A relaxing Sunday

The boys are at their mother’s house this weekend (for the long weekend). The dogs are tired from a Friday night escape from the yard, and have been sleeping all day. That means a quiet house, and a Sunday morning to sleep in late.

Susanna is spending the day doing homework. We had talked about going out somewhere today, but it is cold and windy; I’m not sure we will find motivation to go out. I spent the morning updating the blog software, and after lunch I did a coat of joint compound on the new wall in Will’s room. I think I have two more coats to do to finish the project.

Susanna and I are trying a day away from Facebook (and Twitter and Instagram). Kind of a break from social media. I’ve noticed that I don’t really miss it. Maybe there is just too much noise, and not enough actual content on them these days.

A trip to the emergency room for Ben

What a way to start a transition day. I got a call around lunch time from the school nurse. Ben had slipped outside while playing on a snow pile and hit his head. He had blacked out for a minute or so and was quite shaken. His mom went to pick him up from school and take him to the doctor’s office. However, when she got to school, the pediatrician recommended that he be taken by ambulance to the emergency room.

I met Ben at the ER. His head hurt, and he didn’t remember a little bit after the fall. The hospital staff was very nice, and Ben was quite a trooper with all their questions and the scariness of being in a hospital emergency room.

He got a CT scan of his head to make sure there was no issue, and the scan was clean. Nothing on the scan. He was discharged in time for us to go back to the school and pick up Will. The final diagnosis was a concussion. He has to take it easy for a couple of days (until cleared by his doctor) and make sure to not hit his head again.

We got to the school to pick up Will, and all the kids in the after school program were very excited to see Ben. He was the celebrity of the afternoon. Everyone asked him how he was doing. I think he was a bit overwhelmed with the attention.

Kitchen Island (dry fit-up)

I almost didn’t make it to the workshop tonight. Although it is Tuesday night, it feels like a Monday night. Maybe that is because Susanna and I went out to dinner with some friends last night. Maybe it is because Susanna is feeling sick tonight and went to bed early. Hopefully she will feel better tomorrow. But back to the workshop – I get distracted and if I’m not careful I won’t finish writing about the topic I had intended to write about when I started.

I finally found the energy to head out to the workshop after I had suggested that Susanna put on “Sex and the City” which I didn’t want to watch. Nothing like a bad TV show to motivate one to find something better to do.

I cut the last tenons on the kitchen island tonight and dry fit the base. It is turning out okay. Not perfect. I can see where the joints aren’t as tight as I would like them to be, but I need to finish this project and move on. I also could have done a better job picking out a couple of the pieces of wood for the project. I have enough lumber sitting around, I shouldn’t ever compromise and use a less than perfect piece for a visible part of a project.

I have already glued up one side of the base. Now I have to drill the holes for the drawbore pins.Drilling out the white oak was overheating the “cheap”” drill bits I have and not leaving a clean hole. So, I am waiting for a new 1/4″ drill bit from Lee Valley.  I ordered a carbide tipped brad point drill bit.  The bit is not cheap for drill bits (it is nearly $20 for a single bit), but reviews said that they are well worth the price.

Next furniture project will have to be out of something more forgiving than white oak. How about cherry?

Blogging (the curtishome website and more)

Throughout my life I have, periodically, attempted to keep a journal. The attempts rarely last very long, and the entries are very sporadic. The few journals I have are interesting to go back and look at; they help me reflect on what I have done over the years. I wish I had been more consistent with keeping a journal. That is where this blog fills in.

I started this blog on November 3rd, 2010, over 2 years and 3 months ago. I started it after returning to my house in Preston after having moved out for a year in the process of my divorce. There used to be a blog on this site from before the divorce (from 2004 to 2005), but none of that information still remains here (though I can find some of it on web.archive.org).

So far it has been a pretty good undertaking.  This will be the 214th post on the blog. I have written 60,688 words in this blog (including this post), with an average of 290 words per post. I have printed two books from this blog, so it won’t be lost as a journal. I’m sure as blogging goes, this isn’t a great accomplishment, but I am content with the progress. 

I have started encouraging (or as they would say, forcing) the boys to write in their own blogs. Although they haven’t been the only ones to write in their blogs (a handful of the entries are from either myself or their mother), they have pretty impressive numbers.  Will has written 3,172 words, with an average of 30 words per post.  Ben has written 2,126 words, with an average of 29 words per post.  They both have a printed book each from their blogging last year.

Project Updates

Wall replacement in progress in Will's room.

