A Fan

Nov. 24th, 2012 09:48 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
[I'm experimenting with copying a post from Google Plus to Dreamwidth/LiveJournal. Pasting the text and photo from G+ into the Dreamwidth Rich Text editor seems to work, although I had to get the public link for the photo. For some reason the LJ-to-Facebook connection doesn't seem to be working.]

My dad came over today. We've been having a couple of electrical problems, and he was trained in electronics by the army. Plus he's handy, which I, unfortunately, am not. Or not very.

The first problem was the ceiling light in the den. It kept flickering and making buzzing noises. He took things apart and figured out that the problem was that the contact in the base of the socket was depressed; it wasn't making proper contact. He pried it up, and now the light works perfectly. I'll have to look into getting a shade for it.

The second problem was the ceiling fan in Sebastian's room, which is next to the den. The light tended to go on and off randomly, and the ceiling fan rarely worked; instead, it hummed and made a burning electrical smell.

So we took it down. Dad examined and tested the wiring, and it seemed fine. But the motor was burned out on the ceiling fan. We went over to Lowe's. Teri and I wanted to get a fan much like the one he'd had, but Sebastian insisted on a short-bladed and admittedly cooler-looking fan, an allen+roth. The salesman said the fan would be virtually imperceptible, but eventually we gave in.

When we got home and opened the box, we got worried. It was complicated; the estimated assembly time was two hours! Dad and I spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. I don't know about Dad, but I'm pretty sure that my shoulders will ache for days! And toward the end we were working in darkness, since the circuit breaker for that lamp also covers the whole room.

But we got it put together and mounted. Dad did the wiring, which is good because wiring makes me nervous. It was great when the light went on! And when we turned on the fan, go figure: the breeze was far stronger than our old fan's had been. It blew papers right off Sebastian's desk.

It feels good to get something like that done!

bobquasit: (Sebastian Riding)
The Pack Pinewood Derby race is tomorrow. Sebastian and I hadn't been able to go to the cutting event, so we emailed a design to one of the dads and he cut it for us. But it came out rather flatter than we'd intended. It's considerably flatter than last year's car, and that was the thinnest car in our whole pack (and the fastest, probably not by coincidence).

But this time I was worried...very worried. We'd picked up another metal stud plate at Lowes to weight it, but unlike last year we didn't get a second smaller plate to put under it; there simply wasn't enough thickness for me to fit another plate under the first. In fact, I had serious doubts that I'd be able to hammer in even one plate without destroying the car. There just wasn't enough wood left to work with. It didn't help that I didn't have the leftover wood that the car had been cut from to use as a support when hammering in the stud plate, as I did last year.

So after some thought I decided to skip the stud plate entirely. Instead, I used as many car-weights as possible. I hollowed out the car, carefully; it made a mess. shavings everywhere, but this year I didn't cut myself and the process went more quickly and smoothly than I'd expected. The weights fit well into the hollow, almost flush with the underside, and were fastened in with little screws. We're still light, so one more large weight will be fastened on top, towards the back. It should look pretty cool. It may produce a bit of drag, but the rest of the car is very smooth and flat, and the top weight doesn't stick out too much I think. Besides, we're not going to beat the cars made by professionals anyway!

Sebastian and I sanded it out back - there were a few flakes of snow falling, go figure - and the car ended up very smooth indeed. Then I used a pencil to put a heavy layer of graphite over the points where the tire hubs may touch the car body. Teri and Sebastian laid down the first paint job. They'll finish things off tomorrow, and I'll screw the top weight into place. Then we'll race. A lot depends on how well I fit the wheels in, of course, but all in all this car seems to have a smaller body than last year's, and it's so close to five ounces that the paint job just might take it over the limit! I'll bring a piece of sandpaper just in case.

I think we'll do well, barring accidents.
bobquasit: (Default)
I don't want that incredibly annoying encounter in WoW tonight to be the end of my day, so:

Teri complained yesterday that the living room AC smelled bad. She didn't think I could do anything about it. So while she was out, I did some research.

Vaccuumed and cleaned with a toothbrush, vinegar & water; it's amazing how much gunk & fur was in there! Then a little Lysol. Now it has no odor and is much colder. Felt good to have accomplished something!

I also recorded some lullabies for Sebatian. I'll spare you having to listen to those, though. ;D

Posted via LjBeetle
bobquasit: (Default)
I must remember to pick up a leather punch to make new holes in my and Sebastian's belts. I wonder who might sell them?
bobquasit: (Default)
My phone cross-posts status updates to Twitter and Facebook - but not LiveJournal. There are a few Droid apps for LJ available, but I'm not at all sure which one is best. Any suggestions would be very welcome.

Last night I staple-gunned pipe insulation to the exposed edges and corners of the wooden platform of our bed and Sebastian's bed. I think it worked pretty well. With any luck, we'll never hit our shins against those frames again.

