Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Massive Contraption" - " A Week-end Project on Steriods" - "The Ultimate Play-House" - "Life-Sized Crystal Castle"

My girl friend Emily has been braiding my hair up so I don't have to bother with it for days at a time, and it helps keep me cool! It is topping mid -upper 90 degrees! Always working in my bathing suit lately ;-)
I installed the decks... but now....NO FLOOR! I have seriously inconvenienced myself. Time to go buy the flooring! All the wiring and plumbing is done! Pictured here is a pile of 3/8" thick plywood for the wall paneling, and I ordered the flooring today from my friend Landus Bennet @ Watson Springs. 1 1/4" thick x 8" wide re-claimed yellow pine T&G will be deilverd next week!
Major Score @ the Habitat: all the trim/molding wood I will need to trim out the whole place + a sheet of aluminum diamond plate (worth @ least $200!) = $10.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So once the floor goes in the walls and the trim can go up!

 Starboard side deck. It has two extra legs, so it can be taken off the side of the trailer and become a big table!  When it folds up against the trailer it will protect the glass door while traveling.
 port side deck installed.. when it folds up it protects the doors while traveling. the legs are galvanized steel pipe screwed into flange plates. This deck is more narrow than the other, and it can be taken off the side of the trailer and used a ramp to move things in and out of the house.

 Port side deck

I used the left over PEX tubing I had as conduit for the 12 gauge wire I ran to each pump. They are all DC, 6 amps max, each with separate wiring.

 wire nut connections inside a little handy box next to each pump

 I want to put up the ceiling paneling in the bathroom, but first I need to make anchors for the shower curtain rod behind the paneling (which will be light and thin to anchor into... so I am making this octagon out of copper pipe.
Home as seen from the street across the creek and up the hill

HOME MADE BUCKET SAND FILTERS: how to get soap out of water

.....With a sand filter. The design for these filters I am building mini-style inside of tofu buckets comes from  There will be one under the bathroom drain to re-use bath water to wash clothes, one under the washing machine to re-use water for washing stuff in that pull out utility sink outside, and one under the kitchen sink drain.
 3/4" hose barb to female threaded =>hose bibb shut-off => 1/2" PEX=> bulk head union=> 3/4" male
 3/4" male in the bulk head union
 screen meets 3/4" male with a pipe clamp. BOOM! water gets through, sand does not get through
 200 mesh stainless steel screen. I bought a lot of this material from a soy milk company years ago to make clothes out of.. and the scraps seemed so useful I have not thrown them out.. and I am glad I didn't.
 1 1/4 hole in a pizza sauce bucket
 inside inlet
 inside oulet

One for the kitchen and one for the washing machine

These are pictures taken from a year ago when I was building the first version of these filters, whch I sued for testing water quality, and refining the design.

 funny enough, the lot at the trailer site is covered in pure local granite gravel, which I read in koi pond articles is the perfect gravel to use at the bottom on sand filters because it has a lot of surface area for bacteria to culture on. So, I just swept some up and sifted out the big rocks.
 Tracy really was a huge help holding the CPVC so i could cut the short lengths.


 the top baffle
 the bottom baffle
 a set of baffles dry fitted together
 the buckets with the baffles, the gravel and the sand
Here are the baffles with the holes drilled in them. The top baffle has holes in the bottom, to the water will flow down, yeah, and the bottom baffle has holes in the sides so water will flow through and not get covered by gravel and will be less likely to get clogged.
Here is the top baffle installed in the lid, with an O ring on each side of the fitting... all it needs now is a vent hole.Here is the bottom baffle installed in the bucket with O rings of each side of the fitting.Cover the bottom baffle with gravel,
fill it up the rest of the way with sand... put the lid on....
and here is the sand filter ready to be joined to the plumbing that will connect it to the drain from above and the holding tank from below.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

UPDATE: Situation regarding my son

EPILOGUE: July 5th, 2014

The last court hearing happened on Wednesday of last week, July the 2nd. I participated via telephone.