Today I finished (mostly) digging out from the 20+ inches of snow that dumped on us this weekend. The sun was out and the temperatures rose above freezing today. I have a couple of projects going on right now (the trick with ADHD is to finish projects before starting new ones – I’m not doing too bad so far this year):

Will’s room repair: All the insulation and drywall is installed. I repaired, repainted, and rehung the window. I am in the process of smoothing the joints with drywall joint compound. I have a couple of more evenings of drywall work left. I also need to reinstall the window trim and hood up the new outlets.

Woodworking Projects: I have two unfinished projects in the workshop. Today I worked for a while on the kitchen island. I finished milling the final 4 pieces of lumber for the aprons and stretchers. All the mortises are cut, and most of the tenons are fit to the appropriate mortise. I glued up one side of the base frame (two legs – one long apron and one long stretcher) tonight. I am drawbore pinning the tenons. Hopefully the drawbore pins will strengthen the frame. I should have the island frame completed by the end of next weekend. Then I’ll have to choose wood for the top (maybe ash or white oak or maple – not sure yet), mill, glue up, and finish the top.


Drawbore Pinning from "Woodwork joints" by William Fairham


I am also have to finish making the drunken cutting boards. I have the pieces milled and ready to go, but am focusing on the kitchen island right now.

It has been a little cold to want to spend lots of time in the workshop. Hopefully we will start seeing some warmer days over the next couple of weeks.

I have lots of projects waiting to be started; the room repair and the kitchen island are starting to get a little boring, but I will feel much better when they are finished. So, no starting new projects for me yet…

Tomorrow both Susanna and the boys have the day off from school. Most of the towns are still digging out from the storm, so nearly all the schools in the area  are closed tomorrow. Lots of my friends still don’t have power or just got it back today; we were lucky enough to only lose power for an hour or so last night.

Winter Storm Nemo

Will taking a break from the winter storm (reading the final Harry Potter book)

Winter Storm Nemo plowed through here last night (I’m not sure when they started naming winter storms, but I’ll go with it), dumping 20+ inches (1/2 meter) of snow overnight. Surprisingly we didn’t lose power.  However, I’m told that we will lose power shortly when they have to remove some trees from lines – I’ll see if I get this post done in time.

Will was supposed to have his birthday party today. That didn’t happen. But he got to go for a snowmobile ride with our neighbor; his daughter, Estelle invited him to go along. He was pretty cold when he got home from the ride, but according to him, “it was a blast.”

Ben has been fighting a cold, so I didn’t let him go for the ride. But he did get enough time outside to enjoy the deep snow.

The boys have both been alternating between playing outside, and taking it easy inside. Tucker spends most of his time outside in the garage, with short trips out into the deeper snow. It is even too deep for Targa to enjoy. Susanna and I worked on shoveling the driveway (though most of it was cleared by our neighbor and his snow blower – thanks Joel!). The sun even appeared for a little bit this afternoon.

Tonight we are going to sit down and enjoy a warm soup and bread. It is a vegetable soup, so the boys may starve tonight.  Maybe we will even play some “Uno Attack” by candlelight later.

Will playing in the 20 inches of snow that arrived last night



Dog stresses (gone again – this time for nearly 24 hours and counting)

Targa and Tucker took off again yesterday morning. This time they got out of the yard. Tucker has gotten out of the yard before, but I think this is the first time Targa has run through the invisible fence. They have been gone overnight – this is the second time they have been gone overnight (the last time, they took off on a walk in the woods). I don’t usually worry if one of them is gone by himself – alone they don’t go far. But together they can go for hours.

I think it is a combination of Tucker being a beagle, and the invisible fence covering too much of the yard.  For most of the yard, the invisible fence follows the property boundaries, even when there is no natural barrier for the dogs (e.g. a stone wall).  It makes it difficult to train Tucker to the boundaries in the back of the yard – he is pretty good at not approaching the boundaries when someone is watching him.

Yesterday, Will and I rerouted the invisible fence. It now only will allow the dogs in about half of the yard. It now follows a stone wall (a natural boundary for the dogs) for about half of the boundary. Hopefully this eliminates the section of the yard that Tucker has been escaping from. We also will build a fenced (real fence, not just invisible fence) section of the yard to let the dogs run in when we can’t watch them outside.

Our friends, Rob and Anna are re-homing their dog, Dillon, because he isn’t getting along with their horses. Rob asked if I wanted Dillon (he offered free eggs along with the dog – I was heading over to pick up eggs from their farm yesterday). I told him (joking) that we would trade Tucker for Dillon. When he told Anna what I said, she thought for a second and then said that they would rather keep Dillon.