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Home at last

I think I’ve finally arrived. It’s not a perfect place, but it is our place and (most of) The Big Stuff is done. This weekend I finished finding places for everything and got everything in its place.

My 5-car garage now has a 2-car bay holding 115 square feet of working surfaces including an 880-pound 3/4″ X 4′ x 8′ plate steel table. The work surfaces are finally ALL clear and clean for the first time in this home. Today I finished installing 7 fluorescent fixtures, but will get around to wiring them in at some future date – before the short, dark days of winter set in.

I still have a snake pit of industrial-strength power cords awaiting my final wiring job. However, the table saw, radial arm saw, band saw, belt sander, drill press, router, and Skilsaw are all ready to roll with no muss nor fuss to fire them up… and my cast-off shopvac sucks the dust out of the belt sander and table saw with a flip of a switch (poor man’s dust collector system).

I have one shelving unit full of machine nuts and bolts, one with nails and a third with screws. There is no wall space anywhere. I had to invent a ‘hanger-door’ shutter over one of the windows to have a place to set up my pellet trap at the other end of the only potential 10-meter shooting lane. (Somehow my wife was unimpressed with my claim that I’d never miss the pellet trap).

I have an official dart board set up right next to the pegboard. Every once in a while I need a break from thinking and toss a few dozen darts for the heckuvit. Oh yeah, the coffee roasting station is set up in the corner with a custom-shrouded fan to waft the smoke from my camp stove cooking fresh Sweet Maria’s French Roast to my downwind neighbors.

Today I got my 10 meter air gun range set up for the first time in several years. My first 10 rounds out of my Baikal IZH 46m had 4 9’s, 3 8’s and three fliers, one a 7 and two 6’s. I need to improve the lighting at the firing line as the sight contrast is poor. This air pistol is amazing: For less than a quarter the price of comparable 10-meter pistols, it will put them all in the same hole if you are up to it. I’m not, but I can sure learn a lot, shooting a gun that tells me EXACTLY what I did right and what I did wrong. Of course you have to file and sand the wooden grip to fit your hand, but that’s a whole lot less stressful on an inexpensive wooden grip than blemishing something fancier.

I also got two of the four sprinkler lines repaired and tuned up (mas-o-menos – a bit to go, but really nit-picky bits). 1,600 square feet of ex-willow tree / ex-8″-thick basketball court are now planted in some pretty healthy looking blueberries, raspberries, asparagus, peas, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, onions, sweet peppers, strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, melons and cucumbers.

Out front is a tree of unknown variety that I rehabilitated with a winter pruning and postage-stamp lawn that I frighten the neighbors by mowing with a human-powered reel mower. I trim the edges afterwards with a commercial-grade gasoline powered string trimmer to put their minds at ease (actually it’s just cuz I used to use it commercially that I have it. Otherwise I’d be using hand tools there too).

The studio has two trombones on stands, music books out and my playalong working most of the time running from my computer through a mongo 2nd-hand stereo. There’s about 40′ of bookshelf and another 25′ of reloading shelves covered with stuff and about 50 square feet of reloading/cleaning/utility bench area across from my office desk.

Dang. I think I’ve arrived … HOME

Feeling lucky.
Yep.
A cup of coffee over minimum wage, but I suspect the thrift store business will be around as long as I need it to be.
Room for improvement.
Sure.
More time off would be nice. Retirement sounds theoretically good, but I can’t think of anybody’s retirement package I could relax with. It’s time to settle in for the long haul. Hopefully I’ll get more and more of this stuff on autopilot.