The judge "released me". He heard everything and said there was nothing he could do. Kirk was asking to take all my right away.. again... as if that is a useful thing to do... the judge wasn't about to do that, and he also wasn't about to order my son to come live with me. Kirk hangs on my every word though! I tried to quote verbatim, with comments, Facebook posts! He can do that but he won't answer the phone, can't talk about anything practical, can't answer questions about why he was trying to molest a young girl, why he let things get this out of hand, he can't email, and can't see what he is doing. The whole scene is done! I was walking along the path this morning and there was sun light on every leaf. A little more practice controlling my thoughts and feelings, which tend to dwell on this mess less and less, and Voi-la!

 Good luck Julian. I love you.

I very much appreciate the Judge for his time and patience. He listened to everything I had to say. I was able to speak my thoughts and concerns freely, and to speak them once. he listned and responded in such a way so as to let me know that he had heard and understood my words. I am very grateful that he has been involved with this case for so long, and through all the chances and changes of the last of these years. 

I very much believe that truly the family, as a unit and institution in an unto itself, and thus marriage especially because it is the practice by which this state links itself to the greater society at large. With-in each home unit where a family dwells, and thus in the hearts of individuals as they touch one another in the most pro-found ways, can not be commended by any will of the court, or any power outside of revelation towards goodness and justice between folk. If someone has no love or understanding in their heart towards the ones they profess, professed, to love, then what power can compel them? 

When the Judge asked me what I wanted the court to do I replied that I doubted that the Province would relinquish the jurisdiction they have already taken over the affairs of his son's home and father's life, and concern legally for the custody and guardianship disagreements between his father and I. I recognize that it is an out and out benefit for them to continue to take advantage of the services offered. However, I also thought it would be a very unlikely thing for a court of a province of one country to pre-empt the natural rights of a parent from another nation. I told his that if the Ministry social worker assigned to the case had lived up to the agreements that were made between myself and the previous two social workers I would and could come to Canada to live, if assurances were made that my son would be put in my custody. Or, my son can come and live with me here in the United States. The Judge threw me a small bone when he said, at least it is harder to get weapons in Canada than in the US.

This is the FB post Kirk tried to quote in court:
"It is finally sinking in that I am FREEEEE!!!! When I was in my 20's I had a young child and demanding career. Now there are no demands on me but what I choose and I am blinking looking into a future that is totally wide open. The stress of the past years is over, and now that I am on the other side of it I am relieved and excited for the kind of life I can live... built on the work and integrity of the past but completely unencumbered by it. I want to hit the road, make art and fall in love."

I accept that my freedom from this horrible night mare of a situation is as much a part of the reality as the things that I can't change. I am sure there will some other event in the future to engage me with these people, but also perhaps not.

Hexagram 57, lines 4 and 5
"When somethingis completed, or accomplished, that is not the end. Let is live on, so it blends in with your life. Give feelings a chance to be expressed and shared, hope and pride to be seen, deeds to be acknowledged. Celebrate everything, nothing is insignificant, nothing should pass un noticed and get forgotten.

Slowly, gently one weaves one's seal into everything one does or is. It is an unceasing process which gives one's life and all one's actions one's own pattern. Even an unborn child is already shaping it's life. The results of this process is a character and destination which can hardly be changed anymore, like a liquid metal which is very hard after cooling down. So be careful with the moments when you still can shape things."

So......Sew.... a needle pulling thread....I know folks have mixed opinions in the court of public opinion: This post is a journal entry about a situation many people have offered their prayers and support to help ammend, if possible. I  have also spoken with many people who have not followed through, legally or other-wise, to bridge the enstrangement caused between parent and child because of tensions between parents: tag line: PARENTAL ALIENATION. There are very larger issues that are playing themsleves out in this private story; social, poltical, historical and generational. I wish I could write a post about how I see philosophy and history interecting in my personal life through these chances and changes with my family, but this is intended to try and explain what is going on to people in my life who want to know.

