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    an idyllwild weather clam!

    Our gal, The Idyllwild Weather Clam thinks that it will rain again today.

    Tuesday 22 August 2017
    Currently at 4:54 AM 57°

    Up to the minute now-casting provided by: Idyllwild Weather Clam Mega-Skyview Ultra-Precision Doppler 160000 Super Computron Forecast in Full Spectrum HD

    Entries in house (20)


    Great American Remodel - Door To Nowhere


    You remember this, don't you?

    Ack! It's a Door To Nowhere!
    Now it looks like this...

    Hey, it's a new wall. Ain't that something?
    More paneling. You've gotta love that, don't you? Maybe not. I had a big pile of shiplap style, so I used that. What's shiplap? This.

    Yeah, it's shiplap.
    Naturally, I ran out well before I was done and it wouldn't be easy to get more. Not from the locals anyway. I went to the hardware store and the proprietor said this:

    "Shiplap? We don't carry that. That's flatlander wood. We only have tongue and groove. That's what we use up here.

    I can think of other things to be a bigot about. Superman vs. Batman. Regular Oreos vs. Double-Stuf. But millwork? Hill people versus those "down below?" What else might they do down there? Who can say!

    I've gotta look into this. I think I've hit a nerve...

    - bob


    An Open Letter To The Idyllwild Weather Clam


    Boy, were you wrong. Very, not kidding wrong. Let's look at today's prognostication:

    Idyllwild Weather Clam for 9th November
    Sure, I knew it was going to be cold today. I'd started working on replacing the Door To Nowhere™ with a solid, insulated wall. The job yesterday started slowly...

    Mid-demolition of the Door To Nowhere.
    I stripped the panelling and pulled out the insulation to bear witness to the horrors that lie underneath. Essentially, the kooks who put that room together couldn't afford a whole lot of boards over eight feet long.

    Pieces, I got pieces
    No big deal, they just hold up the roof. Then there's this box that had no purpose that I could discern.

    What's it for?
    What's it for? Ah, it's used in lieu of a post to hold up those short boards above it. Very clever.

    Ultra-secure door lock.
    So things were going okay. The outside bits of panelling came off to reveal more hijinks, so I knocked off for the night. Lola seemed pleased with the quiet...

    Black dog.
    So I took the rest of the day off to let my back heal. Sunday should be just fine, I've been assured of the by the illustrious, fabled, and nearly perfect Idyllwild Weather Clam I thought. This is what I get for thinking.

    Rainy, cold, hail, we've got it all!
    It was damp overnight, but nothing to worry about. Foggy and cold I can deal with, so I did. The crazy wall came out leaving a giant hole in the house...

    A hole to nowhere.
    Then the hail came. A big sack of not good. This is gonna put a crimp in my plans.

    - bob


    The Great American Bathroom Remodel - Part Eight


    This shower stall, fabricated in China by the way, was the toughest piece of this puzzle to put together. The fasteners included were garbage. They stripped out, bent, broke, and it all led to frustration along with more money spent on stainless steel fasteners.

    Pretty, but...
    And there's this—the doors are adjusted with soft plastic screws that have since stripped. Again with the fasteners.

    Levers and valves, oh my.
    But hey! Look at that pfaucet! Ain't it adorable? Hope it works. We'll check after the silicone cures...

    - bob


    The Great American Bathroom Remodel - Part Seven


    This is the part of the project when everything comes pretty fast. After painting, the lighting went up.

    I can see!
    This helped confirm that I'm not a very good painter. I've got a lot of touchup to do. But at least the toilet's back in. That's gotta count for something. In the middle of the night. After too much iced tea...

    Yeah, Thomas Crapper. Right.
    I'm one of those weirdos who buys all the parts before starting the job, so every piece has been spread out throughout the house for the last few weeks. It's nice to get this part done, once I stopped the leaks from the faucet. Besides, this represents three boxes and countless bags of stuff that I don't have to trip over. Always good.

    At least the sink looks nice.
    So now things are really starting to come together.

    More sink.
    I'm not going to comment on the shower stall though. Just two words: Chinese Screws.

    More later.

    - bob


    The Great American Bathroom Remodel - Side Note

    Dear Kitsch Fans,

    A strange thing happened on the way to mid-century cabin quaint...

    Moulding! Moulding everywhere!
    No. This wasn't planned.

    This is awkward.
    This intellectual property thing is really getting out of hand...

    - bob


    The Great American Bathroom Remodel - Part Six

    Dear Right Angle Haters,

    Yes! the moulding is finally done! Hooray! Yippee! You may even find this surprising, but I can still count to ten without taking off my shoes after all this chopping.

