Stumbling in Pain

How many of you have participated in an egg and spoon race? What fun! A spoon, an egg – what can go wrong? Humiliations galore, that’s what can go wrong.

Work had a fun take on this game: use a disposible spoon, hold it in your teeth, and use a cotton ball instead of an egg. I was racing two women, both half my weight, but by licking the spoon, the cotton ball will stick. Now it is an egg sprint. Of course, I am not a cheater. I showed them the trick. I won the first race, but we were all so fast Cindy, our timer, didn’t get the stopwatch going. So we raced again. A step or two shy of the finish, my calf muscle tore. It was not pretty. A stumble to the finish, some groans, and a long, painful limp back to my desk. I left work a little early and got it checked out.

I have four to six weeks of healing while the muscles knit back together. Today, four days later, is the first day I haven’t taken a pain pill to get through. Ibuprofen is my best friend right now, though. My right leg has the nickname “Mr. Puffy” and on our recent trip to Walmart, I used the “Jazzy Chair” motorized shopping cart. If you see me on “People of Walmart,” cut me some slack.


March 5, 2017

Let me one with thee again

Wash me clean oh Lord

May my sins be forgotten

May my weaknesses be lost in thee

Enlighten my mind that may dwell on Thee

Lift up my soul that I may seek thy face

Give me joy now and forever

Lord let me be one with thee again


My son, now is a time to rejoice!

Sing, shout hosanna, laugh, play, dance, even if badly.

Thou art blessed, acknowledge those blessings and rejoice in them.

Take time today to rejoice, dread naught tomorrow, let it take care of itself.

The greatest blessings of thy life came unplanned –

Thou art in my hands and I love thee.

Work hard and then leave work at work.

As thou drivest home, think of whom thou canst serve.

I will guide thee.

Lose thyself in service and find joy here and forever.

So What is a Sex Bolt and Do You Need One?

I am designing a toy box for my grandson. This sounds easy, but not so when you are a complex man like myself. Instead of building said box out of plywood and painting it, I want beautiful wood. Now, I could head out and buy some maple – hard and nice. I could use cedar – soft, but beautiful, bugproof, and it has that wonderful, woody smell. If this box is repurposed as a blanket box, or if he gave it as a hope chest to his future bride, that would be great. But no, I thought “Recycled pallet boards. That will be cool.”

And cool it will be, if I ever get it done. First problem is the very nature of the nails in pallets. They have a twist in them to prevent them from ever coming out.  This really works! So far, I have broken down three or four pallets, and I have very few boards. I have lots of splinters that once were boards. After failing to pry boards free, I went for sawing through the nails. This is much easier, but as the ends are mostly split anyway, I will be using a circular saw to cut the ends off and will live with shorter boards.

My second problem has to do with the nature of pallets. Made from very hard wood and heavily used. These pallets were free, and as such, they are broken or split in many places. I don’t know if I will have enough wood for this project once I break down my ten or so pallets.

A third problem, it is not enough for me to just make a wood box. I want this to be like an old treasure chest. I am welding up angle iron around the entire thing. Yep, an iron bound treasure chest for toys.  I went out and bought steel. Now, this angle iron is really quite thick – perhaps too thick. It is the kind of thing I would use for building a welding table. Oh, that was the last project. Also, this box will be 33 x 20 x 20 inches or so. This is so we can have the Golden Ratio between the sides. Of course, I can also do 33 x 20 x 12.5, which gives me the Golden Ratio again, and I would write another blog on the beauty of the Golden Ratio, but I won’t. What I need are precise cuts and clean welds. Not something I get with the cheap Harbor Freight tools and my skills.  Now you can see that this requires some cool cuts. If I cut both sides of the angle iron on a 45 degree angle, three of those will make a corner. Very cool, if symmetry is your thing.

If you don’t understand how this works, look at the next photo, you can see how nice this will look once they are covering the edges. 

Now you can see one of the many problems. I miss-cut this corner. I will need to fill the gap in with weld, and I want that weld to be smooth and properly layered, not all splatters and holes like I usually get. Now, this sample picture is based on the only two pieces I have cut. I am going to have to carefully cut this steel as it is the foundation. “Careful” is not a word I am terribly familiar with when it comes to cutting steel and welding. One big project was my grape arbor. It is about 10 x 11 feet and has 6 steel runners for the grapes. I had to cut each one to fit as I did not make the frame really square.

I was planning to use rivets to attach the wood to the steel. I wanted to “pan hammer” them. I tried, today, with a test piece of steel and wood. For a rivet, I used a 16 penny sinker nail. As you can see, it doesn’t look very good. It did hold, but just does not look the way I want it too. If I am spending all this time doing research, breaking up pallets and learning to weld, I want it to really look good!  

So this is where a sex bolt comes in. A sex bolt is a threaded screw with a tapped sleeve on. Look how nice this will be:

I can just drill holes and put in the sex bolts to hold the wood to the steel and – voila! We have a cool looking, not riveted connection. Now I did look into a riveter, but the rivets were surprisingly hard to find that had the look I wanted, so I decided to go this way.

Now comes the last part. Pallet boards vary greatly in thickness. For example, a small piece varies from 1/2 to 5/8 of an inch. Since my sex bolts (often called sex screws, but you don’t want to put that into your browser …) have to be close to the right size, I am buying three sets of 100 in 12, 15 and 18 mm, all shipped from Ali Express for only $46.17. Now you can see below that the pallet wood has lots of character and holes. I would have spent less on new wood.

Yep, for the price of the sex bolts, I could have bought my grandson a toy box. By the time I am done, this gift will cost $200 and will take five years.


A fire in a box warms us through a cold winter night

Quiet flames lick the logs and fill the room with a soft orange glow

A nice break from a troubled day of work, numbers and computers

Yet here I sit, phone in hand, writing on a blog

Doubt Not, Fear Nor

Take courage my son. I am with thee. Remember those who have gone on before. They overcame. They persevered. They found joy in this life and glory beyond. They are your heritage. You shall become as they are. I have faith in thee.

Doubt not, fear not. When the heat of the day grows oppressive, abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Drink from My well. Fill your soul with My water and thirst not.

I love thee. I stand with thee.