#176 (hunting for wood: part 1)

Jackie and I have several things in common and you would think we had grown up together the way we are when we’re together at work or outside of work. 

Now Jackie, like me, enjoys working on projects that requires the use of power tools and other hand held craft wielding devices. One of our first ventures were taking a welding class together. We both loved it and both of us are itching to get our hands on a good used line fed welder. 

Our adventure last Thursday was finding a supplier or just a reasonably priced seller of live edge wood. For those that do not know what is live edge wood, this is milled wood that still has its bark or it has the outermost layer of the tree just under the bark. I have several lighting ideas for my house and I think I want to incorporate in my design a wooden object with a live edge. 

We left work and headed to the address of where this man is selling his live edge wood. I was expecting a farm like setting with a barn. Quite the contrary. We ended up in a subdivision and he was selling this wood from his house. He actually sells his wood across the nation. I think he said he had shipped outside the country even. I was amazed at both his story and his inventory of live edge wood planks. 

I literally could have spent hours combing through the many boards he had. Each board were unique in that the patterns were one of a kind and would completely differ from another piece cut from the same tree. 

After about five minutes after our initial introductions, I spotted a piece of wood that had a very unique pattern. It was a section of a trunk from a spalted maple. It was incredible and measured roughly 3.5 feet in diameter and about 8″ thick. So it was a sizable item. We talked about the piece and I learned the intricate designs found in the spalted maple are caused by various and different fungi growing in the tree. 

After he shared his knowledge of how the spalted maple got its unique patterns, I asked, “how much for the trunk?” 

He quickly told his price, “I’ll need to sell that for $100.” 

I’m not sure if I reacted too fast but I stuck out my hand for him to shake on the deal as he said the last syllable of his reply. He also reciprocated and stuck out his hand and we closed the deal on that piece. I was stoked!

Having realized that Jackie may have wanted that piece, I turned to her and apologized, “I’m sorry. I get in the moment and make a deal when I see something I like.” 

Jackie replied, “no worries.” But I read in her facial expressions that she was interested in that piece. Or at least that’s what I saw.

We continued to browse…

#singleasianmale #menslife #liveedgewood #coffeetable #diy #spaltedmaple

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#175 (the storage project – part 2)

Well now that I realized the rafters ran parallel to the wall, I had to install the cross beams on same wall where of the garage door opens and closes. Not a problem. Yeah right!

As most houses, there are some things that make you scratch your head and rhetorically ask yourself, “why would they build it like that?” You see I would imagine that there would be a rafter where the walls and the ceiling meets. But no! That’s too logical. 

My original design called for three lag screws for each of the four foot cross planks. Maybe it’s overkill, but I really don’t want the shelving to fall. Well it turns out, I could not attach the the third lag screw as there was nothing to secure it to where the walls and ceiling meet. 

After tightly securing the other two lags through the cross beam plank, the 3/4″ dry wall, and into the rafter, I did a pull test. Although there were only two lag screws, the plank did not budge. Each hanging shelving unit requires two planks. I measure out 45″ from the center of the newly installed plank. That would be the center of the second plank. 

The installation of the second plank went much smoother and quicker than the first plank. Four hours into the project, I had two planks installed. Whoop whoop! I’m only two hours behind my original estimate. 

Looking at the pictures, I installed the first post into the plank, then the second went, the the stabilizing bar that attaches to the two posts. Yeah! One side hung. Another 30 minutes, I had the two remaining posts hung and the stabilizing bar attached. 

Another 30 minutes, I had the 3-piece base attached between the two stabilizing bars. The final screws were tightened and the storage shelving was ready for the items that would lead be there. The lucky items are my crab pots and the associated rigging. 

One ‘ready to hang’ unit up…6 more to go…

This one unit took nearly six hours from design to actually storing my crabbing equipment. So the other 6 will get installed piecemeal as I find the time…but hopefully before my one year anniversary of owning my home. 

