Sermon Notes

Working and Coping

Since about mid-march, I’ve been working from home. There’re some pros and cons, I’ve found, associated with the arrangement. To the good it’s easy to get to the gym every morning, workout, get back to the house and ready for work on time. I’ve been doing gym workouts six or seven days a week since the gym reopened several months ago. Lunchtime bike rides are easy to manage, but usually less than four miles.

My reason for buying that grandmotherly green 2008 Prius has been mooted. I don’t have to drive anywhere, much. Still, the car’s cheap to operate and pleasant if not very interesting to drive.

Working from home becomes a grind. Very little variety relative to daily experience gets old. Going to the gym every day gets old. Riding around Burnt Down Plantation Estates gets old. Wearing a Dickie’s T-shirt, cargo shorts and Keen sandals with socks every day gets old. I have no reason to wear anything else and it would feel stupid to dress differently to stay home.

We’ve still got stuff in boxes in the spare bedroom, sunroom and garage from my mom’s estate. The clutter is annoying and renders whole portions of the house nonfunctional. We’ve rearranged things in the house to incorporate some of Mom’s furniture into our living space. Before Mom died, we’d planned to have some remodeling done, and clearing space for that’s been stuck at the partway mark for months.

Sermon Notes

While clearing out the computer hutch that’s now become Caution-Lady’s craft hutch in the spare bedroom, I found a stack of about six or seven outlines I’d written for a series of sermons I preached a few years ago.

UpdateI found the notes and they are mostly related to my series on Nahum. One’s for a sermon on Psalm 148 – it’s a Christmas message. And there’re a couple of pages of scrawled thoughts about similarities between Jesus and Jonah. Another’s a page of notes for a sermon on the nature of reality that I think’s already posted here.

This is not Hell

I think they’re from a too lengthy series on Jonah, then addressing Nahum because you can’t make sense Nahum without Jonah. All of that was to necessary to understand that Paul’s ministry is that Jonah in reverse. And here lately I think I’ve begun to understand that part of what was wrong with Jonah or Jonah’s “bad” is that he wanted the ministry of Christ – wanted to usurp the role of the Messiah.

If you pay attention while reading the Gospels or if you just read them through times enough to notice – Christ makes mention of Jonah repeatedly and also lives out some of the events of Jonah’s life. For instance, falling asleep in the boat while a storm threatens to overwhelm it and the crew, afraid, awakens Jesus and demands he does something to make it stop. Elvis Costello reckons Heaven is Hell in reverse, but he was mistaken. Theological patterns don’t always occur in binary symmetry.

I’ll see if I can get the notes scanned and posted here this weekend.

Better Motivation, Thanksgiving, Living an Ordinary Life in an Ordinary Way.


For about the past three or four weeks, on weekends, I’ve been consistently getting up around 4:00 am and either riding my bike or driving to the gym Saturdays and Sundays.  Been a little hit or miss before that.  No idea why I’ve had better motivation recently than formerly.  My doctor told me about a year ago I should concentrate on strengthening my back and rotator-cuffs to alleviate bilateral shoulder pain he attributed, in part, to having overdeveloped my pectorals.  But to look at me, you wouldn’t think so.   Still, I’ve complied with his advice and my posture has improved as well as, a little bit, that shoulder pain.

My workouts have lasted about an hour and a half, and I incorporate legs and abs, some tricep and chest, with my primary lat, back, and bicep work.  Am I a glorious specimen of beautiful middle-aged masculinity?  Not so much, although I feel better – it’s good to feel strong.   I’m gaining weight, but my clothes still fit, so some of that must be muscle.


This was our year to spend Thanksgiving with my wife’s family but we stayed home for the holiday because of my work schedule.  We spent a really pleasant day with my family, instead.  Friday, my wife finished decorating the house for Christmas and my son and I went for a bike ride around the neighborhoods.  We stopped by and visited my godparents and then rode home when the boy looked like he was about to fall asleep.  He’s not ridden much over the past couple of months, so he had a hard time riding back up hill.


By some miracle or fluke of predestination and providence, I turned out not to be a complete monster.  I’ve written in this space, at some time or other, that for me or someone like me, the great adventure is to live the ordinary life in an ordinary way.  You can probably not grasp how unimaginable an outcome that seemed for me when I was young or how much joy it brings me now.  It’s what I’m daily most thankful for – my wife, son, our health, meaningful work for both my wife and myself, a modest house in a modest neighborhood, self-directed recreational activities like cycling, paddling, strength training, reading, a small and extremely Calvinistic congregation where we are accepted and maybe for the most part liked and to which we contribute by participation, prayers, offerings.  Also my extended family – much more important to me now in middle age than it seemed when I was a young man.

