Thur. Oct. 17, 2019 – hope I’m feeling better, lots to do…

It was 63f and wet when I went to bed. Probably the same today. [57F and 94%RH]

Auctions, school stuff, and Halloween stuff to do today. Lots of running around. We are on the edge of the rain band on the FEMA National forecast, but I’m hoping for dry. Everything I need to do would be complicated by rain.

Oh, rent house stuff too. Almost forgot about that. Well, actually did forget, but got a text from the tenant. Dang. Already full day got fuller.

Time to make the donuts.


Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

36 thoughts on “Thur. Oct. 17, 2019 – hope I’m feeling better, lots to do…”

  1. Well, I’m feeling better this am. Still tired, but not hot flash-y and light headed.

    Should be a lot more comfortable doing the stuff that needs doing.

    Two stories in the news worth looking at.

    My tendency is to ignore “accusations of systemic racism” since that is ALWAYS the cry, no matter what the circumstances. Even putting that aside, this story shows bad training, bad decision making, and if policies were followed, bad policy. On the other hand… who plays video games with an 8yo at 230 in the morning? There is more going on here than first meets the eye.

    This story reveals more than it intends.

    Buried amid all the pearl clutching and breathlessness, is the nugget that most of the kids will remain eligible, just not get it automatically. There’s also nothing prohibiting the schools from using their own money to fund the programs. What’s missing is where the FEDGOV got any authorization to spend my money in Maryland or any other place feeding kids… and what does it say when the budget is $18BILLION?

    According to, About 56.6 million students will attend elementary, middle, and high schools across the United States.

    50.8 million students in public schools
    5.8 million students in private schools

    According to the article, “The National School Lunch Program serves roughly 30 million students, including about 20 million free meals daily. ”

    How is it that HALF the students in the US qualify for free or reduced cost meals?

    Oh, maybe it’s because “Children who come from families of four that earn less than $32,630 a year are eligible for free meals, and those with incomes up to $46,435 pay reduced prices”. According to the FEDGOV, poverty line for a family of four is $25,750– or $7k less than where you start getting free lunches, and nearly half of the cutoff for reduced price.

    My kids’ school was 100% free lunch and breakfast last year, and as of last month, no one could determine if we were free this year or just reduced. Given the universally poor quality of the food, and the outrageous amount of waste, the kids I see actually eating the meals must REALLY be hungry. That says little about their parents’ ABILITY to pay. And if they were automatically eligible due to foodstamps, then SNAP was already figuring to pay for their lunches, or otherwise known as “double dipping’.

    It’s nuts to say that half the school kids in America come from families that can’t feed them on their own. NO WAY is that possible. And if by some chance it’s true, then the lefties that object to MAGA because “America is doing fine right now” have a strange definition of ‘doing fine.’


  2. Local grammar school here in OC has attendants at lunchroom doors preventing illegal alien parents from entering with children to partake in free meals.

  3. Top immigration official Ken Cuccinelli doubles the estimate of illegal immigrants in the US from 11 million to 22 MILLION, after reviewing MIT study

    Cuccinelli is widely seen a Trump’s top pick for Director of Homeland Security
    DHS hopeful, Ken Cuccinelli, used an MIT study to say 22 million illegal immigrants in the United States though most estimates say just 11 million
    He has been vocal in agreeing with most aspects of Trump’s immigration policy”

    — probably more like 30 million, but who’s counting?

  4. Gov. Screwsome got me. I needed to replace door to backyard in our house of which we were initial owners 52 years ago. Home Depot rep informed me that I would have to pay mandatory $107 fee for disposal of hazardous waste because door MIGHT have been initially painted with lead based paint. Well, at least didn’t have to pay $1,000 chemical analysis fee.

  5. The YMCA aftercare program at our school feeds the kids dinner. Yesterday it was an eggroll. Soggy, cool, and in the words of the kids eating it “disgusting”. It was paired with steamed broccoli and an apple. The kids said the BROCCOLI was the best part of the meal. At least the apple wasn’t a mealy Red Delicious for a change, and most of the kids were actually eating the apple.

