Monday, September 29, 2014

It started when I noticed a few tiles were loose.  I put aside a couple of days to do the repair over the 4th of July shutdown.  3 months later, it is done.
The mining shovel on the shower curtain came from a calendar Harnischfeger handed out a few years ago.  No one else has a P&H mining shovel painted on their shower curtain.
 New backer board and the tiles going into place.

 Waiting for city inspection
 new backer board and fiberglass tape ready to be plastered.
 I hate cutting tiles and delayed the task as long as possible.
 I noticed the water damage ignored from a leak from above years ago, and cracks in the ceiling from being a mid century house.
 Grouting is done and new fixtures are installed.
 Every time I sanded the ceiling repair (3 coats as per on line videos) I did a couple quick dustings with the sanding block on the walls to even off old layers of paint... peach, jade, white, deep Caribbean blue.  Then I scraped the plaster knife over the wall to fill in where life had left it's marks.
 One way to protect the tiles etc from my bad painting skills.

 Primer and texturizing sand to blend the new with the original.  I am still amazed by the coverage from one coat of primer.

 There was an uneveness above the heating vent that I can't find any more.
 This is still primer.
 Final coat of paint.  Two coats from a deep blue to white.  AMAZING!!  I did have to go around with a small brush and cover a few spots of blue on the tiles.  15 minutes total. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Spring 2014

Last year the dwarf plum tree in front of the spruce was covered with blossoms, like snow.  That was a record year.  Branches broke under the weight of the plums.  We had enough plums to share and freeze and cook with.  This year is better than most.  Buy, it is not any where near last year's blossoms. 

The two dwarf pear trees are doing well.  Both blossomed this year.  This was completely unexpected because they were planted in 2013. 

The cotton wood tree is gone.  It will be missed.  It was planted ~ 5 years in anticipation of removing the cottonwood tree that was here when we bought the house. It is nice to have a large tree on the West side of the house in the Summer.  Unfortunately, the squirrels figured out how easy it was to strip the bark and once they started this habit they saw no reason to stop.  The construction barrels are a story relayed below this view of verdant loveliness.

Last year's photo from this view was taken the first week of May.  This photo was taken May 17th.  It was a long cold Winter and late Spring.

WE energies has been working on a gas line replacement project since ..... ... .. it seems forever.   The part that concerns us is the portion that ran from 84th street and 124th street along Cleveland Avenue.  Last Summer they closed down the street over the freeway while the bridge was rebuilt.  

The Arthur / Lincoln project met in the center the first week of May.  The location is in front of our mid-century frame house.  What is shown below is after spending a weekend of drop, screech, drag, shake, beep - beep - beep. that went on all night.  There was no construction during the day. 

I began taking photos on the 11th of May.  The last photos from this posting were taken on the 14th or 15th with the exception of the photo above. They are in chronological order.  The only modifying I've done was to crop or lighten the original photo.

An email was sent off to my alderwoman pointing out the noise and shaking of my house late at night.  Her response was not helpful.  

 Hello Nannette: I feel so badly for you people---I know by now how frustrated you must be ---all I can say is, be patient just a little while longer as the end of the project where you are is in sight! This is a WE Energies project and complaints should be directed to them at the number designated in the letter they reportedly sent to all the properties on Cleveland.

 It came to a 'I can't take it any more' moment when pot lids fell to my kitchen floor after 10:00 at night.  My house was being shaken by the jarring of the jack hammer shown below. There are now new cracks in my plaster ceilings.

I got out of bed and called the contact phone number provided by WE energies to use should we have any questions. John Feider.  (414-944-5787)  It went to voice mail.  Isn't this a customer friendly outreach?

John Feider returned the call the next morning.  John informed me he had called our phone (wall phone no longer in service) with no answer and knocked on our door to contact us about the project.  3rd shift worker sleeping.  1st shift workers at work.  Trying does not count when the result is sleep deprivation.

By this time a noun-verb-noun sentence was a struggle.  We were offered a hotel for the balance of the work being done in front of the house.    

Think this through.  We both work early first shifts and we were offered a wonderful opportunity to sleep somewhere with a strange bed, thin walls, people who do not work early first shift coming and going, wake up services that may or may not remember to call, along with the logistics of transporting clothes and meals for the next 20 hours. Since when did I volunteer for any of this as an option.  Add to that the recent WE energies bill that offered assistance paying the high bills caused by the extreme cold of last Winter.  Here's a clue.  We replaced our furnace Thanksgiving weekend.  Our high bills were not caused by additional use.  They were caused by a hike in the natural gas rate.  THE SAME PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERRUPTING MY SLEEP PATTERNS!!! 

 Back to my conversation with John Feder.  The reason his crew is working nights was because the Wisconsin DOT wants to maintain traffic flow as much as possible on highway 100 located 1 block to the east of our house.  
I found the person in charge of the DOT South East Wisconsin road projects and fired off two emails along with photos. Neither email has been responded to.  Wouldn't it be nice if we all had jobs where we could ignore and  patronize people we are inconveniencing?

 There is a robin to the right of the day lilies doing his thing.
 The plum tree planted last Spring located it the middle of this photo survived the Winter and is already providing the cross pollination to the other tree with it's tiny blooms.
 Our house is on a corner with an open 2nd story porch that provided the elevated views of the gas line project.  The views above were looking to the North onto Cleveland Avenue.