I have a lot to be grateful for and I hope you do, too.

This Week’s Miscellany

Plantar Fasciitis

In November of last year I took the Miyata 610 for a 17-or-so-mile ride through Stepford’s light industrial area and after that my foot hurt when I walked without shoes in the house.  I thought I’d developed a stress fracture having pedaled wearing soft-soled running shoes instead of a pair of cycling shoes with stiff soles.  I tried staying off the bike for several weeks, tried icing the foot, tried acetaminophen and ibuprofen, but nothing worked.  Finally, I got back on the bike and tried to make sure I used my cycling shoes with the Miyata (less necessary with the Razesa because it’s got the MKS Lambda pedals that distribute force/weight more evenly).

Got an official diagnosis of plantar fasciitis last week from the podiatrist at Pixilie.  The doctor was training a new assistant so did a lot of talking while taking X-rays (cool digital USB stand-on device) and while taping my foot.  He described having been taught to perform a low Dye strapping of the arch by an old doctor who, when young, had been taught by Dr. Dye who was then an old man.  I found the measure really effective for the short term, but taping comes loose after bathing.  Additionally, I was given a night splint and gel heel cups for my shoes, and the doctor suggested stretching exercises.  X-ray images clearly show that I’ve developed a small bone spur at the heel.  The following morning, after having slept in the awkward splint, I found foot pain greatly reduced.  Continued use of it and heel cups after a few days seems to have effected some positive change; I should more regularly perform the exercises suggested, however.


Kirby Sentria Vacuum-Cleaner

The Panasonic upright Caution-Lady bought a few years ago finally broke for the last time – the all-plastic housing into which the roller brackets attached at either end cracked and a piece broke off causing the roller to turn lopsidedly and burn through belts within five or ten minutes.  Last time it broke, it took the local vacuum store (from which we originally purchased the unit) weeks to fix it, they said, because a part was on backorder.  Cost about half as much as the vacuum cost new, if memory serves.  For awhile, we’ve been using the 1984 model Electrolux Silverado DeLuxe canister vac we inherited from Caution-Lady’s grandparents.  The Electrolux has all the original attachments and came with a box full of new bags; it works perfectly, but the long hose, extension tubes with attachments can be difficult to manage.  Also, the plug pulls out of the wall too often when pulling the canister behind while vacuuming.  Nevertheless, it cleans pretty well.

Kirby Model Time-Wave

Because Cautious One again wanted to get an upright vacuum-cleaner and I remember the 1950’s model I bought from the guys at San Pedro Vacuum on Seventh Street below Mesa in about 1992, I started looking for one on Amazon and Craigslist.  The machine worked fabulously and I took it with me to Portland and to Louisville, but left it in Louisville when I moved to Stepford.  It had all the attachments, including grinding wheel and sander; I was a stupid-head to have left it in Louisville (see the model above dated 1956 with the distinctive red trim).  An Amazon seller in Wisconsin was offering the Kirby Ultimate Diamond edition refurbished for $298 and I came pretty close to buying it, but couldn’t find a telephone number for the company on the web to talk to the seller and ascertain what they mean by “refurbished.”  I Craigslist-searched various combinations of terms – Kirby vacuum, Kirby Sentria, Sentria, Kirby sentra (because a lot those people who use Craigslist are lazy spellers), and found several later model units with attachments.  A family over in Pixilie had a Sentria (see the model listed at 2006 on the Kirby model time-wave, above) for $400.    Below is a picture sent by the seller:


I bought the unit for $280, took it home, cleaned the roller, changed the belt (the seller included four new), changed the bag (seller included one extra), cleaned up the fan, and put it to work.  We haven’t shampooed the carpet, yet, but if that attachment/function works as well as the basic vacuum and hose attachments, the marker stains (Seventy-Six) and coffee stains (me) in the den will be history.

