other things

Sunday, June 4th, 2017 02:47 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Still tweaking other things on my new cell phone too.

I found out that one can remove the pages from these old family photo albums (and put them back together again). Which means that scanning the albums shouldn't be that difficult after all (as long as each page fits on the flatbed - one of the albums does just barely. The other one would require using my mom's larger scanner). Which means that's another thing I want to get done.

Firefox addons; learn how to update them to use these new WebExtensions APIs.
Which also shows me that my JavaScript knowledge is woefully out of date. It's changed a lot in 20 years.

I've just installed 2 and a half years worth of Windows updates on one of Qiao's old Windows 7 desktop computers, which we haven't used in that long. Because it has iTunes on it, and I don't want to install iTunes on my laptop. But there are a couple of items I want to get, which are only available to download from iTunes. And of course, that meant I needed to install Windows updates too, right? I dunno. It seemed the thing to do even though it took all day. Makes me think I might even be able to get updates working again on my old laptop too, if I wanted to.
Simplifying updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 - a rollup for all updates through April 2016, with only one prerequisite that must be installed first.

Researching family tree stuff. Old census records. Found out my great-great-grandmother had at least 10 children, and possibly 5 more that didn't survive.
Need to determine what kind of open-source program I should use for doing a family tree, so that the data can be exported/imported in a widely compatible format.

Want to replace all the screws for the door lock strike-plates and hinges with 3-inch long screws. And replace some of the strike-plates with ones that take 4 screws instead of 2.

I finally took down the rest of the xmas decorations and put the boxes away. My mom helped me take down the xmas tree a few weeks ago. She and Qiao are as bad as me - once I made my mind up to take them down, they both said "I think you should just leave them up", making me debate it internally all over again.

locks and keys

Sunday, January 29th, 2017 06:45 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I rekeyed two locks today; it was my first time doing that. One was an Andersen storm door lock, and was very easy to rekey. The other was an old deadbolt lock which both Lowes and Home Depot hadn't been able to do. Lowes had just looked at it and said "No", which makes me think they refused simply because it's a brand they don't sell. The guy at Home Depot, on the other hand, at least tried. But apparently because of it being an older style, he wasn't able to get it apart. I had watched him trying, and it looked like something was stuck. He wasn't able to get it apart, to get to the pins.

Today, I was able to get it apart fairly easily. The one end of the cylinder needed to be screwed off - maybe the Home Depot guy didn't realize that. I have a Kwikset rekeying kit. The springs in the kit don't exactly match the ones from the old lock. So I tried reusing them, but in the process lost one. I searched high and low for it, but it's disappeared into the ether. I ended up using one of the non-matching springs, which made it more difficult as it stuck out more. And my kit didn't have a tool that fit for keeping the bottom pins and springs pushed down (aka "follower bar")*, so I had to improvise. And the top pins fell out a few times, and each time the sizes of the pins didn't seem to match what I had written down before... weird. So I got out new top pins. I finally got it back together and working with the new key.

*which is probably a good thing, in hindsight. If I had found the right instructions, and if my follower bar fit, I wouldn't have seen that the springs and bottom pins had a lot of oxidation on them, which was making them stick. It was when I was cleaning off the springs, that the one sprung away and disappeared.
darkoshi: (Default)
So I just realized it is the last day. Or was the last day. It is the last hours.


I am so sick of seeing online ads saying things like "Should Trump send Hillary to Jail?"
As if we don't have a judicial system; as if a president can simply send people to jail on his say-so. Is that what people want? A goddamn dictatorship?

Is someone trying to psychologically condition the rest of us into subconsciously thinking that she belongs in jail?


I got my heater repaired. I decided to only get the broken part replaced. Even if furnaces have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, and mine is nearly 20, that doesn't mean that it can't still keep working for many more. If the average is 18 or so, then surely there are some that make it to 30 years or more


Portable oil-filled electric radiators:

If they smell of burning dust, even after you've cleaned off all the visible dust, you may need to remove the front and/or rear panels too, to get the dust out from those sections. Obviously, you need to be careful when doing that as there are wires and electrical connections behind the front panel.

When not using them, a perfect-sized cover to keep the dust off is a pillow-case!


