A few weeks ago I was at work at the Sakrete plant putting Belgard A Frames in my truck when one of them slipped and fell on top of my phone that was laying on my tailgate. It immediately cracked the screen and my phone became completely useless unable to swipe anything on the home screen.

So, the next day, I run out and get a new Samsung phone, and luckily, I was able to transfer all my data from my old phone to the new phone through the cloud. I had to log back into all my accounts but at least they were still active. Everything but Instagram.

When I try to log into my mvflaim_furnitutemaker Instagram account on my new phone it wanted me to put in my access codes. I wrote down access codes several months ago just in case someone hacked my account and I could retrieve it back. My wife has known a lot of people who’ve had their Instagram accounts hacked and suggested I get access codes in case it happened to me.

None of the access codes that I wrote down worked so, I decided to log in through my Facebook account. When I did that, it still asked for the six digit login codes. It then said that you could get these codes from a third party Duo Mobile or Google Authenticator software you set up on your phone.

So then I installed Google Authentication software on my phone which would give me a random six digit code every 30 seconds. When I try to log in and put those codes in, it still didn’t work.

So now I’m pissed screwing with Instagram for several days trying to get back into my account. I tried to log back in to get help and clicked “get support” which asks me if I have a picture of myself. I don’t take many, if any, selfies of myself but do have a few photos of me on my feed. It then has me take a 360 degree video of my face so it could recognize it was me. Every time I tried, it emailed me back saying it can’t verify the video is me. I took over two dozen videos of my head over the past few weeks and everytime, the AI software still will not recognize my face.

It’s so bad that now, the software won’t even pull up when I try to take another video of me saying there is a bug with the software. So basically, I’m fucked.

So, I bit the bullet and decided to create a new Instagram page and call it the.antiquetool.restorer. But now I have to start all over again gaining followers.

It took me nine years to get over 4k followers as I’m not a tech savvy social media guru. It just sucks so bad. All that hard work getting all the followers is just pissed away simply by getting a new phone.

Herb Drying Rack

Last Saturday, Anita and I, were antiquing up in Northen Ohio around the Medina area. We stumbled into an antique store Seville, OH where Anita saw this old herb drying rack. The price was $89 but the lady said she would take $75 for it. Anita looked at it for a few minutes trying decide whether or not to buy it and if she did, where she would put it.

The rack looked old, but whether or not it was antique, who knows? It could have been made 20 years ago and just left outside to weather. While Anita debated on buying the rack, she asked me if I could make one. I told her it would super easy to do so she left it there and didn’t buy it.

The next day, I ripped 1/4″ strips off an old pine shelf we had in the garage. I decided the spacing should be 1 1/4″ so I cut blocks by using a sled on my table saw and laid out the spacing to see how it looked.

Anita came downstairs and told me she wanted rectangular spacing so she two two blocks and put them together. We both liked the new design, so I started pinning the strips together with 23 gauge pins. After we decided the overall dimensions the rack should be, I built a 1″ thick frame with the rest of the pine board. I used 18 gauge brads to attach the grid to the frame. The overall size was about 22″ wide x 47″ long.

In a few hours, the drying rack was built and hung up in our kitchen between the back door and the basement door. I posted a picture on Instagram and one of my followers said that the rack would work great for drying his weed. Maybe I should make more and sell them to a niche market. ??? Nevertheless, now Anita has a place to dry her herbs (whatever you do with dried herbs).

Board and Batten Bedroom

Over the past few weekends, Anita and I have been busy updating our spare bedroom. We use the room as our home office but even that is a stretch since the only thing in there is our printer and WIFI cable box. We don’t even have a desk in the room so it’s been more of a holding area for the antiques she sells online and a table for packaging things up to ship.

She got tired of the drabby feel of the room and wanted to give it some style so she asked me if I could cut up some wood for board and batten trim work. I went out and bought two sheets of 1/4″ mdf and ripped 4″ wide slats for the top of the trim. We nailed the top boards about 5 feet from the floor.

