Monday, July 6, 2020

Today in the news

Well....Been a busy couple of weeks round these parts, in a good kinda way.

First, progress on Casa Juvat.  The septic is installed, inspected and buried. 
Lots of cool tools on Rancho Juvat lately.  No, Beans, they wouldn't let me try it out.  Dang it!

All done
The fire place is finished.
We think we're going to stain the mantel just a bit darker for a little more contrast.

The tile work is all but done.  I say "all but" because the construction supervisor, on consulting with his supervisor offered us a different option.

They offered to replace the tile in the bottom of the opening (lower right corner of the pic) with a piece of matching granite as a ledge.  They're thought was that it would stick out about an inch to the bathroom side of the wall and make prettying up the drywall/tile seam much easier.

We said ok.

The appliances were delivered last week.  That's been the one "oops" the construction supervisor has made.  Electricity was supposed to be hooked up week before last, but the electricians were delayed.  Got to have plumbing and electricity before appliances, so they can test them after installation. So, they went back to the store.

Ahh well.  He's human, he's authorized to make a mistake once in a while.

All that having been said, we did get some good news.  I had called our sales rep to ask her to walk me through the "end game" once construction was completed and we got ready to close. Basically, what documents were needed, who was providing them etc.  Based on the items discussed, I called various agencies that would need to be involved.  In other words, I called the road guy, the bank and the survey company.

Surprisingly, the survey  company said they weren't very busy and a couple of days notice would be all they needed.  Good news for us, bad news for them I expect.

The road guy didn't need much lead time either.  While the final surfacing of the road and low water crossings will wait until construction on the house is complete, the builder in the final inspection needs to prove to the inspector that a vehicle can drive into the garage.  Road base was delivered Saturday for the road guy to make that so.  So, more progress.

The bank however said that closing could take between 60 and 90 days to process paperwork.  We can't move in until closing is complete, so...Mrs J has been very industrious in putting together paperwork.

Who knew the essay I wrote for Sister Mary Elephant in 4th grade would be needed to close a bank loan in 2020?

But...I spoke to the construction supervisor about how far out he thought we were in completing construction.

While I've been saying Christmas (and am still keeping that as my date), it looks like that it might be Suz for the win! (A few weeks back, she had prognosticated a Labor Day date.)

The supervisor couldn't guarantee a date, but unless something catastrophic happens, construction should be completed by the end of August.  With Mrs J's industriousness, we've got the major paperwork submitted, so the bank's processing timer has started ticking.

In addition to paperwork, Mrs J found a design program on-line that allows you to input a rooms dimensions as well as proposed furniture dimensions and play around with the placing and fit. So, we've taken a few things up there to see how they look.
She liked the rug, and something other that wet tile when stepping out of the shower is wise.

She wanted a couple of candle holders and some greenery to give the fireplace depth and color.  Unfortunately the candle holders arrived with broken glass so are being returned. 

So...the Casa Juvat project is progressing well, however knowing my luck with paperwork, I'm still holding out my Christmas date.

On the other side of keeping busy, last month when we were in "Detroit on the Bayou", helping MBD and SIL move in to their new digs, She had asked me if I'd make them a desk.  He for his studies, she for working from home.  I said ok.

So, I've been working on that for a couple of weeks now.  (Mornings only, woodshop gets too warm by lunch.  Sweat in the eyes isn't really conducive to keeping fingers intact.

I thought the glue up went pretty well.  The cedar planks came just under 3/4" thick and after planing were just slightly bigger than a 1/2", so I laminated a sheet of 1/2" plywood to the underside to keep them straight and give them added strength.  Trim the edges with Cedar and a c
ouple three coats of Polyurethane and it'll look pretty nice.  

So, as I say, busy, busy.

But...Wait....More good (ish) news.

Little J got an "on or about" date for release from Durance Vile.  Unfortunately, that date is also "the end of August".  But, and it's a big one, they're at least talking about getting him out of there.  So...That is pretty darn good news.

Unfortunately, whenever he does arrive back in Kuwait, there's that wonderful 14 day quarantine before he can rejoin DIL.

What a world we live in.  Speaking of which...

I didn't get a chance to watch the President's Independence Day speech, but I did read the speech here.  If you've only read the press reports on the speech as I had, you need to read it.  I think it's an excellent speech, brought a tear or two to my eyes.

