Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wrangling Cats and Power Tools

Meters swum today: None, on accounts of hauling the cat to the vet. See below.
Playing on the iPod: Kitaro, from "Silk Road"

I realize that as a lesbian, I'm supposed to be good at things like mowing the lawn, fixing the car and slapping pieces of wood around. Unfortunately, my lesbian chromosome (you can see it under a microscope, it's the one that looks like Anna Nicole Smith) seems to be missing that gene. Whenever I try to build something, chaos is certain to follow. For a good example, read about how I tried to break into my own closet, failed, and called my time-traveling neocraftsperson friends over to help. This weekend I built a garden box. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

See, the last time I did anything of significance involving power tools was a couple of years ago, when I made a hole in the door of our shed so the Clan External would have a place to hang out in bad weather. The idea was to put in a cat door, but we never got that far. I bought a power saw, one of the circular type, and spent a good half hour staring at this door trying to figure out how in hell one would cut a square in it. Finally, in a move sure to strike terror into the hearts of virtually everybody who has ever worked for Home Depot, I determined that I could make four pocket cuts with the circular saw and that would make a square.

Four pocket cuts. As in, dipping this spinning wheel blade into the wood and pulling it back out without damage to life or limb. I'm holding the blade cover back with my thumb, pressing the trigger with a finger of my other hand and basically hunching over, almost upside down, to apply these pocket cuts. Amazingly, no one was harmed. Including the shed door. Now it was a shed door with four pocket cuts roughly arranged in a square near the bottom. I ended up kicking it with my foot until the four corners gave way. Presto, instant cat door. Minus the door of course. When Joan got home she kindly explained that one was supposed to remove the door from the hinges, lay it on a pair of sawhorses and then do the cuts. Imagine my surprise. When I showed her how I'd done the cuts she about lost consciousness. Apparently this does not comport with numerous safety regulations.

So, I bought a drill on Sunday to drill holes into which to insert deck screws to make the garden box. I lay the piece of wood down, with the holes marked in the appropriate places, and discovered much to my surprise that drilling a piece of wood actually takes physical work. And hand strength. Who knew? Plus, wood shavings from a drill bit catch on fire, or at least heat up and smolder a little. So it was drill a hole, stamp out the sparks; drill a hole, stamp out the sparks. And then when I started to insert the deck screws, I discovered to my dismay & chagrin that I'd made the damn holes too small. So I had to re-drill them all.

Well, anyway, it ended happily. The garden box is done, filled with dirt and some heads of spinach are growing. I didn't burn the house down, damage the drill, run it through my toes or shock myself. Nobody called the police and the 911 crew got the night off. I can't wait to see what it looks like in the daytime. Oh, did I forget to mention I did most of it in the dark? The sun sets at 6:30 around here and I get home about 6:45.

Back to cat wrangling. This morning I hauled one of the cats to the vet for her annual exam/teeth cleaning. Actually it was the wrong cat. We were trying to get Sparrow into the carrier and she kicked so hard Joan let go of her. Joan turned around, grabbed Chloe and said, "They both need to go, don't they?" I acknowledged they did and so we stuffed Chloe into the carrier. So Sparrow is probably prancing around the house in grand triumph while Chloe is sitting at the vets wondering what the hell just happened. They'll both be impossible to live with for a week.


Joan said...

I'd like to point out that I let go of Sparrow because she had become a twisting, yowling, hissing ball of pointy ends, one of which was about to take one of my thumbs off. Sparrow's no fool: she goes for the weakest link of the capturing party. And it was Jen's idea to grab Chloe. Chloe was on top of the TV set with a great view of the twisting, yowling, hissing action. When Sparrow got away, Jen whispered, grab Chloe, so I did, and we slam-dunked her into the carrier before she figured out what was happening.

Jen said...

Oh, is that what happened? My brain must still be fogged from all the sawdust.

Jackie said...

I stand in awe (actually, I'm sitting... but whatever) of your courage with power tools. I was asked by Habitat of Humanity to please not return to "help" them anymore because I couldn't hang up a towel rack (there were a few other things I screwed up as well... but I would be chagrined and dismayed if I were to attempt to describe it further.

Alis said...

Hi there - came to your blog via David Isaak's and v. glad I did' - I've just read three of your posts and laughed out loud at every one. Loved the image of Joan losing consciousness at the thought of what you'd done to the door...
I have a feeling my favourite blog list is about to get a Buddhist flavour.

Jen said...

Hi, Alis! Welcome aboard!

Joan stands just inside the window with her cell phone set to 911 and her finger on the "send" button whenever I have to get up on the ladder to change bulbs on the security lights, too.

Alis said...

My other half is a bit like that, only in my case it's knives she doesn't trust me with. But then I do seem to keep ending up with sliced fingers... shame it's me that does most of the cooking!