Another Weekend, Another Project
Yes, a usual Bat-Weekend of consulting on friends' home projects. I went over to Judy's (former landlady where Bird, Grendel, Qwidjibo, and I used to live; she also introduced Bird to his now-wife Jen), looking at a few projects. Gave some advice on a concrete front step (you wouldn't think that a graduate-level engineering class in concrete durability would be so useful in day-to-day life, but hey, it is!). Also, some suggestions on installing the screen door; met the new downstairs tenants (another pair of geek roommates, this time from CMU--hey, the cycle continues).
But the big part was helping her install lights over the back patio--very nicely done in flagstone; I had advised her back in 2004 on how to best install it without frost heaving. I spent the afternoon stringing up and tensioning steel overhead cables, that the string of lights hang off of.
Pretty neat, huh? Here's some of the specific handiwork and hardware--turnbuckles, cables, velcro ties for the lights. Note that if you're putting up lights that will be plugged in full-time, you should get an outdoor electrical box that will shed water from the box with the cord plugged into it.
And come evening, it looked like this:
I told her she really needs to throw a party to break in the setup. Since there's an electrical outlet right there, my suggestion was doing blender drinks on the back patio--margaritas, daquaris, etc.
Judy thanked me by taking me out to dinner at Addis Red Sea in Cambridge--a very fun way to wrap up an evening. Although one bit was disappointing--we ordered the raw beef dish, and we must have misordered, because we got the cooked stuff. Ah well.
She also said that I could probably make a good living by billing myself as a super-competent handyman. It sounds tempting--I really enjoy the work. But the last time I tried it, I ended up broke and living at home with my parents.