    Moulding! Moulding everywhere!
    You can't swing a 66-inch stick of quarter-round without, well, hitting more quarter-round.

    Backed into a corner...
    ...and think. All of this gets painted.

    Oh, c'mon. Can't somebody color correct this?
    Pardon the weird exposure problems, but if you look at the joint in the corner, you'll notice that it's perfect. You don't get to say that very often.

    - bob


    The Great American Bathroom Remodel - Part Five


    After spending last week bathing in the laundry room, I thought that it would be neat to finally get this thing done. That's right; Monday is moulding day! Aren't you excited?

    Finally. Window moulding.
    Now it's starting to look like something is happening. Weird!

    Won't somebody try to convince me not to paint this fine woodwork?
    No finished drywall corners required, pals. It's quarter-round moulding all the way around. For this bathroom, nature-lovers, a tree must die.

    - bob


    The Great American Bathroom Remodel - Part Four

    Oh, all you young dudes,

    Cripes. You remember back to 1949, don't you? The war was won, but there was a severe carpenter's level shortage. Remember? As evidence, there's not a single level, plumb, or square wall in this entire room. I've spent way too much time adding layers and layers to bring the joint into some semblance of plumb.

    Yikes. Layers.
    If nothing else, it's gonna be warm in there...

    Oooh. Swedish.
    ...which makes sense, considering that it's starting to look like a Swedish sauna. It's not, of course. Who can afford the steam?

    Hey, wait. That's not level.
    And as far as the trim goes, I'm going to need a lot of shims. A lot.

    - bob


    The Great American Bathroom Remodel - Parts Two and Three

    Hello Ducks!

    I missed a couple day's worth of posts, but work on the tiny bathroom has gone apace. Naturally, the pace has been slow. If I've learned anything here, it's that despite the diminutive size, this job has involved as much work (if not material) as a larger room. It's just harder to move around.

    Water. Slavishly devoted to water...
    Thankfully, these pipes didn't leak.

    An interesting diversion.
    ...but these did. The elbows on either side of the diverter had manufacturing flaws and had to be removed. Shouldn't be a problem, you might say. Just shut off the water. It'd be easy if the water shutoff to the house actually shut off fully. Instead, there's a procedure to follow: shut the valve as tight as it'll go, open the hose valves around the house to relieve the pressure, open the upstairs sink valve to drain the upstairs. To test the new plumbing, the procedure is reversed. To deal with the leak, the procedure is repeated. When unlikely problems such as manufacturing defects crop up, you get to do this four times or so.

    With the water problems solved, the rest of the build could proceed. Don't be fooled. Fully encapsulated batts of insulation are still mighty itchy.

    While it wasn't quite Gustav, We had our own deluge up here yesterday. Work stopped while we stared at the water and hail pounding my little house. It's Southern California, after all. These things don't happen very often.

    Fiberglass walls.
    Now that the walls are going up, it's starting to look like Dad and I are making progress. It's about time, since my remodeling vacation is almost over.

    Since the new shower stall takes up more room than the old mold-box, all of the light switches had to move into the hallway. Certainly this will lead to hijinks. I do not approve of these sort of shenanigans. Not at all. It won't be the least bit funny to shut off the lights while somebody who isn't me is in there.

    - bob


    The Great American Bathroom Remodel - Part One!


    It's about time to finally get this out of the gate, no? Here are some shots taken today that really don't represent what went on at the Lodge.

    Yeah, so it's the floor. Big deal.
    What? The pipes have gone away. But where?

    Down there? "Big whoop," I hear you say. Not so fast, slappy. It ain't that easy to get there, you know...

    You know, that'd be a great place to stash your dead chipmunks.
    Spiders. I hate spiders.

    - bob


    The Great American Bathroom Remodel - Part 0.2


    Here's an example of why the insides of the bathroom had to go...

    Good lord..
    Well yeah, and this...

    Aw, geez..
    And what's more...

    But most of all, this was the worst...

    This is bad..
    So really, it all had to go. Really.

    Uh oh. Big holes.
    We're almost done tearing things apart. Maybe we'll start putting things back together on Monday. But first...

    Good riddance.
    We're gonna need a bigger dumpster.

    - bob


    The Great American Bathroom Remodel - Part 0.1


    Last night's strike mission to The Home Depot was supposed to be surgical. After all, last time I checked, my Dad and I are guys and guys don't shop. They acquire—quickly. I knew that I wanted the least cheap and junky Chinese-made pre-fab shower stall, and I knew that every Home Depot I'd ever visited had at least one in stock. The floor model at Dad's local warehouse even had a sign that said in 1,000-point type "In-Stock" so what could possibly go wrong? Well, there was no product number on the display, so the helpful but red-faced employee simply made one up to search his inventory. "We have two!" he reported.

