kevin_standlee: (House)
About three weeks ago, the timer on the washing machine broke. We were able to order a new one, but unfortunately, in the process of removing the old timer, we broke the knob on the front of the washer. So we also had to order a new knob, which cost more in shipping than for the part. Then when it came, it turned out that there was another part (the dial that goes behind the knob, also broken) that you had to order separately. So we ended up ordering parts serially, and the last one (the dial) showed up yesterday.

When the timer arrived, Lisa got it installed, but it was quite difficult to use the washer, as you had to turn the spindle where the knob/dial normally sits with pliers and guess which cycle you were using because the broken dial was what pointed at the markings on the top of the washer. Consequently, we were not doing laundry as much as we would like and were sort of stretching things out.

With all of the parts back in place, there was much laundry to do. I did four loads myself today interspersed between meetings and other Day Jobbery. We're mostly caught up now.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
This past weekend, we acknowledged the move into Summer (without much Spring) by dragging the swamp cooler outside (it's on wheels), removing the racks from the sides, and using the garden hose to blast off most of the accumulated build-up on the racks. We also got some cooler cleaner to tackle the accumulation in the bottom. Much of it is hard-water build-up, but some is from an anti-foaming/air freshener cake we'd been using. I got most of it cleaned. Because so much of it was in the pads in the side of the cooler, we bought new pads and Lisa cut them to fit into the cooler.

Sometime in the next few days I'll do the other half of the switchover, which is to move the remaining firewood from the ready box on the porch back to the wood box, and to put the ready box inside the wood box until we need it again, probably in October. That gives us more space on the porch. Oh, and I'll finally finish digging the last of the ashes and cleaning the glass on the fireplace. Earlier this year during our first warm spell, I cleaned it out, only to be surprised by a spring snowstorm and the need to restart the fire.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
This morning dawned sunny in Fernley, but to the west a storm approached.

Clouds Rolling In )

It has been (relatively) warm the last few days and most of the snow has melted except in a few sheltered spots. As this storm moved toward us, the wind came up and there was a bit of rain, but not much more. This, however, is only the edge of a series of storms, and the effect is much worse up in the mountains, where the chain controls are back up on I-80. My initial plans to go spend a week at the Bay Area office next week are scratched.

Those firelogs we bought are working out quite nicely. They burn for a long time and produce very little smoke or ash, while keeping the living room warm. (It has helped that the temperatures have been above freezing all week.) Instead of my having to bring four or five armloads of cordwood from the wood pile every day, I bring one wheelbarrow load (about 15 logs) every two days from the garage. (We keep the logs in the garage because they can't be allowed to get wet, given that they are mostly compressed sawdust.) The only drawback is that it's unwise to burn more than two of the logs at a time (they get too hot) and therefore it's difficult to keep a fire going all night long. Lisa has been up nights this week and has seen to the fire. When that's not an option, we still have almond and walnut with which we can fill up the fireplace and still expect to find coals burning the next morning.
kevin_standlee: (To Trains (T&P))
This morning would have been excellent for train photography, such as maybe the passing westbound morning California Zephyr, because BNSF happened to have pulled every car from the two-track mini-yard in front of the house, and the Mountain of Ties is gone. However, I was too busy with Day Jobbe to spend time shooting photos. Besides, when Amtrak went by, I was busily trying to get the wood stove a bit hotter, and couldn't get outside to the porch fast enough to wave at the train as it went by.

Speaking of the temperature, we're very lucky that the temps are trending upward a bit. I've been opening the woodbox door in the morning to let the rising sun melt the ice and dry out the logs stacked in there (they got a bit wet and icy while in the utility trailer). And we haven't had to use quite as much wood to keep things warm. This is also good because I'm too busy with Day Jobbe right now to go into Reno in the mid-afternoon early enough to try out the wood supply place. Fortunately they are open Saturday morning as well, so that's our current target.

ETA: That must have been the "Fernley Flyer," not Amtrak, that went by when I was working on the fireplace. At 7:45 PM this evening, as Lisa and I headed out for a walk, the westbound Zephyr came by, almost exactly twelve hours late. The train had a Union Pacific freight locomotive on the point and only one of its usual two Genesis locomotives trailing. (Presumably the Amtrak crew would have been in the trailing cab, where they were responsible for providing "hotel" power to the train behind them, while a UP crew piloted the train westward.) That's a messy day indeed. Probably one of the Amtrak locomotives failed badly on the road, and in an inconvenient place, leading to big delays while UP dispatched a locomotive and crew to rescue them.
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
It has been more than a week since snow last fell here in Fernley, but it looks a fair bit like the icon, and any place that doesn't get direct sun still has up to 20 cm of snow still standing. However, we have a stretch of clear, relatively warm weather ahead, which is good for multiple reasons. The snow is starting to melt, and it's taking less firewood to keep the house warm. Lisa unloaded the last of the utility trailer this afternoon. We're considering going in to a firewood-supply company in Reno (not the place we got this current load) and buying a half-cord of their assorted hardwood. If that works out, we can see about buying a couple of cords delivered, which is surely more efficient than buying smaller loads using our small utility trailer.
kevin_standlee: (Tennis)
While watching the Superb Owl (online, from the comfort of my home, far away from the madness that took over the Bay Area this past week), it occurred to me that the replay challenge system in American gridiron football should take a page from the challenge system in tennis. You should continue to be charged a timeout for an unsuccessful challenge (albeit that Carolina was robbed on their first challenge; it should have been ruled a completed pass), you should not be charged anything for a successful one. In other words, if you have time outs left, you should be able to challenge. None of this, "You were right, but you're only allowed two challenges per half whether you were right or not."