    No condiments or dipping sauce for that eggroll either.

    Nothing says complete, delicious and nutritious meal like an eggroll and broccoli.

    Lots of untouched eggrolls in the trash can. Hell, they even throw away the unopened milk bottles rather than letting the kids take them, or the councilors. Last week a councilor told a little boy he couldn’t have more, even though they threw dozens of meals away. If you want more of that crap you are truly hungry.


  6. “$107 fee for disposal of hazardous waste because door MIGHT have been initially painted with lead based paint”

    So the door is out behind your garage now? Because that is INSANE. Especially given that essentially EVERYTHING was painted with lead based paint prior to the 70s.


  7. No, the Home Depot independent contractor installer took the door away for disposal. Had I chosen to install it myself, the fee would be imposed on me, but I’m not sure about the state collecting from me,

  8. My son goes to a magnet high school. It’s the #3 ranked school in Alabama. It is physically attached to another high school, but students don’t mingle except at lunch. Everyone at both schools qualify for free lunches, since it is in a poor, err undesirable, err disadvantaged area. He brings his lunch from home. The free food is pretty bad, and the wait is at least half an hour.

  9. The YMCA aftercare program at our school feeds the kids dinner.

    The kids shouldn’t be there so late that feeding them dinner has to be a concern for an aftercare program.

    The parents need to get a grip about their work schedules, especially if the kids are younger than high school age. Most of the management where I currently work is divorced for good reason.

  10. Jerks at TSA. Wife just got back from her trip to SA. Opened her luggage and discovered TSA had been involved. She had bottles of glitter, really, really fine stuff. She does glitter tattoos on people.

    Well TSA had seen fit to open the bottles and dump the contents into the suite case. Glitter everywhere. Now the cleanup, glitter in all the clothes, plus the cost of the glitter. Jerks. I am certain some low brow cretin had a good chuckle and showed his/her left bell curve buddies how clever he/she was being.

    I would like to ram a bottle of glitter up his (or her) ass so they can shirt(-r) glitter for the next month.

  11. One of the prime reasons I’m still at my present employer is that they support flexible work schedules. I can do after school pickup without any issues. I only need the flexibility until the end of this school year, as the boy turns 16 over the summer and can then drive himself.

    Another thing that was keeping me here was our 401k. We get a 4% match plus a 4% profit sharing that is deposited in January. We were purchased by another company last year. They have finally got around to mucking with our plan. Reducing the benefit to a straight 5.5% match ( match first 5, then half of the next 1%.) It takes effect next year. I’ve voiced my displeasure at the compensation cut. Human resistance is telling me senior mgmt is looking at a one time special deal to help ease the transition. Screw that, I’m going to ask for a 2.5% x marginal tax rate raise, and that still won’t make up for the loss of having that money in a tax advantaged account. I’ll start seeing what’s out there around the first of May. With the job market being what it is, I don’t expect the search to take that long.

  12. “[Felicity] Huffman will be expected to eat breakfast from 5:30 a.m. to 6:15 a.m., lunch from 10:45 a.m. to noon, and dinner after 4 p.m. When she’s not eating, Huffman can do a variety of things…”

    From the comments:

    Six months from now, People magazine will run the cover story on Felicity Huffman’s comeback and looking bravely towards a new future, new projects, and renewed love for her family.

    It’s already penciled in and mostly written.

  13. CowboySlim, I will keep that door disposal fee in mind just in case. But, since about 10% of our heat comes from “wood” I would have cut it up for fuel.

    I put wood in quotes, because I have burned just about everything except oil, natural gas, and propane. Even bought some coal years ago. We don’t have nat gas to our site, and it is probably still not competitive. The cost of connecting and of the fuel itself have actually gone up in recent years.

