Monday, June 30, 2008
And tomorrow night I'll be laying on the basement floor again...
Sunday, June 29, 2008
But not this year...
I got up Thursday morning to discover a magpie party going on in our front yard. Overnight, the magpies discovered my cherry tree, invited all their friends and picked every cherry off the tree! Every cherry! I counted at least 15 magpies vacating my yard and tree when I went out to put up my flag.
I showed the tree to my neighbor and he guessed that my tree fell victim to a late freeze and he couldn't believe it when I told him the real circumstance.
Next year I'm trimming the tree back to make it shorter then I'll be netting it after it flowers so I can try to keep the birds off of it. Either that or I'm going to kill a couple magpies and hang them from the tree so the others can see what their fate will be if they try to steal my cherries again!
And BTW, I'm sitting here right now, eating cherries from a bag that came from Wal-Mart. Two pounds of cherries cost me almost 10 bucks and they aren't near as tasty as if I picked them myself from my own tree.
I did get the camper pulled out from its winter parking spot and out to the front of the carport this weekend, cleaned inside and out, the water tanks filled and leak checked and ready to go. I've installed the battery and charged it up and bought two full tanks of propane- 30 bucks worth!
I'm going to install an elecric winch like this one on the tongue of the camper this year to replace the manual winch that I really hate cranking up and down to start and end each camping trip.
I'm probably going to spend a night re-greasing the wheel bearings before leaving for our Oregon trip, just to make sure everything in there is wonderful. Those little tires and wheels spin long and fast on that trip so I don't need one of them burning up if a little preventave maintenance can prevent it.
The heater was cold twice this week when I took my morning shower. The first time I blamed it on bad luck and it relit, seemingly just as it was supposed to when I relit the pilot light. The second day I went to Lowes at lunch time to buy a new thermocouple- which they didn't have!
Seems I have a Flame Lock water heater- labeled by Whirlpool and only sold at Lowes. And Whirlpool is just settling a class-action lawsuit related to the unreliability of these machines. In the original configuration, the thermocouple apparently fails routinely and was left-hand threaded, meaning they were only available at Lowes.
So, I called Whirlpool and they sent me a complete new assembly- the sealed door with new tubes and new thermocouple, with an adapter that makes the assembly fit a normal right-hand thread thermocouple, for free except for the overnight shipping and Thursday night I installed it. Everything seemed wonderful- except that it is still not working! I even installed another thermocouple today as I couldn't make the device provide the correct readings on my multimeter this morning. Now that one isn't working either.
I've already replaced the gas valve just a few months ago when I was having problems and before I knew there were wide problems with every Flame Lock machine so I'm pretty stumped. I guess I'll call Whirlpool tomorrow and see if they can get this damm machine working properly so I can count on regular hot showers.
As I started out saying, we did finalize the re-financing of the house on Thursday, from the 21+ years we had on the old mortgage to just 15 years now. We also took out enough extra equity to pay for the windows we purchased last fall and to pay for the improvements & repairs to our kitchen and dining area. That work is done too so now there is just some cleaning up to do before everything is back to normal. Oh, I've got a bag of switches, outlets and cover plates to install too so that everything is white instead of brown or ivory.
But that's not getting done tonight...
That's right, there was water running across my shop floor that seemed to be originating from my gun locker! Argh! I opened it up and started pulling out rifles that were sitting in puddles in the protective foam of the floor of the locker. Where the hell's all this water coming from?
Its coming from the humidifier bag that I keep hanging up inside the locker to absorb the moisture. But the bag has a hole in the bottom so the water that has been collecting has been running out of the bag and down the metal of two of my favorite rifles. The Taurus looks terrible with most of the finish on the receiver ruined and the Savage/Stevens single-shot has rust damage to the barrel and receiver. Great!
Everything is sitting out now, airing out and I suppose I'll have to look into getting those two rifles cleaned up and re-blued or refinished somehow. I hate that I have to keep my guns outside just because the spousal unit is afraid of them even when they are locked securely in a locker.
But first, there's a hot water heater that's not heating that needs my attention.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I'm mighty excited about seeing this show as I love to listen to Mark Knopfler play guitar and I really like his songs, so this should be a special show.