Christmas Eve (yes, I'm that behind on writing about things. and doing things):

It was sort of rushed again. We started it earlier in the evening than in the past, as my nephew wanted to leave by a certain time. I went in my car to pick up one of my foster sisters, and my niece. The drive took longer than I anticipated, and by the time we got back to the house, everyone else had already started and finished eating! But at least the get-together was over by a reasonable time, before midnight rather than after.

I still haven't gotten around to ordering my mom the Christmas presents I meant to get her. But partially in my defense, she didn't choose which ones she wanted till after Christmas either.


Lower thigh muscles: I've been having nerve issues again, but more general soreness rather than nerve spasms like before. Sitting down for too long makes them achy.
It may all come down to not getting enough sleep, body not being able to recuperate.


I flushed the water heater last weekend. It's really not hard to do, at least the way I do it, just attaching a hose and not turning off anything. Carrying the hose from the front of the house to the back, and back again is the hardest part.


We're having 7:30am educational sessions for work 2 or 3 times a week, and it's killing me, so early. It's mostly stuff I already know, but I don't want to miss anything anyway..

7:30am isn't even that early, right? Especially when I can dial in from home. But it's still killing me.


thirsty tired too late heater yay snoring dogs xmas tree lights went out again need to try replacing fuse again.
where's my dessert? what's my dessert. maybe that'll do it.
good night, ch'all.

oh, subject. ummm.

hey, did I ever post ... I don't think I did... where did I ...


Video title: Boney M. - Felicidad America (Obama - Obama) ft. Sherita O., Yulee B.
Posted by: BoneyMVEVO
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKSRdpi15qc


Video title: Baby's Gang - Challenger
Posted by: zyxdance
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN1cekvzY98

I found both those videos on the same day. Both chipper, hopeful, poignant, and sad in terms of later events.
darkoshi: (Default)
With my broken heater, it's as I expected. I have to decide whether to get the control board replaced, or replace the whole furnace (as it is 19 years old). If I replace the whole furnace, I may as well replace the A/C unit too, as I've been worried about it for quite a while. It makes a moderately loud buzzing noise when running. 5 years ago (I didn't realize it was that long ago), I was told it might stop working any day, or it might last a few more years.

The furnace on the other hand, is sheltered in the basement and actually looks in pretty good condition to me. One part of me is thinking that they could possibly last many more years (although they might not).

I got a couple quotes on replacing the control board, vs the whole thing. One set of the quotes actually seems pretty good, though I need to ask some more questions and get more details. So one part of me is thinking, since I already went through the trouble of getting quotes, maybe I should go ahead and replace it all now, rather than having to go through the same thing again a couple years down the road. I might not even be able to get as good a quote/price later on.

Anyway, today I went down into the basement/crawl space to look at the ducts again, as I wasn't sure if I was remembering something right. While down there, I noticed a new wet spot on the ground. It was right under a copper pipe. I didn't see any leak in the pipe. There was a small amount of water on the pink insulation right above the pipe (touching the pipe), so I worried it was leaking down from up above. The bathroom sink was right above that area.

So I went back up and checked under the bathroom sink. Whoa. I had put a plastic dish with a sponge under the shut-off valve to catch any potential leaks (as it had leaked there a long time ago), and the sponge was all wet and there was water in the dish. But the water hadn't overflowed out of the plastic, and the cabinet itself was dry. So how could it be leaking down below? Was it just a coincidence? Eh?

I checked the basement again. Pulled down the insulation a bit to look at the wood. Dry. Hmmm.
Got a small mirror, wiped off the pipe, and looked at the top of the pipe using the mirror.

There's a very tiny pinhole leak. Just enough for water to slowly slowly start welling out and making the outside of the pipe wet. I put a plastic tub under it for the time being.
I hope it's not an indication of the overall condition of my plumbing pipes.


So I do some research as part of fixing one problem (broken heater), and I find 2 new problems, one of which just coincidentally, from initial appearances, appeared to be causing the other problem, but really wasn't.

That sounds exactly like a typical day at my work, debugging code.


Monday, January 9th, 2017 02:09 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Something in the gas furnace (heater) broke today. Upon opening the bathroom door after having taken a shower, there was a light smoky smell in the air. Nothing in the house was burning, singed, or smoking, and the outside air was clear. Then I noticed the heat was no longer coming on. And upon sniffing the vents, even though the air was no longer blowing, the smell was stronger there.