We (  by "we" I mean 3 social workers, 2 group home workers, a psycharitrist, myself, my son's father and step-mother) had two telephone meetings last week to hash out "details".. such as what will happen to my son now that the care agreement we had signed ( surrendering him into the care of the Ministry of Family and Children Development in British Columbia Canada) will expire at the end of June and his father has refused to renew it. They were  heavy meetings and I said some things that angered a lot of people, but so be it.

I have not spoken to my son since BEFORE I left Canada in late March. The people who run the group foster home he has been placed in have done nothing to put us in touch with eachother, despite promises of support for my son and I to at least be re-unified through telephone communication. They have not even proviede me with basic information about his care and day to day life, not by their own initiatve and not after repeated requests. I have been able to get some basic information from the mother of one of my son's friends. I have  become very frustrated with the fact that the group home workers will not even return my phone calls, much less work to address the effects of the years of parental alienation that have been accomplished by my son's father, and my mother and father. My father is still regularly sending me hate mail. The group home workers have done nothing to make it possible that my son and I can speak once a week( as we agreed to do before I left.. and also as is court ordered by the Supreme Court of BC) , sometimes they have taken him on outings @ 6;30, so how could he make the cvhoice to talk to me or not? They finally refused to even answer the phone when I call, saying that my request for information even about the day to day living of my son while in care is not information that they can provide, and that by continuing to ask for information I am creating a nusance...and also that my son does not want to speak to me and they are respecting his rights. In actually fact they are behaving exactly the same way as my son's father as for years, except this situation is even more frustrating beacuse they are obligated to privide information to parnets of child ren in care, and are just refusig to : stone-walling, not answering the phone, not returning messages...for what reason.... they say that I am " so far away." I reply: "That is why we have been using telephones for the past 100+ years, and not only that I am trying to get up there as fast as I can."

I pointed out to his father that it is court ordered that my son and I speak at 6:30pm every Monday evening, and that is is his responsibility to see to it that this happens. He has refused to do so.

I have talked to the new social worker assigned to the case 3 times in three months. Twice we have quarrelled. She told me that I am trying to mother my son, that I am not listening to him (he won't talk to me!) and that I am only acting out of a desire to make up for lost time and feelings of guilt. All this sweeping analysis from a woman I have never met, and that I had only spoken to twice. She has not been able to comprehend the exception in the federal immigration law and it's implications in this case.  Neither she, her supervior. nor the group home staff  have acknowledged the planning and commitments, much less support, endorse or facilitate the arrangements that were made between myself and the first 2 social workers who dealt with the case. Hundreds of dollars later... mountains of paper-work.... Because of this failure on the part of the social services workers in British Columbia I will not be coming to Canada. I can still come to the region if I so choose, but I do not have the stability and savings to enter the country as a visitor and attempt to financially establish myself there.

The exception to the federal immigration law that I was applying under are based on  the best interest of the child.. in this case his right to live with a parent instead of in foster care. He has been removed from his father's house and placed in foster care. Rather than up-root an emotionally un-stable teenager who has communicated his intent to commit mass murder and send him to the United States, we opted that he should live with a parent in the province he has been primarily raised, in and then be able to be cared for by both his family and the state. This is nessesary because of failure on the part of his family to co-operate with eachother in the raising him. so much so that he has become an apparent risk to himself and others. The threat may very well grow as he ages, and if the situation and the issues that gave rise to it, are not acknowledged and corrected. My immigrating to Canada would have meant that my son would have to come to live with me when I arrive. It would also make me elligible for assistance while I file all the separate papers to work. All this could have happened if some work had been done to put my son and I in contact with eachother, and if the social services workes had kept in contact with me. They have not.  It has been very frustrating to have spent weeks and weeks asking, begging, pleading and arguing with social workers in another country about just being able to talk on the phone regularly.. let alone try and accomplish these larger tasks. Most of the time I have juts been leaving messages to calls that don't get returned.   The social worker assigned to the case after I left actually said to me that she didn't know, and didn't need to know, anything that the previous workers on the case had done.... The group home workers, Tam and Chris, who seemed so clear when speaking to me in person saying, that as soon as a suitable parent was there to take the boy then he would go, and that extending the care agreement until I got there would be possible... in the end my son and his father's behavior doesn't warrent "Section 13" removal.. and since his father refuses to sign the agreement or extend, it a choice has to be made about what happens next.