    Some day, when you get the chance, just walk around a big box home improvement store while looking upwards. I don't think I've ever been as impressed by the extraordinary amount of merchandise on the very top shelves. Not my shower stall, of course, but a lot of other stuff that would be difficult for the owner of a fevered mind to find time to catalog, much less the fine staff at Home Depot.

    Captain Heat Stroke and I were having no luck, so he called over a supervisor. "Wow, you guys missed it. What you're looking for is right here on the bottom shelf," he claimed. I was incredulous, but willing to entertain his spontaneous acid flashback. "Well, that's not very similar to the display model I'm looking for, is it?" I asked. "It's round!" "But it's plastic and vinyl, not glass and stainless steel. That's a pretty big difference. Plus..." "But," he insisted, "you're looking for this part number, right?" "Nope, I'm looking for this," pointing to the display. "Oh, we don't have any of those," he said, ripping down the "In-Stock" sign. And adding insult, "sorry partner." Screw you, Tex.

    An hour and a half wasted. Off to the next Home Depot twenty mile away, the one that I had actually visited. The box was on the shelf, but Dad took the time to read the sign on the display. "Doors, rails, and pan included. Works with wall kit..." What? No walls? They're extra?

    The wall kit is extra and not included and nearly doubles the price of a shower. Oh, the walls are molded vinyl. Made in China. Weren't we promised lower prices if things were made there instead of here? For these prices, I hope the slave laborers get an extra fish head in their breakfast porridge tomorrow. Yikes.

    More reckless spending later today, with a picture-laden post once I unpack. Then some establishment shots to bring into crisp focus why the bathroom needs an overhaul in the first place followed by demolition. It's the beginning of a week-long series and you didn't even see it coming! I hope you both enjoy it.

    - bob


    The 'To Do' List


    It's a beautiful day up here in my piney paradise. Many projects to complete today to make up for the lack of activity over the last week or so. I've started on the next set of meds, so while I can breathe better, the top of my head feels like it might fly off. So it's a good news/bad news scenario, no?

    Brother, can you spare some bee pollen?

    Your pal,



    This Jaunty House: Suspect Tips For The Handyman


    My sister has a side job peddling antiquities and sometimes passes down things that don't sell. This weekend we all met down in the desert for my Dad's Week Before My Birthday Party and she gave me a real winner. The Better Homes & Gardens Handyman's Book, printed in 1951. It's chock full of the assembled knowledge of the Better Homes editors (who, apparently, also had their hands full with their other title, Successful Farming) and offers some great advice. Don't believe me? Call the wife into the room (click the thumbnails to embiggen) and behold...

    The little missus can be handy after all, eh fellas? Give her a broomstick and she can keep that new storm window from crashing to the ground. Put an extra dollar into the kitchen fund why don't ya? She's worth it!

    ...or a brick. This tip is strictly for emergencies. Should Homeland Security move the threat level up to Harvest Gold! then it's entirely appropriate to wire a brick to a mop handle.

    And here's your dodgy tip for the day. Burning flashlight batteries to clean the soot out of your chimney seems fairly dangerous, but once you put up the screen everything should be perfectly fine. Or your entire family will die. I guess it's worth it as long as you have a "well kept house."


    - bob


    Houseblogging - UNSP LBP Edition


    Yeah, yeah, this starts as a houseblogging post, but will surely delve into giant dumbness later. It'll be great!

    You may recall my whining about the malfunctioning wood stove. I don't even think you need to stretch very far to realize, as I did, that the fire cap is somewhere on the roof. That's not surprising, but where had all the smoke gone? Certainly not outside, as that cap was fully caked full of the fullness of creosote, soot, and generalized gunk. The smoke went IN the house. That would be a sub-optimal result.

    Once I climbed on the roof with my trusty rope, I carefully lowered the filthy cap and tried to carefully lower myself to start the cleaning. Pine needles had other ideas, and I started my slide towards 9.8 m/sec2 and a nasty bounce off the deck onto the driveway. You'll notice at this point that I lived. How? I put a foot out and immediately halted my descent. Sure, the pop in my lower back would foretell a bunch of hobbling around for the next couple days. I can stay put, but moving from that stasis is a challenge. Aleve, heating pads, they're my friends at the moment. Who cares though. We have heat!

    Oh, there's more, and that'll be tomorrow. After the Question.

