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There's a clump of stuff in the middle that Deb needs to sort through. She had said it was all mine, and to just throw it out, but her hammock isn't mine... her hiking boots aren't mine... so I think she needs to take a look and make some judgements. There's a dead Mac monitor that we need to get to the proper recycling type folks.

We took the PVC pipes up to the attic, spread around the boards that were up there, failed to get the large plywood sheet up there, cut it in half, and then put it up there... and then we put the ladder hooks up, got the ladder up on the wall and out of the way, and cleaned up the rest.

We've been here five years, and we're finally going to get a car in the garage! =)

(There's no hope on getting the other one in, not until the company gets it's own place to live, and, even then, possibly not until we also get a shed.)
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So that wasn't so painful...

Turns out our pre-softener water ate the copper pipe feeding the water heater. I mildly suspect, perhaps, some improper methods of attaching aforementioned heater when it was replaced four years ago.

Keep in mind, the house itself will be six years old this Winter...

Anyway, it was fixed in short order, and we now have hot water.

Which is useful.
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Note: Although this study was completely scientific in nature, it may, perhaps, point at another alternate theory: the designers may simply be victims of head-shrinking techniques, as practiced by certain witch doctors and other such folks.

1. Design sink with minimal space - just a bit bigger than a human adult head.

2. Design sink with a faucet jutting into said space, requiring facial surface to be high above sink, so that water splashed on the face lands on the floor, on the faucet, on the next county over, and some even makes it into the basin itself.

3. Design faucet with large handle to catch water.

4. Bonus: Design faucet handle so a forehead, brought close to reduce splashing, presses it down and turns it, changing water flow and temperature.

5. Double Bonus: Have handle lean out over the side of the faucet so that hands, when scooping water up towards face, bump handle, thus changing flow and temperature of the water.

6. Triple Cooperation Bonus: Design humans with eyes in their face that generally are best kept closed when dealing with facial soap and splashing water.
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Wow. Lots of heavy lifting lately, especially today.

This is what I really need to do lots of - and what's been lacking in my life for most parts of the last decade. Heavy lifting two or three times a year just doesn't help. Just gives you some aches and pains that take forever to go away. With all the extra activity lately, the achey bit goes away pretty quickly, and I'm left feeling better and stronger.

Justin and I had planned to do some garage organization and then slice and dice the dead oak at the top of the driveway, but the garage proved a bigger task than we had thought. Part of the delay was in the attempt to run the mower out of gas so I could install the larger tank. Justin wound up running around the back yard and mulching the leaves because the thing just did not quit. To be fair, I had it on idle, but still - I'd always been worried that it would shut off almost immediately as it approached E on the fuel gauge. I know my car does. =)

So we straightened out the stuff on "my side" of the garage, and swapped the mower for the snowblower. Still have gas in the tank, even though it's not enough to run, so we'll have to see what happens there. I'll need to pick up some Winter weight oil and do an oil change as well. Reminds me, I need to see where I can recycle the oil. Also, was all prepared to grease up a few connections with the grease gun. Would be a great idea if I actually picked up some grease. I'm looking into a new product called BioBlend, but it seems to be new enough that only its manufacturer lists it and I can't locate distributors. I've been following some evaluations using canola oil as a bar oil on their chainsaws. As I can, I'll swap all oils for VOs or something a wee bit healthier than Dead Dinos.

Moved the grandfather clock downstairs and moved the sewing machine out to the kitchen - other than that, we didn't get all that much moved out of the garage.

"Deb's side" is still plagued with cardboard that needs cut up and then taken to recycling along with the cans and bottles and so on. Rachel was supposed to fold up some newsprint paper used as packing materials. Great stuff for Mr. B's (and others) art projects. She started in on it the last time Justin and I did some cleaning out there, and she hasn't touched it since. I had her do a bit, but most is tough to reach until Justin and I carry all the sports stuff down cellar. Before Deb will be able to get her car in, I need to pick up some ladder hooks and get that extension ladder up on the wall and out of the way.

Tomorrow we need to get to that tree.

Oh, we also helped Phil discover his attic. The builders put a cheesy 2x4 stair up into the attic space - you need a flashlight to get through the (unlit) closet and up the stairs before you can turn on the light. Like ours, they don't have any floor boards up there. Unlike ours, they are overstuffed with rolled out insulation, where we have blown in insulation (settled to a "packed" state). They also have Winter electric bills that go way into the $300's just like ours. Our neighbor across the street says their bill never went above $100 a month, but then again, that one was built to the prior owners spec, where ours were built and then sold, without any sensible design guidance like "make it energy efficient" and so on.
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Poetry was Friday night.

