Saturday, 12 July 2014

09:29 – We’re doing the usual weekend stuff. I just noticed that we’re down to a dozen chemistry kits in stock, so I need to get started on building two or three dozen more.

Oh, yeah. The dehumidifier overflowed again. The manual is useless, as is tech support, which just says to return it to Costco. That makes Costco zero for two on dehumidifiers. The first one we got from them was recalled last summer because there was a danger of it burning down the house. At least this one just floods the basement. Geez. I’ll keep using it, keeping a close eye on it, but it goes back the next time we make a Costco run.

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73 Responses to Saturday, 12 July 2014

  1. Miles_Teg says:

    Where’s the dehumidifier made, if I may ask?

    I remember you mentioning de/humidifiers a few years ago, I think you said Barbara likes them. One that was built in to a cooler or heater had broken down and a technician recommended getting a small standalone unit rather than fixing. Was that the same thing?

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’m sure the dehumidifiers are made in China, as are most such things sold here nowadays.

    What you’re referring to is our humidifier rather than the dehumidifier. In the winter, with the furnace running, the relative humidity gets very low. When we had our furnace and air conditioning replaced a few years ago, the furnace included a built-in humidifier. That broke (out of warranty) and the service guy said they could replace it but it’d be nearly $1,000 to do so. He recommended a portable model instead, which is what he said he used. The roll-around portable models are a lot cheaper. The only drawbacks are that the paper filter assemblies that draw up water from the reservoir have to be replaced every year for $30 or so, and that I have to fill the reservoir manually once or twice a day.

  3. Alan says:

    Do you use the dehumidifier because that space is not conditioned?

  4. CowboySlim says:

    Half a century ago folks in the midwest used to put teakettles on their radiators in the winter time.

    But nowadays, are all devices that plug-in to the wall have integrated circuits and such? Can’t you download updated firmware to fix the dehumidifier instead of returning to Costco?

    (removing tongue-from-cheek…)

  5. OFD says:

    We have a dehumidifier in the cellar that came with the house because otherwise it gets a bit musty down there. We’ve had to empty the water several times a week lately. Of course I’ve also been washing the cellar floor with sodium triphosphate and spraying with Odor-Exit. Gonna be doing some cement work down there this year, too.

    We still use the teakettles here, one on the woodstove and one on the kitchen stove, in the wintuh.

    Yet another beautiful day on the bay here; chores, errands, wife working on her jewelry; both of us slept like the dead last night, temps in the 50s, after a hectic week.

    Probably grill up some fish later with wasabi-lime sauce and side of creamy buh-day-duh salad. Had pizza last night followed by Ben & Jerry’s Communist Vanilla Caramel Chunk ice cream dumped over lemon pound cake.

    Speaking of communists, the current OFD score for this regime is:

    Regular Americans: 0

    Regime Communists: 4

    (Bergdahl the deserter is back; a Marine still rots in a Mexican jail; and a serial rapist has been cut loose into a community out in Kalifornia; and hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens from south of the border are swarming all over the country like locusts)

  6. Chuck W says:

    The Linux annoyances are really mounting up. I am not sure if Evolution ever functioned properly, but I just today came to the realization, that it never updates the Inbox when there is mail on the servers — even though it says it is checking for mail at the proper 5 minute intervals I have it set to. The reason I never noticed this, is because my Android phone tells me when any new mail arrives in either of my 2 most important email accounts. So, I never actually relied on the Inbox to go bold and tell me mail had arrived. But the fact is that it does not. And I realized that I did not see the Inbox increase with new mail, even when I went to the computer 10 minutes or so after getting the Android notice (plenty of time for the 5 minute updates to take place). In fact, I now realize that I had to click on another email account, then go back to the original one, before it would show me the new email that had arrived.

    In searching for a solution, this problem appears to go back as far as 2008 and entries were still being added in May 2014 confirming it is a problem. Worse for some, is that Evolution locks up to a kill with “-9” option required before it will actually die. A regular kill still leaves at least a part of it running. I have not had a complete lockup, but many have, and 6 years later, people are still complaining. In fact, I saw a post by rbmorse saying he switched to Thunderbird and made peace with it, just to get away from the Evolution problems.

    On yet another front, for the last few days, random squawks and clicks are now surfacing during audio recording and playback that were never there until the past few days. I have not made any installation changes in over a week, so this is some kind of Linux rot that is setting in (either that or maybe the every-other-day upgrades I have been accepting). I am beginning to think that Windows rot is easier to deal with than Linux rot.

  7. Michael P. says:

    In the past this was cause by the float sticking when the water tank was emptied. They used to make these things with a float attached to the de-humidifier frame, hanging down into the water tank. When the water got high, the float would raise up, shutting the de-humidifier down and lighting a “tank full” indicator. Make sure you reach down and make sure the float is clear…. that is if they still use such dated technology. Good luck.

  8. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Thanks. I didn’t notice a float hanging down into the reservoir, but I’ll check it next time I’m down there.

  9. Miles_Teg says:

    Chuck, could the audio clicks be a sign your drive is on the way out? (Do you have a SSD or HDD?) Once my MP3s started getting a lot of clicks, and soon after that HDD died.

  10. OFD says:

    I had the audio clicks and static-sounding noises on this box when I went to Windows 8.1 Pro; every app that used sound had them, movies, Tube vids, Windows events, etc. It all stopped when I went back to plain-vanilla 8 recently. So while it could be MrChuck’s hard drive, it might more likely be the o.s. for some arcane reason; I never got a decent answer, or rather, I got many answers for this in re: Windows on the net, with many different “solutions.” Only real solution was to downgrade the o.s.