In the mean while, I get a copy of a Vancouver Police Report in the mail,  one that I requested through the Freedom of Information Act while I was in Canada. It details the investigation of the incident I heard about through a second hand source in person, about an incident in 2011 where a 12 year old female friend of my son's who was spending the night at his house was propositioned for sexual contact by my son's father. The young girl escaped into the night and made it home to tell her parents before anything physical could happen. My son's father was arrested. It was found that the account of what happened was different between his story and hers, and that she got away before anything criminal could happen, so no charges were pressed. I have asked my son's father 3 times to explain what happened. All three times he has refuses. Most recerntly he refused during the telephone meeting, in front of all those people.

My position is this:
The boy has been removed from his father's home. The boy has two parents, and mother and a father. He should not return to live with his father. Here are 3 reasons why:

His father is woe-fully neglectful. The child has beent raised like a latch key kid.. getting himself to and from school, mostly going to friend's houses after school, all of whom his father didn't know: where they lived even, nor had he met the parents. When I arrived in Vancouver and was with my son for the first time in years, in December, he was an insomniac, in the habit of staying up until 3 am watching TV, playing on the computer, etc. When the police seized his computer and searched it they found that he had become a habitual consumer of graffic gruesome pornography and voilent media. They found drugs and weapons. In September of last year my son went to his father and asked to go see a therapist.. his father refused... or just did nothing. This is neglegence.

We (his father and I) have been involved in a legal battle in 2 countires for more than a year.. all about custody, access and parental alienation: tag line : INTERNATIONAL CUSTODY DISPUTE. The trip I made to Canada to see my son this past Christmas would have been the first time I had been able to see him in 4 years, with out  hinderance.. but instead I found that he had been taken by the Canadian government and placed in care for the reasons stated above. The pattern of parental alienation has not stopped even as we have been going through the ensueing processes these past 6 months... his father refuses to speak to me, will not communicate via email and will not make follow even the court order directives to honor the relationship between my son and I by seeing to it that we speak every Monday night at 6:30pm.

 Thirdly: My son's father attempted to molest a 12 year old girl... a friend of my son's since they were 3 years old...and thank God she got away before she became his victim. He refuses to even admit that anything happened. Surely, not only should my son not return to this man's home, but the safety of his 7 year old daughter is of grave concern to myself and also the social workers involved. She is too young now to be asked leading questions about her home life.. she is 7. It is hard to imagine that is the age when my son's father asked him to choose with which parent he wanted to live.

The social workers agree that all these things are concerns but they do not warrent section 13 removal, and they can not make out-right custody descisions. These concerns DO warrent continued intervention by the Ministry for many years to come.. supervised visits, dropp-in random surprise visits, therapy for my ex-husband and his wife, and most importantly, my son. I am very glad that these people will be compelled to " take adavantage of the services" for many years to come. And not only that.. the social service workes will be able to keep drawing a paycheck.

In the mean time my son has expressed, and been encouraged to express by the group home therapist
( "It's his way of being self assertive"), that he wants nothing to do with me as his mother nor as a person.

