Carpentry and Blood

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on sliding shelves for the small pantry area in the motor home. Until today everything was going along nicely because I was wound-free. Now, I’m talking about weeks, folks, not just days or hours, of managing to remain relatively waterproof (no blood loss) and no detectable bruises. I attribute this to the fact that all I needed to do was slow down and pay attention to what I was doing – just like Diane has told me to do numerous times subsequent to pretty much every previous injury that required her assistance to mend.

The project was to build 5 sliding shelves that are 6 11/16” wide and 20” inches long. Not very big and something an expert could probably hammer out in a few hours. I, however, must spend numerous hours considering how I should proceed. I do that a lot for everything I do that involves a task that requires a finished product. Generally, I do that for so long sometimes that Diane doesn’t think I’m doing anything at all. I suspect she thinks I’m napping but what I’m really doing is staring at my stash of lumber, draw guides, and tools attempting to visualize what the shelves will look like when done. I’ve already researched possibilities on Pinterest and found about a gazillion choices to use, but most of them don’t supply the detail I need get going. You know, of course, that analyzing a gazillion references takes a considerable amount of time and that happens before I stand in my shop and start the visualizing process.

At some point during my analytical process there emerges an actual vision of what I need to do. It’s then that I’m released to actually pick up boards and glides, holding them together in various ways to see how I can attach them together. This involves considerations like, should I just use glue, should I use my nail gun, should I use screws, should I use a combination of all those …

Glue Only – this method is obviously totally impractical, even though the glue I have requires a considerable effort to break apart pieces that have been allowed to cure for the proper amount of time. You see, I like to take things apart, to, and gluing kind of rules that out for things that are constructed with wood that’s been measured once and cut twice. It always needs to be fixed at some point. So, no glue.

Nail Gun – this method is very appealing because I hardly ever get to use my nail gun because they are illusive critters. I had three of them at one point in time then I had none and I had no idea where they went. One of them was finally located when I asked Jeff if he borrowed them and he said he did. Then one day our old neighbor, who moved last year, came by with a box containing one of the other guns that I’d loaned him and forgot about. He said he was going through boxes in his garage and found it and decided he should return it. The third one is just gone. I can only hope it found a good home. Prior to the neighbor returning the one I loaned him I went to ACE and bought a new one so now I have two again and have access to a third one that Jeff has, should I need it. I won’t need it, however, because it’s for nailing large boards together and I’m working with little stuff. Another issue with nail guns is they need compressed air to work and my compressor is big and resides in the garage. It’s noisy, too. Whenever I fire that puppy up Panzee, a dog who is essentially deaf, runs away. I do, however, have a portable air tank that will hold 100 lbs of air. It’s located right next to my table saw, which has been the source of some colorful injuries I’ve documented in previous posts. So, the nail gun became a viable candidate for part of the construction as long as the air holds out. I know from experience that getting the empty tank to the compressor is a cinch but lugging it back to the basement filled with 100 lbs of air is really hard.

Screws – these were essential for mounting the drawer glides to the inside of the cabinet and to the shelves. I knew this was true immediately when I got the glides because the screws came with them. Thankfully, I have a portable electric screw driver. Actually, it’s a portable drill but I can drive screws with it, too. The problem with it, however, is that it’s a wee bit too long to actually drive screws in a space that’s not much over 6” wide and 20” deep. So, I pulled out one of my really old rechargeable electric screw drivers the kids bought me about 10-15 years ago. I figured the battery was probably toast but was pleasantly surprised that it charged right up and served me well during construction.

I cut pieces of wood to which I screwed the drawer side of the drawer glides. In the cabinet I installed spaces to attached the cabinet side of the glides. The spacers were needed so the shelf would clear the opening.

Then I cut six shelves out of random pieces of paneling and peg board material and attached two guides to each of them with my nail gun. Viola! I had shelves. But, the tops were just flat with no sides to contain items. Then I had an epiphany, which is always fun. Epiphanys that I have never just jump out of the blue to me. They come to me after lots and lots of time consuming thought about how to solve something. It’s a gradual thing for me which, I know, is kinda contradictory of me calling them epiphanys. But they are, and I always enjoy them.