Now if I could just find my iPod connection cable... Its been ages since I synched it to my laptop and now it is AWOL and I can't load my new CD. Dang!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The job is beating my butt right now with all my program funds needing to be obligated by 1 August, not 30 September, as I was working towards. Now I have to get all the money obligated, through numerous, complicated channels or risk loosing it and crashing my program. On top of all the high-level funding attention my program (and me) are getting, nothing- absolutely nothing is coming together simply and streamlined and by the plan.
So, I am burning the brain cells and energy trying to get this program on track and at double-speed before I get clobbered for not completed on time.
Do you know how hard it is to buy ~58,000 feet of two sizes of wire today? Its not easy.
The kitchen overhaul is nearing completion and is really starting to look nice. The floors are done and there is minor painting to be finished. The countertops arrived and were installed yesterday and they look terrific.
Once the countertop was installed, it was my turn to do all the plumbing of the new sink and faucet. That turned out to be an all day effort and all done on my hands and knees, or my shoulders to get everything connected.
All the plumbing is new, including shut-off valves, all the way down to the cabinet floor. I also added an electrical box to the wall to enclose the garbage disposal wiring connections that used to just dangle. I installed a new garbage disposal and all new drain pipes.
Of course all that took multiple trips to the big-box store to get the parts- and then the right parts and then the extended length parts I needed to get everything to fit. And only the compression fitting on the icemaker connection leaked when I turned all the water back on. Of course it slipped out under pressure, and while I was under the sink, so it really soaked me pretty good before I got the water shut off!
Today I took it a little easier, meeting Carol for coffee then refinishing the boards that were being used as a floor under the sink that I removed yesterday. I also got the swamp cooler hooked up and running, swept out my shop and re-glued the chrome nose bumper on Sleek Black Beauty that had come loose. Removing the old glue with Goo-Gone took a long time but it didn't wreck the paint so I took the time. Its glued back on tonight and the tape is in place to hold it tight until tomorrow.
And when I get done posting this- I'm folding laundry so I will be ready for this week.
Speaking of this week- we should be closing on the house refinancing in a couple days. Wednesday night is a Mark Knopfler concert and although I don't have tickets just yet, I will have tickets by tomorrow and I'm going to that show! The BSU is agreeing to go along even if she doesn't care about the music. Its a night out so she'll humor me.
And the grass needs mowed!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
And I still can't figure out how to make my phone and laptop talk to one another as they have in the past using the Bluetooth method. But I did finally manage to email myself a picture off my phone, even if it took a terribly long time to arrive and I didn't see it until now.
And now, you can see my very first Tiger Muskie!
And Carol, I'm pretty certain I'm free for this Sunday if you want to meet for coffee.
drinking beer. Jim Bob turns to Bubba and says, 'You know, I'm tired of
going through life without an education. Tomorrow I think I'll go to
the Community College and sign up for some classes.'
Bubba thinks it's a good idea, and the two leave.
The next day, Jim Bob goes down to the college and meets the Dean of
Admissions, who signs him up for the four basic classes: Math, English,
History, and Logic.
'Logic?' Jim Bob says. 'What's that?'
The dean says, 'I'll give you an example. Do you own a weed eater?'
'Then logically speaking, because you own a weed eater, I think that you
would have a yard.'
'That's true, I do have a yard.'
'I'm not done,' the dean says. 'Because you have a yard, I think
logically that you would have a house.'
'Yes, I do have a house.'
'And because you have a house, I think that you might logically have a
'Yes, I have a family.'
'I'm not done yet. Because you have a family, then logically you must
have a wife. And because you have a wife, then logic tells me you must
be a heterosexual.'
'I am a heterosexual. That's amazing, you were able to find out all of
that because I have a weed eater.'
Excited to take the class now, Jim Bob shakes the Dean's hand and leaves
to go meet Bubba at the bar. He tells Bubba about his classes, how he
is signed up for Math, English, History, and Logic.
'Logic?' Bubba says, 'What's that?'