No, I didn't see anything in it that would justify the NYT and WaPo reports.  It's as if they really want to instill conflict and division in America.  That's not something an American would want.  Therefore.....

Not wanting to leave on that note,  I thought I'd provide a little enlightenment of what my life was like "back in the day".  (When I had hair and was a tad, ok quite a lot,  thinner.)  To that end, I found two pretty good fighter aviation videos that I hadn't seen before.  The first purports to be "F-15 vs F-16" dogfights at Red Flag.  It's not exactly that, although there are some shots from a cockpit mounted camera taking pictures of the pilot during some dogfights.  And there is some spectacular footage of low level flying.  So, on a scale of 1-10, I'd give it an 8.  I felt my stomach muscles contracting in turns and only said "Oh, BS!" once.

The second one was also interesting.  The narrator is a retired Colonel with about 3400 hours in the Eagle.  She walks you through its cockpit systems.  With the exception of two of the classified systems, it's exactly the same as it was when I was flying it.  I thought she did a good job of explaining the what and why of it all.  I'd give it a 9 on the juvat watchability scale.  Especially if you've ever wondered what all those dials and things do.

Hopefully, Sarge has refueled his book writing machine and has another chapter in the works.  I'm beginning to worry about the "boys" again after he/they took a well deserved holiday.  Is anybody else storing them up for a week, so as to read them more like an actual book?  I think they read better that way.

Y'all hang in there, hug your loved ones and tell 'em ya love 'em. (It'll make all of you feel better.)


  1. Things are really coming along at Casa Juvat and looking very nice.

    60 to 90 days to "process" the paperwork? Lawyers and banks, want something done quickly? Don't go through them. So of course, the system is designed so that you have to. Sigh...

    I'll hit the videos later, there is work to be done!

    Nice post!

    1. Thanks.

      Evidently there's a big housing market in the area. Apparently, there's an completely unexplained exodus of people from certain states and cities to different regions of the country. Nobody in the "intelligentsia" can explain the phenomena because life is perfect in the areas they're leaving. Tis something to ponder.

  2. The Casa is looking really good. Seeing all the red dirt made me think you had transplanted said Casa to NC! But then I remembered that north Texas alternates from very black dirt around Dallas and Denton to very red dirt a bit farther north and west - it is called the Red River for a good reason!

    I can't understand why the paperwork takes so long - it's not like the lawyers and bankers are being inundated with work, Unless maybe all their support staff is under house arrest and so the principals have to do the work themselves? That would be a change likely to elicit some improvements in the process.

    Thanks for the videos - will look at them later as well, got a few things to do outside before it gets too hot...

    Nice desktop! Should turn out beautifully. Just glued up 'naked', or did you use any biscuits or floating tenons in the process?

    1. If I remember my Junior High Texas Geography, there are 5 (7?) distinct geologic regions in the state. We think this one (TX Hill Country) is the best compromise of all. Not as dusty and subject to Tornados as the High Plains where STxAR and I grew up. Not as hot and humid as the South East. Kinda just right.

      As to the time required, see previous response to Sarge. Housing market here is booming.

      Just finished the glue up on the second top. I don't have a biscuit jointer (yet), so I'm using dowels. 16 in each and out of 32 holes I only screwed up one. Got overconfident and lined up the wrong line on the jig. Ahh well...I'm getting better. The last time I tried them none fit. So...Always improving.


    2. I'll agree with you on the Texas zones - Hill Country is likely where I'd settle if I moved back to TX (although that is a fairly remote possibility - NC is rather nice. Texas still feel like home, though - ideally I could have a place in each locale, but that's $$$$. But I'll always be a Texan before I'm an American!

    3. The Austin-California political influence is increasing here along with the money they bring from the sale of their 1200 sq ft bungalows, so things aren't as pleasant and inexpensive as they used to be. But, I don't live in town so I avoid most of the BS.

      I understand that last.

  3. La Casa is coming along quite nicely....hmmmm...... how large is that septic tank? What size opening for the TV above the fireplace....curious minds want to know. Cedar gives a good look to a wood project doesn't it? That Red Flag vid gets the blood pumping this early, always liked the lines of the F16, that plane is wrapped around the pilot, no disrespect to the Eagle. Good to hear there's an ending date for Little J juvat, the unknown becomes slightly less unknown.

