2014 News Archives

This page contains the news updates from 2014, in order to keep the Welcome page from getting too big as I continue to add updates to the renovation project and web site on that page.

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One of our three vintage VWs that got some work in 2014 (2 photos).

2014 Projects
The House: Sadly, this was by far the least productive year of our renovation project. Early in the year I took on a project for our church to design and publish a Church Directory while waiting for weather to change in the Spring. I also offered to help a friend renovate his kitchen, which ended up taking nearly six months due to health issues I had in the early Summer. Once the directory was wrapped up, my friend's kitchen finished, and I was back on my feet, it was time for Fall leaf clean-up and other yard work, which took me through the end of the year. I'm still alive and moving around fine, so I guess we'll call that a win for 2014.
The Site: I did manage to get the site caught up to reflect the projects that were completed in 2013 (mostly the bathroom, and some information about my work with VWs), available within the news items below.

2008 News Archives.
2009 News Archives.
2010 News Archives.
2011 News Archives.
2012 News Archives.
2013 News Archives.
2015 News Archives.
2016 News Archives.


Old News Updates


2014.12.19
The House: Since the last update I've been spending most of my time working on leaf clean-up in the yard (when it's not pouring rain), and making a little progress on replacing the saw-horses and lumber stack that I try to work on in the shop with an actual woodworking workbench. So far I've just gotten the boards face planed and edge joined, and I'm still tweaking the plans for the finished bench. I'll likely add a section some place with all the details after the holidays. Speaking of the holidays, this year I replaced the last couple of light strings on our artificial Christmas tree with LEDs, so hopefully I'll never need to fiddle with those again. I also managed to score a few of the harder-to-find Stanley tools I've been looking for over the last few years (the No. 742 vise, the No. 94 rabbet plane, and the No. 89½ panel gauge, among others), so those made a nice gift for myself this holiday season.
The Site: Without too much progress on the renovation this time around, I've only updated the Original Condition Photos section of the Vintage Tools page to include the tools acquired over the last few months, as well as the addition of a few new books from Santa to the Reference Materials section of the Hand Tools page and the Specifications page Reference Materials section. Most of the fantastic new books are from Lost Art Press link opens a new window, which I've mentioned here before and highly recommend. I also did a refresh of the search index, as usual, and made a slight adjustment to a couple scripts, so you may need to do a page refresh if the photo viewing lightbox doesn't pop-up for you as expected.

