dxmachina: (I Got a Rock)
It's a chilly, windy, misty night here, so there hasn't been a lot of trick-or-treat traffic so far. That a shame, because it was pretty nice out this morning, albeit a little colder than it's been. It's still early, but it's not looking good. I've only had one clump of seven tweens and almost tweens, and there weren't any other clumps that I could see up or down the street. Also no parents shepherding the real little guys around. I think the weather may be a little too rugged for them, especially since what's the point of having a cool looking Flash costume if it's buried underneath a parka. I may wind-up having to eat all this candy I bought.

I was disappointed by my candy choices this year. No one was selling the little bags of Whoppers, not Wal-mart, not Target, not the supermarket. The only way I could buy them was as miniatures (only three malted milk balls per package) as part of an assortment that contained peanut butter cups. I've never liked the taste of peanuts (so any leftovers are useless to me), and I'm uncomfortable giving them to children whose parents aren't present (which is probably a massive overreaction on my part, but then peanut butter's been banned by a lot of the local schools around here).

In setting up, I discovered that my doorbell isn't working. Probably the contacts in the switch have corroded. This is like the third button I've installed out there since I moved in. Granted, it doesn't get much use except on Halloween...

--update-- Two more pair of treaters, one set of whom are walking around while their parent(s?) follow them around in a car. The other parent (dad) was on foot. --update--

...and during political season, so maybe I'll wait until Wednesday to fix it. And maybe rewire the whole system. It's never worked right, and it takes an inordinate amount of pressure on the button to get it to bong. And it never bings. I think they wired the backdoor bell to the front, but the backdoor sounds the same (bong). The bing bell is in there, but it never activates for some reason.
dxmachina: (Garden01)
My legs are sore, my back aches, and my right index finger hurts when I move it. Yes, I've been playing volleyball.

Have had a couple of busy weekends in a row, with one more to come (Readercon). Youngest sister visited with her kids two weekends ago, so we did all sorts of stuff. Spent a day over in Newport gawking at the rich folks and their cottages. Spent another day on Block Island (aka, the Block Island Death March) walking hither and yon in the heat and humidity, since we didn't have bikes for the younger kids*. Still, a good time was had by most all, except for younger nephew who was being quite the pill and is fortunate the rest of us decided not to reenact the massacre at Mohegan Bluffs. The next day was a combination pool/volleyball party where the kids swam and I played volleyball for the first time in a year. I also introduced them all to Pratchett via the adaptation of Hogfather, and teenaged nephew left for home with the loan of several books.

* My suggestion that we let the adults and teenager ride whilst the little kids walked was met with disapproval, alas.

This past weekend had another pool/volleyball party, and I played a lot, which is why I ache all over. Still, it's a good ache, and I'm contemplating going back and playing again with the group at the Guild come September. I'd quit after I had my bike accident in 2004, which was followed by back troubles, and general problems with being old and fat. But I've lost considerable weight, and I've been considering going back. I hadn't yet because I was wondering if I could still play up to the competition at my age, but I was able to keep up without embarrassing myself the past two weekends, so maybe. I doubt I could do it every week like I used to, but it'd be fun.

July 4th is my annual marker for trimming back the shrubs, and I started working on that. The problem has always been the size of the shrubs in front of the house. They're huge, because the previous owner wasn't diligent about keeping them trimmed back, and they're a pain to keep in check. I don't mind so much with the rhododendrons, because they are gorgeous in the spring, but the arbor vitae and, especially, the junipers (I'm mildly allergic) drive me crazy.

So anyway, I was out there trimming away, and I finally decided to do something about it. Went into the basement, found the chainsaw, and cut down juniper #1. Then I spent the next couple of days hacking away at all the intertwined branches with my loppers to separate them all into manageable bits so's that I could dispose of them all. I was worried that the side of the rhododendron would appear bare now that it's neighbor is gone, but it's not too bad, and will undoubtedly grow in now that it has more access to its environs. Juniper #2 meets its fate this week, and then I'll make a decision about the arbor vitae. Then I'll need to replace them with something. I'm thinking azaleas.


