Sunday, February 19, 2012

Home Made Kid's Desk

So they said Alysa needs a desk and asked if I could build one out of two old closet doors. No problem. I am a man after all, and a man knows how to delegate, so while the ladies went shopping I put Alysa to work building her desk.

Here she is marking a cut line 50" from the end.

Hey, I don't want to use your tape measure she says, so she gets her tool set and drill we gave her for her eleventh birthday.

That's a handy little tool bag from Walmart. They also have it in black, if pink is not your color.

Take that hardware off, we don't need it. Righty tighty - lefty loosey.

The little circular saw is mine and is very easy to handle.

Here she is cutting the door. The little saw only cuts 3/4" deep so we had to flip it over and cut again.

Grandmommie seemed surprised that she did all the cutting. No problem, she wore safety glasses. Circular saws are notorious for getting sawdust into your eyes.

The problem with using a hollow core door is that the inside is only framed around the perimeter. After cutting the desk top 50" long, one end is hollow so I cut a piece off the top to insert into the end.

Then Alysa sanded it smooth. Like her new sander? $25 at Harbor Freight.

Then we put some glue on each side and she put it into the hollow area.

Ugh, it won't go in.

No problem, use the hammer to knock it in.

You go girl.

While that was drying we cut the other door into two 29" pieces to make the legs.

Next, I cut some braces with my full size saw. Her little fingers were tired and the little saw was charging.

I got her to sand the braces down to the wood so the glue would stick well.

Next she drilled pilot holes for the screws to go into. Pilot holes are very helpful with alignment and keep the wood from splitting.

I just bought a new pack of drill bits and I knew one or two would be sacrificed during this part but she held the drill steady and straight. No drill bits were broken.

That's my hand holding the brace.

Then Alysa screwed each of the twelve screws through the braces and into the desk top and sides.

Here she is putting the last few screws in. I told her to push hard and she did. I only had to give three of them an extra twist with the drill to get them down a little more.

And here she is with her finished desk.

This work session was brought to you by Chill Yogurt, which we visited after the strenuous build.

Here we are both in the picture showing off the various tools used, she is checking to make sure the desk is level and I am acting like I am measuring something.

After the build she wanted it painted this avocado color. This Valspar paint is excellent.

Well it was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. I should have taken a picture of the painted desk. After the paint cures in a few days, they will move it into her room and her things on it. I hope to get a picture then.

So how much did each of us do? I trimmed the insert for the hollow core end, cut the braces with a bigger saw because the little one needed to charge, and I drove the screws through the desk top into the top of the legs while she helped hold them. All of the other measuring, cutting, sanding, drilling, gluing , and screwing was done by her. Can your eleven year old accomplish a project like this? Sure they can with help and direction.

My wife wants some bookcases built for our den. We might have to schedule a spend the night party with Alysa.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Recently my wife sorted through our old photos and found some letters I wrote to her. She enjoyed reading them. I enjoyed hearing her read them aloud. So on this Valentine’s Day, I want to give her another love letter.

She was the Lasik eye surgery coordinator, and I was her patient. Lasik is an expensive operation so patients are treated well. She spent a lot of time with me, including sitting with me in the waiting area. I was unaccustomed to this and asked if she was going to follow me everywhere. She thought I was a smart ass but she remained professional. The day of the surgery she sat with me waiting for the Valium to take effect and we talked about wanting to see The Lord of the Rings.

We emailed a few times following the surgery and I finally convinced her to go see the movie with me, just after Christmas. Afterward we had coffee and talked some more. It was a great date and I was smitten. She must have been too because she invited me to her niece’s New Years party. I met her there and we had a good time and then decided to go to another friend’s party. When we got there we just sat in my truck talking for an hour before the people finally got us to come in. When midnight came I took a chance and kissed her. She still says it was a surprise, and I’m glad I had gotten the nerve to do it.

We started dating steadily after New Years. She lived about an hour away, so most days we would meet after work at a park just to sit and talk for a while. Then we would stay on the phone all night until one of us fell asleep.

I don’t remember the exact day but one afternoon when we were riding in my truck I told her she looked at home sitting in the passenger seat. Soon after that she and her youngest son, Mitchell, moved in with me and I decided this is the woman I wanted to marry.

The ring was burning a hole in my pocket. Kay, Mitchell and I went to a movie, then to Steak and Shake. When we left Mitchell followed the plan and asked to see the park where she and I would sit in our car to talk. When we arrived Mitchell said he saw a cat and took off. We stood there and held hands, she started to wrap her other hand around me to hug and felt my heart pounding in my chest. “Thomas, are you okay?” she asked and I reached into my pocket and got down on one knee to give her the ring. She was jumping for joy. We have been together since that day.