Next I ripped 3″ wide slats and nailed two of them next to eachother in all four corners of the room. I knew the fit in the middle wasn’t going to be perfect due to the bow of the wall so, the gap in the middle was going to have to be filled with caulk.

Playing around with painters tape, we calculated the spacing in between the slats. We took the measurement between the two slats in the corner, minus the 3″ per slat and divided by the number of slats we wanted on the wall. It took a little bit of time to figure out how many slats per wall looked the best, but in the end, the slats on each wall were around 18″-22″ apart. Obviously, each wall had it’s own measurement so no two walls were the same. On a couple of walls, we had to fudge number a little bit so that the slat would miss an electrical outlet but, your eye will never see the difference.

After the slats were nailed up, I ripped some pine 1/2″ thick x 3/4″ wide and nailed a ledge on top of the top board. This finished off the trim with a nice clean look. We played around with molding at Home Depot trying to determine which molding would look the best, but in the end, simpler was better.

Once all the nail holes were filled, everything was lightly sanded. Then Anita caulked and painted the bottom of the walls an off white color.

She decided on a color called Carbon Copy for the top and applied a couple coats to the top side of the wall. The room has a lot more style now and it only took about $200 in material and paint to do. Now we finally have an office that looks like an office, except we still don’t have a desk or any other office furniture.

UPDATE: Here is the bedroom furnished.

The Coolest Little Tape Measure I didn’t see Coming

A few years ago, Stanley introduced a commerative tape measure to celebrate their 175th anniversery. The tape measure was sold at Menards and independent hardware stores for about $8.00.

For one reason or another, the market took off and collectors were buying them up as fast as they could. Stores ran out of stock and prices shot up to $60.00 each on eBay. There was even a guy who was making custom leather pouches for the rule. It got so bad that well known woodworking bloggers were posting websites where you can still buy the tape measure for around $10.00

A year later, after the rage went down, Menards got more stock in but end up having to clearance them out for $5.99.

I bought one when they first came out and started to use it. It’s a nice rule but unfortunately it has no tape lock which sucks. But wouldn’t you know it, the bugger is really handy. We keep it laying around our house and it’s the first tape measure we grab when looking for something to measure. Plus, it’s easy to keep in my pocket when we’re out and about. The nice thing about its design is that it blends into our decor and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. We just have the rule laying around the house. Which picture below looks nicer?

You can still buy the tape measure on eBay for a reasonable price. If you need something that’s handy to have around the house, buy it. You won’t regret it.

Repairing an Accent Table

My wife bought an accent table at a local thrift store yesterday. She hesitated on buying it because it needed some work but I assured her that I could fix it quickly.

When we got it home, I examined how to repair the stretcher and make the legs not so wobbly. It seems that someone else tried to repair the stretcher in the past with no luck.

After popping off the glue blocks, I noticed that the only joinery on the legs was a dowel rod and some glue. It’s no wonder why they wobbled. I’m not sure how old the table is but it’s made from mahogany and the fasteners are straight slotted screws. My guess would be around the 1940’s but that’s just a guess.

If I was to restore this table properly, I’d used mahogany for the stretcher and make it similar to the original but I’m by no means a professional furniture restorer. If anything, I’m closer to the craftsmen you see on Flea Market Flip where people buy a $40 wheel barrow at an antique show, turn it into a coffee table and sell it at a New York City art show for $450. Except, I don’t do that dramatic transformation on pieces and don’t get anywhere close to those prices. (Personally, I think that show is fake). My wife will eventually paint the table so I just grabbed some scrap wood.

I grabbed some red oak and planed it down to 3/8″ then drew some arches on it with my french curve. Then it was onto my band saw and spindle sander to cut and sand the stretcher to shape. I just whipped this shape up in my head without much thought. I think it’ll do fine.

To break the edges of the stretcher and give it curves, I used my specialty scraper with various radius’s cut out and scraped the edges to shape using the 1/2″ radius.

