At Last

Oct. 17th, 2017 10:55 am
kevin_standlee: (House)
It took about five more trips to the hardware/plumbing store than it should have done, but Lisa was able to get the toilet in the south bathroom fixed yesterday. It now properly fills (that was the original problem) and she also was able to replace the gasket that had a slow leak that had been getting steadily faster. So no more water waste through that route, either.
kevin_standlee: (House)
The long-running property-improvement project limps along. Fingers crossed that the weather holds together long enough to finish it this month.
kevin_standlee: (House)
It turned out that the parts we got from the plumbing place in Reno didn't fit, but they were not that expensive, so we didn't plan on rushing right back to Reno to return them. However, the office store from which we bought the fancy chair called us to tell us that the warranty replacement part had arrived, and if we brought the chair in, they could fix it while we waited. And as it happens, both they and the plumbing supply place are on the same street, albeit a couple of miles apart. So once again, as soon as we could after I finished work we headed into Reno again. First we went to the office store and gave them the chair, telling them we'd be back shortly (the plumbing supply store closes half an hour earlier than the office supply store). Then we popped down to return the part, which was not a problem, and returned to the office furniture store about 15 minutes after we left. They hadn't yet quite got the replacement part installed, but that was no problem. Eventually they got it into place, we tested the chair and confirmed that it worked as it should have, and thanked them for making good on the warranty.

We did not stay in town for dinner tonight, but we did have a couple more grocery shopping stops to make for things that are harder to get in Fernley. Lisa did all of the driving today, including driving us home, where we went over to Lowe's and got some more generic plumbing parts that she says should work for what she thinks she can do. If the plumbing problems get sufficiently difficult to fix, we'll buy a new toilet, although in this case we'd take care to buy he identical model to the one in our master bathroom, so that parts are interchangeable if necessary.

It's a good thing we had the chimney cleaned last weekend. It was cold enough last night that Lisa lit a fire, and I rekindled it when I went to work this morning. I do need to be able to feel my fingers when I'm typing.
kevin_standlee: (House)
The specialist plumbing-supply company in Reno closes at 4:30 PM, so as soon as I possibly could after getting off work at 3 PM, Lisa and I drove to Reno to try and get the specialty parts for the leaking toilet. I had taken pictures of the toilet, but forgot to get the model number off the tank. We'll see if we got the right parts when Lisa goes to put it together.

After some lesser grocery shopping, we got dinner in Reno, and while we initially intended to do a large run to WinCo, I was looking so tired that Lisa agreed that we should just go home and put me to bed.
kevin_standlee: (House)
Today our plumber, Steve, who moonlights as a chimney sweep, came by and did our annual chimney sweeping. He tells me that we're his last regular client in Fernley. (He lives in Yerrington, 50 miles south of here.) All of the others have died, moved away, etc., and the houses remain vacant or else the new tenants aren't using their fireplaces or don't know that you should have them cleaned annually or are using someone else.) The $100 he charges is cheap insurance against a chimney fire.

Later in the day, the wind came up too high for us to do the rooftop work that Lisa has been doing, so instead we got out the "pole-axe" (cutting blade and clippers on a long pole) and trimmed back branches, particularly those that seemed to be heading toward the chimney. After going to the trouble of avoiding a fire in the chimney, we certainly don't want one outside of it in errant tree branches either.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
There are at least seven (the most we've ever seen at once) rabbits in the neighborhood. If Day Jobbe permits, I try to go take a walk around the block each morning, and we generally go for a walk after dinner. Both dawn and dusk are good times to see the bunnies. A couple of days ago, one of them seemed to be half-dozing in the vacant lot to the east of us.

Good Evening, Bunny )

I watched the rabbit for a while, and it didn't move. I coughed once, and its eyes suddenly got much wider, it turned toward me, and when I started to walk back toward the front door of the house, the rabbit decided it needed to be elsewhere.

Strangely, these rabbits do not appear to like carrots. I have left carrots in places where I've seen the rabbits congregate, and they don't eat them. I guess sagebrush and tumbleweeds are what they are used to eating.
kevin_standlee: (House)
Beware of "universal" toilet valve kits that only fit on toilets with a 2-inch connection between the tank and the bowl. Ours is 3 inches, which we only realized when we lifted the tank off of the bowl and realized that the gasket in the "universal" kit wouldn't fit.

Lowe's took it back (generous of them given that I'd lost the receipt, but they found it in the purchase history on my Lowe's card), but to our annoyance didn't have the equivalent kits for 3-inch toilets, nor did the other place in Fernley like to have such things. Therefore, it's off to Reno/Sparks when we can get in early enough in the day on a weekday to one of the specialist plumbing stores.

Fortunately, we have two (normally) working toilets in the house, plus the one in the travel trailer, so we're not in a crisis at the moment. It's just another one of those homeowner annoyances.