Edz Wingz


Friday, I worked in Fayetteville, Tennessee, and had lunch at Edz Wings where, perennially trying to lose five fricking pounds, I opted for a brisket cobb salad instead of the burger, fried green beans, and dessert I wanted.  If you’re ever in Fayetteville, Tuesday through Saturday, during working hours and fail to eat at Edz, you’re making a terrible mistake.  Ed’s the rocket-scientist of smoked meat and sauces; his knowledge regarding same is encyclopedic and his conversation about his work is educational.  Ed also has strong political opinions and his musical tastes seem to run to Blues.

Impromptu Saturday Bike Ride

I don’t like team sports, don’t think they have much value, but most kids seem to like playing them.  My son’s organized sports activities – practices and games – have taken a bite out of my free time for cycling, kayaking, yardwork, etc.  Here lately, I haven’t had time to ride like I want to, but yesterday I took off for about an hour before supper and rode to another place where the paved road ends stopping only at a relatively deep puddle.  If it’d been earlier in the day, I might have gone on even though I don’t think Continental Gatorskin tires are best for cyclocross riding.  The Razesa did fine on dirt and some mud, though, and I didn’t feel like I would have been better off on a mountain bike.


Three Stepford Saturdays

I started writing this post a couple of days ago.

Today 5/27/11


This morning I got up early and mowed the one strip of lawn I wasn’t able to get last night before dark, the strip that runs the length of my driveway beside my next door neighbor’s house.  Then I raked the sticks on the patio and in the driveway that’ve been there since last week’s storm.  Put the sticks and debris at the curb by the mailbox, then got the leafblower and cleaned up everything else.  I mowed yesterday evening because my wife had found a tick on our son’s hand and I figured mowing the grass down from six to three-and-a-half inches would help disrupt arachnid and insect life-cycles.  I finished out there by about 8:30 pm and it was dark, then.  The John Deere 235E’s headlights are functional, and the mowing I’d done last night looked respectable in this morning’s sunlight.

The plan had originally been to spend the day paddling the RZ96 with my friend Daryl, but he hurt his back on the job last week.  Although it is pretty fast and unreal stable, the RZ96’s back”rests” are so so poorly designed that prolonged use would probably result in spondylolysis or similar disabling condition.  I recommended that Daryl take care of his back.

I’ve mentioned it so much on Facebook that I’ve forgotten I haven’t written anything about it here – starlings have infested the enclosed eaves/soffits above the window in the den where I sit as I write this.  I hate the damned birds, and I have done more than, by intensity of thought and speech consigned them to eternal torment.  I have destroyed the nest two or three times, hosed the nest out four or five times with a power-nozzle, liberally sprinkled their nest with moth crystals, times I’ve lost count of sprayed the nest with bird-repellant.  None of that has done more than to provoke angry shrieks.  Each time, the filthy winged histoplasmotic beasts have returned.  The day I had planned to give them minute-rice to eat, it rained.


Determined at last to kill the birds, I ordered a paintball gun with sniper rifle modifications:  18” rifled barrel; scope; offset scope mount; adjustable carbine-style stock; remote-line; Guerilla Air Myth 48/3000 HPA tank, and 500 .68 caliber clear mess-free paintballs (which are on backorder will not ship until maybe Tuesday 31 May); three-point tactical sling (how does it attach at the barrel?  Dunno), and largely decorative muzzle brake that does provide an attachment point for the sling.  Took the seller,, a while to get the order together (drop-shipped from a manufacturer or other source) because the "Flexi-Air” system I ordered was not available to fit the current iteration of the Tippmann 98 Custom Platinum (which is why I wound up getting the Guerrilla Air tank and remote line; CPBG has removed the package I ordered from its site), but the company’s owner, Dan, didn’t know that when I placed the order. 

When my order finally arrived, I was unable to get the local specialty gas/welding supply house to charge the Guerrilla Air tank because their fill apparatus does not connect to the tank’s 1/8” NPT Quik Connector fill nipple (we checked the Swagelok catalogue gas building’s office and their product wouldn’t work with the GA nipple).  Tech-support at wasn’t very helpful.  To the good, once I obtain the adapter, the welding supply company will be able to charge the tank with nitrogen at 3000 psi.  I’ve ordered an adapter from and I’ll let you know whether it works.All of these trifling small hassles, including the fact that my T98 shipped without a hopper, have been a real pain in the arse vis-à-vis my war with the starlings.  

