Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Random Good Stuff That Happened today

Today was a good day.

I got the second pocket door frame installed and level. It looks like a complicated mess, but really all the shimming and leveling was the hard part. The two frames are overlapping inside a double-thickness wall, opening in different directions. When it's done, all you'll see from the hallway is two pocket doors, each 18" from one end of the hallway, opening in different directions. All the liquid nails, shims of varying thickness, nails, and screws of varying lengths and colors should be neatly hidden away behind the drywall.

Grandpa told me once that the difference between the professional and the amateur is that the professional knows how to cover his mistakes. Grandpa was a professional pipefitter and factory mechanic, actually, so maybe that wasn't very good advice for him. But, hey, it works in carpentry.

The nice thing about doubling these pocket doors is that it makes rooms this size possible. I can fit a 36"x36" corner shower in the little bathroom with a toilet and a sink, which is going to make a HUGE difference in our quality of life. With a door swinging in, I couldn't possibly make it fit; with a door swinging out, the hall would be blocked when the door was open. The drawback to these pocket kits is that they use "split studs"--pairs of 1x4 on either side of the door, with the flat side facing the wallboard rather than the edge of a 2x4. That's a lot more flexible and a lot less strong. But by using these two frames doubled up, I got the chance to screw the frames together solidly, which should strengthen them both considerably.

Donovan went scooting up the new attic dropdown ladder like a monkey today and took a look around. It's too high for him to reach, but he caught my eye and said "I can't reach the cord to pull it down, but that's OK, because I can't go up there without you." Smart kid.

I had my first IEP meeting of the year (a special education meeting where the team writes a plan for the student's education for the next year-parents, teachers, administrators, speech, psychologists, etc. at one table) and it went very well, thank you. Nobody yelled, nobody threatened to sue anybody, nobody stormed out or anything.

Then I got to go to the Early Childhood Developmental Clearinghouse in Springfield. This is located on a seedy little street/alley in Springfield where you actually have to park your car and hop across two sets of railroad tracks to get to the clearinghouse, but it's a great resource most people don't know exists. I wanted to get materials for the Very Late Paper so I can finish it and turn it in. I owe my professor a paper that was supposed to be self-directed and somehow just fell by the wayside in the midst of a million other things. I want to finish it and turn it in whether she'll give me credit for it or not, because frankly she was trying to help me out by assigning it and it would be an insult not to finish it. Besides, it's a paper on co-teaching in a classroom with a regular-education teacher, and it turns out I have to do that in every single class this year. Every one. I don't even have a classroom of my own. Woohoo.
Anyway . . . the Clearinghouse. This is a small library of everything related to special needs kids/special education/child development. You can check out materials for free, except for periodicals, which they copy for you while you wait. For free (!) When you walk in, you tell the librarian "I need to make a reading list for co-teaching" or "I need to make a reading list on Asperger's Syndrome" and they search out everything they have on that subject. Then they search a national network of university and public libraries and give you a listing of sources available at other libraries in Illinois.
Does this sound awesome yet? Even if you're not a teacher, if you have a child with any developmental difficulties happening at all, or if you know someone who does, encourage them to look these people up. I'll try to give them their own post soon, in fact, and maybe it'll show up on search engines. Someone might actually get something useful out of this little monument to myself.

When I was done there, I managed to get to Guns N' Hoses while they were still open and get a belt case for my pager so I won't miss calls by leaving the damn thing on a table somewhere. It's a Motorola Minitor III, and the damn things have delicate little faerie gossamer plastic belt clips held in by even more delicate pot metal pins. I of course snapped mine off cleanly within days of receiving my pager. Guns N' Hoses is a neat little EMS/Fire/Police shop with some specialty stuff you'd otherwise have to order. I got some CPR shields, too, to put in our family cars. Chatting with the very hot girl behind the counter, who I strongly suspect was the owner of the car with the "GRYFNDR" license plate parked outside, was a delightful bonus. I love my wife very much, but tasteful ogling is always acceptable as long as you have an excuse.

That accomplished, it was time for a trip to the hardware store. I was just picking up some sanding and paint stuff, but hey--hardware store! Who doesn't love a good hardware store?

Finally, tired but satisfied, I headed for home, where I found that not only had my bride cooked chicken stir fried with many and various vegetables and spices, but there was a box from my good friend The UPS Guy on the front porch--a box of Dura-Coat! With which I shall refinish my beloved West German SIG-Sauer P220 .45 acp pistol.

A good day.

By the way, if anyone out there knows a simple way to add night sights to an early P220 without a dovetailed front sight--the front sight is integral--I'd like to hear it. I guess I need to go show it to my smith. I REALLY wanted some Ashley Outdoors 24/7's . . . big dot front, express rear, tritium . . . but they said even if I have a dovetail cut, the slide's profile will be wrong because the newer ones are different. I'm wondering if I could have the sight drilled and a tritium vial installed . . . or have the dovetail cut, install the sight, and either shape it down or fill in with solder until the profile matches. I'm going to Dura-Coat it anyway, right, so I don't need the metals to match.

Wow . . . . that became a long post.


Matt G said...

Lemme call Ashley.

Don Gwinn said...

Ain't you Mr. Big Shot!

Matt G said...

I prefer "Fancy Dan."

Don Gwinn said...

I'm a Dapper Dan man, myself.