A few weeks ago, Will pulled out his sailboat to try to get it ready for the summer. We had pulled off all the deck fittings last summer to paint the top of the boat, but never got back to putting the fittings back on. His boat is a 16′ lifting keel O’Day Wildfire from the late 1960s. A lot of the hardware isn’t original, and the parts that are show their age.
One of the pieces that were in rough shape were the thru-deck bushings. New ones cost $10-$15 each, so why not play around with the 3d printer and try printing them. Commercial bushings have metal linings, so the printed ones may not last as long. But I had spare resin, so there was no real cost to making the parts. Anyway, we could always replace them with commercial bushings in the future if needed. I spent a few nights designing the part on Fusion 360 and made some test pieces. It would probably have been easier if I had a set of calipers to measure the original, but trial and error works as well. The final design seems to fit the boat and I am in the process of printing four – though I think I could probably fit a few more on the print space. The parts take about an hour to print on our cheap printer.
For the final weekend of spring break, Susanna and I decided to take Izzy to New York City. Izzy and Susanna had Swedish school on that Sunday in New Rochelle, so would have to make the drive no matter what. We made reservations at a Residence Inn in Secaucus, NJ. The hotel is an easy detour from I-95, though the trip down 95 (at least through Connecticut) is pretty terrible. There is free parking and it is a short bus ride into the city.
We left home right after breakfast and made it to our hotel by 11AM. It was too early to check in, but they let us park there and pointed us to the bus terminal. Susanna had picked Ellen’s Stardust Diner for lunch and we walked the few blocks from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the restaurant and Susanna waited in line while Izzy and I explored around the block. We enjoyed lunch (the food wasn’t great, but the singing was lots of fun).
After lunch we walked to Central Park and found a playground for Izzy which was only a little fun since playgrounds are more fund with friends to play with.
After Central Park we headed back towards the bus terminal with a coffee stop in the Swedish Church on 48th Street (Svenska kyrkan i New York) and then back to the hotel. I think Izzy was more excited about swimming at the hotel than almost anything else on the trip.
Sunday morning started with breakfast than a swim until it was time to check out. I picked a few places to visit before Susanna and Izzy had to be in New Rochelle. The first stop was the Weehawken Dueling Grounds; that is the site where the Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel took place. We were there long enough for a few photographs with the NYC skyline as a backdrop and a little history that Izzy is a bit young to care about.
After the dueling grounds we drove to Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan. I dove in circles a few times, but eventually found a place to park. We wandered through the park and up the hill to a playground (another playground). There Izzy met two girls that were also carrying around dolls to play with. Susanna walked a bit past the park and found sushi to bring back for lunch. After lunch we wandered back through the park and then headed to New Rochelle where I dropped them off at Swedish School which left me three hours to kill in New Rochelle.
In New Rochelle, I found a nearby park, Five Islands Park, to walk around for a while. After the park, I headed to the New Rochelle library to upload and edit pictures until it was time to pick up Susanna and Izzy and start the drive back home. Overall a successful weekend vacation!
I had been a little unhappy for a while with Izzy’s previous riding instructor. She was nice, but tended to not pay close attention to Izzy as she was riding, and Izzy was getting frustrated with the basics. The last time she went for lessons, she was in tears for the last half of the lesson. The instructor would have her ride the horse around the arena on her own, and Izzy would do okay for a little bit, but then would get frustrated and eventually the instructor would put the horse on the lunge line and work with Izzy. But, by that time she was in tears and it was too late.
So we picked a new farm to go to and try a different teacher. These lessons are shorter (45 minutes vice an hour), and the new instructor is much more involved. She started last weekend, and has been on a lunge line the entire time. She is starting with just being comfortable in the saddle and slowly working on controlling the horse. It makes a big difference for Izzy, but will probably take a few lessons to get over the anxiety and stress from the previous lessons.
I’m sure it is a balance between letting her figure things out and holding her hand the whole way, but I think she is responding better with a more gentle approach. And this is supposed to be fun for her, not a chore.
This year we decided to head back to Missouri to visit family in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This time it was just Susanna, Izzy and me driving across the country. The boys stayed home. It is a long drive to Missouri, and we decided to split it into two days. Our initial plans were to make the return trip in three days, but eventually we decided we just wanted to get home and made it a two day return trip as well. Isabella did surprising well for such a long drive.
To make the ride as easy for Isabella as possible, I made her a table that fits in the last row of the minivan. It was big enough to fit a laptop computer, mouse and a drink in the drink holder. I constructed in from scrap plywood and lumber and painted it with left over paint from an earlier project. The table made a huge difference on the trip. She could eat lunch on it, do crafts and play on the computer.
Our journey started on Christmas morning. Not as early as we had initially planned, but late enough for the weather to warm up and melt the ice on the road. The first day took us to Columbus Ohio.
The best part about driving on Christmas is that there was no traffic. Anywhere. The worst part wast trying to find food. We made it to the hotel with time for Izzy to swim and the pool opened early enough for another swim before driving on the 26th.
