Choreland Friday

A funny letter from the local Taxation Authorities meant that we would spend part of the morning in Hangtown, and in the waning sunlight it was recognized that the old ’94 530i would not spin-over. Not a peep was heard from it’s antique banks of soldered chips and blinky computeristics. Of course it had sat unattended and un-driven since December till now, and leafing through records indicated that the battery was almost ten years old and dead as a doornail. On the way home from The Abode of the Authorities we stopped-in at a retail car-crap and spinning-gizmo store, but they didn’t have the specialized “Type 93″ battery. It’s low and wide and has terminals recessed to hide under the back seat in an awkward but very cleanly-maintained location. So I made a call to another purveyor of fine automotive fluids and wheel-cleaners, and indeed they could get on by 2:30PM! ~Voila!~ Off to lunch at Mike’s Grill!
Following a delicious and monstrous 1/2lb burger with double-crispy seasoned fries and with some time to spare, we took a truck-amble up scenic Oak Hill Road to the end where it becomes Not County Maintained Road Private Drive Stay Off My Lawn I have Guns – and turned around. Back in Diamond Springs we stopped and popped into Scalise Meats for some cold-cuts and their delicious home-ground beef. Mmmm!
And then passing by Poor Red’s in El Dorado we noticed the shuttered doors again. Next door is a bakery/coffee shop where I had a delicious macaroon and asked, “What’s up with Red’s?” Well, the new owners (they purchased Poor Red’s in 2007) are in for it, deep. On May 14 the Court ordered six-years in the State Pen for him, and one-year for her – and $629,818 restitution…they had failed to report $1.32 million in taxes. Oops! Damn good thing we paid Teh Authorities that bill! They sure don’t mess around up here with tax scofflaws, I guess because this rural county is poor and doesn’t get the HUGE tax-basis of the BayAryans or the Angelenoses.
I was thinking it might be a case of that anti-tax Corvette drivin’ “Freeman” stuff and Gadsden-Lifestyle you hear about around the hills from here to Idaho, but this just sounds like a couple of straight up crooks – you never know…


Office fan Got the second fan up yesterday, a bit of a wrestling match but I finally pinned it to the ceiling – and then something vessel-like in my thumb let go and I said, “Owww!” It got all purple and was temperature sensitive for a while, but is almost unnoticeable today. The fan is shorter than the old one, and with no dingle-balls hanging off it to catch in my hair – and totally silent in operation.  Wiring it up I bypassed the internal switching and put the blue wire together with the red so the light is switched by the plate at the door rather than through the remote.  That way I don’t have a useless light-switch at the door where it’s needed, or “empty” wiring in place.

The walnut blades go with the rest of the walnut furniture nicely.


rockworxWe’re a bit exhausted and Ibuprofen is our friend.  78-feeet of frontage chip-rock, from the lower walkway to the mailbox are now in-filled with river rock.  We estimate that each Little Green Deathwagon loaded weighed about 210lbs (min.), and each wagon load was good for 1-foot (at about 4-feet deep) – the math is a but overwhelming.

The graphic has an illusion and is a bent in the middle, an artifact of the panorama-process I guess.   In reality the street does not flatten out but maintains a constant incline such as on the left side of the picture, so we rolled a lot of rocks uphill.  Owww!  My elbows and wrists ache.

Also all the BIG rocks are removed from underneath the Redwood and most off the smaller gravels too – replaced by fluffy cedar mulch.  Also the “stream” (drain)-edges are relined with those bigger rocks while the stream-bed now has a mix of  smooth river-rock and rough gravels, taken from elsewhere.  We only had to buy the cedar mulch, the rocks were already here… AND it’s been a year since we signed papers on the house!  (But only since the beginning of November taken full residence.)  PHEW!  Maybe now I can go ridin’?

OCD Alert!

What's wrong with this picture?Of all the little things that trigger a meltdown, this comes close to a pinnacle event. It’s not just the cheap Home Depot hardware with plastic internals and lousy zinc pot-metal with a 5-year warranty that breaks at year 5.2, it’s also the poor fitment, the sheer carelessness, and the obvious disregard for visual symmetry. Just to get the door to work right I had to tighten knob-screws that were so loose the handle almost fell off inside, but once tightened the whole mechanism seized up and had to be operated with Gorilla Strength™.

