Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pruning our House.

Every two years I hit the metaphorical wall and binge clean. We end up donating what feels like 25% of what we own. Before it helped that we had a small house. But now that we're in a 2200 sq/f behemoth (..maybe not behemoth, as it's about the average house size for a US home, but it's still 3x the size of our last house, so to us it feels huge), and we have a small kid, the junk collecting seems to have been exacerbated.

I grew up in a household where money was a struggle, and sometimes I wonder if the propensity to hang onto EVERYTHING takes over for that very reason. I still find myself hesitating to recycle/donate/throw out something because I MIGHT find a use for it, who-knows-when. There's a fine line between thrift and hoarding, and sometimes the line gets blurred and I find a rinsed out mayonnaise container in my cupboard that -might- be good for storing homegrown popcorn, someday.

I don't remember much about Fight Club, except the following:
Tyler Durden must have been a minimalist. I can't help but feel like there's something to that sentiment. I'm tired of lugging stuff from residence to residence that I haven't used for years. Or instruments that I've never learned to play. Or hanging onto clothes that I've worn once. Or stashing away someday-useful items that don't have a job but might, someday, be useful.

Nope. Not doing it. We're done. It's like spring cleaning exploded in our household and I'm on a warpath to removing anything that doesn't fit my needs. The poet-author-Socialist William Morris said: "have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." And I'm using it as my litmus test. Does it bring me joy? Is it useful? Will I use it? This sentiment is a basic principle in Marie Kondo's Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, a worthwhile read if you're itching to simplify your life but aren't sure where to start.

For the past month or so, I've made several filled-Tesla runs to our local Goodwill.  I've donated Filson gear, a genuine Mulberry bag (don't look if you don't know; it's cringe worthy and I almost cried), brand new clothes with tags on them, along with a total of 14 boxes of miscellany.

I'm still in the Child-Rearing-Adjustment-Phase (aka CRAP, and yes, I just made that up) and I'm starting to realize that my rolly-polly 6 month old WILL BE CRAWLING SOON and that's terrifying. It's helpful to know that what I haven't used or cherished recently will probably be destroyed if I don't donate it or pass it on- so if I don't have a safe place to put said lovely/useful item, out it goes.

Anyone else in a purging phase? Perhaps that's my goal for 2016: to have a house that is curated, edited, and easy to clean because it's nearly empty.

John Welsford recently posted about one of his client's building a boat to live on. The boat's name? Siblem. "Small is Beautiful. Less is More." Amen. Check out the post, here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Considering handing over the tiller.

I've been feeling buried. Is it postpartum anxiety? Depression? Something else?

I've been looking at our house; the unfinished stairs, the half ripped up carpet, the kitchen with the cabinets falling apart. And outside, with the ragged garden that needs mulch and trees that need to be pruned and our deck that needs refinishing.

And I'm hearing our tiny child wake up from his short 15 minute nap, which allowed me to run outside, tend to the chickens,

----- leaves to take care of crying child -----

----- returns 6 hours later to finish this post -----

... and finish my coffee, which was cold because it had been sitting out for 2 hours, log into Blogger and write half of this post.

And now it's 8:30pm.

There's some quote floating around how the days parenting are the "longest days of your life but the shortest years."

Truth is, I feel like a tsunami has hit what was once Julie, and has left my life unrecognizable. It's both wonderful and frustrating.

Each day I wake up, tread the same amount of water each day, and never really feel like I'm getting anywhere. This metaphor is particularly apt as my town is currently flooded: 

Photo by Tim Gordon, KGW

I feel like I need a win.. A small victory to feel like I've done something recently with my life. Something other than just remembering to wear deodorant and keep a small child happy.

So.. I think I'm going to hire someone to finish my boat.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween + 4 Month Update

Our son is over 4 months old. I have no idea where the time is going.

He is such a joy. He is developing normally; laughing, cooing, rolling on his side, reaching and grasping at things. He is such a joy. Have I said that already? He's such a delight that I might have to rename him Valere Joy-seph.

Want to know what else? He's sleeping through the night. BLISSFUL SLEEP IN 6-7 HOUR INCREMENTS.

Since we're nerds, we thought we'd dress up our son in a NASA spacesuit for Halloween. And for bonus nerdery, we attempted to recreate Leland Melvin's NASA portrait.

Turns out that wrangling a drooling, teething 4 month old and two extremely cheese-motivated dogs was harder than anticipated. This is as good as it gets:

So I posted it on Twitter, and Leland Melvin saw it. AND RETWEETED IT. To 73k PEOPLE.
There's something about having your baby's photo shared by a NASA astronaut that is (dare I say it?) out of this world.  (...I'll show myself out.)

And in other news, with the return of sleeping regularly, the house reno is back on! I knocked out new flooring in the bedroom and hallway, and painted the bedroom and Val installed new trim. I think I'm about a week from being finished with the bedroom, minus the fancy trappings. Can't wait!

Monday, August 31, 2015

As Seen on Instagram & Ryobi Tool Love

Ryobi Tools posted this earlier today on Instagram:


Speaking of Ryobi, Val 3.0 & I went shopping about a month ago for a gift for my father-in-law and we ended up at Home Depot in the Ryobi section.

I figured it's never too early to start learning the value of the right tool for the job, even at 6 weeks. I have two Ryobi drills and an impact driver that are seriously my best shop buddies. I love them!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The child is asleep, QUICK, TO THE INTERNET MACHINE!

Hello World, how have you been?!

Quick post here in an attempt to establish a habit of posting, and also, I desperately need sleep. But, I got a new laptop that has ALL its keys, and doesn't randomly turn off. So I am emboldened by the potential for future blogging endeavors.

