vibe is more suburban
Friday, September 18 2015
This morning I woke up early because I never close the blinds when Gretchen isn't around. Eventually the dogs came into the laboratory and demanded their morning walk, and I took them on a loop that had me taking my usual off-trail shortcut down the escarpment from the Chamomile Headwaters Trail to the Stick Trail. The Chamomile Headwaters Trail was doing the thing it had been doing when I first discovered it: trickling with a small stream of water from recent rains. There were also a lot of Red Efts out and about; I don't remember seeing so many in past years so late in the summer, but perhaps that is because we often have late-summer droughts.
I'd brought my battery-powered chainsaw and frame backpack, and this allowed me to collect my first firewood load since September 3rd. I found a couple medium-sized skeletonized fallen trees a little below the Stick Trail and bucked them into a load that only came to 80.65 pounds. But the wood was extremely dry Red Oak, so it probably had the BTUs of a somewhat heavier load.
Back at the house, I mixed up some more of that white wall compound, the stuff with fiberglass threads in it that I used to fashion a surface for the south wall of the main basement guestroom. I needed more of that stuff to fill in voids around the plates that fit over the two duplex wall outlets on that wall. These outlets jut as little mounds from the wall, as they were originally positioned to be flush with a layer of drywall that is no longer there. While I had that compound mixed up, I used some of it to help blend over areas on the wall where the colors are slightly different and patchy. The problem with portland-cement-based products is that their colors tend to vary depending on random factors such as the amount of water mixed into it or the temperature it experienced as it set (those possible factors are just guesses), so it's hard to make a wall that is some particular even color. I like this patchiness in places like the greenhouse basement, where I'm going for a rough cavelike look, but the guestroom's vibe is more suburban.
In between various tasks I had to do related to an ongoing deployment in Los Angles, I cut the carpet in Gretchen's library down the center, working from west to east. The carpet south of this line has a history of being pissed in by cats (and even dogs), so I rolled it up and carried the ponderous thing out to the garage, where it joined its carpet fragment colleagues waiting for a trip to the dump. Then I ripped up the last of the nail strips in the south part of the library and filled in all the resulting divots in the slab with portland cement. At some point I began installing vinyl flooring tiles, working from west to east. This was the opposite direction from the way I'd laid the rest of the tile, but I had to do it this way because it had to marry up with the hallway tile to the west. I'd been concerned that working this way would be difficult, since the instructions for these tiles advise working the other way due to the way the little slots around the edges present themselves. But it seemed just as easy.
By this evening, I'd done nearly a third of that half of the library. The room still stank of cat piss, but it was much more tolerable than it had been. I found some evidence that perhaps the cats had pissed on the carpet more widely than Gretchen believes, but maybe the shag carpet in the north half of the library can still be salvaged.
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