kevin_standlee: (Default)
The wrist brace has been doing me a world of good for the mild sprain I got last week. I took it off when I ate lunch, and I was an hour back to work before realizing that I hadn't put it back on again. I am going to keep wearing it for a few days, though, because the reason I realized it was because my wrist started twinging again.

Lisa suggested we take advantage of this two-day break between storms (the forecast is for snow to return tomorrow) to go buy another pallet of firewood. However, after collecting the mail, we walked to Big R and found (not surprisingly) that they've sold out and do not know when the next delivery from Idaho will be here. I left my phone number with them and asked them to call us when they get another delivery. We have about 20 days' supply of wood on hand, so it's not a crisis yet.
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
Yesterday had a lot more snow than originally forecast, although it came in waves, between which much of it would melt. This was presumably because the air temperature was above freezing. Lisa decided to go ahead an mount the thermometer she bought at Alppi-Rauta in Helsinki while I was doing our laundry at the 24 Pasula across the street at the grocery store during our Worldcon trip. (Very conveniently located on one of the tram lines that stopped at the Convention Center.)

Getting Cold Enough to Stick )

Early rounds of the snow had been light and fluffy — the stuff Lisa calls "TV commercial" weather because it's the powdery snow through which you drive 4WD vehicles when you want to show them off in a commercial. This was thus light enough that she could break out the leaf blower.

Multi-Use Blower )

Total accumulation could not have been much more than 2 cm, and we got lots of exercise sweeping snow as it fell throughout the day.

Clean Sweep )

Around sundown, we decided to risk a walk around downtown. I slipped twice and Lisa four times, but fortunately none of us took a total spill. While the snow was gone, as the sun went down it got cold quite fast, and all of the water and snow on the sidewalks turned to ice rather quickly. We were fortunate to get back home without falling.
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
This afternoon around lunchtime, the sun came out and it looked decently clear, so Lisa and I got out the wheelbarrow and unloaded the remaining 80 fire logs and moved the rest of the "fence posts" from the patio back into the wood box. While we were doing this, it rather quickly clouded over, and snow started falling again. Fortunately, we were able to get the plastic over the wood and the box closed before much of it fell.

I think I have a slightly sprained right wrist. It's slightly swollen and painful, and I have little grip in my right hand, but can use it in certain orientations. After breakfast at the Wigwam this morning, I went over to Walgreen's and bought a wrist brace. This helps. Even though I could only move one log at a time (rather than the 3-4 that I usually do), it's much less painful with the brace.

As I sit here, the snow is intensifying. But nothing here will be like the Snowpocolypse over I-80/Donner Summit. The road has been intermittently closed for long periods of time from as far down as Colfax (2500 feet) to the Nevada state line, a distance of more than fifty miles. It continues to be a good time to stay at home by the fire.

Wood Work

Feb. 15th, 2019 04:02 pm
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
Late this morning, during a break between storms, Lisa hitched up the utility trailer and went to Big R and bought a pallet of fire logs while I worked on Day Jobbe. Around lunchtime, I came out and helped move wood. She had been on her own moving logs off the pallet the back of the utility trailer to our "reserve storage" inside the garage. We had used up all but the last 18 logs in the reserve, so she decided to fill it first. We then moved several wheelbarrow loads of logs to the main wood box. It went slowly because my right wrist is paining me considerably and I can't find my wrist brace. (Too much mousing around, I guess.)

A pallet is 240 logs. With 80 to go, the clouds rolled back in and Lisa (having done much of the unloading without me) was getting very tired, so she pulled the plastic wrap back over the remainder of the pallet, secured it as best as she could, and called it a day.

We've been having intermittent light snow showers off and on today. Nothing that sticks to speak of, and in the breaks it melts again because the air temperatures have been above freezing. Tomorrow's forecast suggests that we may have time in the afternoon where we can finish unloading this pallet. We might go get another one soon, because we drew our heading wood supply down to less than a week's worth of wood, which is not something we want to do in general, because there's no guarantee Big R will always have the fire logs in stock.

