Wednesday, August 31, 2016

It's Not Saturday

All day long, it's felt like Saturday to me.  Let me tell you, nothing ruins your Saturday like realizing it's only Wednesday.  Sigh...

The good news is, we actually get a Saturday this weekend!  We're getting a three day weekend, but our Production Superintendent told us not to get excited.  This is not the start of a trend, he said. We'll be back to working Saturdays next weekend.

People are asking me what I'm going to do over the weekend, and the short answer is:  sleep.  I'm going to sleep, and sleep, and sleep.  I may just sleep the whole weekend away.  All three days of it.

Realistically, the plan is to finish stripping my mantle.   I found my extension cord, so I can finally get those spots back in the corner.  I also took some advice and returned the stain/polyurethane combo back and got the separate stuff.  I like this color of stain better anyway.

I got the pre-stain conditioner, too.  Yes, it may not be necessary, but since the wood is old, and has been painted more than once, I figured it wouldn't hurt to apply it.  You can see how pretty the grain of my wood is. I think it's going to look great.

Speaking of my house, it's been one year ago today that we closed on it.  A couple of weeks ago, a guy at work asked me if I had it the way I wanted it.  I know it shouldn't have, but his question irked me.  Why in the world would he think I'm made of money when he works at the same place I do?  It's slowly coming along, but it'll be a long time before I get it the way I want it.

First thing I need to do is call that guy back about cutting down that tree.  I meant to do it Monday. Then I meant to do it Tuesday.  Then I meant to do it today.  Now, I'm meaning to do it tomorrow.

Did I ever mention that I have telephone issues?

Let's move on to a more pleasant subject, knitting.  I still haven't found my size 7 DPNs, so I broke down and ordered a new set.  On this hat, I'm about to the point I need to switch to said DPNs.  

So, while waiting for said needles to arrive, I decided to cast on with the last of my neon yarn colors.

I just have to decide on a pattern...

Look!  I've been practicing with my dip pen.

It's betting better.  Nifty how even my manky handwriting instantly looks better when written with a dip pen.

When I get good, I'm going to invest in a really good quality fountain pen.  I've wanted one for ages, I just haven't wanted to spend the money.

My birthday is in November.  Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Seven Years

Seven years ago today, we had to say goodbye to the best dog ever.  I'm not sure why, but it's hitting me very hard this year.  I hope you will forgive my little bit of melancholy as I republish in its entirety the tribute I wrote to our Katie that day.  

Goodbye Old Girl 

When you bring a puppy into your home, you know that dogs don't live as long as humans. Somewhere in the back of your mind,  you know that one day you'll have to face losing that puppy.

But you don't have to think about that yet.  That's a long way away.  Right now she's just a cute little puppy, with soft little puppy fur and sharp little puppy teeth.  She'll make a good companion for your little diaper wearing, pappy sucking baby.

Time goes by. The boy grows up.  The puppy becomes a dog.

She's a part of the family.  She's always there for you.

At Christmas.

At Easter.

Camping in the living room, with her own backpack.

The first day of school.

The first day of Cub Scouts.

And Little League.

The first day of the last year of junior high.

She's there to comfort when you're sick,

or any time a sleeping boy just needs a little extra security.

It seems you barely turn around and before you know it, that diaper wearing baby is in high school and your dog is no longer that bouncing little puppy she once was.  You know she's getting older, but you try not to think about it.

Then one day it hits you.  She can't see.  She can't hear.  The black patch on her eye that you nearly named her for has faded to almost completely white.  She has trouble getting up and down the front steps. That's when you realize, your dog is old.

That long way away suddenly got a whole lot closer.

You know that the decision is coming, but still you try to put it off.  She may be ready, but you aren't. You do what you can to keep her happy and healthy, but time still stalks the old girl.



Then one day, you wake up and you know.

It may be that look of patient suffering in your dog's eyes.

It may be the sounds of pain she makes when she lays down,

or the scream when you try to help her up the steps.

Whatever the reason, you know.

It's time.

An agonizing trip to the animal clinic.    A shaking hand signs the paper.  The doctor that  gave her her first puppy shots now gives her one last injection.  And she drifts away, peacefully and without pain.  She's gone.

An "I'm so sorry" and a hug in the parking lot from the vet, and you take your faithful companion home for the last time. You ask your boy if he wants to pick out a spot for her, and he says, "I want to do this myself".  And your boy --no this man your pappy sucking boy has somehow become-- buries his dog out by the back fence, near the cow pasture she loved so much.

A bouquet of plastic flowers.

A too quiet house.   A big, gaping hole in your heart.

And it's over.

Goodbye old girl.    You really were the best dog ever.

Epilogue:  October 3, 2009

When you bring a puppy into your home, you know that dogs don't live as long as humans.

Somewhere in the back of your mind, you know that one day you'll have to face losing that puppy.

But you don't have to think about that yet.  That's a long way away.

Right now, he's just a cute little puppy with soft little puppy fur, and sharp little puppy teeth.

He'll make a good companion for your guitar playing, soon to be driving, teenage son.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


I don't usually post on Sundays, but today you get a bonus.  This is the post I was planning on posting Friday, but didn't.

