Sunday, September 17th, 2006
10:08 pm - Turnipitude  
Vacation, such as it was, is done. Back to my usual drab, wretched existence tomorrow. Not that this week was particularly exciting. I did take a trip down to NYC last Saturday to watch the Dodgers lose to the Mets, and got to see Tom Scola and msbelle in the process. That was fun, except for the Dodgers losing. However, the rest of the week mostly involved me doing my best turnip impression. Oh, there was some cleaning done, but mostly I either sat in front of the computer playing Sims 2, or watched TV. (Actually, I did learn to use an assortment of 3D modeling tools on the computer, so educational, at least.) I used to do more, and I'm pretty sure it was more fun, too. The fall was when I'd take a week off and hit a couple-three golf courses. It occurs to me that I haven't even picked up a club in more than four years. I did get out once on my bike, but that was all the energy I could muster.

I did start (and complete) one home improvement project. The house only has two closets, a sort of normal one in the back room, and a broom/linen closet in the hall. The hall closet is roughly 2' by 2' inside, with a very narrow door (I have a hard time squeezing in). It had three 12" deep shelves at the back starting at about 3' off the floor, with the rest of the space taken up by the vacuum, broom, mop, and assorted other tall yet narrow implements of destruction. It occurred to me that I could easily extend the two upper shelves outwards, and still have plenty of room for the narrow bits. Also, since the closet extended upwards to the normal ceiling height, there was enough space to add a fourth shelf up there.

The shelf extensions were easy. The existing shelves were just loose pieces of 1x12 sitting atop some narrow cleats nailed to the closet walls. The cleats extended the full depth of the closet, so all I had to do was take one of the existing shelves down to the basement to use as a template to cut an 8" wide piece of 3/4" plywood to length. Sanded off the splinters, and laid the new pieces in front of the old, and voila, 19" deep shelves. Not fancy, but who cares. They're inside a frelling closet.

Next up was the new shelf, and for that I needed to install a set of cleats. Now sometime back, probably fifteen years ago or more, I was going to build a set of shelves for the bathroom of my old apartment. They were to be very simple, just some 2x2 posts with thinner crosspieces mortised into them to carry the shelves. I got as far as milling the lumber down the dimensions I needed, and had cut them roughly to length, when I found an even better solution to what I wanted to do at Home Depot. (It was one of those vinyl-coated metal closet organizer dealies that fit the space perfectly, and was on sale.) I put all that perfectly milled spruce aside for future use. Anyway, the future turned out to be now, at least for two of the crosspieces. It turned out I'd milled them to the same exact dimensions as the existing cleats, and they were only an inch longer. Perfect! Cut them to length, then started searching for some wall studs to nail them into. This turned out to be tougher than expected. First of all, the stud patterns in the two closet walls were different (owing no doubt to the difference in shapes of the bathroom to the left and the back room to the right). Second, for some bizarre reason, whoever originally painted this house used this hideous, severely textured (to the point of being spiny) paint inside the closets, and on the walls heading down to the basement. It's nasty stuff. The key thing in this application is that it makes using an electronic stud finder a total pain in the ass, because you can't just slide the thing along the wall like you're supposed to. You have to keep lifting it off the surface, and plopping it down again as you search for the studs. Bozhe moi!

Eventually, I found the critters, and then it was just a matter of swinging a hammer inside a very confined space. I managed, and then cut another 8" wide piece of plywood for the top shelf. I didn't want to go wider than that, because otherwise I'll lose stuff up there because I can't see the back of it.

The last thing I did was to hang a couple two-shelf vinyl-coated wire bins on the inside of the closet door. I used to have these on the wall of the back room of my old apartment next to my hobby workbench for storing little cans of paint thinner and such. They've been sitting in a box up in the attic since I moved, and I happened to remember them when I was planning this all. They're the perfect width for the door. The only tricky part was mounting them. The doors here are cheap, hollow pressboard, molded to look like real doors. On a real door, I could've used screws. Here I had to use molly bolts, so much precision drilling ensued. It took some doing, but they're up. Project complete. More room for stuff than I know what to do with.