::::: : the wood : davidrobins.net

My name is David Robins: Christian, lead developer (resume), writer, photographer, runner, gun enthusiast, libertarian (voluntaryist), and student.

This is also my son David Geoffrey Robins' site.

Not any less crazy

News, School, Law, Baby ·Friday August 30, 2019 @ 16:38 EDT (link)

Today is our 16th anniversary.

This situation does not seem any less crazy even after about a year and a half after my wife ran off with my son. I still can't comfortably say the "d" word; I still refer to it as "great evil", which it is.

On reflection, I can add a few things: she never considered reconciling, even though she pretended to; she only claimed it so that I wouldn't file here to bring David home. Once that became less likely, she stopped communicating entirely. Her whole attitude reeks of guilt; she knows she has done wrong, but doesn't care, because she desperately wants it. But I don't know what kind of crazy she has. For anyone to claim she is a Christian, they would have to do it without evidence.

She is keeping me from my son, David. I have not been able to see him since November. His development appears to be, from the little I see him, hindered; he is not where he should be according to the books I'm reading. To David Geoffrey: Your father loves you and will always fight for you and is sorry this great evil has been done to us.

Since reading so many cases due to her filing, I have developed an increasing interest in the law. More about that in a few months. Legally, at present, she filed in November, and since WV doesn't have jurisdiction, my attorney has petitioned to throw the whole thing out. A hearing for that is coming up. I hope maybe I'll learn at some point in the proceedings why she ran off, but I understand I may not (since she may hide behind lies and false accusations, and everywhere has "no-fault" divorce).

I hope to be able to bring my son home, although it's possible her kidnapping him may provide advantage (which is sick). Many states now have a "rebuttable presumption" of 50/50 custody, and psychologists say it is in the best interests of the child(ren). It's important that David be able to come home and to spend time with his father; being there is doing him no favors (they are 0 for 4…) and the lack of a father for long enough is a predictor of a multitude of ills.

If she had died, I could mourn her. But because she turned into a horror and did horrible things, I don't have closure. All I can do is fight for my son.

A kind of acceptance

News, Baby ·Sunday April 7, 2019 @ 13:02 EDT (link)

It's my site; I'll talk about my emotions if I like, and even if both of my readers (hi!) got together they'd have a hard time stopping me. :-)

Honey covered the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) in one of the classes she took for her psych degree; and they emphasized that not everyone goes through all the stages, or necessarily in order; we used to joke to the contrary.

I'm sure I'm not done with all the rest, but I am trying to come to a sort-of acceptance. There are many things to wrestle with, some covered in previous posts.

One of the hardest things is not knowing why she ran off (and she is unwilling to talk about it). I addressed various considerations in previous post "Looking for meaning". I'll go with what is likely or known: she was unhappy, she left. A Christian should not continue in sin like this, and it is reasonable to say, "Let the unbelieving spouse depart" and to recognize that I am "not under bondage", that is, free to enter into another relationship and eventually remarry if the Lord will. While I am free to do that, I have no intention of rushing toward it but rather lean on God and his timing.

I am still wearing my ring, because I do not want this. But it's not my choice. I have said before: I never expected when I got married, especially to a supposed Christian, that she would decide to destroy our family one day; I never expected she would try to take my son away; and I never expected her to try to steal from me what she had not earned. And yet she has and she is. (She, and her father, have both claimed she "does not care about money"; we'll see if that's at all true, or if she steals all the law allows.)

For now, my priority is my son David Geoffrey Robins: bringing him home if possible, but if not (it is sick, but kidnapping may convey legal advantage), ensuring I can spend as much time with him as possible and that he is raised "in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Church, small group, prayer, and study of the scriptures through our reading plan (we are going through the New Testament with a YouVersion plan) keep me grounded. In all I will strive to be upright (ʼορθος).


Shall we continue in sin?

Theology ·Saturday March 30, 2019 @ 17:02 EDT (link)

There are some sins that are over and done with a single act; they remain in the past, and the doer can seek forgiveness, having repented with the intent not to repeat the sin.

Divorce, or leaving your spouse even before or without legal involvement, is certainly not a sin like that. It is rather one that has to be maintained and chosen day by day. It is not one choice to do evil and then you ask God for forgiveness (never mind that you should also ask your spouse and children, if any, for forgiveness also) and he forgives you and it's over. No; it is a continuing choice, day by day, to do evil and not instead attempt to restore the family you tried to tear apart.

