Friday, 25 March 2016

09:37 – Barbara, Colin, and I went down to Winston yesterday. We had an appointment with a realtor to look at the house. Barbara had errands to run and was meeting a friend for lunch. She had to leave not long after the realtor arrived, so I showed her around the house and got her recommendations about what to do to get the house ready to go on the market. Otherwise, Colin and I spent our time punching out wall anchors, dozens of them, and spackling the holes.

When Barbara returned mid-afternoon, we packed up more stuff from my lab, and then headed for Costco. I returned the Lenovo desktop system, which had stopped working. I booted it up once and went through the windows registration crap. The next time I tried to boot it, it simply sat there at a blank screen. No hard drive spin-up noises, nothing. So back it went and I got a credit to my credit card.

Meanwhile, I installed a new hard drive in my old main system, a Core i7 Extreme, and got Linux Mint installed without a problem. Well, other than the fact that I have no Internet connectivity because that system has no WiFi adapter and I can’t get the powerline Ethernet to work up here in my corner. I ordered a D-Link DWA-140 USB Wifi adapter the other day, and it showed up yesterday. It’s supposed to run with Linux Mint, so I’ll get that installed and can stop using this Mint notebook as my primary system.

Michael David, the electrician our realtor recommended, showed up at 8:00 this morning to look at our situation and tell me what needed to be done to run our well pump and pressure tank from our Generac generator. He said there were two options, doing it right or doing it cheap (but legal) and less convenient. I asked him to explain the right way first. That involves him installing a cut-over switch in our breaker box that in one position routes the utility power to our house and in the other position cuts the connection to the utility power and makes the connection to the generator. With that option, we can run anything in the house that the generator has enough power to drive, simply by switching regular breakers off or on. There’d be a sealed box on the outside wall with a connector for the cable from the generator. I asked him about how much that’d cost us, and he said about $350. That was a whole lot less than I expected, given that when I’d gotten a quote down in Winston 10 or 15 years ago, the electrician had told us $900 for just installing a Frankenstein DPDT knife switch to isolate the house from utility power. Just for giggles, I asked Michael how much the cheap option would cost and how it’d work. It would involve them installing a cut-off and receptacle at the pressure tank and then running a cable from the generator across the basement, throwing the switch, and connecting the cable. It’d also allow us to run only the well pump and pressure tank. He said that option would cost maybe $200 or $250, so the choice was a no-brainer. I told him to do it the right way and give me a call to set up a time.

Other than that, I haven’t done much prepping this week. I did put in a Walmart order for half a dozen boxes of Alpo Variety Snaps dog treats for Colin, a half dozen boxes of Krusteaz Cinnamon Crumb Cake mix, and (to get to the $50 required for free shipping) three one-gallon jugs of pancake syrup. Those arrived very early this morning. Barbara hauled in the boxes while I was downstairs with the electricians. When I got back upstairs, Barbara said we had a leak in the box with the pancake syrup and that she wished I’d stop ordering stuff that can be dented or leak from Walmart’s website. They apparently hire baboons to pack shipments. Except for glass containers, they use no packing material whatsoever, just throwing the cans/jars/bottles randomly into the shipping boxes for UPS to abuse in transit. Fortunately, the three jugs of pancake syrup were in their own box, and the leakage was minor. I’ll rinse off the stickiness in the sink and check to see if any of the bottles are leaking. If so, I’ll repackage the contents in PET gallon bottles.