  11. CowboySlim says:

    Regarding marine in Tijuana slammer:
    1. Personal trip experience: Making mistaken entry is like driving 75 mph where highly visible signs say “School Zone.”
    2. Manager of Hotel Nelson in downtown TJ says marine walked across border, rented room, walked back and then drove back across (with guns).

    Who parked unarmed Jeeps on USA side, took bus across, and walked back through customs after lunch and shopping.
    Adios muchachos.

  12. OFD says:

    If what the hotel manager sez is true, then let’s pay the fine, have a trial, whatever, work something out between our DOD/State and the gummint, such as it is, down there. We took the deserter back free and clear and touted him as some kind of hero, which his platoon mates dispute violently.

    We had guys get locked up in SEA occasionally for the stupid chit they did but as members of an allied military, we could get them out eventually. Maybe that’s what’s going on, who knows. But they’re fine ones to talk about border stuff lately, or ever, but especially lately.

    Just tore down the living room ceiling, kind of a nasty gig for a beautiful afternoon; next step is getting an estimate for a new one. Then we gotta get an electrician in here. After that, eight new windows, four at a time. And work out how we’re gonna open a window hole and put a window in the brick wall up in the attic; one side already has a window; we need another for cross-ventilation. It’s an oven up there now and a freezer in the winter. Also looking into insulation for the living room ceiling space now and the attic later.

    I have five pages of a to-do list on this machine so far. We may get to them all by the time I croak. Or not.

  13. Roy Harvey says:

    Every dehumidifier I have used detects the weight of the water, not the level. The tank would hang on off-center pivots, so that the more water was in it the more it wanted to swing on the pivots. A spring held it back up to a point, but it eventually moved enough to push an off switch.

    In any case, do you fellow Costco customers a favor and check out whether it appears on their web page. If so, give it a suitable review.

  14. Chuck W says:

    Um, I still have relatives in San Diego, and second Slim’s warning. Of all the places to go, TJ is one they say to stay far, far away from — unless you are dual citizenship Mexican/US and look noticeably Mexican. Kind of like Prague from what they tell me. Plenty of pick-pockets, and just like the Stevie Wonder song about “the citay”, lots of people who are quite willing to plant stuff on you or do things that will put the gringo in the slammer. You go there at your own risk. I know a an American, married to a Mexican and living near TJ, who has twice ended up in the slammer — even though he did nothing wrong, and actually legally resides very near TJ. It was not always like that — back in the days of American Graffiti, it was much safer, so the relatives tell me.

  15. Chuck W says:

    Doubt my audio problem is the hard drive. The whole computer came back from a factory overhaul about 4 months ago after the keyboard died, and the computer itself is not yet 2 years old. Further, the audio problems happen whether the source is local or network and Internet, so that rules out hard drive to me — especially since the swap file is SSD, and with 12gb RAM, it practically never touches the swap no matter what I do.

    I fully understand Linux is a more robust system, but frankly, I think the state of affairs is that M$ — even with a crappier base to build on — has much better coders than Linux does at present. I have communicated with a couple of guys who were spending their out-of-work time during the GR coding stuff for Linux, but these days they are back to fulltime jobs and have abandoned all efforts for Linux. The key programs are now under the auspices of reputable companies, but there is lost time to make up for — including Shuttleworth’s attempting to beat Ballmer in the stupid department and heading down a useless dead-end path before finally getting the wake-up call; at least he was the unquestioned head of Canonical and did not get the axe like Ballmer. These days, good coders can get well-paid jobs very easily, anywhere in the whole Western world. The days of good coders giving away their time for free is over, at least for the present. Only the scumbag SOB’s with an attitude give away their time nowadays. Linux is going to have to figure out how to pay coders from here on out. Which hopefully they have done by various profitable organizations adopting a program. Which kind of makes one want to support those outfits.

    The difficult thing to deal with in the audio area, is that when it is working it really sounds fantastic! Noticeably better than the same computer running Windows (which is not even on it anymore).

  16. Dave B. says:

    So I pulled a Greg while riding my bicycle today. Just after going over a hill, I hit some debris and took a tumble. I managed to break both bones in my right forearm. Furthermore I did such a good job of it that surgery is required to fix it. So I am having surgery tomorrow morning. The good news is that unlike Greg I have a private room.

  17. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Wow, sorry to hear that.

  18. SteveF says:

    Condolences, DaveB, but I suggest you use this as the motivation for a dramatic life change. You will henceforth be known as the Litter Avenger, smiting those who leave trash and other debris in public places. We, the ordinary citizens, salute you.

  19. MrAtoz says:

    Woof, sorry about your spill. Must use more caution when I’m on my Trek pussy auto-shifter bike for old geezers.

  20. Lynn McGuire says:

    Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! I know that hurts because I broke the right arm one inch above the elbow. Required six weeks of traction. But no surgery thank goodness. Six weeks of bedpans though.

  21. Lynn McGuire says:

    I fully understand Linux is a more robust system, but frankly, I think the state of affairs is that M$ — even with a crappier base to build on — has much better coders than Linux does at present.

    MS has the best device driver writers. The PC hardware world is extremely, extremely fragmented and there are 100 suppliers of hardware for every function out there. I wrote a utility for identifying hard drives and had immense problems with it on supposedly standard hard drive interfaces. It works 98% of the time but getting that last 2% to work is debugging beyond belief.

  22. OFD says:

    Way sorry to hear that, Dave B. Damn. Didn’t we tell you to never pull a Greg? Maybe you’ll listen next time. Hope it gets fixed better than new with as little pain and hassle as possible.