You know these coworkers I've been posting about here lately?  It appears I'm not the only one who has noticed them.  After work, we had one of those Come To Jesus meetings that never seem to work, because the ones causing problems never see themselves as the problem.  Seriously.  A few years ago, after a similar meeting, the biggest no-load in the plant asked me why they have to talk to all of us.  Why don't they just go directly to the ones that are the problem and talk to them.  The entire meeting was directed at her, but she didn't see it.

Anyway, that lasted about half an hour.  Then I went by the human resources department to find out why I hadn't gotten my attendance bonus for July.  It was my jury duty that delayed it.  They don't take the absence off until you bring in the paper from the county clerk proving that you really did have jury duty and weren't just saying that to take a free day off and go fishing.  My jury duty was July 25, but I didn't receive the paper until this past Monday.  They took my absence off, and my bonus should be on the paycheck for the week we just finished.

After that, I had to go to the store and pick up my few little things I needed, and by the time I got home, I just didn't feel like writing a post.

I was going to show you the new stuffs I got from work.  They handed out gift cards for gas, Sonic, and a free milkshake.

Also, they gave us some ice packs

some Gatorade

and some kind of cooling cloth.

And it all came in a new knitting bag!

While I was at the store, I picked me up a dip pen set and some ink.

It's not the best quality, but it'll do until I can afford something better.  I've already practiced with it.  I did OK with the smallest nib, but smeared the bigger nibs a bit.  When I was writing with it, I found to my dismay, that I couldn't remember how to make all my cursive letters!  Particularly the capital letters that I never did correctly anyway.

Finally, when your tools start falling out of the bottom of your bag, it's time to get a new one.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


The day I'd anticipated for a week had finally come.  My belt sander was due to be delivered today, and I could finally start stripping!  Sure enough, it arrived right on time.

I was relieved when I opened the box to discover that I'd ordered the sander that you can plug in.  I couldn't remember if I'd ordered that one, or one that I'd have to wait 13 hours for the battery to charge.  So, yay!  I could start stripping right away!

Well, after work, that is.

And work, well, it was rough, I tell ya.  My work day started at 4:00 AM, which is bad enough.  When the regular shift started, we had some people out on our line, so Group Leader Theresa asked me to go help out over there for today.  I was happy to go where I was needed, but the other sub brazer...well, let's just say, she couldn't handle the job by herself.  Now, remember, the sub brazer who'd been over there up until now has moved to third shift.  This is a different one.  She's an experienced brazer, but she's not a worker like I am.   She's been over there two weeks now.  When she first got moved to sub brazing from line brazing, she spent the first few days bragging about how Theresa thought she was hurting her, but she was really doing her a favor.  She could walk around and talk, lean up against the stand, go outside, was like being on vacation for her.  And it was, as long as I was there to get the work done.

Which brings us to today.  Group Leader Theresa asked me to go fill in for someone who was out, and suddenly, without me there to carry the line for her, this other brazer completely falls apart.   It's so bad that an hour before quitting time, she doesn't have any headers ready for the line to use.   Not only that, but the order she'd just finished brazing was wrong, and she was having to re-do them. Theresa told me to go help her out, so I ended up having to stay until 3:00 (on Saturdays, we work from 6:00 - 2:00) to get some headers brazed up for second shift to have something to start on.

As Theresa stopped to tell me goodbye on her way out the door, I told her to consider this a dry run for when I start taking my days off in two weeks.  I said, "When I'm off, you won't have me here to swoop in at the last minute to save the day."  Judging by the way things went today, well, I'll just have to pray for second shift.  Pray really hard.

Finally, the work day was over and I could come strip!  I drove home like a bat out of hell, changed clothes, started a load of laundry, and broke out the belt sander.  Safety first, I put on my goggles and my dust mask.

No, I did not take a selfie of me wearing them.  But I did put them on, and after the first few minutes, added ear plugs to the mix.

But lookit how clean it got my mantle.

Kindly ignore the little pile of sawdust.  I vacuumed it up shortly after I took this picture.

I'm going to have to find an extension cord to get back into the corner there, but I got quite a bit cleaned off, on both sides.  I'm going to have to strip that little decorative molding by hand, so that'll be a bit of work.  Also, there is a piece of metal screwed to the underside of the mantle right over where the stove is.  I tried to take it off, but you guessed it, the screw heads were so clogged up with paint, I couldn't even get the screwdriver into them.  These people loved their paint, I tell ya.

After I'd stripped the top and sides of the mantle, I started picking at the paint on the bottom.  I managed to peel a piece this big.  It feels like plastic.  I've never seen the like.

Then, just for defecation and laughter -- that's something we used to say back in the Navy, only we didn't say it exactly like that, but this is a family friendly blog, so we won't go all the way there...

Anyway, for defecation and laughter, I ran the belt sander up my bricks just to see if it would distress them and what it would look like.  Guess what I discovered under the white paint....yep, a layer of black paint.

I'm thinking it's going to take some doing to get all the paint off those bricks.  But that's another project for another time.  (I do see the blue spots, but I'm not sure if that's another layer of paint, or just the white paint separating into its pigments.)

