forecast: showers

So, when I ripped the old shower out of the “shower house”, as it was called then, I really liked the way the space opened up. In fact, I had thought of making it into a bunkhouse or kind of a tiny home, but I couldn’t finagle a bed in there unless it was standing up. I thought guests might complain. But WHOA! Once I removed the plastic stand-alone shower, there were copious possibilities for my little shack.

Next, I bought a little portable building in which to put tools, nails, screws and presumably lawnmower and pressure washer, but the two last ones were pushed out by whatever-the-hell-is-taking-up-all-the-space and continue to reside under the deck.

Once the place was empty, I painted, spruced, cleaned and got Orkin to evict the mice who’d been living there for generations. That was in 2016. Then! Then it struck me that I should put the shower outside. It would be easy for me to plumb it into the back side of the building because there’s water there already AND a water heater. HA! Hot showers in nature.

I thought I would just build a little platform and put a new plastic stand-alone shower out there. It would look kind of ratty being all white, but I had some ideas. Well. Justin Pistohl who did the siding on the house and shower house surprised me with this new cedar shower. He texted me this picture while I was gone for the weekend. What a guy.


Soooo glad I didn’t put a white plastic shower out there.
I just took my first shower. It’s awesome.
A roomy shelf for extras.

yet another sunrise

They’re all good (even on cloudy days) but this morning I hadn’t even wiped the cobwebs from my eyes when I noticed the sun was an orange ball through the trees.

Sans camera it was a perfect round ball of orange. Look at the reflection in the water.

don’t paint me

Apparently, the Craic House doesn’t want to be painted. I just want to paint the eaves, (there are no soffits) since they aren’t covered in new siding and they’re looking pretty sad with the rest of it upgraded. So last week before Justin came to put siding on the rest of the sides (confusing), I climbed up there and started putting primer on the eaves. Much easier BEFORE the siding is in place, so I don’t have to tape off the siding to prevent drips. 

So I hung off the top of the tall ladder — never a comfortable place for me — and started painting away. The surface is very rough with nails sticking through from the roof. Bigger brush. Yikes. That didn’t work very well either. The paint wasn’t getting into the cracks and imperfections. Then I heard a rumble of thunder . . . Zero percent chance of rain which is why I decided to paint in the first place. . .  and it started to pour. Hmmm.

Sun came out presently, so back out I went only to repeat the process. Thunder rumble, downpour and it rained the rest of the day. Besides, everything was then too wet to paint.

So, Justin sided two more sides and what I’d painted with the brush looked pretty sad indeed. So, I resolved to use my handy dandy paint sprayer. Evidently I wasn’t a very good paint cleaner upper after the last time I used it, so I spent a couple of hours getting rubberized latex paint out of the nooks and crannies, but finally got it working.

The wood on the underside of the roof is old and somewhat beat up. Solid enough, not rotted, but water stains and weathered. So, I loaded up the sprayer with my favorite Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 exterior primer and within a half hour I could see right through the paint to all the staining. No exterior stain-covering exterior primer in my stash, so off to town. Which means being at least presentable, although I had paint all over my legs — the result of holding the sprayer in my lap while I fished paint snippets out of the nozzle — and well, let’s be truthful. I wasn’t presentable.

You can barely see where the primer isn’t covering. On this side (west) the siding isn’t on yet, so I only needed to cover the window, although the plastic and tape are now lying on the ground due to wind. 

I looked at Zinsser’s website to determine exactly what primer I wanted: Bulls Eye 123 Plus. Ace didn’t have much of anything in the paint department but they did have three gallons of a different kind of Zinsser called Stain Cover, which the website had said was available only in California. Weird. Over to Hardware Hank, where I couldn’t get Bulls Eye Plus, but bought some house trim paint AND found a spray can of the Stain Cover. Not a terribly efficient way to paint a building — tiny cans of spray paint, but I don’t need a gallon half of which will be eaten up by the sprayer, which is a hog for paint. Along with the fact that it’s oil-based and I’d have to clean the sprayer with mineral spirits.

Left over from last summer.

Found this at Hank in Spooner. Convenient spray can. Yay. 
Yikes. That deck looks terrible. It’s on my list. Take a number.

So far, the spray-can stuff is covering.

