‘Where the hell have I been all these months?’, you ask. Or perhaps not, as I’m sure my absence has alienated most people. Hopefully not that badly….forgive me, it’s all been for the best….really! {sniff}. Basically for the first couple of months I was focusing on my two jobs to an obscene level (note the last blog entry – July 30). I would be up at 7am, and would get home around 12:30am. This went on for quite awhile, and sucked every single bit of creative writing energy I had. Then I got shafted a little bit by my client. Then got shafted a second time. “Why stick around waiting to be shafted the second time, not to mention a third time?”, you ask? Melanie asked the question after the first time actually. I’m only beginning to ask myself that question recently. I think I was so desperate to have a job as a programmer again that I was willing to suffer the frustrations of dealing with shady dealers.
Then everything just fell into my lap quite neatly. A new source appeared. I received a call from a headhunter regarding a perfect opportunity for me to use my abilities in programming and database as a full-time consulting position. The hourly rate was where I wanted it to be, and the commuting time is one half what I had at Palindromic Insurance. Good timing too, as I sort of got shafted the third time by my part-time client. I say sort us as he didn’t necessarily take anything from me, he just decided to not answer my questions about important design decisions, so I stopped doing any work. Pretty soon we had each ignored ourselves out of a contract. I have no regrets…he was kind of scary anyway. When it comes to the insurance company, I worked hard on trying to leave on a good foot…which I think I did. You never know when the opportunity to work together may come up again.

Change has been a fairly consistant factor these days. Work around the house especially has been constantly occuring. First we re-did our entire hallway – painting and replacing doors. I even installed my first track-lighting system (and didn’t burn the house down once!). Suddenly, the dark dingy area of our house has become this great bright area, and my wife is quite pleased with the result. I mean, we finished working on it two months ago and I still catch her commenting on it.
Next came the backyard. Melanie had a great pile of dirt delivered to our driveway so that we could level certain areas of the backyard, especially along the fence. However weather, a defective tractor and constant pressure against resorting to a wheelbarrow allowed this pile of dirt to sit for quite awhile longer than it should. Then on the day that I got up all bright-eyed and bushytailed…er, ok, I got up at least; with great expectations of moving the dirt-pile, a new task was thrown my way by my wife. “KILL THE DECK!”, she cried with rage in her eyes. Or something like that.

Our back deck was old and slowly rotting away. Apparently when it was built some twenty years ago, the idea of protectant seals was foreign to the homeowner, so the wood was in ridiculous condition. I was able to pull most of the 2×6’s out with a quick flick of a crowbar. Many more split and fell apart with a quick stomp of a bootheal. Basically, it came down a heck of a lot faster than I expected. Interestingly enough, I found myself enjoying the job. Being able to finally use my fathers day gifts of powertools helped matters a lot. My Reciprocating Saw was my trusty friend, slipping through 4×4 beams like butter. We have a chainsaw at the house, but I even with my shoulder being fixed I still find myself unable to use it properly. We then burnt the wood as fast as possible, as some of it was discovered to be infested with carpenter ants. The attached picture shows what the yard looked like during demo. It’s much different now – the deck is 100% gone, and the jumbled mess is cleaned up. I’ll post an updated pic over the next few days.

Backyard Renovations - August 2006

Now my current home improvement job is the dirt pile. I have managed to get it down to about 1/2 its size, thanks to a finally working tractor and a lot of daredevil bravado on my part. This weekend I hope to get the rest of it out, as our tenant needs to get his parking spot back.

There is much more that I hope to update about. Let’s just hope another literary meteor doesn’t strike me down again. I have been requested to update the world on Jasper Station (it opens tomorrow night), which I will do later this evening if possible.

Until later…stay inconsistant!