About the Child: 
Our kid is growing crazy fast. I can't believe that he's already over two months old. He's smiling now, and cooing, and basically the CUTEST LITTLE THING EVER and I will spend hours, HOURS, staring at his face and telling him so.

I did hear that the years raising a child are the longest days of your life but the shortest years and holy mackerel, do I believe it now.  I'm afraid that one of these mornings I'll be sleeping in and he'll be packing up the car and heading to college.

About the Weather: 
This summer has been brutal. Last weekend we were choking on smoke from wildfires (my heart goes out to the people affected by them), and this summer on a whole has been record-breaking for the Pacific Northwest. We actually have rain in the forecast for this weekend, though. It should be the most significant rainfall since March and everyone (including myself) is excited about it. I live in an area that usually gets 68" of rainfall a year, and it's been rough. We had to actually buy ourselves air conditioning units. THAT IS NOT NORMAL WHEN DID WE MOVE TO THE SURFACE OF THE SUN

Despite the rain in the forecast, we are determined to venture out to the dahlia festival in Canby, OR this weekend. Hoping to get some nice photos and a list of dahlias-to-grow for 2016. I'm not trying to rush this year or anything, but I've already got my garden for next year plotted out.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Valere Joseph III
LOA: 20"
Date launched: June 20, 2015

Sure, my boat is taking forever to build. But I've been building my own crew. 

High risk pregnancy and an emergency c-section. Photo was 17 hours after the crazy event. What a ride.

In general, this year and a half has been a bit of a whirlwind. Let's summarize 2014 & 2015 thus far, shall we? 

1. Bought a house 150 miles south. 
2. Moved and sold our house in Seattle.
3. Miscarriages 1 & 2. Dark days. Felt pretty low.
4. Crushed fingers in a door. Important because the damn things took months to heal. Frustration due to limited usefulness added to grim outlook on life.
5. Llamas were acquired. Their previous owner couldn't care for them so we got free lawn mowers.
6. Val & I celebrated our 10th anniversary. 
7. My 'shop' (aka the garage) now has an Intergalactic Spaceboat of Light and Wonder hogging it (Translation: we bought a Tesla). 
8. Sold the Seattle area condo, now we only have ONE property to focus on (hurray!)
9. Added a family member to the household. 
10. Started the renovation of our current house.

Rio, as you can imagine, has been on the back burner. My guilt levels are through the roof. But, reminding myself that she's just a hunk of plywood and not a sentient being helps. 

So here's what's going to happen.

This blog will no longer be JUST about boat building. It'll be about general sawdust revelry, garden-gnoming,  house renovation, and probably whining about miscellany. I can't keep up with more than one blog, but I miss writing desperately and I'm eager to find my voice again. Blogging is my favorite way to journal. And you, my lucky, lucky reader, will be subjected to all the slings and arrows of outrageous whatever that occur in my life.

(and since I paid for this domain, I have to do something with it, right?)

Will the blog title ever truly make sense? I hope so. I'd love nothing more than to teach our sweet little son how to sail on a sailboat his mother built. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Issues with Plank #1 - Wood Butchery and TGFE

I had a comment regarding whether or not I had experienced any issues with attaching the first plank. Since I've done a rather poor job at narrating my progress, I thought I'd go back in time a bit and address what happened.

(steps into a TARDIS)

Now, as you all know, I'm not a professional anything and I don't have enough sense to keep my fingers out of door jambs. If you have a similar problem and fix it the way I've fixed it, and for whatever reason it doesn't work or if it offends your long dead Great Aunt Pearl, well.. sorry. Just do your research, okay?

(For the record, this is MY long dead Great Aunt Pearl and she was a spitfire and a woodworker. I miss her everyday.)

(and if you would have handled this situation differently, let me know. I don't think Rio will be my last boat..)

I don't remember all the specifics of planking up Rio. I do remember that the first (the bottom plank) was a bit rough to attach. For some reason, one side went on easier than the other, but both had a slight gap where the planks met the stem. On the port side, there ended up being a gap of nearly 1" on the bow.

The gap existed during the dry fit. It seemed worse when I went to attach the plank permanently.

Several things could have caused this gap.

1. I lofted the plank wrong. (probably not, the other side fit better)
2. Something wasn't square or plumb. (possible, although I was being extra careful about this)
3. I cut the plank wrong. (quite possible)
4. I didn't put the plank on right. There was an overage on one spot and a gap on the other, which leads me to believe that if I had shifted the plank slightly, it may have been a better fit.
5. All of the above.
6. _______________.

I remember panicking, saying a few rather unsavory words, and once I realized I didn't have enough plywood lying around to scarf and cut out a new plank, I decided to move on with my life and grabbed my epoxy and wood flour.

And I stuffed the gap full of the miraculous mixture, smoothed it out with a popsicle stick, and called it a day. After rooting around my old photos, turns out that I also used some packing tape to get a smooth finish on said 'fix.'

TGFE. Thank God For Epoxy, amirite?

Enough talk. You want to see shameful photos of wood butchery, don't you?

Let's start with the worst photo of the bunch, shall we?

Said overage, what I'm seeing there probably indicates that I should have spent more time properly aligning the plank. Hindsight.

Side profile that shows the magnitude of said gap.

So there you have it. I figured that epoxy and wood flour is stronger than wood itself, so the fix should be decent enough. I'll probably fiberglass it to be sure, though.

I've lured in-laws over tonight under the guise of beef potpie and Belgian beer. I will stuff them full then demand tribute in the form of boat moving. Can you imagine? She might end up in a proper work space for the first time in her life.