Oct. 13th, 2011 11:33 am
dxmachina: (Hammer)
I am at home using up vacation days, and so far I've been pretty productive. Yesterday I replaced the storm door on the front of the house. There was nothing actually wrong with the old door, but it was getting old and it's various operating parts were starting to creak, as aging mechanisms (and aging people) do. It also wasn't particularly attractive, and since a new storm door isn't very expensive (compared to other home add-ons), I figured what the heck.

Door Number Two... )

Another thing I did was I finally reassembled the incredibly heavy jointer I bought two years ago, and installed it on a roll-around frame for machine tools. Now I can shove it out of the way until needed. Time to consider a woodworking project.
dxmachina: (Rain02)
For obvious reasons, The Kinks' "Lost and Found" has been running through my head all day.

Waiting for the hurricane
To hit New York City
Somebody said it's hit the bay
This is the nitty gritty

And all the bag ladies
Better put their acts together
We're near the eye of the storm
This is really heavy weather

We were lost and found, in the nick of time
While the ship was going down
We were lost and found, just in time
With the hurricane crossing the coast line
We were lost and found, just in time

This thing is bigger than the both of us
It's gonna put us in our place
We were lost and found, just in time
Now we've got no time to waste

They're putting up the barricades
Because the hurricane is heading up this way
So won't you come in from the cold and the pouring rain
And the old sea dog says shiver me timbers
The sky's gone black
And it's like the dead of winter

We were lost and found in the pouring rain
When the hurricane swept across the coast line

This thing is bigger than the both of us
It's gonna put us in our place
We're gonna see what really matters
When you see that storm stare us in the face

We were lost and found
And we beat the fear
We came through the storm
Now it all seems clear
We were lost and found, standing here
Looking at the new frontier

Ray Davies, The Kinks

There's a video here, but YouTube disabled embedding, so you'll have to click.

Spent the day getting ready for whatever comes. Tried to get some D cells, but everyone was sold out. Plenty of AA and AAA, but none of the big guys. I briefly considered looking at generators, but they were already long gone. I can rig up a makeshift using an AC inverter that I got years ago that plugs into a car's cigarette lighter. It won't run a refrigerator, but I can probably charge my laptop with it.

Took some photos of the Bradford pear out front, to capture what it looked like on what is likely its last day with most of its limbs.* I moved the gas grill and some of the other backyard objects close by the house and out of the wind. I also pulled the air conditioner from the bedroom window so that I can seal the window. I learned the hard way when hurricane Bob rolled through in '89 that air conditioners do next to nothing to prevent horizontally projected rainfall from getting through them. The downside is that it's been high 70's with 80%+ humidity all day, so it's been frelling miserable without the a/c.

* I've mentioned before about how Bradford pears are terribly susceptible to storm damage after they pass ten years old or so. I lost one of the two I had about five years ago. The remaining tree is now about 22 years old, and has lived a mostly charmed life so far. If the winds are what they predict, I suspect most of it will be on the ground by tomorrow evening.

They're also predicting flooding, so I spent some time in the basement making sure nothing was on the floor should the water table rise up through the floor like a year and a half ago. I never did dig a sump for the sump pump I bought back then, so since I had the time today, I hooked up the air hammer** I bought a while back for just that job to the compressor, and had at it.

** I got the hammer sometime over the winter, so I should've tried this out before now.

Turns out I'm gonna need a bigger hammer, or a better chisel for the hammer. I managed to chip out some of the top layer of concrete, down about half an inch to an inch below the surface, over about a third of the foot square or so of floor that I need to dig out. Looking at the chips that came out, the hammer works well until it reaches the level the aggregate settled to when the concrete was curing. Once it started hitting the stones of the aggregate, it was less effective. I saw Tommy Silva dig a sump on an episode of Ask This Old House, and he used a portable jackhammer, which he also said are rentable. I will need to check this out.***

*** If for no other reason than because when I was very young, I loved jackhammers. My parents even got me a toy one. Unfortunately, it only simulated the action of a jackhammer, and wasn't actually able to penetrate concrete. Sigh.