Keep forgetting to mention that.


[livejournal.com profile] nightwind292 - the evening of the 2nd Friday of December, care to join me for some fish & chips at Granny McCarthy's Tea Room prior to poetry at the Moravian Book Shop? Any one else who can get there and wants to come along, let me know - the meal will be about $15-20, depending on what you get to drink/extras; the poetry is free.

~ ~ ~

Yesterday we did Not Much.

Woke up at 5:30am to icy cold air and complete darkness. Don't know how long the power was already off - at least at a half-hour, as Justin had accidentally left his alarm clocks on, and only the battery powered one went off. I woke Justin for some back up as I verified we weren't on (lack of electrical) fire, or some other mischief. A quick look out the front windows revealed a distinct lack of the one inch of snow we were allegedly supposed to wake up to and a distinct lack of any light in the neighboring houses, another look out the back showed that the outage was Mighty Big, as the folks across the way were also in the dark, and their fortunes and ours usually differ as far as PP&L and uptime is concerned.

We went back to bed and did our best to stay warm as long as possible. Mr. B woke later on, wiggle-wormed too much on Deb, so she sent him in to me, where he did much of the same. Eventually Rachel came in, and we did our best to try to keep Mr. B from throwing the covers off or doing anything else chilly-like. We came up with a song, which we tried to get Justin & Deb to sing: "I want coffee, I want heat, I want running water, I want to eat! Give me 'lectricity, give me 'lectricity, P P and L, give me 'lectricity!" Eventually, after the 321st verse (same as the first), it worked and around 10am-ish we had lights, heat, flushable toilets, warm bread, and hot coffee.

Yeah, need that generator someday soon, and then we can look at some get-off-the-grid solutions.

Rachel had her last day of soccer. It's really a games day, Soccer Olympics, they called it last year. She took home the second place medal this year. Go Rachel! Deb headed down to watch the Flyers fight the Penguins, and the Birds That Can Not Fly lost. We watched LotR: TFotR; Rachel's first time to see it in its entirety.

~ ~ ~

As I was typing earlier, I was listening to Justin playing some Bach as well as some Chopin, Debussy, and Satie stuff I've been throwing at him. I asked him to work on some bits from Mozart and Tchaikovsky piano concertos as well. He's certainly exploring some things on his own, but I want to get a wide variety of the standard piano repertoire into his brains and fingertips as well. His improv is showing improvement as well - as I was complimenting him on one thing he was doing to show me the Dm improv from his piano lesson DVD, he did something different. I noticed he had broken out of Dm a bit, and asked him about it - turns out that he had stopped improvising and started playing Satie and I hadn't really noticed. Kind of sounded like the same sort of thing - just a different key.

Guess that's working, and he's Learning Stuff.
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For my own reference and planning (mostly):

HVAC and Plumbing Issues )

Electrical Issues )

Justin's Room )

Progress reports are in the comments!

Busy Day

Sep. 2nd, 2007 11:41 pm
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I may or may not get the order correct on these.


Cleared stuff off top of dresser. This included a recorder, a chanter, a small Russian zither, two seashell framed mirrors made by Deb's grandfather, a television set, and a ton of other stuff. We boxed the arts & crafts stuff in the top drawer, and then discovered VHS tapes in the second drawer. To get at the dresser, I had to drag away two totes full of VHS tapes from the other 3 drawers, which I had thought left only the arts & crafts stuff. So now we had a drawer full of tapes and no free totes. Stripped the drawers out of the dresser and headed downstairs. Ate some lunch.

Used the wet/dry vac in its additional role of wolf spider & web remover to clean off the rack gear and two 2x12 cabs. Hauled them out of the garage and to the library. Vacuumed off as much as we could of the boxes of books and the garage window that has been completely inaccessible since the day we moved in. Took the vacuum downstairs, cleaned up the floor area and cleared a spot to drop the dresser - our "pallet" - and then brought the vac back upstairs to the garage. Brought the dresser and drawers downstairs, dropped it on its back and popped the drawers in. Drank some ice tea.

I pulled boxes out, sorted some books and things out, and Justin lugged them downstairs. Mr B watched Rachel. Or vice versa. Justin carried about twenty or so boxes of books down and stacked them on the dresser. We switched jobs at some time. He cleaned, I still sorted - pulling out my childrens book collection, mostly - and I carried about another twenty boxes down stairs. We're about halfway through bringing the books downstairs. We'll need the three pallets - as I eventually want to retire the dresser in that role - to handle the entire lot. We did clear out enough around the air hockey table to be able to get it out, but only Mr. B possessed the energy required, and, as he is about head-height with the table, isn't really able to carry it on his own.

Brought Rachel to her friend's house - she's camping out tonight, in a tent almost up against the house. In final cleanup - after boxing some toys that were brought out, and while carrying magazines to recycling, we had an altercation with a spider larger than Mr. B's foot. It backed off from chomping on his morsel-sized toes when I yelled, and again when I hollered for Justin. I was wearing socks, and was guessing he'd throw me if I tried to step on him. Justin took a few tries to get something clear - I had wanted him to see this monster. He did, and jumped and ran. Eventually I steadied him, and we almost had him. He went up the garage door, which was held up a bit so he could run outside. I tried to escort him out with a stick - leaning over the trash cans and some other stuff that kept me from him - and he reacted by grabbing the stick and thwacking me over head with it. Well, not quite. He did grab the stick. I tried to toss it out the door, but Justin jumped back and the door dropped. The spider ran for cover behind some stuff between the two doors. Justin fetched the spider eater, and I moved stuff away and started cleaning the area working my way towards him. He wasn't under the bag of salt, but behind the last thing - a plastic jug of ice melter. He fought valiantly against the suction, but, in the end, he lost.

While we were eating supper, Deb came back from her day in NYC watching the Yankees lose. After eating, I set up the rack gear. It still does its volume-by-automatic-control thing, which will keep me from using it in front of a crowd. A real shame, because when it stays at the intended volume, it sounds beautiful. I did notice I'm using the neck pickup a lot more than I used to, and the tube overdrive sound I'm using really only sounds good with the bridge pickup. I think if I replace the power amp - something that won't happen for a long time, if ever - the rest will work well enough to perform live. At that point I'll mess with tweaking another sound to use with the neck pickup.

After all that, while we're completely exhausted, we realize that all the stuff that had been on the dresser was on my bed. At least the television was an exception to that - we brought that down right away. Couldn't lift it now if someone was going to pay me. =)

Bed now. Cookout tomorrow.
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Justin collected 2 cups of water in a half hour span. Hail, again.

No rain here, 45 minutes away. Deb was at the market - thunder and lightning, but no rain.

They say our power should be back on in about three hours...

~ ~ ~

The generator was going to go in this past May, but will now likely be held off until next year due to certain other Top Sekritive Type Stuff going on. That, and the electricians - and most other service industries in the area - break the cardinal rule and never call back.

On that note, though, we are now $400 poorer, but we have all sinks and toilets and so forth running nicely. Apparently Moen doesn't use good ol' fashioned washers, but they use cartridges. Apparently, after three years of unfiltered well water, the cartridges are worthless. Sediment, as I expected, had ripped through the plastic materials, scouring new channels for water to leak out of.

Of course, Deb can't check it all out because no power = no water.

So, yeah. If I find an electrician that actually understands how to use a phone, I might schedule something in sooner rather than later.
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I'm not done yet - this can be claimed like a certain character thrown on a certain cart at the beginning of a certain movie. This might just be because you never feel closer to death than when you're agonizing through a long overdue cleaning and reorganizing. In that case, I'm not dead yet! is probably a more accurate statement, as the first implies I might be close to completing a task. Nearly so, but not quite there.

Justin and I rebuilt the two pallets we had, shuffled around a whole cellar full of stuff, planted the pallets in the corner, and loaded one of them with holiday stuff. The second one is empty, awaiting long term storage type stuff, or maybe computers. Or something. The housewares/home decor stuff takes up a quadruple set of shelving, and very nearly fills it. The games occupy their own set of shelving almost completely. Deb's puzzles take up the better part of a quad set of slightly smaller shelving, and another single set sits empty. The weight bench and other assorted fitness type stuff is in its spot, the arts & crafts table is covered over and under with boxes of artsycrafty type ingredients and school stuff. Computer stuff - partially empty boxes and partially fossilized miscellanea - are gathered in two locations, and are likely to relocate to the unoccupied pallet. A couple of boxes of out-of-season clothes sit in one spot, a few boxes of toys in another, and a whole bunch of camping stuff is sprawled out by the weights. Several chairs and other bits of furniture line up along one wall. Paper goods and pick-a-nic basket stuff sits nearby. A stack of my stuff and a stack of empty totes (previously storing aforementioned puzzles & games) awaits a fresh supply of stuff to fill them.

