Category Archives: river house

I’ve hit bedrock

IMG_0113Another name for this post is: I’ve finally gotten to my garage!

In the never-ending workload of the house, my garage has never been too far from my mind.

Really, I feel exceptionally blessed to even have a dedicated space that is mine. It’s large enough to hold me, the motorcycles (for now anyway), tools, a lathe, other “stuff” that has my name on it with enough room left over for some of M’s and Our’s boxes that don’t need to be heated or otherwise protected. Christmas decorations for instance.  IMG_0115

In planning the space, storage is always at the front. When i work on a bike, it gets torn down to the last nut, bolt, screw, bearing…well, you get the point. All that disassembly separated from a motorcycle fills three huge tubs fully with the petrol tank, mufflers (the larger bits) needing their own real estate for storage. My dilemma is storage also takes up floor space needed for completed motorcycles!             IMG_0117

My solution was to design an overhead shelf system that starts at 6’ from the floor and extends out 2’ from the wall, thus keeping that 2’ free for motorcycles. Big grin here for a lot of storage and no loss of floor space!

IMG_0108        IMG_0107

The pictures show bikes backed up to the wall, the overhead shelf system not yet built or installed.

Another issue: the floor is bare concrete. If you’ve worked with concrete, you can sweep and sweep and sweep and always have a pile of dust. And, dust is not a recommended lubricant and must therefore be controlled. Concrete on its surface is soft and easily erodes into dust. Walking, sweeping, looking at it (just kidding) will loosen that surface, and it is of exceptionally fine consistency, getting into everything.

I’ve painted the walls, sealing the cinder blocks but the floor got a layer of tile, isolating the porous concrete top surface and actually adding a layer of insulation for heat (non-existent at this time).   IMG_0116

More importantly, engines and other clean-room required-for-assembly mechanisms (such as suspension work too) can now be arguably achieved. I like it.

For you green folks, I’m using all reclaimed material: shelf and flooring materials coming from other parts of the house previously demolished, but saved. I boast I’m green, but one can argue I’m too cheap to buy new. Either way, works for me.

Stay tuned as my man cave, garage, safe haven–whatever you want to call it evolves into a useable, productive space.

Oh, and it’s painted white (not green) to keep alllllll the light in I can, deep inside the cave.

Further, harnessing wonderful electrons culminating into wall electric sockets will be added all around, even where I don’t foresee a need today.

Until next time, may your work space inspire you to be the inventor of great and marvelous things. I know mine is turning into a Miles Beyond Ordinary garage.

Still the projects wait…

Unknown     It’s December–the warmest on record for UnknownConnecticut. So what are we doing? Well, we are avoiding winter by going to places like Spain, California, and soon maybe an island. Of course, if this were last winter, that would have been a real respite.   DSCN2013

But, it’s this winter. Did I mention this is the warmest winter on record in Connecticut?Isn’t it just like those “best laid plans” gone awry.

DSCN1968 (1)   Well, we are determined to enjoy them anyway, even though the temps are similar to what we would have had    staying at home.

That brings me to the next subject, of staying at home, where projects in the garage are still,  pretty much, on hold until we finish the first floor reno on our river house.

It is progressing, I am happy to report.   IMG_2775 (1)

The bedroom walls are up, mudded, painted, the walk-in closet ready for flooring, and the bathroom plumbing is almost ready for tile in the shower and flooring.  Lighting is installed and mostly finished, and the bedroom flooring and molding will be finished, we hope, by February.

So by March, we may be able to move downstairs, where we imagine our 200 boxes getting unpacked and their contents finding a place to reside, so that there is room in the garage for…wait for it…projects!!  IMG_2134

Thanks for your patience. We will be sharing very soon.

(submitted by scribe Marjorie for Jay–who is still doing the electric and plumbing)

Men are waffles, women are spaghetti

As my friend, Gail, a marriage-family therapist, says: Men are waffles; women are spaghetti.   Unknown        Unknown-1

What that means is, most men are wired to focus on one activity at a time.

I believe this is especially true of engineer-types. Women tend to interweave many strands of thought, projects and conversation together. These traits are part of why men and women have a lot of trouble communicating.

images    If you’ve ever been in a room with chattering women in one corner, and chattering men in another corner, you know that women carry on several conversations at once and seem able to know which strand they are on, even as they switch it up.