    It is to me continually astounding that in all my travels and beyond negligent activities and behavior over sixty years I have never broken a bone. Still have my appendix, too. I’m probably being saved for something truly horrendous.

    As for Linux, I’ve never used any of my Linux machines at home for much more than standard home-type desktop activities and have not beaten on them like some of y’all here to get all kinds of stuff done. Different at work with massive RHEL clusters, but at home just standard things, net, email, some games, cert studies, etc. If I was trying to get work-related tasks done with Linux I’d give it a good ol’ college try for a while but at some point there would be a cutoff of time and effort, esp. if Windows could do the gig much more easily. What I’m hearing here is that Linux still has a ways to go with hw device drivers (hey write yer own, submit a patch, etc, LOL), games, and audio-video stuff. I haven’t gotten the nasty ‘tude off Linux guys that some of y’all have gotten, though; they have never failed to try to help and get stuff working for me over fourteen years of user groups and email and blogs.

    Well, now back to the Windows job hunt and a former RH server now a Windows 2012R2 server. Sucks, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

    Mrs. OFD won’t eat fish unless it’s fresh same-day but the wasabi-lime grilled tuna steaks were a hit tonight along with my Creamy Potato Salad and sourdough bread.

    Back to yard work tomorrow and dodging incoming t-storms, probably.

  23. brad says:

    @OFD: If your house is built the typical US way, your attic has a flat “floor” (that you can’t walk on without putting a foot through). Wouldn’t it make sense to insulate the whole attic, rather than just above the living room? If that’s the way your attic is built, and it is high enough to stand up in, I also suggest putting some sort of flooring down, at least a few paths, so that you can actually walk around without worrying.

  24. Ray Thompson says:

    surgery is required to fix it

    Sorry to hear about your combat wounds Dave B. What you are having done is actually fairly common today. They have found that putting in screws, plates, rods or whatever helps the bone heal faster than a cast alone. Problem is that is costs more, leaves a scar and at some point may have to be removed.

    your attic has a flat “floor”

    Actually it is the ceiling of the room below and is nothing but sheet rock. You have to crawl on the joists or place plywood down to provide a stable surface. Attics, in my opinion, are not good places for storing stuff because of the extremes of temperature. Plus you will many times have spiders take up residence in whatever you have stored and I really, really hate spiders.

  25. SteveF says:

    I like having spiders in the house. They don’t want to eat me or my food, and they eat the little bastards that do want to eat me and my food.

  26. Lynn McGuire says:

    Just tore down the living room ceiling, kind of a nasty gig for a beautiful afternoon; next step is getting an estimate for a new one.

    If I remember right, your living room is on the first floor (above your crawl space), below the second floor with your three bedrooms? And your one bathroom is on the second floor?

    Your knees much be in such better shape than mine. My knees were really crying yesterday when we looked at a dozen model homes. About half of them were two stories that we looked at just for grins. Those stairs with wooden steps really hurt nowadays, the carpeted steps are just a lot of grunting.

    So is this far enough out out for my home or are you thinking that I need to be 100 miles further out? This lot is about four miles further out from my present home from Houston:

    With the amount of people moving to Texas right now, legal and illegal, I’m not sure that you can get far enough away from the population centers. We hit three million barrels of oil per day production in Texas alone the other day and that is spurring job growth beyond belief all across the Great State.

  27. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I like having spiders in the house. They don’t want to eat me or my food, and they eat the little bastards that do want to eat me and my food.

    Yep. I was just saying this to Barbara and Kim the other day. Both of them hate mosquitoes, but both fear spiders and bats. I keep telling them that spiders and bats EAT mosquitoes, but they don’t seem to care.

    I might feel differently about spiders if I lived nearer the equator (or in Australia), but other than the occasional black widow or brown recluse the spiders around here aren’t dangerous to people and do a lot of good.

    I do understand why Barbara and Kim fear wolf spiders. They’re quite large but harmless to people. From Wikipedia:

    Hogna is the genus with the largest of the wolf spiders. Among the Hogna species in the U.S., the nearly solid dark brown H. carolinensis (Carolina wolf spider) is the largest, with a body that can be more than one inch long.

  28. brad says:

    @OFD: Eggzactly – open joists over sheet rock. I always thought that was a stupid construction technique. If you need to work in the attic, doing wiring, insulation or whatever, you spend more time trying not to fall through the ceiling than you do working. I always found this a total hassle…

    Fill the space between the joists with insulation, then you some plywood on top, at least enough paths to get everywhere you’ll ever need to go. If your wiring runs every which way through the attic, the plywood may need to be removable. Otherwise, nail it down and be done with it.

  29. Miles_Teg says:

    Wow, sorry to hear that Dave B, hope you make a full recovery.

    Two months and a week after my fall I’m mostly recovered. I can walk without being clumsy and my eyesight is back to normal. The left side of my face between the mouth and eye is still somewhat numb – my GP said it can take up to six months for the nerve involved to heal if it is damaged.

  30. Miles_Teg says:

    I don’t mind Huntsman spiders as they mainly kill other bugs and aren’t usually aggressive. Red backs (, I don’t tolerate: they get killed (carefully!) on sight.

  31. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, your Redback is our Black Widow on steroids.

  32. OFD says:

    Spiders: I respect them but hate the damn cobwebs. I clear the latter while trying not to disturb them. I won’t kill them.

    Bats: I love the buggers. The more the merrier. Mrs. OFD saw three the other night out back which is a very good sign, after a long absence here in Vermont. And we had one in the house a few weeks ago that wanted to cuddle with me in the bed. I gently removed him/her to the back yard with a towel. Also used the towel to remove a bird from the dining room a few days ago. Life is just a regular Wild Kingdom here lately.

