One Step Forward …

What can I say about the last week?


First, I guess I will get the “exciting” bit out of the way.

Last Friday a contractor was here getting started on the interior drywall repairs. He cleaned up a few nits and got the first coat of mud and tape down before leaving just after noon. He was supposed to come back on Monday morning to continue the work, but… Covid.

That’s right, apparently he felt ill and tested positive for Covid on Monday morning. I got an apologetic text from his boss and we agreed to see how things go. The drywall work is still on temporary hold as a result.

I’d really like him to test negative before he returns, or at the very least I’d like it to be at least ten days after he tested positive. I guess I can enforce those requests, but we’ll see how things fall out. So far I don’t even know how sick he is, and since this disease can literally kill people I am waiting for an update before making requests about his return.

A week ago we ordered blinds for some of the rooms now that the windows are done. We were told they would be here sometime in early to mid December, but they showed up just a few days later.

All the rooms where they go require minor repainting work first, so I am getting started on that: filling the mounting holes for the old blinds and repainting both the window surrounds and sills. Only after that is done can I mount the new blinds. I’m starting with the library, then I’ll move on to Anne’s office, followed by our bedroom. Finally I will tackle the guest bedroom, but because of additional (and unexpected) drywall work in there I have to repaint one whole wall as part of that effort.

That issue is an odd one. A straight, vertical crack showed up in the wall next to a new window, apparently along a seam in the drywall. My guess is that in securing the window or trim in place one of the 2x4 studs was pulled out of line, causing the crack. It feels solid — nothing moves at all — so they are simply applying a bit of mesh tape and drywall mud to fix it.

In my copious spare time I am building an air filter. Recall that our home doesn’t have forced air heating, so air doesn’t really circulate. A portable air filter seems like a good idea.

I started by searching for ones I could purchase and didn’t like any that I found. They all used expensive, special order replacement filters, which is dumb. Furnace filters are the right idea.

Then I considered a Corsi-Rosenthal Box:

But those are big, loud, and do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a box fan at this time of year? I found some online but they were nearly $100. No thank you.

Instead I am building one that uses computer fans. 10 computer fans, to be precise. These:

The basic idea is to create a box. Two of the sides will hold five fans each. The other two sides will hold furnace filters. The top will have a handle and a power switch. The fans will pull air in through the filters and exhaust it out the sides. Simple, I hope.

To get started I wanted to create the panels that will hold the fans. They need to be reasonably precise and look good. So I made a jig that I could use with a trim router:

After testing it to be sure it was working as intended, I cut the two end panels:

Technically those should have been created on a CNC machine or a laser cutter. I might have been able to do something like that using the machines at Langara College, but instead I did it myself using a cheap trim router, a flush trim router bit and the jig shown above. It took a while, but it looks pretty good. (Sadly I failed to take photos when I temporarily mounted a couple of fans in one of those panels. Next time.)

Once those were done I started creating the other two sides of the box — the ones that will hold 16"x25"x1" air filters. Here’s one of those sides being assembled:

And here is one with an air filter and the dress panels resting in place:

The bottom dress panel will be permanently attached. The other three will be held in with magnets, locking the filter in place in the process.

I should probably paint this thing — which is why the fans are not yet attached — but it’s the middle of winter, so… dunno. Maybe.

I’m using scrap wood for nearly all of it, though I did buy the panel the fans will be mounted to because I needed something thin. I am also making a lot of it up as I go, which slows things down but is a fun way to pass the time.

There should be more photos next week.

In canine news, Cruzer is learning to sleep downstairs by himself. Last week you might recall that his fear of the stairs overwhelmed his ability to go down them, so we decided that he’s now a downstairs dog, even if he doesn’t agree. (And given the severity of his separation anxiety, he definitely doesn’t agree.)

The first night we left him downstairs at bedtime he cried for an hour. It was awful.

The second night he started barking, but it turned out that he hadn’t done all his business before going to bed and needed to let us know that was the case. After getting that handled he only cried for ten minutes.

Subsequent nights have been free of doggie vocal distress, at least so far.

I am not deluded enough to believe he’s figured this out and is happy with it. We’ll undoubtedly get more crying sometime soon. But not having to drag him down the stairs in the morning is a boon, and he is much less likely to injure himself this way.

Here he is, not wanting his picture taken:

And here is Tinkerbelle, who has decided that she does not want me to sit in my usual spot at the table:

That’s a small space for a large dog!

Finally, I’ve been experimenting a bit more with the “night site” mode on my phone camera. I quite like this:

That might look like a daylight photo, but it was taken at 10 pm using only interior light filtered through the windows.

The Japanese maple pictured was just starting to change colour on the lower branches when I took that photo on Nov 19. At this point — not even a week later — it is dropping leaves faster than we can clean them up.

I wish all my American readers a belated but happy Thanksgiving! And for my Canadian readers, knuckle down because cold weather is on the way!




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Jeff Powell

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.