Oh, and we swept up as we went along, cleaning up every time we moved something, so the floor will almost be clean by the time we're done. And we found about 100 cans, two unopened, and one A&W opened and halfway done. It was sitting in a very prominent location so we're not exactly sure how it got there... haven't had A&W in the house for months...

Anyway, the family room wall of the garage is now empty, 100%, right up to the aisle that usually isn't walkable. The aisle is empty, too, and swept up. All the previous occupants were given an eviction notice for at-this-very-moment. They didn't budge, so we had to grab them and physically remove them from the garage. They are now happily sorted amongst one or more of the categories mentioned in the part about the cellar. We've probably cleared about one-tenth of the stuff out of the garage (not counting the tools and mowers and stuff that actually will stay there, someday far, far away, perhaps in nice, fancy cabinetry).

Oh, and once the garage is clear, the Host of bikes will be relocated from their underground digs and forced to live in the garage, where they will be used far more often than when you have to lug them up a flight of stairs to take them out.
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... but, on the positive side, there's room there now, because all but one of them have been cleared.

I was walking around the house, and, by the porch corner where two out of five of our downspouts are, I noticed the gutter was dripping. It had rained a bit earlier - about 6 hours earlier. Everything else was pretty dry.

So I get the stepladder and start scooping. The gutter was plugged and full to the brim, and this is one of the gutters with the guards installed. The back gutter on the lower roof was perfectly clear - it's the pine needles that do the most damage, and they don't migrate back there in quantity.

We brought out the big ladder and lo, I am over the weight rating for the ladder. I got about halfway up and it started complaining, so I headed back down. Justin made it four rungs up before being paralyzed with fear. Phil, the next door neighbor, scampers around his roof like it was the ground, and has volunteered to help, so Justin went over to get him.

Phil came back with a leaf blower - which I am generally opposed to - and tried to go up the big ladder. That didn't work so well, but he did manage to get the blower up there. We brought the stepladder up to the back deck and he zipped up it and onto the roof and up to the upper roof. He moved a lot slower there - he said he knew my roof was steeper, but didn't realize exactly how steep... while he still got around fast, he couldn't do it walking and had to scoot around.

From the top, he cleaned out the two front gutters that are pretty much unreachable without scaffolding - and he agreed with me that full scaffolding is the only way to get gutter guards installed. You can't do that from above as the guards have to go below the shingles, and you can't do that from below unless you are about 14-15' tall and can bend your ankle at a ridiculous angle.

Now, when we started this, light was failing, so most of the clearing, especially of the second gutter over Brandon's room, was done in darkness. In fact, when done, it took Justin and me a few seconds to adjust to the darkness before we could bring the big ladder down and take it in. That, and, as Phil had climbed up there, a bat swooped down to check him out. Once he was up there, a few more were circling.

Anyway, Phil didn't have enough roof climbing - he'll be by tomorrow or the next day to get the back gutter on the upper roof.
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Or, The Story of What Happened to the Windshield.

Of course, we're really not sure *exactly* what happened to the windshield. What we do know, is that a certain teenager known for being overenthusiastic (he snapped two ice scrapers while clearing ice from my car after the last storm) was brushing snow off the windshield of the Subaru. I made it down the end of the street before I realized that the funky line going from left to right about 4-6" up from the bottom of the windshield was a crack. We suspect the involvement of a rock-pock-mark right along the line (with moisture worked in, and heated to the snapping point).

It will be about $500 to get it replaced, which is much more than when we had to get the Taurus window done 5 years or so ago. The insurance will be covering it, or at least most of it, but still, less than fun. So, I have to use another PH today (no more working from home for me). At least I'll be here when the HVAC guys come by to finish off the supply vents in Justin's room, as well as look into sealing off the basement/former returns and getting the heat to spread out better along the front-to-back plane.



