All Hallows

Nov. 1st, 2011 09:51 pm
dxmachina: (I Got a Rock)
Almost all the snow was gone by last night, so Halloween arrived on time. Got about the same number of trick-or-treaters as usual. The most adorable were a sister and brother. The sister* was a fairy princess who tried to clean me out of candy whilst diverting my attention from the candy bowl by a) being cute as a button, and b) engaging me in conversation about the fact that I have not one but two porch lights. I had to cut her off at three Kit-Kat bars. Someday she will be a real heart breaker. Meanwhile, her parentals were trying to coax her little brother, aka, the littlest pumpkin, along so he could get his treat. It's his first trick or treat, and he's not yet much of a walker, but he made a game effort for a while trying to lug a bucket o'treats almost as big as him across my front lawn. Unfortunately a mean tuft of grass tripped him up, and the bucket o'treats spilled all over. Fortunately the parentals were right on it, and no treats were lost. Meanwhile I'd decided to meet him halfway, and handed him a package of M&Ms. He certainly recognized that. His eyes lit up and he lit out at a stagger for my front door in search of more. His mom managed to cut him off before he reached the stoop.

* Who resembled my cutie patootie niece so much that I half expected to see my sister standing out on the street waiting for her.

In the "plans that seemed like a good idea at the time" department were two boys about 10 or 11, one of whom was pushing the other in a stroller. I assume it was the older brother, aka, the inventor of the cunning plan, riding and the younger brother pushing. Probably hard enough on the street, but really tough trying to push the thing across my lumpy lawn. I suppose I should feel for the younger one, but I was the oldest brother in my family so I appreciate the genius of the rider.
dxmachina: (Warp Speed!)
The Machinamobile needed some serious engine repairs, so I've been driving a rental for the past couple of weeks. I got the truck back Thursday, and I returned the Ford Fusion to Enterprise yesterday. Nice car, although it felt weird driving a sedan. OTOH, it had a six cylinder engine, so it had way more zip than I'm used to. It also had a stick shift, so that, along with the zip, took a little getting used to. Of course now I keep reaching for the stick when I want to put the truck in gear. All in all, with the rental on top of the repair bill, it was a very expensive week around these parts. That said, when I first heard the estimate for the repairs, I priced potential replacements. Repairing was a LOT cheaper.

My riding also suffered a little as a result of not having the truck to tote the bike around with, although I did strap on my old bike rack onto the rental last weekend. The weather was more to blame as, apart from one day last weekend, it stubbornly refuses to warm up much above 50°. Yesterday was gray, cold, and windy, and eventually it rained buckets. Today looks a little more promising, but a glance out my window shows the branches on the Bradford pear whipping around in the wind. Feh.

Found out* a piece of neighborhood news I somehow missed when it happened. Apparently someone was storing massive amounts of cocaine and cash in a storage locker just around the corner from me. Huh.

* When he found out where I lived, the kid who drove me home from Enterprise asked me what I thought of the drug raid, to which I replied, "What drug raid?"

Speaking of the Bradford pear above, it is just about to bloom, as are the rhododendrons and one of the krabappel trees. The forsythia popped out a day or two ago, and there are lots of daffodils on the south side of the house. The daffodils on the northern end of the property are getting close. OTOH, the dogwood and the second crab apple that I planted last September appear to be doing their best impressions of dead sticks. I hope that isn't true, but if it is, at least Lowe's has that one year guarantee on trees. I also started some tomato, squash, etc., plants a couple of weeks ago, and none have sprouted yet. I'll be patient, but I worry that my black thumb has come back with a vengeance.
dxmachina: (Snow02)
Man, there's a lot of snow on the ground. Hard to tell because of driftage due to high winds, but in the flat areas it seems to be around 15" or so. Note that my little electric snowblower is rated to a depth of about 6" or so. Ahem.

Actually, it worked pretty well, all things considered. The snow was very light and fluffy, so I was able to take about a 4" wide slice out of the sides of the banks on each pass. It took awhile, but it got the job done. I did need to use a shovel to lower the bank left by the plow a couple of feet before switching back to the blower. It also reminded me to not park the truck all the way up at the top of the driveway next time so that I don't have to clean out the entire frelling driveway.