    The attic: this house is an 1830 typical post-and-beam frame with exterior brick walls, a stone and cement basement, and we can walk all over the attic all day with no problem. I will be putting down insulation up there and plywood sheet flooring, though, and looking into whatever I can do with the one window and putting some kind of vent or small window in the opposite (brick) wall which is dominated mainly by the two chimneys.

    The living room ceiling was cheap-ass ratty pasteboard stapled over crummy wood slats which were in turn nailed to the original hand-hewn beams. Those hold up the wide planks which are the floor upstairs. We’ll be filling the ceiling space with insulation and then putting up a new ceiling over it in the next week or two. Lynn is correct on the layout; large living room downstairs with fireplace/woodstove; long but kinda narrow kitchen; small dining room; the stairwell up to the large master bedroom and two smaller bedrooms, one of which we use as a spare and one of which is my “office” where I am sitting right now. And the one cruddy bathroom upstairs, which we are also gonna tear apart and replace the tub with a shower stall and the redo the rest of it likewise and replace the small window somebody walled off. We may put a second smaller bathroom downstairs at some point in about half the current dining room and use the remaining space as a “study.”

    Gotta replace eight windows; get an electrician in ASAP; get a plumber in; replace both back and front doors; replace bathroom door or at least repair it and the frame; rehab the back porch in put in windows to make it three-season; lay in some deep and high raised beds out by the fire pit which gets the most sunlight here, etc., etc., etc.

    But first up is the ceiling; hauling away a ton of junk and rubbish; and fixing my truck.

    Mrs. OFD off to MIL’s house down in Montpeculiar tomorrow to strip and paint the deck; house will be on the market next month; MIL wants to dump it and use some of the money for us to put in that downstairs bathroom here. Also has to dump the house or move it up in northern Noveau Brunswick before the north Atlantic gets it. Had it for ten years but it’s gotta go. We’ll still own the dwindling plot of land, LOL.

    And Princess arriving for a return engagement next weekend with a down-and-out Euro traveling friend, apparently, female. I forget what country she’s from but I anticipate another fun-filled weekend of melodrama, angst and hassle. Happy birthday to me!

    Overcast today with chance of t-storms.

    Sore back from yesterday’s twisting and turning and wrenching the damn ceiling tiles out, so not doing much.

  33. brad says:

    1830? Must have been well-built for the time, to still be in use. Sounds like you mostly have problems with crappy renovations over a good skeleton. I hope you enjoy renovation work – we have a (not quite so old – 1930s) house here that I have spent many happy weekends renovating. The same sort of thing: A really good build for its day, but they didn’t insulate in those days, and some things just show their age. The worst parts of the house are the things that were renovated in the 1960s, when plastic and fiberboard were “modern”.

  34. OFD says:

    “Sounds like you mostly have problems with crappy renovations over a good skeleton.”

    And this:

    “The worst parts of the house are the things that were renovated in the 1960s, when plastic and fiberboard were “modern”.”

    There you have it in a nutshell. We are disposing of the wonderful renovations done by nincompoops and cretins thirty and forty years ago. The upside here is that Mrs. OFD has done this sort of thing before, with even older houses in upstate NY. I have not, but am coming to enjoy ripping out the rubbish and restoring stuff back to the way it’s ‘sposed to be but with such blazing innovations as insulation between floors and ceilings and wherever else we can put it, plus replacing rickety old windows that have had the crap beaten out of them by decades of strong lake winds and rain and snow and ice and sleet.

    My pet bugaboo, though, is upgrading and repairing electrical service and outlets and wiring and also installing the best smoke detectors and fire extinguishers throughout. Along with that, security on the doors and ground floor windows.

    And then we have a bunch of cosmetic work to do on the outside, mainly scraping and painting and installing shutters, fourteen pairs of them. We may be able to get to most of this by the end of this year and then concentrate on indoor chit during the long cold dark bittuh wintuh.

    Yes, 1830; like the other brick houses here in the village, with a somewhat newer Methodist (formerly Congo) church and the town hall. If I win the lottery we’re buying out the four or five houses that are not brick in the immediate vicinity, ugly pieces of shit, and demolishing them. I have an old map from 1857 or so that shows only the brick houses being here, along with the church. And three piers out into the bay; this village was first known as Port Washington, and was a going seaport in the early 19th-C, with lake-borne traffic between Montreal and NYC via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the Richilieu River, Lake Champlain, the canal over to Lake George and another canal over to the Hudson. Plus the naval battles fought out there during the War of 1812.

    Now it’s a minor tourist destination during the summuh we call the Redneck Riviera and the rest of the year it’s dead, except for the milk and manure trucks passing by from the myriad of vast farm acreage behind us.

    We think, and hope, we scored really well here for house and location, esp. in the event of a declining Empire and potential dystopia. We shall see.

  35. OFD says:

    “Your knees much be in such better shape than mine.”

    They may be, I dunno, but I also feel it on the stairs, mainly going down rather than going up. I gotta get out hiking more and snowshoeing and x-c in the winter when we have enough snow. And look into joint supplements or sumthin. I have a lifetime of walking, hiking, etc. but age sets in.

    “…So is this far enough out out for my home or are you thinking that I need to be 100 miles further out? This lot is about four miles further out from my present home from Houston…”

    I dunno, man; looking from further up in the sky you’re way too close to the greater Houston area; I would not wanna be that close. But you know the area far better than me and are tuned into whatever is happening down there now. It would be as if we lived that close to Boston or NYC.

  36. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    OFD is right. It’s a personal call.