    1. Thanks, Nylon. Don't know about the septic tank, but as for the important stuff, 60" for the TV.

      Yeah, I like working with cedar, not too heavy, not too expensive, fairly easy to work and takes a finish beautifully. I redid a table for our guest house with it. It still catches my eye when I go in to clean.

      We did a lot of training with the 13TFS at Misawa. Once they got up to speed, they became a formidable training aid for US! But, air to air proficiency is very quickly lost if not practiced often. For most F-16 squadrons that is a common occurence. (Was for the F-4 also.) I'm sure the F-16 Agressor squadrons are VERY proficient.

      Thanks, I'll feel a lot better when he's actually back with his wife. Even better when he's back stateside.

  4. Nice house! Where's the moat?

    1. Thanks, Moat builder's are a bit scarce around her and standing water has a tendency to turn into humidity. However, a fence will go around the house so the dogs and cats can roam and the horses can graze on the rest of the property. I am thinking about lasers in turrets on the roof top, though.

  5. Fun post! Thanks. Airplanes,maneuvering,"how to" video (although few people made take advantage of it) and home update.
    I can remember my septic adventures in Santa Cruz. When they built the house, they forgot to put the septic location on the plot plan. Then someone came in and laid down a beautiful exposed aggregate concrete slab for the walkout basement/family room. Oh ....! Someone eventually must have said. They had to drill through the redwood expansion joints to locate the tank, then remove parts of the beautiful slab. All this in 1963. When I bought the place in '74, I learned quickly how to replace the float on the pump and the pump itself (yes, effluent had to be pumped up about 20 feet to the field). Had a special pair of hip waders for the job I had to do it about three times in the forty some-odd years we called it home.

    1. Thanks D4.

      Haven't had the pleasure of changing any equipment on our current septic over the past 20 years. Having read your comment, I consider the annual maintenance agreement....Money very well spent!

  6. Very nice. You'd think at this time the Bank would jump at the chance of closing and pocketing all that yummy money goodness, unless they're dragging their heels in order to keep all the yummy money goodness in their coffers to generate interest and such. Weird.

    As to construction equipment, you do know you can rent that stuff and even have it delivered, don't you?

    Then there's a whole community of people playing with scale model r/c construction equipment.

    And sumdood is using scale equipment to dig out his basement.

    Candle lanterns, always nice to have some alternate light sources just in case of storms and other things. I've got battery lamps and oil lamps and even some coleman propane lamps (though, come to think of it, I need to get some cylinders...)

    The marble would be nice in the shower.

    Other than that, glad things seem to be getting under control for you and yours. Like the desk, that's nice. But cedar? Isn't that a tad soft for a work surface?

    1. As I mentioned to Sarge, the housing market around here is very hot. I see a lot of Orange and Blue, and White and Red plates around here. People are fed up and leaving places in the news and coming to places like here. Much like Insty says. I certainly hope they've learned their lessons and vote differently when they get here though.

      Edited, Because I forgot something

      You're right about cedar, but when I went to buy the wood, they didn't have any of the 5/4" x 8' deck planks that I wanted to use. When I talked to the manager he said the shortage was a result of the lockdown. Apparently, saw mills were not an essential industry and although the lockdown had been lifted, they were still trying to ramp up to meet demand and backlogs. The cedar boards were still in stock, quite well figured and somewhat inexpensive, so I went with them.


  7. Looking nice throughout the house.

    The good news is that here in Philly all our body products vanish into the magical porcelain bowl and what happens after that we need not take notice of. The downside of that system is living here in Philly.
    I was in the Navy long enough to see the change from dumping human waste over the side, to storing it onboard and then processing it and dealing with it.

    Speaking of the lumber shortage, we needed a few pieces of pressure treated wood for a small project, and today's visit to both big box stores was wasted. I'm not stretching the truth to say the stacks were almost empty.

    We bought the Porter Cable biscuit joiner a lot of years ago when there weren't a lot of choices. It has held up well over the years.

    I had a chance to operate a largish Cat tracked excavator some years ago. It was neat, but as the usual operators were six foot plus, and the seat adjustments had long before rusted into immovability, my ability to see what I was trying to do was severely limited.

    It's surprising how quickly the wide open spaces in your home fill with belongings.

    Any thoughts on a split AC for the shop?

    We got back from our errands just in time to get a torrential downpour with hail. The rain gauge says 3.5 inches in a couple of hours and thank goodness for the garage and the carport.

    When we visited Udvar-Hazy we watched their Red Flag movie and it was awesome.

