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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Oz Posts Are Not Australian, But They Are Handy, Like Australians

Mikey and his buddy Tony are quite a pair. Tony finds great stuff at auctions, and Mikey buys some it for projects. Like these wonderful Oz posts that support our new, keep-me-from-expiring-in-the-heat shade cloth cover over the back porch. You just drive these things in with a jackhammer (or the tireless joints of a much younger man), set your metal post in the bracket and move onto the next post.

The first post was driven in on the previous weekend by our own mighty Mikey. It took about 20 minutes, including rest periods. Soon after, a decision was made to rent a jackhammer for the other 3 posts. Each of them took about 35 seconds each. Nuff said.

Here is a clip of Mikey using a jackhammer to drive one of the posts:

Here are the 4 metal posts secured to the ground by the Oz post ground anchors. A ledger board is attached to the house and a continuous loop of multi-strand wire is laced through eye bolts.
A slightly closer look at the wire loop. Carabiners in the corners allow the tension to be adjusted.
Mikey resting under the shade cloth after the fence post bit him. More on that in the story of the backyard gate. He is wearing an ice pack on his head.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Horse Shed Demolition - Stage 1

Last weekend, we started salvaging the wood from the horse shed that blew down last year. There is a fair amount of decent wood in that big, messy pile, so we just dug in and began to unscrew and de-nail the boards. It was very satisfying work until the temperature started to climb, and then it was just misery.

A bit of a mess.

OSB pieces in a less than satisfactory structural role.

Mikey likes to think about things before entering the fray.

There was lots of bending over.

A nice neat pile of reusable boards.
Yay! Phase 1 is complete!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cabinet Doors and a Day Lost in Westcliffe

Last Friday, after a stressful week(s) of work for Mikey, we took a 3 day weekend to Cañon. The weather was abnormally warm for late March/early April. The bank clock said 88 on Sunday when we were headed home. The sky was fabulously blue, and we were happy to be back in the wilds in the sunshine. Yay for vitamin D!

The first order of business was to fix the barb wire fence to keep out MegaHoof and his friend Kong.

They look so innocent, but those butts can be dangerous.

They had a bad habit coming across the one downed section of fence and pushing around our straw bales. That in and of itself isn't so bad, except that the bales they accosted were being used for important things like keeping the gutter drain in place and insulating the water line from the cistern. Now that we have a well with a hydrant, we were concerned that they'd rub their butts on the hydrant and snap the thing off. So wrestling with barbed wire became desirable. Sort of.

The geodesic quonset in Westcliffe when the tarp was new. This becomes relevant in a minute, but I needed a photo here because the text is too long. Patience is good for the soul.

Mikey did a bang up job of fixing the fence, as usual, while I performed my usual outstanding tool fetching and annoying comment making. It was amazing how tight he was able to re-string the wire!  We'll see if it keeps those rascals out. The PO (previous owner) seemed to feel that cementing in corner posts was against his religion, and as such, the posts that "anchored" the large metal gate were also flat on the ground, along with the gate. Mikey hauled them back into position, but if this four footed black knight and his sidekick lean on them a little bit, the gate will flop right over again. It was late Friday afternoon when we finished, and we were too tired to even think about dragging larger posts down there and setting them properly. Besides, we didn't want to get it all done in one day. Where's the fun in that?

The wind and sun really took their toll on the tarp.

We had heard from one of our neighbors in Westcliffe that somebody had pitched a tent on the land next to ours, and was driving at 60 mph on the dirt road, and doing who know what else. Since they had also sent us the above photo, we decided it was time to take a trip back to the Wet Mountain Valley.

The beloved geodesic quonset had to be divested of its tattered tarp, and generally given the once over. There was only one cracked strut, which we thought was pretty good considering the 90+ mph winds they had up there last winter and this spring. Its fate is unknown. We'd like to finish it, but then again, we'd like to haul it to Cañon and use it for storage there. One problem we keep running into is that one of  us works all the time, and the other of us isn't supposed to sweat or breathe hard. It is REALLY tough to get anything done under those conditions.

Our trip to Westcliffe took up most of the day, and when we got back, napped and ate it was time for more stuff.

OK, so that's really a 3 day total, but you get the idea.

We finally reinstalled the crappy cabinet doors on the crappy cabinets, but after they were all painted. It's kinda cheery now!
Every photo looks better with a dog in it. Maybe some day I will remember to remove the blue painters tape from the floor.
Before. Uck.

