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

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   outside of the sash turned in
Sunday, May 7 2023

location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

It warm enough this morning at the cabin that I didn't bother with a fire. I drank my coffee, ate my toast, and played Spelling Bee as normal. The dogs haven't been liking their stale old kibble that had spent the winter in a plastic box in the kitchen, so I've been making them small peanut butter sandwiches.


I ran the recirculator pump with the boiler on one last time to pre-heat the water in the heatpump-powered hot water heater to a temperature of a little over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and then I turned off the boiler and turned on the hot water heater whose water I had preheated. It came alive for the first time since the autumn and found, perhaps to its surprise, that it was full of fairly warm water. Strangely (due to the way the circulator heats its water) water low in the tank was actually warmer than water higher in the tank. But after doing some thinking, the heatpump kicked on to raise the water to the temperature it was set for (135 degrees). It only needed the heatpump to handle this relatively modest temperature increase, which was the goal of the circulator preheating system. Satisfied that the system would maintain the tank full of hot water at 135 degrees, I cleaned up the cabin, loaded up the dogs, and started driving homeward. It was only a little after noon.
Back home in Hurley, Gretchen still hadn't returned yet from an overnight with our recently-widowed friend Anna in Brooklyn. I proceeded to prepare for a landlording task I'd procrastinated since autumn: replacing a broken window in the second floor apartment at the Downs Street brick mansion. Early Friday morning, I'd picked up a replacement pane of glass from Rondout Glass on Foxhall Street in Kingston (the 24 by 32 inch sheet of single-pane 1/16 inch glass had cost about $45) and over the weekend I'd watched a YouTube video about how one removes a sash from a Victorian-era window to get access to its outside, which is the the surface against which the glass is mounted. It turns out that all you have to do is remove one of the two strips of wood (a "side-jamb") forming the inside of the channel that the sash moves in, and then the sash can be removed.
As I was arriving at the Downs Street house, a car accident had just happened in the intersection of Downs and Tremper Streets. I could see two befuddled young men standing around scratching their heads amid a surprising amount of plastic debris that had sprayed from the impact. A mentally-challenged gentleman had hailed a cop car, which quickly arrived at the scene. As I unloaded my supplies from my car, the mentally-challenged man assumed I was interested in what had just happened, and he told me that one of the drivers had driven through the intersection without regard for the stop sign and plowed into the other. By now a small crowd had gathered for what was the most interesting thing that had happened at that intersection in a very long time. Most of the onlookers looked to be Hispanic.
Up on the second floor, I gingerly removed the cardboard covering the broken glass and then plucked away the shards with my bare hands. Based on the radiation of the cracks, it looked like an object had hit the pane from somewhere near its center. Since the tenant had not complained about anyone smashing their window from the outside, I wondered if perhaps they'd had a fight and started throwing things at each other. They had, of course, somehow blamed the broken glass on the house itself, but that's what a tenant (even a good one) can be expected to do. Yet there was no way it could've broken the way it was broken without a sharp impact that the house itself could never have inflicted.
Usually when I do any amount of work with broken glass, I inevitably cut myself at some point and have to spend half my time dealing with the blood. But I worked extremely deliberatey this time and completely avoided injuring myself. (I did wang my injured pinkie at some point. That's the one I'd poked with a superheated copper pipe a week before. But it mercifully didn't start bleeding again, as I fully expected it to.)
Once the old glass was removed, I carried it down to my car in a cardboard box and returned with a pair of needle-nosed pliers for use in plucking out all the little metal "glazier's points." The sash was still attached by ropes to two functional counterweights hidden in the window casing, and this prevented me from removing the sash entirely even with one of the side jambs removed. But I was able to twist the sash around so its cords were crossed and its outside faced into the room, giving me easy access to the place where the new pane of glass would go. After fully scraping away all the old caulk and removing the last of the glazier's points, I test fit the new piece of glass to confirm that it wasn't slight too big. When the fit proved to be a good one, I lay a bead of caulk all the way around the place were it would go, pushed in the pane, and then secured it with glazier's points (only reusing the ones that I'd removed. After a little more caulking (and smoothing of that caulk), I nailed the removed side jamb back in and my work was done. Well, I still had some cleaning up to do. As I told the tenant before leaving, "a lot of things could've gone wrong, but luckily none of them did."
On the drive home, I went out of my way to visit Home Depot to get some plumbing and electrical supplies for next weekend's projects at the cabin. This included 50 feet of 12-2 indoor romex cable, which had to be extracted from a locked cage by a Home Depot employee. He also had to walk the wire to the front with me, because, he said, of "new procedures." "Yeah, people are stealing the copper," I replied. "You wouldn't believe what people are doing," and then proceeded to tell me some things that I very much believed and might've tried myself fifteen years ago when finances were tighter and I didn't worry so much about the reputational consequences of being booked for shoplifting. "They're also stealing catylitc converters," I said, and the Home Depot employee agreed, saying he was worried about his catylitic converter. "You know, they make devices to keep people from stealing them." "Really?" he asked, and then he wanted to know where to get them. I didn't know the specifics, so I told him to Google it. He must not've been the brightest knife in the drawer, because the then asked me again and I again told him to just Google it.

I returned home with a road beer in my hand to find Gretchen had made a dinner of white beans with gnocchi and other things. We ate this out on the east deck, taking advantage of the continuing nice weather. Then our niece called to get some advice from her wild and crazy aunt about what to do about her overly-protective mother, who apparently assumes her non-binary partner is going to be getting her pregnant if she sleeps over at "their" house.

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