Meanwhile, we'll see how well my wrist is feeling over the weekend. If it feels the way it does now on Sunday, I don't think I'll be going bowling.
kevin_standlee: A token issued by the North Lyon County (Fernley, Nevada) Fire Department. The token has the logo of the fire department (the state of Nevada with a fire department symbol) with the city name and 'Since 1952" around the rim. The reverse (not shown) has the seal of the state of Nevada. (Fire)
It rains very little in Fernley. Nearby Fallon has as part of the reason there is a Naval Air Station there is having 360 days of clear flying weather per year. But this winter is wet, and we might get something like 20% of our annual rainfall over yesterday and today. Thus any plans Lisa and I might have had for a Valentine's Day getaway are washed away. The most excitement I'll have it attending the Fire Board meeting tonight, where I will thank them for the condolence card they sent me regarding my mother's death, which I learned about by a telephone call during last month's meeting.
kevin_standlee: (Pensive Kevin)
I have been quite unsociable of late, and it's social media doing it to me. I'm so glad that there are a few positive stories out there, because I've been feeling very much like the Going Out of Business Sale of the Baby Boom is in its final days, and they want to hurry up and get it over with and shut down the world since it will no longer be them running things.

(Apologies to my friends who are older than me. I was born in 1965, so I'm either at the very end of the Baby Boom or the beginning of the next generation, depending on which demographer to whom you listen.)
kevin_standlee: (Family)
The official notice was published in the newspaper a few days ago, without me originally seeing it. (The funeral home didn't tell me when they were going to submit it to the Appeal-Democrat in Marysville.) Those of you on my f-list knew this a month ago. but now it's out in public.

Della Louise (Reynolds) Tranquilli died January 10, 2019, in Dobbins, California.

I have been dealing with estate affairs, with the enormous help of a close friend of my mother's who is the other executor of her (small) estate and who is the person who found my mom had died. No funeral is planned. A longer notice will go out when we are able to plan for a celebration of my mother's life later this year, sometime this spring when the weather is good enough to allow people to attend.

Snow Day

Feb. 10th, 2019 05:03 pm
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
Late last night, the forecast snow began falling. Lisa has been up all night of late and kept sweeping and shoveling snow. When I got up this morning, she measured the accumulation on the front porch rail: about 10 cm. That's not much compared the the large falls up in the Sierra Nevada, where Interstate 80 has been closed off and on much of the weekend.

Snow Photos )

Lisa and I walked to the Wigwam for breakfast, and by the time we got back, the sun was starting to turn the snow to slush. She went to bed (having been up all night) and I walked to the bowling lanes, where I shot three pretty good (for me) games. I sloshed back home and found that I wasn't feeling all that grand, so I mostly spent the day doing not a whole lot, except clearing a few areas of snow where the sun wasn't reaching. Also, as the sun hit the roof, it started dripping onto the porch, but the porch itself was in the shade and the air temperature in the shade was below freezing, so I had to do something about that. You obviously can't put down salt on a wood porch if you want to keep your wood, so I spread lots of grit. It's messy, but better than wiping out every time we go out the front door.

I am so glad that my job lets me work from home. I like how the snow looks, but I hate driving in it.
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
We've had some issues with water getting into the wood box and pooling inside, and while we keep the bottom lined with pallets, if water stays there, it tends to "wick" up into the pressed-sawdust fire logs, dissolving them. Lisa determined that the ground under the box in the rear had settled, which makes sense because we load it from back to front and thus there's usually much more weight in the back, and therefore we needed to fix the tilt. We intentionally ran down our wood supply (we still have a couple of weeks' worth of logs on a pallet in the garage) and did the work this morning before the forecast snowstorm arrived.

Boxing Day )

Lisa had me walk around inside the empty fire box to make sure it wasn't flexing under my weight, which it was not. She says that this summer, when it's reliably hot and dry, we'll empty the box completely, tip it up, and rework the entire area under it to level things the way she wants. This will probably disturb our local lizards for a while, but they'll just have to get used to it.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
When there is no clear need to keep to a fixed schedule, Lisa sometimes starts to drift around the clock, and at the moment her days and nights are more or less reversed. We were able to make that work to our advantage yesterday, however, as she got up around the end of my work day, we went to Reno and had my dinner and her breakfast, and we went grocery shopping. WinCo Foods was so quiet you could have rolled a bowling ball down the aisles and not hit anyone, which is a nice change from the times we forget and show up on the 1st or 15th of the month, especially when those days fall on a weekend. Anyway, by the time we were out of the grocery store, it was about the time I normally go to bed (at least on a work night), but Lisa was still only just into her "day," so she drove us home while I dozed, and as soon as we got home and got the groceries unloaded, she sent me to bed.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
The forecast for this weekend in the mountains is more snow, lots of it, without a break. Therefore, my plan to come down to the Bay Area this weekend and spend a week working down there (and having a dentist and doctor appointment) has been scratched, or rather, rescheduled into mid-March when I hope there will be sufficient clear weather to make it safe to travel.
kevin_standlee: (ConOps)
I have had the misfortune to let myself be drawn into a discussion where I wasn't immediately willing to accept that all illegal aliens are murderers and rapists and drug-runners (because yes, some are, just like some of the rest of us are), then all illegal immigrants are such things, and that's why we should spend an unlimited amount of money on a Giant Wall. My patriotism was questioned. My willingness to obey the law was questioned. I was told to Go Back to Canada (where apparently anyone who has ever traveled to Canada was born) or to San Francisco (where apparently every person born in California lives) and other things like that.