    Your pal,



    Houseblogging - Indoor Plumbing Edition


    I've finally managed to set the sink, run GE's finest clear sealant around the edge, install a new faucet, and turn on the water. Short of having a fit, or discussing design philosophy, or ruminating on ergonomic or economic decisions, I'll just put up a couple pictures. Here's the final product,

    ...and in case you've forgotten, here's what I started with.

    Maybe it was a mistake to mess with perfection, eh?

    - bob


    Houseblogging - Sanded Grout Edition


    This took much longer than I thought. Yeah, I put way too much water in the grout so I had to go to the local hardware store to get more (from a different brand in a different color). That's not really what took so long, it just took a really long time.

    Drying times, undercutting the underdone and way too sloppy grout with overly damp sponge. All the dumb mistakes of an amateur are here for your perusal. Behold!

    The tiles are laid,

    the sloppy grout was a mess,

    but it turned out just swell. Don't you think?

    What a lovely day.

    - bob


    Houseblogging: Special Election Coverage

    Let's start with this. That electronic voting machine was the most convoluted gizmo I've seen in a very long time. I suppose the absurd level of Are You Sure That You're Sure Syndrome is necessary for people who just aren't all that sure their votes have been counted. But still, I was asked three times on the screen, then the paper printout scrolled behind a window. And scrolled. And scrolled. Even after all of that, I could change it again.


    I feel not disenfranchised! Or something.

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Houseblogging: Kitchen Edition

    Here we go again...

    I made a deal with my dear sister. I'll host Thanksgiving at my place if we can go to her new digs on Christmas. There was some hesitation, so I sweetened the pot—with guilt! If we have America's Biggest Meal at my house, I'll have all new kitchen countertops installed before then!

    Me and my big mouth.

    Everyone in the family is excited about spending the holiday in the pines. They've all heard about the deal and thought it'd be neat to see my refurbished kitchen. Well, I've gotta tell you, me too.

    New tile, new sink, new faucet for that new sink. It shouldn't be too hard and it really hasn't been so far. I was concerned that the water lines leading to the backsplash mounted faucet ran straight from the basement were unfounded. There were unions at a perfect spot to install new shutoff valves. Bits of panelling came out easily to allow for the new backsplash. We even got the entire field of countertop tiles laid today. That's a lot for me to get done in a weekend.

    I've got a little problem with taking plenty of time to do stuff. I sit, and I stare, and I think about how to complete a project for a very long time. Some might say way too long. The time deadline is good for me though, even though I'm feeling a little rushed (rushed? you've had the countertop extension in place for over a year. - ed The trees in the Money Orchard didn't produce this year. More fertilizer? A trip to North Korea?).

    I'll just have to suck up the grand (so far) and make it so. And this, it's turning out very nicely so far...

    Things in kitchen go on table! Is crowded!

    There we find the unions in a surprisingly accessible spot. We win!

    The backerboard is laid, and my god is it sexy or what?

    Can you feel the shut off valve love?

    This is the original insulation in the house. Remember, this joint was built in 1949, so the "fireproofed cotton" isn't really unexpected. Surely better than asbestos.

    Ever hear of Lo-K? Throw your speculation into the comments, won't you?

    Hey look! It's tile! The picture blows it out a bit, but the tiles trend towards green to go with the rest of the house.

    Another tile shot that shows a mostly level countertop. How about that?

    Your pal,

    - bob




    I'm sure I'll get tired of this teevee thing at some point, but Monday Night Football, people! The Cardinals are beating the Bears by 20 for the next couple minutes, so it's been a decent game so far.

    There's too much to do around The Lodge though, so maybe I should cut back a little (that's insane! you just paid a million dollars to talk to satellite number 161 to get those damn puppets to dance in that glass box of yours. now you're "cutting back?" you're killing me. -ed Gee, you sound upset.). Maybe just a little less?

    By the way folks, it's sure chilly up here in my little alpine nirvana. Autumn was pretty quick! Fog? Check. This morning for instance, I could barely see the pickup a car-length ahead. That's fairly scary in the dark. Um, especially when you're traveling at a rate that might perhaps exceed those prudent for the conditions. Meep.

    And there's this—anybody know what kind of oil I should use in the 5-speed transmission in the mighty moderately balky '96 Dodge Dakota? The owner's manual says motor oil. The service manual says gear oil. I think at this point it might have both in it and those shifts are getting kinda crunchy, especially when it's cold. Like today! You know the drill... send those pearls of lubrication wisdom to info [crazy 'at' symbol] bobtherieau [period] com. Okay please?

    Thank you please.

    - bob