I'm not too, too worried about flooding. For one thing, I had warning to get stuff off the floor. For another, unlike most of the Northeast, we haven't actually had all that much rain this summer, so I don't think the ground is saturated as it is in many places. I had to water the garden the other night, and I've only had to mow the lawn three time since the 4th of July. We could stand some rain.

After I finished cleaning up down there, I emptied the shop vac so that it would be ready if I need to suck up any water. I also did a couple of loads of laundry.

The main thing I'm worried about is power. I have city water and a gas hot water heater and stove (plus the grill) so I should be okay for cooking and cleaning. I don't have any reserve batteries for my camp lanterns, but I have some AAs for my smaller flashlights, and I have candles. Worse comes to worst, there will likely be power at work before there's any here, so I can always head there. I was there today, too, shutting down the servers.

Stay dry, everyone.
dxmachina: (Bike 04)
The weather critters predicted rain for the weekend, but apart from a passing thundershower last evening that was all sound and fury but no actual rain in my neighborhood, it was quite nice. It was even warm enough to ride sans pullover. This morning I brought the 3-speed down from the attic, and took down to the path for the first time this year. Good fun. Well except for the tyke on a bike who I almost ran into when she turned across my side of the path and stopped right in front of me. I was able to brake in time (a near thing considering the 40 year-old brake technology on the 3-speed), so no harm done apart from some heart palpitations. When I gently admonished her to be more careful, I felt very much like the Grinch talking to Mary Lou Who, who was no more than two.

I spent part of the weekend trying to bring a little order to the attic. It's remarkable how the space opens up when you break down and remove all the empty computer and Amazon boxes. I also brought down the last of the old clothes that I had up there to sort through. Some will go to the Salvation Army, some will become staining rags, and some now fit again, so that's ego boosting. Among the treasures found was the "Weicker in '82" t-shirt given me by Lowell Weicker himself at the 1982 Clinton, CT, Bluefish Festival parade. It went into the rag pile*.

* I actually wore that shirt a lot when I was in grad school, but it is now terribly ratty and still a size too small even for my smaller self.
dxmachina: (Snow)
It's pretty bad when a snopocalypse is not the most aggravating event of the week. Not that it wasn't aggravating, but that was just the base coat of aggravation.

Aggravation within... )


Jan. 9th, 2011 03:58 pm
dxmachina: (Hammer)
Snow last night, about 4", on top of the 1½" we got Friday night. Still, it was light and fluffy and easily moved. All I needed yesterday morning to clean the walk and driveway was a push broom. Today I used the shovel, but mostly as a plow. So looking forward to spring. Already. Although I will note that sunrise in these parts finally started creeping back yesterday*.

* Celestial mechanics fascinates me sometimes. Because of the way the earth spins around the sun like a gigantic gyroscope, and because of the shape of the orbit it follows, the earliest sunsets of the year in these parts (YPMV) occur at 4:16 p.m. from December 3rd through the 13th, while the latest sunrises (7:13 a.m.) occur from December 31st through January 8th. So solstice has neither the earliest sunset nor latest sunrise of the year. It's just that that's when the two moments are closest.

The good news is that I managed to hang the new storm door last weekend.

First project of the new year... )

dxmachina: (Calvin)
I am home. I actually got home last night. Old Bridge got 2+ feet of snow, so I had to spend an hour or so digging both the truck and Alex's driveway out before I could leave. Apart from a great deal of turbulence, the ride back was only eventful at the beginning.

Getting out of Alex's development was interesting, not because the streets weren't plowed (they were in pretty good shape, all things considered), but because the light for the left turn onto Highway 9 (as in "sprung from cages on...") wasn't working. Rather than chance crossing three snow-packed southbound lanes sans signal to get to the northbound side, I turned back into the development and drove to the other end of it where there was a bridge over Rt. 9 to the northbound side. Turns out the bridge wasn't working, either. There some sort of blockage, likely an accident or stuck vehicle that I couldn't see. Fed up, I turned right onto the southbound on-ramp and drove down to the first jug handle with a working signal, turned around, and finally got myself headed in the right direction.