The first night in Missouri we stayed with my brother. On Monday morning we took my nephew, Chase, with us for a morning exploring the St. Louis Zoo. It was a good chance to get lots of pictures of everyone.
After a morning at the zoo, we had lunch joined by Bill and his kids. Then Susanna, Izzy and I headed to Columbia to visit my dad. We got there in time to get settled and head out to dinner at HuHut Mongolian grill. The next two days we spent in Columbia, taking walks each day with their dog, Lily. I helped dad finish a few small projects around the house and in the workshop. I was impressed with his setup for testing electric bike battery testing setup, though we didn’t get a chance to test it out.
Both days we took a short (2-mile) hike along the Grindstone Creek, in the Grindstone Nature Area a short drive from their house. It was a park large enough to let Lily off the leash and give her a chance to run around.
In the evenings, after Izzy had gone to bed, I hooked up my microphone to my laptop computer and interviewed dad. Susanna did the same for her grandparents a while ago, and it has been on my list of things to do. It was interesting to hear about his childhood growing up in Pennsylvania, and the career path that brought him to St. Louis twice, Cape Canaveral Florida, and finally to Columbia Missouri. The next step in the project is to finish getting the audio files transcribed and put them into a book.
On Thursday morning we started our journey back home. Izzy powered up the laptop for some Minecraft time and we headed east from Columbia. We headed out with no firm destination for the day, but after lunch decided to drive to Akron, OH for the night.
On the way out of Illinois we passed a sign for the worlds largest mailbox. So, we stopped in Casey Illinois for a walk break and lunch at Subway.
Unfortunately the hotel pool was closing for the night when we checked in, and didn’t open the next morning until after we departed. Much to Izzy’s disappointment. At least they had a hot breakfast for us (and Fruit Loop cereal for Izzy).
We made it home in time to make dinner on New Year’s Eve and crash the party Will was hosting at our house.
Isabella started riding lessons earlier this fall. She goes every other weekend to Outback Stables in Ledyard for a one hour lesson. It is a lot for her to focus on (and for a whole hour at a time). She needs to watch the position of her hands, make sure the horse keeps moving at the right pace, pay attention to where the horse is going, and not be distracted by the dogs wandering about. Plus probably a bunch of other stuff that I have know idea about since I have no clue how to ride a horse.
Not surprisingly she has wound up with the horse stopped facing a wall. Luckily there are lots of years left before she tries it with a car – at least a horse stops before running into the wall. She is making progress, and can usually get the horse out of a corner without help. I can tell it is getting a little easier for her. The first lesson she was pretty tired after 10-15 minutes and needed the teacher to walk the horse with her on it. Last lesson she almost made it the entire time on her own.
Will had been asking to get a dog of his own for several years. We weren’t quite ready to add a new dog to the family while he was still in school, and when we were ready in the middle of the pandemic, it was nearly impossible to find a dog.
This summer we discussed it more, and agreed that he would be able to get a dog after our trip to Europe. We got approved by one of the local rescue organizations, and found Hoagie. Hoagie was being fostered near New Haven, and over the labor day weekend we went to visit him. Will (and of course Izzy) fell in love with him at the meeting, and later that weekend we picked him up.
He is still getting adjusted to his new house and Will has put him in training. Izzy has lost a few toys, though she has plenty to spare, and we lost a remote, which we don’t have a spare.
I attempted a homemade repair to the dishwasher back in February. It lasted a few months and then started leaking again. This time I ordered the new diverter valve ($60) and Ben and I installed the part this morning. It seems to be working for now; however, some of the reviews state that the repair part only lasts a year or so before it starts leaking again. So maybe next summer I’ll be replacing it again.
I have been spending my workshop time over the past few months on organizing and cleaning, and haven’t really built anything in a while. I needed a shelf to store supplies for the chicken coop, had some twice reclaimed pine, and decided to get the hand tools out and build a very quick shelf.
The wood was already milled, but had cupped a bit. I decided to use it cupped, because it was going to be inside the barn, and I didn’t really want to thin out the boards too much just to get them flat. Plus flattening by hand was more work than I wanted to do this afternoon, and spinning up the jointer would defeat the purpose of a hand tool project.
Last weekend I had to drive to Chaplin, CT to pick up Ben from a friend’s house. Izzy joined me for the drive, on the promise that we would stop by a garage sale if we found one. And we found only one that braved the rain to have a sale. We looked around a bit, and I let Izzy pick up two toys and a book that were being given away for free. I found a rusty Disston panel saw covered in rust for $1 and picked it up.
The medallion on the saw indicates that the saw was made between the wars (1917-1940), at least according to the Online Reference of Disston Saws. This week I took off the handle and cleaned the rust off the blade. I cleaned up hte handle and coated it with spar varnish. Tonight I reassembled the saw, did a quick sharpening, and set the teeth. A quick test cut on some pine, and I have a second fully functional saw for the workshop. I should probably hit the teeth with the file again for one quick finishing pass and try the saw on something harder like oak.
Maybe I should get around to sharpening the 5-6 saws I have hanging on the shop wall for decoration. I also should have taken a picture before I cleaned up the saw.