I am thankful for making time to frame and hang some more pictures, for Chrissy and I getting all our laundry done, for another fun night at AADND, for finally seeing improvement in my table tennis game, and for the beautiful temperature outside right now.
I am thankful for getting more pictures framed and hung, for a lovely impromptu date night last night at the movies (saw Don Jon), for a good chat with my parents, for the smell of fresh rain, and for the exciting possibilities of the coming months.
Here is what I was thankful for toward the end of last month. I admit, at least one of these is from the start of September, but it is relevant to August since it mentions a special anniversary.
I am thankful for getting to learn more about AngularJS this morning with Brian Genisio, for fond memories of The Operative: No One Lives Forever and No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M .'s Way (two of the most underrated games of all time), for Xbox, for Barry and Shaun, and for going to see The World's End tomorrow night (so excited).
I am thankful for seeing The World's End last night with Chrissy, for great memories of the 12 pubs of Christmas, for the three days that we had a praying mantis living on our porch window, for finally fixing that test at work, and for the Internet, which has helped me to make friends for over 15 years.
I am thankful for a smart, beautiful wife, for affectionate pets, for glorious sunshine, for the joy of experimentation when recording regardless of the frustrations, and for the amazing opportunities I've had in my life to experience fantastic events and inspirational people.
I am thankful for the return of Breaking Bad, for the peacefulness of an empty office this morning (spoke too soon), for experiencing the great story of Bioshock Infinite, for hearing my wife chat to her mum on the phone, and for learning that Cetirizine (aka Zyrtec) will mess up my sleep and my mood for well over 24 hours.
I am thankful for lunch with my wife today, the delicious tomatoes that keep coming from her garden, euphemisms, a fun night at Learn Something last night, and recognizing when I need to challenge myself.
I am thankful for our dryer breaking so I could learn how to take it apart and clean it out, for the Internet and it's repair videos, for our neighbours letting us use their dryer in the meantime, for me managing to fix our outdoor light, and for a great night last night resurrecting my pig dissection skills.
I am thankful for being at a point where I completely missed my seven year anniversary of controlling my nicotine addiction (it was 4 days ago – and yes, I have smoked since, but I haven't started smoking every day, every week or even every month again), for the work getting started on our bathroom today, for being able to work from home whenever I choose, for reliving the past through good music, and for getting started on a new project.
The downspout that my neighbour and I had modified to feed water to the rain barrel was not secured to the siding, allowing it to pivot at the gutter. When the rain barrel was present, there was not much movement in the downspout, but when the barrel was set aside over winter (as you can see in the photo above), the spout would move in just about every breeze that blew. So, I stopped procrastinating and tooled up to fix it in place.
The tools and other items used for this project were (from top left, clockwise to center):
- A rivet gun
- Safety goggles
- Aluminium bracket1
- Safety gloves
- 1/8" aluminium rivets
- Drill with 1/8" bit
Using the Rivet Gun
Rivet guns are kind of cool (at least I've always thought so). They allow things to be joined together from only one side, which means I don't have to get to the other side of my siding in order to rivet something to it. A rivet gun works by gripping the pin of the rivet and pulling it, causing the other end to bulge out, which holds the rivet in place. When it can't bulge anymore, the pin snaps off.
My intention was to match the existing approach used on the other downspouts, which was to attach the bracket to the house and then bend it around the downspout and rivet it. However, the existing brackets were all nailed to the house through the siding. I did not have nails to hand for this, so I decided to rivet the bracket to the siding.
First, I bent the bracket around the downspout. From what I know, this is not the traditional way to bend these brackets (usually, they are splayed out so the decorative arrows are flush to the siding), but I wanted everything to match up. Once the bracket was bent to fit the downspout, I drilled holes in each end where I would eventually rivet them together.
Before I could rivet the bracket around the downspout, it needed to be mounted to the siding, so I drilled two holes in the bracket and siding for rivets and used the rivet gun to secure the bracket in place.
Then I folded the bracket around the downspout and secured it with one more rivet.
