Archive for May, 2007

Getting ready

The Garage is almost clean! Yesterday we spent most of the morning moving boxes to storage and rearranging the remaining detritus in an effort to make the garage look like a place where you could park a car as opposed to our own personal mini-storage unit. Then we went to Home Depot and got a bunch of wood and a kit to make a workbench. I also got a vise and a grinding wheel, because what good is a workbench without a saw and a grinding wheel? I should be just about done with it tonight. Then I’ll have to come up with some other way to clutter up the garage.

In other news, kiln-dried Douglas Fir costs about $4.50 per board foot from our local hardwood company. They have marine plywood too, but only 3/4″ so I’ll probably be buying from multiple places. Still, at that price the total wood cost should be under $500, which is pretty good I think.


Being a dad at the beach

When you grow up I think you spend a lot of time while you’re not playing thinking of ways to make playing more fun. Maybe if you had a new toy car for instance (like the one in the commercial)! Maybe if you could go to camp for an extra week, and maybe this year you’ll get to have the sunfish on the first day instead of having to take a class before you can sail it.

I always wanted a big dog. My parents decided that a dachshund was perfectly adequate in the pet department, and got one that didn’t fetch, was too smart to do tricks, and thought rolling in dead stuff was about as good as it got. When water came near, she also went away. I guess that breed isn’t known for swimming, huh? When I was older they got our family’s first lab, but I was pretty much in college by then so I didn’t get a chance to really play with her much.

When you have a kid you want them to have the things you didn’t. You want them to enjoy the things you always wished you could. You almost want to relive your youth through them, but only the good parts. It makes you crazy when you take them to the movies all the time and they don’t appreciate that you’re parents NEVER did that for you (or at least never bought you all the popcorn you wanted). When they have a really nice bike and a playroom with a TV and too many toys to count and act like there’s nothing to do you want to shake them until their teeth rattle and scream in frustration at all the options they have that were never given you. Of course, you can’t. You can only hope that they get it and wonder what you did to your parents that was similar.

Then you get a day like this weekend. At the beach. Sunny, but not too hot. Water was cool but not cold, refreshing rather than uncomfortable. Wearing the Birdwell Beach Britches that your wife got you for your birthday (which were THE bathing suit you had to have when I was younger). Watching your kids play in the surf. Then letting the dog go join them…


That’s the stuff that you take with you as a parent. I’ll be replaying the two of them jumping around in the surf for months to come, and when people ask what I’m smiling about I’ll just say “nothing” because how can you explain it? Seeing your son exhibit uninhibited joy doing something you always wanted to do, not taking it for granted, not expecting it, and just having fun is an amazing thing. Our older lab doesn’t care for the waves, or maybe just doesn’t want to get hosed down afterwards. The new dog had never seen the ocean before but looks like a natural.


This was also the first year that my younger son actually played at the beach. I sat with him in my lap in the surf for about an hour and watched him splash the water and listened to him say “bubbles” and “fishies” and “waves” over and over. Amazing how it never gets boring, huh? Thanks in part to the older one, he also learned the art of throwing sand, which DID get old…


Next year he should be old enough to really enjoy some fishing. Needless to say, I intend to find out.

Anyway, it was a nice little trip. I can’t wait for next year, I should have something to take in the water then. :)

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Good advice

As with everything worth doing, you should look past what’s just on the surface and try and get a handle on the whole thing before you start. I like to think that I know what I’m doing most of the time, and at the very least I feel like I’m aware of my limitations. So when I read the plans for this boat I want to build I can see lots of questions forming. Before I begin, I really want to understand what I’m going to be doing. Loose ends or “I’ll figure it out later” items just aren’t going to work.

Fortunately there are a lot of really smart people out there who don’t mind sharing. I looked at the lumber list and was trying to sort out whether to use White Oak, Sitka Spruce, or Mahogany. First of all, every hardwood dealer I look at lists three kinds of mahogany. The kind called Genuine Mahogany costs a fortune, the others are more reasonable but still expensive. Around this area I can’t even find the Sitka Spruce. So, I was thinking oak or one of the one-off mahoganys would be what I went with for wood. Of course, this is something I don’t know a lot about.