Cutting the piece to proper length took a little trial and error, but I eventually got it to seat in the mortises with the legs being perpendicular to the top when the table was flipped over.

Then I grabbed some scrap pieces and glued and pinned hefty glue blocks onto the legs to hold them to the top better.

Here’s the table all glued up waiting for paint. My wife will paint the table either white, or black, or green, or duck egg, or whatever. I’ll have to wait and see which one she picks. I’ll throw a picture up when she’s done. Merry Christmas!

UPDATE 1-20-20; Anita painted it white with a stencil on top.

Photobucket Ruined my Blog

For several years, I’ve been storing my photos on I never paid for it so I was willing to deal with the endless pop up ads every time I wanted to upload some of my photos for my blog. All was well until a few days ago when I noticed that the photos in my blog postings were being blocked. Apparently, Photobucket changed their user agreement and they will no longer support third-party hosting of any of the photos in their site. The only way to get the photos back is to pay a monthly subscription fee. Fat chance of that.

I was using Flickr several years before I switched to Photobucket because I ran out of free space. So, the very early blog posts should be fine for now until Flickr does the same thing. I liked Photobucket because even though I had 300 pictures stored on their site, I was only using 3% of free space on my account. Now I’m in a pickle. I assume I could download all my Photobucket photos onto a hard drive and import them back into blog posts, but that is a lot of work.

I noticed a few months ago that WordPress wouldn’t allow me to cut and paste directly from Photobucket onto my blog page. I had to start loading the image onto WordPress first. Now I know why, which is why my most recent posts are fine. The last working post is from four months ago when I smashed my finger. Every post after that until three years ago is blocked.

Thank God I don’t do this for a living! What a nightmare this must be for professional bloggers who blog two or three times a day. I read on Reddit about people who are in dire straits because of this.

I was going to start using for storing my photos, but I read they have issues too with spyware. I guess I’ll have to buy an external hard drive and store my photos on that so this never happens again. However, once I run out of storage on WordPress’ site, I’ll either have to pay for it, or shut my blog down.

NMO/ Devic’s Disease

A few months ago I wrote about how I lost my vision through atypical optic neuritis and dodge a bullet being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Well the past couple of months haven’t been so lucky with me.

It happened eight weeks ago while in Lowe’s I noticed that my left foot was slightly tingling and numb. I blew it off at the time as an odd occurrence although back in my mind I was concerned. I woke up in the morning with excruciating back pain and asked my wife Anita to rub it. The back pain eventually went away but later in the day I noticed that my other foot was starting to go numb. I was still hopeful that it was nothing serious and even asked my older brother Steve if he’s ever had this happen to him. He said he did and that it was more likely just a pinched nerve and it would probably go away in a couple of weeks.

A few days go by and I noticed that my legs and feet were getting worse. The numbness went from my feet through my calves up to the knees while also having numbness in my groin area. It felt like I was sitting on a grapefruit when I sat down and I constantly felt pressure in the area. I knew then that this was no pinched nerve.

Concerned, Anita called my eye doctor to tell him what was going on. He told her to have me visit a neurologist so they could look at me. While at the neurologist, I explained my symptoms and the doctor felt I had transverse myelitis on my spine but would need a MRI to confirm. Transverse myelitis is the inflammation of the spinal cord brought on by environmental factors or a virus. It can be so severe that some people with the condition can not walk after an attack. Unfortunately when an attack does occur, it can take several months to a couple of years before the patient returns to normal.

After I got back from having the MRI, the doctor looked at the images and confirmed that it was transverse myelitis possibly brought on by MS. He told me that I have a mild case of it since I still can walk but it would eventually go away in a few months. He gave me the number of a neurologist who specializes in MS in case I wanted a second opinion. My wife called and made an appointment but the doctor couldn’t see me until Feb 2013. The doctor’s assistant told my wife that if my condition worsens that I should go to the University of Cincinnati Hospital emergency room.