You may be forgiven for the initial act, but if you have not changed your mind and heart about it, you commit it over and over again. That is not repentance.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. —James 4:17

That change of heart—repentance, to use God's term—need not perhaps involve returning to the spouse you left right away, but that should be considered the goal, as soon as possible, as you discuss individually and perhaps through counseling the issues that prompted the sin, whether simple greed or things that the departing spouse may have been unhappy about in the marriage.

But if the unbelieving [spouse] depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. —1 Corinthians 7:15

Standard disclaimer that only God knows the heart and whether someone is or is not one of his.

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. —1 John 3:6

Matthew Henry expands on the above verse in his Commentary as follows:

Those that abide in Christ abide in their covenant with him, and consequently watch against the sin that is contrary thereto. They abide in the potent light and knowledge of him; and therefore it may be concluded that he that sinneth (abideth in the predominant practice of sin) hath not seen him (hath not his mind impressed with a sound evangelical discerning of him), neither known him, hath no experimental acquaintance with him.

One can, sorrowfully and regretfully, but soundly, conclude that someone that continues in the sin of departure from their spouse, without willingness to reconcile, and especially in the absence of clear sin on the part of the other (such as adultery or violence), continues in sin, and question whether they have ever known the Lord. In turn, this would appear to free the spouse left behind to remarry should he or she so choose, once the decision of the other is clear, and it would be to their conscience as to how much time they might allow to pass or the efforts they would make to reconciliation, which efforts I would hope would be, for Christian, extensive.

There is no joy in the destruction of a relationship that God values so much that he has used it to illustrate that of Christ and his church.

Looking for meaning

News, Baby ·Tuesday January 15, 2019 @ 19:19 EST (link)

I ended my last note by saying I miss my family. I miss my son especially; he had no choice in being kidnapped and removed from his father who loves him. And I wonder why Honey did it. It's easy to say "she's evil"—her acts certainly have been, and cruel too, in holding out hope when she was merely biding her time to do the most harm she could with legal safety, but that's not explanatory. What would motivate her to such a thing? Clearly she was unhappy; that's built-in, you don't leave a situation where you're happy. But in the eight months I drove there every other week trying to get her to come back, to restore our family rather than tear it apart, she was cold, she had thrown up a wall between us; it is evident now that from the very beginning she intended to go through with this evil and had no intention whatsoever of turning from it.

Had she been unfaithful (more than in the sense of running off and not keeping the promises and vows she made) and turned to someone else? I wouldn't have thought it, but I wouldn't have thought she could run off and be as cruel as she had been, to keep my son from me and lie to me day after day. She had opportunity with all of her visits to WV and all the time she spent online while I was at work.

Was she just pining for WV, and wanting to give up on marriage and instead regress to a comfortable environment where she could pretend to be a child again, taken care of by family—instead of by me—playing where she grew up, hanging out with her former social groups, going to her old church, which for her and her family has always been about socializing rather than about God. That's a possibility too, I suppose. A few advisers have independently come up with the idea that she never was a Christian, she had no "fruit" of a Christian life; and Paul says to let the unbelieving spouse depart and frees the one left to remarry.

Or perhaps she's not rational. One idea I've also been shown is a postpartum condition (which extends beyond just the oft-heard "postpartum depression" into a variety of issues), for which she should be evaluated if it is possible. Situations exactly like this, where a wife does a complete turn in her attitudes toward a kind and loving husband and runs off with a young child have been described online by several people across different sites. Such conditions can be treated with medicine and psychology, and denial of such a condition is also common.

Would I take her back? I've been asked that a lot too. I loved, trusted, and cared for her more than anyone ever, so very much, she was everything to me; and of course trusting like that allows for hurt like this. But yes, I would. We would need to work through whatever the issues were with counseling, for a long time I expect, but I would do whatever was necessary to put our family back together.

Family tragedy: Honey runs off with our son

News, Baby ·Tuesday January 8, 2019 @ 18:00 EST (link)

In March 2018, my wife Honey left with our then 7-month-old son David Geoffrey. I still don't know why she did it, and despite all efforts to reconcile, including many hours on the road and days lived at campsites and hotels (with a very accommodating employer), she filed for divorce in November once she had been away long enough to secure the legal advantages she needed. She has refused counseling, either Christian or secular, and is living with her parents, six hours away from home.

What I need from my friends is love, support, and help. For those who also know Honey, especially those who are Christians, please encourage her to stop this and go to counseling and consider reconciliation, and your prayers are appreciated—that she will repent of this and not destroy our family.

