Saturday, October 26, 2013

Shaving off a sliver of the pile.

I sold some bicycles. Shelly was over to work on the farmhouse table again, and I finally let go of some bicycles. I owed Shelly some money, and now she owes some to me.

I still have too many bicycles and too many parts. I have a pile Care Bears, a collection of mini guitars, stacked boxes of Mad Magazines... I have stacks and piles of building materials... I am filling an entire room and closet with eBay items to be sold. I need to start making space and making storage. I need to begin the process of letting things go.

Shaving off a sliver of the pile

I went to two parties. I sat around three fires. I wore zero costumes and drank zero beers.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Soon is the season; soon is the move.

I put a ceiling over the bathroom walls. I marked the floor where the pipe from the shower basin should go. I made a thing that resembles a kitchen counter - the next time might be the charm.

None of that is helping us move into a small house any faster. I need heat and electricity. I need to hook up some propane tanks and battery banks. I haven't done either of those things before, but now would be a great time to try it out. The story is the same as it was last week: first I need to sell bicycle parts, then I need to transfer the money to my bank account, then I buy my way toward progress.

I am ready to move in. Emotionally. There is a lot more work, but the loft is a wonderful place already and the downstairs will fall into place as soon as I install the systems.

My birthday is coming up. Kristin got me a gift, but the manufacturer ruined the surprise. There was a huge photo of the contents pasted on the side of the box. I was glad. I want it now!

Ubiquitous Tiny House Heater

Staying warm is the best when you can look at a tiny fire.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Staring at the thought of building cabinets.

I don't know how to build cabinets, but I have some ideas. I need to get a counter in the kitchen of this tiny house I've been building. I need to decide on a place for the sink, and a place for the tiny oven. Then I need to build a structure to keep those things in their place.

I'm not a carpenter, and I'm not in any danger of becoming some great woodworker. I basically waited until the last minute to start poking my tape measure in all directions. All that did is confirm that I have no fucking clue what I'm doing.

Instructions for cabinets include lots of expensive plywood. The benefit is that there are instructions. I'll try again next time. Today I built something that functions more as figure 8 than anything belonging inside a house. Strike one.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Trash picking the future: Free tiny cabinets.

"Wait... slow down. I want to look at this."

The car slows and the headlights slide past trash.

"Woah woah! Back up slightly. I need the headlights to see what's going on."

The car inches backwards, and our headlights settle on a small pile of wood and steel. I exit the vehicle to get a closer look. There's a grill. There are some futon pieces and some veneered particle board that used to hold shelves. I have no business hoarding more materials, but my brain automatically tries to fit these pieces into a puzzle. Then I see one piece that seems an easy fit.

A small cabinet sits to the side of the pile. Functional knobs and hinges - hell, the whole thing is fine. It just looks inexpensive and dated. Too 90's for a modern renovation, and too cheap to consider refinishing.

I gave it another quick inspection to ensure it was tossed for style and there was no disgusting substance. Clean. I took it home.

For now, it looks like it belongs over a toilet in 1994. I plan to remove the superfluous material over the cabinet portion. With a little effort, it will be a cute set of tiny cabinets. 

Good place for a fuse box? We shall see.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shipping derailleurs; buying a watch.

It's 7:21pm. In my left hand, I am holding a Campagnolo Record front derailleur. I have it wrapped in a square of bubble wrap, and with my right hand I am trying to tear off a piece of packaging tape. I could use an extra hand for this, but my honed shipping skills still keep this procedure possible.

As I move to tear the tape one-handed, my watch beeps. I drop the whole mess with a huff, push the watch's "light" button which stops the beeping, and resume the surgically precise operation.

I got a new watch. It's the first brand and style change I've made in over ten years. My go-to wristwatch maker changed the design to include a feature allowing for two different time and alarm settings. This changed the familiar user interface, and after a year of suffering, the battery finally died. Now I am the proud owner of a bright red Casio.

Quaint and informative.

I couldn't be happier. This is the simple digital watch that I was looking for.

Painfully insulting!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

DIY Farmhouse Table - Day 2

I worked all day on the farmhouse table with Shelly. This is day two. Shelly stayed over last night so we could get an earlier start than yesterday.

Shelly was focused on precision quite a bit, and I keep telling her that when it's done she will see that these little inconsistencies do add up... to a freaking awesome looking table! I've learned the value of a sixteenth and a quarter when cutting wood, and I'm learning what to worry about and when to shrug. The instructions get a little confusing, but we didn't have much difficulty forging ahead with sensible decisions.

We're making two. One for Shelly's house, and one to sell. We have both table tops finished, but not finished - we still have lots of sanding and staining for next time. We have one base completed, but likewise, it needs sanding and stain.

Now I have a full farmhouse table in my van, along with the parts and materials for another farmhouse table, and all of the other stuff that was already in there to begin with. My van is basically acting as a storage shed on wheels.

Lotta brand new wood. Glad I wasn't the one paying for once.

Tabletop #1. Hard to see, but it's held together with 10,000 pocket screws. And glue.

You do a lot of this before cleaning out a channel with a chisel.

We switched off on that.

Working toward a smooth(er) channel with a chisel.

Something like this?

Completed base #1. In this photo, I just pinched my finger with a hammer.

After working all day, we were proud of what we had to show for it - but when you look at what you've just made, it seems like it should not have taken so long. The lesson? Shit takes longer than you think. Embrace that, take your time, and you'll have more fun.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

DIY Farmhouse Table - Day 1

I need money for a battery bank and money for house-finishing supplies. I overdrew my bank account. I took out almost all my money to buy bicycle parts at the last swap meet, and I didn't accurately gauge how much money I would need in my account to tie me over until fresh eBay money starts coming in.


They money has started to come in, but now I'm playing ketchup. In the meantime, I can't make meaningful improvement to the house. I just spent two whole days listing eBay stuff, so now I'm taking a break to do a different project.

Shelly emailed me a link to some DIY Farmhouse Table plans that she wants to try. I'm the one with the most access to basic tools. We scheduled a day to work on the plans, and that day is today.

We started out by gathering supplies and materials. We decided to make two tables - one for Shelly to keep, and one to sell. Ideally, the second table will sell for enough to significantly offset the cost of the first. That's Shelly's department. I'm in charge of tape measures and saw guidance.

We mostly finished two table tops. It seems like a person should have more to show for those hours of work, but a large percentage of the time is taken by the learning curve. Both of us are now much more familiar with the concept of pocket holes - and I get to keep the Kreg jig in exchange for helping out with tools and assistance. Deal!

I consider this an excellent skill-building exercise. This is a fun way to make myself learn how to build something that I want to know how to build anyway.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

As the cashflow begins to trickle...

I listed a ton more on eBay. I've lost track of all the bicycle parts I have to sell. When I need money, I just go to the boxes and start picking out components that I know will sell. Last night, I sold a derailleur for $130, which I paid $20 something for.

The floodgates are creaking open again - for the inane queries of could-be buyers, and the deluge of items in my shipping queue. My level of busy just ratcheted up a notch, but there is great satisfaction to be gleaned from a good sale.

This is what a $130 derailleur looks like. No motors or sandwich maker.