Well, I got to thinking about this in the context of how much money I spent in taxes and charitable contributions last year.

Probably TMI if you don't want to know details of my income taxes )

My point is that would I follow the law (beyond what I think most people would do) and contribute so much if I didn't care about my own country?

It isn't necessary to be a right-wing, MAGA-hat-wearing, white neo-confederate Manly Manly Man Who is Manly with a gun fetish to be a patriotic American, although that particular subset seems to be trying to hijack the label for themselves. Like the current occupant of the White House, they've mistaken "nationalism" for "patriotism," and we'll all poorer for it.


*If you get a $10 free play coupon (from which you can't cash out the free portion, only actual winnings beyond it) and have $0 at the end, you've earned nothing, nor have you lost anything. But if in the same case you have $17 (which is usually my goal because I'm trying to pay for my breakfast), then that's ordinary gambling income. Personally, I'm surprised I've done that well, considering how much I spend on keno and how we didn't hit any nice wins in 2018 the way we did the previous year.
kevin_standlee: (Default)
After reviewing our tax return with Lisa, I went ahead and e-filed it. Nevada doesn't have a personal income tax, so there was only the one return to file in TurboTax.

One thing that struck me was that it just didn't seem like I was paying enough income tax. My effective tax rate went from about 9.5% to about 7.2% for what was approximately the same income. That's the Trump Tax Cut, of course, but it doesn't feel right.

Now before anyone says, "If that's how you feel, make a donation for the rest, you dumb liberal!" I have a a response, and it's the title of this post: Government Isn't a Charity. I would not be adverse to a somewhat higher tax rate, as long it applies uniformly. (That doesn't mean a Flat Tax; progressive taxation is sound policy. It means the same rules apply to everyone.) Relying on voluntary contributions to fund the government has never worked. That's actually how the First American Republic was supposed to be financed: contributions from the states. One of the reasons that we had to form the Second American Republic (the one we're under now) was that this method didn't work and the central government was effectively bankrupt.

But, given the nature of the Republicans controlling tax policy right now, I guess I should just be grateful that I didn't have a big tax penalty to pay for the massive bonus going to a handful of already hyper-wealthy people.
kevin_standlee: (Default)
I spent a good chunk of today's Super Bowl coverage doing my income taxes. Rather to my surprise, despite all of the changes, the amount I paid (and my refund) didn't change appreciably. I think dealing with TurboTax with the Big Game on the other screen was a reasonably good use of my time.

Incidentally, despite having mortgage interest deductions and keeping track of my expenses as a volunteer for a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization (SFSFC, Worldcon 76) carefully, it still wasn't worth the effort to itemize deductions. I even kept track of all of the money I spent on sales taxes in 2018 (Between $900 and $1000) in case it mattered; as Nevada has no personal income tax, I didn't have to make a choice between the two under the new tax law.. Still, now I know how much I'm contributing in consumption tax.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
Early this evening, Lisa and I went into Reno planning to do so some shopping, get some dinner, and finish with our large grocery run. (WinCo Foods is open 24/7 and thus doesn't constrain our plans.) We first went to Cost Plus World Market for a combination of things that we get regularly and few specialty things I wanted to have tomorrow. Unfortunately, they've stopped carrying the pickled eggs that I like now and then. I'm now annoyed with myself for throwing away the empty (except for the pickling brine) jar of pickles last week; I could have dropped some hard-boiled eggs into the jar and made my own.

