gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
Dear gods, my feet hurt. But it was a very good day. I like busy Saturdays, mainly because it lets me spend more time with Kirsten that doesn't involve staring at some sort of video device and they recharge my brain.

But damn, do I pay for it. My floor weasels are running wild tonight, setting my feet on fire, pulling off toes, driving spikes through my feet . . . it's not the pain that bothers me so much, although it can be excruciating, it's that my brain has a library of Things That Can Happen To Feet that translates these random bursts of information from dying nerves into specific sensations.

Like right now, where the big toe on my left foot has just been ripped off. Ow.

My morning started with the bi-monthly Dungeons & Dragons game. Playing over Skype with roll20 for the maps and die rolls is fantastic. We have five players and our DM with me out in California and one in Norway, with the rest in or near Michigan. Today we reached the end of our epic side quest to clear the abandoned hold of the Ironaxe Clan of the fiends that possessed it and return the Ironaxe to the clan's last survivor.

Digenis, my pantless (it's a running joke) Half-elf Barbarian was wielding Fred the Greataxe, who was smarter than Digenis and hated the fiends with a passion rarely seen in sharpened hunks of metal. It is a testament to my love of playing my Chaotic Neutral character that not once did I have to make a saving throw to keep Fred from compelling me to fight. No, I waded right in, screaming my battle cry "Safety Third!" and hacking away. Fred and I made a good team.

Sadly, after we defeated the boss demons, Fred's mission was complete. He left my axe. Luckily, In the treasure trove was a shiny +3 Battle Axe. Mine! I've named it Fred, Jr.

But after all this, I had real world work to do. Kirsten had hooked up the trailer and brought ti to her office so we could do some work on it. She came and got me, and headed back over.

The first task was to deal with some of the drips and oversprays from the painting of the red stripes. Kiri did a great job matching the trailer's color, and you can barely see the newer paint over the old. She also painted the small window frame, and we did touch ups here and there. It looks much better now.

The second task was a bit harder. Hell, it was a stone bitch. The platform for the sleeping area is multiple sheets of thick plywood. We had removed them so the interior could be stained and sealed (it looks amazing now) and today was the day to reinstall them.

One little problem. We had forgotten to mark which holes in the supporting frame lined up with which holes in the platform pieces. There was much cursing and setting of things before we finally got the pieces to fit. We are not taking those bloody pieces out again without a very, very good reason.

After a short break, we tackled the third task of the day: our pallet. Since Burning Man requires that you support yourself for a week, you need to bring a great deal of stuff. The Army left me with a compulsive need to organize and make lists. Since we have the Free Trailer Beowulf now, our packing needs have changed. We wanted to get a feel for what we had, what we needed, and what we can get rid of.

I was pleasantly surprised. Because of my broken foot last year I was unable to take part in our unloading process. But everything was well-organized. We realized we don't need our cots, the spare tent, and a couple of other things. We will be taking the big tent and all its support material as someone will be buying it from us on the Playa.

Doing this has allowed me to better see how our loading is going to happen. A small amount of material can be carried in the trailer, not too much due to weight and stability issues, but it gets some of the load out of the truck bed (and out of the cab for that matter.) Having the trailer means less stuff and time needed for set-up and tear down. It's all coming together nicely.

We do still need a few things, a battery for our solar panels, a spare tire for the trailer, a couple of other minor things. And we still need to get the trailer's name up on it. I'm almost tempted to look on Craigslist for a graffiti artist to do the work.

But after all this, it was time to hook the trailer up and take it back to the storage yard. We decided to take 101 to avoid the rather bumpy roads on 87 and 85. Big mistake. The had been a major accident on the other side of the freeway, and the looky-loos were causing a backup.

But we made it, eventually, and got the Beowulf into its assigned bay. A run through the nearby Jack drive through, back to the office where I had forgotten my cane, and then home.

2,700 steps today. Not bad. But dear Halford, my FEET!
gridlore: One of the "Madagascar" penguins with a checklist: [x] cute [x] cuddly [x] psychotic (Penguin - Checklist)
It's about 1800 on Saturday, and already it's been a long weekend. Coming off a long week, I am pretty smoked. But we're getting shit done around here. Which is good, activity keeps my brain and body working. Anything I do to force my brain to keep making connections, and anything that works the decaying nerves in my legs a little harder equals a longer and better life for me.