As soon as I informed Dan at ChoicePaintballGuns he sent one out USPS Priority Mail.  The less expensive paintball hoppers are roughly kidney-shaped and look like those plastic bottles you have to urinate into if you’re bedridden in hospital.  The one delivered this afternoon has a lid that pops open when the marker (what the paintball cognoscenti call their guns) is fired, and pops open from the weight of the paintballs when the gun’s aimed at birds in the air.  The more expensive hoppers resemble bicycle helmets.  All of them mar any sort of “mil-sim” realism to the paintgun’s appearance.  I’d almost prefer a 15 round, inline tube sticking out the top right-side’s feed port for simplicity and target shooting.  Another type of feeder called the Q-Loader looks like an interesting solution, but expensive.

A final word about – really easy to deal with and extremely helpful.  A Better Business Bureau A+ rated company, and the guy answering the phone, who’s also the owner, even laughed at a couple of my jokes.

I remember many years ago (20? Has it been that long?) when I lived at San Pedro, California, across the street from a bar called The Spot, my neighbors, brothers whose names will not appear in this blog, and I used my plastic paintball pistol to snipe at cars driving by through their living-room’s slit window that faced the intersection at 22nd Street and Pacific Avenue.  The gun used one of those little CO2 cartridges of the sort used to power drinks spritzers and held 10 maraschino-cherry-like paintballs in a tube above the barrel.  We never got caught, although we had a couple of close calls with angry motorists who objected to the sensation of something striking their vehicles, as well as to the red smears left by broken paintballs.


Paintball guns appear to have evolved a great deal since the early 1990s, but a rifle scope remains a nonfunctional accessory.  My neighbor Jeff, ex USMC, rifle-team, combat veteran and generally smart, capable guy was happy to help me this morning with the chore of sighting-in the scope.  After an hour and a half, we were still much more accurate sighting down the barrel.  We tried the offset mounting option, then monkeyed with the sight mounted along the top-rail.  No joy.  Jeff said, “There doesn’t seem to be enough ‘up’ to this (scope)” in order to make the necessary vertical adjustment.  Shooting at the target, most of our shots hit way low and to the right.


It was clear to me that I probably should have ordered a red/green-dot sight instead of the rubber-armored rifle scope.  The Tippmann 98’s front sight is slightly spring-loaded, small blivit that does not have enough profile for the shooter to line it up with the rear sight.  Jeff and I both shot better sighting down the barrel than using the scope’s crosshairs.

My son came out to observe while Jeff and I (mostly Jeff) were working on the scope.  Later on he came out again while I was shooting at cans and wanted to load paintballs for me.  He also likes playing with the paintballs – tactile pleasure of little marble-like things.  He found the noise of the airgun unpleasant and complained by covering his ears with his hands.  Once or twice he wanted to pull the trigger, but almost immediately changed his mind.

We turned the velocity all the way up.  It’s not like I plan to do much with this gun besides potting at birds and plinking at cans and milk cartons in the backyard.  To that end, after Jeff figured he’d done all he could do to make the T98 serviceable and had gone to visit our other neighbors who were seated near their fishpond, I set up targets.  Two cans and a milk carton out of the house on sticks at the base of a tree like like the severed heads of ancestral enemies displayed made more interesting targets lower to the ground.  Birds make good targets when they’re on the ground, too, but none obliged me this morning.


Because I never was able to get Guerrilla Air tank filled, I bought a couple of cheap CO2 canisters at Wal-Mart and got them filled at Race Connection for six bucks total.  I wasn’t expecting to get many shots out of the tanks, but by the time I was done for the day, I’d fired about 200 shots with one bottle and it still had some left when I put it away.  The orange paint smears hosed off the shed and the tree.  According to the product literature on the box, the paintballs I used have something called Eco-Fill that does not stain clothing or structures and biodegrades easily.  Certainly, I was favorably impressed by the ease with which I was able to clean up the orange smears.

I didn’t kill or harass the starlings today.  One day during the week I found a few minutes to get the ladder out and get up to the nest thinking I would again destroy it or soak it down a harsh-smelling bird repellant, and then stuff some steel wool into the birds’ access gap, but when I got up there I saw about five hatchlings squeaking for worms or whatever it is their parents feed them.  I climbed back down, put the ladder and steel wool away without harming the birds or destroying their nest.  I am told that within six weeks they will take wing and not return to the nest, so I’ll clean it out and stop the hole then.

