Friday miscellany: Rough-ins and muntins

I meant to blog more this week. But here we are. A few things going on right now:

We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Years ago, our kids’ nanny at the time introduced them to the idea of trying to catch a leprechaun. You build a trap, and put it out on St. Patrick’s Day “eve.” If you catch the leprechaun, very exciting! If he escapes, he leaves you candy. I’m glad we didn’t actually catch a leprechaun, because what would we do with him? But the kids built a trap out of an Amazon box, with shiny sequins and such to lure him in, and sure enough, he left a few pieces of each of the big four kids’ favorite candies. I confess that I might have naturally felt bah humbug about the leprechaun thing, but I’ve realized it’s kind of fun as a family to celebrate minor holidays. So we also had green pancakes as part of our Wednesday breakfast-for-dinner tradition, and I attempted to make them in the shape of four-leaf clovers.

Home renovations are finally moving forward. I have been learning funny house terms. “Muntins” (which auto-correct keeps trying to put as “munitions”) are those thin wooden strips that support the panes of glass in a window. This matters because our local historic commission had to approve our renovation plans (the house was built in 1906). The windows are old and drafty. Our original plans, for simplicity, involved replacing doors and windows with new ones that all had the same width muntins, but this became a subject of discussion at two meetings and now we have an approved plan with two different widths of muntins. I’m glad our muntins finally passed muster.

Also, remember how excited I was to have chosen one toilet for all the bathrooms? Well, it turns out that different toilets have different “rough ins” — which as far as I can ascertain is the distance between the finished wall and the center of the mounting holes. The toilet I selected was 12 inches (which is standard). Apparently the house has 10 inch rough-ins. This doesn’t matter in the two bathrooms that will be completely rebuilt (with the toilets relocated) but it does for the ones where we are just replacing the old toilets. So, now I am back in toilet selection mode. I am glad this was discovered prior to construction starting, because I’m not sure what I would have done with all these wrong-sized toilets.

I have been practicing with my small group of singers to record our church’s Easter service music. We’re singing a piece called “Norwegian Alleluia” from Kim Andre Arnesen and wow is it catchy. I’ve been humming it in the shower. (That link takes you to YouTube with some fun scenes of Norway for your viewing pleasure…which sent me down a rabbit hole of reminiscence of traveling there with my husband when we were first together…)

I am about 400 pages into War and Peace. The battle of Austerlitz is over, and I confess I don’t remember so much about some of these chapters from when I read it 3.5 years ago. It is possible I skimmed through some of them. That can happen when you read through a really, really long book. But this pace of one chapter a day is forcing a certain attention to the whole story.

The kids’ baseball season is starting up this weekend. All four of the big kids are now in rock climbing classes and they are really enjoying it. I think we’ll still be able to squeeze in a real family hike this weekend, though after this one the sports might come fast and furious enough that the walks will be local and shorter.

Tonight we attend our preschool’s annual auction/gala virtually. I’ve been fascinated to see how people are adapting events to virtual realities. Back in the day we still bid on our phones at the in-person gala, so now we just bid on our phones at home. We’re getting a meal from a caterer so everyone can eat the same thing at home, and then watching a video later in the evening. I’ve been doing a fair number of virtual speeches of late. One take away is that on zoom, everyone has an aisle seat. It doesn’t work to just talk for an hour. Things need to be shorter, and more interactive. I generally do 30 minutes of presentation, and then 15 as a guided chat with a host, and then open it up to questions. That seems to hold attention more than hearing one voice. I’d love to hear anyone’s observations of what makes a good virtual conference — and whether that format will continue once this is “over.” The upside is that you save a lot on travel, and people can go to more learning events when they don’t have to leave home. Of course, since part of the upside of a conference is meeting people in person that you do know virtually, we shall see how this all plays out.

The baby may be getting his first haircut this weekend. Stay tuned…

Photo: Muntins! Little did I know… This photo was taken last spring – the magnolia is budding but not blooming yet.

4 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Rough-ins and muntins

  1. I finished War and Peace earlier this month and had been inspired by you to read it. Wow! What a great piece of literature. It’s definitely made my list of top 20 books, probably even too 10. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. One of my favorite Zoom things is the breakout rooms (which you can’t do in a webinar format). A couple of the best presenters I’ve seen this past year used this well by introducing an idea for 10-15 minutes then having a break out room to answer a question related to it. On average, it took about 10 minutes. In one of them, they had a person who was familiar with the work to help but on the other, we figured it out ourselves.
    For me, this listen/share/listen/share system makes it worth going. I understand that for the hosts, it can create the problem of people talking during the presentation but if you have someone handling that, they can mute everyone (except the presenter) and it seems to work OK.

    The webinar format is OK but what many of us are missing is the chance to connect with people, not just to watch speakers we haven’t seen (or who we could see on YouTube).
    Obviously, I’ve thought about this a lot 🙂

  3. Agree with Lynn about breakout rooms being good for interactions. However, I do a lot of chores while listening to webinars (sweeping, dishes, other mindless tasks) so would prefer to get a heads up about the schedule at the beginning (instead of surprise! Going to breakouts right now!)

    I also like the poll voting option in webinars to do lightweight interactions. 2-3 in the 30 minutes of talking are a good amount. I’ve seen a format where there’s a poll at the start of the talk to get a current state of opinions/knowledge, and the same at the end to see how many have improved in their understanding. Can be useful to you to improve the talks as well!

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