So I have to get someone to come out and check that. (The hardest part is always getting someone to do it. I still haven't even gotten that gutter fixed, which got broken a year and a half ago; I stopped being concerned about it after 3 people said they'd fix it and then didn't.) I have no idea if it's something small that needs to be replaced, or if I might end up needing a whole new furnace. I will check tomorrow to see if there's a label that says how old the current one is. The outside A/C unit is 18 years old, so it wouldn't be surprising if the furnace is that old too.

In the meantime, I pulled out the oil-filled electric radiators, dusted them off, and am using them to keep warm. They're doing pretty good considering I only set them on medium. I always worry that putting them on high might trip a circuit breaker, even though that's not happened so far.

It's in the 20s (F) tonight and tomorrow night. We had a light dusting of snow here on Saturday morning, but it was mostly gone by the time I got out of bed. Originally, the forecast was calling for 2 to 3 inches of snow.
darkoshi: (Default)
I replaced my refrigerator's evaporator fan motor, because the old one was intermittently squealing, and I had a feeling it would stop working altogether in the near future.

I should know better than to start a task like that at 9:30pm when I have to get up for work the next day. I finished around 2am. The new motor and fan are working, and are sounding good.

Much of my time is spent looking up information on the internet, to make sure I do it right. Sometimes I find useful information. Sometimes I don't, and decide to bite the bullet and do it the way I think is best. Some of the time was cleaning gunk out of the freezer compartment, while I had all the shelves removed and out of the way. A good bit of the time was deciding how to handle the wire connections, since they were different on the old and new motor.


When I order stuff from Amazon, I often have it delivered to my mom's house, as delivery people are sometimes scared of the dogs at my house. My mom was telling me of a package that had been delivered. She said the return label said it was from Amazon Fulfillment Services. Then she asked me if it was something sexual. LOL. She's fluent in English, but it isn't her native tongue. Maybe she's been wondering that every time I got a package from them, and finally asked.

Today she tried to convince me that people in the South pronounce Augusta (Georgia) with an "N" in front, like "Naugusta" or "Nugusta". I've never heard it spoken that way (unless they are saying "in Augusta"). But she says everyone here pronounces it that way. I'm still dubious. There's a North Augusta on the South Carolina side of the border. Maybe some people refer to North Augusta as Nugusta? But I didn't find any mention of that online.


This weekend, I:

- mowed my lawn
- washed out my garbage bin as had gotten gunky inside. I don't like stinky garbage cans. I took a photo of the bin's number, so that if it happens again, I'll know whether my bin was accidentally switched with the neighbor's or something. (Although it's mainly for curiosity's sake. I wouldn't actually go up to the neighbor and say, "Hey, I think our garbage bins were switched, because mine was clean inside, and this one isn't.")
- did more work on securing the fence against Serena at Qiao's house. This involves a lot of brick moving, and some pounding of stakes. It's about half done.
- cleaned Qiao's shower stall in order to apply tub grip to the floor, and then did the latter.
- watched Dirk Gently
- did some yardwork at Qiao's house
- turned on the heater for the first time this season and let it air out with the windows open.
- replaced fridge evaporator fan
- ordered Culture Club tickets - they are scheduled to play in Augusta in November

Other things I need to do soon:

- look up info on the non-presidential candidates for the upcoming election
- choose a doctor for myself
darkoshi: (Default)
The person I hired to reseal the sunroom roof has finally finished the job, this morning. He came down with the flu in the middle of it, so I don't fault him too much for the delay this time. (Though I do still fault him on not getting back in touch with me last year when he was supposed to do it the first time.)

Something I wasn't expecting to see, upon getting out the ladder to take a quick look at the roof, was a lot of insects stuck and struggling to free themselves from the still-tacky silicone coating. Ten or so stuck insects in the section near the edge where I was looking, and likely many more across the rest of the surface.