    My general rule of thumb is that it’d be a good idea to be as far away in miles as the cube root of the population of the nearest metro area. So, for Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High Point (metro area ~1,000,000), I’d want to be 100 miles away.

    But a lot depends on the quality of those miles. If you’re 100 miles away but right off an Interstate or other four lane, you might just as well not bother. On the other hand, if you’re only 50 miles away, but at least five miles from a major highway (particularly if your place is accessible only by back roads with bridges or other easily-blocked obstacles), you’re in pretty good shape.

    That’s assuming that you’re expecting a zombie apocalypse. If, like me, you’re expecting a slow slide, just being well away from the city in an area that produces food should suffice.

  37. Lynn McGuire says:

    Oh man, the cube root of the 8,000,000 metro population of Houston is 200 miles. Not gonna happen as you get San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Beaumont all in that range. And I am three miles away from a major highway (I-59 which is slowly converting to I-69).

  38. SteveF says:

    Lynn, do you have access to orbital bombardment satellites? They’ll take care of traffic on the roads, or the roads themselves. In case you don’t have access yourself, just break into a government office, any government office, and use the voice control system on any computer to connect to DOD satellite control. When it asks for a password, just tell it “override” and you’ll be right in. Oh, and don’t be confused by the giant green letters, reminiscent of VT-52 terminals but bigger. Despite appearances, these computers are state-of-the-art.

  39. Lynn McGuire says:

    They may be, I dunno, but I also feel it on the stairs, mainly going down rather than going up. I gotta get out hiking more and snowshoeing and x-c in the winter when we have enough snow. And look into joint supplements or sumthin. I have a lifetime of walking, hiking, etc. but age sets in.

    I smashed my left knee through a glass door 27 years ago. They sewed it back together with 35 stitches inside and 65 stitches outside but it just is not the same. I cut through most of the nerves so it just feels dead to me most of the time. The ligaments are … used. And I am convinced the right knee has sympathetic pain. The wife says that I am a hypochondriac.

    And going down stairs is where your knees try to mimic shock absorbers. Except they are not. And if you are carrying 50 extra lbs like me, oh well.

  40. Lynn McGuire says:

    Oh, and don’t be confused by the giant green letters, reminiscent of VT-52 terminals but bigger. Despite appearances, these computers are state-of-the-art.

    I thought most government offices had keypunches and card readers?

  41. OFD says:

    “…On the other hand, if you’re only 50 miles away, but at least five miles from a major highway (particularly if your place is accessible only by back roads with bridges or other easily-blocked obstacles), you’re in pretty good shape.”

    Roughly 70-75 miles south of Montreal, pop. 2-4-million, but most of the main highway south crosses what is basically tundra in the winter, and with several bridges. About four miles from the interstate, but again, water “hazards” and bridges between there and here, and just three roads lead into the village, all three of which cross water or are very close to it and can easily be blocked, mined, demolished, whatever.

    Food producing area: check.

    The smell of manure all weekend so far, and the corn is up to my neck.

  42. SteveF says:

    No, most government offices have Windows computers, a version or two behind what’s currently for sale. You can’t expect government employees to play solitaire all day on a card reader, can you?

  43. OFD says:

    That’s for sure; most gummint offices I been in recently, including the VA, state, and Fed, are just now moving from XP to 7. And the servers are a mix of 2003 and 2008; nobody has 2012, like me here, which is kinda slick.

    As gummint drones playing solitaire? They caught several such drones in years past spending their work days, and I mean the whole eight hours, surfing porn/smut on the net. This is like unto the Fed drones caught doing same down in Mordor. They suck up our tax money and spend all day screwing off and biding their time until retirement, when they collect even more and go live down in Florida. I’d be pretty much as draconian as Bob in cutting the whole mess down to almost nothing.

    “But muh roads, muh roads…”

    And: “Without government, Davy, you wouldn’t have all the modern wonders of science and technology and medicine and the wonderful infrastructure, etc., etc.”

    Yeah, and we wouldn’t have had a series of major wars that have killed hundreds of millions and maimed hundreds of millions more and devastated a whole shit-load of wonderful infrastructure.

  44. Chuck W says:

    Whoa, Dave! All the best for a speedy recovery. Geez, I know the roads are bad around here and not getting fixed. Be careful.

    I have had a broken finger (last section before the tip) but they did nothing. Cannot even remember which one it was now. No other broken bones, but the dislocated elbow was no fun.

    On the Linux front, I do make pretty tough demands on computers. Most people do work on somebody else’s computers, but in my field, if you are a freelancer, you do it all on your own hardware. So far, I’m keeping my head above water in Linux, and the Windows computer is still up and running until I get all hardware working (printer down, scanner to go).

    The damned annoyances are just plain weird. After bemoaning Evolution’s failure to show new IMAP+ email messages yesterday, all of a sudden this morning, it was showing new ones in my main account only. But the kicker was that recording audio in Audacity, which has been working properly at 44.1khz for a couple weeks, recorded my weather submission at 48k this morning. Arrrgh! Win one; lose one.

    Next is trying to get TeamViewer working on Mint 17. For some reason, Firefox is not downloading the file I need. It says it is going to, and asks if I want to save it, but when I hit “Save” it disappears and nothing happens to the FF download module. I am assuming this is something on the server end. I have to log into the playout system at the radio station using TeamViewer on occasion to change the schedule of what things will play when, on days when the usual guy is off.

    One thing at a time, and some over and over.

    I’m with the Mrs. OFD on fresh fish, but those are definitely impossible to find around here. I really miss living close to the ocean. People here hate fish, but that is because they have never had good fish, only the breaded frozen crap the ag conglomerates foist on us — which often is nothing more than scraps of various species glued together somehow.

