Sunday, March 15, 2009


I was going to open today's post with a joke. It was going to go like this:
Q: "Soooo...How was your March 14th?"

A: "It blew."

Q: "Really?"

A: "Well, I suppose more accurately, it sucked."
But, unfortunately, I certify that all my stories are true (as far as you know), so I can't post anything that would be likely to leave a false impression. My March 14th could be best described as hectic. And I didn't eat steak at all during the day. For breakfast, I had 2 soft-cooked eggs. For lunch, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And for dinner, I had one single solitary slice of cheese pizza that was cold, being nearly two hours old when I ate it. The rest of the holiday tradition was even less adhered to - I mean, even though it wasn't steak, at least I ate, so we got closer on that part.

For the record, I am now out of Captain Morgan, Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, and Knob Creek, and beer that is not Keystone Ice in cans. Things are not progressing smoothly.

Saturday was a whirlwind day. For some reason - I don't know why - I was assigned the task of taking HannahC to her Odyssey of the Mind competition. The other parents were equally stymied:
Many other parents: "Where is [The Mrs.]?"

Me, CherkyB: "She's at home with MaxieC."

Many other parents: "Wow. That's really weird. Is he sick?"

Me, CherkyB: "No. He's fine."

Many other parents: "Then why did she send you here?"

Me, CherkyB: "I have no idea. I am assigned tasks. I carry out those assignments. I have learned that it is best if I don't ask questions."

Many other parents (if women): "Yes, of course."
Many other parents (if men): "Ooooh yeah. You definitely don't want to ask questions."
I was also assigned the task of bringing all the equipment to the competition. I was assured that the coach would be watching for me, on account of her concern for the equipment.

This was not true. The coach had no plans for the equipment and seemed quite surprised that I intended to unload it from the wini-van. She was also quite surprised when I asked her to check it over to assure everything was there (a necessary step because it was all just dumped into the wini-van, and The Mrs. carried the contents of your average sized Target store in the back of her van at all times).

Next year, the team will need a designated equipment manager.

We hung around for hours and hours until the team had completed their competion. No, they didn't win. They came in sixth, which is one place out of the money. Largely I think this is because they had to make a vehicle that moved around, and their vehicle moved just once, than it lay on its side and started shedding pieces. That was a 15 point deduciton (out of what looked to be about 130 possible points).

When it was done, we haul-assed back home in order to go to Lowe's to buy all the material for the 4-H project. That went pretty quickly, cuz I had scoped eveything out ahead of tie when building the prototype. There were just a couple decisions that needed to be made (like OSB vs. plywood, and what kind of retention devices to use on the crossmembers - spring clips, cotter pins, or machine screws). Whenever I have a big home improvement project, I hate my truck. It's a midsized "quad cab" truck, which makes sense for the vast majority of the time, but when you have a big load of different-sized lumber to get, the small bed is quite annoying. In particular, there isn't 4' of space between the wheel wells, so sheets of plywood have to sit on these 2x4 stringers at the height of the top of the wheel well. Them you know, you load up the bed of the truck under the plywood, and it becomes difficult to secure both levels.

But difficult is not impossible, and we did fine.

At 7pm, the build crew came over, which was a whole bunch of 8-12 yr old girls and their parents. At 7:15 the pizza arrived, and the build crew mostly disappeared. I estimated a 4-hour build, but it ended up at about 5. We worked from 7 until 10:30 and got all the wood done (which was the hard part), then just two of us got back together today to finish the metal, and another family showed up to assist with the final assembly.

The girls had a great time sanding the wood smooth, though the smaller ones found the belt sander too much to handle and stuck to the oribitals. We dads took care of the big, scary power tools.

The assembly went smashingly well, except we took a little side-trip to Ace Hardware in the middle to see if we could purchase a slightly more elegant solution for one part than I had devised. Answer: no. Don't doubt the CherkyB.

I have some picture I'll post tomorrow (maybe). I don't have pics of the whole build process, unfortunately. I had expected to have a bunch, but normally I assign The Mrs. the task of photo-documenting builds because I'm busy building, but she spent the entire time yakking with the other moms, so there are not a lot of "in-progress" pics. There goes my hope for a third big money-making post. "How to Build a 4-H Carnival Booth" will not join "Inground Trampoline Project" and "Berco Snow Blower Review" as a top draw. It'll probably fall into the same category as "CherkyB's Guide to Carpet Cleaners", to which I get the occasional hit.

No comments: