Thursday, 27 June 2013

08:40 – It’s been a week since Barbara’s dad died, and things are gradually returning to some semblance of normal. Barbara went out to dinner with a couple of her friends from the library last night. Colin and I stayed home and watched Heartland re-runs.

I got another kit order from the UK yesterday, the second this week. I always explain that we can ship kits only within the US and then refund their entire payment. We take a $0.30 loss on each refund, but it’s not worth trying to explain to the would-be buyer why we’re refunding them $0.30 less than their original payment.

I’ve actually thought about using Bongo to handle foreign shipments, but it’s unclear to me how (or if) that would work since our kits include materials that the IATA defines as dangerous goods for shipping purposes. If it worked, it’d be ideal. I could simply accept orders as usual and ship kits as usual to Bongo’s Connecticut facility. They would then forward the package to the buyer in whatever country, charging the buyer for the shipping and handling fees and taking care of all the customs stuff.

We’re also getting an increasing number of queries and orders from schools, public and private, as well as virtual schools and distance-learning programs. I got us set up yesterday as an approved vendor for a virtual school program run by a small-town school system that supports 200 to 300 distance-learning families. The interesting thing about this arrangement is that the school system coordinates things, but which curricula/kits to use is up to the individual families. Each family decides which curricula/kits they want to use, and lets the school system know. The school system then orders and pays for the materials, which are shipped to them. On a specified day, the families all show up at the school to pick up their materials. So at this point I have no idea of how many kits we’ll sell to that group. It could be 20 or 30, or 2 or 3, or even none at all.

Work continues on building more science kits.

20 thoughts on “Thursday, 27 June 2013”

  1. You are breaking new ground in the field of home schooling, Bob; nice going!

    81 here so fah today and muggy again; rain showers and t-storms daily now this week, like Florida gets. Not my cup o’ tea.

  2. It may hit 120 here in Vegas.
    But it’s a dry heat. Keep the swamp coolers humming.

  3. Better dust than otherwise, sir.

    On second thought, I’ll take our 82 and mugginess and count myself bloody fortunate. I can always run a hundred feet and jump in the Lake.

  4. “Why don’t you take a long walk off a short pier” is good advice in the summer.

  5. Ah, Dr. Pournelle comes through again, “Obama’s War on the American People”:

    “That’s a harsh title, but after a careful read of his new Environmental Policy, to be implemented by Administrative Fiat without consent of Congress, relying on the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 which does not mention carbon as a pollutant but now the EPA has declared carbon to be a pollutant – it appears that Obama is out to damage the American economy just as it is struggling to recover.”

    I highly recommend Jerry Pournelle’s fictional book on global warming:
    And there is a free online version also:

  6. Here it would be a short walk off a long pier; the pier itself is mostly underwater now but kinda long, and the drop-off would be into relatively shallow water in this paht of the Bay. I could just stand up and have my head above wottuh. A few more steps out, though, and down I’d go. Water depths around here vary considerably; some pahts of the Lake are over 400 feet deep, probably where Champ hangs out on his travels between his winter digs here and summuh digs in Loch Ness.

    Just heard the NWS issue flood and flash flood warnings for this paht of VT and across the Lake in the Vampire State, northern Essex County, fah from where SteveF hangs out. We are expecting several inches of rain tonight and into Saturday here.

  7. We have had 6 inches this week south of me, and around 4 inches closer to Tiny Town. And it all falls within minutes, causing flooding all over the place. I suppose that is better than the no rain at all we were getting last summer. Forecast is for afternoon pop-up thunderstorms as far out as the forecast goes.

    Relief from truly oppressive humidity is due for the weekend, but early next week, the Gulf air pushes back in. I spent a summer at Duke back in the late ’70’s (long before air-conditioning in the dorms) and found out what it was like never, ever to dry off after a shower. Had never had that experience before, but now it is the summer norm around here. Before I left the area in ’77, it was only uncomfortably humid for a total of a couple weeks, scattered throughout July. Thank goodness I got central air put into Tiny House for my mom after my dad passed. I’m too old to live without air-conditioning and dishwashers anymore.