Last Saturday 5/21/11

Two or three weeks ago while I was out in the back yard playing with Seventy-Six we went over and said “Hello” to our neighbor Deanna, she is Jeff’s wife, and was just then looking after her two young granddaughters, one of whom is a little older and the other a little younger than my son.  He enjoyed playing with them, and Deanna asked me if I had any plans for Saturday morning 21 May.  No, not really, what’s happening then?  Deanna said she and her husband had a couple of tickets for the annual Kiwanis Club Prayer Breakfast at Stepford’s First Big Arminian Church, and would I like to have them.  Sure, I’d be happy to have them.


I invited my friend and congregation’s pastor to attend with me.  We don’t get to hang out much, and he’s a guy who’s much smarter than I am theologically (and maybe full-stop) and whose company I enjoy.  In my very limited experience with things culturally Christian, a prayer breakfast is usually a pancake festival with second helpings encouraged and an early morning, come as you are, more-manly-than-usual church activity.  I wore my favorite T-shirt, a pair of khaki cargo shorts, and those New Balance trail runners.  Upon arrival, I quickly discovered that I was underdressed for the occasion; Theodore, with a wider experience of North American Christian subcultural mores, was appropriately attired for the occasion.  A large number of men present wore suits.

Because I ‘d read again, and while the guy’s lack of insight or depth of character is glaring his comedic prose made me laugh out loud two or three times, the three chapters in Matt Taibbi’s The Great Derangement dealing with his infiltration of blowhard John Hagee’s Texas mega-“church”, I brought my copy along for Theodore’s amusement.  He, in turn, loaned me his copy of Kevin Roose’s The Unlikely Disciple.  Maybe more about Roose’s book another time.


I saw one of my neighbors, a local industrialist I like and respect (he’s not from around here), and a retired colleague I was pleased to see.  Theodore saw a couple of his former parishioners from his time a First Big Southern Church of Rural County Seat one county over.  The meal was a one-serving affair of eggs, ham or bacon (I opted for bacon and was given one slice so I asked for ham, instead, and didn’t have to give my bacon slice back), a side I don’t remember, orange-juice and coffee.

The 21st was also the date Harold Camping had scheduled for the return of Christ to take his people out of the world (or Rapture them) prior to the Great Tribulation.  And I wanted to see whether the Arminians had gotten worked up over this much publicized event.  At their most extreme, Arminians believe they are constantly in peril of losing their salvation and their holiness.  Their theological workaround is to narrowly define sin as “a willful transgression against a known law of God.”  Sort of like the common law definition of burglary is, if memory serves, "a trespassory breaking and entering into a dwelling in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony therein.”  All the elements must be present for the act or omission to act to meet the definition of sin.  Anything less falls under the category of “mistake.”  I can think of no better reason for the average Arminian to avoid Bible reading, because that’s probably a good way to get know the laws of God, in addition to a bunch of other God-related information.  A lot of “end-times” misinformation can be found in garage-sale discards penned by Hal Lindsey, a Joe Stalin lookalike who popularized the Dispensationalist idea of pre-millennial eschaton (have I spelled that correctly?).

The occasion, it turns out, was an Armed Forces Day prayer breakfast. A presentation was made to the chapter’s chosen Layperson of The Year – a retired banker with whom I am slightly acquainted. A young woman of angelic voice played piano and sang three songs, one of which I recall that my wife’s sister sang at our wedding.  The event’s main speaker was a Nashville TV news weatherman (I don’t think he’s actually a meteorologist).  His talk was a biographical tale of determination and somewhat generic faith that referred to values all in a way that could have been well received by Moslems, Zoroastrians, Mooney’s, Christians, Jews, and perhaps even Taoists.  The weatherman did make a little joke about Harold Camping’s prediction, and none of those present looked at all worried about Camping’s forecast.

At the time I found myself thinking about the practice of civil religion in America and how my life rarely intersects with it.  Also thinking about the “church”-system as what passes for church in North America and about how much money it takes to keep it all going – not just the dyed-in-the-wool thieving televangelists, but also the widely accepted as legitimate mainstream or niche-market/boutique Evangelical church-building set.

Overall, I had a pleasant experience at the prayer breakfast, but I’m glad I was there with a friend who was able to assure me that no, it wasn’t all in my head.  Winsome people doing good things in a pleasant environment as they have been doing for a couple of generations.  But I don’t think it can last and I’m a little sad about that.