Jim Bob says, 'I'll give you an example. Do you have a weed eater?'
'Then you're a queer.'
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Yesterday's trip was with buddy Kenny, first out to Willard Bay, where we got in for free using my newly minted fun pass and then later out to Bear River. We didn't catch any fish but we did have a great time in the fresh air. We watched big squadrons of pelicans circling overhead and a second group of the big white birds sitting on the bank near to our favorite fishing spot. I have pictures of them too but I'm too tired to get out of my chair to go find the camera.
We quit a bit early yesterday so that Kenny could get home and do some yard chores so I spent the afternoon doing yardwork of my own.
Today's fishing trip was a real treat- I went bass fishing with a buddy, Mike from work, out to Pineview Reservoir. Mike's a real bass fishing enthusiast and participates in tournaments all over the place, so I was pretty pleased when he invited me out for some fishing today.
The water's high right now in the reservoir but Mike figured to find smallmouths hanging in the flooded shallows and that's where we fished. And we did find a few, though not as many as Mike had hoped. He caught 4 or 5 but missed that many or more by not getting the hook set at the right time.
I only caught bass towards the time we were wrapping it up for the morning but it was at the same time Mike had a fish on, so at one point we had 2 fish on at the same time.
I did catch one exciting fish, a Musky that swam right past me carrying my bait before we both realized he had picked it up. I watched this 3 foot long mouthful of teeth and attitude swim right past me, just gliding past the boat, and about the time I said, "Hey, look at that fish!", my fishing line tightened up hard. I think the fish and I both figured out at the same time that we were connected. It was an exciting fight but Mike got him into the net and I eventually managed to wrangle the mangled tube jig out of his scary mouth and turn him loose.
But not before taking our picture- that's one of them I want off my cell phone!
Anyway it was a great half day and I spent the rest of the afternoon wrestling with my pressure washer and chatting with my dad, my boys and one of my brothers. And tonight, I'm pretty tired!
So you can't see the pictures from today's fishing trip- sorry.
Friday, June 13, 2008
That’s right, the just- built Popeye’s opened yesterday on base! The new building has been under construction for months now so yesterday’s opening has been anxiously awaited. Awaited by a bunch more folks that just the BSU and myself as it turned out. There was just about a ½ hour wait after ordering to get chicken but everyone seemed to take it in good humor even though by the time we ordered the store had run out of spicy wings and red beans and rice.
We haven’t had a Popeye’s nearer than Mountain Home AFB in southwest Idaho until now so we don’t normally get this spicy, crunchy taste treat but I foresee that it will become a regular stop on my way home from work in the future.
BTW, I changed my login password so hopefully I’ve put the spammers off my trail for a few more weeks and they won’t be posting any further bogus posts here. And hopefully this post will make it into the system as this is the first time I’ve tried to post through email since changing the login requirements.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
She doesn't want to be identified, but this woman was carrying nearly $200,000 in deposits for the company she works for. She got to the bank too late; so she took the deposits home, where they accidentally were thrown away and picked up by the garbage truck before the mistake was realized.
Doh! Somebody got lucky today!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
On the remodeling front- much of the painting got done today and the tile work starts tomorrow. The repair and texturing of the ceiling looks terific- like there never was any damage.
There's not a single place to sit down upstairs that isn't covered up with either a tarp or sanding dust but overall, things are going well. We are still a week out for receiving the countertops but the job is really proceeding nicely.
BTW, I hate the refinancing process! Dealing with the mortgage people and all their daily increasing requirements is a real pain!
Monday, June 09, 2008
I played with one of the first generation iPhones a few weeks ago at the AT&T store and I have ot admit, I really liked it. The touch screen and slide is really intuitive and neat and I've been following the news leading up to today's announcement fora few weeks now. My current contract runs out almost exactly at the same time as next month's release, so I'm pretty certain I'll be putting an Apple in my pocket in July.
A black, 32 gig model, thanks.
My buddy Loc's son, Tom crashed his bullet bike motorcycle yesterday afternoon. He's laid up in the hospital for the 2nd night tonight with a concussion, a cracked collar bone, a bruised lung and scrapes and rashes over his legs.