Meanwhile, I taped plastic over the entire building so I didn’t spray paint all over the new green siding. This was a study in patience. Yesterday I went to town — to ditch the big, frustrating, immovable futon at the ReStore YAY — and looked at both hardware stores for plastic drop cloths I could use to cover the building. Nothing.

On the way home, the neighbor down the lake was having an estate sale — oh. my. gosh. What a place. I stopped in and toured the house, which is a disaster — the basement was so moldy I could barely breathe. There was crap all over the yard, waterlogged boats in the lake, the dock made from two extension ladders balance out over the water. I am not making this up. Indescribable. There were tons of salvageable items, but where do you begin? But! I did find a roll of plastic laying in the yard that was perfect for what I needed. I dragged it back up to the house (didn’t want it to touch my body and/or clothes because I had gone to town and now looked Presentable), took out a dollar and gave it to the Estate Sale Guy who didn’t want to sell that crappy roll of plastic for so little. But what could he do? I’m big and scary.

More work to put up the plastic than it is to paint. And the wind took down about half of it. ­čÖü

So, first thing this morning I started taping that plastic to the walls of the Craic House. Went along fairly well, although the enormous fiberglass ladder (that belongs to Justin) is so big and heavy that I was struggling with it. THEN, the wind popped up. I would no sooner hang some plastic than the wind would catch it and peel it off. ­čÖü  Crazy. 

The Crazy Widow Emerson

It’s been windy since I returned from town and I’m not going to attempt to spray anything. Hopefully, tomorrow I can nab a couple more cans of Stain Cover and get things primed and painted. Whether the Craic likes it or not.

idyllic summer

Summer this year has been an endless string of beautiful days with bright sunshine and cool nights — for sleeping well. Although I’ve had to water the gardens occasionally, rainfall has been pretty timely. I try to walk down to the lake every morning with my coffee. Seems a better idea than diving into the closet that is now my office and facing a computer screen for the first few hours of every day. ­čśŤ

I’ll be sure to open this post next February when clingy old winter is holding onto my mood.

meanwhile. . . transparent sea

While I couldn’t be much help on the deck steps (it involved math. OMG), I went down to the boat and removed all the sides.┬á
I really don’t know why I didn’t do this 33 years ago when we first bought the Chartreuse┬áMonster. Back then there weren’t any elegant boats on Trego Lake so I probably thought it was normal. Chartreuse is not and never has been normal. I have painted it numerous times over the years and one year actually removed all the sides and rails. But this time I drilled out every one of those Lit-tle Tiny Rivets and popped off all the sides leaving only the rails. I actually think this is legal to use, as I see people now and then driving around with what looks like a Huck Finn raft with pontoons and a motor.

Mine has rails. Safe. Transparent. Invisible?

So here are the sides wearing their coats of many colors relaxing in the shade of a tree. They needed a rest after 46 years of living on a boat. I threw a little paint stripper on one of them to see how it would go.

Yikes. There are many layers of paint. All but the snot-colored stuff comes off easily. Under all that is a textured aluminum surface that may be a pita to strip. I’m thinking pressure washer, so once I get down to the chartreuse layer, I may try that. THIS was the color of our boat for many years. With a linoleum-pebbled-type floor that sucked. It hurt feet and was amazingly ugly. I had the boat re-decked and carpeted some years back.┬á Like 23, I just calculated. Yikes. Again.

(Always begin and end a paragraph with the word Yikes. It really engages the reader.)

I do have to relate the Trim and Tilt Saga. The hydraulic trim and tilt didn’t work this spring. Always something, of course. So, I connected a couple of stray wires. Worked! Then blew a fuse. Replaced that, thanks to Phil & his buddy Mike (Mike ran home on a Sunday to retrieve a new fuse from his stash. I owe Mike. And Phil.) So then the T&T worked, but the motor was stuck with the prop out of the water. ?? Everything we did would not make that motor drop. Hours of YouTubes, asking questions on forums, trips to see Tom Cleveland at Lakes and Trails in Spooner. Nothing solved the Mystery of the Stuck-up Motor.

I complained. Hmm. Don’t like that word, but there’s nothing for it. I’m a veteran whiner when Bruce was here to spec the deck-steps job and he┬ásaid he’d take a look. Bruce and I removed a bar at the bottom of the hydraulic assembly and Released the Motor from Stuck Up Captivity! Now the t&t hydraulics are under the water. Probably not ideal, you think? But the prop is IN THE WATER and the motor runs like a top. So, the boat would actually travel around the lake, but might lose its t&t assembly (over $1,000 for a new one online) in the process.

