What I’m Up to Lately

Our combination washer/dryer broke down. (Technically only the washer broke, but Mikhail my gruff repairman who looks like a Russian Johnny Cash said it wasn’t repairable so we had to chuck the whole thing.) As the delivery team installed the replacements, they discovered the shutoff valves were broken, showering them with water. The guys were awful nice about it but said I’d have to hire a plumber to get it replaced…and he would have to cut into the drywall.The plumber replaced the valves, and I was quoted a week’s wait and $285 to repair a 14″ x 18″ section of drywall. That seemed really excessive and, inspired or more properly goaded by the fact that I write for Popular Mechanics, I decided to look into doing it myself. Several YouTube videos later, I had learned how to patch drywall and properly texture our condo walls for about a fifth of what I was quoted…and that was only because I had to buy tools.

Before we installed the washer/dryer replacements, my wife pointed out that the old unit rested on a sheet of shitty linoleum resting on bare concrete. If we didn’t do something about the flooring, we’d have to stare at that concrete for a decade or more. We had several boxes of hardwood flooring left over and I wasn’t going to hire someone to install flooring on a 3′ x 4′ patch of ground. Back to YouTube again, and two days later I had taught myself how to install hardwood floors.2.  I took the revamped AR-10 to the range. In contrast to the previous version, this version now has a new 16″ ADM Criterion barrel, Geissele DMR trigger, and the Magpul PRS stock. Getting it zeroed took a while but once I did it was very accurate…and I had to go home.

I had a handful of failure to ejects with the Toolcraft bolt carrier group, but I’ve since replaced the extractor with a JP Enterprises enhanced extractor. I also have my old AIM Surplus BGC lying around I can just drop in–that one never gave me any problems.

3. I took my daughter’s car and wired it with Fairy String Lights, LED lights that change colors via remote control and are powered by three AA batteries. The lights are held in place by 3M Command Cord Clips, which are kind of brittle but are sort of doing the job. The battery packs–little did I know the fairy lights order came with two sets of lights–sit in the drink holder in the upper left. J herself gets the remote, which she can uses to change the lights to whatever she wants. She gets a lot of compliments when we’re riding around at dusk. Cost: $35, batteries not included.

4. I ordered about 1,500 rounds of ammunition. Ammo is like salt, toilet paper, or mustard–no matter how much you buy, eventually you’re going to use it. Now, thanks to California law, I am no longer able to buy ammunition at competitive prices online. Soon I will need to undergo a background check, pay a $50 fee, and will only be able to buy from local gun stores…all of which are at least a half hour away. (Dear Gavin Newsom: I’m sorry cocaine is hard to get, but did you have to make getting ammunition even harder?) .308 Match ammunition is expensive to buy locally, so I placed a final order while I still could.

Of course, every package has to go through cat and toddler customs, and the customs officer took particular interest in the rattling ammo boxes. (No, this is not dangerous.)

5. My daughter made friends with a grouper and warned a striped bass that she was coming from his kind.

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