Men, on the other hand, are moving one square at a time, one subject at a time.

So what does this have to do with motorcycles?

IMG_1223     You read about Jay’s many projects. You read about his renovation of our River House. You noticed he has a blog, missing many months of updating. Well, there you have it.

Wifey cowed him into beginning the blog back before the River House was ours. Now, the poor guy is tabling his first love–bikes, to keep the renovation going so we end up with a beautiful home on the Connecticut River.   IMG_1240

It’s bad enough he has to patiently wait to really roll up his sleeves and get those hands in motor oil and parts. But, putting aside his first love AND our house finish to WRITE A BLOG! Well, that just seems impossible to a waffle.

So, though, spaghetti brain (me) knows that in the long run, he will be glad you are there when he is ready, waffle brain has a little trouble seeing the logic.

Unknown-1    This is all to say, Jay will be posting from time to time. But, it may be ME for a short while, filling you in, as he gets our master bedroom, master bath, walk-in closet to the place where we can move to the first floor and actually receive our CO (Certificate of Occupancy) for the downstairs.

Until then, we are living upstairs, Jay is working full time, doing house stuff evenings and weekends, trying to fit in a few tweaks on a bike, now and then, to keep himself sane, and thinking, when there is a waffle square available, about what he wants to share with y’all here.

“Stay tuned,” as he would say.

The Joys of Too Many Projects for Random Abstract Brain

Of course there is an element of sarcasm in my post titles. Today it’s more like the “pains” of too many projects.

What I mean is, if you study how my brain works, you’ll find I can’t seem to stay with any one project at a time, because I need a multitude of projects, the more complex the better, to keep my life interesting.

IMG_1250   Take for instance our house remodel. Never mind that it’s a full time job for four people, and, no we don’t have them, it’s just Marjorie and me. But add to that, the aforementioned random abstract quirk, and you have me forever disappearing into the garage to get a tool, during which time I see a task needing done on my motorcycle.

Yes, there are several motorcycles, all in various stages of completion, so my brain is intensely, you might even say laser-focused on whatever task is at hand for that ten minutes.

And, when hands have gotten their various instructions and are working smoothly, brain, without supervision, wanders to some other task. Undisciplined brain! My wife says no–just the nature of this beast’s brain style.

Given that the hands have talent, and the brain wanders, one might imagine a lack of organizational structure. Yet, the work marches on and eventually, always, finishes…just not on any set schedule for the sequential-types.

The house is nearing completion in very large part due to Marjorie’s loving encouragement of next steps. No, literally–she wants steps by the new side door to the mud-laundry room. Something about giving me access to a room with a sink, that is not the kitchen, in my egress from my motorcycle work in the garage.   IMG_1915

I will finish the first floor work–weekend projects to finish bedroom, master bath, and walk-in closet.The tools and materials I need are close so there’s no reason, no excuse, no escape. Not to worry. I like to work on the house, and it does get done. Further, I love seeing the progress of where we’ll live, how we’ll live.

Alas, motorcycles are a different story. I’m pushing small tasks that can be accomplished in 30 minutes or less, while knowing that the garage is unfinished, and is on the remodel list as well. Motorcycles will have to wait their turn. Even blogging about their progress, varied as they are, suffers the same fate.

IMG_0360   Interesting motorcycle projects at hand in the queue: a ‘68 Honda CL450, this one just needs a seat; my daily rider, an XS650 Yamaha is heavily-modified (and will appear in a future post); Suzuki Marauder needs fuel injection and turbo charger; lastly, a basket Triumph Bonneville, of which the bits are all there, but which elicit me shaking my head, sighing, and feeling a little overwhelmed, even for random brain–there is so much to do.

The benefits of this brain are that creativity hasn’t found limits even in my advancing years. As problems arise, they’re solved, which in their turn, trigger new ideas of innovation, form, color, function, and in this advancing state of my particular art, new techniques are developed in an odd combination of concepts that somehow work well together. Just as I’ve never been accused of being normal, my motorcycles are definitely, Miles Beyond Ordinary.

I hope your project pains are as interesting as mine! Please leave me a note to let me know about what you’re doing.