Feb. 18th, 2007 05:45 pm
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The guy will be coming to measure Justin's room for carpeting on Wednesday - we're making a reasonable effort to match the existing stuff, but not going for something all that expensive. We'll likely replace all of the carpet at some point in the future, using a better quality carpet. But, repainting (of halls, and the other rooms, not of Justin's room) will happen first.

Wrote a new song - a slow mood piece named Dragonfly. Someday I'll have to get a nylon string guitar to really do it (and all the other acoustic tunes) justice.

Anyway, time for Deeper n' Ever.
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Couldn't pull the snowblower out today (for the first time!) due to freezing rain - thus, I am on a personal holiday today. We've got drifts over two feet, but allegedly only 4 inches overall... still, that's about four times our total for the season-to-date. I imagine the numbers are now higher as it has switched back to light and fluffy snow and left the freezing rain behind. As soon as things settle down, I'll get out there with the snowblower. Not that we can go anywhere - they declared the county in a state of emergency, and only emergency vehicles are allowed out on the roads; some of which are closed (209 between Lehighton and Jim Thorpe.)

I was up in the attic earlier and have determined without a shadow of a doubt exactly why our closet and bathrooms upstairs are so cold: the blown in insulation is about a foot deep, covering everything up there with a floor. Unfortunately, there are a few spots without a floor, leaving large gaps around the showers, between the closet and the bathroom. The holes drop down to the second story's floor, and the walls between areas are visibly uninsulated and directly exposed to whatever temperature the attic is - making it impossible to warm the rooms in winter and cool them in summer. Doh.

There is also a very large open area near Brandon's closet and - I think - over the stairs between first and second floor. I didn't move boards around to look down and see what the situation is there - it might fare somewhat better, but Brandon's closet likely suffers.

The guys are almost done with Justin's room - they were going to be back for a second coat of paint and finishing up today, but I asked them to hold off due to weather. Not sure if they got the message, or held off anyway, but they haven't shown up yet. After that, all we need is to get the rug installed, and he can move his stuff.

Rachel has developed a plan to help ease Brandon into his room - she doesn't think we should just toss him in there, but should set it up for him to play in during the day, and maybe take some naps on his Big Boy Bed, but still have him sleep in the crib for a short time before moving him in to his own room. This will probably be even more important, as, over the last week or so, Mr. B has really come into the Terrible Twos (instead of waiting for three, like the other two did! =)
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A new icon, and it's actually one of me. I've been using it over on MySpace, what with the musical theme of what I'm using that site for (which is all it's good for, IMO - that, and getting me annoying spam about women who just love my profile, and want me to look at their pictures. Which, actually, isn't much of a motavating factor as far as I'm concerned with, but it is what gathers the most in the inbox over there.)

It snowed shortly after I got home - just *whump* and there it was, 10,000* deep or so. More than we've had all season, including two previous "more than we've had" days. Another 10 or 15 million more * and I might have to use the snowblower tomorrow morning. This is almost good - I'm not quite sure the lungs can hack the cold. Walking to the car these past few days has been enough to convince me that lungs are great right up until they don't want anything to do with air.

I updated the project post - the guys are really making progress on the room. Drywall is coming this Friday. Next week and after will be devoted to taping then painting. I picked out the ceiling light fixture for the room today - they will also be installing a closet light and a light in each of the closet/crawlspaces under the eaves. Justin still has to pick out the paint - I said anything was fine as long as it could be either painted over or wasn't obnoxious enough to need to be painted over (he was leaning towards olive drab - not for any military bent, just because he likes the color.)
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The Home Improvement Planning thread was updated last night. The list of 16 problems in the HVAC and Plumbing area has been reduced to 7 items, most of which are pending either a "wait-and-see" situation (#2, #8) or a "wait-for-the-right-time-of-year-and-see" (#13, #15.) #6 should actually have been mostly completed today - portions pending some more work on Justin's room. #11 will probably fall to an electrician rather than an HVAC guy, and #16 will be considered when the generator is installed - which is in the "wait-and-see-if-money's-left" category.

I really need to add a "complete HVAC ductwork" item to the list of tasks for Justin's room.

Unfortunately, we discovered that our half-bath sink has a leak where the pipe gozintah the wall. Some brilliant, penny-pinching accountant decided metal to plastic to metal to plastic to pvc pipe was a cost-saving good method of installing sinks. I'm afraid of what the other plumbing fixtures - particularly those hidden by wallboard - are like if this one is already showing the failure of material A sealing properly with material B.

