How I Spent My Summer Vacation


This summer I knocked out the wall between the living room and the kitchen.  Like every other project I do, this one was a major pain in the butt.  I had to dissect kitchen cabinets, remove lots of crappy paneling, remove the support from a load bearing beam, replace the support under the load bearing beam, hope I did it correctly because I’m too cheap to hire an engineer, and make a little half wall.


I discovered that I really suck at drywall.  But that’s okay.  It looks good, it’s solid and durable, and it doesn’t smell like cigarette smoke and dog pee (which is what the old paneling smelled like).  The joints and seams are not that visible if you just avoid certain kind of lighting.  It’s all good.

primerSee?  In this light it looks great!


In my opinion, it’s the woodwork that makes this house stand out.  And I had to get a little creative and a little unconventional to make it all work.  I’m not sure how well it comes across in the pictures, but that beam twists about 10 degrees along its full 24 foot length.  It makes it a real challenge to make anything square.  In particular, the walls and the kitchen cabinets.

paintThis wall got a nice layer of turquoise paint.  I love color, lots of bold color.  Our house is a cabin on an island, so I expect to decorate it like the island, with the colors of the sea, the forest and the rocky land.  On a really nice day, that turquoise is what you’ll see when you look out past the shore.

deerI need to mention that if you feed a deer your apple cores, they will follow you for about an hour, looking for more of that apple.  I wonder if it’s legal to feed wild deer.  Maybe it’s not.  It’s perfectly legal to shoot them, but you’re probably not supposed to feed them.  Go figure.


Just passing through


Finally got a pic of this little critter coming up the driveway. He and another one just like him have been passing through periodically, on the way up from the beach and disappearing into the mountainside behind us.

otter 2

Not sure what they’re going up there for. Could be fresh water. Could be an otter sports bar where they watch otter playoff hockey. No idea. I’m guessing they’re sea otters as I’ve seen them frolicking out in the salt water. But they could be regular otters. I’m not an otterologist.

They are not shy, either. They’ll walk right past you, intent on their little otter destination. And if you have a fish in your pocket they’ll probably chase you.

that tail

And look at that tail! That thing looks like a weapon.

What’s been happening lately?

Lots going on but not a lot of finished projects yet.  Some hints below:

That spider is big enough to pull a cart.  I’m going to have to start charging him rent.

It’s Critter Time

They outnumber us, even in tourist season.

The bald eagles hang out at the solid waste facility.  Yes, the dump.  When you throw away your half eaten chicken sandwich, well, they get first dibs.  We saw three or four of them in one tree last week.  Also on any given day at the dump you’ll find about 7,000 seagulls and blackbirds picking at the loose bits of cocoa puffs and other scrap.  But the eagles wait for real food to appear.  Sometimes, they eat seagull.


RaccoonOut here, we have more critters than neighbors.

Same raccoonIsland raccoons are not like Denver raccoons.  The urban ones are friendly, happy, and eat everything they see.  Island raccoons are bad tempered, have an attitude, and eat everything they see.  I’m pretty sure this one would have tried to force his way inside the door if I left it open for a minute longer.


Strange orange object seen in sky

sIMG_0345We saw this strange orange thing up in the sky this morning.  Not sure what it was.  It was really bright and hard to look at.  I think it was a spaceship, or some kind of weird fireball that inexplicably appeared for a few moments.  Going to contact NASA and see if they know anything about this.

sIMG_0343We were on the ferry when we saw it.  The winged sea-rats (depicted on right) did not seem terribly alarmed.  I think they use the orange light to help them scavenge for food.  They’re always staring at me like I have popcorn in my pockets or something.

sIMG_0347Once we got off the ferry, it turned into a really foggy day.  The highways were downright eerie, and flanked by the gray silhouettes of gnarled, leafless trees.  Not to mention the california drivers shooting by at speed limit +20, oblivious to the fact that they can’t see more than 30 yards ahead of them at a time.  Maybe they were just watching their GPS to make sure they were following the road okay.

sIMG_0353 sIMG_0356The weather on the way back was nice.  Clear skies with little banks of fog socked into the lowlands.  Like hordes of zombies moving slowly from suburb to suburb to prey upon the living.  Seriously, fog like that is really creepy.  Got a neat view of Mt. Baker with the moon right behind it.  More winged rats were scavenging the beaches for anything they could wrap their beak around.  They’re in league with the zombies, I’m sure of it.

sIMG_0334While on the beach, we found a bird feather that we brought home for Inky.  She went absolutely ballistic.  It smelled like bird, real authentic Bird!  She was completely nuts over it.  I mean, Cuckoo-for-Cocoa Puffs nuts.

Well, we got back from the mainland with a carload of goods from Target and Walgreens and other various luxuries we don’t often find on the island.  It’s a balancing act.  Not only does it cost around $50 just to get the car on the ferry, but we’re talking 12 hours of Life that goes by between the time we have to get up and the time we get back.  So $50 + (cost of gas) + (whatever you think your free time is worth per hour × 12 hours) is the base cost of dragging yourself to the mainland for a shopping excursion.  Naturally, we save a bit of money at the big box stores stocking up on paper towels and napkins and stuff, but if your net savings isn’t greater than what you came up with in the equation above, you lost money.  Not monopoly money.  Real, live, legal tender for all debts public and private.  In this case, I think we broke even.

sIMG_0337We bought a cord of firewood a while back, so when we got home we had plenty of fuel to make this house nice and toasty.  So we could unfurl our retail store prizes in the comfort of a warm home.  I must say, that is well worth the price of admission.