The Saturday Before That 5/14/11

I’m not scared of black cats, dates and days, ladders, shadows, or similar frightful things, so I wasn’t afraid to drive like the hammers of mythical Hades toward home over a slightly winding highway at the end of my working day week.  I wasn’t afraid when the car didn’t handle the curves as well as it did just the day before, and thought, “Probably needs shocks.  I’d like to get some heavier sway bars, maybe a strut-tower brace.”  Back at the house, the front right tire looked a little low and I thought it was time I checked the air pressure in all four.  But I went into the house, ate dinner, and forgot about it.

In the morning when I went out to pick up sticks from the yard before mowing, I saw the tire was close to flat and filled it.  Then I drove to the Pot County seat where I knew I’d find a tire store open Saturday.  I had to wait a couple of hours before the service guys repaired the leak.  Instead of sitting around in the waiting room, I walked across the parking lot to look at the Little Waterfowl River that runs beside the store.  No good way to get down the steep muddy hill for a closer look, I walked along the highway in front of the store, past a shack/trailer-like red painted barbecue stand (closed at that hour), and walked up the road to the right thinking maybe I’d find easier access to the river.  I didn’t, but I kept walking along the road as it curved uphill into fairly nice-seeming neighborhood I’d never seen before and would’ve never guessed was there. 

Where the road curved back down the hill to the highway again, I met a man and a woman walking.  The man wore a complicated brace arrangement that involved chest, one arm, and his head.  I said Good Morning to them and they greeted me.  A little farther along and houses looked smaller and less impressively built and well maintained.  I saw a woman sweeping a front porch, little more than a stoop.  Four or five mostly black puppies ran toward me barking, wagging tails, looking happy.  The woman called to them and they went to her.  She apologized for them and I told her it wasn’t necessary.

Back at the tire store, I did finally have a cup of their bad coffee, looked at a couple of issues of Field & Stream, and watched the final fifteen minutes of a John Wayne movie – a Western filmed toward the end of his career, I don’t remember what it’s called.  When tire was patched I paid for the repair and drove home.

Leaf Blower Yardwork

 Leaf-BlowerLeaves Again

It’s early Tuesday afternoon, the 12th day of October, 2010.  I have a headache and have had, except while sleeping, since yesterday evening.  I’ve spent four, four and a half hours, total, using my new Stihl BR 380 D leaf-blower to  clean up the thousands of leaves that’ve fallen in my yard over the past three weeks.  Yesterday, I failed to use hearing protection, but this morning I did not again make that mistake.  I wore ear protection that dulls the report of a garden variety assault-rifle, and found it sufficient to render bearable the Stihl’s loud engine.

I wish I had one hundred dollars for every leaf that falls in my yard every year.  Later on I may post a photo I snapped showing the leaves piled at the curb.  To look at the yard right now, however, you wouldn’t know I’d done a thing if it were not for the evidence of the leaves piled at the curb.

I should have bought the thing on wheels that looks like a large box-fan that is supposed to be useful in blowing large masses of leaves in one direction as it is moved by the operator back and forth across the lawn on its wheels. 

In spite of the headache and sense of failed effort vis-a-vis the leaves in my yard, I wrote this weblog entry.




Cussword Freaking Rain

UPDATE: Cussword Freaking Rain is interfering with my plans for the day.

Today I’m taking another run at the Pionier 450-S keelstrip project.  Remember last time I found that the floor of my garage wasn’t clean-room appropriate for the application of toluene to the approximately 13′ strip’s underside.  In a “D’oh!” moment last week, it occurred to me that I could clean it and keep it clean if I put it upside-down on the hull of the inverted Pionier over sawhorses making a semi-clean work surface under a tree in the driveway.


Pionier 450 S inverted on sawhorses in my workshop

I know that Mark’s instructions for keelstrips call for perfection, but I’ve never been able to manage perfection in the realm of DIY projects.  Historically, I’ve had a hard time figuring out how quarter-round needs to be cut to fit in to and around corners.  That stuff’s baffling.

Because it’s essentially a 2.5″ x 13′ ribbon of synthetic rubber and fabric, the hypalon keelstrip ribboned off the boat’s hull at one point, and I cussed asking God to judge the matter and send it to the hottest place as I caught it in loops and kept it, mostly, off the ground.  That happened as I was rolling the strip with the clean-side out, per instructions, before putting it in it’s bag to stay clean until called for.