So we went to Wayne’s Lock to find something more in keeping with our style – but not so contemporary that it reminded us of a Hospital, Industrial Park, or School. Bucking the latest on-trend directive we got in the Wayback Machine and returned to Antique Brass instead of Brushed Nickle everywhere – like the Bay Area insists upon. Baldwin got the nod on the style-front, and when the order arrived Jeff came out Wednesday with all the bits and parts including a new set of deadbolts for three other doors, all keyed alike.

With the double-doors it was a bit of a struggle, and I had to get out the aircraft shears to cut some sheet-metal shims for the bottom hinge. In the basement I found a piece of leftover duct-hanger tin from the re-arrangement of the AC/heater ducting, and made some marks for the hinge-jamb screw-holes to line-up. The shims closed the gap between the doors so the deadbolt throw was correct. But the hinge was painted-in and had to be whacked a few times with the 20.oz. Eastwing framing hammer to free it up. In the end it’s smoother, more secure, and looks a lot better. Three shims later and *Phew!*  Now I can rest easy without the nightmares…
Yay they match!

Getting organized

Monday was a BIG day, with the sofa-sleeper arriving in the AM that was too big to fit down the hall and had to go through the Office window on its back. Finally the room is mostly complete, with the vintage Macouillard Matson-Line menus on the wall and the Guatemala masks above the closet, there is now a guest-room that actual guests can stay-in.
After all that we made a Costco (beer-run!) supply-trip where I discovered the answer to my gun-room prayers; a large but not too-large metal locking cabinet that can house my books and reloading manuals and amateur gunsmithing nick-nacks and the stacks of empty brass and lead and junk that was stored in mu7ltiple boxes and strewn around the room. All neatly out of sight under lock and key- and I wonder if I should get a second one…. Phew! More bathroom hardware went on to replace the outdated finishes of the previous hardware and there are still a couple of lights to take-down and replace with new ones. And I ordered a fresh and new bar-sink and faucet to replace the old and worn units – so, ready for some upcoming plumbing work…

Reloading WorkbenchUPDATE: I’m still not really that sure-about or sold-on the Harbor Freight reloading bench. Once built it’s plenty sturdy, perhaps a bit long – but the holes in the top for the wood-working bench-dogs are a bit too frequent, and in order to mount the press where I want it (on the end) I neglected to mount the wood-vise, so they’re really not all that useful – unless I can find or rig a Y-fork rifle-holder and use some pair of holes as a cleaning station… If I mounted the press on the face of the bench then half the drawers will be compromised and unable to open, and while the multiple drawers are swell they don’t open fully, even though they are on full-extension “type” slides/glides, so some of the space is not very accessible – maybe it’s fine for a woodworker but it’s starting to piss me off just a leetle beet…

El Dorado County Life

Went to the Placerville DMV this morning to get a new picture for my license renewal, and to file various other things, change of address notices for vehicles: the truck, the KTM, and the BMW – and then they asked about the Beta, Whoa! Loooong time back! I hope JC is still having fun with it… And no, the “I Don’t Own It” paperwork was filed long ago, but it still showed-up on the Computer’s Permanent Record. Hmm, and these people will run Obamacare, or worse.
Then we went over to the County Assessor’s Office for more paperwork. Perverse incentive or not the real-estate Personal Deduction remains an important tax-benefit – but most significantly we filed the Proposition 90 paperwork that ensured our Prop-13 Tax Basis was portable to El Dorado County. THAT was the big kicker that drove our move and our relocation to El Dorado, not every County allows it – and it will significantly will reduce the amount the .Gov gets to squeeze and waste on mindless bureaucracy and selfish purposes.
Finally we drove down the hill, away from snow to the flatlands of Roseville and went to Arezzo Lighting to pick-up the two new lights (Yay! They called and said they were in!), from Hubbardton Forge that we had ordered last month. One is for the kitchen, and the other is for the island-area/breakfast nook. They make some really-really nice stuff, handmade in the USA – and sturdy. Just the ceiling fixture plates and mounting hardware were noticeably superior to materials outsourced from China by other vendors… So we (me) got some work to do tomorrow hanging lights, and the house is coming more together.