Sew.. in this big meeting I stated my three reasons why I feel my son should not be returned to live with his father... and stated that if he comes to be with me during the summer vacation, as it is ordered  I will not be returning him to Canada. The social worker pulled me aside (literally called me from another private line) and  explained that they coudn't let go of all the hooks they have in my ex-husband and his family.. they can't relenquish their control of my son and also make a choice about which parent he goes to.. they have already done all the planning for him to return to his father's house, done all this planning despite all the commitments that were made with me... but that they do think I would be the best parent for him to live with, and that I should just say that I will bring him back at the end of the summer and then just not do it.

This would be a crime, it is called abduction. I told her she was immoral, that my doing such a thing would be lying, and that encouraging me to take such action destroys any faith I have in her as a cogent, reputable, person with which to engage. My son would hate me more than he already does and his father would fight me, and all this drama would continue. I refused and told her so, and repeated these statements to the larger group. i am still slightly in shock that a proffessinal in the field of social wrk would actually suggest that I commit a felony crime and abduct my son as a solution to this situation. I am incredibly grateful that someone else was in the room with me during the conversation to heard what was said, othre wise, in hind-sight I might have thought that I was mis-understanding, mis hearing, not remembering correctly.. but this insanity os actually not my own head trip.

We will be going back to court one more time, and the judge will decide what happens to my son.  I for one and done with all the drama. I have everything to gain from freeing myself from this horrible situation in which I can make no positive contribution. I am very curious to see if the Supreme Court of Bc will decide that "The State" has the right to assume emmience over the care of a child over the parent.. more over, over the objection of a parent simply because that parent doesn't live in that State.

However, I am incredibly gratefull  that all this drama is physically so far away. My immediate life is glorious and beautiful. The motivation to get to Canada to help my son has inspired me to work harder, smarter and faster to make my home road worthy that I might other-wise have applied to the project. If it wasn't for my desire and commitment to return to live near him in the first place I might never have settled to build it at all!  I live in a beautiful garden surrounded by friends, working dilgently and purposfully, making money to finish up my home and get it on the road, ready to travel and explore.  I am incredibly grateful and at peace with the on-coming outcome of the situation, what ever it might be. The future is all mine. I have s strong feeling that I will not see or hear from my sn for many ears, if ever, which is a reality I can accept in the grand scheme of things. If the judge decide to relenquish the jurisdiction of the Province of BC and return him to his mother, there is a room and a life here for him.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Creative Copper Plumbing

These pictures below are from designing, building the drain for the bathroom
 Crappy Scrap from the plumbing shack
 getting ready to dry fit everything together. building my own P trap..
 1.5" copper reducing down to .5" PEX
These are the drains.. ready to be sweat together. the larger on is the tub, the smaller one for the sink,. and they connect together. the last T in the larger one is for the vent
I am building the drains for my bathroom. They have to be installed after the wheel well is done and before the bottom is enclosed, so I am getting it all ready to go.
Sweated sections together.. trial fit up and then further assembly ...Here it is, with only two joints to be sweat together on site. Looks to me like a crazy under-sea creature...

 If I ever fall on seriously hard times I can always sell my plumbing! ;-)
TRIAL FIT UP>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 IT FITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And here is the final fit up. The sink rain, seen behind the main tub drain, ended up needing a slip trap, and the vent became a stair step as I ran out of pipe an ha to scavenge more. his was kind of tricky to solder into place. 

 The drain vent exiting out of the wall, along with the bathroom fan vent.

 Stubs coming up in the bathroom.
Stair step drain vent

Other pile of creative plumbing ready to be installed!

 When it comes to bending copper tubing, if one doesn't have a pipe bender, you can use a hammer, or your hands, and solid rounded objects to work against... but the trick is to fill the tubing with sugar or salt and plug the ends up with tape, so that the tubing doesn't get crushed as you bend it.

Sugar running

 Finished the copper assembly and mounted it to the newly painted bathroom wall. Counter on top again! So nice to have all that stuff where it is supposed to be, and to see the vision before me in reality.