Tom's a new rider, he just started early this spring, first with a 600cc bullet bike of some brand. Just a week or two ago he upgraded to a 1000cc bike and that is the one he crashed yesterday. He was on a popular motorcycle road, Trapper's Loop and somehow he crashed. I'm guessing he had the bike laid over for a sharp curve and couldn't respond to sand on the pavement. Anyway, he crashed and he's pretty beat up tonight.
His mom is telling him that he's not ever having another motorcycle, but that's what moms do. She has been pretty unhappy with his purchase from the beginning and this incident did nothing to reassure her. No big surprise there.
Anyway, Tom's a good guy and I'm sorry he's hurting and gets better real soon. There's lots of time for him to decide if he gets back on a motorcycle again.
I just saw an online advertisement for this stuff and I can't think of a flavor I would least rather have in my vodka. That doesn't sound good to me at all!
I have been drinking Skye Vodka’s citrus flavor for a couple months after joining the Absolut boycott for their Mexican "Perfect World" advertising campaign. But the state liquor stores are discontinuing it! I did buy 5 bottles to stock up last week since the store has discounted it by half until they sell it out.
But root beer flavored vodka? Pass.
[UPDATE- maybe root beer floats made with Three Olives could work out for a hot summer evening treat. I'll think about that for a while! And the Triple Expresso flavor might be pretty tasty too
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Rex had to move one base cabinet 1/2" to the right to align it with the corner and to make room for the tile that is going on the walls beside the stove. He's nearly finished with the ceiling crack repairs and should be texturing it next week.
I bought the sink Friday (Note to self- where's the cutting board that is supposed to be included? Its not in the box.) and we took the page of sink cutout diagrams over to the place that is ordering our countertops. I gave the paper to the BSU to have the store make a copy while I went outside to supervise the tile loading. When that was done, I came back inside and asked for my instruction page back from the staff. The same fellow that had made the counter top templates took me back to his desk to get the paper and- surprise! The gal at the front desk had circled the WRONG picture on the page! We would have ended up with a 38" hole cut into out top where we needed to put a 33" sink!
I was so happy I doubled checked that little fact!
Still haven't purchased a sink but I think its going to be either this one, that I like best or this one, that the BSU prefers. We've got a week or so to decide before it is installation time.
I've finished the flowerbed out front. Both my buddy Loc and the BSU think its too full before the flowers even have a chance to grow but I like my flowerbeds full. It should help to keep the weeds and the cat out of there.
Today I need to mow and then I need to do some painting outside. I don't have much wood trim out there but it has been several years since it was painted and its looking pretty bad. And the worst part is just above the flowerbed I just planted! Now I need to figure out how to scrape and paint without getting paint chips all over my flowers or trampliing them to death!
Sooner or later, I'm hoping for a rest! I was supposed to go fishing with Carol's hubby, Dave this afternoon but he got tapped for CQ duty this weekend and so is sleeping his afternoon away. Maybe I'll take the BSU fishing later. We'll see.
So I called 1-800-COMCAST. The first guy I spoke to wasn't much help and his diction was just terrible- it sounded like he had a mouthful of marbles. But he promised to send my problem up to the next higher level of expertise and gave me a CR number to follow-up on.
Today, Comcast called me back. And through a few minutes of conversation and settings changes with a guy who did not sound like he was talking with his mouth full, we got my Outlook Express working again. Seems that there was an port error that had imposed itself on my settings for no good reason except to aggravate me. But its fixed now, thanks to realistic, clear-speaking help from Comcast.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Airfare to Germany for the vacation might be kind of spendy though!
Those buttons perform "back" and "forward" clicks when surfing the internet. That means you no longer have to push your mouse up to the left-pointing arrow when you want to go back to a web page- you just click the little button on the mouse!
I bought this thing over the weekend. Today I found my index finger heading for that button on my work computer's mouse several times. What? No, I wasn't browsing the internet at work, of course not! But seriously, I've gotten so used to this little bit of tiny button magic that I'm already reaching for it instinctively! I really like this feature.