    1. I've got two, interchangeable, sayings about "stuff".
      1) "Stuff" expands to meet available space.
      2) The only thing that reproduces more rapidly than rabits is "Stuff".

      I've got a split AC in the shop, and the shop is insulated, but the AC can't seem to keep up.

      This summer so far has been unnaturally humid, so I sweat more and it is less efficient in cooling. We could use a bit of rain, The stock ponds are empty again.

      Red Flag was a lot of concentrated work, but it was generally pretty fun.

    2. Yeah, you really need something to 'shade' that shed. A friend of mine put up a frame to provide shade and airflow, but it didn't survive the near-tornado/downburst from a couple years later. I'm sure with proper engineering, it would be doable, but keeping direct sunlight off of it will do wonders, but how to make it survivable over the long-term is beyond my skills.

  8. YEA!! for an potential end date!!! Then can he come back to the States or is he stuck still in the Middle East for a while longer? Hoping and praying for a speedy return to Home ground.

    Very nice desk top!! Use Marine spar poly, it makes it VERY shiny, and will take LOTS of abuse. Having said that I am typing this on top of a piece of 5/8 plywood we cut in half, and screwed together, ran a sander over lightly and slopped some regular poly over...did that about 40 years ago now. The base are a pair of 2 drawer filing cabinets. It has held up wonderfully!!! Just a bit rough on the surface, which I could take care of with some sand paper, but have opted for a desk calendar. Cause I'm lazy.

    So far as paperwork for closing on a house--the last one I did was when I sold my house in 2011--the STACK of paperwork we had to sign (me and the buyers) was no exaggeration, easily north of 6 inches thick. Granted, this was in NY, but still, it took close to an hour to go through it all. The days of a handshake deal are loooooong gone I am afraid.

    Keeping fingers crossed for Labor Day!! And, yes, there are A LOT of for sale signs around here in the Capital District of NY, and they appear to be moving fairly quickly, now that real estate folks are allowed to show homes again. The sign will go up, and 1-2 weeks later there is a sale pending, or a sold sign tacked on someplace. And the prices are going up as well!!

    1. Well, he's on a 3 year tour in the Mid East and they're about half way. They were supposed to be working a follow on assignment for them, but that's been back burnered. There were two assignments they were considering back in the fall, Rome and....Hong Kong. When we visited Hong Kong back in the late '80s, it was a very nice city. We had given him one of those disposable cameras and that's where the photography bug bit him. I think he WAS thinking of those memories when he applied. Not sure, OK AM sure, it's not the same place now. We'll see what happens.

      That was what I was thinking of for the finish and the shiny brings out the gold color of the cedar. Vary pretty.

      Thanks, your prize is waiting, but must be picked up in person. :-)

    2. Rome would be... okay. But anywhere in the Far East is pretty much a no-go. Now that Chicom has control over Hong Kong, there's Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines and so many more 'ex-subject territories of the old Chinese empire...

      Yeah, nah.

    3. I would be happy to come pick up my prize in person...if I

    4. Beans,
      I agree, Rome would be ok not great. It will be interesting to see what happens next in WestPac.

    5. Suz,
      Come on down, got a nice guest house and peace and quiet. Which I suspect you could use a bit of about now.

  9. Glad to see the house coming together! Nice dog and ponies too! :-)

    1. Thanks. I see you had a good 4th, but...Tamales out of the back of a pickup? Pretty adventurous for a man of your years, ain't it?

  10. Closing can be the most frustrating of all process. Congratulations on what seems to be a relatively clear process (it can be worse - trust me, I have lived it).

    1. Well, as the man sitting on the toilet says "The job ain't over until the paperwork is complete!"


  11. The house is coming along nicely, juvat!

    Is that "West Texas" dirt I see piled up by the septic? Can't remember seeing dirt that red in too many other places. Here it's distinctly brown, and fairly sandy, not the rich, black stuff I grew up with in Illinois, and definitely not the "adobe" stuff we had in SoCal!

    Thanks for posting the link to President Trump's speech. LSP had a link to the video, but reading it hits me harder. He sure didn't pull any punches.

    1. Thanks, DrJim.

      No, Central Texas Sandy Loam, with just enough clay to require an aerobic septic (in the Ancient Swahili, aerobic means extra expensive").