2014.10.09
The House: Yes, I have finally done some updates to the site after more than a year. Where to begin... It looks like the last thing I addressed was the bathroom, so let's jump in at that point. The bathroom counter top, trim, and very fancy door were taken care of over the Summer and Fall of 2013, so the bathroom part of the renovation project was wrapped up last year.
The Cars: As the bathroom was nearing completion, I turned my attention away from the house and spent a good deal of time working on our cars, since those were getting to the point where they needed some attention from me rather than the basic maintenance stuff we usually have taken care of at my friend's repair shop. Our 1986 VW Jetta spent a few weeks at the body shop getting a new paint job, and our 1989 VW Vanagon Synchro got stuffed into our green tarp garage so I could do a lot of work on the fuel delivery system and wiring in the engine compartment. The Vanagon work lasted well into mid-Winter, as I split my time in the late Fall between leaf pick-up and turnin' a wrench on the VWs.
The Yard: Another issue we had to address late last year was the border on the West side of the lot between our deck and pond area and my neighbor's driveway. When we moved our driveway to the East side of our house a few years ago, we also widened his driveway on the West side of our house (since our drive way used to straddle the property line), however the area of our yard with the bamboo still had a stone retaining wall around it that was sort of cutting into his new driveway. He decided he wanted to add a shed at the end of his driveway where our bamboo was, so he excavated a large chunk of the hill behind the bamboo to extend his driveway. Before he can use that area however, I need to relocate the stone retaining wall and fill in a fair amount of space where the bamboo currently grows. I also decided it would be a good idea to add a fence along that line behind the bamboo so we won't have to look at his shed or whatever he plans to put in that space when we're trying to relax on our back decks.
Other Projects: Knowing the first thing to take care of when Spring arrived in 2014 was going to be that bamboo and stone wall mess, I pretty much just hunkered down for the Winter and didn't get much done on the house. I did take on a new project to produce a church directory for our church, thinking that would be a good use of time while waiting for Spring. A good friend also asked for my help doing his kitchen renovation. He had originally planned to pay someone to make custom cabinets and do the whole thing, but when they tried to re-finance to fund the project, the money just wasn't there. He came to me to ask if I could help him do it using Ikea® stuff, and I said sure. The directory project occupied much of my time in early 2014, and I also enjoyed more than a couple weeks fighting Bronchitis. My illness delayed the directory project well into Spring, and I also managed to not get much yard work done as I tried to get the directory wrapped up and started on my friend's kitchen renovation.
My Health: By June of 2014 the directory was finished, and we were making good progress on the kitchen project. I was keeping quite busy, however I wasn't getting much of anything done on our own house or yard work. Then in late June I was playing with some kids at a friend's cookout and strained my calf - or so I thought. I noticed my leg was hurting and starting to swell up nicely, so it was off to the doctor to find out what was going on. Sure enough, I'd developed a clot in my calf, and after more ultrasounds and CAT scans they found a few chunks had gone to my lungs. So I had Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and Pulmonary Embolism (PE). Very nice. The PE was minimal and it had been found soon enough that intravenous Heparin along with a few days of Lovenox injections would take care of those, however the leg clot was from just below my calf and stopping things up all the way to my groin, and there was some worry that I may develop post-thrombotic syndrome while waiting for my body to get rid of that beastie (blood thinners don't actually remove the clot). The DVT was treated with interventional radiology using a catheter inserted into the popliteal vein behind my knee to apply the thrombolytic ("clot-buster") Alteplase, or tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). That took a couple days to do the job, and after 8 days in the hospital, I was discharged in July to limp around the house while working out my Coumadin (Warfarin) dosage and waiting for my compression stockings to arrive. They don't know why the clot developed (no family history and nothing showed up in all the blood tests that indicated a tendency for clotting), so I'll likely be on Coumadin through the end of 2014, then just use the compression stocking forever to ensure it doesn't happen again. Getting old is no fun.
Back to the Yard: Once I was moving around again without too much trouble, I finished up my friends kitchen project throughout July and August, then finally started working on the bamboo project in September. I've made some progress on that, but it's very slow going. I have to hack at the main bamboo root area, which is like a very solid bird's nest of roots about a foot thick, then take each chunk and shake out all the soil so I can then burn it in our firepit (if I put any root material into the compost, it'll just sprout more bamboo in the compost bin - not good). Once I get the root mass cut away to the property line again, I then need to trench along the edge to insert a 30" deep, 30 mil thick bamboo root barrier to prevent the bamboo from spreading up the stone wall and into the neighbor's driveway (which it was starting to do on the old wall, even though we were told it wouldn't climb a retaining wall so we hadn't put any barrier behind it originally). Once the barrier is in place, I then roll the big stones back into position and backfill up to the level of his driveway. I'm hoping to at least get the barrier in position and the wall backfilled along the property line before snow flies. I can wrap the rest of the new barrier around the bamboo that's next to pond next Spring if needed. I'll get back to working on the actual house someday... I hope. Yes, this is getting frustrating.
The Site: So finally I'm back to getting the site caught up with what's been going on for the last year and a half. I did manage to take some photos as I finished the bathroom part of the renovation, so I've updated the Bathroom page with a new Bathroom Counter & Trim Work section, as well as information and photos of Finishing the Bathroom Trim and building the Bathroom Door in the Interior section. Since I spent a good amount of time working on our cars last Fall, I added a new section to the seldom seen Et cetera page regarding my history with Old Volkswagens along with photos of our current vehicles. Of course I haven't lost my interest in vintage hand tools while all this other stuff's been going on, so I've updated the Hand Tools page with an expansion of the Miscellaneous Vintage Tools listings to include information regarding my recent acquisitions of Stanley bit braces, auger bit sets & accessories, hand drills, and bench vises. All of these updates also warranted a refreshed search index, and an update to the Project Timeline page to keep everything orderly. I also removed the 2012 and 2013 News items from this Welcome page and put them on their own News Archive pages, listed below. Sorry for the long delayed updates - I'll try and do better than once a year as we move forward!