utility of sticks
Wednesday, July 20 2022
At noon today, I drove to Uptown to return more cans (for deposit) that I'd found in the garage. I also bought some canned soup that I like (Gardein faux chicken noodle) and various things that would be good with Mexican food, including a tub of guacamole and some plantain chips (to replace a bag I'd heavily snacked upon this morning). I also got some supplies for the dock-side tool kit, including a little plastic tool box. I also bought a fencing tool, something I used to use all the time as a teenager and that I will need to use again if we build anti-deer fencing around our gardens here (and possibly at the cabin).
Gretchen's childhood friend Dina (and some of her family) would be visiting us in the next few days, and this meant we had to clean up the master guest room, which hasn't had much use over the years of the covid pandemic. (The house itself was recently given a deep clean by the ladies Gretchen pays to do this once each month.) Since we'd had the master guest room completely repainted (by Eric the Painter) only a few months ago, the main issue with it was the sheets on the bed and the towels in the bathroom, which definitely had some basement mustiness about them. The main cure for that was doing the laundry, and we ended up doing three or four loads. Included in all of that was the sheets from the greenhouse, which hadn't been washed in years and still had all my covid cooties (and sweat) in them. Dina and Gilaud's daughter will be coming on Thursday and there's a chance she will have to sleep in the greenhouse.
Other pre-guest chores included fixing the closet doors in the master guest room and re-installing the middle support for a curtain rod over the two sliding-glass doors in that room. (Eric had removed it when he painted the room.) When I went to reinstall that curtain rod support, I found there was absolutely no structure within reach of a screw; though there should've been a header in there above a large doorway, what I found was a void three inches deep. (Since the wall is made of two by sixes, the header was probably just beyond those three inches, though that would make it no more than two and a half inches thick.) Aggravated by the lack of structure, I decided to do something I've been doing with more frequency in such situations: cut a small rectangular hole in the drywall and then glue in a fat piece of wood into which I could install screws. Once I'd cut the hole in the drywall, I realized the shape I needed was not a simple rectangular prism but had a little porch on it. This would require some precision measurements and cuts on the bandsaw. As I was bandsawing away at a block of two-by-four, a fatally-injured mouse fell out of the top part of the bandsaw into the area where I was making my cut. That's a horrifying and completely unexpected thing to see. The mouse was intact but bleeding and looked like he or she was almost completely dead, so I brushed the body aside and kept working. Fortunately, the block of wood fit the hole I'd cut nearly perfectly, and I was able to hang the curtain much more solidly than it had ever hung before.
As for the closet doors, they were the common bifold kind, which I'd recently had some experience installing at the cabin. Such doors rely on little nylon pegs that stick up to keep then in their tracks at they move back and forth, though the bifold doors in the master bedroom actually had little wheels on those pegs. But one of the pegs was entirely missing and the other was caught in the wrong track and had an unpleasant feel as I slid the door back and forth. The solution was to break the stupid wheel off from around the peg on the one and to install a new peg on the other. Most people in this situation would feel they had to go to a hardware store to buy a suitable nylon peg. But there exists in our reality a plentiful source of peg-like objects. These are not made of nylon, but they are made of wood, which is a suitable replacement. I'm speaking here of the branches of trees, which produce all variety of peg-like objects of different diameters, lengths, flexibility, and strength. All one has to do is walk into a place where trees are growing and cut a suitable stick to length. (I've tapped this resource occasionally in the past, like when I've needed chopsticks or a model of a piece of lumber.) I wonder how many people even consider the utility of natural sticks when needing a stick-shaped object. My feeling is that, at least in advanced countries, the answer is not many.
It was so hot today that I ran the air conditioner in the laboratory for the first time this year. The indoor split unit worked okay for awhile, but then unexpectedly began dripping condensation on the laboratory floor. I did a little research about what could be causing this problem, but was unable to fix it tonight.
Meanwhile Gretchen beat the heat after work by swimming at the fancy mountain-top pool of her friend Paula the Nurse (and, because Neville had been at the bookstore with her today, he got to go to the pool too, though he didn't swim).
Gilaud arrived before Dina, though somehow there was only one additional car in the parking area. We had our big fancy Mexican meal out on the east deck, and, until the dragonflies quit flying sorties, the mosquitoes weren't too bad. With the home-made refried beans and hand-made tortillas, there were also lightly-pickled onions, Mexican rice, some sort of vegan crema, and green sauce that tasted a little like cucumber (Gretchen agreed, though because it didn't actually contain cucumbers, she found it very edible).
When the mosquitoes became too brutal, we retreated into the house. But both Dina and Gilaud suffer from various pet allergies, so the diphenhydramine they took for that soon had them falling asleep in front of us.
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