The day went quite well for me, particularly inasmuch as I did not bet on the Big Game, for I would have lot my money. Instead I spent the morning and early afternoon unloading firewood from the utility trailer and doing chores around the house, then getting myself all set for game watching, along with indulgences such as pickled eggs, German sausages, good cheese, and salsa and chips. And I didn't even need to use the antacids.
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
This afternoon after lunch, Lisa backed the trailer full of firewood along the fence line and handed me logs, which I stacked into the wood box. It shows how low we ran our supply that this did not completely fill the box, but at least we're not in danger of running out of wood as we were a few days ago.
kevin_standlee: (Lisa)
I got home around 8 PM last night, including a long stop in Sacramento to visit and talk with my sister. Lisa had already gone to bed because her sleep schedule is very disrupted.

Digging Out of a Piled-Up To-Do List )

By the time we got the minivan window replaced, Lisa's day was nearly done, so we headed back home. We have grocery shopping still to do in Reno/Sparks for Thanksgiving and to try and refill some of the canned food larder that is now somewhat depleted, so I reckon we'll have to go there again tomorrow, and we haven't actually unloaded the firewood. (I've pulled out enough wood to keep us warm tonight and tomorrow morning. The full unloading job is an hour or so of Lisa handing wood to me over the fence and me packing it into the wood box.) But the most urgent stuff is done, and we're feeling better. And I'm much happier doing these domestic chores than I was much of the past two weeks.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
Having spent most of my twenty years with my current employer at the company's corporate headquarters, I've been through several office moves. At each one, there has been a purge of older office furniture, and I've usually made the most of it. This means my home office is furnished with cast-offs from corporate. Usually these have been serviceable-but-beat-up chairs and the like, and they've lasted a long time. However, I'm a big guy, and hard on chairs. One of the two chairs I got from the last purge failed some months ago, and lately the other one (same design) started to give way. Lisa salvaged parts from the first chair to keep the second one alive, but it was clear that time was short and I needed a new chair. We looked at what was in the big box stores, but they seemed overpriced and under-capacity. Most of them had 225 pound or less capacity, and I weigh 300 pounds.

Yesterday, after collecting the RV from the shop, we went to an office furniture warehouse near Reno airport. Looking around, we found a good, solid chair with a 350 pound capacity, high back, adjustable armrests, and a metal frame (not the plastic frame that the two now-failing older chairs had). The price was pretty good, too, as it was a former showroom display model. For less than the cost of most of the chairs at the OfficeBoxes, I got a better quality chair that feels stronger. Getting it into the RV was a bit of a challenge (for all that the RV is big, it doesn't have much cargo space), but we managed.

The Bear Test )

The only fault I've found so far is that the new chair has less lumbar support, and inasmuch as I am in the chair ten hours a day, that could be an issue. I'll probably get a lumbar-support pillow. Otherwise, it's very comfortable and I'm glad we bought it.
kevin_standlee: (House)
As some of you may recall, we had a water main break this past month. It's fixed how, and this month's water bill came: 7000 gallons. The previous month was 4000. Given our usage patterns here, we have a hard time believing that we were using 4K gallons, so our theory continues to be that there was a leak all along, and that last month it just got bad enough that we noticed and had it fixed. We'll see next month where the level goes.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
Because we don't give out our home phone number, almost no calls we receive are "real." Most of them are telemarketers. Today, however, we got one from a debt-collection agency, apparently trying to collect from someone who may have had our phone number sometime before September 2011. Their robocall is pretty dumb. It quickly rattles off a toll-free number and reference number once and then hangs up. No option to speak to someone. No repeat or even a way to repeat the number. By sheer luck, I was able to retain enough of the phone number that I was able to call them back, tell them, "I'm not that person, have never heard of that person, and have had this phone number for more than three years now."

Their system is designed only for leaving messages on voice-mail where people can replay it enough times to get the quickly-rattled-off numbers, not for someone who actually answered the phone.

I suspect, however, that we'll get robocalled again on this, despite what they told me, because they'll assume that we're lying to get the debt collector off our neck.