    I am considering expanding our solar space heat, and maybe adding one of the newer heat pumps that are supposed to be so much better than the older ones. No rest for the busy.

  14. JimB, convert a couple dozen libtards to biodiesel and burn that for heat. They are, alas, a renewable resource, but one which no one would miss, so they can find their highest calling being converted into CO2 and sent into the atmosphere.

    hcombs, sympathies.

  15. From @Greg yesterday:

    I freaking hate software crashes. It is bad enough to give bad results but to crash is the ultimate insult to the user.

    Windows crashes are really bad to track down with data from the field. My guess is that Microsoft sends you the data.

    Nope. We rolled our own system. That way we see when somebody is trying to crack our security system.

  16. My HS gave everyone free lunch. It was cheaper to just feed everyone than to mess with punch cards and collecting money.

    Other than getting chicken necks with your Spanish rice, the food was pretty good except when they made “goulash”. I was told getting a chicken neck meant the serving lady liked you. I just smiled and and said thank you.

    If you wanted seconds of something no problem if you ate your first plate.

  17. Jerks at TSA. Wife just got back from her trip to SA. Opened her luggage and discovered TSA had been involved. She had bottles of glitter, really, really fine stuff. She does glitter tattoos on people.

    Well TSA had seen fit to open the bottles and dump the contents into the suite case. Glitter everywhere. Now the cleanup, glitter in all the clothes, plus the cost of the glitter. Jerks. I am certain some low brow cretin had a good chuckle and showed his/her left bell curve buddies how clever he/she was being.

    Complain to your congressperson ???

  18. From the comments:

    “Six months from now, People magazine will run the cover story on Felicity Huffman’s comeback and looking bravely towards a new future, new projects, and renewed love for her family.”

    It’s already penciled in and mostly written.

    Her career survived “over 40 actress”, but it wasn’t surviving “over 50 actress”.

    Prison could be the best thing that happened to Felicity Huffman, at least from a professional point of view.

  19. Have some time on my hands, and that is dangerous.

    Just thought I might tap the collective brain here. I am about a year from making and installing an electric perimeter gate. This will push my “front door” about 100′ from the actual front door. I will need some kind of bell, camera, and keypad for access. Every time I look into these, I find either the old fashioned (but reliable) wired dumb devices or the newer Wi-fi devices, such as Ring or Nest. The video capabilities of the newer devices are attractive, but I have had uniformly unreliable experience with Wi-fi, and especially battery powered devices, so prefer wired. I have also resisted the temptation to install something like Alexa or equivalent, which might be needed with these.

    This gate complex will be DIY, so everything is theoretically possible. It will have power plus any other necessary wiring available. It only needs security equivalent to that of a home garage door opener. I mention this because gate operators typically use remote controls similar to garage door openers. They also can be controlled with low voltage switches.

    I know at least one of you, Nick, is involved in home automation. I am just looking for suggestions, especially reading, at this stage. Ideas? Thoughts?

  20. @jimb why not a garage door opener (in the car) and a garage door opener keypad at the gate, plus another keypad/switch in the house?

    Switch in the house can be wired to the opener if you run an underground phone-type cable to the gate (since you are running power out there).

    Or, you could enable power to the gate remotely with something like a Wyze plug . Use the Wyze app on your phone to power the gate. And a Wyze camera in a outdoor enclosure (there are many, or you can make your own) would be inexepensive.

    And Wyze makes a motion sensor .

    I have several Wyze cameras – great cameras, good phone app, face-sensing, and inexpensive.

    And couple the Wyze devices with ITTT (If This Then That).

    I bet that someone in the Wyze forums has figured all of this out. Like this one .

  21. RickH, those Wyze cameras are impressive and inexpensive. I think you mentioned them a while back, and I looked then. Their only drawback is Wi-fi, but cams that work with Ethernet are an order of magnitude costlier. They say indoor only, but I could shelter them, so temperature extremes would be the only issue. I should have added that there will probably be a gate house, so shelter.