Yes, I know it's aluminum in 'murka. ↩
Last night was the quarterly hackathon at work, the day where we get to work on something fun and new until 4am and then demo to the team. Beers were drunk, Thai food was eaten and the sports tournaments were played out (darts and ping pong, or table tennis, if you prefer). It was a great time and although my work wasn't as brilliant as some of my colleagues, I felt accomplished by the time we crawled off for breakfast sometime around 7am.
That was 6 hours ago. I'm still awake. I've been awake since sometime between 7am and 9am yesterday.
I don't know why, really. I ran an errand for the wife this morning and one thing led to another. Before I knew it, I had not only completed the errand (returning some plants and a grow light stand to Growing Hope after Chrissy did some seed starting for them), I had also completed our own grow light stand (a project we purchased the pieces for back when I made the raised bed) and cleaned the cat litter boxes. Luckily for you, I didn't take pictures of the latter task; I'm keeping those precious memories of being watched by a cat while I dug around in his feces (mostly) to myself, but I digress.
Often, when you garden, you have to start some seeds. When the weather is inclement prior to the growing season, as it often is in these parts, you need to start those seeds indoors and, much like this winter in Michigan, there's no Sun indoors (I'm thankful for that, I like my stuff unsinged), so an artificial source of equivalent light is required. That's where the grow light stand comes in.
Unlike the one we had borrowed from Growing Hope, which was a simple wood construction with two A-frames at each end joined by two planks from which the 4' long fluorescent grow lamps were suspended, our grow light stand was to be made out of PVC. As mentioned earlier, we had purchased the pieces for it some time ago, which explains why some of the pieces were wrong. Thankfully, Home Depot awesomely gave me store credit for those incorrect pieces despite a lack of receipt. That's customer service for you.
The parts required for this little project were:
- 120" of 2" PVC pipe
- 4x end caps
- 2x three-way connectors
- 2x elbow connectors
- 2x ¼" eye bolts with 4 nuts
- 2x S hooks
- 1x shop light
- 2x fluorescent grow lamp tubes
In addition, the following tools were used:
- Safety Gloves and Glasses
- ¼" drill bit
- Permanent marker (I used the one Chrissy got from John Mayer's fan club)
- Wrench/Spanner (for tightening the nuts)
The assembly was really quite easy and probably would have taken about an hour at most if I hadn't needed to go to Home Depot twice (once for the shop light and again to get the correct size elbows).
First, the PVC pipe was marked (with the John Mayer fan club marker) and cut (with the hacksaw) to the following lengths:
- 4x 5"
- 2x 24"
- 1x 52"
Then, using the connectors and end caps, join them all together to create the stand.
See, that was easy, right? No glue, just push it all together. It's a little disappointing that it did not include power tools, but don't worry, because this is where I whipped out my trusty drill after marking where I wanted the eye bolts to go. The shop light fixture hangs from these, so I measured where the chains would go in the shop light and chose eye bolt locations accordingly.
If you attempt this, be sure to wear your safety gear as I did; PVC pipe can be slippy and drills can make easily eye bolt holes in your hand if you're not careful (I recommend having some sleep too).
Once the holes were drilled in the pipe (though a little skewed), I fitted the eye bolts. In order to get a sturdy fixture, I first screwed a nut onto the eye bolt, then pushed the remainder through the pipe and applied a lock nut to the other side (though a regular nut would have done, I think). I then tightened the nuts on each side of the pipe so that the eye bolt was secure.
The shop light fixture came with its own chains for suspending it, however, only one end of these chains had a hook, so I carefully crimped S hooks onto the other ends of the chains. I then hooked one end into the corresponding eye bolt and the other into the light fixture and that was job done.
The height is even adjustable by threading the hook through the eye and hooking back into the chain.
With the assembly complete, I placed the new stand over Chrissy's seedlings and plugged it into our timer ready for her to be surprised when she gets home or reads this (whichever is first).
Now, I've been awake for far too long so I'm off to play video games and eat snacks before a well-earned nap.