Myra Leon

My mother died Saturday, 21 November, killed by COVID-19.

One of 255,000 Americans who did not have to die.

And counting. Still. Counting.

Aided and abetted by mass murderer Donald J. Trump, loser, and his accomplices — all of them dishonest, all of them irresponsible, all of them pathetic, all of them contemptible, all of them cowards, all of them traitors to the oath of office they take to preserve, protect and defend. Lock them up, every damnable one of them. Then go to hell.

Myra Leon, age 90; daughter of Jack and Rebecca; wife to and predeceased by Jerome; mother of Steven, David and Robert; mother in law to Jacquela, Ellen and Karen; grandmother to Justin, Amy, Adam, Stacy, Harley, Brody, Jadin; great-grandmother to Emma and Sofie; shepherd to Dynamite and Muffie; columnist at the Journal News; knitter, mahjong player, guide to field trips to the museum, passionate listener to Saturday matinee broadcasts of opera.

She loved well. She was well loved. She lived well. She lived long. She died early.


new roof, part 2

One day, start to finish, 730 am to 5 pm, arrival of crew to departure. Originally budgeted at up to three days, depending on weather. They cleaned the site with a magnet to collect errant nails and staples.

Roofing creates a mess. Crew cleans it all up.
The new roof, almost complete, atop the second storey. Still to do — the chimney cap, to be formed from a sheet of metal.
Part of the new roof on the shed over the third bay of the garage; new drip edge visible.
The new roof over the first storey at the front of the house, debris to clean up.
The new roof at the north side of the first storey, with two plumbing exhausts installed and debris to clean up.

New roof

Back during the remodel, the roof was the ONE thing we did not have to rip off and replace, just repair in limited places. We were instructed to check it after about five years. Time’s up.

Metlife opted to cover most of the replacement, because hail. Thank you, Metlife.

Steven met with several roofers. Wes Strahan and Texas Traditions get the gig. Why? Wes is responsive, tracked down answers, explained everything, put up with Steven asking more than the usual questions …
From the front of the house, tearing up the old shingles on the first and second stories.
Jacquela studies the exposed black felt from the back yard; almost all the old shingles have been torn off at this point.
New shingles stacked at the ridge line over the main house.

The crew from Texas Traditions arrived about 730 am. The materials arrived about 830 am. By 10 am, most of the existing roof was torn away; Estimated life expectancy 20+ years consumed. New synthetic underlayment applied over the old black felt, because the felt was still good enough to provide a second layer of protection from water. And it sounds like elephants are playing soccer up there while Jadin is taking online classes and Steven attempts a video conference call.

The upper roof, cleared of most debris.
The workshop atop the original garage, with part of the ridge vent exposed — this was cut in during the remodel.
We chose American Havest “Nantucket Morning” from GAF — a mix of gray and blue to complement the existing body colors of the house — gray and barn red.
New shingles stacked atop the shed roof of the new garage added during the remodel. Metlife requires that we replace even this newer roof in order to insure the entire job.
And about one hour later the same roof is protected with synthetic FeltBuster.
Layers of water protection in the roof valleys — metal flashing and adhesives.
Some of the old metal flashing curled into a pile on the ground, along with some of the old metal drip edging.
We need two of these, one for each tankless water heater. They are screens that stop leaves from blowing into the exhaust/intake stacks for the tankless units. Wes Strahan had to track these down from Navian and Ferguson. The screens were not installed during the original remodel and install of the tankless units. How does Steven know this? He’s had to clean — several times — oak leaves out of the tankless water heater filters.

Welcome back

it’s been a while. We’ve been busy. Living in the house. Working around the house. Tackling projects. Graduating from high school. Sending Jadin off to NYU to study screen writing. Bringing her home, because pandemic. Walking Adobe. Taking out the garbage. Building raised beds in the back yard for Jacquela to grow veggies. The usual …

Making the pot filler level and plumb

The plumbers that installed the pot filler at the kitchen cooktop did not make it level and plumb — and it wiggled, just a little bit.

As part of the punch list, Odell and Jacinto from Ranserve chisled five bricks from the exterior wall on the outside of the house directly opposite where the pot filler is mounted to the studs inside the wall. In other words, we are working from the outside of the house, to the inside. Why? We don’t want to have to take down the red glass tile backsplash that the pot filler is mounted to inside the kitchen. And, additionally, we need to get to the mounting structure inside the wall; the shortest route is to chisel from the outside in.