    The Wyze controlled outlets look better and cheaper than I have seen otherwise. I may try some for other uses. I think I finally understand the term “hubless” that I see on the Monoprice web site. Apparently, each device has its own ability to connect to the Internet over Wi-fi without a web server. Need to look into this more because of the security implications. I might prefer Bluetooth for short range and greater security. I am scared to put some devices on the Internet.

    As for garage door radios, I use and highly recommend the Liftmaster 850LM three channel universal receiver together with the 894LT four button transmitter. These are used in some commercial applications, yet are inexpensive. The receiver can work with a large (256?) number of transmitters. The receiver provides a 5 amp 28 volt AC or DC hard contact momentary contact closure when it receives a signal. It uses the latest rolling code format for decent security, and has very good range. Obviously, these are not limited to garage door openers. For instance, I use them with Touch-Plate relays for light control in conjunction with my garage door. I will use the same scheme with the gate.


  22. “There are 618,000 millennial millionaires in the US—and 44% of them live in 1 state”

    “The population of wealthy young people is growing, the report finds. And they’re getting richer: “By 2030, millennials will hold five times as much wealth as they have today, and are expected to inherit over $68 trillion from their predecessors in the Great Transfer of Wealth.””

    “The “Great Wealth Transfer” refers to the trillions of dollars that will be passed down to millennials from their baby boomer parents, who are considered the wealthiest generation in history.”

    It is a wonder that Kalifornia is not sending around hit squads for the death taxes.

  23. @jimb, I’d go with a proven solution, even if you assemble and install all the parts yourself. If you need a doorbell and an app, Doorbird makes a robust camera, with or without a keypad, and has a relay to trigger a gate opener.

    I tried rolling my own, with a regular IP cam and an IP relay box, but the app building stymied me. I could get the camera working with its app, and the relay controlling the gate, but couldn’t find an app builder platform that would let me actually deploy the app to my customer.

    Many hardwired IP cams, if not most, have a relay that you can trigger thru their web interface. Often the camera can trigger the relay based on rules (it’s meant to turn on a light or IR illuminator, etc). I’m sure someone more savvy than me could sniff the actual command or read an integrator guide to embed the button press in something more lightweight than the camera’s webpage….

    there are usually one or two extra relay contacts on the gate controller board that could be connected to the doorbell or the cam relay. It is somewhat easier to find a video doorbell with a relay than it used to be, but none of the most popular have one yet.

    For power you can do solar and batteries. Most gate openers have a solar option. You can piggyback or build another for cams, etc.

    I’m using a pair of ubiquiti Nano M2Loco in ‘cable replacement mode’ to get the ethernet out to the front gate.


  24. Reading in bed on an iPad, listening to music on the iPad through Bose QC35 headphones, and Mandy starts playing. Can it get any better?

  25. It is a wonder that Kalifornia is not sending around hit squads for the death taxes.

    You thought the wildfires were accidental?

  26. Nick, thanks, I will look into those options you gave me.

    Just me, but I don’t want the solar and battery thing. I am trying to avoid batteries as much as possible. Besides, it is easy to trench here and put in plastic conduit. I already have a bunch of stuff like that, and it has been maintenance free for over forty years; bury and forget. I have converted the few items that were only available battery powered using wall warts sourced from a local thrift store. Did I say I hate batteries? Rant off. (Oh, I remember your batteries in your weather station… on top of the pole. Sorry to bring that up.)

    And, I am resigned to solving my Wi-fi problems. Just not sure how I am going to do it. So far, hot spots connected by Ethernet have been the best, although a bit complicated to maintain. Remember, I am the guy who put foil backed insulation in all my walls. That was back when we thought fiber networking was just around the corner, and Wi-fi was unheard of. Talk about future proof!

  27. Nick, Doorbird looks good, although pricey and from the EU. Still, I will give them a good look. Right now, I’m frazzed, so will get back to it real soon. Seriously, it looks like a first class solution.

