rainy Halloween floor girder installation
Thursday, October 31 2013
Today the weather was warm and persistently rainy. It hadn't rained since I'd started excavating the west half of the greenhouse floor, and I was curious to see how water percolating through the bedrock would behave on encountering the new excavation. But evidently the water table was low, because despite all the rain, the water never trickled out from the usual places at the base of the western wall. Instead it rose up from below, filling the low eastern half of the greenhouse but never rising high enough to be drained by the drainage pipe that ensures that the greenhouse doesn't flood to grade (which would be a disaster).
While all that was slowly happening, I managed to rip out the last of the bedrock supporting the deck over the eastern half, temporarily supporting its joists with sections of hickory branches I'd cut to a variety of lengths (ranging between 11.5 and 13 inches in half inch increments). Though the girder I'd prepared yesterday was covered with sticky black asphalt that had yet to harden, I covered parts of it with plastic bags, which allowed me to carry it down to the greenhouse and wrestle it into place. It was tricky, but once installed, the girder supported most of the west side of the deck, eliminating nearly all of the structural duties of the exposed bedrock.
As I work in the greenhouse, I've been listening mostly to old Kunstlercast podcasts that I'd heard several years ago (perhaps while doing the original building of the greenhouse). It's what I happen to have on the memory card in the MP3 player, so it's a good thing to listen to when I haven't planned my visit to the greenhouse sufficiently to start playing a podcast from my computer over the local FM band I've monopolized.
When I do happen to remember to queue up a podcast, it tends to be a Slate gabfest of some sort. (There was a good one recently commemorating Lou Reed after he unexpectedly died.) The formula for a Slate gabfest is a simple one: bring together a group of smart, literate, well-informed people and have them talk about stuff. It's not that this hasn't been tried before, but it seems Slate has an uncommonly smart and loquatious group to work with.
This evening, Gretchen and I went over to Nancy and Ray's place to celebrate Halloween with a small dinner party. Ray was off working, but Sarah the Vegan came over. We brought our dogs, which made Ray and Nancy's young dog Jack very happy. He and Ramona played nonstop for hours. Much of their play takes the form of Ramona humping Jack's face, although sometimes they played tug-of-war with one of Jack's numerous toys. Jack is an unusually destructive dog, frequently reducing books to confetti when left unsupervised for a few hours. The toys are designed to give him something else to destroy, but evidently he has a special fondness for the mouthfeel of paper. The other day he tore into a roll of money Ray had earned at the restaurant, and though none of the money was destroyed, it easily could have been.
Dinner centered around chili and rice. Gretchen had baked a cornbread that, on tasting, she'd determined was too terrible to bring, but she'd also made a banana bread.
I don't much remember what we talked about as we ate our chili and sipped our wine and/or hard cider. I do, however, remember at one point Gretchen and me trying to figure out why exactly my arm muscles were so well-developed back when she and I first met (in the Autumn of 1988). It certainly wasn't because I'd been exercising them. "Maybe it was from masturbation," I suggested.
Had children come to the door trick-or-treating, there were Tootsie-Pops available. But, unlike at least one Halloween before, no kids materialized. Gretchen and I have never been visited by trick or treaters the whole time we've lived on Dug Hill Road, though the first year we moved in (back in 2002), we stockpiled Reese' Peanutbutter Cups in case we were.
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