Weather Window Shut

An entire week of rain has shuttered the weather window. Some yesterday, two and a third inches today (tonight), and a constant near-term future of slatting-down cold rain. 46-degrees feels like 36 – feet of snow in the Sierra. Meanwhile a brown river is running across the acre+ pasture, a seasonal creek I believe they call it.
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To while away my time yesterday before ignoring the Stupor Bowl, I commenced to replacing receptacles on the kitchen back-splash. We are changing color from hospital white to oil-rubbed bronze, to match the faucet and other hardware things and because it also hides them better than a bold white square and they blend into the background. UPDATE:
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And it was a job highlighted on the Home Inspection report – make ’em all GFI. It’s not really necessary from a safety standpoint because one GFI stands sentinel over the others in the circuit, but what the hell.
Oopsies: One loose wire hiding behind a plate of switches rendered the refrigerator mute, so it was pulled from its dusty recess and plugged into the island where current flowed – enabling a much needed cleaning of the mysterious land-behind-the-refrigerator – and today that wiring issue was corrected. So a few band-aids were issued: one stab-in-the-hand by an errant screwdriver, and a finger-tip hooked by sharp copper when the insulation came free. Not too bad on the old back either.

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Screw it, I’m painting!

Picked-up the deck-paint order at HD and it’s a nice warm day today – I’m puttin’ down some paint while this lasts! Tomorrow the forecast is rain in the early AM, and the mower can sit out for that — and I don’t want to wait around for Springtime to get this done.
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So, around noon time I rolled on the primer which was more like Elmer’s glue than anything else, hopped in the truck and took the 4-gal bucket back to HD for a whole lotta shakin’ and the special closed-cell foam roller-applicator. A fuzzy polyester roller just wouldn’t work with this goop.
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By the time I got back the primer had set-up enough to start rolling it out. Sticky-gooey gritty-messy delicious weird junk that came out of the bucket-spout like runny peanut-butter – but first I cut-in around the base with a disposable brush, because this and the roller-pan tray was not getting a clean-up.
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Now I hope it sets-up and cures over the next few days – I’m gonna leave it alone till Monday or Tuesday anyhow.
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Fine Tuning – more Gladiator track

Started laying-in the track to get things up off the floor and on the wall. Some of the tall boxes got moved around and consolidated, mainly the Auto-und-Moto stuff, which aligns with the Toolboxes of metalworking and the left-side bench.
Garage work
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Did the washer-dryer corner.
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Then I started working on the Groundkeeping equipment-wall and the tall-box. The floor of the garage slopes away at that point (for rain-intrusion/drainage) and the tall box was listing as it stood on wheels, so time to get it up OFF the floor and onto the wall.
I measured three times to get the distances correct for the wall-track to receive the box-brackets, then hit all the studs with the impact-driver.
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Then I used the lawn-mower hoist to jack-up the box and slide it into position. Voila! It dropped into the wall-track like magic.
Drop the mower-lift and pull it away to its lair by the water heater.
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Still got a bunch of sporting-out to do with the yard-tools, but now there is (some) order from chaos.
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Little Steps

Bit by bit the Master bathroom is getting a make-over. We made a dump-run on Saturday after loading the truck with junk and leftover construction materials on Friday. It was raining.
That included the pile of fence-posts, and plastic bin full of chimney facing-stone, kitchen ledge-stone, and a couple old pieces of sheetrock, a pile of shingles, and the big bathroom wall-mirror. The light over the mirror went to the Habitat re-sale shop as a donation.
Witht he mirror gone the wall needed some color returned to it and fortunately there was a half can of this color, “Head for the Beach” green. Coincidentally it’s the same color that we painted my “Office” in our previous life down in Googleopolis among the Googloids and Yahooians.
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As you can see, there’s a slight color-difference that tweaked my OCD and so I was a bit worried. With the age of the paint I was worried it might dry differently and not match, since pigments can shift through age and exposure to heat or other environmental factors, but the can was stored tight and the color match was perfect in the end.
Actually I got that backwards. The juice in the can will remain relatively stable as long as it’s tightly sealed and given a good shake before application – and has not been thinned ridiculously or stuffed in an oven. Environmental factors will usually take a toll on the the wall-paint sooner; from sun-exposure (fading) to moisture, to out-gassing and what-not. But I was worried anyhow at the difference in color/tone as applied.
A new light is on order with a bit of industrial look and in oil-rubbed bronze finish, and we’re looking for a more suitable mirror with a framed-edge to hang on the wall. I’m going to tear-out and replace the vanity and sink/faucet soon too.
The ceiling fan is also due for a replacement with a more quiet one, and one with a light for additional illumination. Then there’s the shower-stall and floors – but the Travertine will have to wait for now.
UPDATE: Had to cut a hole in the wall-mount sheet-metal plate because the location where I wanted to mount it positioned the bracket over the junction box and I needed to be able get at the wires and hook it up! So I got a hole-saw and went at it. Then I drilled two holes in the bracket on stud-centers so they would go securely into wood instead of flimsy drywall non-anchors. The wire cages add a bit of a industrial feel and the lights are 40-watt LED’s that throw a lot of light and only actually draw 6.3 watts each so the hell with PG&E.
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Gone in 60-seconds

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As you can see in the top picture, the “deployed” grate-vents take up about an inch of depth.