Spring-like weather has arrived here in the Santa Clara Valley, and that means that sleeping in was possible due to it not being under 40 degrees in the apartment. All of you who live in places where frozen water falls from the skies can roll your eye all you like, I no longer handle cold well. So it was a good morning to snuggle with my Kiri and the mountain of teddy bears.

Firs thing on my agenda was the bi-weekly D&D game. We play on Roll20.com, and use Skype for communication. It's a fun group, with my friend Allen Shock running things. We're on to a new campaign after the Total Party Kill we experienced in Ravenloft a few weeks back. I'm playing a half-elf barbarian named Digenis Akirtas. The name comes from an epic tale written in the 8th century about a hero born of a Byzantine father and an Arab mother. The name literally means "Two Blood Border Lord", and I figured it was a good for a man born of two races. We're starting at 7th level. This time we remembered to bring some clerics along! Fought and killed a Frost Giant, squeezed through some gates, and found treasure. We start exploring this abandoned Dwarfhold in two weeks. Really happy to be gaming again after such a long break.

After that, a nap. Kirsten had gone out for a blood draw, and wanted to lie down for a bit. I joined her. Because bed. I sleep a lot more than I did before the stroke. It's kind of disturbing because it is one of the more subtle changes I've noticed. It's all related to my mental endurance, I'm sure.

But we rose, because we had to go work on the Free Trailer Beowulf! It was still parked inside Kirsten's warehouse. We had a couple of goals for the day: Remove the back pieces of the platform that made up the bed area, inspect for more mold, install two leveling bubbles (little carpenter's levels screwed into the frame of the trailer, so you can adjust for a level interior when you're camping), and mark out where a really nice window we were gifted was going to go.

Well, we found mold. It was pretty dead, due to our leaving a dehumidifier in the trailer for the past few weeks, but it was there. The awesome man who runs the door and window shop next door to Kiri's work told us the best way to get rid of it. Which meant yet another trip to Home Depot. Luckily, it's not far. We found what we needed, along with one of their job buckets. Back to the warehouse.

I mixed the TSP (Trisodium phosphate) in our new bucket, put on some thick rubber gloves, and went to work with a shop towel. Dear gods, you could almost hear the mold shrieking "I'm melting! What a world!" as I swiped.Where has this stuff been all my life? Hopefully, this is the last we'll see of the mold, as Chris, the door guys, has offered to stain and seal the raw wood parts of the interior. And install the window. He's kind of awesome. Even if he is an A's fan.

After some drama with a stuck drill bit, we got the levels installed in a "close enough for rock and roll and Burning Man" way. RVs need to be leveled for pumps and drains to work properly. We just don't want the inside to look like a villains lair in the 1966 Batman TV show. Most;y level works. This was also the day we tested out two of our leveling jacks. We have four, one for each corner, and their rated for far greater loads than we could possibly get into that small space. They are a good thing.

Tomorrow, we're going to do some exterior work. We have red reflective tape that's going down both sides for that "Little Black Book" Traveller feel. We'll also look for signs of more mold, and clean up a little. Nice thing is, we don't have to tow it back to storage tomorrow, it can wait until Monday, as Tony needs to double check the electrical hook ups again.
gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
What a day! I knew earlier this week it was going to be a busy one, but I'm really surprised at how much we accomplished. Especially considering how fried I was over the whole Facebook meltdown. And having a biopsy. It's been a stressful week.

But we had things to do, so rather than hitting the snooze button several times, we were up and out the door soon after 0700. Our first goal was the storage yard where we keep the Free Trailer Beowulf. For the locals, We live in Santa Clara and the yard is in South San Jose near the 101/85 interchange. So a bit of a drive. After a stop for breakfast at Jack in the Box, we proved to ourselves that we are getting moderately decent at hooking the trailer up to the truck.

Moderately.

Anyway, Kirsten had drive down, so I took the next leg of driving. Back up 101 to her office in Santa Clara. Normally, this freeway is a parking lot at that time of the morning, but I guess a ton of people were taking advantage of the sudden spring weather to head to Tahoe for some skiing. Very little traffic along the way.

Although there was a little odd movement at first, we quickly concluded it was the road surface causing it, and not the trailer fishtailing. It was steady as a rock back there. I'm happy to have spent so many years driving 34' flatbeds . . . my lane-changing instincts are conditioned to expect the need for a wide opening in the lane I'm moving into and I have the habit of signalling long before I move. This pays off. Hell, I signal in parking lots when I'm the only car there. Good habits, people!

