when she meant "confused." That can be a little trickier to understand, particularly with an accent. So I told her that if I ask her to repeat something, please understand that I want to make sure I got what she meant.

We got to hang out today a little while because the shop she works in is "close on Monday" (closed on Mondays) and also I am on vacation until the first of the year.

5. As a favor to friends (Helen and Bryan) I am doing some plumbing work. Helen owns a nail salon and she is adding two pedicure chairs. These need to be plumbed for hot and cold water and a drain line. Bryan is not handy at all but Helen wants him to learn how to do things. So he and I are doing the work (mostly me, but he pitches in). There is currently one chair in the shop and they are ordering the second one. On Saturday we finished installing the drain line and the supply lines run from the chair to a sink, but are not connected under the sink yet. We need to get together with the proprietor of a neighboring shop to turn the water off temporarily to make those connections. Anyway, we filled the tub with water (using a gallon jug) and tested the drain system. There were minor leaks that were corrected by tightening the connections.

If it were me, I would have done all the plumbing with copper supply lines and PVC drain lines. But Bryan balked at the idea. He opted for more expensive materials called "PEX" that uses hand tightened compression fittings. His reasoning is that it is within his capability and should Helen ever want to relocate the shop, it would be easier for him to break it all down and take it with them. Their money, not mine. I thought he would like to learn to "sweat" copper pipe fittings...I was wrong. Nevertheless, he did have to solvent weld a PVC fitting to convert to a hose for the drains.

6. I also helped Helen move things around in her shop. She needed a drink machine moved to the front. I did it. The shop TV used to sit on top of the drink machine I installed a wall-mount TV bracket and put the TV 7 feet off the floor where it can be viewed from almost anywhere in the shop. To do that I had to wire a receptacle high up on the wall and run a new cable line there too. All done. I also put up some Christmas lights for her, and installed a lighted picture (a blinking skyline of New York city). The power line for that picture was unsightly, running down the wall. So I drilled a hole behind the picture and put the power line on the other side of the wall. Helen laughed at how easy that solution was, and I used one of her lunch chopsticks to push the wire through the hole. Helen wishes that Bryan would be able to do these things.

So, why am I doing these favors for Helen? Well, Kim is her employee and that gives me time to hang out there and chat with Kim when she isn't busy. I watched Kim do someone's nails. She did this thing called a "fill-in". While she was doing that I chatted with the customer. Nice elderly lady. She was a customer of Helen's for years, and wasn't sure she wanted this "new person" to do her nails. But after just a couple of moments she looked around the shop and proclaimed "Oh yeah, she KNOWS what she's doing! I can TELL !"

Anyway, more later.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

It was a Great woodworking weekend

Wow, I got a lot accomplished on the ******s I am making. They are made of sycamore and cherry. All of the sycamore has been milled, cut to size, and glued up. All of the cherry has been milled, cut to size, and by tomorrow night will be glued up. I made the cherry parts just a hair small so that the sycamore, which goes inside, can be trimmed for an exact fit.

Then I set to work on 6 wine cork trivets. I took some short sections of poplar from my woodpile, then planed, jointed, rabbetted, and mitered them to length. All that's left is to assemble them.

I did not put the logsplitter back together. It's only a 20 minute job and I'll do it soon.

The date on Saturday was nice. The lovely lady, "Kim", is Asian (Vietnamese). She works with the wife of my friend Bryan. Bryan's wife, "Helen", is also Asian (Korean). We all went out for sushi. Kim doesn't like sushi but there were other cooked dishes as well. I learned how to say hello and goodbye in Vietnamese to be polite. She asked me if I could use chopsticks and I said yes. Then I proceeeded to pantomime whittling a chopstick to a point and stabbing food. Cracked her up. But then I demonstrated picking up a soy bean and she was impressed. The thing was she was very quiet. She had to leave at 9:15. At about 9:00 she started opening up. She asked me about my job and what I like to do. I told her I like woodworking and she said she would be interested in learning some. So that sounds like potential for a future get together. After Kim left Helen explained that Kim had been nervous all day long. She said that Asian women tend to be VERY shy in the beginning, and that she will open up with time. Fine by me. She's a nice lady. Non-smoker, non drinker, a couple of years younger than me. Pretty with a great smile. Need more time to get to know her, though.