 Mikey started the trim work on the hood thingy, but ran out of material before he got too far.
See that little bitty white trim so neatly mitered at the corners? That's Mikey's work!
If we're not careful, pretty soon it's gonna be time to start on the guest bathroom. The one with the black tub.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Garmin GPS and Mikey Save Us $2,000

Our lot in Cañon City is extremely odd shaped, and it goes literally over hill and dale. We really had no idea where the lot lines were, and I was getting antsy wondering if the beloved ponds were even really on our land. Instead of paying the surveyor 2 grand, Mikey bought a Garmin GPS unit, and found a program online that tells you how to find the points delineating your lot using the information in your deed. Sweet!

As these photos clearly show, our lots line are frequently up. And also over. But it was a beautiful day, so we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Here are some more photos of other parts of the lot that are not visible until you go up and over, which I don't plan on doing again, as I am not a goat.

And, oh yeah! The ponds are ours! YAY!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mikey Builds a Cabinet for the Range Hood

February 24th was our 10th anniversary, so we decided to spend it in Cañon City with Dwight. The kitchen still needs a good bit of work, but a lot of it is painting that can't be done until the windows can be opened (too many fumes).

Several months ago, Mikey created a drawing of the new range hood cabinet he wanted to build to replace the ick cabinets and un-removable petrified insects of the old one. Since it was kind of involved, it kept getting pushed back on the list of Things To Do. But there wasn't a lot to do this time, and it was warm enough to use the saws outside, and not too windy, so Mikey channeled his inner Norm Abram and got to work.

Mr. I-Really-Wanted-It-To-Look-Better-Than-This was not as pleased as I was, but that's because he hasn't wasted hours of precious time looking at photos on the internet of things to do with old cabinet doors. A little blackboard paint, a little bit of molding, and it'll be great. It sure is better than a hole in the ceiling out of which fell old insulation. And it works! The fan fans and the light lights!

Of course, we had our faithful companions with us to cheer us on. Wake up so we can thank you!

Monday, January 30, 2012

How Did You Learn ALL THIS STUFF?

This is not Mikey. This is Kokopelli. He lives in Oregon now. But he is cute and furry, like Mikey.

So I says to Mikey the other day, "How come you know all this studio stuff?" (Whenever I ask him how to do something, he gives me the answer. Mostly,  just like that. Sometimes he has to poke around, but not very often.)

He is one righteously smart dude.

 Today I got the answer(s).

Let me back up to yesterday, in which I am visiting with Lori B at the Colorado Springs Childrens Chorale office. She is giving me 5 new songs that need rehearsal MP3s for Sing! Raise The Roof!,  which is their annual boys choir extravaganza. These files are what Mikey has taught me how to do, and which I now spend a lot of time doing, and which is very fun (mostly, except for Carmina Burana, which is torture because of the original sequencer's penchant for locking stuff) and doing this lets me pretend I am a Real Musician.

She tells me about this terrifying solo she has in this Copeland piece they're doing in  Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble (she is the beautiful brunette in the center of the photo), and does Mikey have the ability to record her singing it at a rehearsal so she can evaluate what she needs to work on? Well, of course he can, I assure her, not having any idea that he sold the equipment for this years ago.

Here is a picture of him being smart again, and re-wiring the trailer. Who knows how to do that, I ask you?

So last night after dinner, I says to him, all sweet and innocent-like,  which he should know by now means that I am up to something, "Honey, I need to ask you a favor - for Lori."  He loves Lori as much as everyone else who knows Lori loves Lori, so of course, he's all ears. And then I tell him the problem, and ask him if he can do it. He tells me that he sold that equipment years ago, and then thinks for a minute, and then the magic happens. The wheels start turning, and I can see that this is just another puzzle for The Master to solve, and he is hot on the trail.

And all this time, Lori has been worrying that he is too busy, that she shouldn't impose like this, that it is too much to ask, etc, when really, it is just another Fun Thing for him to figure out. And so he does.

Eating leftover pie - one of his many talents.

So an appropriate cable or two are located and tested and found to be wanting, and more cables and adaptors are located and tested, and the laptop is loaded with Sonar, and generally Things Are Falling Into Place. I do some terrible test singing, which should have sounded better as I have already consumed the highest alcohol content beer we have in the house, and I always sound better with a bit of the old Loose Juice, problems are found and solved, and pretty soon he has a pile of stuff ready for Tuesday night.

Thank you, Lori, for giving him something fun to do. He is having a blast. He said so.


So now comes the part of the story in which we find out how he came to know all this stuff. If you have not already used this time to get a drink and a snack and go pee, I suggest you do so now.

