Snow Day

Today was the day after Christmas blizzard that wasn’t really a blizzard at all.  It was enough to get me out of work early though so not all was lost. I took advantage of the free time and planted our Christmas tree in the east preservation area.  The tree was in the house for about eight days and was starting to shed needles.  There was a lot of snow falling today but I trudged out with my tree in hand. I uncovered the plywood covering the hole I had previously dug in warmer weather.

tree removed from its pot waiting to be planted.

tree removed from its pot waiting to be planted.

I removed the tree from its pot and took off the plastic I had wrapped the bulb in when we brought it into the house.  Using a utility knife I cut away the fabric covering the bulb and loosened up the roots.

I took my trusty shovel and dug the hole out a little more…the soil was not frozen courtesy of the plywood covering.  I dropped the tree in and adjusted it so it looked fairly upright; the trunk has a slight curve.  I covered up the hole with the soil and even spread out a buck full of mulch around the base.  To help insulate the bulb I also tossed some fresh snow around the base too.  Within a few minutes the trees branches were covered in freshly fallen snow.


our christmas tree

our christmas tree

Now as you drive up the driveway, if you look closely out your passenger side window….just over there by the cherry trees, you’ll see a little blue spruce.  The first Christmas tree we ever had in our new home.  Hopefully, long after I’m gone, that tree will be standing there full grown, greeting guests and visitors.  It’s not to far from the birdhouse I cleaned out today as well, so I’m sure it’ll provide some nice refuge for birds through the years.  The tree stands in a pathway I cut out with my trimmer just about 18 months ago.  How far we’ve come in a short time.


We also took the opportunity to play in the snow today too.  The pond berm proved to be a most agreeable sledding hill for two wee little boys.  The berm doesn’t offer any real vertical drop but enough for a little orange sled to give them a thrill.


sleeding today.

We did have a nice holiday.  I took advantage of a Saturday off to tackle a couple of nagging issues around the house.  The studio door knob’s key hub was super loose and driving me crazy.  Every time one keyed the door it jiggled and the large gap invited ice and rain in my opinion.  So I took it apart to see what was up.  The other exterior knob assemblies didn’t have this problem so I think it was just an install anomaly.

I used a couple of flat head screw drivers and took the back face plate off.  Sure enough there are a couple of screws inside that hold the key hub in place.  And sure enough, neither of them was tight…the one had worked it’s way out about a 1/4″.  I easily tightened them up, making sure not to over tighten them and bend the door knob internal assembly.  One fixed up I re-installed  the rear face plate.

loose lock hub on exterior door knob

loose lock hub on exterior door knob


loose screws cause the lock hub to be super loose.

loose screws cause the lock hub to be super loose.









The master bed door inexplicably doesn’t close so I attempted to fix that.  After accessing the situation I figured out the problem. The strike plate doesn’t have any adjustment in it so I’m stuck with where it’s at…..what I would need to do is take it off, somehow fill the screw holes in the frame and then remount it in the proper location.  Alternately I could elongate the strike plate mounting holes so it mounts further out, allowing the door to latch…either way I didn’t feel like dealing with it on my day off.  The wife said “Oh that’s not the door to worry about, I wish you’d fix the bathroom door.”  Apparently she prefers her bathroom door to be able to lock, which it currently doesn’t.  So I took a look.

It’s a pocket door, and we love pocket doors for their space saving properties.  The biggest complaints about our pocket doors are 1) the weight – we shoulda got fake instead of real wood, 2) the hardware – the expensive matching bronze Emtek hardware for the pocket doors totally blows, making it impossible to operate the doors without a lot of effort, and 3) everything has to be spot on else they don’t close….which in our case means every door has an issue.

trim plate removed reveals the issues with the bathroom door.

trim plate removed reveals the issues with the bathroom door.


All three issues combined mean that from at least one side of every door it’s impossible to get the door closed all the way….the door pushes out or in and contacts the trim before the strike plate.  The handles give hands nothing to grip or push on, in order to move the super heavy doors.  Well apparently my wife doesn’t like the idea of any one of the men living in her home to be able to open the bathroom door while she’s butt naked or do her whatnot in the bathroom.  Go figure.

I measured a few things and figured the strike plate needed to be moved over about an eighth or quarter inch.  I removed the plate and discovered at one time it was moved over as there were two mounting holes down low.  Cool, I’ll drill a new hole up top.  Well, buried in the frame, right where my other mounting hole needs to go is the remnants of a broken off screw.  Ugh.  I fussed with it a bit and came to the conclusion that I’d have to perform major surgery on the door frame trim…possibly taking out a block of the trim and replacing it with fresh wood…..filler, paint, etc….more than I wanted to do on a Saturday morning. Well the wife’s just gonna have to live with the “freedom” that comes with non-locking bedroom and bathroom doors.  I went 1 for 3 on fixing doors on Saturday.  Good average if I were a baseball player.

That’s about it.  I’m going to play with my toys for the next couple days then get back to work.  I have those studio cabinets to finish installing, then onto my next project.  Also I’m starting to work on maintenance tasks like managing the water system chlorine and filters.  I also have a call into the HVAC guys to check the system and give me the nickel tour on how to maintain the filter systems.  One last thing, I can’t find any LED replacement bulbs for the bathroom vanity lights…it’s a rare T10 60W bulb, like you have in your fridge (though yours is probably 25W or 40W)…..and I’m hesitant to use incandescent bulbs since they use about $7 of energy annually and there are six of them in our bathroom.  I’m thinking CFL’s which I was able to find online.  I guess I should have thought of that before I ordered my fancy Restoration Hardware light fixtures….but I really love those fixtures and their old school Hollywood appeal.  Eventually someone will invent the bulb I need, until then I’ll get some compact fluorescents.

By the way, the floorplan featuring the kitchen island and long front hallway is perfect for bike riding.  We have a toddler loving life riding his bike on the hardwood floors, which in most households is probably a hue no no, but surprisingly for me (if you knew me) I don’t really care.  I’m keeping an eye on things and there appears to be no ill effect….except when he says “I am mad at you” because I tell him to slow down.

Christmas deer in our yard.  So cool to see them almost every night right out our window.

Christmas deer in our yard. So cool to see them almost every night right out our window.


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