As hard as this time has been, it has brought me closer to God and he has brought amazing new people into my life, and the support of family and friends who knew about the situation has been tremendous. If she does go through with it, pray that our son is not harmed by it all, for wisdom for my lawyers, that I can learn why she did this, and that David can be brought back home and I would be able to see him again (she won't bring him here and at least for now I can't go there for legal reasons). I miss my family very much.


Emily and Johnny's wedding

News ·Saturday August 25, 2018 @ 21:16 EDT (link)

Congratulations to my sister Emily and Johnny Neufeld, married today.

The wedding took place at the beautiful Palatine Hills Estate Winery, which Johnny manages and his parents own. The ceremony was held outside in chairs on the lawn and tents were prepared for cocktails and the reception later. Some photos as people were arriving:


The processional:


Message, readings, vows, rings, and kiss the bride:


Signing the register and presentation:


The rain held off until the end of the ceremony, whereupon it poured and everyone rushed indoors, and they rushed to close the tent awnings.

Inside, there was dancing; there was food and drink; there were speeches as the evening progressed.



Hiking the Cliffside Trail at Twin Falls

News ·Sunday August 19, 2018 @ 20:58 EDT (link)

Driving in to WV it was rainy but the mist was beautiful over the mountains, so I stopped between the Coalfields Expressway and Slab Fork to take some pictures in the pouring rain, the first in a while with the Nikon D850 (some cell phone pictures, so I want to add them as postable here soon).


The Cliffside Trail at Twin Falls, a 3-mile loop starting close to the campground (opposite the bathhouse):



The Rhododendron Tunnel is kind of cool, branches arching overhead in a true tunnel. The cliffs at the end are a nice place to sit and relax, but it's hard to see much between the trees; water can be heard rushing below. Since it had rained, all manner of fungi were on display.

A playpen / baby fence

Baby, Woodworking ·Sunday March 25, 2018 @ 16:18 EDT (link)

Since young David is rapidly becoming (more) mobile, we thought about bringing his small portable playpen/bed down from our bedroom—he'll sometimes sleep in it; he doesn't sleep in his crib in his room yet. But it's somewhat small (as portable gear tends to be) and wouldn't give him much space; hardly enough to turn around. It also wasn't feasible to baby-proof the living room (hard stone fireplace, TV furniture and cables, etc.).


I decided to build him some panels that could be connected together to wall in a play area. I couldn't find plans online, so I experimented a little with some 2x4s I had, and bought some green plastic poultry fence to use as backing. I split a 2x4 both ways on the table saw to make slats at least 22" long, 3/4" thick, and 1.75" wide (minus kerf). Some were wider, depending on the 2x4s I had, to make longer panels, but since my fence was 2' high I stuck with 22" since that was an inner dimension, with 1" overhang top and bottom. Once I was happy with my prototype, it was a lot quicker to set up the saw and Grippers once and do all the cuts of the same type together. I sanded the sides and screwed the panels together with 2 1/4" screws, pre-drilling to avoid splitting, and attached the fencing with a Surebonder 9600B pneumatic stapler that took the same T50 staples I already had for putting up shooting targets (but hadn't used for a while since our range has clips… er, I mean magazines, no, wait, clips is fine). Loved using the air stapler. I put a staple every three links and extras on the corners.


For connecting the panels my initial plan was to use eye bolts and connect them with quick links (a chain link that opens by unscrewing one side), but they held the panels far too loosely and they didn't stand securely. I brainstormed a little; I tried cutting dowels and putting a brad through one end as a stop, but although Home Depot claims to have hardwood dowels the only ones they had in 5/16" were too flimsy to survive a brad even with the compressor dialed way down to 35 psi. I decided to try either hitch pins or bolts, and bought a few of each. The hitch pins were too tight to easily connect, but some 1" 5/16" hex bolts and nuts worked great. To make a gate so Honey can get in/out (can't step over the panels), I did use the quick links for one connection, but I may try carribeaners instead so they can be opened with one hand.

All told I built it for about $3/panel including fasteners.

When I got it set up in the living room, I put a blanket (that was inside, but was slippery and made it harder for him to crawl) over one end that is likely to get sun so that David Geoffrey has a covered area in his Babbisiet Fortress. I expect I'll be able to build all sorts of pieces for forts and such for him—tunnels, windows that open, etc., as he gets old enough.

