Two Day Build Subtitle: I Got Wood. Subtitle: How Not to Build A Table.  

Well, Christmas season has come and gone and in its wake… Christmas cash. Seems I’m hard to shop for so every year I either get gift cards or cash and at least one shirt that may not may not fit. This year I decided to do something constructive with my Christmas cash. So I constructed two work desks/ book shelves.

Over the last few months I’ve amassed something like 35 books from the used book store and my shelves runith over so they’ve been piling up on the dresser and it was starting to get in the way so I decided to undertake my first (of many, I hope) construction projects.

So gather round children while I tell you the tale of the wibbly wobbly desky wesky thing. Subtitled How I Got Wood. Subtitled How Not to Build a Table….

It started as many construction projects do with a trip to the hardware store. The Automatic door slides open and I am greeted by three smiling faces. One of them steps forward with a slightly too big smile and says “Can I help you find anything today, sir?”

I muster up my manliest man voice and say “Yes, I need some shelving board.”

“Right this way, sir.” He replies

I called it shelving board. He totally thinks I know what I’m talking about! This is gonna be great!

We arrive at the shelving board and he points me to a 1×12 board that is 8 feet long.

“Uh, I’m pretty sure that isn’t gonna fit in my car… is there any way you can cut it in half for me?”

“Oh! Yes sir, we can do that for you it’ll only take a minute!”

I may have lost some street cred with that one… but no matter. I leave the hardware store boards in tow. Once I get home I gather all my supplies together, the boards I just purchased along with some reclaimed wood I planned to use, after a quick count I realized that I would probably come up short unless I did everything perfectly which is highly unlikely. Also, the screws I had on hand were not long enough. So. Back to the hardware store I go! It turns out the measurements I took were not a standard size so after miming the piece I needed the salesman gave me the I know that you have no idea what you’re doing look and took me straight to piece I needed.

I return home with enough wood and screws that are long enough. Now! Time to start cutting them down to size! This is the dangerous part kids. This is the part were Norm Abram reminds you to wear you safety glasses.

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My plan is to make a 32 inch tall desk that is 16 inches wide and 4 feet long. I will also make a second desk that is 32 inches tall 16 inched wide and 2 feet long. Underneath the desk will be two shelves that run the length of the desk. One shelf roughly 14 inches higher than the other.

I’d never used a skill saw before so I decided to make some practice cuts on some scrap. After a comically long amount of time preparing myself as to not cut anything important like the power cord or you know… me… I made my first cut. As that first piece fell away I was ecstatic. I had made my first cut ever and had not injured myself in the process! Woo! Then I examined my cut. I didn’t know you could make such a crooked cut with a skill saw. No matter! There is more scrap wood. After whittling away a 6 foot piece of scrap making cuts every 3 to 4 inches I finally felt comfortable enough to start cutting good wood, though I would save the top for last. I’d bought a 6 foot long 16 inch board that I was gonna split down the middle and make shelves until I decided it would look better as a desk top.

I started by cutting my support pieces. These run between the front and back legs and the shelves will rest on them. I needed 12 pieces at 12 inches a piece. Seems easy enough. I make my measurement and then my cut. Measure Cut Measure Cut. With each cut my confidence grew. My movements became more efficient. My cuts more precise. Some of my earlier cuts weren’t EXACTLY 12 inches but close enough.  After I was done cutting my support pieces I had to cut the shelving board. This only required one cut. Since I drive such a tiny car I had the guy at the hardware store cut the board down to 4 foot lengths so I only had to cut one of them in half to make to two shelves for my short desk. MATH!

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The only thing left to cut was the papa board. The big one. The top…

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This is it now, don’t get scared…

I measured, I backed away and looked, measured, looked, this went on for some time. Finally I just gritted my teeth and made the cut. It was perfect! Well, near perfect. Close enough, really.

Now its time to put these things together. I sort them into groups. The shelves and top don’t come into play yet so they stay in the house. I’m building this on a makeshift bench on my back patio in case you couldn’t tell. 3 supports per pair of legs. I mark out where my supports need to go. And prepare to put the screws to it. Literally. I’m going to use a screw gun to drive these screws through the wood…. Except there is one problem.

Turns out those numbers on the side of the box of screws mean something because even though these were the right length screws they were not the right shape of screws. I wanted to get a #8 screw but they were out. So I got #10. Close enough I thought. Wrong! The #10 screw has a round bottom which is only useful it seems for creating friction. So if you need to start a fire or warm you bread then go for the #10 screw. If you actually want to connect two pieces of wood together with an inclined plane wrapped helically around an axis (SCIENCE) then get a #8 or #6. SO! BACK to the hardware store!