#singleasianmale #menslife #garageshelving #homestorage #diy

#174 (the storage project – part 1)

It’s been almost a year since I bought my house. Well it’s 11 months but who’s counting. I promised myself to be out of my storage unit within one year from the date I bought my house. After all it’s just me and I now have a garage and a 3 bedroom house. “It’s time!” I told myself to get out of the storage unit. 

However, before I could completely be out of my storage unit, I’ll need to install storage shelving or some other holding area at my house. “But where?” I asked myself. Entered the unused space in the ceiling of the garage. It’s a big enough area to hold bins and other lesser used and seasonal items. 

A few months back, I purchased ‘ready to hang’ metal shelving. What I didn’t realize, or better to say, I didn’t plan it out too carefully was how I needed to install these hanging storage units. 

As you’ve probably guessed, (if you’ve been following me) I buy things then I have to contemplate how it’s going to be used, or in this case, how I’m going to install them. 

I decided to start putting up these shelving units this past Saturday and after reading the instructions, well who am I kidding? I mean after I’ve looked at the pictures of how to install, I began the process. In my head I calculated it would take a couple of hours. 

But…did I mention that the shelving unit had to be fastened to the rafters in my garage. Here’s some basic thing to know about rafters. The are typically set 16″ or 24″ apart from each other. My square shelving unit measures 45 inches on each side. There is no way I can install this unit without engineering some cross beam as the spread between any two rafters would not provide the support to hold my shelving unit. In other words, if I screwed two of the posts into a rafter, the other two posts would hit open air. 

Ah…yes you’re correct again! A trip to the local hardware store is required to complete the hanging of this obviously incongruent ‘ready to hang’ garage ceiling shelving unit that by itself cannot be installed. I wonder if the company gets a kickback with the lumber industry. 

I drew out my design on paper. Well you got me again. I drew out my design on a couple of pink post it notes. That took about an hour as I measured several times. The adage measure twice cut once is a life saver. 

My design called, four 2×4 pieces of lumber in 8 foot sections, some lag screws, and some washers. I found good straight 2×4 pine boards relatively fast. After some additional designing (in the screws and fasteners aisle), I ended on purchasing a box of 5/8 lag screws that were 3-1/2″ long and washers for the lag screws. I also bought a new stud finder because I leant out my old one and never got it back from the person I leant it to. 

My design called for the 2×4 wood plank to fit up where the wall of my garage meets up with the ceiling.  However the full 8 foot 2×4 lumber won’t fit in that space because of the metal support beams for the garage door railing. Per my design, I cut the 2x4x8 in half. 

Well…it’s funny what confidence does. It kicks you in the pants. My design assumed the rafters were perpendicular to the wall where the plank was to be screwed. It wasn’t! The rafters ran parallel. Maybe I should have purchased (and used) the stud finder before designing the solution…

#singleasianmale #menslife #garageshelving #homestorage #diy

#173 (lazy Sunday morning)

After the Timbers game ended and the players came over to theTimbers army, S and I started our exit in the anticipation that the pedestrian traffic to the max line had thinned. We had learned after our first home game to edo until the crowds thinned to exit the stadium. 

Sure enough the pedestrian traffic was much lighter to the max station. Also there weren’t many people standing on the train platform. As we boarded one of the cars, we spotted one of my wing women – Jackie, her husband and their two boys. During the game, Jackie texted me the section where they were seated. S and I tried to find them during intermission, but could not find them. The last thing on our minds were to run into Jackie and her family – but we did!!

We road the train with them until their stop. We said our goodbyes and continued on our way back to my house. As the train car began to empty, S and I found and took a couple of seats together. Before long, S was asleep on my shoulder. It was comfortable having her sleep on me that way. It felt just right. 

As our stop approached, S began to stir awake. Our original plan were to try the new Thai restaurant near our stop. We were both not wanting to sit at the restaurant so we decided to get it to go so we could relax at my house and continue vegging.