In this case, my problem solving thought process finally took me to dowels and my drill press. Yes, I have one of those. It’s not large, but it serves my purpose. Combining those two items in my head produced a vision of Tinker Toys. Remember those? My epiphany involved a solution for drilling the right kind, and size, of holes so I could cobble the dowels together, and attach them to each shelf, in the form of small little fences, for tiny little cows and horses. No, really, the fences are to corral cans of food and anything else Diane might want to put on them.

Drilling holes in dowels, without drilling all the way through, in a manner that will accommodate the flat end of a dowel requires the use of a forstner bit, of which I have a few. It also required me to build a little jig that would hold the round dowel steady when I drilled it.

Just as I was finishing up the drilling process I had a very minor lapse of judgement which resulted in the injury I received. With the drill in the O.F.F position, I apparently got cocky when positioning my third to last dowel for the drilling and brushed my hand against the drill bit. It was off, for criminy sakes, and it didn’t even hurt, but here’s what it did …

It punctured me in four places! Really!? I guess I really am thinned skinned.

Since I only had a couple more holes to drill, I finished the process then took this picture and showed it to Diane who was busy at her computer. Since she was busy doing something important there I didn’t want to interrupt her by talking so I just held the photo in front of her.

She immediately got up and escorted me to the first aid room – we have one of those, now – and fixed me fight up with just one band-aid because two of the small punctures quit bleeding when I scrubbed up so we just left them alone.

That’s all I have for today.

Pinterest

If you have been sucked in to the mind-boggling world of Pinterest, raise your hand. I’d wager that the majority of you caught yourself just before actually doing that, but you really did raise your hand mentally. Pinterest is addictive. It’s a terrible affliction and I suspect it won’t be long before someone comes up with way to wean us away from all those incredible projects that ‘other’ people do. Either that, or some lawyer will come up with a way where we can sue whoever created that creative web site so we can pay a therapist. The therapist, no doubt, will also be hooked and needs that money to help pay for the material needed to realize their dream of building that solar collector out of soda cans, or an owl out of unwanted eating utensils and jar lids. It just looks so easy.

Now here’s the problem. There just isn’t enough time available for me to expend the energy needed to focus down on just one thing. My head is usually full of a rat’s nest of mostly incoherent thoughts and looking at any Pinterest email feeds my frenzied synapses. Consequently, feeding the need to look at all the Pinterest related information I receive does not leave ANY time to feed the desire to actually accomplish something.

Speaking of Pinterest emails, although I enjoy them, they add to my inability to extract myself from in front of my computer long enough to get pretty much anything done. Thankfully, with Diane’s help, I’ve found a way to schedule in bathroom breaks and she brings me food. Sometimes when I’m on the way to the bathroom she intervenes with a “Hey, since you’re up …” and diverts my attention to some household thing that really needs to be fixed. Once that’s done, I’m released from the hypnotic grip of looking at the result of other people’s creative talents, who obviously have more time to do them, or maybe they just don’t have a computer.

Hey! Now we’re getting somewhere. Maybe it’s the computer, not the emails. Should I just turn it off and see what happens? No, that wouldn’t work because I have a phone. And an iPad. I’d have to power down all that stuff and that would be devastating because I use both of those things to read books.

And play Sudoku.

So, I don’t have a solution for my personal dilemma short of sedation. I’m stuck in this loop and it’s actually kind of fun. However, I feel a bathroom break coming on and suspect that Diane will interrupt my trip back to the keyboard with “hey, while you’re up …” that will probably take the remainder of my day. See ya later…

Diane’s Pantry & Snow Days

 

So … I reorganized Diane’s pantry. What do you think? It’s much easier to find things, now. Before we had to dig through all the shelves to find what we were looking for. Sometimes we just dug around to see what was there. Now, everything is right out there in the open and easy to see. The dogs love it because it’s like wandering around in a grocery store, picking out the things that look good.