Snowpocalypse 2009 Photos... )

Meanwhile, across the street, the father of the young lady who lives there showed up in a Bobcat to dig her out. Must be nice.

Bing Crosby and Danny F. Kaye can bite me...
dxmachina: (I Got a Rock)
Gonna be a long day, even apart from the time change. I woke up at 3:30 (EDT) and never did fall back to sleep. Finally got up around 4:15 or so. Flipped on the computer, and then remembered the time change and that I hadn't changed the clocks, and that it was actually 3:15. It's now approaching 6 AM (EST), and I've already had breakfast and have been fiddling on the computer for two and a half hours or so. Sigh. The one day of the year designed for sleeping in, and my body decides to have none of it.

Life has been sporadic around here. Posting has been sporadic because there hasn't been much to talk about, so I haven't. I've been working on one project that wound up being way more complicated than I intended, but it is now in the home stretch... I think...

Yesterday was kind of a weird day. Very warm for October, in the seventies, and wicked windy. I had the windows open all day. Fortunately for the event, the rain held off until after 10 PM or so.

The first batch of trick-or-treaters showed up around 5:45. What was odd was that usually the kids who show up that early are the really little ones. These girls were all 10-11 or so. Then nothing till almost 6:30. Between 6:30 and 7:00 I got six or seven clumps, then nothing after that. I kept the porch lights on till 7:30, then went and made dinner. Got 26 kids overall, which I thought was light, until I read last year's entry. Last year I got 27, and several of those were older kids around 8:00. There was really only one clump of older kids this year, and they asked for canned goods for the food pantry.

My end of the street was kind of barren for the kids last night. Of my immediate neighbors, only the neighbor to the left was giving out treats. My neighbor to the right wasn't home. Neither was anyone at home directly across the street (which is another story, as it may or may not be vacant), and of the two houses on either side of that one, one had the lights on but no one home in a major breach of Halloween etiquette, and the other folks were home, but with the lights out.

I am not quite sure what the deal is with the house across the street. It was sold around six years ago, and a college-age woman moved in. A bit later, a guy about the same age moved in as well, but it became pretty clear that he was more likely her brother than a boyfriend. Then she apparently moved out, and he continued to live there, and eventually a couple of other guys moved in. Then one night a U-Haul truck pulled up, they all moved out, and the house was vacant for a few months. Then the people who actually owned the house showed up (because clearly the kids didn't) and started either finishing or renovating the basement (it's a raised ranch). Then the young woman moved back in for awhile (by this time I'd pretty much come to the conclusion that the kids must be the children of the actual owners) then moved out, then back in again, and occasionally the brother would be there, too, although now he was living downstairs while the sister lived upstairs. This has gone on for six years, with little rhyme or reason to the schedule that I can deduce. Meanwhile, the father (who apparently is a contractor) and brother refurbished the exterior, and did other improvements. The last iteration had both sister and brother living there, along with the brother's girlfriend/SO/spouse?. Then a few months ago the sister was gone, with the brother and now pregnant SO still living in the basement. Then about a month and a half ago they moved out, too. The house was vacant again until last weekend, when I noticed the sister's Jeep in the driveway. It was in and out all week, but it's gone again this weekend.

I'm living across the street from a guest house. Must be nice.

My riding schedule was sporadic all summer. Thanks especially to all the rain we had this year, I never did get a good schedule. It wasn't until the first week of October that I managed to string rides on three consecutive days together. Still, I've managed to get past 1300 miles for the year, and with another 23 miles or so I'll have my second best total ever. It's nowhere near what I did last year, but there's still a couple of months left.


Oct. 31st, 2008 09:34 pm
dxmachina: (I Got a Rock)
Weird night, treat-giving-wise. Got 27 kids in two widely spaced waves. Had 16 from about 6:45 to 7:00, in five clumps and a single. Then nothing more until about 7:45 when the rest came in two clumps. The last one was some kids pushing high school age. I turned off the lights at eight.

Lots of Star Wars costumes. The most adorable kid was the kindergarten-age little boy in a Flash costume who was the only non-clump. Just him and his parents. I'm pretty sure it was his first time knocking on the doors on his own. Very shy.