So, when I have a couple of strong young offspring here, (Kent, Brenda and Ansel are coming this next weekend) I might have them lift the motor. We can replace the strange rod that was preventing the motor from lowering and m-a-y-b-e the t&t will cooperate? Doubt prevails. But who ever fixed anything when doubt was involved? Sheesh.


steps in the right direction

The direction of the lake, that is. For years I’ve wanted steps off the deck that would take one directly to the lake. There were two reasons for this. Get to the lake faster, of course. (My mom said I was in a hurry to be born and have not slowed down since.) Second reason: ditch the damn rail that looks like this:

Yes, a fence. Between me and the lake. Geoff told me once that if I had a slide to the outside, it wouldn’t be fast enough to get me there. That was when we lived in Eau Claire and I wanted a door (and a deck beyond it) from the dining/kitchen to the backyard rather than walk through not one, not two, but three doors, food in hand, spilling one’s drink to even reach the back steps. We were pounding in the last nails of that deck (finally!) when Geoff got the news that we were moving to Spooner. ­čÖü But really :). It’s all good.

So, the fence illustrated above is still there. But a much less complicated solution began to evolve when I ran into a guy I’d known in the past — he was performing at the local pub, which is called Hub’s Riverbend, but really should be Hub’s Pub, but I wasn’t there for the baptism of that establishment. Pity. I somehow remembered (even after a beer or two) that Bruce had once done construction in addition to performing music. I reintroduced myself and asked if he still did carpentry. And that was how the steps were born.

Not only did he use some of the materials I had on hand — that landing is two sections of dock that have been languishing at Libby’s for an eternity — but he let me help! I wasn’t much help, but I do have a cordless drill and for most of the┬ástair treads I hit the stringer. Most.

It was beastly hot the first day and we did everything in our power to get out of that infernal sun (93 degrees), but alas, we were both pretty sweaty. The second day wasn’t much better.

Q inspects the job after the day’s work is done. She was smart enough to spend our work hours under the bed on the cool concrete. She’s cool that way.

See that umbrella? It wasn’t much help, but at least we weren’t scorching. I was kind of a baby and kept marching over to the shade of the nearby tree when I got too hot. Especially when we were digging. Bruce is smart. He designed the steps and landing for minimal digging.

See that deck edge? That now leads to steps rather than a four-foot fall onto the grass below. See that pile of lumber scraps? I’ll look after that tomorrow. Among a thousand other things.

Here’s the new unencumbered view. Just imagine it sans sawhorses. I’m delighted. No slide, but steps are a good alternative.


Every year I watch those little rascals as they flower, then produce tiny green berries. I seldom see them turn blue as by that time some critter other than me has eaten them. But this year I spotted something blue in the undergrowth of the woods so grabbed a bucket and off I went.

OK. So they’re not the big juice kind you get in the store. But they are uneaten by birds and bears. If I pick 1,472 buckets full, I might make a pie.

sink and swim

Well, yesterday was definitely Sink Day. I got up in the morning and decided to tackle the disgusting underbelly of the kitchen sink. For some reason, the drain pipe loosens and leaks water all over the “floor” (really glorified cardboard) of the cabinet. I try to remember to tighten it and keep a bucket under the p-trap to catch water, but it’s not always successful. I mean, who wants to check out the drain under the sink at regular intervals? I have enough trouble getting the stupid dishes done.

Anyway, it came out easily since it was really just soggy cardboard with Contact paper over it to simulate wood (?!) so once I pulled out all the cleaning stuff, the rest was easy. A 1″ drill bit to bite through the surface followed by the scroll saw, followed by a mallet and finally a hammer. I thought I would leave the back side, which was drywall, but discovered that it was pretty rotten with moisture. Were we really meant to have indoor plumbing? I think not. Our houses should be made completely of concrete that we can hose down to clean and never destroyed by water.

Yes, it’s icky. Plumbers use that word to officially describe the underworld of sinks.

