Upgrading the “Nail Station”

In December 2017, Yoli painted Jadzia’s fingernails with a St. Patrick’s Day motif.

From the time she was little, Jadzia enjoyed having her nails done. She liked watching videos with Yoli to see different techniques and patterns. Then, one year, Nan gave the girls a “Salon Nail Station” made by “The Color Workshop.”

The Nail Station was a plastic storage compartment with a battery-powered fan for drying fingernails after they’ve been painted with polish. The kit included several bottles of nail polish.

The Nail Station includes a storage compartment for nail polish. And when you want to dry your nails, you put your fingers under the compartment, pushing down on the sticker that says “press here.”

The way the station was designed, Jadzia would place her fingers on a shelf under the storage compartment and press down. Pushing continuously on this shelf would cause the fan to blow on her fingers and dry the nail polish.

It seemed great in theory. But when Jadzia tried to use the Nail Station, she had great difficulty keeping the button pushed down. Her fingers were thin, hypermobile, and weak because of Marfan Syndrome. So after a few uses, the Nail Station was set aside for many years.

This year, Yoli began painting Josie’s nails regularly, and they got out the old Nail Station. Josie had stronger fingers and was better able to push the button. But she complained about it, too.

So Yoli came to me with a request: Could I hack the Nail Station and install an on-off switch, so the fan could blow without requiring the girls to push anything continuously.

The upgrade

This was a pretty simple upgrade: Disconnect the bottom button, cut a hole for a switch, then wire the switch.

The Nail Station is disassembled, and the location of the new switch has been marked.

I had an extra toggle switch left over from the time I fixed our Mr. Coffee coffeemaker, so I didn’t need to buy any additional supplies.

The main thing I had to figure out was where to mount the switch. My original thought was to put it under the compartment on the bottom shelf, but that was a dumb idea: not enough clearance, and it would be in the way of the girls’ fingers. I considered putting it on the back which would keep the connections closer to the motor. But ultimately I mounted it on the very top. The plastic was a bit stronger there, and it’s easy to access.

I used my Dremel to make a hole in the top. Then I removed some material from the top two internal supports, to make room for the nut that screws onto the switch and secures it.

The new switch is installed.

Finally, I wired the connections between the switch, batteries, and motor, and soldered them. My soldering leaves a lot to be desired, but it was good enough for this simple project.

A few hours later, Josie gave it a try. It got a thumbs-up from her and Yoli.

Josie dries her nails in the upgraded Nail Station.

Morels and more

A few of the morel mushrooms I bought at the farmers market.

This morning I saw morel mushrooms at the Ferguson Farmers Market. I had to buy them.

It goes back to an experience I had last year.

It was March. For the kids’ spring break, we asked Aunt Marcy and Uncle Ken if we could stay a few days at the clubhouse near Clearwater Lake, and they said yes.

The weather was cool and the lake was high, but that was fine by us. We just wanted a safe escape from the pandemic with no worries of running into other people.

Continue reading “Morels and more”

Jadzia’s obituary

Jadzia Renaud

Jadzia Marie Renaud was welcomed into the kingdom of heaven on June 24, 2020, at the age of 14.

Jadzia was born Aug. 24, 2005, and attended the STEAM Academy at McCluer South-Berkeley High School, where she was a member of the mock trial team, book club and theater. She was a beautiful young woman remembered by teachers, friends and classmates as an inspiring leader, a person of honesty and integrity, wise beyond her years.

Jadzia was an artist, sketching illustrations daily in notebooks, sometimes sharing them with friends — but only very occasionally giving her parents a peek. She loved to sing and recently learned to whistle.

Jadzia was a scholar who loved the Ferguson-Florissant PROBE program. Twice, she was the district-wide spelling champion. In 2017 she reached the sixth round of the Post-Dispatch regional spelling bee finals.

She was a programmer, a tinkerer, and a founding member of the Viper Bots, a robotics team at Vogt Elementary. Her team was recognized on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives in 2016.

She was all this and so much more.

Jadzia is survived by her parents, Joshua and Yolange Renaud (nee Zegarra Antelo); her loving siblings Ludivine, Josie and Joseph Renaud; her grandparents Joseph and Anita Renaud (nee George), and Hector Zegarra Barron and Lucila Antelo Flores; her great-grandmothers Janice Renaud (nee Becker) and Paddy Kuncas (formerly George, nee Lawrence); and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers and neighbors in St. Louis, Texas, Bolivia, England and around the world who cared deeply about her.

Services: Visitation will be held Tuesday, June 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Grace Church, 2695 Creve Coeur Mill Road, Maryland Heights, MO 63043; followed by a service at 1 p.m. Interment will be private at Memorial Park Cemetery. The service will be live-streamed at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFa0Qh0lzq8

When Jadzia was very small, she was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder which affected her heart. She lived with this condition all her life, but never let it define her. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to The Marfan Foundation online at marfan.org.

Grieving over Jadzia

I took Jadzia to see the Blues victory parade. She was pretty excited to get to be part of it,

This blog was created to tell the story of our family. And it is with great sadness that I must write a post I never dreamed I would have to write.

Jadzia, our beloved oldest daughter, died in her sleep last night.

Jadzia was 14 years old, and very much looking forward to her quinceañera in August, her sophomore year of high school this fall, and so many other dreams and plans.

We weren’t ready to lose our dear girl. We are grief-stricken and figuring things out.

To everyone who had some part in Jadzia’s life, we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for the love you showed her, for the care you gave her. We know you share our sorrow.

Jadzia: Spelling Bee finalist!

Jadzia spells a word at the Post-Dispatch spelling bee finals.

Editor’s note: After winning the Ferguson-Florissant district-wide spelling bee for the second straight year, Jadzia reached the finals of the 2017 Post-Dispatch Spelling Bee. Here’s what she had to say about it.

Winning my school bee wasn’t too hard because there were only five contestants! My real challenge started with the district bee. Although not required to move on to the Post-Dispatch bee, it puts in a good bit of practice for me. After a bit of challenge from another student, I won the district bee for my second time in a row.

After that came the regional semifinals, a written bee. I successfully managed to spell 19/20 (or 24/25) out of the words and move on to the finals.

I was very nervous about getting so far, but the fact that I was there and that I had a chance to move on was quite astounding! I did my best. I had studied lists of words that were used for the first several rounds, but beginning with the fifth round, the words were taken from a giant dictionary and the bee got increasingly difficult. I managed to survive to the 6th round, before losing on the word “dromond.”

It was a great experience and I hope to be back in 2018!

Jadzia’s words (in order):

  • incorruptible
  • staccato
  • virgule
  • anschluss
  • minatory
  • dromond

Jadzia on the air waves

As a member of Vogt Elementary’s chess club, Jadzia has had opportunities to be featured in stories about the “Your Move” chess program in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. Here are a couple of her recent appearances:

“Crossing Continents” (BBC Radio 4)
Episode: Checkmate Me in St Louis

Ascension Health
Ascension Your Move Chess on YouTube

Ascension Your Move Chess, longer Viddler version