DGR: nearly mobile

News, Baby ·Friday March 23, 2018 @ 15:54 EDT (link)

He can't quite crawl yet but he can rotate himself around on the floor, push himself backwards, and has sometimes managed to pull himself forwards a little. He's also continually improving his ability to hold himself up in a sitting position (his chair is almost done, coming soon). Partly due to this we've partially moved from feeding him in his bouncy seat to the highchair (a gift from Cheryl and Dave). He's also moved up to a new carseat: he was getting tall for the other one, nearly above the highest set of shoulder harness attachments. Since he can roll front to back and back to front, he usually sleeps on his front now, and for longer periods than he did on his back. And several teeth are trying to push through.

When we go to the store he sits in a cart cover in the cart basket (it has some attached crinkly toys, which he loves—his current favorite toy is a Swedish Fish bag, and a toy I sewed him made of a layer of crinkly paper between cotton—and keeps him clean and from sliding around) and smiles at the ladies. His moose hat (from my cousin Anna) is a big hit on these trips.



The digital photo frame frame

News, Woodworking ·Wednesday March 7, 2018 @ 19:36 EST (link)


I've mentioned the photo frame before, but not shown any pictures thus far. The "frame" is a Raspberry Pi with an LCD screen, but alone it doesn't look great and doesn't stand up well (needs to be leaned). I made an elementary stand for the Hedricks to hold it straight and route the power cord out of the way, but my parents got theirs before the idea of one; in fact I was trying to finish it to send it back with them (and had to finish the wireless auto-updates when we came up in January).

This wood frame around the frame is based on an adjustable tablet stand and photo frame by Steve Ramsey (of Woodworking for Mere Mortals (WWMM)), but with minor changes such as leaving off the lower ledge (since I didn't need a tablet stand). This is essentially (not counting a wooden heart for Honey, also made to test my jigsaw table) the first piece out of my workshop, and it is full of lessons that have improved my technique and will improve the other two frames.

For the most part I'm buying tools as I have a need as part of a project (of which many are lined up). For this particular endeavor, Ramsey's first step in his video is to plane down some 3/4" wood to 1/2" so it wasn't so bulky. I did not go out and buy a planer; I'm not even familiar with the local lumber yards yet, so I picked up a small 1/2" oak project board from Lowe's for a reasonable price (about $6) instead. From it I cut some 1" strips that would become the stiles and rails. I ripped them on the table saw, a DeWalt jobsite saw (if I do enough of this I'll upgrade someday to a hybrid/contractor).

As an aside, the saw is one of the first power tools acquired for the workshop and used even before I had power to it via an extension cord from the garage. In fact, it was in part the occasion for bringing power out there, as using it with a work light on the same extension cord caused the light to dim. I plan to write about it more in depth, but to summarize, I have a proper buried 100 A line to a sub-panel with three 20 A circuits (3 receptacles on the left, 3 on the right, 2 at the back) and a 15 A circuit for a couple 4' LED lights in the main shop, a 7" round light in the loft, and a motion light outside. I installed everything except for the buried cable, which I hired someone to do and was done very poorly and required a lot of work to fix (missing ground rod, unusable panel, open neutral, leaky wall, that sort of thing). I eventually straightened it out and it's great to have working power and light, enough to run dust collection and the saw or a heater, etc. at the same time. The first shop project I built was a cross-cut sled.

Ripping such small strips on a table saw didn't feel safe, and as a fan of WWMM I was well aware of Microjig's Grr-ripper (a sponsor humorously introduced at the start of most of his videos) and I purchased a couple of them. A push stick can't simultaneously push down, forward, and hold both pieces toward the fence without pinching, and the Grr-ripper can and did, and although they're a bit pricey ($60) I consider them worthwhile for the added safety. I should mention building this fairly simple frame took me, all told and spread over evenings, about a month; of course now that I know what I know and have the tools I need it should be doable in a couple evenings. I used the table saw's miter gauge to cut miters; it didn't seem worthwhile to build a sled. They were workable but not great, but at least I knew not to try to fix them by removing material at an angle (see), and as I was a little tight anyway (another lesson). In future I'll be checking the angle against the blade with a drafting square. I also cut a strip from the oak board to make a better rail for my cross-cut sled, which was far too loose, and this called for buying a caliper for making accurate measurements. I cut a dado with a router I'd bought for the project (round-overs and rabbets) (table saw doesn't take a dado stack), into which this rail fit perfectly (but when the weather got warmer it required a little sanding and some paste wax to avoid jamming). Then I had to redo the fence.

