Friday, April 1, 2016

"One year anniversary... and the need for speed!"

Well, one full year with the blog, and my critically definitive review is, "Meh." My goal was to present well-written, entertaining and informative pieces on model railroading in an attractive format. But with an average of less than one comment per post, stagnant membership and declining viewership (except in France!), I have to be honest and acknowledge something less than success... although it was a good creative outlet and a fine way to document my missteps in attempting to build a layout. Stuff happens. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Blah, blah, blah.

I am fortunate however, that a really neat hobby shop is right here in my town specializing in slot car racing, which may be more my speed, so to speak. NJ Nostalgia Hobby is an institution in the slot car community and racing nights are not all that different from operating sessions. Just faster, friendlier and much more inclusive. The store's track is nice, but I am installing a more significant one at home, necessitating some big changes in the basement. We started this week.

The store's track is about 5' x 16'. I'm installing one that will fill my 15' x 35' 'finished' area where my lounge, office and workspace had been. They have all been moved to an empty bedroom upstairs. The current train room will remain as is, at least for the time being.

Anyone who has ever visited, knows the 6'-3" ceiling height is problematic. So to negate that and add overall resale value to our home, we are replacing the existing slab floor with one that is 14" lower. I took a day to gut the room and then had a crew come in to begin excavation. In this shot, some wall framing and the baseboard heating units sit in dust awaiting removal to the dumpster. Several neighbors will be using much of the crushed concrete for dry well's in their backyards saving me considerably in disposal costs. Nice!

It's a noisy, dusty job, so my wife and the pups visited the in-laws on eastern Long Island for a few days. I am reminded that a client of mine did this in his old Victorian to create a nice basement play area for his kids. It came out great! But the real genesis for this came from a casual comment from a buddy about an issue I had detailed in an earlier post here.

The trickiest part of the entire job is the initial chipping away of the slab that sits atop the foundation footing. Once that is done, excavating commences and a new footing is poured to undercut the original one. I am fortunate that we have a bulk head exit so all materials and debris could easily be transported, relatively speaking. The sunken 14"  area will be accessed by two 7" steps. Can't wait to frame and sheetrock the walls!
So, that be that. The railroad was probably a tough ask for a first-timer like me, with no right-hand man, no experienced wing man, or go-to guy to help with the myriad of questions that I had at every step. Not sure what will happen in the train room, but right now I want to race... and I definitely won't be blogging about it. Well, probably about time to hand in the ol' NMRA card and save a few bucks. RPM has a whole new meaning now. Be well everyone. It's been real.
Sweeeeet, and no PanPastels needed!... BTW, look out for fools who may prank you this April day. Don't you just hate those guys? Cheers!


  1. Haha, nearly forgot what day it was! It's always neat to see how sophisticated and nuanced other hobbies can be.

  2. I've enjoyed the year, Jim. There is a hobby shop in my town that also specializes in slot cars. I've been there on race night, and it is serious stuff. But, I knew what day it was! Fun story line, though.

  3. So that's 3 comments, so far. Oh wait - my comment is number 4, so you can "come back from the light." Nice April Fools "story."

  4. Pretty funny even if read your post a couple of days too late! Seriously I really enjoy your blog and it is one of the more enjoyable ones out there!

  5. weren't serious were you?!? April 1 was more than a month ago! Looking forward to your next post!