The pantry shelves project

Steven tackled the pantry shelves project.

Two sheets of 3/4-inch plywood from Home Depot, transported in the back of Andy’s truck. Andy lives next door.

16 heavy-duty shelf brackets ordered online from Woodworker Express.

Screws, drill and bits, Danish oil, stud sensor, level.

With help from Jacquela cutting the plywood at the table saw.

Six days, including 72 hours waiting for the Danish oil to dry sufficiently.


Out with the old dryer, in with the new

The dryer died while Steven was biking in Washington, DC. Somewhere around 15 years old. Served well in at two houses. But after at least two major repairs, the smart decision is to get a new one.

Jacquela got a killer deal on a model that Samsung discontinued — a model that just happened to be the mate for our Samsung washer. 

Lowe’s took away the old Kenmore Elite and installed the new Samsung.

Fawning season

Adobe stopped cold outside the kitchen side door. Normally, she pulls hard to get to the mulch bed for her morning ablutions. She lowered her head. Steven followed the line from Adobe’s nose. Tucked behind the hose reel box was a new fawn.

We live in deer country. There’s the morning commute, when the herd walks the streets grousing for breakfast. And the evening commute, looking for dinner. The herd sometimes runs through for lunch.

Apparently, the doe considers you a safe place to park her fawn if she leaves the fawn by itself at your house.

Biking DC with Hilary

An extraordinary day.

It’s yet another business trip. However, Steven timed the trip to include an extra day in Washington, DC, to go bicycling with Hilary, older sister of Jadin’s friend Kara, daughter of Michelle, now residing and working just outside the enemy-occupied federal district.

Steven rented a bike from Conte’s Bike Shop in Arlington, VA., which delivered extraordinary service — from the first email query, to the phone conversation where Charles Conte asked questions about the ride we were planning, to the bike that Steven currently rides, to size and comfort and equipment — before anyone talked pricing. And … his pricing was ride in line with what other stores charge. Then, despite a busy store Saturday afternoon, Stephan rolled out the rental wheels and spent about an hour fitting the bike to Steven, to make it comfortable, efficient. Along the way, Hilary learned a bit about how to fit her new Fuji, purchased used on Craig’s List — along with lessons about pedals, shoes, safety equipment, pumps, wrenches … Charles and his team run a super store and deliver extraordinary service.

We kicked out of the hotel driveway in Arlington at 8 am, traveling 18 miles down the Potomac to Mount Vernon. DC was across the river. It was cold — temps in the 50s. We reached the house that George built about 10 am, taking our time to sightsee and snack along the route.

The route is mostly flat. We sailed …

Steven and Hilary outside the plant sale at Mount Vernon. We didn’t go in — because the plan was to ride. Steven is NOT proud of his winter weight gain. Hilary is all muscle and stunning.

In one of the parking lots we borrowed a three-way wrench and lowered Hilary’s seat by about an inch. She swung back in to the saddle to meet an entirely different and far more comfortable bike — no stretching to reach the pedals, and reaching past the stem to the handles was no longer stressful.

Hilary and her first mimosa at lunch.

On the way back, we stopped in Alexandria at Virtue Feed & Grain for lunch outdoors. At the table next to us, two other bike riders exchanged contact info with Hilary; they’re looking for more people to ride with. Bikers are friendly people!

18 miles down to Mount Vernon, then 18 back, with that stop for lunch, we opted to cross the bridge for Steven to sightsee. This is when a special day became an extraordinary adventure.

We crossed at Georgetown, carried the bikes down flights of steps to cross the tow path, and into history.

Steven and his winter weight gain in front of part of the Watergate.
A more familiar view of the curved Watergate structure.

We looped around the tidal basin across from the Jefferson Memorial and arrived at the FDR Memorial.

With Fala.
A bronzed line of Americans on a bread line in the Great Depression.
Despair. Hope. Pride.
Listening to a Fireside Chat. The power of radio to transform and inspire.

And then we visited with Martin Luther King.

As we walked our bikes up to the four stone mountains, the Jefferson Memorial is visible through the rock. The two great men stare at each other across the Tidal Basin, at opposite ends of history, slavery and freedom.

From there, we went to see Mr. Jefferson.

And Mister Washington.

Enemy-held territory, as seen from the Washington Monument.
Of all the stone monuments in DC, this is the ONE that resonates most with Steven.
From the steps of the Lincoln Monument, a selfie shot of the reflecting pool and Washington Monument.
Amazon Hilary. Steven’s favorite photo from the day.

Special delivery

The new mailbox arrived from Bold Manufacturing.

Steven rented a hammer drill from Home Depot and learned how to drill concrete. Four holes, less than a minute each. Not so difficult, if you have the correct tool. Steven’s hand drill, even on hammer settings, would not cut the mustard.

Bolts inserted, post fitted, washers on, nuts wrenched down. Post up.

Then it took another hour to drill out the concrete from around the existing/old mailbox post. The post would not come free. Steven texted Gilsa Concrete for assistance winching or cutting the old post. They opted to cut. Turns out the post is solid steel, not hollow, mounted in place with a second ball of concrete at least two feet down; that sucker is not coming out, and we will leave a segment permanently buried.

Biking the Circuit of the Americas racetrack

COTA opened up the Formula 1 track to bicyclists!

A small sample of the Schwab team.

Jacquela and Steven rode with Team Schwab — 20+ people.

Several hundred bikers turned laps.

The hill at turn 1 coming off the Pit/Grandstand straight is 144 feet and it feels nearly straight up. Jacquela made it. Steven did it twice.

Steven’s third ride of the year. Jacquela’s first. Still breathing heavy the next morning.

Unique. Extraordinary.

And COTA is apparently doing this every Tuesday evening for several weeks!

"Make it new." Ezra Pound.