So… back to the frame. To be able to join the pieces together I had to first drill holes for the threaded rod that would connect to the side supports and star knobs to allow for adjustment. "I just picked them up at the hardware store," he says, but my locals don't carry any and even Amazon is hard up until I find a bag of 10 fairly reasonably, "1/4″", also something about M6, probably an internal model number… nope, it's a metric screw diameter (and "1/4″" is just to get search hits). Finding M6 threaded rod nearby is impossible, but I find some machine screws in the "specialty" bin and cut the heads off with a hacksaw; that works. (In this period I probably bought and returned 50 items to Home Depot, although on net I was probably still worth retaining as a customer.) So, drill a couple test holes in scrap to find out what will make a tight connection—I think 7/64 did it—then put the stiles on the drill press (this I've had a while for a project with gears) (bit low, turns out), then ratchet in the screws to cut threads. Go to glue it up and the glue won't squeeze out: turns out it doesn't like extreme temperatures so it's a big rubber ball; it's late, so head to 24-hour grocer (Meijer) to replace it. Glue, clamp, leave overnight (inside). Turns out decently.

To the router for rabbeting. Fairly new at this; all I've done is (with the fixed base) route a 3/4" dado for the cross-cut sled's rail. I got a router table from Craigslist (a little before I even had a router, but I had a good idea of which one I'd get) at less than half the best online price, so I set up the router in it (on the floor; I need to build a base; for now I'm kneeling). I also got a dust collector from Craigslist and it's worked well with the table saw and now the router table with a 2 1/4" to 1 1/2" adapter. So: against the turn of the bit (most of the time): it's left to right hand routing, right to left in the table, except inside a shape where it's right to left again. 1/2" dado 3/8" high, goes well enough, corners are of course rounded, which I thought was fine since the Pi display is too, but the display's rounding is negligible, so bring out the chisel. I also needed a little more vertical room, so another bit. (It also turns out I hardly use the cheapo set of Kseibi bits I bought and just use the somewhat better ones I bought for specific purposes.) Also rounded over the outside front (straight edges and test pieces to avoid leaving a ridge). Laid that aside.

Side supports next. There's a 1:1 template in the WWMM (free) plans PDF; print a few copies, cut them out with scissors, cut some rectangular blanks from the oak board, stick the paper template to a blank with packing tape. Realize that I'm not going to be able to cut this with the jigsaw I bought for the purpose (too small a piece to cut unsupported). Turn it into a "jigsaw table" (poor man's bandsaw) by unscrewing the lower plate and using a drill and the jigsaw itself to cut holes for it into a foot square piece of 3/4" plywood. (Remember the M6 threaded rod? The screw for the jigsaw is also an M6; of course it is, Bosch is a German company.) Route a countersink for the machine screw (large enough for the socket) so it doesn't sit above the table. For now, I'm using it clamped to my workbench (a far earlier project; there's probably a post about it). (Later I'll cut some legs from the same plyboard, acquire a compressor and brad nailer (good deal on a DeWalt kit at Home Depot), and glue/tack them and take back my clamps. Tiny bit of sanding on one leg to level.)

From there I cut a template into some particle board shelving (unsuitable, so it joined the scrap pile), traced the template to the blank, and cut loosely around it. The plan was to use a pattern bit (got one with both top and bottom bearings) in the router table, but it didn't feel safe at all (especially after it whipped it out of my hands) so I screwed the template to some scrap wood, clamped the scrap wood in a bench vise, attached the workpiece to the template with double-sided tape, and used the plunge router base to hand route. There wasn't always as much area for the base to rest on as I'd like but it generally went well. Since then I've picked up some ideas from Tom Silva on an episode of Ask This Old House: attaching the workpiece and template to a larger piece of scrap wood and either attaching a "sled" to the router base for it to ride on (disadvantage: can't rotate it as far) or attaching a rail of the same materials/thickness so the router can ride along it and the workpiece; Rockler also makes a "small piece holder" jig that would make copying in the router table safer. Sand by hand, not great. Follow WWMM and pick up an oscillating spindle sander (Wen) which is much better. Round it over, drill a hole for the screw (loose enough for it to rotate this time). The end is in sight.

Finish is going to be spray lacquer (also inspired by Ramsey): sand, clean with tack cloth; with the doors open for ventilation, apply lacquer, two coats outside, one inside. I'm excited to see the finish product so I assembled it—put the screws back into the side of the frame, washers, supports, and star knobs—and put the Pi in the back and tacked it in with a Logan Point Driver, which worked great. Despite the flaws, I'm fairly happy with it and more with what I've learned and expect the next two to be considerably faster and better quality.

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