Irrigation control #2

I should begin a log or hash-tag these events. The Weather-reader on the TeeVee had forecast a high of 60 degrees today, and tomorrow or Tuesday an incoming blast of cold and wet air from a Canadian source, traveling south to chill the region and put some snow down at Tahoe while freezing our own asses. So I decided I better deal with the split in the #3 circuit in the above-ground drip-line, and when I went to address its issues I added my own incompetence to the mix via the application of too much strength, and increased the failure to function by snapping it off at the root. Anyhow it was a good deal warmer than expected, well above 60 and into the mid 70’s at least.
Discovery through digging proceeded, and showed the below-ground fitting to be a t-standard, right in the middle of the seasonal (when it rains) stream-bed. I ran the water to get out the accumulated dirt, and filled the hole – and noticed a secondary leak and decided the t-fitting was unnecessary as the junipers were hellishly well embedded, and drought-tolerant as well – they didn’t need a lot more water diverted to them. I pumped-out the hole with my sump-attachment on the De Walt drill until the battery ran dry and I had to go to the garage for the other battery which was not plugged-in and dead as well. Oh great.
We left off that to attack the overgrown Lavender which had gone native and had transformed into a wild thicket, filled high with the decaying results of years of leaf-blowing – the interior was clogged and caked with a fine leaf-mulch that I spread over gaps in the tanbark. Another half-hour or more of work returned the lavender to a shrub-like appearance and with the skirt raised, it revealed an nice border of local rock all around the base.
Hot and sweaty I made a shopping list and it was time for lunch. After a nice dish of Pollo Fundido at a local Margaritateria, we returned home via Ace Hardware where I realized I had all the necessary fittings, junctions, and do-dads – but no 3/4″ pipe – mine was all 1/2″ from the previous episode… So back to Ace.
Now where does all this thing drain-from, and will the incoming freeze burst the lines unless they’re drained or do I leave them running to keep from freezing, and spread icicles all over the land?
Arrgh my back, but it’s good exercise and stretching too. My 89yr old Dad is still going strong and all he does is garden. So fetch me the Ibuprofen.

Windy fun with irrigation

On Thursday last I requested that “Shorty” the Landscape Engineer, investigate a persistently damp spot along the foundation perimeter, and with dispatch amidst the blowing of leaves he summoned the narrow entrenching tool and uncovering a layer of mud, proceeded to bring the issue to light.
pinhole paradise
In the dim light of the 8:AM dawn we discovered a split in the 30-year-odd old buried pipeline supplying the clear rocky mountain nectar to the flora. With due haste and acumen he retrieved a pair of half-inch couplings from his truck, a cutting device, and the goopy purple glue-mechanisms – whilst I found a piece of half-inch discarded pipe in the dark corridors of the long labyrinthine under-basement. A piece of pipe which was to be my own un-doing.
After some effort the joint was cut and re-spliced, and with a “Huzzah!” he and his associates climbed aboard their vehicle to attend to another client along their day’s journey of work.
And returning to the scene of the fountain-head I discovered a pin-hole leak…
In the days meanwhile we have been besieged with various real-estate issues, bills and invoices and forms pertaining to the former flatland abode that is now for-sale in the land of Google — but on our forays out into the dappled warm sunlight and autumn colors I managed to stop-in to a local supplier of irrigation equipment and gathered together a ten-foot length of pipe, some various fittings — including the heavenly reeking glue — along with the necessary cutting device. In the effort I also reclaimed my hidden-in-packing drill-powered evacuation pump, which aided our efforts to clear the murky water.
Meanwhile the pinhole of perdition continued to vent the holy (and expensive) fluid of the Gods. Until today.
re-glued and socketed
So far it’s holding, and I’ll bet nuggets to nougat that The Next One will appear soon…so I shall be stocking-up on couplings and elbows and more pipe. Labor around here is also astronomical, so I shall be paying myself instead. Also I’ll bet that more than a few spigot valves need new seats, so there’s that and grease and such to lay-in.
UPDATE: And now I have a narrow entrenching tool also.

Busy Boy

Between supervising the installation of new sliding doors on both balconies, and beginning with my gun-buddy carpenter friend to re-do the baseboard moldings and door casements, I’ve been busy.
More pics to come but not today. I have a bathroom vanity to go pick-up, and there’s some light electrical work and furniture moving on Teh List. And the Master Bedroom will get a fresh coat of paint for the first time in fifteen years, after the new clerestory windows are installed…

UPDATE: The windows guys are here and on the roof cutting holes…