I tried to use one of my razors to debride the worn places along the keel, but that didn’t work.  It tended instead to fuzz the edges out somewhat.  So I’ll just have to slop on the glue and stick the strip down extra hard hoping for a good bond.  I will have to measure again, mark, sand, clean, and mask the hull along the keel before painting on the neoprene cement.  The chemical fumes may get me in touch with my left brain and result in better work.  I can at least hope so.

Other goals for the day include a long walk, other fitness activities, cleaning out the little “frog-shaped” pool in the yard Seventy-Six has been using to splash in, assembling the E-68, and washing the 850.  Tomorrow I think I’d like to paddle and mow the lawn.



As the rain began to fall in the morning, Seventy-Six and I ran around in the yard kicking the basketball

The rains stopped two or three hours ago, and I was able to get the hull re-marked, wiped down with toluene, taped, and have applied the first coat of neoprene cement.  Humidity’s relatively high, but this is the day and place I have to work with, so I will hope for the best.  Thanks to the chemical fumes, the gnomes in my noggin are feeling pretty active and have found their hammers.  In hoping for the best, I am hoping the left brain gnomes make contact with the right brain gnomes and some sort of equilibrium ensues thereafter.


Hull is taped prior to application of neoprene cement

Rubber Cement

Neoprene Cement

LATER: When I removed the masking tape from the hull, some of the glue pulled off, too.  At the bow I noticed it first, and brushed on more neoprene cement, let it dry, then began at the stern to gingerly remove the rest of the tape.  Got most of it removed without too much trouble.  I tried to follow Mark’s printed instructions for applying the strip to the glue (although I never did remove the hull’s endcaps and bumpers).  I used a wooden spoon as a “hard object” to press firmly down on the keelstrip as directed to smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles.

Cement Problems

Results of masking tape removal

Glue Strip

By the time I had got about two feet of keelstrip down on the hull, I was aware of problems with the strip sticking on the side of the boat furthest from me.  The edges didn’t seem to be staying down “right.”  I completed the process anyway, and then went back over the entire length of the keelstrip with the wooden spoon to see if that would correct the problem.  In some spots it did.

At the places where the edge was not stuck down, I brushed in a little more of the cement, then used the spoon to press the strip down and smooth it out.  That seemed to work.  I’ll know for sure in a couple of days after the application has had a chance to “cure.”  If it doesn’t work, I can always paddle the kayak until the hull wears through and then order a new one from Wayland.

Another Pleasant Stepford Saturday

I’ve said it before, here or elsewhere, for someone like me the great adventure is living the ordinary life in an ordinary way.

Yep, I’m adjusting all too easily to life in this established neighborhood not too far from the country club.  This morning I slept late.  Ate buttermilk pancakes made with wheat flour for breakfast.  Drove to the store and bought PVC adhesive, bug spray, ant traps (for the mower-shed), 2-cycle oil for the leaf-blower and line-trimmer fuel, a small yellow bucket and a small yellow sponge for Seventy-Six to help out with car-washing.  I drove to the gas station and bought gas for the mower and other equipment, then home where to pick up sticks, run the line-trimmer, mow the lawn, and clean up after an early lunch (sandwich) with Caution-Lady and Seventy-Six who’d returned from the store.

Seventy-Six has been potty-training this past week with mixed results.  He has not been enjoying the experience.

This bloom looks like it has been open a while

This bloom looked to me like a crown

The magnolia tree out front has two blooms; I photographed them.  While mowing the front lawn, Caution-Lady brought Seventy-Six outside, and I gave him a mower-ride around the house, then she let him play with his new pedal scooter.  Did I mention that a couple of weeks ago Caution-Lady backed over the little push-bike toy he got for Christmas?  He was getting to big for it, but he really liked that toy.  She thought at first it was my fault (and telephoned to scold me about it as I drove to work in Murfreesboro) but later realized she was the one who’d put the toy away last.  The new toy is a real hit, too, and Seventy-Six is big enough to work the pedals.

I finished the back yard and cleaned up while Seventy-Six napped, then washed Whitecar, the cautious one’s ’93 940T.  We’ve had the car for eight years.  I’m guessing it’s been at least one year since I washed that car by hand, although we’ve run it through automated car-washes a couple of times.  Since the car stays in the garage when not being driven, it doesn’t get too dirty.  But it was freaking filthy when we got it back from the mechanic’s shop where it’d been parked outside under trees for a couple of nights last week when there for service.  We’re planning to sell the car pretty soon, as soon as we locate a reasonably priced and mechanically sound XC70 with which to replace it.

