Wednesday, 16 December 2015

11:24 – Barbara left about dawn for Winston. She’s running errands, picking up some more stuff from the old house, having lunch with a friend, and then heading back up here. She should get back mid-afternoon.

I was surprised that there’s not a metal or concrete pipe sticking up out of our septic tank field. I spent some time on the phone this morning, and the consensus among the people I spoke with is that pretty much nobody has such a clean-out port on their septic tanks. They don’t require periodic pumping out, and when they do need it you have to dig up the system to clean/repair it. No one seems concerned about that. Lori, our mail carrier, says she’s lived in the same place since 1993 and their septic tank has never given them a bit of trouble. Paula, our realtor, said the same thing. She recommended putting Rid-X down the toilet periodically. Some people swear by Rid-X and others swear at it, but there doesn’t appear to be much difference in experiences by people who use it and those who don’t. The major issue appears to be what you put into the septic tank. Human waste and toilet paper is all a septic tank intended to process. Apparently, if you put fat, oils, and grease down the sink, you can expect severe problems to occur frequently. So we’re dumping all excess fats in the trash, and even wiping out fry pans with paper towels to minimize the amount of FOGs going into the septic tank.

Until I used a notebook screen, I didn’t realize just how useful my 24″ 1080P monitor is. If I build (or, more likely, buy) a replacement desktop system, I’ll probably check into driving multiple monitors with it. Frankly, I don’t see what use that would be. I work focused on one thing at a time. I do hardly any video editing, or other tasks that benefit from having two displays.

As it turns out, although we have the Sparta zipcode, our new house isn’t actually in Sparta. We’re a couple miles outside the town limits, in an unincorporated community called Glade Valley. According to Wikipedia:

Glade Valley’s Zip Code Tabulation Area (Zip Code 28627) has a population of 1,405 as of the 2000 census. The population is 49.5% male and 50.5% female. About 96.4% of the population is white, 0.7% African-American, 0.5% American Indian, 0.3% Asian, 2.6% Hispanic, and 1.5% of some other race. 0.6% of people are two or more races. There are no native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders.

The median household income is $29,679 with 17.8% of the population living below the poverty line.

We still have a ton of work left to do to get things organized, particularly the science kit stuff. Barbara has graciously agreed to let me have my desk upstairs so that I don’t have to run up and down the stairs constantly. We’ll probably put my desk in the master bedroom, which already has Barbara’s desk in it. I need room for a tower PC, two laser printers, and a scanner, and I’ve promised her that I won’t let my desk area become dirty or cluttered. Alternatively, we may convert the large walk-in closet off the foyer into my office. That would the advantage of letting me work without disturbing Barbara. Also, that closet has two full-width doors, which allow it to be closed off and out of sight.

As far as science kit components, we’ve decided to store as many of them as possible in the garage. It’s not heated or cooled, so we’re limited to storing bulk items that aren’t temperature sensitive there. Stuff like cases of goggle, beakers, Petri dishes, and so on. The temperature-sensitive stuff–finished kits, bottled chemicals, etc.–will be stored in the unfinished basement area and the laundry room upstairs. Right now, we’re living on finished goods inventory because I don’t have what we need to build more kits. Either that, or it’s stuff that’s still packed away in boxes and bins. Getting that situation resolved is a high priority.

We’ll also set up in the basement unfinished area to do potentially messy stuff like filling bottles. Non-messy stuff like labeling bottles will take place in the finished den area downstairs, where Barbara can sit and watch TV as she labels bottles or whatever.

I’m reasonably content with our emergency preparations at this point. We have literally a ton of food, although much of is still packed away or in areas where it won’t ultimately reside. We have a reasonable supply of bottled water, and the means to purify more if we need it. We have what we need to stay warm if the power fails. We have basic comms and emergency lighting and the ability to recharge AA and AAA cells via solar. We’re not completely prepared, but where we are is good enough for now.