Thursday, May 28, 2009

Apple Camp

The email snuck into my Inbox sometime during the daylight hours and by the time I had cleaned enough paint chips from my eyes to gaze upon my iBooks' screen, it was close to midnight.

Undaunted, I attempted to log into the registration servers that Apple had set up to handle the anticipated Katrina-like flood of online requests for registration into these free Apple-store/Apple-paid-for/Apple-employee-taught workshops for kidkins.

After the first hour... of refreshing the reg site ad infinitum, I finally made it through and deftly jumped through the several hoops necessary to get C registered in the Moviemaking workshop at the Apple Store near us (there are two in my panhandled state).

But wait, we can sign up for more than one workshop?

Dive - dive - dive [klaxons going off here]

The next workshop reg only took 24-minutes of incessant clicking and refreshing to hit the server. By gosh, I got through again and am now the proud recipient of two, count 'em, two emails from my local Apple Store welcoming me and my child (ages 8-12) to the gleaming bright white store offering all things Apple.

At only 6, my youngest is not yet of "free workshop" age (just as well since she has a pretty good handle on iMovie already...Final Cut Pro is not far behind). While I'm moviemaking with C, I expect PK will just find a nice Macbook somewhere in the store and proceed to dazzle the surrounding shoppers with her trackpad prowess..."No sweetie, don't drop into the shell here at the store, that's just for home doings...I know you like practicing your Unix commands but still..."

Of course I'm kidding about that whole OSX shell thing. What do you think I'm raising here, a Unix geek?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Did someone leave a voicemail while I was fainting?"

We've had two medical setbacks while attempting to get the multiple layers of stubborn, aged, and weathered oil-based paint off of our 114-year old house.

The first was a stubborn little paint chip that somehow made it's way through my face shield and industrial-strength battle goggles, directly into the upper reaches beneath my right eyelid. No amount of flushing or filling would get that sucker out and about the time my eye had swollen up to the point that I no longer had the double eyelid so coveted by those of my race, I relinquished control of my retinal area to a trained O.D.

In a matter of seconds the good O.D. F.A.A.O. had flipped up both eyelids while scanning for errant paint chips, and swabbed a good deal of the coating my house laughable called paint out from my corneal crevices.

Ahh, much better. On to the local hardware shop for some tighter fitting goggles.

The second medical issue was a doozie. Check it out.

That's Wifey's ankle bone, which is NOT currently connected to her shin bone.

She took a tumble off our back stairs while carrying a paint try and roller full of BullsEye 1-2-3 Primer. Actually she stepped the wrong way on a tin jell-o mold that had been embedded in the dirt for several years after it somehow migrated from our sandbox to the dirt area around the steps.

But the trip to emergency wasn't the highlight of this tragic event.

Nope, it was Wifey's heroic army crawl across the backyard, up the steps she had just fallen down, through the breakfast room, into and across the mudroom floor, finally emerging out the side porch door wherein she could finally attract my attention with some well placed screams of agony and succor that gets her name into the Annals of Heroic Endeavors.

See, I was on the other side of the house, next to the roaring air conditioner fan unit, grinding away on the walls, my head fully encased in shielding and ear plugs.

Couldn't hear a blasted thing.

Doc says the x-rays were bad. Two breaks he could see, but the D.O. Ortho guy were heading to tomorrow will take a better set and be able to determine if surgery is necessary, if Wifey has a bone pin in her future, and when this blessed event will take place.

In the meantime, she's hobbling around on a set of ancient borrowed crutches, downing generic oxycodone like it's Pez candy (the yummy purple ones) and trying to get her work done from within the confines of our queen size bed.

Back at the ranch, the girl's are out of school for summer break, the barren exterior of the house beckons me with every clapboard sigh, and all those cycling rides that Wifey was planning on for this summer will have to go on without her.

Oh, and the quote that begins today's blog post? An actual utterance from Wifey the last time she got up to answer the call of nature and had to be helped back to bed when the ringing-of-the-ears and glistening-o'-the-forehead almost got the better of her.

And the phone keeps ringing as the dancers danced.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Not gone, but wishing I were...

My dry spell of posting has a light at the end of a dust filled tunnel.

Here's what has been zapping my energy and consuming my grinding days for the last couple of weeks.

Sorry for the un-neighborly mess, but it seems the previous owners of our 114-year old house neglected to scrape the paint on the clapboard siding down to the wood before repainting...ever.

So my F-i-L and I are taking grinders in hand, along with a few dozen boxes of 40-grit flap discs, and attacking the caked-on, solidified, and Oklahoma-weather hardened poor-excuse-for-paint that coats our humble abode.

Some interesting exchanges from drop-in visitors (fascinated by our daily progress) have taken place, some humorous, some irritating.

The most reflective conversations usually start something like this..."Hey, they are really making progress on your house," or "Wow, they are scraping your house clean, aren't they?"Problem is, there is no "they." There is only F-i-L and I.

And scraping is hardly the most accurately descriptive word I'd use in describing the process we've had to undergo to remove the mother-of-all old paint from this old house.

We went to 40-grit flap discs when the 60 just got gummed up after several passes down a couple of clapboards. My F-i-L has resorted to using a propane torch and/or heatgun to melt down the several layers of resin-like coating that seems to occupy the north side walls. And I had to finally retire my new wonder tool that I specifically purchased for the paint removal duties on the house when the specially formulated 3M pads made for the tool ended up costing me more to purchase in the mass quantities that my housepaint from h#ll required, than a day-laborer with a scraper and sharpening stone would set me back.

Inch-by-inch, foot-by-foot, board-by-board and wall-by-wall, I curse the previous owners of my house in their neglectful ways of paint preparation and vow with every uncovering of naked wooden clapboard that no new paint will be applied to that which was applied with malice and maliciousness by a previous mortgage holder.

Why, oh, why doesn't Earl Scheib paint houses...