Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Or should that be, "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back"?

Bit 1: Sunday evening, my 1998 vintage Black & Decker cordless lawn mower that I repaired so lovingly last month up and refused to work at all.

Well, I'd unplugged it the night before. We were having severe thunderstorms here in the Valleys and I didn't want it to surge out. Maybe the battery had lost its charge, even though it's brand new.

Plugged it back in; the indicator light turned red, and later green. Tried mowing the lawn again yesterday evening. Dead silence. Dead mower.

Nothing for it but to take the machine all the way into Town to the B&D/DeWalt repair shop this afternoon, to see if the pros can resurrect it. They think it might be the starter. God forbid it's the control module (the part the charger plugs into)-- B&D doesn't make it any more.

If they can't fix it, I'm definitely getting another cordless, of some brand. Or maybe I'll invest in a reel mower like I saw at Lowe's this evening. The box says it cuts 2" high, which is tolerable. (I've looked at some that only go to 1"-- a mowing height that's fine for golf courses in rainy Scotland, but not for here.)
Bit 2: It so happens that the millwork shop I sent my dining room window info to the other day is just up the block from the Black & Decker place. I walked over, made the acquaintance of the workshop dogs and one of their cats, and heard some good news: For them (the millworkers, not the animals) to build me insulated wood windows the sizes I need will cost me far, far less than I've been quoted by any of the big boys. They'd make me the muntin bar pattern I want and the units should look better, too.

However--a) They don't install (I knew that already); and b) they can't give me a firm price till they know if my jambs still have their weight pockets, or if we have to go with tracks; which c) means I have to get a carpenter to come look at my house; but d) I haven't gotten acquainted with any good carpenters in my neck of the woods.
The millwork boss recommended a guy who loves nothing better than messing about with sash weights and so on. But he lives all the way to hell and gone the other side of Pixburgh. Will he come to the Valleys? And if he will, how much extra will he want for mileage?

I've left a message on his answering machine. I can but try.

Bit 3: I bought plaster of Paris at Lowe's late this afternoon to patch the plaster next to my bathroom medicine cabinet. Gotta have a good substrate for the infill tile.

Got it home, turns out I grossly overestimated how much patching is needed. Probably could've gone with elastomeric spackle after all. I mean, do I really need 8 lbs. of poP powder? Do I go ahead and mix it up and glop it in there like a (wo)man? Or is it back to the store for a trade-in?
And which is better for the cracks in the plaster over my third floor stairs? They're looking ominous . . .

Though if I ever take up sculpture again, plaster of Paris is ace!

And finally, Bit 4: Hooray, I finished getting the dog door installed in the back porch screen door!

No time now to recount the saga that has been in the past year. But last night I went down to my workshop and thought, "I am sick of that screen lying there taking up all the space on my workbench. I'm going to put that dog door into it and that's that."

Got it done. Yes, I know the dog door is crooked. Joke on me. It's two plastic pieces that, like a royal proxy bedding his master's bride,* mate with the screen between them. I aligned it with the bottom of the screen and didn't notice it (the screen) was out of true until I'd poked too many holes in the mesh (consider the Tristan and Isolde followup comment made) to mend the situation.

Finished too late last night to fit the screen into the door itself. Yes, the screen came with those little compression-wire clips. But those frail wires are no match for my energetic hound. Had to install those traditional twirly clips, which means drill work. I had compassion on my neighbors and left it for this evening.
And now it's in. And I think I've got my dog trained to use it, though a few more doggie treats may have to lose their lives before the lesson is indelibly ingrained.

In the process, however, he just logically kept trying for the side that looked clear and unimpeded; that is, the side without the dog door. So much for the nice, tight aluminum screening job they did for me at the local hardware emporium.

The twirly clips held, though. So that's working.
So far.

*Line courtesy of Dorothy L. Sayers


River said...

Oh my goodness! That plaster is in trouble! You've heard of Rory Brennan, right (he's like the plaster god of New York....did "This Old House", etc...). He's doing a workshop June 12th at our restoration project/home...Perhaps you'd like to come join us! Check out details on our site, www.howardhallfarm.com
and let me know what you think!

St. Blogwen said...


Thanks for the heads up. I saw the info on that workshop on the link from your site and was definitely interested. But my parents are coming to visit on the 15th and I don't think I could get back to Western Pennsylvania in time.

Still, I'm starry-eyed enough to write for info on your blog link. It's easy to say the workshop will be held again soon enough, but that maybe overly optimistic.

Kate H.