When I was at the store yesterday, I went to look at the stains to decide which color to do my mantle.  I quickly narrowed it down to these two:

I really like the red oak, but wanted something a bit darker, so I went with the walnut.  However, I bought the kind that has the stain and polyurethane together.  You can see the little can back in the picture of my safety equipment.  It's going to be several days before I can stain the wood, though.

Several days and several sandings.  I don't want to start staining, and suddenly see a bit of old paint still on the wood.

With my luck, that's exactly what would happen.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Vicious Circle

Or else it was just karma...

See, this is how it went.

Tony was mad because our group leader asked him to line braze.
The reason she asked him to line braze was because the new line brazer was leaving too many leaks. But the reason she was leaving so many leaks was because there was no gas flux in the gas flux pot. The reason there was no gas flux in the pot was because Tony had been asked to fill it three times and had refused to do so.

Therefore, there was no flux in the pot;
therefore the new brazer was leaving a lot of leaks;
therefore the group leader asked Tony to line braze;
therefore Tony was mad because he had to line braze --

All of which could have been avoided if he had just filled the flux pot the first time he'd been asked.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked:  for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.   Galatians 6:7

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

An Unexpected Day Off

I arrived at work at my usual 5:00 AM, and headed up to the office to copy our line schedule for the day.  I got upstairs, and there were no schedules.  I thought maybe the copier was down again, as sometimes happens, so I go back downstairs and over to tubing department to use their computer.

Only, their computer was down, too.  I noticed that the dispatcher's computer was up, so I asked him to print me out a schedule.  He did, but it was yesterday's schedule.  That's when I discovered that a vitally important system was down -- that system being our company intranet.  I asked the dispatcher why the IT guy didn't fix it, and he told me it was something they would have to fix in Dallas when their IT guy got in.


I went to my work station and started brazing up the day's work.  At 7:00 AM, the lines came in, only they couldn't run because they couldn't scan any orders out -- that whole computer being down thing and all.  By 9:00, the powers that be decided the best course of action was to cut their losses and send us all home.  So, I got an unexpected day off.

And what did I do with my unexpected day off?  I'll tell you.

The people who lived in this house before me had very different tastes in decorating.  I'm told they were really in to John Deere, which is why the house is green and yellow.  Now, don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with green and yellow, but it just isn't me.  This mantle, for example, I never liked it.  Not the color, nor the paint they used.

I'm not sure what kind of paint they used, but it is very sticky.  When I put my vase on the mantle, it sticks to the paint.  I found a chipped spot a couple of days ago and started picking at it.

I was able to grab and pull large, stretchy chunks of paint off.

As you can see, there was another layer of paint under the first layer.  It peeled off as easily as the green paint did.

So, when I got home from work unexpectedly early, I got my can of paint stripper out of the shed and began stripping all the old stuff off.

I tried to do the edges, too, but for some reason, that paint didn't strip as easily.

I'll get it when my belt sander gets here Saturday.  Yes, I ordered a belt sander online, because I didn't want to get dressed and go to the store.  Until it gets here, I got a piece of regular sandpaper and did a small spot by hand.

I think it'll clean up quite nicely.   Once I get it all cleaned up, I'm going to stain it.  I haven't decided what color yet.  Probably oak or walnut.

Then I'll have to figure out how to get all that gloppy paint off of the bricks.  That's going to be a challenge.  Maybe I'll just distress them.

That might look nice.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Unappreciative Children

Before I left work today, my friend Edna introduced her son to me.  She said, "His name is Cody, too.  When you write your blog post tonight, mention something about unappreciative children."

I'm going to find that difficult, because I don't have any perspective on the topic.  Take, for example, last Thanksgiving, when my Cody was home from college.  I asked him what he wanted for Christmas.  His response was, "Nothing."

I said, "Oh, surely there's something you want."

He said, "Mom, I saw how much you had to pay for my college this semester.  You've done enough."

He's always been that way, even when we were going through the difficult teenage years.  He made me a Mother's Day card.  Let me rephrase that.  He hand drew me a Mother's Day card and on the inside wrote:  Even though I don't say it, I love you and appreciate everything you do for me.


He's a better person that I am, I tell ya.  (Not sure where he got it.  The Grace of God is the only thing I can come up with.)

So, yeah, I don't think I'm going to be able to cover that topic too well.

Let's move on to something I can cover.

Now that the Olympics are over  -- not that I got to see much of them thanks to NBC's usual sucktastic coverage-- I can get back to my needlework.  Oh, I got to see plenty of heats and prelims, but very few medal events.  I'd hoped that since they took place in the same hemisphere, NBC would do a better job of showing medal rounds, but no....

Enough about that.  Back to the needlework.  I got one more Dinosaurnament finished.

That makes two.

I made some progress on the latest hat, too.

Just another inch and I'll be ready to do the decrease rounds.  I've made this hat pattern before, and for some reason, I always mess up doing the decreases.  It's not noticeable or anything, but I know it's there.

This is the Hurricane Hat pattern, just in case you were wondering.


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