Jan. 21st, 2015 08:41 pm
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
Lisa finished breaking up one of the many wooden pallets we have acquired. The Douglas Fir firewood is packaged shrink-wrapped on pallets. Waste not, want not: we burn the pallets, too. One pallet lasts roughly one day at our current burn rate, although it's not as cold as it has been so we haven't needed to burn at maximum rate.
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
This morning, I took the last pieces of Douglas fir firewood from the wood box, and Lisa hitched the pickup to the utility trailer and pulled the trailer around alongside the east fence opposite the box. After lunch, we kitted up and moved the wood from the trailer into the box.

Just in time for the coming storm )

I'm much happier having the a full wood box. This supply will last us for perhaps a month depending on how cold it gets.

I've been over-stoking the fireplace today in order to try and catch up for having no heat for the week we were in Southern California.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
You may recall that a couple of months ago we broke the non-sparking propane wrench we use on our the propane tanks on the travel trailer. A few days ago, the eBay search I put out on the item (the Sav-A-Nut wrench, made by a now-defunct business) popped up, I put in a bid, it won, and it came in costing less than the shipping, which is a pretty good bargain. I'm going to keep the search active, though, because given that they don't make that wrench anymore, it might be good to get a spare or two.


Apr. 6th, 2012 10:36 pm
kevin_standlee: (Default)
I was allowed to work from home today because there were some errands that had to be done on a weekday between 8 AM - 5 PM, and my new job assignment has made that practically impossible.

Not all missions accomplished )

So I got most things checked off the list, including everything that couldn't be done on the weekend. I didn't have time for a haircut, but I'm going to do that tomorrow morning before being back home in plenty of time for the Hugo Award Announcements at 1 PM Pacific Daylight Time on UStream. I wish I could follow all five announcements, but I doubt that I have enough bandwidth for that.


Mar. 3rd, 2012 05:41 pm
kevin_standlee: (Kreegah Bundalo)
I spent a lot of time today sleeping, but even I can't sleep all day, so I managed to get a bit of record-keeping done for the SF & F Translation Awards and then went out for some minor shopping. Since in a few weeks (assuming I get an opening into the place I'm hoping to move), I probably won't have a full kitchen, I'm taking advantage of still having one to do some relatively adventurous (for me) cooking.

Glug, Glug

Feb. 24th, 2012 12:35 pm
kevin_standlee: (Default)
Yesterday evening after I got home from work, I went into the kitchen to find the sink all backed up with dirty grey water. The bathroom drains were unaffected. Unfortunately, this has happened often enough that I know what's going on. I'm on the bottom of a three-high stack of apartments that share common drains. Every 1-3 years, the pipes below me (which collect everything from above me as well as my own sink) clog up.

Messy Details )

Since I expect to move in April or May (earlier is better, but depends on me getting an opening in the apartment building I've spotted into which I want to move), this should be the last time I have to deal with this periodic plumbing problem.
kevin_standlee: (Default)
I went through all of my key rings and while I was able to remove three keys that appear to be to locks that no longer exist, I cannot identify the key to the Reno locker. Lisa will go through her keys as well, but for now we'll have to work from the assumption that sometime after we stored stuff in the locker on the Sunday of Renovation and this past Saturday, we managed to lose the locker key. That's very annoying.

At the moment, I have more keys than ever, because I'm carrying everything for Fremont, Fernley, and the Oregon buildings as well as things like my locker in Yuba City and my office in San Mateo. Eventually I hope to be able to retire at least the Oregon keys.
kevin_standlee: (Default)
In the midst of the major issues besetting me right now, I have had some minor ones as well, like the sticking starter solenoid that my mechanic will replace tomorrow. One of the latest ones this week was that the toilet seat broke in the one of the bathrooms in the apartment. A couple of days ago, I walked over to the nearby hardware store and bought a new seat, and this afternoon I opened it up and started to install it.

How in the world I would end up buying a round ivory-colored seat when I have an elongated oval white toilet, I do not know. But fortunately, the folks at Dale Hardware (I got there only ten minutes before closing; good think they're right across the street!) had no problem exchanging it for the correct seat and all is well again.

By my reckoning, problems with the plumbing that I didn't cause are the landlord (or the complex's) fault, but stuff like broken toilet seats, although in this case it was just a rusty screw, are something the tenant should take care of.
kevin_standlee: (No Naked Visitors)
The clothes dryer in my apartment started making unhappy rattling noises while I was drying the last load of my laundry a few days ago. I thought it might be some sort of load imbalance, but even running empty it still rattles once it warms up. I reported it to the property manager and yesterday got a call from the appliance repairman. Unfortunately, the earliest he can be here is Friday morning, and by Noon Friday I hoped to be on the road for Oregon. That means I won't be able to dry the laundry I need to do by Thursday to pack for the trip. It's a minor annoyance — there's a laundromat only a short distance from here — but an annoyance nonetheless.

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