I tried to help a few of them get free. But even after being freed from the surface, they still had the sticky stuff on them. My efforts may have made it even worse for them. The first one might have survived; it disappeared after cleaning its legs for a while, so I'm not sure. The 2nd one died. Apparently nail polish remover, even the natural kind made from maize, is toxic to insects. I suppose the most humane thing to do is to leave them stuck to die that way, rather than being partially squashed, dismembered and/or poisoned. Or maybe a quick death by poison would be better. I don't know. I just don't know.

Does this mean I wouldn't ever have a roof resealed like that again? No, I probably would do it again, if it needed to be done. But it pains me. Does anyone understand how I feel? Does anyone else comprehend feeling empathy for insects? When they don't even feel it for pigs or fish or chickens or cows?

I was going to drive back in to the office to work the rest of the day there, but now I've spent so much time on this, I'd better work from home.

and pinecones

Sunday, February 28th, 2016 01:43 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Revisited the crawlspaces today.

At my mom's house, I removed the electronic air cleaner front panel. The prior owners did get rid of the cells; the inside was empty except for a thin disposable filter. It was very dirty (reasonably so as my mom hadn't replaced it since moving into the house). My mom had bought a new one, so I replaced the dirty one with the clean one. With the front panel off, I could see into the return ducts. One of them appears to have insulation on the *inside*. It looked very dirty.

I removed the snake skin by the HVAC system, and found another snake skin by the exterior wall. It was next to an opening through which cables connect to the outside A/C unit and phone box. So that is likely where the snake(s) got in. My mom will close it off.

At the other house, I went down below to take another look at the humidifier I saw last week. I found the label with the model #, but no humidistat and no obvious way to power it off. I tried to turn off the water valve to it (because of the mold, we want to reduce the humidity in the house, not increase it), but then the valve started dripping, so I put a bucket underneath for now.

Maybe the house's mold problems is caused by the humidifier putting too much moisture in the air. Today with the heater on, the house smelled quite unpleasant to me again. Of course, now I'm envisioning a dirty moldy humidifier that may not have been cleaned out in ages, blowing mildewy air into the house, even though I have no proof yet that the unit is dirty inside.

Then I picked up pinecones and branches from the yard - last week was very windy.

Then I put up a pet gate in the house to keep the dogs away from the bedrooms. I'm unsatisfied with the gate though. It has 2 design flaws compared to the one at my house. The bottom catch doesn't work right (other people have mentioned the same problem in their reviews), and the whole gate occasionally lifts out of the hinges. Unfortunately the better model was discontinued and is no longer available. Now I'm considering getting a different brand instead, but that can wait. Maybe I'll get used to this one, or find a way of fixing the flaws.


I also voted in the democratic primary today. I'm disappointed that Hillary won over Bernie, and by such a large margin. But I'd much rather have Hillary win than Trump or the other Republican candidates.

dirt ducts snakes

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 11:30 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Last weekend I mucked about in 2 crawlspaces.

At the new house, one of the ducts had been loose and leaking out hot air (hopefully the reason for the high gas usage last month). An HVAC technician fixed it, but I wanted to look around to make sure there was nothing else obviously wrong-looking down there, and to get photos of everything.

I explored a part of the crawlspace with my high-intensity flashlight, headlamp, and camera. But a big low-hanging duct blocked my way to the other half of the crawlspace.

I wondered how the HVAC guy had managed it. Surely if a small person like me couldn't get through, even slithering on my belly... I suddenly wondered if there was another entrance into the crawlspace. There were no other entrances around the outside of the house. But in the garage closet, I found an access hatch. Bingo! Qiao knew about it, but I hadn't thought of asking him before-hand.

So I went in that way, found the duct that the HVAC guy had repaired, and took a bunch more photos.

Then my mom told me that she had been in her crawlspace unsuccessfully trying to find out where one replaces the filters. Since I was full of dirt from the other crawlspace anyway, I offered to take a look. The headroom in her crawlspace is somewhat better than at the other house. It turns out her system has an electronic air filter which has been turned off since she got the house. I'll have to go back to check what is inside the unit; when I was down there, I didn't realize that the front panel can be pulled off. It's possible the original cells may have been removed and replaced with a disposable filter - that may be why the switch was turned off.

There was a surprise in my mom's crawlspace: a long long long snake skin winding around the HVAC system. A snake must have shed its skin. Or maybe multiple snakes. Or maybe one snake multiple times. It was so long that I hope it wasn't a single shedding from a single snake.