The condition of Rt. 9 was a disgrace—barely plowed, yet with piles of plowed snow blocking access on and off the highway, many of them with cars stuck in them. This isn't some country road. It's a major route with three lanes in each direction. Fortunately, there wasn't much traffic. It got me to the Parkway, and from there things got much better.

The plows had done a much better job on the Parkway and the Turnpike. For the most part they were dry as a bone. The Palisades Parkway was a little worse, but still easily passable. After that things were a snap.

It's an amazing thing to be able to drive the Connecticut Turnpike (aka I-95), at rush hour on a Monday with traffic levels more akin to those at midnight. Connecticut and Rhode Island got about half the snow NY/NJ got. My own street was well plowed. All that remained to do was shovel out the driveway.

I hauled the snow blower up from the basement and started in. It was wicked windy out, but I managed to clear about half of the driveway. Then disaster struck. I must not have latched the side door properly. A gust of wind ripped it right off the side of the house, smashing the adjacent light fixture as it whipped around. It stayed attached only by the chain and spring that's supposed to keep it from opening wide enough to hit the fixture. I had to detach it to keep it from doing more damage. Bother.

Discouraged and beat from all the earlier shoveling, I gave up on trying to continue snow blowing into the swirling wind in the dark, and left the truck parked on the street. I went inside for dinner and a hot shower. I finished up this morning when it was much less windy and very sunny.

So, now I need to replace the storm door and probably the flood light fixture. I'd been planning to do the storm door at some point anyway because previous experiences with wind gusts had bent it slightly out of shape, making it both drafty and difficult to open and close. OTOH, I had just replaced the flood fixture a couple three months ago. That's annoying.
dxmachina: (Runforit)
It was frelling 85° in the house when I got back from my bike ride this evening, so I dragged the a/c up from the basement and installed it in the back room window. I gotta say, there's nothing like lugging a forty pound air conditioner up a flight of stairs, then maneuvering it into a window after you've just finished a nice 21 mile bike ride on a hot night. In truth, I should've done it Monday night, when neither ceiling fan nor floor fan nor wide open window were able to beat the warmth and humidity enough for me to get any kind of restful sleep. Last night was a little better, at least until a midnight thunderstorm forced me to close the window.

I didn't bother with the big roll-around unit I use for the rest of the first floor. There's nothing on TV worth watching tonight, and so I'm just going to hole up in the back room with my laptop.

Meanwhile, back at Quonset Point, it's airshow week. The Thunderbirds haven't arrived yet, but some of the stunt planes have been practicing since Monday. At lunch today the ANG stunt plane was running through it's routine while some RI-ANG C-130's did some passes and dropped stuff with parachutes out of their back door. The RI-NG was up, too, circling the field with a couple of Blackhawk choppers and their lone C-23 Sherpa, the military version of the boxy Shorts commuter planes that were all the rage among short haul airlines 15 years ago or so. And just up the way, The Quonset Air Museum's aircraft were spiffed up and waiting to be towed over the the static exhibits area. Good times.


Apr. 2nd, 2010 10:29 pm
dxmachina: (Dandelions)
I sucked up the last small puddles of standing water tonight.* I wanted to give the last of the water a chance to pool in low lying parts of the floor to scout out a good location for a future sump. Most of the floor is still damp, but there are some dry areas. I've got a big fan moving air around, and the dehumidifier is going great guns.

* The new shop-vac really is a wonder, much more powerful than the old one. Plus it's setup so I can line it with a plastic bag, which will make emptying out sawdust a lot easier. Well, once the still damp sawdust under the table saw dries out. The only negative is the oversized tools it requires, as opposed to the standard size tools the old one uses. Shrug.

I hauled the laundry room carpet outside yesterday and threw it over the clothes line. It was dry when I got back from work, and is now neatly folded and sitting in the living room. After I finished with the vac tonight I did some inspection for damaged goods. It still doesn't look like I lost anything of value. There was one box of old junk on a low shelf that I should have thrown out ages ago anyway. To give you an idea, it included an old set of rabbit ears for analog TV. There was one box containing old plastic model kits that got soaked, but the kit boxes were merely damp, and styrene laughs at water.