  8. As long we live in the north country, we easily do without a-c in the house or the vehicles; there have been several days per year when we might wish we had it, but that’s about it. Not worth the expense and hassle here. Our main weather concerns are ice storms and blizzards that might knock out power for anywhere from seconds to weeks, these days. So we’re slowly building our household capability to not only survive but live quite comfortably in circa-1900 conditions for an entire northern New England wintuh.

    We have a dishwasher, and Mrs. OFD uses it all the time, but I don’t care for them much and am never satisfied with results so I do the dishes and pots and pans by hand. There aren’t really any modern conveniences that we couldn’t do without; if the juice gets cut off, that cuts off a lotta stuff right away. Back to cooking on the woodstoves, reading by lantern light, playing Checkers and maybe learning Backgammon and Chess finally, listening to radios so long as we have batteries and/or generator, and going to bed and waking with the sun and the seasons. And a lot of physical labor during the daylight hours, with firewood, water, gardening, etc.

    If some marauding brigands wanna bust in and take even that little from us, we will not go quietly.

  9. Chuck wrote:

    “Thank goodness I got central air put into Tiny House for my mom after my dad passed. I’m too old to live without air-conditioning and dishwashers anymore.”

    If I wasn’t leaving this place I’d have reverse cycle air conditioning and heating put in. I used to tolerate heat (but not humidity) quite well; but now heat, humidity and cold all really annoy me.

    I wouldn’t get a dishwasher, not only would I not create enough work for one but they’re just another expense and complication. Has anyone ever had one spring a leak?

  10. For anyone who didn’t follow Ray’s link, here’s the key bit: “…the images were child pornography under federal law, even though they involved a consensual relationship and someone above the age of consent.”

    It is legal to have sex with a woman before you are allowed to take her nude picture. Clearly, the law is an ass, and the prosecutor doubly so for pursuing such a case.

  11. It is legal to have sex with a woman before you are allowed to take her nude picture. Clearly, the law is an ass, and the prosecutor doubly so for pursuing such a case.

    It is quite clear that we cannot rely on the judgement of prosecutors.

  12. Prosecutors are out for fame and fortune, there is no such thing as innocents if it gets in the way of their career.

    They might say that sex is private to the people involved, but pictures/video might get out to others. Just nuts. I think people should be able to do anything at 16 except vote. To vote you should have to be 30 or putting your life on the line in the armed forces.

  13. I wouldn’t get a dishwasher, not only would I not create enough work for one but they’re just another expense and complication. Has anyone ever had one spring a leak?

    This didn’t happen to me, it was a co-worker’s parents. His father was a well off local businessman with a very nice house. For reasons known only to him he kept the domestic hot water up in the dangerously scalding range, about as hot as the system would go. It was oil-fired; he didn’t worry about the expense, he owned the local fuel oil company (among other things).

    One day they left the dishwasher running while they went out for the day. It sprung a leak. It must have been quite a leak. Hot water, not much short of boiling, spread all over the first floor and through the floor into the finished basement. It was like the house was turned into a sauna. Paint literally ran off artwork; I was told they had some very expensive paintings. Drywall disintegrated. Hardwood floors lost their finish, swelling and warping. The downstairs ceilings fell. Furniture, books, pretty much anything not moisture-proof, trashed.

    The good news was that apparently my friend’s father approached insurance like he did heat, you can’t have too much. The insurance adjuster had never seen anything like it, and they paid out a small fortune.

    Me, I like dishwashers, but I won’t leave the house or go to bed until it is through the rinse cycle. And our hot water is set as low as convenient.

  14. I’ve never had a problem with a dishwasher. That said, it would make a lot of sense to have an emergency drain in the kitchen – lots of commercial kitchens have this, if only because it makes cleaning a lot easier.