Anyway, the main goal of the day was getting the wiring looked at. Remember, the Beowulf was somebody's shop project, and it shows. It's why we got it cheap. The main concern was the wiring from the truck connector to the tail lights looked sloppy, and the 110 volt power cable that ran inside to two power strips was both hanging loose and had a connection held together by electrical tape. Tony, one of Kiri's coworkers and a fellow trailer enthusiast, has been more than happy to take part in the project. In fact, everyone at Earthbaby seems to be pitching in.

Once we had Tony set up, I headed out to do my "job." There's some weird program that if you are disabled and can get a company to pay you $5 a month to do something, it makes keeping you benefits easier. Don't ask me. But my job is collecting recycling from the break room and taking it to the recycling place. I keep the proceeds. Did that and headed back.

When I got back to the warehouse, work was proceeding apace. It was decided that a run to the nearby Home Depot was needed for a few thing, so Tony and I jumped in the truck and headed over there. To say I got my walk in is an understatement. Find what we need, pay, and head back to the office. Where I need to sit. I was frankly becoming burned out at this point, as it was a tough week for me.

But there was more to do, and this is about the time awesome happened. Next to Earthbaby is a custom door and window place. I've met the owner, a really nice guy, and of course Kirsten knows him pretty well. We had been talking about staining the inside of the trailer. He takes one look, and tells us exactly how he's going to do it. For free. Then he looks at our sad little Plexiglas window and says "I got something." Goes back into his warehouse, and comes back out with an actual window and frame, with frosted privacy glass and just leans it up on the trailer. It means cutting into the trailer wall to make a hole big enough, but damn!

Sometimes even a cynic like me has to admit there are good people out there.

I wasn't just an observer and chauffeur. I helped! One of the first jobs done was adding a new metal support bar to the trailer's tongue. Kirsten had sprayed it was black Rustoleum but wasn't sure if he had gotten a good covering. Being skinny, I shimmied under the body to spray the parts that had been missed.

Even though I wanted to stay to the end of the day, I was beginning to show obvious signs of burning out. Kirsten took lunch so we could go back to Home Depot for an exchange, stopped at Subway for lunch, and then dropped me back here at home. Tonight, I sleep the sleep of the accomplished! Tomorrow, Digenis the Barbarian raids the Sword Coast! (D&D game.)
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Work continues on the Free Trailer Beowulf. I'm going to straight up admit that Kirsten has been doing most of the grunt work, and she's been stunning.

One thing we learned early is that we suck at backing the trailer into parking spots. To fix that, she bought a hitch dolly. A simple ball hitch attached to a wheeled dolly. Our trailer is light enough to be easily pushed by hand, and using this puts the pivot point right at the hitch point rather than 10' forward at the truck's front wheels. We used it today to correctly position the trailer in its storage yard slot. Along with that, we got a wheel dock to hold the front jack leg in place.

My contribution today was spraying the mold Kiri found with plenty of vinegar and pulling down the contact paper that was serving as wallpaper to see if the fungi had spread. We'll probably end up staining that wood and sealing it with a spray coating. Glow in the dark stars and moons will happen. During the process I found that the previous owner had left a small camp mirror behind. One less thing for us to buy!

Next step is to hook up the trailer and take it back over to Kiri's office. The Manly Men there saw some deficiencies in the front of the A-frame, and there is welding equipment and a stock of steel at the warehouse. The wiring is also a bit of a kludge, and needs to be cleaned up a little. While that's happening, I'll be inside carefully scrubbing the dead mold off the wood and sealing the affected areas.

After we took care of things at the storage yard, we decided to go check out the new Bass Pro Shop in New Almaden. Dear Gods, that place is huge, and so much fun to wander through! A giant aquarium stocked with really big fish, huge selections in every department, and even a well-stocked firearms section. We did buy handles for our 30oz thermal mugs. Prices there were iffy, but we can compare with REI for the best deals now that we know what's there.

The plan had been to hit the grocery store after all of this, but by that point we were both tired and my legs were spiking at seven on the pain scale. I'm planning on doing the Y tomorrow (I expect it to be empty) and I'll hit to store on the way back home.

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gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
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