Compared to a lot of folks I got off real lucky. A coworker only got an inch of water, but it ruined the laminate flooring he'd installed in his basement. Another coworker's basement was knee deep.

The weather's been gorgeous the past two days, and the world is drying out. Alas, I've had no opportunity to ride, and probably won't over the weekend as I'm heading to Jersey. It's probably just as well. One of the paths I ride goes through Rhody's Great Swamp, and two of the others run alongside or across two of the flooded rivers. They're probably all under water.
dxmachina: (Rain02)
A pump has been obtained. Apparently the Depot was open all night selling freshly received pumps and other accoutrements. $242 later I have a sump pump, 2 x 25' of 1¼ tubing, and a shiny, new 9 gallon shop-vac.

The only hitch in setting up the pump was that they were out of the fittings needed to couple two 25' hoses together. (My side door turns out to be 26' from the bottom of the staircase.) They did have 2' long lengths of PVC pipe that I was able to clamp in between, so that's working, although is a little leaky. I've got the leak aimed out the door, so that's okay, too. Of course the side door is wide open, but it's not particularly cold out.

The big problem is that I have no sump, i.e., a hole in the basement floor into which the pump would fit to let the water cascade down atop it. The pump's intake is on the top, you see, so once the level gets down to an inch or so, it'll be useless. I suppose I could buy a million marbles and dump them on the floor to raise the water level, but that seems counter productive. And expensive.

So I bought a new shop-vac, which I've been looking for an excuse to do for a long time. There's nothing wrong with my old one. It was free and works fine, but it's louder than a frelling jet engine on afterburner. What I'll do after the present crisis is over is clean out the old one and save it for occasions like this, and use the new one in the shop. The other thing I'm going to have to do is somehow chop a sump out of the concrete floor. That should be good for a few laughs.

Hmmm, sounds like the pump is running out of water. Time to unpack the new vac.
dxmachina: (Rain)
So, a 30' by 25' basement filled with 3" of water works out to be 187.5 cubic feet of water. Plugging that number into an online converter gives me... 1402 gallons of water that needs to be removed. Ummm, yikes!

:: Looks at 5 gallon shop-vac. ::

We're gonna need a bigger bailer.
dxmachina: (Rain)
Joy. All the rain has caused the local water table to rise to where it is now higher than my basement floor. There's a good solid inch of water down there now with another couple of days of heavy rain to come. This past weekend I'd just managed to dry out the smallish amount of water that seeped in during the last big storm. Bother.

The one silver lining is that Sunday I got motivated to apply polyurethane to the two cabinets I've been building, and put them up on saw horses to make it easier. Thus they are currently high and dry. Go me! I did have to slog around down there picking some other boxes and pieces of wood up out of the drink, but I seem to have caught it fairly early.

Now off to Home Depot to purchase some sort of pump. I don't think the wet vac is gonna do it this time.

First Ride!

Mar. 6th, 2010 11:29 pm
dxmachina: (Bike Snow)
Finally, a weekend day that was neither ridiculously cold nor rainy/snowy. No snow cover, either.

I hauled the Fuji down from the attic and went on my first ride of the year. It's been more than three months since there's been any kind of reasonable cycling weather. Today was sunny and in the low fifties. Not exactly shirtsleeve conditions, but warm enough that I didn't need the ear clamp. (Good thing, too. I can't find it.)

I did 14 miles, and my legs were complaining before I finished the first. Truth be told, I haven't even ridden my stationary bike since before I got the flu back in November. Now my legs are stiff and a little sore, but it was worth it. (Plus, my left heel was killing me when I woke up, and I've been limping around all day. Tendinitis probably. Didn't bother me when I rode, but walking is a bitch.)

I haven't been posting much. There hasn't been much going on here. The weather's been lousy for months, and the basement is still too cold for varnishing. Soon maybe.

I did accomplish one thing today besides the ride. I finally got around to swapping in the new smoke detectors I bought last fall. Not as bad as I expected, but more work than it should have been. The detectors were advertised as matches for my old ones, so I expected that they would be able to just snap into the old fittings. Not only did they not fit the old trim plates, the standardized electrical connector apparently changed sometime in the last twenty years so that those didn't work either. The fittings and connectors worked exactly the same, and were very similar, but not enough to avoid having the replace the plates and rewire the connectors. Feh. Done now. Will see if they change again twenty years from now.

