Winding down a crazy busy day (hopefully)

Running the house always seems a little more hectic and crazy when Susanna is away.  Who am I kidding… it seems a lot more hectic and crazy.  Today was one busy day. And it started early.  The dogs were up at 6am.  Will wasn’t far behind.  Thankfully Ben slept in.

The morning didn’t start out too crazy.  We didn’t have any early morning plans, and a 6am wakeup always makes the first part of the morning seem more relaxed.  After breakfast we started and finished our “magic tree house” ladder.   It is now hanging in a tree in the side yard.  No tree house yet (don’t worry, Ben already asked if we could put one up in tha tree).  Next was the beach.  Okay, submarine base lake beach.  But still kind of beachy.  Lunch at McDonald’s,  then picked up Will’s best friend, Tyler, on the way home.

I worked a bit on the boat ladder, then we headed out to pick up a pool cover (thanks to freecycle).  On the way back we stopped by Will’s other best friend’s house (Shane).  He wasn’t there, but we made plans to have Shane spend the night.  Then we picked up Ben’s friend, Anthony, on the way home….

The boys played… keeping cool in the sprinkler.  I did more chores (weeding the garden and cleaning up the house a little bit).  Dinner was hot dogs and hamburgers.  Shane arrived in the middle of dinner.  So did the girl from across the street, Amanda.

More chores – cleaning up dinner while the boys (and one girl) played in the back yard.  Amanda only got stuck in a thorn bush once – so it was a success.

Anthony home.  Then Amanda home.  Then trying to calm down a bunch of boys and get them ready for bed.   And more trying to get them to calm down.  I’m still working on it.  It’ll soon be time to make Will leave his room and calm down in my room.  Or maybe I should just turn up the AC in my room, go to bed early, and let them get to sleep when they get to sleep.

Only 4 more days until Susanna is home.  Then maybe we can find some sanity here…

A “Magic Tree House” rope ladder (or a quick Saturday morning project)

Will and Ben building the tree house ladder

I picked up some 1/2″ rope this week to make a boarding ladder for the sailboat.  It seemed simpler and much cheaper than buying a transom ladder, or pre-made rope ladder.

Ben immediately decided that we should build the rope ladder from “The Magic Tree House” series of books.  He even brought down a copy of one of the books so we could look at how it was made.

This morning we went out to the workshop and picked out some wood (I think it is cedar) that was the proper size and didn’t need milling.  It was a quick project with both boys helping.  The rough lumber isn’t slippery, so it makes the ladder safer.

Total time: 5 minutes picking out lumber; 10 minutes cutting the lumber by hand; 10 minutes to drill the holes on the drill press; 10 minutes to make into a ladder with both boys helping.

We finished in time to head to the submarine base and spend an hour and a half swimming at North Lake before lunch.   Now to build the boat ladder….

Ben enjoying his ladder

An afternoon out

Going out for dinner and a movie with the boys

I’m uploading pictures to the computer, and found some on the camera from before my most recent trip – so here is one of Susanna and me on the night we took the boys out to dinner and to see “The Avengers” on the base.

Saturday afternoon

It has been a nice, slow, Saturday so far. Will and I went out first thing so I could get my hair cut. Susanna and Ben slept in. I was going to mow the yard this morning, but the mower battery was completely dead. I knew it was going but had hoped to make the rest of the season on the old battery. So another trip to get a new battery. This time with Ben.

I did mow the yard this afternoon. Now we are taking time to cool off in the new pool (thanks Susanna for the early birthday presen).

Tonight we are heading to the base for a free showing of the Avengers.


An unpleasant start to Sunday

Today started out with my normal routine. The boys slept in, but the dogs wanted to go out at 6:45. I put them out and went back upstairs to lay down for a little longer before starting the morning.

Then came the smell. Skunk. A faint odor at first, then stronger. After a couple of choice words, I went down to check on the dogs. Targa had been hit. Tucker was still running around, but I couldn’t imagine him escaping.

I put Targa on a leash and hosed him off (with some soap) while Susanna chased Tucker around the yard to catch him.

The spray seems to be limited to both dogs noses. And Targa’s mouth. No eyes thankfully.

Susanna is off to the store to get special shampoo for the dogs. The house smells like skunk; we are waiting for a good breeze to blow the lingering skunk smell away.

In all, a not so good start to the day.