Speaking of short-term failure, I hope to have pictures - or links to pictures - that show exactly how monstrous the issue with the fiberglass ductwork was. The house was built slightly more than 4 years ago, and we've been there slightly less than 4 years. The airflow contact surface of the fiberglass ductwork was pilling (picture a cheap semi-shag rug with enough foot traffic to tear things up but not enough to pack it down flat) covered with a measurable accumulation of dust - far more dust in those ducts than snow on the ground this entire season (look in the back of your computer at the fan - yes, more dust than that.)

Air Dynamics will actually be presenting slices of our ductwork at a coming tradeshow, and, I believe, will also be featuring them on their website.

Looking at that ductwork, it's fairly easy to understand the breathing problems that almost all of us have had - 3 out of 5 of us have been prescribed one or more inhalers or allergy medicines since we've lived here. Prior to that, 0 out of 4 of us took any such medicine (disclaimer: I took OTC allergy meds as a kid, but had pretty much outgrown them.)

If you have fiberglass ducts, I would insist, as a friend, you do one (or more) of the following:
  1. have the ductwork replaced with galvanized steel and lined flexible ductwork
  2. move
  3. buy full-face masks and alternative air-supply tanks

Evil stuff.

I won't even begin to mention the mold I found starting on the one random panel I picked up to show Deb, or the ductwork made less efficient by an excess of blown in insulation that filled it...

Anyway, progress on Justin's room will be reported later tonight or tomorrow, as I will be scheduling that work - and maybe some of the electrical in addition - tonight.
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Yum. BLT Soft Tacos! I had been expecting some sausage and rice and peppers, but Deb had a couple of things go awry today and wasn't up for making them, so I stumbled for about 30 seconds before deciding my course. It took a 90 degree turn when I realized we only had five slice of bread, but nearly twenty-five soft taco shells. And we had sour cream. So, la, and lo', and all that sort of stuff, which translates to yum, as this opened up with.

At poetry Friday night, the idea was floated to develop some sort of performance thing at one or more locations - details yet to be worked out, but there will be poetry and guitars and bears oh my! Okay, maybe not so much on the bears. Maybe some pianos (keyboards, really) and that is most definootely worse.

Some progress has been happening on the work to the house - I'll be updating that in a little while.

Nothing happening on the writing front - still hovering at the last word count, but I might get some time on it tonight. We'll have to see!
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Beware the Ides of March. And 30' box trucks that scrape against Jersey barriers, drive over yellow line, white line, yellow line, change lane no signal, drift left, drift right, hey!

I actually exist. My car is silver, it is supposed to be visible. Do not shift lanes to the right while I'm there, Mr. Old Guy with Entire Clan in Car. If I hadn't stopped, I would have your license number and insurance information written down, and would be filling out police reports, which is not fun.

On a completely different subject, I actually exist. My car is silver. You were stuck in a left turn only lane a half a mile from the light and I was travelling at 55 MPH straight, almost, but not quite, within spitting distance of the right turn only lane which didn't exist when you cut right, forcing me to powerslide down the highway to avoid parking my engine somewhere between your trunk and front seat. I'm sure the whole collapsing car trick would have totalled both of our cars, and, quite possibly, your sorry ass. And I'd likely have a police report to fill out.

And now for something completely different. Speaking of ass, I have an incredibly cute one. Two days in a row, I've had a Personal Fan Club member decide they couldn't be parted from me. The guy today kept looking pissed off when he passed me (once we made it to four lane roads,) so apparently I may look somewhat feminine from the posterior view. The blonde the day before loved me so much that she stayed even closer - she was actually closer than most normal human beans get when they're stopped at red lights. She maintained this lack of distance even when I slowed in the passing zone, with no other traffic in sight. Given that last factor, I actually rolled to a stop. And still, she stayed glued to me. I am hot.

I suppose, if I drove a Lamborghini or a Ferrari or some other slinky Italian number, or maybe even some ugly pseudo-nice car (which covers most of everything else over the $50,000 price tag,) I could understand, but this is a Contour. Nothing sexy about it.