    Porch support in the middle of it for the overhanging roof was slowly collapsing, and work on fixing that has started. Should be done by the end of the week, along with outside painting on the front of the house to repair the peeling paint caused by an ice dam that dumped water down the middle of the front wall and caused damage both inside the house and out. A freak circumstance that will likely never happen again, they say. It will be a relief to finally get the outside fixed; inside was done last year.

    Stove comes out after that and new washer-dryer goes in its place. Building an island with an induction cooktop and a small convection oven. Then nothing will remain in the basement, except for the hot water heater, boiler furnace, and water softener. It is an old — what they call around here — “shelf” basement: the house was built with a crawl space and a basement dug out by hand after it was built. In order to protect the footing, a 4 foot ‘shelf’ is left all around the outside perimeter of the basement. Basement is very wet as a result, and not useful for anything but the furnace, water supply, and phone, cable, and electrical distribution.

    After the kitchen is done (including new flooring) the rest of the house flooring will get filled in where there were vents for the old original gravity feed hot-air central heating, then new laminate put over the entire rest of the house. Rooms painted something other than the current off-white, and hopefully it sells and I am outta here. Houses are selling around me for almost decent prices again, and I hope that happens here.

    Bats can be rabies carriers, but I still appreciate them. Have had them in several houses. They can get in, but usually cannot then find their way out. Not sure whether my efforts to get them out scare the bejesus out of them or not, but they are usually docile enough to let me take them out. I have a large Tupperware bowl that I just put over them, then a piece of metal to cover that, and take them to the door, open up, and they fly away.

    Since my doctor daughter in-law got me to be almost always barefoot, I find I have much more patience with bugs than I used to. In fact they seem more like pets gone astray. I try to take almost any bug but flies outside, but spiders get to stay unless they are the tiny ones that yearly infest my kitchen. Those get vacuumed. One or two bigger ones can stay (or I take them outside if they are making a mess without any sign of death in their webs), but the little ones gotta go. Flies get the vacuum treatment, sprayed to death with alcohol, or swatted when I get a new fly swatter.

    One thing I am really going to miss in this house (the only thing, actually) is the superb heating and cooling system it has. I am always comfy winter and summer. And with the programmable thermostat, I am paying a third the electric bill my parents were with window air-conditioners that hardly kept things comfortable.

  45. OFD says:

    Another question for any Better Homes and Gardens peeps here; has anyone ever knocked a hole through an exterior brick wall in order to install a vent of some kind, so as to allow better (or any for that matter) air-flow in a room?

  46. Lynn McGuire says:

    Another question for any Better Homes and Gardens peeps here; has anyone ever knocked a hole through an exterior brick wall in order to install a vent of some kind, so as to allow better (or any for that matter) air-flow in a room?

    Yes. Concrete bricks or brick bricks? My parent’s house is on Lavaca bay and is made of concrete bricks in order to take a sustained 150 mph wind. We put in a Jenn-air cooktop a decade ago and cut a 6″ hole in the concrete bricks for the vent. We were using a 3/4? 1.0? hp electric impact hammer that we rented. Something like:

    Four hours later (the concrete bricks are almost impossible to cut), we were done cutting the vent hole. I’m sure that you could use the same methodology.

    And in the no good deed goes unpunished department, a 5 ft long rat snake crawled in through the vent hole last year and scared me mum half to death.

  47. brad says:

    Given the vintage of the house, I expect the wall is solid brick, as opposed to a facade. This means that it will be solid stuff, and you don’t want to cause any structural damage. So I would suggest cutting the hole, rather than bashing it out with a jackhammer.

    The problem may be finding a cutter the will go the necessary depth – the common ones (like mine) only cut maybe two inches, and require running water on the cut, meaning you would have to work from the outside.

    Might be worth a professional opinion…

  48. SteveF says:

    OFD, how about putting a vent in the roof rather than cutting a hole in the brick wall? That’s what my dad did in our old house, an old farmhouse not quite as old as yours.

  49. OFD says:

    The roof vent idea occurred to me; not sure how that would be affected by rain and snow, which is prodigious here. We’ll probably have a mason come and take a look; certainly not gonna start bashing and cutting brick ourselves on This Old House. Seems like the roof vent would be easier and cheaper to do…hmmmm….thing is we wanna get the breezes off the lake from that direction….

  50. Dave B. says:

    Finally had surgery yesterday morning. Going home this afternoon.

  51. Chuck W says:

    Stone and brick masonry is an art. There ARE people who can do modifications to existing structures, but a good one is rare. My alma mater has several dozen stone buildings in Bloomington, most made from highly-prized Indiana limestone, the others from brick. Over the last couple of decades they have completely gutted many of the buildings and totally redesigned them, patching up some windows and cutting new windows and doors and enlarging many of the structures. You cannot tell from the outside where any of that work was done. It takes real skill to accomplish that, but it CAN be done. How you identify those people who can do it seamlessly, I do not know.

  52. Lynn McGuire says:

    Hey OFD, you probably need a whole house fan in your home. I assume that your upstairs is getting rather warm for this six to eight weeks while you do not have arctic conditions outside.

  53. OFD says:

    “Hey OFD, you probably need a whole house fan in your home. I assume that your upstairs is getting rather warm for this six to eight weeks while you do not have arctic conditions outside.”

    Those look interesting but the attic wall where we need to put something if we don’t do it through the roof is brick. So we’d still need to punch a hole for it in the brick, assuming we can’t mount it on the roof. Yes, the attic and second floor get kinda warm in the short summuh here; the attic becomes an oven. In the winter the attic gets a bit cold; there is only one window on one wall; the window on the other wall, brick, got blocked out by the chimneys back in the day at some point. So we have the one window and zero cross-ventilation when we could certainly use it via the winds from the lake.