Now I know to watch out for snakes when crawling around in crawlspaces.

lock not lock

Sunday, January 17th, 2016 02:55 am
darkoshi: (Default)
The door knob lock on one of my doors wasn't working right. It's the kind that from the outside locks/unlocks with a key, and from the inside by twisting a tab in the middle of the knob.

Closing the door from the inside was easy, but from the outside almost impossible. It was the oddest thing. From the inside, I'd push the door closed and it would be firmly closed. From the outside, even pulling with all my force wouldn't make the door click closed.

Furthermore, even when the door seemed to be shut and locked ok, repeated jiggling of the knob from the outside caused it to spontaneously unlock and open. Apparently this could be caused by a broken return spring. But I removed the knobs from the door, and the visible springs looked ok.

Finally I noticed that the door latch and strike plate weren't aligned well. The latch was right near the top of the hole in the strike plate and door jamb, rather than centered. The trick to closing the door from the outside was to pull *up* on the knob. However, the locked door would still open easily upon jiggling the knob.

So I filed the strike plate to slightly enlarge the hole on the top side. Now the door closes easily from the outside, and stays locked regardless of knob jiggling.

angle grinder

Monday, December 28th, 2015 09:02 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
2 guys came by in November to check on the house repairs I needed done. They were supposed to get back in touch with me, but I haven't heard from them since. I never heard back from the guy I had used before, who had come by a month earlier, either. So the gutter still hasn't been fixed.

But they did give me another idea of how to deal with rain getting in under the garage door. I had considered putting in a "garage door threshold seal", but that would make it harder to sweep dirt out of the garage. They noted that the water was probably puddling against the door and then seeping under it. Even though the garage is on a rise, the concrete right at the bottom of the door isn't sloped enough. In the past, Qiao had wanted to grind the concrete down some, but at the time we didn't really have the right tools for it. These guys suggested cutting some grooves in the concrete to allow the water to drain away.

So I did some reading. An angle grinder can be used for cutting grooves in concrete, as well as for grinding concrete. But the tool sounds rather dangerous. I decided to first try using an old screwdriver, chisel, and mallet to cut out some grooves. I was surprised at how soft the cement part of the concrete is - moist from recent rains, it could be scratched away with the screwdriver, without even needing the mallet. But the granite chips in the concrete are much harder and difficult to gouge away. They do make lovely sparks though! Yee-ha!

I decided to go ahead and buy an angle grinder to speed up the process. I bought a flat turbo diamond blade for cutting grooves, and also a diamond turbo cup wheel for grinding some of the concrete down to increase the slope.

I'd never used an angle grinder before, and the instructions that came with this one were somewhat lacking. I did some more reading to make sure that I was attaching the blade correctly. More horror stories about angle grinder accidents momentarily made me wish I hadn't bought it. But at least the kind of blades I got are supposed to be the less dangerous ones.

Today I got up my courage, along with my safety goggles, dust mask, denim clothes and work gloves, and tested the angle grinder with the flat blade. It really does cut through the concrete easily, including the granite.

I was going to test the cup wheel today too, but that one says to use a full face mask over the safety goggles. I don't have a full face mask, and I'm not going to ignore the safety warnings. So back to the store I'll go. In retrospect, my brother's motorcycle helmets which I just gave away, might have come in handy.

the weekend work

Monday, October 26th, 2015 12:20 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Yesterday I washed a section of the garage wall that had gotten moldy, with bleach. Boxes had been pushed up right against the wall, not allowing enough ventilation. This is the 2nd round of bleach on it, as after the first round a week or so ago, it still smelled musty from somewhere. I hope there isn't mold on the inside of the wall. It's plain unpainted plyboard.

Then, as I was doing bleach anyway, I mopped down (up) the sun-room ceiling too, as it had accumulated a bunch of mildew spots from the frequent moisture in there.

I looked up info on adjustable beds, as Qiao is planning to get one. Currently he switches back and forth between the bed and the recliner at night, trying to get comfortable. His foot hasn't been hurting him much the last few days though (hallelujah!).

Today I washed the dogs. They really needed it.

