Relay for Life

Today is the Southern Montgomery County Relay for Life, a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Because of the flooring installation, I’ll probably end up making a trip or two between the event and my house, but I’ll probably be one of the die-hards on the overnight. (I usually am. Besides, what else would I do at night? Sleep? Hah!)
A huge thank you to everyone who’s signed up to sponsor me. The list so far is:

  • Matt
  • Michele
  • Bill & Tara
  • Tom & Karen
  • Marlene
  • John
  • Sue P
  • Lisa
  • Joe
  • Mom & Dad

My donations are down from last year, but there’s still time to sign up to be a sponsor. Just visit my donation site at:
(And if you do choose to sponsor me, please consider adding a few extra pennies to your donation amount. In part because, as they say, “Every little bit helps.” But mainly because round numbers are boring.)
Thanks in advance!

Installation — Day 2

Last night was fairly uneventful. Seeing as how the upstairs wasn’t really ready for use, I “camped” in the living room, taking the sheets and blanket from my bed and stretching out on a foam pad I’ve used for camping. The work crew showed up around 8:30; today there were four or five of them, so the work might get finished today after all.
New on the glitch list, there are two lights in the basement that won’t come on. For the one I could get to, the bulb tested fine and none of the breakers were popped. I’ll have to do some poking around in the basement ceiling when there aren’t new nails coming through every few seconds and see if maybe something got cut. (Note: Dry wood, such as the stuff a house is built with, is a pretty good insulator. It’s fairly believable that an ungrounded piece of metal could cut an electric wire without anyone getting shocked, starting a fire, etc. Considering the subfloor is just a sheet of plywood, I’ll bet this sort of thing happens all the time.)

Installation — Day 1

The good news is that the floors are absolutely gorgeous; even better than I’d hoped. The bad news is that the lead installer told me he plans to finish on Saturday, but so far they’re less than half-way done. The upstairs hallway and the two front bedrooms have their floors complete except for the closets and the moulding around the edges.
The master bedroom has only half of its floor done and my bed is scattered between three rooms on two levels. The bed doesn’t matter all that much, I’ve taken several naps this week while stretched out on the living room floor. At this point, I’m so tired that sleeping on the living room floor should be a piece of cake.
But wow do the floors look good.

The Big Day

I’ve been looking forward to today for a while now. I hardly slept last night, even less than usual.
All the furniture is moved, all the bric-a-brac has been moved too. (I now understand why Dave has become such a fan of streamlining. Good Lord, I have a lot of crap!)
When I get home from work this evening, the first of the floors should be in place.

The Cheap Route to Mars

Tuesday’s Washington Post had an article about the Phoenix lander (and I really do hope it’s meant as a reference to the mythological creature and not a revelation that they’re exploring Arizona) which includes a photo inset showing a soil indentation from the lander’s arrival. Under the picture, there’s a note which among other things points out that it cost $420 million to send the probe a distance of 422 million miles.
At first, $420 million sounds like a lot of money, and in absolute terms, it is. But looking at it from another perspective, that’s less a dollar per mile. That’s significantly cheaper than taking a cab.

Have Paint Brush, No Time to Travel

After about three weeks of prep work and two days of washing walls and emptying closets, I’ve officially started painting. There’s blue tape everywhere!!!! (Look for photos in a week or so.) This evening I got two-thirds of the living room painted. With luck those walls will dry before any dogs or parrots make contact with them.
The floors are scheduled to be installed later this week and I already have this unfortunate mental image of Wylie sliding across the living room and putting his head through the drywall…

Spacing Out

My house has about 900 square feet of floor space. (And an undoubtedly similar amount of ceiling.)
The living room, dining room and upstairs hallway have about 880 square feet of wall space.
Likewise, the three bedrooms have a combined wall space of approximately 896 square feet.
By comparison, the kitchen has a relatively paltry 168 square feet of wall space (not counting the space occupied by cabinetry).
This gives me a combined total of nearly 2000 square feet of wall space versus only 900 of floor space.
Those of you who use numerology for things such as predicting baseball playoffs may find some significance to these numbers. For myself, what’s clear is that even though they’re all approximations, if I could somehow figure out a way to walk on the walls, I’d have a lot more room to move around.

Lift With Your Knees

When the flooring was delivered on Thursday, it was carried from the van to my living room by two men; both of whom are probably in better shape than I’ve ever been. When they asked where to put it, I went for the easy solution and told them to put it against the wall, over by the window.
Shortly after they left, I realized that having the wood against the wall was going to interfere with my plans to wash and paint the walls. So I decided to move it.
Due to some unexpected circumstances, about the only thing I accomplished on Thursday was to move the TV to the basement. (Someone suggested that when it comes time to move things back, I should think carefully about whether I really want to keep some of the stuff. I’ve only switched the TV on once in 2008; clearly I have some thinking to do.) Friday, I already knew I was going out and wouldn’t get much done at home.
So today I moved the flooring materials into the middle of the room. A box containing 24 square feet of oak flooring has an appreciable mass, but it’s easy enough to move it five feet away from the window.
Moving 40 such boxes requires a bit of caution. (Hint: Bend your knees, not your back.)