    Can’t do anything through the roof, has to be that brick wall.

  54. Miles_Teg says:

    Dave B wrote:

    “Finally had surgery yesterday morning. Going home this afternoon.”

    Nice to hear. They kept me in for a week, and didn’t want me to leave when I did. My sister barked at me for signing myself out. Another week recovering at home, and I was still pretty wobbly. Now, 10 weeks later, I’m mostly okay.

    Saw my ophthalmologist today. I last saw this guy about 30 years ago, I’m surprised he’s still in the game. No sign of glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy, or anything else. Said to come back in a year… 🙂

  55. OFD says:

    Hope it works out better than new for ya, Dave B.

    Glad to know you’re on the mend, Greg; damn that was a nasty hit.

  56. Miles_Teg says:

    I’ve been meaning to take a few pix of the area where I fell, the post I hit my head on and the Harry Potter-like mark on my head.

  57. Chuck W says:

    I am not a fan of punching through roofs. ALL my water problems over the years (except the most recent) have been because of flashing problems around something going through the roof. I will never build a house that has anything going through the roof. Whatever it is, can go up the side of the house. Nothing going through the roof, and nothing on it, like the TV antenna my dad put on top of Tiny House.

  58. OFD says:

    Yeah, the roof idea ain’t gonna cut it here; we’ll be having a mason come take a look about maybe putting a small to medium vent on either side of the chimneys on that wall.

    But main priorities this week are the junk removal, now scheduled for 0900 tomorrow morning, the ceiling, and fixing the truck.

  59. Dave B. says:

    I am back home from my ill fated bicycle riding adventure. Shortly after 9 AM Saturday I was riding my bike in downtown Indy. I went over the bridge on Indiana Avenue just north of 10th Street. And then next thing I know my bicycle is going over. And then I am sitting on Indiana Avenue looking at my right forearm in a most unnatural bend in the middle. A few minutes later two very nice EMTs are explaining to me that even though my arm doesn’t hurt, I want pain meds because it will be hurting soon. A few minutes later I am sitting in the casting room of the closest ER. Then they took lots of X-Rays which reveal that I need surgery. Surgery has to wait until at least 3PM because I ate breakfast. So they fit me into the first available opening in the surgical schedule which turns out to be 9 AM Sunday morning. I finally got out of the hospital at about 4:30 Monday afternoon. It turns out broke my right radius in one place and my right ulna in two places.

    OFD, this is my first broken bone in my 49 year life. Lynn, I managed to avoid bedpans and just had those little plastic urinals. Which are complicated to use in bed left handed.

    My wife just remarked that it is hard to type on an iPad. I told her it a piece of cake compared to typing on a Samsung Galaxy S3 with your left hand while holding it with your left hand.

  60. OFD says:

    “OFD, this is my first broken bone in my 49 year life.”

    Yeah, I shoulda knocked on wood when I posted about my 60 years with no broken bones; doing it now.

    “…typing on a Samsung Galaxy S3 with your left hand while holding it with your left hand.”

    A sense of humor is a fine thing to have when one is confronted by less than sterling circumstances. Glad to see you still got it. Hope I have it when so confronted again.

  61. Lynn McGuire says:

    Lynn, I managed to avoid bedpans and just had those little plastic urinals. Which are complicated to use in bed left handed.

    I was five years old in 1965 when I broke my humerus one inch above the elbow. The doctor said if they pinned it then my humerus would be that length the rest of my life since the growth plate is in the middle of that section. And it was a clean break, no splinters. So they put me in traction at the hospital for a couple of weeks and then moved me home where Dad fixed up a baby bed for me. Bedpans all the way but my right arm is only off by one degree and is the same length as the left arm.

    I got to use one of those plastic urinals five years ago when I had my first heart attack. They were getting ready to cath me and I said, “wait a minute!”. I had had about five IV’s that afternoon and only one potty break. I was wired up with about a dozen wires on the chest plus six more on the arms and legs. The scrub nurse offered to hold the urinal for me (she had just shaved my groin for me with helpful encouragements from three other nurses). I at least managed to do that for myself with an IV in the back of the left hand.

    Glad you are doing well!

  62. Ray Thompson says:

    Only broken bones I have ever had was when I was 23. I, through stupidity, dove into shallow water head first. I heard this horrible crunch and excruciating pain. I crawled onto the show and told my friends to call for help. A long ambulance ride of about 80 miles to Wilford Medical Center (Lackland). X-Rays confirmed three crushed vertebrae in my upper back. Fortunately no nerve damage as the impact was straight.

    I spent a couple of days at Wilford and wanted to leave. Single, living in the barracks at Randolph, the doctors said no because I needed someone to help me in some tasks. I begged and pleaded and told the doctor my friends would help. He finally agreed.

    I hated Wilford. I was in a room with 7 other people with some really serious conditions. Urinals were stainless steel at that time. Would have made any bell maker proud. I avoided them as much as possible but one time I could wait no longer. Of courses guests were in the room visiting others and the first comment I heard “Wow, they give you alarms clocks in here.” Bladder shut down for the next two days and refused to expel anything. When I got to my barracks I could have filled a small gasoline tank.

    I still have some discomfort. But that back injury gets me VA benefits and when I quit work will get me medical care for almost nothing. Hopefully my wife gets on SSI disability for her hip replacement and thus Medicare for health insurance. If that falls into place my last day of full time work will be January 31, 2015.

  63. OFD says:

    The moral of these stories, folks, is never to get hurt or go to a hospital. Only time of any length I spent in one, two actually, was in SEA. Oh, and a hernia operation, I guess, at age two.