So, I began ripping it out, carefully preserving the middle support and the back piece because I planned to cut a piece (probably two, due to the middle support that would not allow a full piece) of treated plywood, which happens to be languishing the dry space under the shower house and would need something to support it. As I went along, thinking I would use 2×6’s for joists like I did for the bathroom floor I imagined kind of needing the support brace in the middle. Alas, everything was rotted — well, melted — and the further I got, the more I ripped. I opened up the base cabinets on either side and didn’t find any actual moisture, but you can bet your boots there’s more to this than meets the eye. Or nose, as it’s smelling very musty. We must not have must. It’s a must.

Meanwhile, the Ikea delivery guy called and said he was delivering the new Ikea sink and some other stuff (copious amounts of GREEN silverware. Oh how Irish I’ll be). So I did dual sinks. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

By the time I reached the edges of the kitchen sink base cabinet walls, I was using a mallet, then a hammer to simply crush the soggy shit out of there. Drywall in the outside wall was a mess, too, so I cut that out along with the vapor barrier. Fortunately, only a teensy piece of insulation was moldy. Easily replaced. Stuck a fan in front of it along with the dehumidifier to pull the sog out of the space. Left that running while I unpackaged the Ikea Lillangen sink for the bathroom.


I still maintain that this was an awesome idea. I think there’s a post about this project, but I’ll review. I made the counter out of a piece of treated 2×12, cut, primed, painted with marine paint, sanded, sanded, sanded (I hate sanding) put together the two pieces which now display a large crack and generally treated the whole thing with tlc. Then drilled a hole for the sink drain and the faucet and mounted it on two large shelf brackets. The sink bowl was actually a second-hand ceiling light — they often have holes drilled in them for mounting. That hole is exactly the size of a drain. I kid you not. The first one I used seemed very large for the space, plus it was kind of golden — a color I don’t like — but it worked really well. I replaced it with this smaller white one, but soon the plumber’s putty became discolored and the drain began to leak underneath the bowl — between the bowl and the counter. It worked for three years, but the mess was visible under the bowl. ­čÖü So I ordered a new sink from Ikea.

Ick. There’s water (and the creepy stuff that goes with it) between the bowl and the counter. The crack in the counter is way beyond adding character. ­čÖü

I’m getting better at putting together Ikea stuff. You have to look VERY CAREFULLY at the pictures, because they have teensy details that may escape notice. Besides, I would put things together in a different order than the people who draw all those pics.

Each project comes with its own set of problems. The drain assembly, which is customized to attach to the visible drain in the top of the sink, looked like it would never fit the existing drain. See that mallet? No, I didn’t pound it into shape. There are a thousand details in how I eventually got it to work, the delightful part of which is that I never needed a trip to town. I was able to use parts of the old drain assembly as well as stuff from my magical Plumbing Tote in the shed. I managed to replace the┬áshut-off valve (maybe two), extend the supply line, maneuver the drain, and switch the faucet to the left side. I love plumbing. ­čÖé

The faucet was a bear. True to form, there wasn’t enough room under the ceramic sink to tighten the nut on the bottom of the faucet to keep it from going the route of wherever the supply lines felt like it should go. . . which resulted in it facing the floor. Water would not even THINK of going into the sink, it would splatter on the floor. After a long time of trying to fit under this tiny sink and tighten that )&(*)(*&)( bolt, I removed all the fittings and put it on the floor. Fortunately, my dementia has not advanced to where I’ve forgotten everything, and I remembered that plumbers have a tool for just such a tight place. I knew I had one (why? search me) so found it in the box labeled Things That Grip and tried it out. Still too tight to turn. However, tenacity wins and I finally was able to get it in there Just Right to give it teensy little turns (hoping not to crack the ceramic sink) until it was tight.

Reassembled everything (good thing plumbing is a forgiving soul) and Voila!

It’s very little.

But all one needs for brushing teeth. There are two little hooks on the side for towels and other necessities.

Now to wrap up the Kitchen Sink Story. Left the fan running, doors open, etc. all night. In the morning, I looked at the whole weird mess and decided to leave the concrete underneath exposed, the drywall unfinished, and put everything back inside the cabinet on the floor. The house’s floor, not the cabinet floor, since it’s gone. This will allow it to dry thoroughly over the summer while still storing my cleaning stuff. Not sure we really need floors in our kitchen sink base cabinets. I sprayed it with Mold Eliminator, which has never worked a jot for anything else, plus vinegar which was efficient at killing the mold on my clothes this spring — they’d been stored in a leaky tote and I used vinegar to launder them.

Anyway, the kitchen sink looks weird underneath, but who cares? The doors are closed.