Friday, February 26, 2010

Loose Ends Friday

I just got a Burley Flatbed trailer for my bike. The reason is that I'll be hauling my easel and paints (and all the other crap that oil painting needs) from here (northwest side of town) to my art teacher's studio on the southeast side of town for lessons twice a month. And after having packed on 12 lbs of excess weight and seeing my resting heart rate go from 70 bpm to nearly 100 bpm after a summer of injury-induced inactivity, using a bicycle for this trip makes sense.

The nice FedEx man delivered the trailer yesterday. It assembled easily (once I found the right sections in the manual to read), and this morning I hooked it up and used it to haul a parcel downtown to the post office. I make a number of trips to the PO every month to send packages overseas that need a lot of insurance (and complicated customs forms and other fussy paperwork) and firing up my VW Vanagon Westfalia van for every trip seems wasteful. So with this trailer -- as long as there's no ice on the ground and it's not raining -- I'm good to go.

Before you know it, I'll be fit as a fiddle and ready for love.*

Speaking of my van, I finally got a new muffler installed. I bought the replacement muffler online, an OEM type part made by Ernst in Germany, and paid Steve over at Steve's Place ("VW Audi Volvo Specialties") on SE 9th Street to do the install. The old muffler was in pretty bad shape. Looked like lace made of rust. The new muffler is so effective that I had to check to see that the engine was running when I paused at stop lights. Much quieter. Me likee.

The re-decorating of the kitchen
has been coming along nicely. We're still missing the curtains, they should have been here this morning. The install guy was here, the designer was here, the curtains were a no-show.

But the new tiles on the counter and backsplash look great. Mrs Elliott did three pretty little glass tiles at at Glass Symphony which are now inserted into that backsplash and they look peachy.

To break in the kitchen, we had a nice little dinner party over here last Friday while Mrs Elliott's sister and her new boyfriend, New Jerry, were in town. There were delightful guests, interesting conversation, good food (cooked by New Jerry and Mrs Elliott's sister), good wine, and even cigars.

Yeah, cigars. It's been over a decade since I've smoked a cigar, but one of Bend's more disreputable characters brought over a couple and the temptation was too great. Mrs Elliott made it clear that even though my friend's wife lets him smoke his daily cigar (for his health, of course) indoors, she would tolerate no such nonsense here. So thar we were, pinned down by Jap fire . . . no, wait, wrong war story. Thar we were, out on the deck, in the cold, huddled over a kerosene heater, drinking port and smoking stogies. One of the ladies joined us, drawing away at a Rocky Patel Rosado like a seasoned hand.

IN APPLIANCE NEWS, it turns out that the reason the gas range always got weird and blew out the stovetop burners when the oven was in use was due to a homemade stainless steel riser that the house's previous owners had mounted on the stove. The hot air from the rear of the oven vents up the back, and if the back wall is of combustible materials, then a riser must be used. You know -- to prevent the house from burning down. Ordinary drywall, which is what we had before the new ceramic backsplash was installed, is combustible, and because even the shortest riser from the manufacturer is $220, I can see why the previous owners fabricated their own, but it didn't ventilate properly and the stove was glitchy. Two appliance repairmen could not figure out what the problem was. Since tiles are not combustible, I pulled off the DIY riser to see if it made any difference and now the stove works perfectly. And looks better, too.

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* From an old song. But there's a free pint of beer for the first person to come up with the name of the
cartoon character on TV who used that line. Think Jay Ward.

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