    I have a couple of issues that get me VA bennies and fairly soon I may get more bennies; we shall see. Wouldn’t bother but Mrs. OFD insists.

  64. SteveF says:

    I’ve had just a couple for-sure broken bones, both vehicle related. Several probable broken bones from martial arts, fighting muggers, clumsiness, and being shot, as well as a few odd lines in my skull which may be from skull fractures as a small child. Most of the rest of my injuries have been to joints, aside from a lost eye and getting my throat cut.

    … And, put together like that, doesn’t that all make me sound like either a failed badass wanna-be or the biggest klutz in the world.

    Apropos nothing, my mother admits to having dropped me on my head three times as a baby. If she admits to three, how many has she forgotten or just won’t fess up to? And they can’t all be accidents. I figure that a young mother, who doesn’t know how slippery babies can be, gets one free drop. Anything over that and she’s just plain a bad mother. My mom doesn’t disagree, but she laughs about it, so I have some doubts regarding her sincerity.

  65. Chuck W says:

    I went over the bridge on Indiana Avenue just north of 10th Street. And then next thing I know my bicycle is going over.

    Geez, did you do that on purpose? Two blocks from the IU Med Center and about 3 hospitals, including the one for children. Not that you would have qualified as a child. The EMT’s were probably on their coffee break.

    Glad you are back home. One thing that bothers me more than it used to, is the fear of bike tire blowouts. I have never failed to fall when that happened, and that factor keeps me off bicycles these days. Except in the gym, where you won’t have flats or fall.

  66. OFD says:

    I haven’t ridden a bicycle in many years and I probably shouldn’t mention this but when I was sixteen I used to ride my ten-speed down a very steep double hill in Framingham, MA, called Indian Head Hill (probably named in colonial times, like Salem End Road there, eventual home of some accused witches and their families in the late 17th-C) and my little handlebar speedometer used to register 70 MPH, through two stop signs/side streets, about a half-mile distance. No helmet. While tripping on acid. Got off scot-free each time.

    This is yet another black mark in my very long record of very bad behavior that probably ensures I will come to a horrible end at some point or go through some really terrible chit or both.

    “But gee Davy, aintchoo already been through some terrible chit?”

    Yeah, this is what worries me; it’s gonna be even more terrible than that chit.

  67. brad says:

    Bladder shut down for the next two days and refused to expel anything.

    Bodies are weird things – there are a lot more controls there than we can consciously lay hands on. When I was in the scouts, and we would go on week-long camping trips, I never had to poo. Just no need, never came up. An hour or two after coming home, it was time to fasten the seatbelt…

    Apropos lighters: we go through a lot of these in December, when my wife’s company puts on a month of candlelight events. We’ve tried all kinds, and they are all crap. Fancy, cheap, refillable, disposable, it doesn’t matter: after some random number of uses, they all quit for no apparent reason. It’s not like the mechanisms are complicated. Why should it be difficult to make a lighter that works essentially forever?

  68. Miles_Teg says:

    Blowouts at 50 km/h really worry me. Fortunately, it’s never happened, but it’s something I worry about.

  69. Dave B. says:

    Geez, did you do that on purpose? Two blocks from the IU Med Center and about 3 hospitals, including the one for children. Not that you would have qualified as a child. The EMT’s were probably on their coffee break.

    No, I didn’t do it on purpose. Although Mrs. B. accused me of doing it to get out of mowing the back yard. If I had my pick of hospitals, I would have chosen the local Smallville hospital.

  70. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    “Why should it be difficult to make a lighter that works essentially forever?”

    It’s not, actually. Zippo has been making such lighters for 82 years, and has cranked out more than half a billion of the things. And a Zippo made in 1932 is almost certainly still as reliable as one made last week. I used to have one that my grandfather had bought before WWII. I wish I still had it. Of course, with the amount of stuff I accumulate, I may actually still have it somewhere.

    If you read the reviews of Zippo lighters on Amazon, the one complaint that keeps coming up is that they’re not airtight, so the fuel evaporates after a week or two even if you don’t use it. That’s the way they’re designed, and I suspect it’s no accident. People sometimes put some vaseline or vegetable oil between the case and insert to stop evaporation, but from what I’ve heard that cuts down on the lights-first-time aspect. I always found it easier just to keep a can of Zippo fuel handy. In a pinch, it’ll also burn gasoline, Coleman fuel, etc. etc., which is a good thing.

  71. OFD says:

    “…doing it to get out of mowing the back yard.”

    Hey, if you can type up a buncha stuff on an iPad and hoist that around, you can push a damn mower, you goldbrick! Layabout! Slacker!

  72. Chad says:

    I still think the Zippo’s from 30+ years ago used a heavier gauge of steel. If you ever drop a Zippo while it’s opened it’s real easy to bend that hinge (easy enough to bend it back too) and that didn’t used to be that easy to do. I may try and eBay myself some antique Zippo’s “just cause.” 🙂

  73. Chuck W says:

    My grandfather gave me one of his older Zippo’s back when he smoked and I was in the Boy Scouts. However, when he quit smoking after his brother in-law died from a heart attack brought on by smoking, he asked for it back. My grandmother told me that he was afraid it would be encouragement to start smoking. My brother did smoke, but bought his own Zippo. Even though my grandfather had stopped smoking, he always defended my brother’s right to puff away and shushed anybody who tried to get my brother to stop.

    When I first got that Zippo, I spent a fair amount of time learning how to open, light, and close it with one hand, like my grandfather did with such ease. Have no idea what happened to any of those Zippo’s.

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