When I walked in this time the cashier said “Back again huh” I may have mustered a smile. I managed to find some #6 screws that were longer still than the ones I had, but that’d have to work. Got back home and was actually making good uneventful progress until the battery on the drill died.Considering it was almost dark and it would take the battery a good hour to charge I packed everything away for the evening and called it a night.

The next morning after breakfast I laid everything out again and went to work. I would catch my mom watching me through the storm door.

“You need any help” Shed aske.

“Nope. I got it. It’s gonna be one crooked desk”

“Looks good from here”

“Well, don’t come any closer”

From this point on it was pretty much uneventful. Mom would check periodically and everything went together with little problems. I had to move some supports for one set of legs because it didn’t match up with its opposite.

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Um… Ignore that extra whole Its for… ventilation…Sure.

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One of these lines is wrong. Let that be a lesson for you kids; measure twice, cut once.

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One set of legs done!

After the base was done I glued the top on and put some screws in to hold it in place.

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CLAMP! You can never have to many of these! Unfortunately this is the only one I have.

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Tis no barn

It’s a desk, a little wobbly, very crooked, but it serves its purpose and it’s something I built. I did it. I set my mind to something and I accomplished it. There comes a point when you get frustrated because something isn’t working the way you want it and then you figure out why and the frustration is washed away by pride, that is one of the best feelings in the world. I became more confident and learned a lot in the process:

Use the right tool for the right job. OK Steve?

Measure twice cut once.

#10 screws are NOT just as good as #8.

1/16 of an inch is a big deal.

If you make a mistake you can try again

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Finished Product!

If there is something you want to do, do it. If you want to sing. Sing If you want to write. Write. If you want to rob a bank, you should probably not do that. It’s wrong and very illegal. You’d go to jail. There is a point where you have to stop planning and start doing. There are a lot of things I want to do in 2015, if fact that is one of the reasons why I started this blog. Something to hold me accountable. Something to track my progress. Hopefully you’ll come along the ride with me.

Now. Ima go watch Astro Boy



Pony Express Vs. Fed Ex

In 1860 the Pony Express was created as a way to connect the east and west of the United States. Riders could make it from Missouri to Sacramento California is about 10 days, traveling over 1,800 miles. Now, this wasn’t 1800 miles of open road 4 lane interstate driving in a fancy, modern day automobile. No sir, this was on horse-back through open plains and over treacherous mountain passes.

Why the history lesson you ask? Because I sent a package via Fed Ex from North Carolina on Monday December 15th bound for Texas, expecting it to reach its destination in 3 to 4 days considering we have all these modern conveniences that the boys of the pony express didn’t have. You know, things like cars, planes, and antibiotics. That last one really doesn’t come into play with my rant but I just felt like pointing it out (Although according to Wikipedia Antibiotics were developed in the 1870’s)

I needed it to arrive before December 20th. Plenty of time, I though. I thought wrong. I kept track of it with a tracking number through the Fed Ex website. According to the website it arrive at its destination on the 21st of December (which is a Sunday I might add. I didn’t realize they delivered on Sundays.) Great! Except the intended recipient has already left town. Boo! Not boo that the intended recipient had gone home for Christmas… but boo that the package didn’t arrive in time.

Now, if you remember from the first paragraph (And if you don’t I’ll wait for you to reread it. Ready? Good.) The Pony Express could carry mail 1,800 miles in about 10 days over deadly snow covered mountains on horse-back. According to Google my package only had to travel 1300 miles, so what’s the deal with that? I almost feel like I could train a carrier pigeon to do it in less time.

I realize that in this modern age of technology we have an unrealistic view of time. I used to complain about how long it took to pay my phone bill using their automated system until I realized it took less than 45 seconds. But I feel like 6 days to deliver a package is just too long in this day and age.

I even had a blog post ready for when it arrived. But I’ve not been able to post it because or spoilers… So that means that Fed Ex is also denying all of you the gold that was that amazing blog post. Possibly the best one I’ve ever written. And no one will ever see it. At least not for the next few days.

The lesson here is not to send things via Fed Ex Smart Post if you want it to get there in time.

Oh! And Merry Christmas!!



Tis the Season… for Peanuts

As I post this I am sitting in a dinner waiting for a link sausage biscuit. Mmmmm Sausage… I always look forward to this time of year, not so much for Christmas, but because I get to work at Bertie County Peanuts.  As you may know my primary job is at an academic library. But after exams, once the students have gone for the semester I take my vacation and go work for peanuts. OK, I don’t actually work FOR peanuts… well… you get what I mean. They pay me. With money. Actually, they give me a piece of paper that I then take to the bank and trade for money. You know, money is weird. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, peanuts.