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It snowed a few days ago and doesn’t appear that it’s going to leave us soon. Watching the news yesterday about all the traffic jams almost made us want to move into Portland. It was an incredible mess. Those “in the know” pointed their fingers of blame at the Oregon Department of Transportation for not using rock salt on the road. Washington does, and they don’t seem to have any difficulty getting around in snowy weather. Oregon uses lots of gravel at intersections, which is good, and lots and lots of chemicals on bridges and main roads. Out here in the country, things are quite good by comparison because most of the drivers have an inherent knowledge that they should drive a lot slower when there is snow and ice on the road. Many Portlanders don’t have that ability. Consequently, they cause problems that all the news stations just love.

Now for some snow pictures, just to prove we actually had some. Not much, this time, but some. Just enough, actually, for the district to close schools for a couple of days.

I think I mentioned on my first posting of this photo that our balls look much nicer with snow on them.

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Ozzie either isn’t a fan, or he’s got a problem with Panzee taking advantage of an opportunity to sniff his butt. Or is she just looking at it?

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Our snowman even got snow on him. You’d think it would just absorb into him, wouldn’t you?

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Regarding Diane’s pantry shelves. This is what I really did.

Right side

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Left side. I loaded up all the drawers so, of course, everything is in the totally wrong place. Just just stacked stuff by size, not content. Diane said she’s going to reorganize them one of these days. Right now I’m the only one who knows where stuff is which makes me feel kind of powerful.

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I’m going to add a couple more drawers. Just have to build them. Ran out of material for the drawer bottoms.

Politics, Hallmark, & Projects

I’ve been thinking lately, not something I typically do on a regular basis. Normally I just roll with whatever’s going on at the time, oblivious to external influences. Consequently, I miss out on a lot of things that are apparently important to lots of people.

One thing that got my attention lately is the Texas Elector who decided he wasn’t going to cast Texas’ electoral votes for Trump because he’s an elector “to elect a president, not a king.” So, he’s resigning, leaving, which brings up another question in my head. How do these people get a job as an Elector?

Are they appointed by someone? If so, who might that be?

Did they win some sort of raffle at the last convention?

Did they happen to sit in the only chair at the convention dinner that had the winning envelope taped to the bottom?

Considering the fact there have been Faithless Electors in the past, those who do not vote for their winning candidate, I can’t help but wonder about either the validity of the elector process, or those appointed to serve as an elector. Seems like I read somewhere, in my long, arduous research on this, that the Electoral system was designed because voters couldn’t be trusted to vote for the most qualified candidate. Actually, I did read it somewhere, like here. Go figure.

Enough of that.

Now, how about some more interesting stuff? OK.

We’ve been watching a lot of Hallmark Channel movies lately, like we do every year at this time. All have Christmas themes, and all have great stories where the guy gets the girl and every one is happy forever after. Today was different, however. It was about a young woman who was transported 71 years into the future from December 22nd, 1945 to December 22nd, 2016. During her time in 2016 she learned about how small, kind things she did in 1945 had enormous impact on her town and families in 2016. Being able to witness these changes gave her a new outlook on life, changing her view of herself as insignificant to the understanding that even a small stone makes ripples in a pond. It was very good. So good, in fact, that we didn’t even take time to make popcorn. That is a stellar testament to our value of this movie.

I’d tell you the name of it, but I can’t remember.

I’ve got two drawers installed in Diane’s pantry. Only 8 more to go. As soon as I remember to buy the right kind of screws the next time I’m at ACE, I’ll be able to finish them up. I’m looking forward to the end of it because I’ve been talking about it for at least 7 years. That’s not all about procrastination, which I’ve very good at, but also about having lots of other things to do. So, drawers were never high on the list of priorities. That, and having emergent issues interfere with my 3-hour work day. Too many club meetings, also. Since I stopped going to all the meetings, I’ve been able to use my tools more often.

Part of the building process gave me an opportunity to use the drill press I was presented by PGE at my 20 year employment anniversary. I drilled about a zillion holes, some of which were countersunk to make shorter screws work like longer ones. All that drilling caused lingering pain in my right bicep which I thought was just normal tired muscles. Frequent checks, however, because it just feels weird, revealed to me that something is rolling around in there with that tiny muscle. I’m convinced it’s a growth of some sort, or that a portion of my bicep experienced a small explosion. One of these days I may call my doctor  to see if there’s a chance she can figure it out. Maybe it’ll just go away. In any case, progress comes with a price. Perhaps this is mine.