    I have time, and some other projects that need to be first. Gives me the chance to study and work out a good solution.

    Oh, agree with you on off the shelf, proven solutions. I want something sorted out and reliable.

  28. It is a wonder that Kalifornia is not sending around hit squads for the death taxes.

    In CA, hit squad member would be a union gig paying $200k a year minimum in salary, benefits, and pensions.

    A net worth of $1 million isn’t hard in that real estate market with the Fed buying the paper to keep Treasuries at 2%.

    My guess is that my in-laws have $1.5 million sunk into one cousin’s place in San Carlos, $1.2 million to start plus $300k or so to add luxuries … like a shower.

  29. @jimB, I have installed the Doorbird and the customer was very satisfied. It works well, and the stream is a standard format, so your NVR can see and record it, if your NVR supports Onvif standards. It is pricy, but very well made. Also, buy their PoE injector. They use a format that most people don’t and your standard PoE won’t work…. can’t remember details but we finally figured it out and sourced the correct injector locally, but it was a pain in the arse.

    I’m a big fan of wired.


  30. @JimB
    We’ve got a couple Wyze cameras out in the elements. One somewhat shielded. Both wearing (I think) third party bird houses to give them some protection. Anchorage gets cold wet and is electronics hostile. They’ve held up better than something that inexpensive ought. Don’t have any input on your gate but sounds like a fun project.

  31. Thanks Nick and Jenny, your endorsements mean a lot. I never gave the NVR a thought, but will. Security cameras are not common here. I mostly need to see who is ringing the bell, live.

    As for environmental stress, it is mostly extreme UV and dust from the dirt road. We don’t get much moisture, but it is easy to deal with. The UV and dryness kill lots of plastic items. That’s why this looks good: metal. Corrosian is also not much of an issue. Thanks again.

  32. Gate openers: Lots of options. All I have used is Mighty Mule brand. As far as I can tell, they all use a battery. The transformer or solar panel is to charge the battery. The point of that is so the gate works when the power goes out.

    Units with internal batteries use a 12v 7 amp battery. $35 at Tractor Supply, $14 at the local feed store. Seems like a popular size for deer feeders. My UPS takes two. (and yeah, the swap worked)

    On my gate, I have an external battery and a solar panel. A riding lawn mower battery. It’s in a standard size black plastic battery boxlike you would use on a boat and is shaded with a scrap of metal roofing. Because, Texas. No problems after a couple of years. Why external? Batteries gas and if that can corrode terminals, what about circuit boards?

    No keypad, just a doorbell button.

    The whole point of having the gate in the first place was to stop couples looking for a private place for sparking. Then to help keep the various critter on their side of the fence.

    How do I know someone is coming? I have a Dakota Alert driveway sensor. It detects metal and I’m the only one that know exactly where it is buried. It’s battery powered and the transmitter is about 50 feet off the driveway six feet up a tree trunk in a cluster of brush.

    And yeah, someone could come through the gate and take a long detour through the pasture and around a lot of trees to miss the driveway sensor. Not sure why they would when there is a perfectly usable driveway. But, with Zombies, who knows?

    Most of my neighbors have keypads. I don’t know anyone’s gate code. I suppose UPS and FedEx just leave packages at the gate? On the ground for the ants to crawl into. I use the doorbell button if walking but otherwise I use the gate’s remote control.

    It’s rocky here and 900 feet from house to gate. So, no Ethernet or A/C. Wi-fi via a NanoBeam pair might work but for me, but how to power the remote radio? Scratch any thought of a camera at the gate.

    What I have works for me. Could it be better? Sure.

  33. @paul regarding a camera in your setup.

    What if you connected a cigarette lighter socket to the battery, then a USB charger to that, which powers a WyzeCam camera in a covered enclosure? The solar panel should be able to keep the camera charged also, perhaps.

    Wyze has good motion detection, and will alert you on your phone along with storing the video for up to 7 days.

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