Thursday, June 22, 2006

Elementary carpentry

This is the windowsill that Patience built.

This is the window, as yet lacking the windowsill that Patience built:

This is the guy who stars in the video which guided Patience through the windowsill that she built. That's Tom Silva from This Old House. I worked night shift, something I don't usually do, and during the 3:00am-5:00am dead time, I looked up home improvement help on the internet and found some neat little how-to movies. J and I built the windowsill together. I was in charge of measuring and planning and he made the cuts.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Crown molding again

We are not going to let the crown molding defeat us. A friend advised us to use corner blocks, which eliminate the need for mitering one's molding. Better Living had never heard of these things, but we found them a Lowe's. They're called E-Z trim, or something similar, and serious carpenters probably disdain people who use it, but I don't care. I hate Lowe's with the white-hot hatred of a thousand suns, but they do cater to the clueless, such as J and me. These pictures show part of the room with and without the molding. And isn't that a fine ceiling fan?

d isn'tng fan?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Eighth grade celebration

Today was eighth grade graduation for Buford Middle School, held at the performing arts center. I love my son very much, I'm proud of his accomplishments, and I realize that moving up to high school is a big deal, for all the kids. I must admit, however, that graduation ceremonies are exceedingly tedious and today's was no exception, although, thankfully, the speeches were kept to a minimum, and one of the musical entertainments—the 8th grade string quartet was excellent.

Somewhat disconcerting was the police presence at the celebration. As I waited in my seat for the ceremony to begin, a Charlottesville police officer stood nearby—so near that I could have taken the gun out of his holster. It was strange, sitting there at a middle school graduation, for crying out loud, with a loaded gun inches from my face. I'm not sure why the police were needed. Two years ago, this exact same crowd gathered in the Performing Arts Center for the Walker 6th grade graduation. No police were needed then.

There were some rather unexpected entertainments, such as someone offstage screaming, “FUCK YOU!” during the string quartet's performance. Also, included in the Student Recognition segment of the ceremony, was the presentation of academic achievement awards from President Bush. Each winning child received a pen and a letter from W Himself. The assistant principal read the letter aloud—it was exactly the “This-is-a-great-nation-congratulations-on-your-achievement” form letter that you'd expect. “Sincerely, George W. Bush,” concluded the assistant principal. The audience responded with very little applause, and even a scattering of subdued “boos.” It's childish, but I admit that this pleased me, although I was not one of the boo-ers. Then the fire alarm went off just as the kids started parading across the stage to get their diplomas. We all froze, and in a fire-drill first, we were told, “Everybody stay seated. Just stay where you are,” and Mr. Leatherwood, CHS principal dashed off the stage to find out what was going on. The building was not on fire, and the ceremony proceeded without further incident. I wonder if the offstage screamer was the same one who pulled the fire alarm?

Monday, June 05, 2006

A cautionary tale

Once upon a time there was a Charlottesville housfrau who endured great inconvenience and disruption in order to put an addition on her house. When it was finished, she painted her new rooms with a paint described as “Jade White” but which might more accurately have been labeled “Operating Theatre” or “Chlorine.” She tried her best to get used to the color, but every time she looked at her new rooms, her heart sank. So she went back to the paint store. She looked and looked at paint chips, careful to go with colors labeled “warm” or “neutral” and avoiding “Clean,” “Cool,” or “Fresh.” Not that she didn't want her rooms to look clean, cool, or fresh, but she had learned the hard way that these hues could make a room feel either cold and clinical or manic and hyper.

She picked a new paint, brought it home, and opened the can. It was the exact same color as the old paint! Different paint company, different name, same color. She hastily slapped some paint on the wall, and noticed a subtle difference. “This new paint is warmer,” she told herself. “I will go ahead and repaint and the effect will be subtle, but Important.” So she painted her rooms with the new paint. There was a difference, although it was so subtle it was nearly invisible, and when the housfrau's husband came home he didn't notice that the color had changed, and so never found out that his wife wasted money on a whole new gallon of paint.