Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

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   furniture assembly jihad
Saturday, September 4 2021

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

I'd thought Gretchen and I would be having a leisurely Saturday morning in Hurley before driving up to the cabin in the Adirondacks and I even made two half french presses of coffee (one decaf for Gretchen, and one for me) but when she got up, Gretchen said we should do our Saturday "morning" up at the cabin. Of course, it wouldn't be morning any more by the time we got there, but we could still do the New York Times Spelling Bee. As for the coffee, we drank it on the road from big travel cups. Several months back we changed investment companies, and as part of the schwag of our new company, we each got large handle-less insulated Yeti travel mugs labeled with our first names and "Sustainable Investing" in silver letters. Mine is black and Gretchen's is white. On the road to Albany, I took a sip from my coffee and showed the mug to Gretchen and rhetorically asked, "Is this bougie or what?"
As always, we stopped for supplies at the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany, parking in one of the lots that offers free charging for electric cars (we were in the Chevy Bolt). It was cool enough for us to leave the car parked in the sun with the windows all cracked to keep it from overheating for the dogs. Even so, we did what we could to make our shopping as brief as possible, ordering our deli food first-thing so it could be prepared as we were going up and down the aisles buying other things. Today for the first time we bought shelf-stable food items to store at the cabin, things like salt, hot sauce, and, as it would turn out, crackers, peanut butter, and corn chips. Unfortunately, the Asian tofu sandwich still wasn't available, so I got a tempeh BLT instead. When we were all done shopping, we got the dogs out of the car so they could be with us in the Co-op's outdoor eating area while we ate our deli sandwiches. Somehow we were at the Co-op for a whole hour, which means we added about 25 miles of range back to our Bolt's battery.
We tried to pay extra attention to the landmarks Google Maps sent us past as we drove to the cabin. It sometimes has us exit the Thruway south of Johnstown (in Fonda) and other times it has us exit early, in Amsterdam. This time it did the latter. and we paid attention as we passed Rockn J's Flea & Antiques and then had us bust a right on Stoner Trail, which takes us past the Johnstown airport, which features a big (and somewhat dilapidated) airplane parked near the highway. At Comrie Avenue, we took a right and went down Johnstown's motor mile for a little over a mile and then busted a left at the Monro Muffler. Things get confusing between there and West Bush Road, but hopefully after a few more trips, we'll know the whole route to our cabin without having to rely on GPS.
At the cabin, the huge dumpster for building debris was gone, as was the contractors' trailer, though the big excavator was still there, and it had spread some additional soil near the house and also piled up huge granite boulders in a number of places, perhaps to help control erosion. Inside, the flooring in the main (living/dining) room was about half installed, and it looked great. It was a two-tone hickory with patches of color appearing randomly, and it had required careful arrangement to keep one particular color from being concentrated in one part of the floor.
Gretchen's immediate concern was all the parcels she'd had shipped directly to the house. It wasn't immediately obvious where they all were, but eventually we tracked them all down and it looked like they'd made it. None appeared to have spent any time out in the rain waiting to be brought in.
Before doing anything else, Gretchen and I decided to walk down to the lake and maybe paddle around in the kayaks. It would be the first time Gretchen had been in one of our Oru foldable kayaks since 2014. On the walk down, I brought the battery-powered weed wacker so I could better-clear the path to the lake (this mostly meant wacking ferns). But at the place on the shore where we keep our kayaks, there's a little patch of grass that's as inexplicable as pubic hair. I used the weed wacker to mow this into an appealing little lawn and then dragged some chunks of rotten wood away. Out at the south end of the lake about three or four parcels down, we could see some people sometimes fishing or kayaking, though they never went far from their dock. There was also a loon out on the water who would appear in various places but never made any sound.
I tried to make a crude little dock out of rocks that would allow me to get into a kayak while wearing long pants, shoes (Crocs), and socks, but it didn't go well, so I ended up stripping down to my shorts and wading into the water before boarding. Gretchen did the same, and soon we were paddling north up the west coast to our private triangular bay behind the rocky islands. As we did so, Ramona had a major whimpering meltdown, and I felt so bad that I decided to pick her up in my kayak so she could ride with me. But these little Oru kayaks don't have quite enough room for both a full-sized dog and a human wishing to paddle. And Ramona was still acting neurotically, throwing her weight left and right and destabilizing the kayak. We hadn't gone more than about 20 feet before she managed to capsize the kayak, sending me frantically clawing through the muck and sticks until I found enough solid material to stand on. Fortunately, the water in this bay is shallow, so other than the unpleasantness of standing in eighteen inches of anærobic mud, no harm done. But then Gretchen asked if I'd been wearing my glasses. I wasn't wearing them any more. Oh shit!
So for the next half hour or so, we tried to find my glasses (which had cost about $200 from The water was all churned up and opaque around me, so initially I groped the lake floor around me to see if the glasses could be located by touch alone. When that failed to produce any results, I fetched my kayak (now with an inch of water in it) and joined Gretchen in searching for my glasses from the surface. The water cleared fairly quickly, but neither of us saw any glasses. Unfortunately, wind had made the surface a bit wavy, which interfered with our ability to see to the bottom. Eventually we had to give up; we didn't want to spend all our time in the Adirondacks looking for my glasses. As it happens, the glasses are only important for my ability to see in the distance at night or to read (using the lower part of the lenses). But the latter wouldn't be essential unless I would be driving at night and the former could be addressed by one of Gretchen's extra pairs of reading glasses.

Back at the cabin, Gretchen and I undertook a massive jihad of furniture construction, converting disassembled units into fully-usable chairs, a coffee table, and a small end table. Gretchen had bought most of the stuff from, and fortunately most of the screws used an alan wrench size for which I had a matching point for my Ryobi cordless impact driver. This greatly sped-up assembly, particularly of the outdoor chairs. When it came time to assemble the six indoor dining room chairs, one of the screws used a larger alan wrench for which I didn't have a point, so I had Gretchen do some preassembly for me. Though most of what she did in this effort was open boxes, bag up trash, and stash flattened cardboard under the east screened-in porch (where it is both dry and out-of-the-way).
Gretchen had also bought three Adirondack chairs, two of which were conventional and the other of which was tandem (that is, it had seating for two). I didn't actually intend to assemble both of the conventional Adirondack chairs today, but after finishing one of them, I was so addicted to the task that I put down the beer I'd just cracked open and did the other one as well. The furniture assembled today came to six outdoor dining chairs, six indoor dining room chairs, two large comfy outdoor chairs, two conventional Adirondack chairs, one tandem Adirondack chair, an end table, and a boxy modern-looking coffee table (the only furniture assembled today made out of particleboard and those crappy Ikea-style fasteners).

Soon after I was done assembling furniture, we heard the sound of vehicles coming up the driveway. It was our neighbor Joel and one of his friends riding on four-wheel-drive ATVs. Joel was there to show his friend our cabin so he could possibly consider that option if he closes on a property at another lake called Woodward Lake (up near the northwest corner of Great Sacandaga Lake). So Gretchen and I gave the full tour, including of the basement.[REDACTED]

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