Other than that, all I've been doing lately is reading and continuing my search for the perfect computer baseball game. More on that last next time.


Jul. 25th, 2009 08:28 am
dxmachina: (Rain02)
After spending a couple hours down in the basement after work with the wet vac, it's mostly dry down there this morning, which means it still a little wet, but the dehumidifier seems to have things in hand. The laundry rug and some floor mats are draped over the clothesline outside. There was some damage, although the worst bit was more collateral damage, as I knocked my workshop clock off it's hanger while initially lifting one of the bench carcases out of the water. Both its glass face and plastic body shattered when it hit the floor, so it's totally destroyed. It wasn't an expensive clock, but I liked it. There was also a cardboard box full of bed linens on the floor that got soaked through, along with my hiking boots, and some clothes I had piled on the ironing board awaiting transport to the Salvation Army that got wet, including a suit jacket. I'm not sure how that happened. The ironing board is directly below the window, so it may have been spray from there, or else some of the water ran along a pipe or joist and dripped down. Shrug.

I discovered far worse damage later on when I went to get the big fan from the attic. Turns out I had flooding up there, too. Bozhe moi! I've mentioned before how cheaply made the windows on my house were. The windows at either end of the attic are in especially bad shape. If they aren't latched properly, a good gust of wind can actually blow them them out of their rails, and this is what happened. In anticipation of the storm, I'd taken the fan out of the one window, but forgot to latch it, and it blew in at some point during the night. The rain came in, soaked the rug I have on the floor up there, which drew the water to a couple of boxes of paperbacks I had on the floor. A bunch of books got soaked, along with some old magazines (classic issues of The National Lampoon). Bother. There may be other damage, but I was too discouraged to look further. I opened up the other window to let air circulate, and spread out the books to dry.

Of course, just to put the cherry on top of the sundae that is my life, I was awakened at 2:30 this morning by thunder, so I had to go running about closing the attic windows again in the middle of the night to avoid taking on any more water. Meanwhile, the rug and mats hanging out on the clothesline were getting resoaked. Why in god's name did I ever buy a house?

And to make things perfect, MLB has yet to put up the archive of last night's Dodger game for me to listen to with my morning coffee. Feh!
dxmachina: (Rain)
Despite going to sleep at a reasonable hour, I slept badly due to the combination constant pouring rain rattling off the case of the a/c and the stuffiness/humidity of the room with the window closed. I turned on the overhead fan to move air around, but it didn't help much. I got up at the usual hour, and went down to the basement to get some clean clothes from the laundry area only to discover that a good portion of the downpour was covering the floor of the basement. Feh.

At first I thought that the rain trap I installed under the one known leak had overflowed, but it worked as it was supposed to. Actually, there was very little water in it at all. There were two wet trails leading down to the floor from either side of the window by the laundry, so it may be that the force of the wind just drove the rain through the seals around the window. I'll have to remember to check the caulking there. There seems to be an awful lot of water on the floor just to be from that, though. I wonder if the water table has risen enough with all the rain so that the water is coming up through cracks in the floor.

The water was about a ¼ - ½" deep on the laundry side of basement, and the indoor/outdoor rug I have down on the floor in the laundry is completely soggy. Fortunately I didn't notice any real water damage on that side, since I've made it a point to keep things off the floor for the most part. Well, except for the bag of charcoal whose bottom fell out when I tried to lift it out of the water. Sigh.

Since I had to get ready for work, I left things as they were figuring to give it a good wet vaccing tonight. I headed for the stairs and looked at the other side of the basement for the first time, i.e., the workshop. That was underwater, too, and one of my nerd hole bench carcases was sitting right smack in the middle of it. Frell. Fortunately, I'd stacked the other carcase on top this one. I picked up both carcases and placed them on top of my rolling workbench, then dried off the bottom of the wet one as much as possible. Fortunately, it doesn't look like it was in the water for very long. The water stain only goes up a half inch or so, and the varnished surfaces didn't show any staining at all. I think I got lucky there.