This became a two-day project — just to fix an oversight by the plumbers — with another day pending.

Photo essay:

After Jacinto chisled out the brick and cut away the sheathing to expose the studs, we carefully pulled handfuls of the insulating foam away from the studs — to reveal two Ethernet network cables — thin blue cables at left of photo — the blue Pex water line that runs almost horizontally across the stud bay, and the copper angle fitting to which the Pex is coupled.

It took several hours to carefully dissect our way into the house. Photo above reveals two network cables that run down the exterior wall into a conduit that travels under the concrete slab of the kitchen floor, then out to the island, where we can plug various devices into the network inside the house. At right, Odell, Steve and Jacinto — after much discussion — opted to cut away a chunk of stud to yield up access to the copper fitting that screws three times into whatever it is mounted to. And we had to do this without breaking any of the glass tiles on the other side of the drywall visible at the back of the photo. At right, is an older, darker, intact stud original to the house. Further right is a brighter stud — newer wood — and the edge of the OSB sheathing that Ranserve installed against the new stud and several others behind brick that we did not remove. 

The next step was to cut a 2×4 in half, lengthwise, screw that carefully to the intact original stud to the right. But first, we had to drill three holes in the short length of stud to match the three mounting holes in the copper pipe angle, feed bolts through the wood into the pipe angle — and then Steven, who had the slimmest, longest fingers between Odell, Jacinto and Steven, working blind by touch behind the wood, fitting lock washers and nuts to the back end of the bolts. After which we were able to pull the pot filler tight to the wood, adjusting the screws a quarter turn at a time while leveling the pot filler insider the house.

With the pipe angle bolted and the pot filler leveled, Odell and Jacinto cut down a piece of 3/4-inch plywood, screwed that tight to the intact darker stud to the right of the sliced stud, and then drilled three screws into the wood against which the pipe angle is mounted, pulling that short piece of wood into a position where the pot filler inside the kitchen is level, plumb and secure, with minimal wiggles.

With the piping braced, several hours into this episode, we sealed up the house and called it a day, leaving behind a pile of debris on the ground. Jacinto packed away all the tools, and we scheduled to revisit at 8 am the next morning.

Jacinto peeled off the protective plastic. Here’s a close-in shot of the excavation, peering up. Visible in this shot is something new. Jacinto added a vertical run of 3/4-inch plywood, notching it around the Pex tubing. He screwed this at top and bottom to the cut ends of the old stud, using deck-mount screws. Then he carefully screwed the plywood to the chunk of 2×4 that the copper pipe fitting is screwed to. The three nuts are visible on the chunk of 2×4. This creates a mount that is secured from two different directions.

And a close in look down at the debris trapped between the brick and sheathing. We tried to clean most of this out, but it’s nearly impossible. There’s no way to prevent debris from falling into the air gap between the back of the brick and the front of the sheathing.

Jacinto cuts a square of OSB sheathing to fit against the studs.

After test-fitting the OSB, Jacinto used spray foam from a can to re-insulate the stud bay and pipes. He carefully sealed smaller gaps between studs too.

With the foam still curing and sticky, Jacinto screwed the OSB sheathing to the studs. This established a third mounting angle to lock the pipe angle mount firmly into position.

Jacinto taped everything up with Tyvek tape, to close as many air gaps as possible.

Steven collected bricks from the pile left over from remodeling the house. Jacinto chipped old cement away from the bricks.

He mixed up cement from a bag, troweled the cement and bricks into place.

Here’s the final brick, buttered with cement, inserted into the wall.

Jacinto smoothed and pointed the cement, filling gaps.

And now we let the cement dry and cure overnight, to make it ready for painting.


One giant leap

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” av_uid=’av-k0m71fe1′ admin_preview_bg=”] Jadin’s braces are off. Photos are NOT permitted.

And it’s 48 years since this took place:

(FILE PHOTO) An Apollo 11 astronaut’s footprint in the lunar soil, photographed by a 70 mm lunar surface camera during the Apollo 11 lunar surface extravehicular activity. Neil Armstrong stepped into history July 20, 1969 by leaving the first human footprint on the surface of the moon. (Photo by NASA/Newsmakers)

"Make it new." Ezra Pound.