A few days go by and I noticed that my numbness continued to climb up my legs into my thighs. Also my abdominal area was starting to feel numb as well. By this time, I was dealing with this issue for seven weeks with no signs of improvement. My wife Anita pleaded with me to go to the hospital but I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to overreact and wasn’t too thrilled about going to the hospital anyway.

Then last Wednesday I decided to finally take care of my health and went to UC Hospital. When we get to the emergency room, the nurses and doctors asked me a ton of questions trying to diagnose my condition. They had me walking around on my tippy toes and then walk a line like a DUI suspect. Then they gave me a bunch of neurological tests like smiling and touching my nose to their finger as if I were a stroke patient. They decided they needed to do a bunch of tests on me so they sent me upstairs to be admitted.

While in the hospital, they drew tons of blood from my arm and gave me multiple MRI’s on my back and head. The doctors needed to determine if I had MS or NMO which is Neuromyelitist Optica also known as Devic’s Disease or some other abnormality. The worse part was they needed to do a spinal tap in order to make a conclusive diagnosis. The thought of having a needle stuck in my spine was unnerving. The MS doctor I was planning on seeing in February came to visit me in my room. She thought that I possibly had NMO but would need the results from the spinal tap in a couple of weeks to be sure. In the meantime, she wanted to schedule me an appointment within a week in her office and get me on a drug called Rituxan which should help me with my symptoms.

After three days in the hospital they pumped me with a 1000 mg of IV steroids a day to help alleviate my condition. I was released last Friday but still needed three more days of IV steroids at home. Earlier this week, I went to see the MS doctor. She checked over my condition to see if I worsened and reminded me that I’m extremely lucky that I still have strength in my legs and can still walk. Many of her patients visit her in a wheel chair.

Monday I start treatment of Rituxan which is a form of chemotherapy. I’ll have one treatment Monday and then another on the 22nd. The other day I had another MRI at UC’s imaging center to see if the inflammation has gone down.  I’ll have a follow-up MRI after my second treatment of Rituxan to see how the disease has progressed. By then the results from the spinal tap will be back which should tell what’s exactly wrong with me.

It’s been a trying few weeks but I know I am EXTREMELY lucky. One for not having severe case of transverse myelitis. Two for having a supporting wife and family who help me through this difficult time. And three for having health insurance. I don’t know what the final bill will be for all this but all I know is that if this would have had happened to me three years ago when I was unemployed, I’d be in financial ruin. All I know is you can’t take your life for granted because at any time it can be taken away from you.

Getting back in the shop

They say you should never take your life for granted and in the past few weeks I’ve learned that lesson well. It started a couple of weeks ago when I was having trouble seeing out of my left eye. It was cloudy at the bottom right of its vision field. At first, I thought it was a dirty contact but after I replaced the contact my vision didn’t improve at all. Concerned, I went to see my optometrist so she could check it out. She dilated my eye and took pictures of the inside and found nothing wrong. She told me to take some Advil for the pain and come back in a week.

A few days later, the pain increased and my vision decreased, so I went to the Cincinnati Eye Institute to have more tests done. The doctor examined my eye and conditions and told me that what I have is more likely Optical Neuritis or inflammation of the optic nerve to the brain. Nothing is wrong with the eye itself, just that the message from the eye is not reaching the brain. He told me to come back in the morning to take a vision field test to get a better diagnosis. I came back the next day, took the vision test and it confirmed that it was Optic Neuritis. The bad news was Optic Neuritis is often the initial episode a patient has who will subsequently develop Multiple Sclerosis later in life. He told me that I needed to have a MRI done to determine if there were any white-matter lesions on my brain. He also said that I need to see a Neuro-Opthalmologist in a few weeks to see if I regain any vision.

At this point my wife and I were freaking. I’m 38 and don’t go to the doctor because I rarely get sick. But the thought of developing MS during my life was not something I wanted to accept. I kept thinking about my life with MS and the limitations it would bring. Not being able to move my arm or the loss of my legs scared me to death. How was I going to work with wood? How would I ever keep my job as a sales rep having to travel around and build displays? What would eventually happen to me and how would my wife take care of me? It was a very stressful time for the both of us.

