Friday, May 20, 2016

Zen and the Art of Household Maintenance

Did you ever have one of those weekends where you get so much done you think time has stopped?  This last weekend was like that for me.  Normally, I can get one major project done for the whole weekend.  Usually, the lawn, or maybe something on the Everlasting Living Room Project. About the end of that one project, I'm out of energy, out of steam, out of ideas; but this last weekend was the total opposite.

The Weekend of Fun and Frolic (capitalized because, why not!) actually started Friday night, when after dinner, my wife announced that the washer was not working properly. I had the time to drain the washer and clean the filters to see if that worked, but it didn't, so it looked like my Saturday morning was set, working on the washer.   

Saturday: Up early, coffee in hand, I tackle the washer project with wild abandon.  I found a video on how to open up the front of the unit to get at the drain pump.  (All indicators pointed to the drain pump as the actual broken culprit.) That's the washer dismantled with me sitting rather proudly in front of it.  (How did we repair things before Youtube?)  

Back to the internet, I find several places that would sell me the part, but more importantly, I found one in town that was open until noon and had a universal replacement part in stock!  Being as it was only 9 AM, I went for it!  Paid for it over the phone and into the car and in no time I'm back putting the new drain pump in the washer.  It took me a while to get the pump actually into the housing (universal fit, my ass!) but by 11 we were washing clothes.  To celebrate, we went out for pizza for lunch! 

This is the point where I enter that realm of Zen and the Weekend. After lunch, I told my wife I really wanted, no NEEDED to get the front lawn mowed as in some spots the grass was already 10"-12" tall. She said she'd head out shopping without me and in no time, I'm in the zone of mowing the front yard.  

For those keeping score, this is two major projects so far.  

Next, while mowing, I note that the mower won't fit behind the nearly dead butterfly bush.  My wife had even told me that the bush should be removed and I'd been meaning to either remove it or just move it for some time. Without a second thought I grabbed a shovel and dug out the bush and moved it forward about 6 inches; just enough so that the mower can now fit between it and the house and keep the grass behind it mowed.

A third project bites the dust. But it doesn't stop there...

As I was cleaning the mower (gotta keep your fossil fuel powered friends in good running order!) I recalled that the weather report had said it would be raining later in the weekend, and at the same time I recalled that a section of our roof that is prone to leakage might need to be looked into before said rain arrived.  When I was putting the mower away, I grabbed some rubber roofing sealant and a caulking gun and in no time I was up on the roof looking into the leaky roof problem.  

While I was at it, I also took time to check out my chimney cap and found it in terrific shape. The flashing on the cap needed fresh sealing (ok, I used the wrong stuff to seal it when I installed it) and since I had the rubber roofing caulk in my hand, I made sure that the chimney cap was better sealed than before.  

Projects 4 and 5 completed - and it wasn't even dinner time!

Sunday:  My lawn may be small but due to my usual level of energy I'm only able to get the front or the back yard done in a single day.  The time after I usually spend laying under the fan in the bedroom, sweating, breathing heavy and saying things like 'Oh lordy, lordy lordy.' Today? While the wife headed out to go shopping, the back lawn beckoned and Sunday saw me getting the back lawn done in no time flat.

Yes, I know you consider that part of mowing the lawn, but it's my decision - Project 6!

Again I found my energy and focus off the charts and looking around I found some more projects to complete.  A pile of leftover tile and cement boards needed to be cleaned up in one area along with some wood that I had tossed out during the Floor Rebuild of the Everlasting Living Room Project in another.

I'm calling that two separate projects (7 & 8) and I'm not done yet!

In front of our house is a big, big tree.  Around the base of said tree is usually a thick jungle of suckers and vines, some taller than me, that need to be cut down to keep the tree from dying. I should do it every year, but just can't seem to fit in the time. With three sets of clippers in hand, I waded into the jungle, cutting and hacking and tossing everything into the brush pile.  Result:
Hard to tell by this, but the brush pile in the background is about 6 feet tall in the center!
Not only that, but it just so happened that Wednesday of this week was the day that the city trucks came by and picked up the brush pile!  So, we won't be staring at that massive pile of branches all summer.

So that's it.  9 projects in one weekend, and I still had time Sunday afternoon to do some leisurely shopping with my wife.  Was it something I ate? Or didn't eat?  Will it come again?  One can only hope.  Such is life on the Marvinator's Southern Estate. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Nashville Walls Project

Monday morning, we came into work and discovered the incredible 3 story artwork above. It covered a rather unsightly old wall which was revealed when the old building next to it was torn down and replaced with a parking lot.

At the time, it didn't have the phrase next to it, nor an author and no real evidence of whence it came (yeah, I said whence, and I'd do it again.) The very next day the words appeared next to the mural and  then we started hearing about the Nashville Walls Project.

Nashville Walls Project pulled together some internationally renowned street artists and turned the walls of the city's central historical and new buildings into canvas. Niels Shoe Meulman took over a building downtown and turned it into an abstract Calligraffiti ode to Johnny Cash. Another mural by the artist "Any time now" has covered a wall of a private residence in Nashville. And, some new Abstract Vandalism paintings on canvas and Gibson guitars by Niels "Shoe" Meulman are being exhibited at Tinney Contemporary art gallery taking part in the Nashville Walls project.

It's kind of neat to see old ugly walls covered by these immense mural like walls of art.  When you think of Nashville, you really don't think of art in any particular respect.  Perhaps this project will give new meaning to Art in the Music City. I know I enjoy seeing  them even if only to get rid of the old walls they covered.