And I have to say, the platforms really worked out well. Our mattress has great support now, and the bed is absolutely, startlingly silent.
bobquasit: (Sebastian)
Tonight I worked on the platform for Sebastian's bed. I screwed down three new slats across the underside of the two plywood boards that make up the platform, and then screwed down the original central slat, which has a central support. It had never worked right, but screwing it into place made it perfect. I broke two drill bits in the process, and the drill battery ran out of power towards the end, but I finished it off manually. Fortunately the drill had just enough power to make shallow starter holes for the last few screws.

Then I took a cheap flat bedsheet that Teri had bought for the purpose, and stapled it into place - on both sides of the platform, including the underside where it wraps around the edges.

It wasn't an easy project, but I got it done and it looks good. It's certainly MUCH sturdier than the two loose boards were! And it looks nicer, too. Time will tell if it holds his mattress in place; it has tended to creep off the foot of the bed, and all his pillows fall into a trough between the headboard and the mattress. That's what a bed salesman told us recently. But if it doesn't help, I'll buy some of that stuff that's used to hold rugs in place on the floor. That should work!

Next I have to think about a platform for our bed. I'm thinking that the bottom can be a pair of open boxes, kind of like large bookshelves with the back sides made of heavy 1" MDF and turned upwards to support the mattress. The frames can be made of 2"x6" wood, with "shelves" of the same wood across the underside to give support. It would actually have to be in two parts, the size of two twin boxsprings. Cover them with a pair of cheap twin-sized fitted sheets, staple them securely, and we have a nice king-sized platform for our bed at about 1/5 to 1/3 the cost of a commercial one - that is, around $125 instead of $300 - $500.

But things could go wrong, I suppose. In which case I'll be wasting $100 worth of wood. Has anyone else tried to do something like this?
bobquasit: (Sebastian Riding)
I wasn't really ready for the Pinewood Derby, and we had less time to work on the car than I expected. We went shopping at Lowes for materials on Saturday; the first set races, for our troop, would be Tuesday. That gave us only three days, really, to work on the car.

The block had already been cut at the previous Tuesday's meeting. I'd managed to persuade Sebastian to go with the absolute slimmest design possible; I'm no handyman, but I couldn't help noticing last year that the winners were always the slimmest designs. The design we used was flat on the bottom, and a shallow even arc on the top. I'd guess that 70% of the original block was cut away. The father who was doing the cutting on ours seemed kind of surprised and dubious about it.

The design indicated that we should drill four large holes through the side of the car and fill them with lead (or some other heavy metal). That would require very precise drilling, since there wasn't much wood left to spare. I'd guess those holes were nearly a 1/2 inch across, each! And with nothing but a cheap electric hand-held drill, I was feeling less than confident. I'm really NOT very handy at all (I'd already called my Dad and hinted that we could use his help. He told me it was a father and son type of event. ).
Read more... )
Any thoughts?
bobquasit: (Default)
Had I mentioned that our new kitten Widget - well, he's pretty much past the kitten stage now - has been making me pay the price for saving his claws?

He was tearing the liner in the litter-box to shreds every time, so I had to clean it out and wash it every Tuesday. It was disgusting. I tried a lot of different solutions; multiple liners, filling the box more, taping the liners down...all sorts of things. But I finally seem to have worked out a solution.
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Ridiculous, I know, but it's really nice to have taken a horrible chore and made it much less disgusting!
bobquasit: (Default)
One of our shower curtains was getting pretty grungy. It might have been mold, or soap scum...I don't know. It was a translucent gray-black stain that covered four or five square feet.

It was a decent shower curtain, a $3.99 one instead of one of those cheap $0.99 ones from the dollar store, so I decided to see if it was cleanable. To tell you the truth, money wasn't a factor; I just felt like giving it a try, and since the vinyl was on the heavier side, I thought it might survive the experiment.

First try: Formula 409 and paper towels.

I took the curtain down and spread it on the bathroom floor (it was dry, of course). I squirted it with 409, waited 30 seconds, and then went over it vigorously with paper towels. Result: dirty paper towels, and some reduction in the grime, but the curtain still looked pretty dirty.

Second try: dishwashing detergent and scotch-brite.

I put a few drops of dishwashing detergent on the curtain, wet an old piece of scotch-brite, and scrubbed fairly gently with a circular motion. Result: the grime came off like magic, instantly, with no visible damage to the curtain. The whole thing took less than two minutes. I put it up again, rinsed it off in the shower, and it has been fine for days.

I also found that dishwashing detergent works great for cleaning the toilet, the bathroom sink, and the tub. It just takes a few drops, too!

Jeeze. How do I end up making posts like this?
bobquasit: (Me)
I'm not handy.

My father is. He's handy as hell. He even did it professionally for a while after he retired. That's just one of a remarkable number of skills that he has.

But I didn't inherit it.

So I've always felt rather inadequate in that department, naturally enough. I know computers, of course, but for almost anything handy, well, I'm not your go-to guy. In fact, when we have problems of that sort in the house, we call my dad.

Fast-forward to two days ago.
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On an unrelated note, where the hell is everybody?


bobquasit: (Default)

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