Last week she went to Atlanta for a night. That night I had the TV all to myself and watched a movie she had no interest in. She was late getting home the next night and I noticed the only conversation I had was with the cat. I was missing her and wondered how I spent all those years alone, without her.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


“Don’t panic,” Clark Matthews, Dothan Houston County EMA Director said to the room full of reporter and city leaders. “As far as we know, the epidemic affects only women and the elderly.”

Does the disease have a name?

“I’ll turn the question over to Doctor Robert Speed from Wallace College, Doctor,” Matthews said.

“Currently the disease has no specific name,” Dr. Speed said, “nor can it be traced back to a single individual to be named after them. We are referring to it solely by its symptoms, sinistra via agripeta.”

Don’t hide the truth doctor, call it by it’s real name.

“Very well then, Left Lane Squatter, but I want to be clear about why we are here, after extensive testing on subjects afflicted with this disease we still don’t know what causes it, but we do know its devastating affects on traffic, especially on the Ross Clark Circle.”

Is it hereditary? I’ve noticed my grandfather doing it.

“If you are not experiencing the symptoms you must be immune. It could be something he ate. Is there anything peculiar in his diet?”

He eats Dobb’s a lot.

“I thought it was Manwich,” Doctor Speed said, which made everyone in the room uncomfortable, some nodded their heads in agreement, others shook their fist in anger, County Commission Chairman, Mark Culver appeared visibly shaken. “I’m sorry, I should have read the sign which clearly states BBQ.”

I saw National Guard troops take a woman yesterday, just pulled her over and took her out of her car. She was screaming that she was eventually going to turn left.

“Please remain calm,” Matthews pleaded.

I saw you riding with your blinker on for about a mile last week Matthews, how do we know you’re not infected?

“There’s a simple explanation for that,” Matthew said nervously.

“Is this true?” Doctor Speed asked, backing away from Matthews while covering his mouth with his sleeve.

“Really, I just turned from Cherokee onto Montgomery Highway, and you know how it is at that wide angle where sometimes your blinker doesn’t go off. That’s it, really.”

Doctor Speed motioned to a couple of National Guardsmen. They grabbed Matthews and began hauling him away.

“I couldn’t hear the blinker over the radio. It’s a simple mistake. Let me go!” Matthews pleaded.

“Quarantine this room,” Doctor Speed said as he quickly walked away.

Monday, February 6, 2012

White Table, Black Vanity

This table started out as a standard wood finish 3' x 5' boring thing. You know we won't stand for that. I sanded it with my DeWalt just to get the shine and a few scratches off.

Then I spray painted it with the cheap flat white spray paint. This one took about 8 cans. I had to spray three coats to get good coverage.

Don't forget to wear some kind of breathing protection. I didn't and I was coughing spray paint in the shower that night.

I wasn't satisfied with a plain white table so I used a straight edge and a flat head screw driver to score lines to simulate separate boards.

Then I got the stain and went to work rubbing. Just a little and rub it in to make the table look aged and dirty. Yes, my arms were killing me at this point. I had already done the black vanity below.

Here is a closeup of the staining. Strangely, this project came out finished with just the staining. I didn't have to wax it. Maybe it was from using less stain than I did on the vanity or the difference in paint color. When I do a piece in black I soak it with stain to give a rich color and wet look, but I have to rub it a lot to get the extra stain off or it will be sticky.

Here is the finished table sitting in my wife's booth at the front of Old South Antique Mall - $85 Sorry but it has been SOLD

The vanity before I started. I had to glue a few pieces and sand the top back to the wood. This piece is on casters and would also make a nice desk. I painted it with flat black spray paint, and sanded it back to the wood in several places to give it an aged look. Then I gave it a good wash in stain. I didn't sand it enough in some places so I rubbed extra hard to get the paint off to show the wood.

Here's a closeup of it sitting in my wife's booth. She has already put things on it like some beautiful woman has been sitting there doing her makeup.

That's me taking a picture, notice how large the mirror is. Yes I am wearing short pants. This has been the best winter ever.

Vanity with mirror is $125

Here's some stuff from my booth.
Floating duck decoys - $18 each, very nice
Ancient paddle and pot stirrer - $30 each
Full set of Pool Balls - $25
Metal Tool Box - $18
various wine bottles - $1 to $1.50

Here's a rocking horse in her booth - $65

This is a candle maker's dream come true. An old metal bucket filled with probably a million baby food jars. Most are small, some are tall. $10 for the whole thing. Take the bucket with you.

My wife labeled the tree trunk club as a "shaker" but it is too heavy to shake. Few men have the strength to wield this thing. It is very heavy and has a nice patina - $30

That's some good rope for a swing in the crate below. 1" diameter and about fifty feet long - $12.

Real bowling pins - $19.95 for the set of three
Very large wine bottle - $10
Can't see it but there is a nylon holster hanging on that rack for $8

Great old army plaque, can't remember the dude's name.