I love it there. I get a chance to get out of the office for a couple of days and get dirty and stretch my legs and make a couple of extra dollar. Did I mention the peanuts? I like peanuts. My job is packaging and shipping. Customers place an order either on the phone web or in store. That order gets printed up on an order slip and goes to us. We are the “elves”. We work in the warehouse and take those order slips and make the magic happen. We go through the warehouse to find the desired items, Put the desired items in a Bertie County Peanuts box. Weigh the box go into the Fed Ex system and, using the order number, locate the address add the weight print the label and firmly secure the label to the box with many layers of packaging tape. And if we’ve done our jobs right then in 3 to 4 days your peanuts will be delivered to your door step.

Bertie County Peanuts is located in Windsor North Carolina in Bertie County… go figure. Windsor is more or less my hometown and I don’t get over here near as much as I used to. It’s bigger than Murfreesboro but it feels much smaller. I miss it. So for a couple of weeks a year I get to see old friends visit local restaurants and eat some great food. It’s only an hour away but it feels like another world. A simpler world, a happier world.

So here I am in the same restaurant I visited as a child, it has changed in appearance drastically but the food is as good as it always was. And it looks like my biscuit is here! This is where I leave you for now. Have a great day! And eat some Peanuts!


Structure Update…

I think I was planning on updating you all last Thursday… Opps… ANYWAY, regarding my structured life: I’ve ridden the stationary bike an average of 12 miles a night, read 3 night wrote 3 night but still haven’t pick up the guitar. I started working a second job, seasonal. I’ll be working there off and on for the next two weeks, but that’s another post. As for this one I am making progress. I want to get up to 20 miles a night and actually reading everyday instead of every other day. I feel like I’m getting better at my writing so I’m happy with that. Still not sure how to use comas properly, but I’m hoping I will find time to properly learn the Basic English skills that I am so very lacking. I need a witty sign off. Any suggestions?

Well. Until next time.


So I gave my address to a random stranger on the internet…

So I gave my address to a random stranger on the internet. I’ll admit on the surface seems like a very bad idea. In fact the more I think about it the more it seems like a bad idea…. Let me just go make sure the back door is locked… OK. Back door: locked. Windows: secure. Missile Turrets: Armed. Snug as a bug in a rug. Now, where was I? Oh yes!

Why did I doom myself to probably be murdered in my sleep, you ask? I was promised a Christmas card! A hand written Christmas card. In the mail. Like old school. With a stamp and everything. ooooooOOOoooooo! I know right? So I’ve been not so patiently waiting for this card to arrive. Sometimes even checking the mail two or three times a day, even though I know the mail only comes once a day and to be honest I’m not even sure it runs that often.

I just picture the mail deliverer person sitting in his/her car down by the river sorting through the envelopes and it goes something like this:

Credit card bill, he doesn’t need to get that EVERY month *Tosses it in the river

Letter from doctor’s office marked urgent…. Probably not important. *Tosses in river

This one says “Final notice”. Out the window you go… Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Oh! Looks like I don’t have any mail to deliver today. Guess it’s off to the county fair.

Also in my imagination the county fair is year round.

To be blunt, my entire existence now hinges on the awesomeness of this yet to be received hand written Christmas card.

To the random stranger who now has my address: No pressure! Also, please don’t murder me in my sleep.

P.S. I’m pretty sure mail deliverer person is not what they are actually called. Yes, I COULD google it… but I don’t wanna…

P.P.S. I’m also pretty sure this letter is traveling like half way across the country so it probably won’t get here over night

P.S.P.S. It is probably obvious by now that I have no grasp of how to properly use a comma. So if any of you feel like telling me how terribly these blogs are written please feel free to do so in the comment area.

I Need More Structure…

I should live a more structured life. This is a decision I make every few weeks when I realize that I’ve done nothing of merit for those few weeks. I followed through with it for about two months last year but then my work schedule changed and threw my rhythm off, which is the excuse I’m going with anyway.

As I write this I look around my room and see a stack of nearly 30 books that need to be read (Too many trips to the used book store) a guitar that hasn’t been played in way too long Camera bag sans camera (Its around here somewhere) D&D Books and a campaign that is in desperate need to be written. My friends have probably all given up on the idea that we’ll ever play. I am surrounded by all these neat creative outlets and all I ever do after I get home from work is Netflix and occasionally ride my exercise bike.

I started this blog in hopes of having something to hold me accountable for my actions, or lack of as it stands currently. Adam Savage of Mythbusters and Tested fame tried to go out every day while on tour find something cool and write about it. My goal is to do that once a week. But if my short history on this is any indication then I’m going to fail miserably at this

So my goal for this week is to read an hour a day, write an hour a day exercise an hour a day and at least try to play guitar every night, No promises that that will be an hour a night. I’ll check in later on in the week to let y’all know how things are going.

I’m only writing this last sentence because I wanted to break the 300 word mark in Word.