sailing the NorSea


WEEK 25 2014

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Saturday 21 June 2014
Saturday - The summer solstice!

T called, said she was having an issue with her plumbing, so I went over and checked on things.  It seems that her handyman had replaced the flapper and overflow pipe assembly the day before and it was leaking at the tank-to-base gasket - just like mine had earlier this year. And, just like me, he hadn't trimmed the height of the overflow pipe so the tank would, on experiencing an overflow, flow through the orifice for the handle and onto the floor, rather than down the overflow pipe. Which, just like mine, it did...

I trimmed the pipe down, checked that the butterfly nuts were reasonably tight, put a little  pan under the 2 drips-per-minute leak and told her that it would slow down and stop in a day or two, and if not, to call me.

After which I bummed 10 DVD's for the upcoming vacation, loaded the rest of the firewood into the Explorer, and headed home.

I then swung by Home Depot and picked up some new swamp cooler pads, a new water pump for the same, and even a set of new spider bearings.

Back home I did a little final painting of the security panels to fit over the window a/c units. I had planned on using some old silver paint I had, but reading the can it warned that it might 'lift' oil based enamel. Sigh. Instead I just used the basic house color scheme: for the exterior tan with a blue-green trim, and the off-white 'swiss coffee' for the inward facing side.

After which I replaced the pads in the 'new' swamp cooler with the recommended 'aspen' pads. To be honest there wasn't a lot of difference, but then it had pretty good 'coolth' and flow already (I already use it in preference to the old unit, for that very reason). I had bought pads for the old unit as well, but haven't installed them yet - it was getting pretty hot and humid by late afternoon!

In the early evening I went over for dinner at some friends. Amusingly enough, when I drove up R was working on the commode in the little attached mother-in-law apt that they use for storage - it was leaking at the tank-to-base gasket after he turned the water on for the first time in a while. I told him that about my morning 'fix' over at T's place.

We had a nice roast and salad with all the trimmings, and afterwards a nice walk around their neighborhood in the pleasant evening air. The kids happily pointed out the numerous frogs that lived in the drains, and I tried to point out the North Star, though there were a few puffy cumulus clouds floating about and mostly blocking me from illustrating the use of the Big Dipper 'pointer stars' to find it.

The kids are starting music class and needed a metronome, so we downloaded one for the iPad. Free.

Friday 20 June 2014
Friday - No app stuff today, too busy!

More chores in the morning, then I went over to T's place and did some remodeling of her entertainment center, knocking out a central vertical support so that she could put her new wider flat-screen inside, and then screwing in a support to keep the top shelf from bowing down. It went pretty quick: particle board is easy to work with, and I had a scrap piece of old oak (from a derelict ski-machine slide) that made a perfect brace. The cabinet could use a bit of paint, but she wants to fiddle with it and get it the way she wants before proceeding onwards, which is fine.

T also said she'd loan me some DVD's for the 4th of July vacation, so that's nice.

There was another load of firewood there, so I loaded it as much as would fit into the back of the explorer and took it back to my house. My back felt OK so I immediately tossed it over the fence. The handyman had cut the tree limb bits into 3' sections, so I'll chainsaw them to 18" this weekend before stacking.

My donut peach tree has ripe fruit already, so I picked some and dropped some off at S's place, and some with T.

It was about 3:30pm by the time I got home, so I invited my cat-sitter-to-be to come over and pick some peaches. She brought her kids, 8 and 6, and they had fun picking fruit off the tree. They were a bit dubious about eating fruit straight off the tree, but their mother and I reassured them that it was OK (no pesticides in my yard!) and I took the first bite to show them it was OK.

At 5pm I waved good-bye, called it a day, took a shower and just read and watched TV for the evening, and tried to get to bed on time again.

Suzy on the bookshelf
Suzy, making herself comfortable on a bookshelf!

Thursday 19 June 2014

Thursday - Working away on various household chores in the morning. It's astonishing to me that there is so much to be done - I've pretty much been devoting half of each day to yard and house stuff, and it doesn't feel like I'm making much progress.

I did work on the app for a bit.

 In the evening I had to go down to LAX and pick up Kirk, whose flight was delayed and who thereby missed his shuttle. Everything was fine, but LAX traffic was insane. I missed the short term Terminal 1 parking and had to go around and it took 28 minutes to make the loop. There was that much traffic. So I only had a few minute wait until the plane landed, but then we waited nearly an hour for the luggage to show up on the carousel. I always forget how "third world" the experience is at LAX, poorly laid out, poorly lit, poorly signed, poorly policed, poorly maintained.... Home a bit after midnight.