Sailboat Project Day

One of our family goals is to get the sailboat in the water by this fall.  Just one time in the water.   I have had a 1973 O’Day 22 foot sailboat for over 10 years and I have never had it in the water.  It is in the garage, and the trailer has lots of rot.  Too much rot to move the boat, so even if I wanted to get rid of it, I would need to repair the trailer.

The boat off the trailer on the stands

The first part of the project required lifting the boat off the trailer, pulling the trailer out from under the boat, and setting the boat down on stands.

The boys and I started working on the boat this afternoon when Susanna headed into work.  The goal for today was to finish this step of the project.  I couldn’t have done it without the boys.  Ben helped the first part of the afternoon, and Will the second part of the afternoon.    All three of us struggled to pull the trailer out from under the boat (one of the tires was very flat – made it even harder to move).  It took the three of us and the tractor to pull it out.

None of the usual complaining about being bored and not helping.  There was a period that I wasn’t sure that we would get finished today.

The next step is to clean out the inside of the boat.  Susanna is planning on doing that over the next couple of days.  Then we will evaluate the scope of the work remaining to get the boat in the water.

We even dug out the mast from behind the barn (the boys washed it).

We are all scraped up and banged up from the project today.  I’m tired, but I think Ben got the most banged up (not all of it was project related – a lot of scrapes playing around on his bicycle after a hard day working outside) – he got a good cut on the palm of his hand helping put the mast on it’s storage rack.

I haven’t forgotten my other projects.  I am still working on the kitchen island – but I can’t just have one project going on at a time.  I want to make progress on the boat before we break to paint the trim on the house in July (with Susanna’s sister, Rebecka’s, help).

Jumping into the next project….

First mortise and tenon for the kitchen island

I’m at a good stopping point in the workshop renovation, so I figured I’d start using the workshop.  Tie to jump into the kitchen island project.

This morning I milled the legs from white oak.  I spent some time thinking about how I would make the mortises and tenons for the project (8 total each to attach the apron to the legs).  The last project I had routed the mortises on the router table, and made the tenons using the table saw.   I thought about it, but didn’t really want to go that route.

I didn’t really want to do all the mortises by hand either.  So I’m using the drill press to clear out most of the wood from the mortise, and then cleaning it up by hand.  I made a mistake with the first one.  I should make the tenons first – then the mortise.  I made the mortise, and had to make the tenon to match.  I cut the tenon by hand.  It didn’t fit right off the saw – but it didn’t take too much to make it fit – so I’m pleased with how it turned out.   I also decided to make them haunched tenons.  I also plan on pegging the tenons – hopefully they are long enough to make it look decent.  I guess if I need longer tenons, it won’t be terrible to do by hand – I’ve only cut one mortise and tenon that I’ll need to adjust.

One of the advantages of doing things by hand – I’ll work on one joint at a time.  No need to set up the power equipment and batch the joints.  I can also listen to music while I do the handwork.  It is much more pleasant than using the big power tools.  Don’t worry, I’ll still use my power tools.  I have no desire to rip a 5 foot long piece of white oak by hand.  Nor do I want to take the 5/4 white oak and mill it down to 3/4″ without using the power planer.

A Zombie Free Saturday Afternoon Walk

Will guarding the gate

The rain stopped long enough on Saturday afternoon to take a walk down to the cemetery before dinner.  The boys brought their new toy bows to protect us from orcs, goblins and uruk-hia that were there to attack us.  I think that they must be more dangerous than the zombies and ogres that normally plague our walks.

This morning the boys started by fighting zombies.  Then turning into zombies – until they couldn’t find a brain in Tucker to eat.

It rained most of the day – which put a damper on our hopeful beach plans.  But a slow day is nice once in a while.  Will had a friend, Tyler, sleep over again last night.  We took Tyler home just before lunch on our way to the toy store – Ben had a birthday party to attend in the afternoon and needed a gift.  The boys spent their allowances eacg on a set of toy bow and arrows.

Ben guarding the gate

Will had been wanting to watch the “Lord of the Rings” movies again.  We had watched them two years ago (and skipped lots of scary parts).  This time, with Ben at a party, Will wanted to watch the entire movie (win-win, Ben got to play at a party and Will got to watch a movie that had given Ben nightmares previously).  It was a rainy day and perfect for a three hour movie.  And the movie explains the lack of zombies on our evening walk (and the addition of enemies from middle-earth).