We’ve had snow. See.img_0787

Those are tiny little snow drifts made by our one day snow storm on our porch. I imagine they are pretty hazardous for small bugs in a hurry, but not too bad for people. The front yard was a winter wonderland, too, but I didn’t take a photo of that

I’ll stop for today on that note.

Tetanus Shots & Table Saws

For the past month or so, Diane has been battling bronchitis. She’s had a horrible time with it and it seems to happen every year at this time when things turn really wet outside. It’s always a concern for me because when she’s making me a sandwich and coughing I fear that I may be the next victim. So far that hasn’t happened, probably because I convinced her to visit her doctor a couple of weeks ago and she got some antibiotics to help her fight this. After three days on the antibiotics I was confident that she was no longer contagious and allowed he to resume her sandwich making duties. She’s been slowly improving since then and is almost back to her normal self.

Yesterday she had her followup visit with the doctor to see how things were going. After she left I got to thinking that it’s been a number of years since I had my last tetanus shot. Now, that’s not normally something I think about, but it gave me something to consider as I went down to my shop to continue work on a couple of projects I have going for Christmas.

Within 10 minutes, during which time I was able to make a series of boards, with angled edges of precisely 11.5 degrees, on my table saw. On the very last cut the table saw snatched the perfectly good leather glove of my left hand and gnawed a large chunk from the forefinger area. Due to the pain which accompanied the destruction of my glove I was pretty certain there was physical damage involved. My well honed reactions to events of this nature cause me to make a tight fist of my left hand and clutch it to my chest in a manner that, had anyone been present, may have indicated I was suffering a cardiac event.

Before the pain subsided, I turned off the saw, and the shop vac that was connected to it in order to suck all the sawdust away from the saw, and headed for my car in order to make yet another visit to the emergency room. It took longer than necessary to get out of the house because I couldn’t find my phone, which was on the work bench in the shop. Once I remembered where the phone was, I checked to ensure the dogs had full water bowls and that the cat had food (she drinks from the dog’s bowls), got my car keys and headed down the hill

Because I had my left hand clutched to my chest I decided that I didn’t want to fuss over how to get my seat belt strapped around me so, throwing caution to the wind, headed down the hill without it. It feels really odd to drive without a seat belt. It’s just not normal. But I did it.

Instead of going directly to the emergency room, I parked by Diane’s truck on the other side of the building thinking she would know something was up when she saw my car. To ensure there was no confusion, however, I went into the reception area and asked one of the ladies to please give Diane a message about where I was so she would know why my car was there. Then I walked around the building to the emergency side of things.

Walking into the emergency room with my hand clutched to my chest, I knew, would create a stir, so I just said “table saw”, to the first person I saw so they wouldn’t get the wrong idea about the reason for my visit. Those two little words granted me front of the line priority and, after a very brief check in, I was rushed to a room beyond the normally locked doors where things happen.

Since I’ve done this before, a number of times, and most recently for the same finger, I know the procedure, and most of the people helping me. I assumed a prone position, in my well used work clothes, on a nice white sheet, then opened my fist so the nurse could get the glove off and check the damage. From precious experience I knew that my clutching method would stem the flow of blood to a minimum so wasn’t surprised when none came pouring out when the glove was removed.

Here’s what it looked like …

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Notice the nice 1/8″ kerf. Since I’d never seen the interior of my finger before, I was quite fascinated.

A nice young lady, who claimed to not be a doctor, but a PA, checked out my wound and determined that she could save it. During her investigation, she asked about the status of my tetanus vaccination and I reported that that particular shot was one of the reasons for my visit because it’s been about 7 years since my last one and figured another one was due. Oddly, that coincided with my last visit to that same room, for issues with the same forefinger.Then she gave me a shot to deaden the finger, telling me I’d feel a little pinch when she inserted the needle. I assured her, when it was done, that what I felt wasn’t too bad, but it certainly wasn’t like a pinch. She laughed. Then my finger went to sleep before the pain took over my senses.

