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WEEK 11 2013

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Saturday 16 March 2013
Saturday - Another item that had failed was the dishwasher. This was a simple blockage, but I took the opportunity to clean the kitchen and do dishes, which took most of the morning! We then made a shopping run to pick up a number of household staples (and some batteries for my multimeter!), then finished with a very nice lunch at Yanni's Greek Restaurant (not the one shown in an episode of Hell's Kitchen!).

My friends were totally exhausted by this time - I need to remember than women aren't generally rated for a 100% duty cycle - and crashed by mid afternoon.

However Tim managed to squeeze out a few minutes of his very busy day in late afternoon ( he's kind of a 200% duty cycle guy!) and stopped by. With his competent help we determined that there seems to be a break in the power line between the house and the pool cover motor vault. So, good news and bad news. The very expensive cover motor might be OK, but the nice heavy duty shielded power line that runs under about 100' of concrete patio paving looks to be bad. There was a little more deductive work to be done, a pigtail to check on the switch/motor status, but it was something I could buy and do on my own later.

Of course, we found another problem in the evening. About 9pm there was a sound of running water in the pipes, much like yard sprinklers would cause, but my friend noticed that the sprinklers were not running. A bit of investigation determined that the water softener unit was running, and water was being consumed (the indicator on the water meter was spinning). This system ran for about three hours. Apparently the water is simply being diverted into the drains. There was an ongoing issue with a high water bill that everyone had attributed to evaporation from the pool, but a bad water conditioning system might be the cause.

While looking at the water softener setup I discovered that the new copper lines for hot water from the new water heater (about 35' of exposed pipe) were not insulated! We'd been told that we needed to take showers one at a time, and I'd put it down to a smaller older water heater unit - not so! This is a newer 100 gallon unit, which should have supplied enough hot water for the neighborhood!! I guess it's another example of a contractor taking advantage of a widow. Doing the right thing would have cost $15.

Friday 15 March 2013
Friday - OTR, in SD.

The washing machine install went pretty well. The drain hose on the new (used) unit was bad (it fell apart in my hand!) and that delayed us a bit. We went to HD and picked a new one up, but it was too short, and they were out of longer hose. The hose on the unit we were replacing was OK, but using it meant that we had to disassemble the front of the old washer, take the old hose off, disassemble the front of the new(ish) washer, remove it's hose and then install the new one. Not hard, but this took a while. While we were at it we checked the dryer exhaust vent and discovered it was completely blocked by lint. So we made another trip to HD, picked up a lint brush, and cleaned that out. Because of the severity of that blockage we also decided to disassemble the dryer and remove any lint build-up inside, to prevent flash fires.

By 2:00pm we were finally done, and did a trial run of the washer. Thankfully everything worked OK, no leaks or issues, and about a months worth of dirty linens were ready to be processed....

In the late afternoon I fixed an upstairs plumbing issue, then took a look at the pool cover motor. This had suddenly stopped working in the middle of opening a few weeks back, and I had high hopes that it would be resolved by a circuit breaker reset. No such luck. The breakers were OK. There was a thermal reset switch on the motor itself, but it seemed OK as well. I went to use my multimeter and discovered that the batteries were dead, so I couldn't really check things out before it started to get dark.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Thursday - OTR, down to San Diego. There was a bit of cleaning in the morning around my house, then we left in the afternoon. We were delivering and installing a used washing machine to replace a failed appliance at a friends mother's place. She also had a number of other house related maintenance items, so it was best to get a start on all of that by leaving for a long weekend early.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Wednesday  - Well, the partnership now has a bank! It took a bit longer that we expected. We tried to use a local credit union, EFCU, but they only did sole proprietorships. We then tried another credit union, WFCU, one that S & I already belong too, but they no longer did business partnerships. Calling around this seemed to be the case with most credit unions. A local bank, AV Bank, would do it but wanted $10 a month for the privilege! I finally recalled that a fairly business savvy friend used US Bank, and we called them. And they were happy to do it, with a no fees account, in the afternoon. So, by about 2:30 pm - after starting at about 9:00am - we were done.

One's having to be a business of some sort to put an app in Apple's App Store was the main driver for this, so I now need to do my part and get the code out the door!

Tuesday  12 March 2013
Tuesday - Went for a nice long 5 mile walk. By the time I got home my heel, toe, and hip were aching - all on the left leg. What's that about? Possibly I was favoring the old heel injury and all the rest was a result of that.

I was pleased to find, on doing some App work, that Apple now has a 'Collection' view. When I was researching things about this time last year they didn't have a view that naturally understood a grid layout - you had to hack a table view to get one. I was pretty annoyed at the time; it should be a no-brainer since the iPad home screen (for example) is laid out that way, so I'm pleased that I don't have to spend hours building that sort of thing, or buy it somewhere.

Apropos, tomorrow we want to set up a bank account for the partnership. We have our partnership papers, the fictitious business name advertising is underway, we have a Tax ID number, now all we need a bank account for Apple to deposit the boatloads of money we'll be raking in! Well, all that and a working app to sell....

In the evening I went out into the west valley to look for come PANSTARRS. It was supposed to be low in the evening sky, just to the left of the new Moon, and indeed, there it was! A very faint object to the naked eye, but clear enough in even short time exposures by the camera. I forgot to bring the tripod, but propping the T3i on the car hood worked well enough for an object near the horizon.

Monday  11 March 2012
Monday - Did a bit of work on another project for work - some Giant Reed mitigation planning for another site, and talked to the boss about it. I'd spent a couple of hours making maps in Google Earth and he pointed out that a previous contractor had already created maps, in ESRI, and that they were on the data CD he'd given me. Sheesh. Oh well, at least our numbers matched. He also gave the go-ahead for a last little bit of field work on the GIS update project, so I fired off an email to the client about that. The hours are pretty well burned there, but what the heck.

Late Sunday I happened to be in Home Depot, and noticed that they had some of the hexagonal interlocking pavers on sale, pallets at only 41 cents each, about half price. Since I have either 100SF or 265SF of paving in the side yard planned this would be a nice savings. So I went back mid-morning - and they were mostly gone. Maybe 50SF left. You snooze and you lose... For end caps I was thinking of using pressure treated 2x12's, only to discover that HD and Lowe's only sell them in 8' lengths! Another customer mentioned to me that there is a general purpose lumber yard over on Division and K street, so I can go there. Or I could put in cinder block or concrete block. And I'd need about a cubic yard of base for each 100SF. Essentially I need to have a better plan, and maybe line up some help before moving all this.

Sunday  10 March 2012
Sunday - A decent day for a walk. Spent some time in the yard, getting things organized. Also working in the garage, which as always, needed ordering a bit. I did take a couple of used items over to Goodwill, so it's a bit emptier than it was. Still almost impassable.

I did a bit of work on the GIS job, trying to find a vault on Google Earth. No luck, what I thought I'd found - the stanchion and actuator rod / hand wheel for a sluice gate in the vault - turned out to be a piece of artwork along the Ventura River Trail, that just happened to be a waist-high obelisk with a vertical steel rod sticking up. What are the odds?

I was thinking again about the odds of the cat sleeping on my pillow, and realized that since the pillow was approximated two square feet that the odds of him randomly sleeping on it were therefore about 1800:1, not 3600:1.

Picture of the Week
Snow on the foothills 
Photo Notes: Snow on the Antelope Valley foothills, early 2013.

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