On a similar note, having nothing to do with any of the previous junk, much work has happened at the house these past two days. The project post has been updated and progressified to contain the latest and greatest facts. Our water is now soft and squishy, my hair no longer feels like a brillo pad, the crud in the shower feels like it might actually decide to come off if cleaned, and I have hope that the rest of the plumbing is happy with this nice, friendly H20 running through its veins. The basement already smells better, which is a marked improvement considering all the PVC pipe and sealant (think: airplane glue) used down there - in fact, it's barely noticeable today, despite more pipes going in today than yesterday. So, the dehumidifier works.

The radon fan is in a holding pattern with Fed Ex, which seems to have trouble getting clearance to land, something about a big fat guy in a red suit. Hopefully, that will be in tomorrow and Dave will finish up.

The holiday lunch at work went great - lots of compliments on the ribs, and a few requests for the top secret recipe (both of which were responded to with links to the entry detailing said top secret recipe for the whole entire world, or whoever happened upon it.)
Tomorrow: half day, and last day of the year for me at work - =)
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Last night, Justin and I wrote our first string quartet. Well, sort of - I was originally going to write something for string orchestra, so I grabbed violin, viola, cello, and bass - sure, it's four parts, but with only one violin part, it's not quite your traditional one.

Still and all, it turned out okay, if only we could figure out how to get Finale NotePad to change the title required at the outset. Until then, this piece will be forever labelled as "A Test" as it was my first try with the software.

I've since written the opening of "Kitchen Sink" for two violins, a cello, two timpani, a bass drum, and percussion. This morning, "Harpsichord" for two harpsichord (surprise!) and four timpani was very nearly composed. Well, the timpani part is complete, but there's only a wee bit of the first harpsichord and quite a lot less of the second.

I also collected a bunch of sea shanties - although I still can't find the tune for The Dreadnought (which is based on an older tune The Flash Frigate or La Pique.) I also grabbed a few other folk tunes that I'd like to learn.

One of my favorite Christmas tunes is Lord of the Dance - and I found Simple Gifts as a tune and as a nice arrangement for fingerstyle guitar. I played through it twice, and am going over it piece by piece until I can get it to flow smoothly.

In other, non-musical news, Dave from Air Dynamics stopped by and I signed contracts to get the dehumidifier, radon, and water treatment installed. The plumbers will be here Wednesday, and Dave will be here Thursday to do the radon and dehumidifier. I'll add details to the project after lunch - grilled ham n' cheese!
ellyssian: (Default)
I updated the home improvement project to show the latest and greatest info - and, as the progress progresses, it was turning quite lengthy. I shifted the current notes into comments, which will also make it easier if anyone wants to comment on specific steps.

Latest addition includes start date info for the first steps, as well as a link I added for the whole house air cleaner we'll be getting. With the current changes, I may be able to put off getting the heat exchange, but I still think I'll want one eventually. The manufacturer of the air filter has a nice product which looks to meet our needs, listed under the Ventilation category.

~ ~ ~

Brandon correctly (more or less) utilized a toilet for the first time in his life last night. He's been calling out 'big boy' lately, and wanting to use the potty. For hours at a time. Last night was the first time he actually managed to anything but sit there and smile, all proud of himself.

Of course, firsts don't come in solo rounds: he also walked down the stairs, facing forward and holding the rail, otherwise completely unaided.

~ ~ ~

Rachel sang and played chimes with her fellow fourth graders today, and had a couple of solo lines in the three-part narration introducing the first grade performance. She did a great job - in fact, was one of the best in clearly speaking her lines, and the only one who inserted any emotion into them.
ellyssian: (Default)
Just met with Bill about getting Justin's room done and updated the project status. Discussed a few other possible projects as well, but those won't come up for a while (2008 at the earliest, maybe late 2007 for the library, but I doubt it.) Very exciting to finally get movement on this, even more so when the actual job starts!

Holiday cards should be getting out later today - that's finally moving forward as well. I'm thinking of doing 2007 cards in January, so we can start early, still get a wintry feel in them, and only have to get up-to-date addresses and stamps on them when it comes time to send them! (Okay, so I'm only half-kidding! =)

Beautiful fall/spring weather - some rain, looks like trees are debating whether to wake up or not. The heath and heather that were moved out to the back bank have grown an awful lot since transplanting - much happier in the conditions there than below the sandmound, both for light and moisture. They might even fill in enough to present a decent appearance next year - although there's still a few more that will need to be added in the spring to finish off the area.


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December 2018

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