      Yeah, I wanted to read it rather than look at it, also. Less editing there. No, he didn't pull any punches which IMHO is going to win the election for him. Videos of riots and towns on fire. "You want more of this? Vote democrat!"

  12. that fireplace looks really cozy... great place to relax in winter...

    1. Thanks Pawel. Yeah, we're looking forward to it, although having been in Bosnia in April (years ago) I suspect your winters might require a bit more fireplace than this one can provide. Should work well here though.

  13. House progress is fun to watch juvat. I'll be building one soon out on the south unit where there's good cover and concealment and terrible cell service.

    Fun videos, I think I saw a few smokin' sams and that brought back good memories. Also nice to see the ol' Extender in action. The few plugs I experienced vs the KC-10 were pure pleasure compared to the -135 and that awful BDA. Yuck!

    Loved the speech, especially the part about aircraft carriers making the world safe for!

    1. "Ol' Extender". Gee that makes me this ol' fighter pilot remember he was element lead on the first operational refueling mission on a KC-10. Likewise, a year or so later, a KC-10 probably saved my life when I had a trim motor failure in the middle of the Pacific between Santa Barbara and Hickam. It had failed prior to our last refueling before the CONUS tankers had to turn around. The autopilot wouldn't hold the nose up, so it was me and the WSO holding the Nose up for a couple of hours before we rendesvous'd with the Hickam tankers. One of which was a KC-10. Their boom was large enough that they could stick me and literally fly the airplane for me.
      They didn't buy drinks in the club that night.

      Me too!

    2. Cool dang stories! I remember a KC-10 doing a low (ish) flyby of the boat during a NORLANT circa 1980 and the radio chatter was interesting. He flew a case 3 CCA to platform then stayed at 5 grand and did a good job staying on centerline as he overflew the boat. The Air Boss asked him what he was grossing. "Ahhh, about three hundred thousand." Long pause. "Yeah, thats a significant fraction of the displacement of this vessel..."

      Good times.

    3. On that same deployment in the pre-deployment briefing, I remember our O-6 Director of Operations briefing us that a Carrier was traversing between CA and HI and told us if we had an emergency go over and land on it. I wrote down the info and decided if I had an emergency, I'd contact them then circle overhead. When I saw the whop whop airborne, I'd fly alongside and then punch us both out. I knew that Carrier Captain wouldn't let us attempt our first carrier landing in a damaged bird. Unlike our DO, I'm sure he wasn't a dumass.

    4. Yours would probably have been the best plan. In real blue water emergencies it was not uncommon for the Air Boss to direct the emergency aircraft to take it up the port side in as optimal ejection envelope as possible and "jettison the sircraft" one nautical mile ahead of the ship. And of course he said "jettison the aircraft" to avoid saying the E word which from time to time can cause the airplane to spit the crew out immediately... :-)

    5. Yep, I gave quite a few "incentive" rides in my day. You know Airman of the Month, visiting dignitaries, etc. I always briefed them that if I said the words "Bailout, Bailout, Bailout", they'd better be gone after the first two, because the punctuation mark after the third would be a bang from the front. As Supervisor of Flying (the guy responsible for anything that goes wrong flying wise), I had to be careful when discussing possible options with an emergency aircraft. I also used "jettison the aircraft" if that was a potential outcome as opposed to something that could be misinterpreted as directive in nature.

  14. Those mini backhoes are extremely popular these days!
    I see you like Titebond 3, I like 2, myself, it is as water resistant as I require.

    1. It certainly did the job. I didn't actually see the event, but I'm pretty sure they used that to lift the concrete septic tank into the hole. It was about 15' x 6' x 6', so probably weighed a bunch. I was in our current house and didn't hear any other equipment arrive.

      I've used both glues, this was leftover from my guest house fire pit furniture project where I needed a bit more water resistance.

  15. RE: the shelf at the shower stall. The drywallers messed up by putting that bullnose bead there. The tile guy messed up by not pulling the bullnose and providing his own solution. This is an important detail. That you said they offered you the option caused me to grind my teeth. It's not an option (as like an 'upgrade'), its a possible solution to the mistake. It's on the builder. They're wanting to cover the mistake. But good on them for owning it.

    All this to suggest that however they resolve it, you be certain it is what you want. The thing about a detail like this, once noticed it is forever seen. Let the missus choose for woman have a better eye for this than do men. And it is her who must be pleased with the results. Do not let excitement of your new home overshadow attention to details.

    Thanks for the videos.


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