Priorities

Oct. 1st, 2017 07:58 pm
kevin_standlee: (House)
I want to apologize to those you who have been expecting things from me including minutes of meetings of which I'm Secretary and reviews of minutes of meetings of which I'm Chairman. I'm dreadfully far behind on this. Day Jobbe currently eats a lot more of my brain cycles than it once did, and I don't have time to get caught up on weekends right now. Typically, I spend a good chunk of a weekend dealing with piled up fan work; however, Lisa and I have a significant Home Improvement project going on that has to be done only during good (as in neither too hot nor too cold nor too wet nor too windy) weather. We spent much of last weekend and this weekend working on it. It involves Lisa spending too much time up on a roof doing precarious things while I alternate between worrying about her falling off the roof and rushing to get tools and supplies to pass up to her. Our work window is narrowing, as today's roof work was cut short when wind came up — and a cold wind at that.

I promise to work on these various other projects when we finish the weather-sensitive ones.

Clank

Sep. 30th, 2017 10:20 am
kevin_standlee: (Pensive Kevin)
While setting up the new office chair, I lifted the handle that unlocks the tilt mechanism, allowing for "infinitely adjustable tilt." We know it worked initially because Lisa tried it out in the store before we collected the chair. This time there was a loud clank and the seat tried to tip me backwards over the top of the chair. I recovered and Lisa and I investigated. You can't see inside the seat adjustment mechanism, but in the linked photo, the paddle is third from the left. The large knob to the right of that paddle is the spring tension, which is supposed to adjust how tight or loose the "rocking" chair motion would be when the paddle was raised. That knob now freewheels and will not tighten.

We assume that the recline tension spring either broke or came loose from a mooring. I've submitted a warranty request to the manufacturer. They do offer a lifetime warranty on the hardware, and given that it failed on the first day we had it, we're pretty confident that they'll fix it, although how that fix will happen, we don't know yet. Fortunately, it wasn't a critically urgent need, although we definitely do need another office chair, because most of the others we have (salvaged from when one of my past offices closed) have failed or are on death watch.
kevin_standlee: (Wigwam)
I am so predictable in some ways. This morning I once again walked down to the Wigwam to have breakfast, which I enjoyed even more because I paid for it with the money I won from their casino the previous morning off a free-play coupon. Then I walked to the Frontier Fun Center and bought five games of pinball, proceeding to play a total of twelve, which is a pretty good win rate even by my standards.

Around the time I got home, Lisa was ready to start work on today's bout of home projects, which involved her putting herself in harm's way up on the roof on a necessary project that will make things better when it was done. My job was to fetch supplies and tools to her and to call 911 if she fell off the roof, which fortunately she did not. The roof work is perhaps 25% complete, and we'll do more as time, weather, and energy permit.

When we quit for the day, we had an early dinner and then went out for a walk. This is one of the best times of the year for that. The days aren't too short, but the weather is comfortable.
kevin_standlee: (House)
With Autumn's arrival, we have reached one of the windows on which we can work on the many tasks around the property at Fernley House where we neither freeze nor melt. The weather today was essentially perfect for working on some jobs that we've been avoiding all summer and about which I will write more later when the full project is concluded. But after roughly eight hours toiling away at it, Lisa and I were both tired, sore, and hungry, so we got cleaned up and went to the Black Bear Diner for dinner. After dinner, Lisa won $5 on her favorite slot machine, which she kindly gave to me to help pay for part of the dinner.

If we're not too sore tomorrow, we have more jobs to do. There are only a few weeks of good weather before it starts getting too cold and the days too short for us to get much done, so we have to make the most of what we have.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
I was indeed able to get away from Day Jobbe at 11 AM and head out of the Bay Area. Even then, I faced multiple slowdowns (caused by accidents) along I-680 and I-580 before escaping the Bay Area around Tracy. As usual, I stopped at Lodi Jct. for fuel at the Flying J, then in Sacramento to see my sister, before heading up the mountain. Although I'd used the air conditioning while driving through the Central Valley, after Auburn it wasn't needed, and for a while near the top I had the heat on. Summer may have only just ended, but when I stopped at Donner Summit, it was clear that Winter is coming.

Could Be a Donner Party-type Winter )

I stopped for dinner at Truckee, then drove straight for home. I arrived in Fernley around 8 PM, and was very glad to be there. Lisa helped me unload the Rolling Stone. She's been very busy this week while I was gone. She has put the portable swamp cooler away for the season and done a great deal of cleaning inside the house and tackled cutting down the pile of old pallets we'd accumulated in the side yard. This not only makes the house look much tidier, but those cut-down pallets are firewood, which Lisa needed as it's gone from hot enough to need the swamp cooler to cold enough to build a fire in the fireplace in just over a week.