One thing I wound up doing differently this year than in the past was that I handed out the treats rather than letting the kids select their own from the bowl. I always did that because I always liked choosing when I was a kid. There are a couple of problems with that, though. Giving them the option seems to stun the kids. They don't know how to react. Plus, most of the kids are standing there holding their bags open with both hands, so then they have to figure out what to do with the bag. Still, I always felt it was worth it. Tonight though, when I offered the first kid to show up his choice from the bowl, he scooped up about five candy bars. I made him put a couple back, and admonished his clumpmates to take only one. After that I handed the candy out.

It's not that I mind when a kid takes an extra. I certainly way had more than enough. But lets not be piggy about it.
dxmachina: (Hobbes)
Had thirty kids come to the door last night, up from last year, but still down form the peak a couple of years ago. It seemed like less, because most came in clumps. Only one clump of older kids, the last group to ring the bell. I was surprised there weren't more. The weather was about as perfect as it can get in this part of the country for Halloween, clear skies and temperatures in the low sixties. Lotsa pirates roaming about.

The next door neighbors were the first to show, as usual. S and her mom were witches, while R was something electronic. I chatted a bit with mom, who reported that DH and S saw a coyote traipsing through their yard the day before. Huh. I've seen a couple of coyotes over the years, once over on the turf fields, but never in this neighborhood. Maybe that's why I've been seeing fewer bunnies in my back yard than in the past.

Today is All Saints Day, and when I was a kid going to parochial school, we always got the day off. Not only that, but it's also my mother's birthday, so we would spend the day gorging on candy (full size bars back in the good old days), and then had birthday cake for dessert. Goods times. I have made one attempt already at sending mom an e-card. IIRC, I had problems last year, too. What made it worse then was that I'd paid for a years subscription to Blue Mountain, and was able to send only one card successfully (out of the three I tried). Never again. From now on I'm going with free cards.

The dehumidifier and fan have done their jobs, and the basement is relatively dry again. I discovered one more set of leaks. The back wall of my bathroom juts a couple of feet out of the back of the house in a little cantilever section to accommodate the shower/tub. Apparently the roof of that little section leaks, because there are a couple of medium sized water spots on the ceiling over the tub. Sigh.

And if you're still in the mood for some belated Halloween viewing, there's this hilarious spoof of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
dxmachina: (Rain)
Am at work, where there is power and internet access, and I have nothing better to do than spam my LJ.

Lost power at the house around quarter to one. Just before that I'd discovered that not only was there water in the usual spot down in the basement, but the rain was also being driven though windows and dripping into the kitchen and the back room. The water in the back room was dripping onto my bed.

Anyway, I moved the bed, and laid down some towels in the back room to sop up the water. The kitchen wasn't much of a problem because the sink is right below the window. Down in the basement I peeled back the indoor-outdoor rug, set up the box fan, and cranked the dehumidifier to 11. Five minutes later the power went down. I sat for a bit to contemplate my frelling blessings, then read for a little while, but decided that by far the best thing I could possibly do when the universe has decided yet again to make a punching bag of me would be to take a nap. Except I couldn't fall asleep. As I lay on the couch not napping, there was this huge burst of wind, followed by a loud crack. I got up and looked out. Sure enough, half of my next door neighbor's Bradford pear was lying in the street.

It took me about an hour and a half from when the power went out to go completely stir crazy. I decided to head into work. On the way I saw all sorts of interesting stuff. Singin' in the Rain... )

[5:10 p.m.]: And now to get some take-out and head home to see if the power's back on yet.


Jul. 24th, 2006 01:24 pm
dxmachina: (Dandelions)
Last evening I mentioned in an LJ comment to [ profile] ww1614 how amazing the sky looked outside my window, and I decided to take a few pictures.

Both Sides Now... )
dxmachina: (Snow)
So, it snowed a lot, although I don't think we got near as much as the panicky weatherdweebs were predicting for DeathSnow 2006™. It's hard to say because it drifted so much. I can still see grass sticking up in most of my front yard, although there are some deep drifts. Whatever, it gave me the chance to finally play with use my electric snow blower.

Much like the blizzard of 2005, the wind patterns made the job a lot easier. There was just a little snow on the stoop, and none on the walk or next to the cars. There was a small drift between the truck and the Subaru, and then about 8' of 15" deep snow pushed into the end of the driveway by the plows.