The rest of the night and the next morning were as we had hoped it to be – low key and just relaxing. On Sunday morning, we both laid in bed longer just relishing in the laziness of a Sunday morning. The brightness of the sun shone through my house and slowly crept into my bedroom. But we didn’t budge. 

We continued to lay in each other’s arms enjoying and savoring the quiet and still moments…

#singleasianmale #menslife #relationship #lazysundaymornings

#172 (crazy about Timbers)

The agenda for our Saturday was to take in a Timbers  game and afterwards try the new Thai place near my house. 

After we ate breakfast and cleaned up the breakfast dishes, we sat for a little longer just lounging and relaxing. Well let me clarify, I cannot just sit and do nothing (in my house). So I was folding the next batch of laundry. Now when I’m in S’s house, I sit and don’t do much because it’s not my house and I don’t feel comfortable enough to just clean her house. However, S can sit and do nothing whether at her house or at my house. That’s an art I haven’t mastered – nor do I think I ever will. 

She did mention to me and in front of her sister, when her sister was in town visiting, “I’m waiting for you to just jump in a organize my house.” But I’m not sure she really meant it so I haven’t. However I think I’ll try it next time I’m over her house and I see things cluttered. 

So for now we “vegged” a bit more that morning while we waited for the time to get ready for the game. The game started at 3:30 so we need to leave my house around 2. We also were not in the army section and had to pick up our tickets at will call. It turned out our tickets were in a bad location and where the opponent’s fans usually sit. 

I didn’t know how passionate S could get about a soccer game (or I guess the actual sport is global football). After we entered the arena, we found a customer service agent and S did her magic to get us into better seats (without paying the difference). 

The customer agent found us seats in an awesome location just west of where the Timbers army sits. We had great seats view no obstructed views. Awesome seats for an awesome game. Long story short, the Timbers won. 

#singleasianmale #menslife #relationship #portlandtimbers

#171 (domesticated male)

S came through my bedroom door half awake and cute as a button. We exchanged our morning hellos and I made her a cup of coffee. The night before I stocked my frig with creamer. I don’t use creamers as I don’t need the additional calories and typically just use some local honey or on occasion a small dab of sugar. 

I also made me a cup of espresso and we both walked upstairs to my lounging area. As we sat and sipped our caffeine beverages, she began cruising through the many tv program options. We decided to stream YouTube and found a TV series to catch up with. We landed on America’s Got Talent. 

As we watched the show, I pulled out my laundry and began folding them. I cannot just watch TV without doing something else. We didn’t talk much as we were both watching or in my case (listening) to the TV. I only stopped and watched a few of them that sounded interesting. After folding my laundry, I asked if she were ready for breakfast. She said she was. 

I went downstairs to make our breakfast while S stayed upstairs vegging. About 10 minutes later, she came down and made herself another cup of coffee. About the time she finished brewing her coffee and adding her creamer, I completed cooking our breakfast. 

We ate and as I typically do after eating, I washed our dishes. 

Allow me to stop here and recap… I cleaned my house, washed and folded my clothes, prepped and cooked our breakfast, and cleaned up our morning dishes…while S relaxed. 

Yep – I own being a domesticated male…

#singleasianmale #menslife #relationship #domestic #housework #cleanliving

#170 (weekend with S)

This past weekend was the weekend S didn’t have her kids so we planned for her to come up and stay at my house. 

We didn’t have much scheduled other than going to the Portland Timbers game on Saturday afternoon. Hopefully we can just relax and not do much the rest of the time. S typically packs so much activities on the weekends without kids that I’m exhausted by Sunday.

I got home on Friday early evening and looked inside my frig and thought, “I better get to the store to buy us some breakfast items for our morning meals and pick up more coffee. I have both an espresso system and a Kuerig coffee maker. S prefers the drip coffee over espresso. 