Diane arrived to keep me company around this time and I was happy that she wasn’t mad at me. And, she had good news that, though she had infection in her eustachian tube, the bronchitis was much better. I love being with my wife, even in an emergency room.

Actually, the most severe pain was at the moment of impact with the saw blade as I felt each tooth tearing into my finger as it spun. Nasty. Still, it was nice to have it numb.

Then one of the nurses came in and administered the new tetanus shot, in my right shoulder area, after which another nurse arrived with equipment she used to scrub the be-Jesus out of the wound, ensuring there were no stray little bits of leather or wood chips hanging around. I didn’t watch because I knew she was doing a very thorough job and I didn’t want to vomit on my chest. It wasn’t until then that my right shoulder began hurting a little from the injection.

When the scrubbing was done, the PA returned with the stitch kit she needed to repair the damage. As she entered, the lights flickered a bit, and everyone was commenting about the odd smell in the air. For me, it had a distinctive bakelite smell indicative of some sort of electronic equipment failure. My friend, “The Plant Electrician”, is no doubt well acquainted with that telling aroma. After a short time the fire alarm sounded and everyone vacated the building, out into the rain, to await the fire department.

A nurse quickly wrapped a bunch of gauze around my finger and Diane went to get her truck to bring it around so we could sit and wait. I was thankful for that as I watched everyone huddled outside in the rain. They could have gone to their cars, too, but they didn’t.

Finally the fire department showed up …

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… and they shooed everyone away from the building, out into the rain. Apparently standing under the shelter of the entry area wasn’t a good idea. So, everyone left, but we were allowed to stay, sitting in the truck.

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That’s my PA, Kimberly, in the white coat. In front of her, is another Diane that I’ve known a long time, and to her left is Kimberly’s scribe, Beth. I don’t know where they went, but I regret not offering them all a seat in the truck to await the outcome of this event. I’m sure Kimberly could have stitched me up while we waited.

Finally, after about an hour, long enough for my finger to heal, we were allowed back into the building where we assumed our previous positions. Mike, an ex Navy Corpsman, provided us with warm blankets which felt really good.

After everything settled down, and things were moving back to normal, Kimberly reappeared to resume her task. Because of the delay in finishing the procedure, we both thought it would be a good idea if she added a bit more numbing agent before getting busy with the stitches. While doing so, I learned from idle chatter in the hallway that I was the cause of the need to evacuate because everything was going just fine until I got there. Having broad shoulders, figuratively speaking, I figured I could accept that responsibility and ease the burden a little for the real culprit who drove his vehicle into a power pole somewhere nearby.

Six stitches are now holding my finger together. That makes 21 stitches total for that one digit in its lifetime. None of its neighboring digits have ever been stitched up so it has the record, hands down.

I sincerely hope every one of you who have suffered through this narrative are in good health and will continue to enjoy that state of being for the remainder of your lives.

Now I must heal.

Random Memories Of Recent Events

I recently re-discovered a nifty bit of knowledge that probably most men of my age already know and didn’t forget. That would be this … before applying any kind of analgesic, especially if it smells like wintergreen, to you old, sore muscles, take care of personal needs that require you to grasp the business end of your urinary tract. If you forget, remember to perform a surgical scrub after the fact before taking care of such personal matters. Failing to do both of these will result in a great deal of discomfort that will not quickly go away no matter how hard you scrub it. Additionally, if you’re married, or involved in a long-term relationship, there’s a distinct possibility that you may have to vacate your home for a week, or two, because of their inability to stop laughing. Leaving the room seems to diminish the glee, but returning always gets it started again. They always laugh, then they tell all their friends. Seems like we men  should have some sort of legal recourse, but we apparently don’t. But, I’m still looking. So far, my best solution is to move in to the RV for a while until things calm down.