A few days later l stopped in and had my MRI done. They sat me down on the machine, strapped me in and put on a helmet on my head that made it feel like I was scuba diving. I laid inside the machine for 40 minutes as they took numerous pictures of my brain. The sound was horrible as it felt like I was in some strange space alien testing contraption. The only good part of the experience was they pumped in Sirius Satelite Radio; BB King’s Bluesville through some headphones. I listened to Albert King’s “Born on a Bad Sign” during the procedure and started to cry. I felt my life was coming apart at the seams and nothing would be the same again.

After the MRI, I waited for the doctor to call me back to inform me of the results. The doctor’s assistant called and told me that the MRI came back “abnormal” but wouldn’t clarify what that meant. My wife got on the phone and asked if the doctor would call us himself so he could clarify what the abnormalities were. A few hours later, the doctor called and said that they had found scattered white-matter lesions on my brain and with the symptom of Optic Neuritis, that it was likely that I would have the possibility of developing MS during my life. I asked if I need to be on steroids and if I did, why do I have to wait three more weeks to see the Neuro-Ophthalmologist? He said he’ll call the doctor and see if they can schedule me in sooner. The next day, the Neuro-Ophthamologist’s office called and scheduled an appointment the following morning.

So my wife and I got up and went to the doctor’s office first thing in the morning. By this time I’m devastated and not expecting any type of good news. My wife and I spent hours looking up symptoms of MS and Optic Neuritis on the internet over the past few days. The only symptom I had was vision loss, otherwise I felt fine. How could I have MS? I’ve never had any symptom of falling down, dizziness, numbness or tingling in my hands or legs my entire life.

The doctor came in the room and asked me how I was doing. He dilated my eye to get a better look at the optic nerve. He told me that my optic nerve was very inflamed and there was some hemorrhaging. He also told me that the white-matter lesions on MRI were old and not in the right spots to be causing my Optic Neuritis. Apparently white matter-lesions are common as you age and sometimes you can develop a white spot for every ten years of life. Considering I’m nearly 40 years old, that made sense. He said that what I have is Atypical Optic Neuritis (AON). This type has no association with developing MS. AON is sometimes brought on by an infection or virus. He asked me if I had a cat. I told him I did. He said sometimes people can develop cat scratch fever (even without being scratched by a cat) that can cause AON. He told me to go to the hospital and have some blood work done. There they will be able to determine why I developed AON however he cautioned, sometimes a person can develop it for no known reason. It just a fluke. I expect to get the results on Monday. If  the blood work confirms it is an infection, they will prescribe some antibiotics for me to take.

I was relieved that I wouldn’t develop MS during my life but I’m still concerned about my vision loss. When it started a couple of weeks ago, my vision kept getting worse over the course of a few days until I lost 95% of vision in my eye. Only in the last few days has the vision been getting any better, but I still have 90% vision loss. Optic Neuritis usually last 6-8 weeks in people then usually goes away. However, I have Atypical Optic Neuritis which may last just as long if not longer. Also, because I have AON, there’s a chance I may have some permanent vision loss once the swelling ceases. The doctor said that the majority of people with AON do regain all their vision but in some cases, some do not. He put me on steroids for the next month and I have to go back in a couple of weeks for a check up. Hopefully by then I’ll have the majority of my vision back.

This morning I went downstairs to my shop and started picking up some tools again. I stopped for a few weeks as I have been too afraid to work with only one good eye. I messed around drilling a new hole in my workbench for a placement of an overhead swing light. It wasn’t much, but it was the first step on the road to recovery both physically and emotionally.

I never really took my health for granted. Well maybe I did since I don’t have a primary care physician yet. But all I know is that I will never take my life for granted again. The things we do everyday just seem so mundane that we hardly ever think anything will change but when you have a health scare like I do, it wakes you up quick. Even though I’m not out of the woods yet being legally blind in one eye, I’m hopeful I’ll get better soon with good medicine and a lot of prayer.