Then I tried to figure out why the kitchen sink drain was suddenly (since yesterday) making glug-glug-glug noises, even though the water was draining fine. Suspecting a blockage in the drain vent, I got out the ladder and went up on the roof to check the vent. There wasn't anything blocking it up on that end, and water I poured into the vent seemed to be draining fine / not backing up.

While up there, I cleaned out the sun-room gutters. Zorro chose to stand directly in the path of the falling dirt and debris. It occurred to me that I had just gotten her all nice and clean... Yelling at her didn't help any, but I finally managed to sweet-talk her into moving away.

I debated whether to go to the hardware store to buy a drain auger. I had tried pushing some cable wire down the vent, but it wouldn't go further than the bend at the bottom of the vent. But I didn't really want to go to the store.

I left the kitchen faucet running and checked the drain pipes in the basement. They were vibrating from the glug-glug-glugging. After a while, there was a change in sound - a larger rushing of water as if someone had dumped out some water into the sink. Whatever had been clogging it must have unclogged itself, as the glugging noise was gone.

While in the basement, I saw that water had leaked in during the flood-storm. It was absorbed into the dirt and didn't look too bad, but I carried a fan down there to help dry it out.

After the fact, it occurred to me that I could have simply tried using the sink plunger instead of going up to the roof and down to the basement.

I took advantage of the remaining daylight to cut down a branch that had cracked in the storm and which was leaning down on the shed. I had to use the extendable pole saw, with it extended to the maximum height.

And I washed 2 loads of clothes/towels, and made brownies. Finally.

Next, sleep-sleep-tired-tired.

Hurricane Joaquin

Sunday, October 4th, 2015 03:53 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Dear dog, if you're going to insist on eating small animals, please don't come inside to throw them up.

That was a bloody mess. The hairy part looked suspiciously rat-like. At least I was planning to clean that rug anyway.

Now we are having some very heavy rain. Qiao found water leaking in through the top of the bathroom window frame. I checked the attic, and found 2 large sections where the sheathing is all wet and dripping. Put up plastic bins to catch the water in the one section which is accessible to me, but it is dripping so fast that I hope the bins don't overflow while I'm asleep.

Then I checked the garage. A bunch of water had gotten in under the garage door seal again. I brushed as much as I could out even though I know more will come in. In between me going to the garage and coming back, the walkway by the side door had formed a deep puddle.

Down the street, where water tends to flood during heavy rains, it looks quite flooded. But it is dark, so I can't tell how bad it is. I had been wanting to call the county about that; they probably just need to clear out some growth in order for the water to be able to drain.

Dang, it must be really bad on the coast if it is this bad in the middle of the state.

that's my saturday

Sunday, July 12th, 2015 02:43 am
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I started watching Last Tango in Halifax on Netflix from the first episode. I've watched 4 so far, probably over the course of 4 weeks.

Even with shows like these which keep my attention and interest, I still pause them quite often in order to do other things. I've just got so much to do. That's also why I can barely find enough time to watch one episode a week. I watched the last one Wednesday night, past midnight* just cuz I wanted to, and naturally didn't get enough sleep that night because of it.

*actually, based on my browser history, I started watching it before 11pm, but then got side-tracked looking up info on audio sync issues and how to get the subtitles to display while watching it on the TV.

I get envious of Qiao and the amount of stuff he watches. He just finished watching all 10 seasons of Criminal Minds back-to-back (233 episodes! based on what Wikipedia says). He seemed to be watching 3 or 4 a day. (How can anyone do that and not have nightmares from it?) Today he watched 3 movies for a change. And he did an online course.

I vacuumed, washed 4 loads, changed sheets, ironed my shirts, fixed a seat cover for the chair, cut grass, cooked yellow squash, and washed dishes. Then I ate dinner and played some Words With Friends. At 1am, I thought I'd still have time to watch an episode of Last Tango before going to bed. But I decided to do a quick donation first, which ended up taking longer than expected (dang Firefox telling me I need to update Flash when apparently I already had the latest version, and dang Adobe website not displaying anywhere what the latest version number is, so that I waste time reinstalling the same version I already had). Then I read some DW. Now it's really too late to watch an episode.

I still need to do some research for a trip I'm going on. Not tonight, but I should tomorrow. I need to check Angie's List for ideas on who to use for some tree trimming. I still want to research HVAC options, and various other stuff.