And it makes surfing the internet even easier and faster while using even less energy to move the mouse back and forth. That's how lazy I am!
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Planting flowers and digging around in the dirt is NOT part of my job description! But I did it tonight, just so I won't have an ugly, empty flower bed on the front of my house.
Now we just need to get down to Home Depot and buy them. Links later if I remember…
The trim tile missed the truck and now won’t be delivered until Friday. But that’s no big deal because the contractor’s not ready for it yet anyway. They are scraping and sanding and preparing to paint today. Yesterday was mostly a loss as the contractor’s wine-soaked helper fell off a ladder at the first job of the morning and broke his ankle. So the contractor didn’t make it over until late- emergency room visits will do that to ya and today he has a new, untrained but perhaps less drunken helper.
Tonight I’m planting flowers in a previously abandoned by everyone but the cat flower bed after scraping and digging out the weeds and several pounds of cat poop last night. Since our house is being appraised shortly, I want it to be as tidy looking as I can make it. So tonight- flowers!
The BSU & I have both been chasing documentation requested today by the credit union as part of our refinancing effort. That has required phone calls to places we haven’t talked to for several years but has been mostly successful. I still have to make a stop on the way home and by the end of the week, we should have all those questions resolved.
And- its only Tuesday…
Sunday, June 01, 2008
In a nutshell, I've been working on the yard, fixing and replacing sprinklers and a couple lines that got plugged up with mud. Its a typical springtime activity around here and I'm running late this year and except for 1 busted line that the neighbor pointed out this evening, I'm about up & running. Now I'll just have to remember to turn the sprinklers on routinely. And mow, since putting water on the grass only encourages it to stay green and get taller every day. I've also trimmed tree branches, sprayed Round-Up on a dilapidated vegetable garden that's gone to weeds and carried out the furniture from upstairs that the BSU insisted be tossed out. I still need to make a run to the landfill to get rid of those.
Today I had to take a few hours and go to Salt Lake and make some repairs to the eldest's car. He called yesterday to say that he had hit a rock and apparently punched a hole in the car's oil pan. Sure enough, that is exactly what happened, he had a small hole in the edge of the cast aluminum oil pan. So we jacked the car up, cleaned off the grit and oil and used some JB Weld to patch up the hole and it seemed to work just perfectly.
The renovations have begun on the kitchen and dining room and I suppose it will only be 3 or 4 weeks before everything is back together, painted, tiled and topped. The BSU and I purchased the new base cabinet this evening. The old flooring was removed on Friday and the new tile arrives on Tuesday. I understand that the construction guy is going to do the painting and sheet rock repairs first and then do the flooring last. We still have to get the counters measured for the new solid countertops and pick out a new sink. The counter measuring folks better get over here quick because I understand that is a 2-3 week wait for the tops to get made.
We still haven't come to a decision about the new sink. The BSU insists that it be deep, gloss white and with a center divider. She is leaning towards the rimless style that is below the surface of the countertop, I prefer the traditional rimmed stle sinks because I think the rimless models look unfinished or like they are missing something. We have looked at Home Depot and Lowes and neither place seems to have the perfect sink. And I'm real certain we won't be buying the display Kohler model that we saw; it was 800 bucks and still required 2 of the $110 drain stoppers! Seems to me that if you're buying a $800 sink that they should throw in the stoppers and there is just no reason that the stoppers should cost over a hundred bucks each. That's just crazy talk!
I got started on the refinancing of the house this past week too. We are aiming for a 15 year mortgage instead of the 21+ years we currently have, I'm paying for the renovations and the new windows from last fall with some of the equity and I'm still going to be paying off the mortgage early.
So, its been a busy and exciting week. Youngest son has taken possesion of his Suzuki C50 motorcycle that he has been working to purchase. He got it today, complete with a leather jacket, helmet and saddlebags from the previous owner. He called to let me listen to it on the phone! Yeah, he's pretty excited. He still has to get a Colorado drivers license and sign up for a motorcycle safety riding course. But, most every young guy needs to ride a motorcycle for a year or two and I'm happy for hime. I think he will do well and maybe he become a enthusiastic rider for many years.