So first, I need to tell about Mikey's dad, Jim, who is/was a physicist.  (I had to use spellcheck twice to get the spelling right. I am NOT a physicist.)
 How 'bout that tie, huh? Stylin'.
 When Mikey was in the 4th grade or so, Jim built a computer in their living room from paper clips, coffee cans, thread spools, switches and flashlight bulbs. And he and a couple of collaborators wrote a book about it called, "How To Build a Working Digital Computer". I am not making this up. There is a museum in Nova Scotia with an exhibit about him. I just can't find the link. But here is one that references the book.    The Paperclip Computer

Mikey has always had a natural aptitude for this sort of thing.  The Knack  In addition, he started playing bass guitar at 14, and was in a band all the way through high school, as well as playing football and taking calculus and physics and those other classes that make me cry. Turns out, he also had 2 years of electronic classes. In the band, he was the guy who "hooked all the s*** up by the seat of my pants". They all chipped in to buy a cheap Heil mixing board for their performances. And so it began...

This is a real vintage Heil.  I found it on a page where people complained about not being able to sell them.  (Imagine that.)  Well, Mikey said it had big knobs.  "You twiddle the knobs, and you learn. You can quote me on that."
 Mikey and the Boys In The Band also borrowed Jim's amplifier, speaker and preamp. 

Don't ask me which is which. It's all just visual gobbledygook to me.
The story is beginning to lead the reader in the proper direction. 

Synopsis: Jim had all this stuff, and taught Mikey about it. That's for those of you who weren't really paying attention so far.

During the U of M years, Mikey's bass amp blew up, and for lack of discretionary income, he was forced to fix it himself. This led to a job and training in a stereo store, Hi-Fi Buys on Main Street in Ann Arbor.  This is now the home of Overature Audio.

During this same period, the University Activities Club offered classes and weekend experience in Professional Sound Stuff. There were classes twice a week, and musical acts of all kinds on the weekends, for whom he then applied what he had learned to setting things up to make the musicians sound good. This is where he met Steve Tarnowsky, who we will meet in the next chapter.

After college, Mikey took a job in southern California with Hughes Aircraft.
This H-4 Hercules was way before Mikey's time, but it is a cool photo.
 He and some fellow techie types played in a band called DoppleGang. (This is not to be confused with a current band of the same name.) Their drummer, Heather, was a computer programmer, Steve T. on lead and rhythm guitars was an EE, as was a temporary keyboardist, Mark. Dave, who shared lead/rhythm duties with Steve, worked at a stereo shop. Not a right-brainer in the bunch.

I have a lot more notes, but I'm starting to lose interest myself. One can only imagine how you, Dear Reader, feels.

Oh! I almost forgot the part where he works in a real music studio, Premore, owned by the guy who owned Solo Cup.  (Look under the section 'Founder' in this link.) He really learns a lot of stuff here, and realizes he wants to have his own studio someday. When he and the first wife have house built in Black Forest, Colorado, a slab is poured for the future studio, but it is never built.

Let's wrap it up with we bought a house with an unfinished walkout basement, built a 3 room recording studio in it, then he learned Sonar, then he used it for the next band, Big Heater.
Ain't they some badasses, them Big Heater boys? Mikey, PLEASE grow that beard again.

      Thanks Mikey!

The truth comes out. I married him for his legs.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Kitchen Comes Along and Mikey Fells His First Tree

Isn't that exciting?!? Before this exciting part was the not-so-exciting part in which we consulted the instructions on the laptop for felling a tree. Then Mikey made the first cut, made the "hinge" cut and then did something else I don't remember. And THEN came the exciting part where the tree falls down. Future Heat! YAY! Thank you, Tree. Sorry you died, but thank you for the heat you will bring us later. I could not believe how heavy the trunk of this small dead tree was. How heavy are big, live ones?!?

Much progress was made on the wall shelves in the kitchen this weekend.

There is always a price to be paid for these projects. This time it was knee pain from those damn hard tiles.

Much stuff happened before this part where the shelving boards go on, but it wasn't very interesting. You're just getting the high spots.

This,  plus...

this,  sort of equals...
this.  Something that resembles a real kitchen!

And just because we like you so much, you get a couple of extra photos.

The clever support system for the too-small-but-boy-are-we-glad-Catherine-blessed-us-with-it-box spring and the end of the mattress being supported.
Wow! No iron bars between the 2 twin mattresses anymore.

The previous sleeping arrangements.

And finally, the smiling Mikey and the beautiful land.

And remember the horse shed that collapsed in the last episode?  Our insurance sent an adjustor out to see the damage, and we are actually going to receive compensation for that thing. It might even help pay for the well we want to have put in. It's a miracle!