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The contractor’s hole that was cut for the vents was fine for the inexpensive, beige-painted, short little Home Depot vents, but not for the fabulous bronze vents we purchased – so material had to be removed.

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With the MultiMaster and a wood-metal saw-blade attached, the super-easy ability to do a sideways plunge-cut and then a vertical cut removed enough material and allowed the grate to drop right-in.
The blade/tool also doesn’t have a jerky, instant-on start-up. It begins gradually and comes up to speed, and then once you make the plunge-cut, you can pretty easily move the blade laterally/sideways to keep cutting. Nifty tool, works in tight spaces.
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SIDE EFFECTS: During this process the whole vent sheet-metal and 4-inch ducting-hose fell off with an Oops! It dropped away into the basement and disappeared, so I had to go down there with a flashlight and get up on a ladder, and push it back-up into place. I secured the tin from below with a long sheet-rock screw. Back On the upstairs side I anchored one end of the ducting with another screw and then adjusting for height, did the other side.
The action of falling released two pieces of hitherto unknown yellow fiberglass insulation batting that were lodged in the duct-hose, clogging it. Now what was once a hot room in Summer and a cold one in Winter flows A/C and heat freely. YAY two-fer!

White Christmas!

One of the interesting features of the Ranch is the paint-job the previous contractor/owner did on the interior. It’s a two-color, spray-texture job that antiques the whole place, and he shot the paint from top to bottom – meaning the ceiling is also done. I can’t imagine the amount of over-spray, or how he bagged the place up to keep paint out of where there aint supposed to be paint. At any rate it makes touch-up a challenge – but I do have remainders of both the colors, in buckets in the garage paint cabinet.
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It’s been a while since I shot paint, it was something we did in theater – mainly with stencils and stuff over very large areas. In fact I once had a sweet (expensive for me) Paasche 1-quart siphon spray-can for the artistic crap, but that was before high-volume low-pressure and just when airless spit-sprayers were coming out – which I have never operated..Iin fact if I remember right we were doing just the opposite! High pressure, low volume. Meh, and cleaning the damn thing all the time between colors was a pain. When I departed the Theater World, I left it for them in the shop to compliment the other guns.
So I’m thinking a Wagner Flexio-something from Home Depot might work. It would be nice to have two jars of color ready to swap back and forth…
hail-sizedriveway02drivewayUPDATE: Christmas Eve Tornado-Warning! The cell phone lit-up this afternoon around 3:00PM with a National Weather Service “Immanent Extreme Danger” text-warning, and suddenly the drizzly gray-day got exciting.
A tornado had been spotted down the hill and was being tracked on radar and the stormy-cell was headed straight at the Ranch. It started to rain and the rain turned to hail, and then it really came down. It’s a bit discombobulating to have an event like that here in ranch-land with no basement.
The tornado itself was forming and un-forming as it hit the hills, moving at about 20mph so there was ample time to track it on TV. I put on a rain-jacket and watched in the hallway as it approached, and the angry orange blob on doppler radar went straight overhead.
There were some pretty fierce cracks of lightning and immediate thunder, but apparently it had un-formed at the time as it bounced up the landscape, and perhaps the house sitting on the down-shoulder of a hill was protected by natural topography. I didn’t hear any freight-train sound and we didn’t have any damage, just an inch and a half of hail that dropped in about twenty minutes, covering the drive and filling the yard with a White Christmas! Since the tornado was observed and photographed, it’s on record.

Good Vibrations

I blame the persistent cold and gray weather, and some floor radiator-vents at the Low Granite Outcropping that are not fully operational. Namely the vent-flaps cam-down and stop against the wooden recesses in the sub-floor. We replaced all the cheap, beige-painted tin-vents from Home Depot with nicer bronze-finish steel ones, but the original holes cut into the floor don’t fully accommodate a complete range of motion.
Looking down in there, the base of the “box” that holds the vent-tin and ducting needs to be relieved, but my Sawzall is too big and long-stroke, even with a short blade while the Jigsaw is too short-stroke and physically un-accommodating. It simply can’t fit down in the hole there and make (any) of the cuts without a juddering mess. So I hit upon a tool-idea that should solve the problem and got my Amazon on…multimaster
I really liked the Fein drill I had a few years back, and had checked these tools out but was not convinced I had an actual need. Since that time a number of improvements have been made, patents ran-out and competition has emerged from everywhere to drive more innovation – like interchangeability, tool-less blade-swapping – and more power/less vibration. Since nobody else is going to get me this for Christmas, I figured I’d have to be my own Santa, because: Home Improvements.
I got the basic starter-kit and a couple additional pieces; a circular-saw blade with a depth-stop to control the amount of cutting. We’ll see how it goes, Reportedly the Bosch blades work nicely and in some application may be superior…
UPDATE: Cropped-down pic from MultiMaster Website – I’m thinking something like this will get into tight corners and spaces:
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The original plaster-cast saw came out in 1967. In 1969 after I broke my wrist ice-skating, they used one on me to remove the cast (after a month of itching and scratching). I thought sure as hell they were going to cut my arm off, but you could actually touch the blade and nothing happened, they showed me and it was pretty cool, and seeing a picture of it again was a real flash-back.
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