    We had a flood on the upper floor of our house 3-4 years ago. Weird situation, caused by living next to a forest. It was Autumn, a massive rainstorm, and we weren’t home. The leaves blocked up the rain gutters, so water came off the roof onto a balcony. The leaves promptly blocked the balcony drain as well, so the water came in through the balcony door. We got lucky, though, because in the wall next to the balcony door are heating pipes that come up from the garage. So most of the water ran into the garage, which happily does have a drain. We had to renovate that one room, but nothing else…

  15. In 2002 the hot water service sprang a leak while I was out of the house. I got to it before it caused much damage, only a square foot of carpet near the laundry door was soaked. Had to be replaced – it was 25 years old.

    I’ve also knocked the washing machine waste water exhaust hose out of the trough adjoining a couple of times. Got to it before any real damage was done in both cases.

    I don’t create enough dirty dishes to use a dishwasher. If the home I buy in Adelaide has one it may get some use if I cook for a large number of guests, but I won’t put one in if it’s not already there. Same for a pool. I won’t pay extra for a place with a pool, but I won’t fill it in either (as a neighbor here did). My sister is stridently warning against getting a place with a pool, my younger nephew wants me to get one, as no one else in the family has one.

  16. Has anyone ever had one spring a leak?

    Yes, I have. A small leak in the supply valve that caused the kitchen floor to warp. Had to take up the floor and replace it. Having a dishwasher is no different than having any other plumbing in the kitchen.

    The biggest cause of water intrusion into a home is from a washer supply line breaking while no one is home. Cheap hoses, under pressure with hot water being the primary failure hose. Do not skimp on washing machine hoses.

    We had a flood on the upper floor of our house 3-4 years ago.

    We had a flood in our basement about 10 years ago. We had the sewer line replaced and when doing so found another pipe coming into the line that was not from the house sewer system. So the line was terminated.

    However, as we found out later, that line came from a french drain at the back of the house. It was not supposed to be connected to the sewer line as that is illegal. Regardless, with the line now blocked, the water from the french drain backed up and overflowed into the drain for the outside entrance to the basement. The water in the stairwell rose and came in through the door. About 2 inches of water in the basement when discovered. We had carpeting and furniture in the basement.

    We rescued the furniture with minimal damage. The carpet had to be removed and tossed. Wet carpet and foam is heavy. We sucked the water up with a shop vac, put in two dehumidifiers and every fan we could beg from friends. Had about 15 fans on high for almost a week along with the A/C set at 65 degrees.

    We fixed the drain and it now runs out into the driveway and into the street. That drain flows several gallons a minute after a couple of days of rain. We were lucky we caught it early. Insurance paid nothing because the water came from an external source and only flood insurance would cover such damage. We had no such coverage because where we are if it floods that badly someone had better have already assembled a large wooden craft with two of every thing.

  17. The fellow who updated Tiny House for my parents when they retired to it, put in drain pans under everything, including the dishwasher. If the dishwasher ever leaks, that emergency drain pan goes directly to the same drain system that the kitchen sink empties into. He did not put a drain under the kitchen sink, though. We have had a dishwasher since I was a kid and none ever leaked. Neither have any of the washing machines. But what HAS leaked is under the kitchen and bathroom sinks and the toilet feed plumbing. Those I have never seen protected, though, and they are the ones that really need it.

    Tiny House has hot water radiator heat. Central air is in the attic. It has a drain pan under the unit where condensation forms, in case the direct drain for it fails or clogs.

    The places we lived in Germany had special drains under the shower floor. So if the shower ever overflowed, it did so into another catch drain. Never had that happen, though. Some bathrooms there make the whole bathroom floor a drain. Same in some of their kitchens—very much like the commercial kitchens Brad was talking about.

    I don’t keep the water heater temp very warm. If I have to add cold water to the hot in the shower to make it comfortable, I am throwing money down the drain, so I keep the hot water just comfortably warm for a shower. The dishwasher heats its own water and I could hook it up to the cold water supply—which is what they do in Germany for both dishwashers and washing machines.

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