The blower worked pretty well for the most part. The snow was light and fluffy, so the blower didn't have to strain much to move it. Well, except that it was really too deep. I think about twelve inches deep is probably the limit. Anything deeper than that, and the exit ports are blocked, so it can't throw the snow properly, which strains the motor. Fortunately, it's not terribly heavy, about the same weight as a snow shovel with a good load of snow on it, so you can pick it up and skim off the top half of the snow, and then go back and do the bottom half normally. Of course, lifting something that weighs as much as a fully loaded snow shovel sort of defeats the whole purpose of having the snowblower in the first place. Since it's not self propelled, even pushing the thing takes about the same effort as plowing with a snow shovel. In the end, I still worked up a pretty good sweat.

Here's the thing, though. Even with the having to lift the thing to skim, it was still probably less strenuous than shoveling. If nothing else, I didn't have to lift the thing very high, nor did I have to throw any shovelfulls of snow onto big piles. I think a lot of the effort was because this was an exceptional storm. If it had been 6", instead, this thing would've made it a piece of cake. The only other snag I ran into was that 100' of extension cord just barely reaches to my mailbox, so I had to drag the cord diagonally across the snow to get it to reach so I could clear that out for the mail carrier.

I also learned that it doesn't do much good to throw the snow into the wind.

All in all, well worth the investment in its first major test.

At the tail end of the storm last night, I noticed a rescue vehicle drive up our street with its lights flashing. It stopped a few houses up, and it looked like they loaded the woman who lives there onto the gurney. I have no idea what happened, but she did come out of the house to get onto the gurney, and they had her sitting upright on it, so that's encouraging. This morning I noticed that there's a realtor's sign out in front of the house. It must have gone up Saturday afternoon, because it wasn't there when I drove by the house Saturday morning. That seems odd, because they just put an addition on the house last year.

In perfect timing news, I got new tires for the truck Saturday. Ummmm, traction...

Rain Out

Oct. 16th, 2004 10:47 am
dxmachina: (Default)
Got home last night just in time to turn on the TV and find out the ballgame was rained out. Bother. OTOH, I had shorter hair, fresh rye bread, a refrigerator full of cold cuts, cold beer, and newly purchased DVDs of The Great Race and The Ref, so it worked out.

It rained like crazy last night, but it's gorgeous today. The leaves began turning in earnest this week, so there are splotches of color everywhere. Ran into former landlady at the post office, and we caught up for a bit.

So, the new neighbors. Apparently, the sturdy young men I saw moving stuff into the house are the new neighbors. There are now seven cars and trucks (plus a motorcycle) parked next door every night. It's only a three bedroom ranch. There are going to be raucous parties there, I just know it...

Okay, there's house cleaning to be done, away!
dxmachina: (Default)
Annoying, expensive weekend. Took the truck in for a tune up, an oil change, and to have them investigate the annoying metal on metal squeally noise the left front wheel has been making. I was pretty sure it had something to do with the brakes, since it went away when I applied them. Anyway, $400 later I have new front brakes. Feh.

That took up most of Saturday morning, and I spent the rest of the day installing the new hard drive and other upgrades I got for my computer. Tales of computer troubleshooting follow )

Today it was lovely out, but the only time I spent outside was mowing the lawn. That was tough on my back. The stabby pain hasn't come back, but it is still very stiff.

In other news, I have a new neighbor. Or maybe neighbors. It's been kind of weird. Earlier this year, my neighbors on one side put their house up for sale, but then took it off the market and stayed put. I have no idea why. Then a couple of months ago, I noticed a little "for rent" sign on the phone pole at the corner which listed the house on the other side of me. It dawned on me at that point that I hadn't seen much of my neighbors lately. The daughter was at the house, home from college for the summer, but I hadn't seen the parents in a while. Apparently they'd moved. The daughter eventually went back to college, and the house had been empty for about a month. This past week, a realtor's "For Lease" appeared on the front lawn, and Saturday there was a new car in the driveway. Today a bunch of sturdy young men were hauling stuff into the house from their pickup trucks. The trucks are gone, so I have no idea who is actually living there yet.


dxmachina: (Default)

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