My hands are hot. I forgot to wear gloves while using the string trimmer.

So many injustices in the world. So depressing.

A few days after I started taking SAM-e supplements, I had one of those rare tingly/goosebumpy feelings while hearing a song on the radio. It seemed encouraging. But in the weeks since then, nothing. They seem to be having no effect at all, and I'm getting tired of taking the dang pills already. I was going to start taking a larger dose, but that seems even more of a nuisance.

Wasps are getting into my stove's range hood. I had closed off all the small openings to prevent wasps from getting into the house a year or 2 ago. Yesterday I heard some buzzing up there. I discovered a bunch of dead wasps on the filter. Plus 2 still alive. I saved them; got them outside. Cleaned up the dead ones. Unblocked the openings; better to have a few wasps get in the house, than having them trapped and dying up there. Faced a dilemma: should I cover up the part of the filter that is meant to let light though, to keep from having the kitchen light attract the wasps? Though in doing so, I would no longer be able to see if any wasps are trapped up there (like the one I found today and freed). I ended up putting foil over it.

I should have taped the foil on from the bottom instead of the top. Then I could have more easily removed it to check. Too late now. Sigh.
darkoshi: (Default)
Meet the Camel Cricket aka "Spricket".

Most years we'll get occasional roaches in the house. But there were a few years where we kept getting those camel crickets instead.

I've also seen quite a few of them in the crawlspace under Forestfen's house. It's a definite shock when you're crawling* around the dim and cramped crawlspace with a flashlight, to come upon a bunch of them on the wall in front of you. But they're not as scary as other bugs; in the crawlspace they tend to stay still or only move very slowly.

*or rather as I do it, moving around while in a squat, to avoid getting dirt all over myself. If the space is so low that I'd have to wiggle on my belly to traverse it, I'm not likely to go that way. Even having to crawl on my knees in places tends to trigger sudden claustrophobia. But as long as I can keep a squatting position, I'm usually ok.

heat wave

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 10:05 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Oh dear. The weather forecast is for a high of 103 today, and the lowest high thru next Thursday being 98. Yesterday it was 100, the day before 98.

I'm thinking of replacing my HVAC system. I'd rather do it under careful planning now, rather than waiting for it to break. A few years back when I tried to have it serviced, they refused to touch it. I was told that it might last some more years, but in the current condition it could stop working at any time and they didn't want me to think that it was because of something they did.

I want to replace the ducts too, as the air that blows into the house always smells sort of like basement dust.

I'd really like to get a zoned system so that we could set certain rooms to be warmer or cooler than the others. Simply having an on/off switch for each room would be good enough for me (I don't care that much about air leakage between the rooms; just don't want cold air blowing straight out at me when I'm already cold), but it sounds like they aren't made that way.
darkoshi: (Default)
I've got plenty of files on my computer for keeping notes on various things. Now I've created a file specifically to keep track of where I put odds and ends. For those times I'm putting something away, and think, "Where can I put it, so that I'll remember that's where I put it?"

When I first moved into this house 8 years ago, I bought a pair of curtain hold-backs but didn't end up using them. Now I'd like to, but can't find them. I'm not sure if I got rid of them or not. I looked for them in the garage yesterday, but they weren't in the obvious place. Instead, I found the roll of magnetic strip that I was looking for last week. (Even though I had searched for that in the exact same place, so having a notes file wouldn't have helped in that case.) But I had already ended up buying another roll of magnetic strip.

I suppose now if I buy another pair of curtain hold-backs, next week I'll find the old ones.

The reason I need hold-backs now, is that I've put up the curtain track as mentioned in this post. It works so well - the sliders slide along the track so easily - that the curtains tend to spread out on their own, even after you push them to the side. So having a hold-back would help.

I'm still working on the curtains and black-out liners.

I thought the hardware would be the hard part. But the curtains and liners have given me more trouble.

Originally, I found a pair of curtains I liked in a JCPenny store. I tried to order them from their website, as the store didn't have them in the length I wanted.
First problem: when I put the item in my cart, the price was $10 higher than shown on the webpage. I called customer service and after explaining the problem, submitted the order over the phone to get the right price. To avoid delivery issues because of our dogs in the yard, I wanted it shipped to the store. But another item I was ordering (shears) didn't allow ship-to-store. So I ended up getting both items shipped to my house for free. I also used a 25% off coupon which the webpage had given me. And then there was 8% tax.

