September 30, 2008
Driving up Interstate 88 towards Albany yesterday, and the forested mountains were beautiful. Trees were turning, but almost none had lost their leaves, making it a glorious riot of color. I had my camera along to capture the view.
Except it was a gloomy and overcast day, so all the photos came out muddy and dark. And it never had the guts to actually rain, so my car didn't get a free cleaning.
September 27, 2008
Yesterday I went out shopping, picking up some clothes and some hardware for Mom's house. I got home at 6:10, only to be reminded that there was a concert at 7:00 I'd agreed to go to. Whoops.
So after a gourmet dinner at Picnic Pizza, Dad and I went to Corning's First Methodist Church "Applause!" concert series, to see Kim & Reggie Harris. The first half of their show was mostly Underground Railroad music, and the second half was mostly Civil Rights Era songs. The two were quite good, as is to be expected, as they've been touring for almost thirty years now. Their patter made me suspect they perform more often for groups of young students, vice our crowd, which consisted of twenty-five adults and three children.
As we were waiting for the show to start, I thought I recognized one of the other audience members. After a few minutes to recall her name, I got up and joined Jenny M., who I'd known from the Big Flats UU church. She remembered me of course, and we caught up on each other's families. (One of her sons has a couple of kids now, and the other one is "in a band".) I mentioned that I was thinking of doing some kind of presentation to the UU Church, and she mentioned that there was a Veteran's Day service in the preperatory stages, and I could look into doing something for that day.
There was another concert-goer that recognized me, although I must confess that I didn't remember her. It was Anne R., who had been a member of the Big Flats UU Fellowship, but left when I ten or twelve. At that age, she was just another adult, of no particular interest to the young me. Anyway, she'd left the Big Flats church because it was getting "to religious", which I can sympathize with; I'm kind of a low-church guy myself. She now attends services there at the Corning First Methodist.
September 25, 2008
Today I got ahold of the fine folks that are bringing my personal goods back from Japan. My paperwork says that they must deliver no later than October 22. The guy on the phone said that it was still in transit, but that they'd be calling to schedule the time of delivery- on October 31st. Which is not what I wanted to hear. I didn't press the guy about the original no-later-than date, as I'm pondering whom to complain to.
This evening I also stopped by the military recruitment office in the Arnot Mall, after doing some shopping. It was 8:30 PM. The Air Force's door was locked. The Army's door was locked. The Navy's door was locked. The Marines had three people, all working hard. I chatted with the two sergeants in the front office, who had a long night ahead of them. I was expecting bad economic news to help them get people, but the economy in this area is no worse than ever, so young and men aren't getting laid off. And, to quote one of them, "We're still in Iraq, which makes it harder every day."
I wasn't there to talk to them per se, as I need to get with a Prior Service Recruiter to get into the Reserves, and the Prior Service guys aren't nearly as common as beat-walking recruiters. So they gave me a card with the telephone number of the nearest one, who works out of Rochester. I guess I'll give him a call tomorrow.
This afternoon Dad and I took a look at the newly-gooped roof. We missed a couple of small patches, which is par for the course; I might get those tomorrow, if it doesn't rain.
But we weren't the only ones that had checked out the roof. There's an oak with a few branches that overhang the house. Using our Boy Scouts tracking skills, we reconstructed the scene: a squirrel leaps from the branch onto the roof, where he is quite displeased to find himself adhearing. The tracks scurry to the gutter and then disappear. If we want to identify the culprit, we should start trapping squirrels and look for the one with aluminum shoes on.
September 24, 2008
The back of Dad's house has a "game room" that is, in my opinion, a walled-in back porch. It's got a shed roof that is not angled very much at all. So it collects water, and Dad was worried about leaks.
So we covered it with goop. This particular goop was a witches' brew of petroleum distallates to waterproof, aluminum bits to reflect sunlight, and (according to the can) little bits of fiberglass to strenghthen the dried goop.
He bought one 10 gallon bucket plus a 1 gallon can, following the instructions on how much it would cover. They lied, we ended up needing most of a second can.
First we had to wash the roof with soap and water, then let it dry. The goop went on with a broom-like brush, which worked well enough. The stuff wasn't that easy to spread, having the consistency of elmer's glue. And in the dry and warm air, it dried quite quickly, meaning we had to move fast.
It took maybe two hours of work, plus an intermission in the middle to get the second bucket of goop. A bronze color while wet, it dried to a lovely reflective aluminum shade. Now I just feel bad about the drops of it I splattered onto some of the vinyl siding, which it very well might have permanantly stained.
September 23, 2008
September 20, 2008
I spent the day up at my eldest sister's (and her husband's) house, helping build the bedroom for their daughter. When we got there about half the drywall was in place, so we put up the other half and applied the first layer of joint compound.
The room is a little oddly shaped, like most of the rooms in their house. It's sort of a loft, overlooking their kitchen. But unusual rooms are what that house is all about. It started life as a hunter's cabin, and has been expanded five or more times. So nothing's square, and there are plenty of unusual joints. What I'm getting at it, the drywall has a lot of, ahem, less-than-optimal joints. Places where two sheets come together and don't exactly butt up evenly. Mysterious half-inch gaps. Et cetera. So I packed joint compound into the gaps and tried to fill the cracks, and I wish them the joy of lots of sanding.
The work needed to get done now, because Monday someone's coming in to install the floor for the place, so they wanted all the drywall up and in place. Mission accomplished, but my arms are a bit sore from all the overhead work. I let Dad and the B-I-L concentrate on the drywall, Sis did finish carpentry to replace the railing that was removed so we could get the drywall up there, and I put up mud.
Good times, but I'm coughing up gypsum dust, and my arms hurt.
September 19, 2008
On Wednesday, a busload of people from Corning's research labs went to help build a Habitat for Humanity house. I was invited along, and agreed to go. Except by the time I fixed my Mom's computer on Wednesday, drove back to Big Flats, and did my laundry, it was past 1 AM. I could have staggered out of bed at 6:15 to volunteer my skills, but I wasn't motivated enough to do manual labor on five hours sleep.
I'll make it up though, because I'm going to my eldest sister's house this weekend to help with their home improvement. She wants her oven fixed, and once that's done, they've got a partly-remodelled room that needs more work done. Too bad my steel-toe boots aren't here yet, I'd suspect I'll be wishing I was wearing them.
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