Junior and I went golfing the other day. Doug didn’t show up because he’s out in the woods with his weapon looking for Bambi. It’s hunting season. So, Junior and I decided we’d golf really well, which we did. Legally. Had Doug been there I might have had a chance to beat him. When he’s with us he insists on keeping score ensuring he never gets beat.

The fresh water leaks in the old RV have been repaired, and a new shelf was manufactured to replace the one I righteously destroyed in the process. When those things are put together there’s no consideration given to the possibility that someone might need to fix something. Consequently, some parts must be sacrificed for the greater good, no matter how useful they might be. The solution involved replacing small portions of the water line with new PEX connectors and fixing the sink drain. Twice. I had to fix the drain twice because it made me mad and I broke something. I needed to go to ACE anyway.

We went to Crosscut Hardwoods in Portland and bought a bunch of oak wood so I can create and install sills and casings for the new windows. We got about 140 board feet of lumber, three of which were 11 feet long, and it all fit in the Impala with the trunk closed which amazed both of us. I almost didn’t get any because this store is a woodworkers dream and I was a bit overwhelmed in the same way that Diane gets overwhelmed when she walks into Best Buy and is confronted with a very large wall of TVs that are all on the same channel. Crosscut is a large store with racks and racks of exotic wood from all over the world. There were so many choices, and pretty wood to touch, making it tough finding the simple oak I needed. Perseverance paid off, however, and I finally trundled out my $293 load of wood to the car and my lovely bride who was waiting for me. She had a great opportunity to ditch me, but she didn’t. Here’s the wood laying on my shop floor, blocking Diane’s way to he Girl Room.

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The RV holding tank (black) has been kinda repaired with fiberglass. Once it dried I determined that I’d need to do it again because my effort to make it OK with one big piece of fiberglass was the wrong choice. So, I’ll use a bunch of small, overlapping pieces and that should take care of it. There will be no further reporting on this topic unless I run out of other stuff to share.

Our new tarp garage has been completed. It’s 10 x 20 feet and has plenty of room for the tow doll, the lawn mower, and pretty much anything else I might decide to put in it. The next task will be to take all the yard tools out there and devise a good way of making them presentable for use at a moments notice without a lot of searching. Since I don’t mind searching for the proper tool, I just leaned them all against a saw horse I set up. I’m going to put all 452 of Diane’s plant pots out there, too. And her gloves. That should get me in trouble. Maybe I’ll build some shelves one of these days in my spare time, too.

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That’s enough for now except to report that fall is officially here. Oure dogwood tree said so.

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Sunrise & Quilts

Here’s what I was greeted with this morning …

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Today the Bethany Ladies opened their 35th Annual Quilt Show and they had a great turnout. It’s always a festive time for me because they always have sandwiches and I really love sandwiches – egg salad and chicken salad. They also have Chicken Noodle soup and Clam Chowder, the best in the West.

The quilt show is mainly a venue for quilters to display their art and there is plenty of that around. There are also vendors in the basement who sell specialty items not related to quilts. But, you can buy quilts, too, of course, just not the ones upstairs decorating the pews.

That’s Jean, Diane’s Mom waaaay in the back.

DSC_2849You could also spend a buck or two on raffle tickets to win one of these beauties …

DSC_2843My favorite is this Crazy Quilt whose owner said she’s been working on it for 10 years.

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In the basement Barb, part of the crew, shows off her special apron.DSC_2841

Here’s Nancy giving me almost her best smile. I didn’t get the best one because she saves that for Floyd.DSC_2837Here’s Jennifer checking out a catalog of quilts created by the Featured Quilter, Terry Maloney. Sadly, I don’t have a photo of Terry to share. Apparently she heard I was coming and left.DSC_2853

Diane taking a break warming her feet on the heater grate. DSC_2850She’s going to have to do some more of this when she gets home this afternoon because they don’t close the doors until 1800 hours and she was there at 0830. Tomorrow will be a shorter day because the close at 1400 hours.

So, if you find some idle time on Valentine’s day, and want to spend some of it wandering around some beautiful quilts created by some very talented artists, pay a visit to Bethany Lutheran Church between 10-3. Kitchen closes at 2 pm. You won’t regret it.