2nd problem: after hanging up the phone, I rechecked the amounts I had written down and realized that I'd been charged the higher amount for the curtains after all! I called back, talked to someone else, and though they couldn't easily correct the order, they assured me they'd credit my card for the extra $10 after the item was shipped. And they did - no problem with that.

3rd problem: UPS emailed me that the item would be sent by SurePost. In other words, I could expect it to be delivered by the U.S. postal service on Thursday. On Thursday, I checked the tracking page, and found that UPS had attempted delivery twice, and I hadn't been home! They hadn't emailed me to tell me that they were going to deliver it themselves after all!

So I worked from home on Friday, and received 2 other packages that I had ordered, but not that particular package. The tracking page simply displayed "In Transit". They ended up attempting the 3rd delivery again on Monday, when I wasn't home! Because of that, we had to drive across town to pick the package up. Actually, Qiao picked it up for me, wonderful guy that he is.

Next problem: The curtains had a sort of plasticky-metallic smell to them. I aired them out, but the smell didn't go away. The label said dry-clean only. But what the heck, I took a chance and washed them. Then I ironed them to get rid of the wrinkles caused by the washing. No harm done. The smell was reduced, but still present. It seems to be intrinsic to the fabric.

I don't want smelly curtains. So I decided not to keep these after all. I'll give them to Goodwill.

Next problem: The black-out liners. They smelled ok to begin with. But after hanging them in the window for a few days, with the sun hitting them, they started to emit a dirty-sock odor. Sigh. I don't want smelly curtains.

So instead of using those, I'm now scavenging old black-out liners that I had replaced in the past, and cutting and sewing them to the correct size.

The shears, at least, were fine.

ohhhhhhh not again

Friday, May 1st, 2015 09:49 am
darkoshi: (Default)
My dogs killed a rat in the yard. I don't know whether to be upset or pleased.
Oh please don't let me have rat problems in the house again this year.

On second thought, maybe it died of other causes, and the dogs simply found it. Who knows. It's small to medium sized, based on the carcasses I saw last year. I thought they lived in trees... maybe it fell.

slide & roll

Sunday, April 5th, 2015 12:03 am
darkoshi: (Default)
The sun-room's sliding glass door recently became very hard to push open and shut. It always took a good amount of force to get it moving, but it slid okay before. Now it was sticking on the bottom.

The door is big and heavy. To get to the rollers underneath, I first had to remove the stationary glass panel on the other side, which is also big and heavy. After getting the actual sliding door off the track, I moved it into a good position using furniture sliders, and pushed boards underneath to lift it off the ground far enough to access the rollers on each side.

I ended up replacing both roller assemblies - Lowes had almost the exact same item in stock.

Then there was much difficulty in getting the door back into the correct position and figuring out how to adjust the roller heights. Also, getting the other panel back in place and getting screw holes aligned. All in all, it took about 8 hours. In an interlude, I rediscovered the fun of tossing a mallet in the air so that the handle spins, and catching it.

Qiao would have normally helped with a task like this, but he hurt his shoulder recently, and I didn't want him to strain it. As it was, I only needed his help to get the door back onto the track.

Now the door slides so easily that I can even push it with my little finger! If I give it a shove, it keeps moving on its own! I'm amazed.

spring time

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 10:19 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Yellow: A few daffodils were out some weeks ago. Now there are flowering forsythia bushes (I looked up what they are called!), and sweet-smelling jessamine along the fence.

Pinkish-white: Elegant long-petaled magnolia blossoms, already completely replaced by young green leaves. A tree full of blossoms (possibly bradford pear; I'm not sure) by the side of the house. Puffs of a flowering almond bush (I looked up what it is called!) by the front windows.

Red: A single tulip.

Purple: The sweet-smelling wisteria is on the way.

Barking: woof woof woof

Falling blossoms: nature's confetti

Unusual: A Canadian goose taking a nap in the middle of the road. The other lane, and no traffic in that direction, but still.

Turtles: turtles, squirrels.