She arrived at my house just as I was pulling into my garage. We sat and talked about our day – like an old couple rocking in their rocking chairs who’s been together for a while. Minus the rocking chairs, she told me about her day over a glass of red wine and relived the highlights of my day over my espresso. 

About an hour later (10ish), we were both too tired and decided to retire for the night. But during our conversations, she did request that we sleep in in the morning. “Yeah!” I responded and celebrated internally. 

The next morning I woke up late (about 7am). I typically get up around 5:30, but today was my “sleep in” day. I got out of bed, did my morning bathroom routine, and got ready for the day, exited my room, and left her sleeping. I closed my bedroom door and went about my normal Saturday morning activities trying not to wake her. I even grilled some bacon. 

Yep I grilled us some bacon…and yep it was done on my Traeger. As I typically do, I grilled the whole pack and it’ll keep for a couple of weeks in a refrigerator. I crush some of them and use it as toppings. They’re good on salads, baked potatoes, or just about anything else. 

As an aside, if you haven’t had grilled bacon, you’re missing out. 

Back to the story…

I had completed two loads of laundry, cleaned the upstairs bathroom, prepped our morning breakfast (now brunch), and was about to wake her when my bedroom door opened…

#singleasianmale #menslife #relationship #dating #sleepingin

#169 (impromptu karaoke)

After another round of drinks, the conversation turned to karaoke. I’m not sure who brought up the topic but the next thing I knew we were looking for a karaoke club that was open. 

I found one and Jackie called to get more information. They didn’t have karaoke that night. I kept looking and found another one. I called and learned their karaoke started at 9pm. It was only 7 so we had two hours to kill. Jackie said half teasingly, “Lois we need another round.”

We didn’t order another round. I found yet another karaoke club that wasn’t too far away. It was close to the only Japanese grocery store in our area. I called and was informed their karaoke started at 7pm and will stay open until 1AM. I got their address and group texted the Fab Four. 

Unfortunately Chad could not join us as he had a previous commitment. Or did he? I searched the corners of my mind but didn’t have an excuse for not going. So fifteen minutes after leaving the restaurant, I joined my wing women at the karaoke club. 

The club wasn’t as we had expected. They rented out individual rooms and the rates were hourly based on the size of the room. The room we rented could hold up to six individuals. The room was equipped with a karaoke machine that was linked to the YouTube app. 

You logged into the room via the YouTube app and it synchronizes and displays your music selection on the screen. I guess with the app you could turn your living room in your home into a karaoke machine. I hadn’t tried it yet but I might include that in my next home party. 

Lois picked out her first song and started belting out the lyrics. It turned out that Lois actually had a good singing voice. Jackie astonishingly commented to Lois as she sang, “you sound differently when you sing!”

Lois continued singing. 

I joined in on Jackie’s comment while pulling out my phone in preparation for capturing Lois on video, “yes, she doesn’t sound at all like she does when she’s talking!”

I took Lois’s video as she finished her song rendition of Air Supply’s (I’m All Out of Love). We learned Lois knows and loves singing the old love songs. After a few moments of coaxing and a few songs later, I sang a duet with Lois (Islands in the Stream). 

I sang (or I tried to sing) two other songs. One was Garth Brooks (Low Places) and the other was Prince’s (Doves Cry). I attempted Sweet Home Alabama but didn’t know the words other than the chorus. Of course I did horribly and wouldn’t have sung otherwise but we were in a closed room and it was Jackie and Lois. So I was totally comfortable singing out of tune, or singing in monotone. Ha!

The hour passed rather quickly and before we knew it it was time to go. Now I’m glad we only rented the room for an hour as any longer would have been only Lois singing. 

Jackie and I agreed, this might be a great place for one of our team events…

#singleasianmale #menslife #relationship #greatfriends #openness #truefriends #karaoke

#168 (happy hour)

Thursday night, the Fab Four (Jackie, Lois, Chad, and myself) went out for a happy hour after work. As typical for any happy hour, someone had a bad work day and needed to vent. It was Lois’s day. 