So the plan is still the same. After work I'll be bailing with the wet vac, then hauling the fan down from the attic to get the air moving in the direction of the dehumidifier. If it's nice tomorrow maybe I'll hang the rug from the clothesline.
dxmachina: (Bike 04)
So, I rode a lot this weekend. Eighteen miles on the South County path yesterday, and twenty-six today up on the Blackstone Valley path. That brings me to 1363 for the year, surpassing last year's 1362, with plenty of riding days left for the year. Go me!

I stretched it out today knowing how much more I had to get, and paid a price in being totally useless for the rest of the day from the tired. It's weird. Twenty miles doesn't affect me. I could probably mow the lawn after. Twenty-two miles leave me whipped, not so much during the ride, but afterwards. I suppose it's a matter of practice. Most of my rides are in the 14-18 mile range, so this old body just isn't used to the longer rides. Something to work on next year.

I was surprised by how warm it got today, first day of autumn and all. The past few days have been pretty cool, mid-sixties during the day, getting down into the forties overnight. Today was in the high seventies.

I pulled the a/c out of the bedroom window yesterday. Unfortunately, I couldn't put the screen in because some hornets decided to build a nest up at the top of the window. That is, I could've put the screen in, but then the hornet nest would have been inside it. Not my preferred situation, and likely not the hornets', either. Nobody needs angry hornets in their bedroom. So after dusk, with the window sealed up tight, I went outside to see what I could do about it.

First I tried some insecticide, but from the outside, the top of the window is nine or ten feet off the ground, so the spray didn't reach. Plus the breeze made it difficult to get a good charge in one spot anyway. I could've gotten closer using a ladder, but again, my preference is not to stick my face near a hornets' nest. So as my second attempt, I turned the hose on the sleeping nest, hoping to dislodge it. The stream sogged it up pretty good, but the nest didn't fall. So I reached up with the business end of a hoe, and knocked as much as I could off. There was just a small lump left. I figured I could get that piece today after it dried out a little.

Um, no. I went out back after the ride, thinking how nice it would be to put the screen in so I could open the window wide to let some cooling breezes in, and there the hornets were, rebuilding on the little stub I'd left like it was post-Katrina New Orleans. So tonight they got hit with a second storm, along with some more hoe work. We'll see.
dxmachina: (Rain)
Some men drink to forget; I play games on the computer. Spent most of the weekend directing an armored battalion from Normandy to the suburbs of Paris in Steel Panthers. Didn't ride my bike at all, although the only day the weather actually allowed me a choice in the matter was today, and I couldn't be arsed. The weather people have been recycling the same damn forecast every damn day for the last couple of weeks — hazy and humid with a chance of showers.

I did get one thing accomplished. I finally got around to installing the ceiling fan I bought last October. I got it to replace a much older fan I'd installed in the back room. The old fan worked, but it buzzed loudly. The new one wasn't ideal. For one thing, it was all white. The old one was polished brass. Alas, the fittings weren't interchangeable. So I bought a can of bright gold spray paint and made the thing look like brass. Sort of. It's not as shiny as the polished brass (attempts to polish just removed the paint — I should've primed it, I suppose), but it looks way better than white on a white ceiling. Sadly, it is not whisper quiet. Or if it is, "whisper quiet" should not use as a reference the volume of a "whisper" uttered by rude people at a movie theatre. There's a hum. Not happy about that. Also, it makes me realize exactly how much smaller the back room is compared the the bedroom in my old apartment. That house had 9' ceilings, and the room was 14' x 12'. The back room is 11' x 10' with a 93" ceiling. The low ceiling is the main thing. I feel like Charlie and Grandfather at the top of the fizzy-lifting silo with the fan about to chop me into hamburger.

The other weird thing about this fan is that it has a custom sized socket for the light bulb. It's about half the diameter of a standard bulb socket, but bigger than a Christmas light socket. Another specialty bulb to keep track of. I'm guessing they don't make compact fluorescents in that size, either.

Mad Money... )


dxmachina: (Default)

February 2016



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