After Cost Plus, we decided to try something different and drove to downtown Reno, where we rarely venture these days. We walked through a bunch of the casinos, but nothing really interested us, or else we didn't want to wait a long time to get a seat. On a whim, we detoured through Harrah's, where we decided to give their Hash House a Go Go franchise a try. The food seemed pretty good, once you got past what I considered the much too elaborate presentation. If they're really trying to evoke farmhouse cooking, they are doing it wrong, at least compared to this raised-on-his-granparents'-farm boy's memory. And I really don't see the need to toss asparagus and sage on so many things. But again, the food itself was good and we may give them a try again sometime, possibly if we come downtown to see a Reno Aces game this coming season.

After dinner, we decided to skip the WinCo run and head home, it being a bit later than we originally anticipated when we made our plans. We might come in sometime this coming week, after this storm that is moving through (our trip this evening was between the two waves of the storm; we might get snow tonight) has blown itself out.

Still, we really need to remember that coming to Reno on Friday/Saturday is often more than we want now that we live in the area. We're Sunday-Thursday off-peak locals now; the weekend rush and big crowds are off-putting. That's boring we are.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
Today is forecast to be the last day of clear weather for a while. We've been taking advantage of the the last few days by going out walking around town a fair bit. But I got caught out a bit this evening, as I didn't realize how long we were going to be out when we started, and thus by the time we were heading home, it was after dark. That by itself wasn't a problem, but both Lisa and I were wearing black. When we're going to be out after dark, I try to wear my yellow coat and/or an orange reflective safety vest. When crossing Main Street at the traffic light, as I feared, traffic turning right from US-95 onto Main would have run us down if we hadn't been ready for them. The first car charged right through. The second one, thankfully, actually stopped and let us go. I'm sure the driver of the first car was astonished at the concept of someone walking at all. But no matter, we got home in one piece and that's what matters.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
My sympathies to anyone experiencing the immensely cold weather in the midsection of North America right now. -40°C is no fun at all. We've had this mild break with temps as high as +10°C and overnight lows just below freezing. I've been a bit grateful because I can see how many fewer firelogs we have to burn (at about $1/log) to keep the house comfortable.

I saw that Amtrak canceled almost all trains in and out of Chicago due to the bitter cold and snow. Today's eastbound California Zephyr out of Emeryville bound for Chicago was canceled. I don't know of that was related or not. I'm sure equipment will be completely out of place by the time they can restart service.

Ahead Slow

Jan. 29th, 2019 07:33 pm
kevin_standlee: (Default)
Nothing much happened today, which is okay. I did my Day Jobbe, got out and walked several times, and didn't spend any money, which is good because I'm still contemplating how much the Ireland trip is going to cost later this year. At least I finally remembered to formally request the time off in August. It's been on our team's calendar for a year, but I'd forgotten to log it into the time-off requests system.
kevin_standlee: (House)
With better weather comes more home improvement projects. One of those left over from the long list of things the house inspector left us when he inspected this house before we bought it is installing an electrical outlet in the kitchen to replace a line that we've never used on account of it was contrary to building code. Besides, when the contractor replaced the cracked under-floor beam, they ended up pinching the line anyway. Lisa's plan was to drill a new hole up from underneath the house, run conduit through the hole back to the place where the sub-standard wires came from, and run new wires through the conduit and up to the place where the (never used by us) outlet is.

Lisa wrestled with her cordless drill and a not-long-enough drill bit for the desired one-inch hole for more than an hour, running through two battery charges, before determining that we just didn't have the right tools for the job. It was time for another trip to the hardware store.

Now That's a Drill )

When Lisa runs the conduit and electrical lines for the new/replacement kitchen outlet, she intends to also install a power outlet under the house branched off that line. That will make any future work that needs to be done down there with power tools — and there probably will be some, as this place is an ongoing project — it will be much easier to connect them.
kevin_standlee: (House)
While it's not exactly warm outside, the days have turned warm enough to form a sort of false spring, allowing us to let the fire in the fireplace go almost all the way out today to allow me to clean it. I rarely have to dig ashes because the fire logs burn so cleanly, but eventually one does need to do so. Also, I much prefer the stove to be mostly cold before vacuuming around it, as setting the vacuum cleaner on fire is not something I want to do.

Somewhat to my surprise, after doing all of the cleaning and taking the ashes out to the ash can to cool for a few days before putting them into the dumpster, there were still just barely enough coals left in the fireplace that I was able to rekindle it without having to start completely from scratch. That is, those few coals, covered with some small bits of firewood, lit up quite nicely and now I have the fire going again. It does show why it is so important to totally extinguish campfires, though; a couple of coals the side of gumballs could set an entire forest ablaze under the right conditions.

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