The photo immediately below is of 109th street.  This is a residential street that was posted 'No Construction Vehicles' ...... It's printed on the other side of the sign to the right of the skid steer parked on 109th street.
 Once the jack hammer was parked, anything seemed livable.  The photos below show the ballet of the digging CAT shovel removing the broken street and placing it into dump trucks that were lined up in the P&S parking lot like chorus girls waiting to go on stage.

More construction vehicles in the 'No Construction Vehicles' posted area in the two photos below.
 This photo below also shows the ditch transferring from the South to the North side of Cleveland Avenue.  There were buried utilities of one sort or another on the North side of the street in front of our house.

 I am angry enough at this point to be nit picky.  A hose was hooked up to the fire hydrant on the easement and dumped onto our lawn next to a pear tree planted last Spring. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

How I spent my Winter Vacation

Above is a view from our other house in Northern Michigan.  We go there to decompress.  The date is March 16th 2014.  The snow imprints are from a local snowmobile and local deer.  The flat building on the right of the photo is the garage.   

The house is on a hill and the view is to the North into the down town area.  

Below is a view out the kitchen door to the East.  The snow from the roof slid off and collected at the bottom of the porch steps.  Later in the week it was warm enough for the remaining snow to melt and it caused a canyon in the snow bank at the bottom of the steps.
 My personal project for this vacation time was to complete warping the loom I purchased last fall.  The reed is 45" 12 dent.  It was used for rugs, then sold to the woman I bought it from.  She was not able to use it because the size was beyond what her new knees would allow.  This is quite a jump from my table top loom and I have been working on this set up since it was brought up North in pieces in the back of Larry's Escape.

In November it was put together in the other basement room and then it had to be semi-dismantled because it would not fit through the door into this craft room. Before we left that weekend a coat of Danish rubbing oil was applied.

The December visit was all about family and Christmas.  There was no time for the block of time this instrument requires to bring it to life.

I found midpoint between the New Year and Memorial Day.  This was how the most perfect block of time was set up to get this loom up and running.
 My favored method to warp a loom is front to back.  It took 2 days to pull the warp through the reed.  Then I removed the back beam, straddled the edge of the chair, leaned over the towel padded warp reel pegs, pulled the yarns through their assigned heddles and then tied them in bundles of 12 to the bar of the warp wheel.  Eventually the back beam will be replace and the warp will wrap over the back beam to the reel. 

This is where that 7 am Saturday yoga class earned it's purpose in my schedule.
This goal of this project is to try out this loom and to use up the 4 ply re-purposed acrylic yarn from the hand crocheted valances this house came with.  To augment the yarn supply was yarn from resale shops. 

This provided a variety of white to eggshell in color and surprisingly, a range of thickness, even though all was/is 4 ply. 

My weaving room was once the workroom for the house  just off the laundry room.  It took a couple hours with a claw hammer and screwdriver to remove years of workbench pegs and holders, a fresh coat of white paint and a couple coats of marine varnish on the work bench to make it mine. This was done a year ago.

I needed a couple more shuttles and was able to make them up using small round curtain rods, a piece of corrugated cardboard and some designer duct tape.
This is the front of the loom with the warp ready to run through the reed and heddles with the help of a hair pic to loosen the yarn and any kinks that may become knots.

A tug on the warp and moving up of tensioner sticks.  Note the rust on the reed.  This became a problem.

I love the yarn lined up perfectly as above.

I also love the organized tumbling of the loosely chained warp falling from the front beam.

The next step was to tie up the ends to the front warp beam.  3 locations were used, much like attaching lug nuts to a car wheel. In this case, the two ends and a center point.   I added a few bundles to each area then rotated to the next area.  Duct tape was used to hold the end bundles onto the dowel.

The warp was tightened and the treadles were set up for a 4 harness 'u' weaving that will result in a tabby weave.  It will open to twice the size of the reed.  The result will be a woven blanket to fit a king sized bed.  45 + 45 = 90" - 10% for take up = 81" total.

I'm not completely sure this is the right treadle set up for the result I am trying to achieve.  One treadle is not being used and I ran out of bolts to keep it in line.  For now it is laying on the floor.

Back and front of loom ready to weave.

Now for the surprise.  The 4 ply yarn easily pulled through the reed.  Take '400+' 4 ply knitting yarn warps on a reed and add the tension of each.  It took multiple pulls to bring the reed to the front beam and multiple pulls to push the reed back to the heddles.

I called my girlfriend Clara for the phone number FiberWood Studio in Milwaukee [414-302-1849] to see if I could procure a larger dent reed.  This should allow the yarn to easily pull through the reed.  Larry was going to join me the next day and if she had the 45" # 10 dent he would be able to pick it up for me and bring it with him.  FiberWood Studio had a 12 dent, but the larger 10 dent would have to be ordered. 

Weaving will have to wait for another trip.

I rotated the loom and placed it against the wall until my return.

Extra yarn was purchased at local re-sale shops in 4 ply acrylic.  Some of it was re-purposed from an earlier project and over stretched when wound onto a ball.  Some of it was dusty from storage.  I rewound the yarn into hanks and washed it in HOT SOAPY water on delicate to remove dust and loosen the yarn.  It was hung to dry on the warping board.  Better go through this extra step now, than have it shrink with the first wash once it is woven.

I find it visually more appealing than 1970s paneling.