I did something I’ve never done before.  I washed the garden tractor like I would a car.  I sliced the fire out of one of my fingers as I was using a sponge to scrub the frame under the hood.  The blood, which quickly overflowed a tight band-aid, I thought might take a stitch or two to stop would have stained the dirty wash sponge if I hadn’t rinsed it out.  After I finished washing and dried the mower, some tightly taped gauze finally got the bleeding stopped.

Shade-tree hull repair

Masking tape makes even the most inexpert repairs look workmanlike while in progress

Another snack, and by that time Seventy-Six had awakened from his nap.  I took him outside and he played with his new scooter, and I repaired the RZ96 hull using genuine German parts.  Hope the hull stays patched. LATER: Here’s an excellent thread on the subject of gluing to repair PVC hulls.  Wish I’d seen it first, but I should have had the sense to do a simple Internet search for: gluing pvc hull.

I showed the little boy his new bucket and sponge and predictably, although I was surprised, he insisted on using them on something to “clean-up Now.”  I asked him whether he wanted to wash his own car, and put about a quart of water in the bucket.  I let him sponge some water on Thursday, too.  Maybe I’ll get that one washed tomorrow.

Later, we watered the plants together using city water, but when the little monkey chose to rebel against my command to desist from jumping in one particularly muddy puddle near the front steps, I took him in to the house and gave him back to his mother for awhile.  She gave him a couple of crackers and a cup of water.

Late April – Early May

Over the past three weeks I’ve been busier with deadlines than at any time in the past several years.  Usually so even-tempered that small furry animals seek me out to renew their spirits in the environs illumined by my radiant glow, I have lately been cranky and difficult to live with.  Lucky, then, for Caution-Lady and Seventy-Six that I was only rarely home in the evenings before eight o’clock.  I also spent most Saturdays and Sundays away from the house engaged in related activities.

On the Saturday the Nashville area flooded, I worked at Stepford, but the weekend before that, at Shovel.  Stormed that weekend, too.  I snapped some pictures on the way home:

End-of-the-Line Walking-Horse-&-EasternHome-in-the-StormHere are some photos from the Saturday before last:

Front-Pond Front-Walk-FloodedShed-Lake

We’re hoping the ditching and sump-pump will go a long way to resolving the drainage issue:



Windows 7, Rain, & Stepford Snow

Windows 7 Upgrade

Yeah, I know.  I’ve always been a Mac guy.  Build quality of the Apple hardware far exceeds anything I’ve ever seen on the PC side.  The Mac operating systems have always made more sense and offered more and better control of the computing environment. 

Well, as you know if you’re one of the people  who read this blog, I’ve recently purchased a factory refurbished HP laptop.  It shipped with Windows Vista installed, which I really enjoyed.  Sort of a monster the functionality of which was fun to discover.  But, because I purchased before 31 January 2010, HP offered a free upgrade to Windows 7.  Because free is where it’s at, baby, I signed up.

In due time the envelope containing the two-DVD upgrade suite arrived.  Disc One is a proprietary HP upgrade helper sort of thing containing a user interface and progs that evaluate the hardware and C-out reports and advice.  And here’s the thing – the advice printing to screen is worth following.  First time around, I ignored the suggestion to abort the upgrade then find and uninstall the program that uses “keyboard filter” before running the upgrade stuff again.  After what seemed like a very long time, with the actual Windows 7 disc running its install, the entire system and upgrade hung completely on a chkdsk countdown at 1.

After using the Macintosh to get online and research the problem, I rolled back to Vista on the laptop, found and uninstalled the HP Quick Keys program, and a couple of days later successfully ran the upgrade to 7 without the slightest hitch.

I have never had any similar problems upgrading Macintosh computer operating systems.

Anyway, I do like Windows 7, but it’s not as funky-genie-like as Vista.  Just pretty stable and functional using far fewer system resources.



What was it, a week ago, that we got all that rain.  Like Waterworld around here for a few days.  Got me thinking about the feasibility of installing a dry well out back and in front.



Got a bunch of snow here at Stepford yesterday.  Our offices were all closed at noon – I got home before the atmosphere began to really resemble a shaken snow-globe.