Monday, November 26, 2007

The Bamboo Bench - A Project

Bernie and I discovered a month or so ago that there is a bamboo farm in Mint Hill - just up the road from us. I called the guy and he said to come over and he'd show us all the different varieties he owns. We had in mind buying some bamboo for various crafts and projects. Bernie wants to make some wind chimes and I was thinking of making the arbor she's always wanted. It would go well with our rock fountain and garden area in the back yard.

Well, lo and behold, this farm is acres and acres of 60 foot tall bamboo plants! The owner cuts down 4 plants for us and cuts them into 8 foot lengths. This costs us $20, which is ridiculously cheap. $5 for each plant and $5 for his labor.

Once we get it home, I start trying to figure out what to make so I can learn how to build with it. The arbor is too ambitious until I get some experience working with this stuff, so I decide to build Bernie her outdoor bench. Earlier this summer, she bought a gorgeous bench off of and then couldn't bear to let it get rained on and lose its pretty finish. So she varnished it and put it on the front porch instead. Bamboo is weather-proof, so this would be perfect as a starter project.

After some thinking, I decided to use a hole saw of various diameters and drill holes into each tube and insert tab a into slot b, then drill pilot holes and use screws to keep it together.

The design is "make it up as you go along", so I made one mistake that I am having to correct by going back to the farm to get more of the large diameter bamboo to use for the seat slats. This may end up being a good thing, as it will make the seat stronger than I originally intended.

So here's the frame, all finished and assembled:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The T-giving break

I was burning out earlier this week. I really needed this four-day weekend, and I've enjoyed every minute of it so far.

Thanksgiving was great, and there was nothing particularly different about it from any other one I've experienced. We did really miss having Bernie's parents with us this year, though. Family discussions have centered on getting them back for a long visit that includes next Thanksgiving. Sounds like a great idea to me!

Friday, we decided to participate in the ritual of Black Friday, went to Staples at 6 am, and picked up a laser printer for $20 (after rebate, of course), and some cheap DVD-Rs. I napped afterwards, and when I got up, Bernie decided to nap. After she got up, the day was gone.

Today, we went to Lowe's for hardware supplies and I got to work on my new project: a bamboo bench for the garden. More on this in a later post. We went over to my parents' place for dinner and now we're chilling out. Tomorrow, we drag out the Christmas decorations.

So, you see...nothing exciting going on here. It's very rejuvenating for me, though, and I'm thankful for this nice relaxing intermission before the holiday season madness begins.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Not Much Happening on the Home Front

Sorry for the week-long gap. I really have nothing to report. I got better on Wednesday, and the back pain/stiffness worked itself out on Thursday. We're taking it easy until Turkey day, where our greatest dilemma is what dish to make for the family Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Crappiest weekend ever!

1. Saturday - Tar Heels lose to State, mostly due to a terrible gameplan by our coaches.
2. Sunday morning - The best way to start the day is to fall down the stairs and hurt your back.
3. 10 am - An hour after falling, the fever starts. It's the flu.
4. 11 am - We run an errand (buying bamboo for some projects) and the fever turns into chills.
5. 12 pm - Get home, put on 3 layers of clothing, get in bed, under 3 blankets and a down comforter. Taking Tylenol.
6. 1 pm - Shiver and shake and in great pain all day. Bernie comes in and informs me that the cat has escaped and is missing.
7. 4 pm - Panthers lose on a last-second breakdown. I'm semi-conscious, but can't sleep. When I close my eyes I see football plays running over and over again. Pain and fever getting worse despite doubling my dose of Tylenol. No sign of the cat. Bernie's been walking the neighborhood looking. I drag myself out of bed, put on my shoes and walk very slowly down our alley, pausing at each closed garage door, and calling the cat. 5 doors down, the cat steps out between two garages and meows at me like he's had a bad day and it's all my fault. I pick him up and take him home. This drains every bit of energy I have and I collapse into bed again.
8. 6 pm - I haven't eaten all day. Nausea prevents me from eating. I think the pain from my back (which isn't as bad as the fever-pain yet) might not be the fever.
9. 8 pm - Fever is STILL going up, despite the Tylenol. Now it's 102. The pain from the body aches is unbearable. We start thinking about Urgent Care. Bernie calls the on-call nurse at my doctor and gets advice.
10. 10pm - Chills end, now I'm unbearably hot. This is a good sign. I shuck the sweats and layers and turn on the fan and try to sleep.
11. 1 am - I wake up drenched in sweat. The sheets are soaking wet and cold. This is actually an improvement. I feel a little better. Fever is down to 99.
12. 4 am - I wake up again. Finally getting some rest. I drink a whole glass of water. Now that the fever's under control, I can tell that the fall has messed up my back. If I turn over, I get little bolts of pain that make me feel nauseous.
13. 7 am - Get up, call in sick.

So here I am, victim of one of the worst weekends possible. I demand a do-over.

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