I have had unpleasant experiences before with the restaurant where we were meeting. I decided I would give the PF Chang restaurant chain one more try. I’ve been to this restaurant chain twice before and both times I’ve broken out in a severe rash from head to toe. The last time I actually didn’t eat at the restaurant. Instead Jackie, another coworker, and I were working late to complete a presentation for the next day’s team event.We  ordered take out from their To Go menu. By the end of the next day, I was literally covered by an itchy rash and was subsequently home for the next two weeks. 

Back to the happy hour…

She told her tale and we like great friends listened and gave her encouragement. As the second round of drinks arrived, the day’s stresses were also being lifted or reduced for the moment. I can tell all was well when Lois turned her attention to me.

She looked at me as I was seated to her right and blurted out, “are you gaining weight?” 

Jackie quickly yelled out, “Lois!”

Lois continued, “do you wear a large now?”

Jackie yelled out again, “Lois!!”

Because I wasn’t sure what Lois was asking, I asked, “what?”

Lois repeated her question even louder and slower, “do you wear a large now?”

Jackie yelled out once again, “Lois!!”

I turned to Lois while poking her semi-hidden muffin top, “no! I’m still wearing a medium.”

Lois continued, “are you happy being with S?”

I replied, “yes”

Lois finished with a smile, “well that’s the price of happiness.”

Once again Jackie yelled out, “Lois!!”

You know you’re with good friends when you can discuss weight issues without feeling badly for saying what was said to each other. 

I think I need to start working out again…

#singleasianmale #menslife #relationship #greatfriends #openness #truefriends

#167 (Texas style fajitas)

The challenge was laid down during our dinner at Plaza Jalisco to make my Texas style fajitas and convert S to liking beef fajitas, or actually any fajita be it beef, chicken, or shrimp. 

As I mentioned in a prior post, the fajitas made in the PacificNorthwest is covered with some sort of sauce and the meat is tough and dry. My suspicion for their sauce is to coverup the toughness and dryness of their meat. 

The key to making a great tasting, tender, and moist (melt in your mouth) fajitas is the marinate and temperature of you fire. In my prior food cooking posts (pulled pork, brisket), I talked about low and slow. For beef fajitas, it’s high and fast just like grilling steak. 

For the chicken fajitas the key is to make the thickness uniform so it cooks evenly throughout without drying, which is where the toughness happens. 

For my shrimp, it’s also high and fast one and a half minutes on each side. Any more than that and the shrimp becomes rubbery. 

So the date for the challenge was set for last Saturday. S, her sister, and her twin children were to come over and spend the night. My menu was Mexican food with authentic Mexican rice, frijoles a la charra, pico de gallo, guacamole, and of course the trio of beef, chicken, and shrimp fajitas. All were made from scratch. 

Now you’re probably wondering. “How is it that you are making authentic Mexican food and you’re Filipino?” Well my first wife (God rest her soul) was Hispanic and l learned how to make several Mexican dishes and the techniques in bringing out the flavors of her family’s culture. 

Back to Saturday dinner…

S was skeptical that my fajitas were as good as I had claimed as she’s only had the fajitas prepared here in the PacificNorthwest. As she tasted my Texas version, she became another converted naysayer. “Wow! These are really good!” She praised. 

Her sister is from California and also prepares fajitas. She confessed as she made her second beef fajitas taco, “I don’t typically eat beef fajitas, but yours are really great!”

Her daughter didn’t say much but her second and third plates of the trio fajita options were enough to say how much she enjoyed them. 

The next day, S took the left overs Mexican dinner home to her boys. They also devoured the Mexican dinner.

That says enough…challenge accepted…and beaten

#singleasianmale #menslife #relationship #life #mexicanfood #fajitas