My current plans don't have me needing to be in the Bay Area again until November. However, if that late-Summer snowstorm is a harbinger of the kind of winter we're going to have, I might not be driving across again until next spring!
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
I haven't been in the Bay Area since June, and the Rolling Stone has mostly sat parked in front of the house since then, so it was a bit dusty. (Not as much as if it had been out to Burning Man, but still....) So this morning, Lisa and I first took it over to Flying J and filled the tanks, then took it to Hanneman's Car Wash and gave it a quick rinse. This afternoon, I loaded it up with my clothing for this coming week when I'll be working at the Bay Area office. Aside from my computers and toiletries (they go out tomorrow morning before I leave), I'm ready to go. I'm a little rusty at RV living now that I don't have to do it every other week or three, but it should be okay. I'm glad to see that the weather will be good, with likely comfortable evenings. Because I have to be up so early to stick to my 6-to-3 work schedule, getting to bed early each evening is very important to me.

Lisa and I worked on a household project that had been put off for lots of reasons, but today's weather was perfect for working around the property. I also cut a bunch of bushes back along the fence line, so I don't have to put up with them snatching at my hat every time I walk down our sidewalk.

Lisa is sorry I have to go away for a week, but she did say it's easier to do some of the cleaning she wants to do when I'm not underfoot.
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
Lisa had cause to be on the roof of the travel trailer yesterday and noticed that the seal on the forward skylight was failing. We did not have any of the roof goop sealant, nor did Big R stock any, so after work today we drove into Reno to buy a tube of it from Safari RV. Thunderstorms were in the area, so Lisa went up and put some plastic sheeting over the skylight to fend off the weather.

It being Monday (off peak) and with no big event in town (Hot August Nights happens while we're traveling to Worldcon), we decided to return to the Peppermill, where (thanks to our locals discount) we got two excellent buffets for less than half what we paid the Atlantis for meals that made us sick. Lisa went to the manager and told her about us being "unfaithful" and that we'd returned to the fold.

Even better: we won $65 playing keno, which paid for the meal, tips, and had some "profit" left over besides. We praised Keno Bear for his keno-playing skills and gave him extra fish.

We had no further errands, and it was a work night, so Lisa drove us home after dinner. We started picking up rain as we headed east. Around Painted Rock, Lisa and I both were mystified by the white residue on the highway thrown into contrast by the tracks of the big rig we had been following. A few minutes later when we got home, we figured out what had happened.

Not a Snowstorm, but the Remains Looked Similar )

The white debris through which we had been driving was obviously accumulated hail from one of the bands of thunderstorms hitting the area. While it has cooled things down a little bit, there also has been a lot of lightning in the area as well. We hope everyone stays safe and that there are no more fires. We've had more than enough this summer.
kevin_standlee: (House)
We were away for nine days. When we got back, we found that the bushes on the property had had an amazing growth spurt.

Turn Your Back and They Take Over )

I only wish plants that I want to grow would be as enthusiastic as these.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
Yesterday afternoon, Fernley was hit by a strong thunderstorm, including some sizeable hail. Lisa moved the little "living Christmas tree" we've been trying to preserve under cover. I was over playing pinball when the storm hit and stayed under cover until the storm had mostly passed through, but as I approached home, I noticed a double rainbow in an interesting place.

End of the Rainbow )

Fernley House isn't exactly a pot of money — more a pot into which we put money — but it's still nice to come home to, warts and all.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
Tuesday evening was probably the best weather we'll have this week: neither too cold nor too hot. We took advantage of the pleasant spring-like conditions to get some work done outside on the house. While we were doing so, we had a flyover.

Formation of Helicopters )

The only thing that kept us from getting more done was impending sundown, and of course the fact that I have to be up before 5 AM for Day Jobbe.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
We had a brief return of spring temperatures today, which is good because we had a bunch of work to do outside this afternoon once I got done with Day Jobbe. (Again, as I'm working Central Time Zone hours, it's convenient for the household work. On the other hand, as I'm up before 5 AM, I need to get to bed early.) Things are progressing here. Much remains to be done, after which I'll have a long photo essay explaining what we did and how we did it.

Alas, warm temperatures return tomorrow. The lovely overcast made it possible for us to get more work done. We can't get a lot done direct sunshine with temps in the Celsius 30s.

Bag Man

May. 30th, 2017 02:51 pm
kevin_standlee: (House)
We appear to be done with the concrete work for now.

One bag, one wheelbarrow )

For various reasons, we ended up with six extra sacks of concrete, which will live in the garage until we take on a future paving project. Not soon, though. My arms and back hurt.

Gored

May. 28th, 2017 09:10 pm
kevin_standlee: (House)
We continue to work on the Sekrit Home Improvement Project. I mixed seven sacks of concrete yesterday and five today. We had a little bit left over from the last sack, so we made use of it.

Filling a Hole )

Lisa scooped the extra bit of concrete into the gore point and it looks pretty good. We'll probably have some other extra concrete later, which will will use to fill the rest of this area. This will be good because it has been inconvenient when rolling things from one end of the property to the other.

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