The Glen-L forums tell me that oak is bad in salt water and I intend to use this in salt water. Oak is cheaper though, and I’m still not certain about the mahogany. Enter I asked on the forum and got a pretty good answer–Douglas Fir. Way to think outside the box, right? I also got a little good advice about my coaming, advice I’m sure I will follow, and something to think about regarding the finish on my boat.

Fun stuff… :)


Dammit and yay

My strategy of not calling people back has failed me. I sold the car. Assuming I can find the title, that is…

UPDATE: Sold the car, hope it makes them as happy as it did me.   Now I have to stop missing it and start thinking about what kinds of tools to get! :)


Sore legs and sunburn

Most groups that I go out to cycle with have “A” people and “B” people.  The A group tends to go at an average pace of about 20-21 mph while the B people are at 15-17.  I need a C group.  The A people drop me off the back, and when I ride with the B group I feel like I’m leaving them behind.

Yesterday morning a group of us met at the Y for a 50 mile ride.  They were pretty much B riders, and I figured that would be a good thing because I’ve been worried about my endurance lately.  Well, before long (hell, immediately) I was in front, and about midway through the ride I took a wrong turn and everyone followed me.  Turns out that I inadvertently added about ten miles to the ride.  On the way back I intentionally dropped off the front because I was running late and found out that I have a lot more endurance than I thought I had.  I just need to get used to exercising for hours at a time again I think.  On the way out we averaged about 16.5, I know I did better on the way back.

This morning my arms are a deep red because I didn’t bother applying any lotion before I rode.  My legs hurt too, but it’s a good kind of hurt.  I’m still thinking about Blood, Sweat and Gears, if I ride it will probably be with the group I went out with on Sunday.  It will certainly be the 53 mile portion.  I don’t mind all the climbing, but I don’t think I want to try it after a 50 mile warm-up…


Great quote

“You do not set out to build a boat because either the building or the boat is practical. you do it because the activity itself is pleasurable, and in the doing you make yourself and your life better. The boat is a bonus. Enjoy it to the fullest.”
- George Putz, Wood and Canvas Kayak Building

I don’t know if this is entirely accurate, I found it on another site. Still a great quote though. My brother is into kayaking, maybe I should get him a copy of this for Christmas… :)


Building Nina

I never claimed to be original, right? Here’s a blog of someone who is building a lobster boat, and who is chronicling it in a blog just like I intend to here. The difference is in the timeline, he’s giving himself nine months. His goal is to have the boat on the water by June 1, because his wife wants to go out boating with him and promises to wear a bikini if he makes the deadline. No word on whether he’ll post pics of that event or not, but he has plenty of the build.

Nina is going to be a small lobster boat, the plans are here:

The blog is at After reading it I realize that I’m going to need to do more planning around the weather than I had given thought to.

Our Church is remodeling and adding a Sanctuary. Apparently they had an idea for how they wanted the parking lot to be built, but no one looked at the cost. After they started they realized that their plans would be too expensive, so they decided to do it another way. That caused problems with drainage and zoning, so they’re going to end up with a grass field that can be used to handle overflow parking–not what they envisioned at all. The last thing I want to do is get caught like they did–I need to make sure I have everything well planned out.

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Humility strikes!

Went for a ride over the weekend and discovered just how quickly you can lose what you’ve worked a year to get. Early in the biking season (really before it started) I was doing great–20 and 21 mph rides without a problem. Then little league baseball kicks in, other activities start pulling at my time, and before you know it two months have passed and I’ve gained about 15 pounds. This past weekend I did a 40 and I think that a 16mph average would be a generous estimate.

I still want to do the Blood Sweat and Gears thing, but I think the 53 miler is a more realistic option…


Crazy Goal #112312

I think I might try the Blood, Sweat, and Gears ride this year. I’m not in shape, I’ve gained a lot of weight, and I’ve never ridden a full century before. Still, it’s bound to be a lot of fun and so what if I take twelve hours or whatever to finish it? :)

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What does it mean when…

What does it mean when you go to your blog and refresh it to see if anything new’s been posted?

I think I’m going to extend my posting to matters beyond building the boat just so I can think of things to write easier. The boat’s going to be a long project and I won’t even get started until I sell the car. However, if I don’t post regularly then it won’t be a habit and I’ll forget. I want this log for myself just as much as I want it to show others that it can be done. I guess this means that I need to figure out the whole categories thing.

So, I guess it also means I’m gonna say something about biking soon. :)