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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005
I canít figure out how to finish that previous entry. Oh I can tell you what happened. I just canít do it with any panache, so to speak.

We didnít buy the property out in the middle of nowhere. On account of Allyís newly discovered vertigo issue with bridges and such.

I shouldnít lay it all at her doorstep. The place really wasnít all that it could be, or might have been. The lad who owned it was a down home bricklayer who wanted to get closer to the city, rightly figuring that urban areas are clamoring for his talent, but he might shoulda have paid closer attention in trade school when they did that bit about interior work. ĎCause brother, thy drywall repairs and woodwork were a tad threadbare, yes indeedy.

Although he did have a most impressive collection of hardware. And I ainít talkiní about doorknobs, either. Iím talkiní about the hardware that makes pointy lead jacketed projectiles go real fast when you squeeze a trigger. Lord, the boy had more invested in semi-automatics than he had in motor vehicles. A series of deer heads bore testimony, if somewhat muted, to that particular hobby.

But anyway, I might have to redirect any building sites or backwoods house attention away from the Swampland areas Ďround here. Take another look at the hills to the west.

You know the ones. With the curvy clinging roads a couple thousand feet up in the air, with a sheer drop off straight down the side of a mountain?

Thatíd be them.

After a July and much of August filled with posterior thrombosis from sitting in the recliner and recovering from a house sale, business split and acting as a taxi service for various progeny with vehicle issues, it looks like September will be one busy mother.

My old architect/restaurateur chum from days past is up to his old tricks, starting a new eatery for the upscale and discerning. Iíve done a lot of work for this man in the past, a couple of Mongolian places and three trendy spots which attract the late night diner, who might also be seeking a martini, investment news and a twenty-something paralegal in pumps.

Part of the design called for largish louvers to be hung off the side of the building, craftily propped open at a slight angle to suggest some sort of Caribbean motif. Itís a signature to the building, the sort of thing that defines the place. ďHey, letís go for some Cuban tonite. How about that place where the shutters are cranked open, down on the boulevard?Ē

The architect, as he has learned (or has been subtly trained by yours truly) to do, asked me first. And it was the sort of ďWhat do I want and how are you gonna do it?Ē sort of query that makes glad my crafty little carpenter heart.

I was explansive (yes, itís a word, go look it up). ďIíd fabricate it from redwood, since itís an exterior thing, but not from the clear all-heart stuff. Thatíd probably offend some of the liberal tree-huggers, and I know they make up a fair percentage of your clientele. ĎSides, it costs like you canít believe. So weíll go with construction heart (aka con-heart). Got a few more knots, but what the hell. All I need is a size, my lad.Ē

The architect hemmed and hawed and delayed. Which is his habit, and I wasnít too concerned. His jobs tend to go a bit on the slow side because he creates on the fly, shooing away such trivialities as drawings and documentation and city permits. It makes for some eye-popping restaurants but does tend to bog things down a trifle.

But eventually, he called. ďOutfoxed, make them all seven feet by seven feet. Weíll make a recess for each one in the stucco of the exterior, and prop Ďem open with a stick.Ē

Seven feet.

Thatís one awesomely big louver. And thereís 8 of them.

You might have a big bi-fold door in your house with 4 leaves. Thatíd be 6 feet wide, and most likely 6í-8Ē tall. These are bigger, and all one piece. Even after I laid in a center stile and rail to divide them into quarters. Keeps the louver slats from sagginí, donít you know.

When I got to counting up the materials for these things I figured out that each unit would have something on the order of 120 louver slats. Maybe more. And, like I said, thereís eight of Ďem.

Now, I donít have shop anymore. Iíve got a one car garage in a rented house. Good points? Itís fairly deep, and has 9 foot ceilings, and plenty of outlets. 200 amp service. An old Ďfridge to keep the *cough* bottled water cold.

But itís still a one car garage.

I can tell you this. Making 7 foot square louver units out of some hundred pieces of base redwood material, all of which must be sawn and planed several times is an exercise not to be undertaken by the disorganized or foolhardy. I figure that I might just be the first human ever to build one and never lay it flat on sawhorses. Because, you know . . . you just canít. No room.

But if anybody has a need for redwood mulch, Iím your guy. Iím tossing bags of sawdust on a daily basis, here.

Also, Maggieís boss at the pool hall had me build some light enclosures for over the pool tables. He liked them. Wants ten more. Has a lot of pool tables, he does.

And that ugly job at the golf course clubhouse some 50 miles west of here is heating up. Literally. I spent yesterday in that hellhole, hung a run of cabinets and another run of five-high fixed shelving. Ruined a perfectly good 5 year old T-shirt. Why? Because it couldnít hold one more drop of my perspiration.

Thatíd be sweat, for those of you up north.

Iíll be back up there today, and a couple days after that. Might even spend my gas money on a hotel rather than fight the siege that is Interstate 64 between here and there. Be like old times, out on the road and making lightning strikes on a jobsite from some anonymous innkeeperís shack.

Of course, this time Iím doing it solo. But it does tend to make one focused, and the dinner at the end of the day is always an event.

Theyíve got one helluva seafood place just around the corner, and Iím going. The redfish with crab stuffing is supposed to be awesome, and they keep their bottled domestics in galvanized tubs filled with ice. My kind of joint.

Even if it doesnít have propped open louvers.

All this, and a week long cruise to the islands coming up in (3) three weeks. Itís a belated 25th anniversary thing for Ally and myself, conspicuously placed at the tail end of hurricane season. Itís curious. What sane person would volunteer to get on a boat and sail through the Bermuda Triangle in hurricane season?

Probably the same person whoís building mutant bifold doors in a one car garage.

And Iím just wondering. Would it be too callous of me to find a little bar onboard the cruise ship with a good sports theme and a bartending waif and just spend ALL my time there?

Iím not much for sunbathing, casinos, salons, pricey shops, black tie dinners or hitting a golf ball off the fantail. But I do like ESPN and a longneck. Like it quite a bit, in fact.

Besides, everybody would know where to find me at any given point, Iím thinking. Be a hub for all that activity. A checkpoint. Home plate.

Somebodyís got to be the responsible one.

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