Kirk had a good time at his conference, talked to a lot of people about the industry and where to go to school, and said it was all worth while, so that's good.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Wednesday - A pleasant day. It's supposed to get warmer, but today was very nice.

Worked around the yard in the morning, emptied the Explorer of all the firewood, tossing it over the side fence, then stacking it. There's a big dead spot in the lawn, not too near the house or fence, that I chose for the spot. Eventually I'll probably build a little gazebo or something there. My friend gave me a couple of end caps, that fit over 2x4's, that will help keep the stuff contained.

Then I moved a bit of dirt into the new planter - looks like I'll need to raise it once more course to get everything to fit - and did a bit more cleanup in the garage.

S loaned me a couple of bike racks for the Explorer trailer hitch, so I hosed the bugs and dirt off, and will see which one best fits. I need to get the bike fixed, actually, but the tubes are a weird size and hard to find.

I want to wash and detail the Explorer before the trip, but time is an issue. I want to use the gunk to refresh the black external trim before I wax it, but that means first a cleaning, then the gunk, then a wash and wax. This is always tough on my back, so maybe I'll just skip the manual labor part this time ;-)

I looked at the cash-for-clunkers program for the Probe, but there are various issues and that can't happen in the near future, so I'm just going to drop the Probe stuff until after the 4th of July holiday, it's just taking too much time and energy right now.

In the afternoon I worked on the app. Things are going slow there, I don't feel very sharp this week, but at least I stayed in the office and pegged away at it.

Tuesday 17 June 2014
Tuesday - The good news on the Probe is that the heli-coil install went well. The bad news is that it's still running horribly rough, far worse than before the plug blew out (something else must have broken), and can't possibly pass the state smog test that I need to take soon. So I'll probably see about doing a cash-for-clunkers thing here in the near future.

Then I helped the friend that gave me a ride to&from Scott's set up her new TV that she'd received as a present for Xmas, and then to buy and attach a DVD player (Blue Ray, actually) for her, since her old one had given up the ghost.

What with one thing and another I wasn't home most of the day, finally returning home for good at about 5pm.

Despite not having done much manual labor my hands were still swollen and a bit painful in the evenings. My mother and paternal grandmother both had terrible arthritis (grandmother was actually bedridden late in life), so maybe this is going to become the new normal. I can't stop living my life because of it I guess.

Monday 16 June 2014
Monday - Called Scott at Scott's Autotech, scheduled an appointment to get the heli-coil installed tomorrow. Went over to S's place and we went over incorporation paperwork, again. Let's just say the great and glorious State of California has it's head up its a**.

I also filled the back of the Explorer with a bunch of firewood, from a tree that someone cut down. I probably should have taken it easier, my back was giving me twinges in a new place, so I just left them there, and will attempt to unload them tomorrow or the next day.

Did a bit on the app, but I was kind of tuckered out all day after that.

I am also organizing people to watch my cats while I'm gone. I think that I've got it covered now.

Sunday 15 June  2014
Sunday - I started to fill the new flower bed with dirt from the paver install excavation that I did this spring. I lined the inside with filter fabric, to keep earth from oozing through the joints between blocks and looking unsightly first, then put the earth in. In the end I only did about four wheelbarrel loads, no sense in overdoing things, and I'd a number of other yard chores to do.

I also did bills, including the estimated taxes, due tomorrow. Bah.

It was a relatively mild day, a one-a/c day! Not much to say there. I still haven't finished painting the framing for the downstairs mechanical a/c. I did pick up from R&S some stuff- a couple of bike racks for the tow hitch, a plaster column for the garden, some plastic shelving, and some firewood log holders. Mostly yard sale stuff that I've been meaning to pick up for a while from them.

Book #27 was Rex Regis: The Eighth book of the Imager Portfolio, by L.E. Modesitt. This was OK, very much like his other writings, journeyman and enough to hold your interest, but not amazing enough to remember for much longer. Indeed, I had trouble recalling what was in the previous book in the series, Antiagon Fire, Book #33 of last year.

Picture of the Week
Sunflower at 53rd street west 
Photo Notes: Sunflower seen in the west valley while on my walk Friday.

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