Category: lakehouse

Sun. Mar. 19, 2023 – Headed back home, stuff to do there too

Cold this morning.   40F or less.   It stayed cold all day yesterday and the sun only poked through for a short time in the afternoon.  Whatever today ends up being, if it doesn’t rain, I’ll be happy.

Got some small stuff done.  Finished weed-wacking my property and the HOA lot.   Picked up trash along the shore and the community dock.  I hate litter and it doesn’t take long.   Put up another flag pole holder.   Lot of visible patriotism up here.  It’s nice to see.

Helped stand up a 50ft antenna tower and learned a few new things.

Our guests had headed home while I was out, but they had a good time.   It was nice to have people here to share with, and nice to see D2 having fun with a friend.   If it was just a bit warmer, it would have been even better.   Can’t control the weather, I’m not a Bildeburg after all… 😉

Today will be wrapping up everything, getting ready to head home.   If I can cut the grass again, I will.    Some of it was so long it basically got flattened rather than cut.   I don’t want to leave it long for next visit.   There are a couple more smaller projects I can get knocked out too if I’m motivated.

I will say that cold HURTS.   My fingers, knees, nose, ears, and lower back are always sore in the cold.   Still as Kurt Cobain said, the pain lets us know we’re alive.   This weekend I was ALIVE.

Stack up some meatspace people and skills.   Build relationships while people are still open to them.  They won’t be if things get bad, and who you know, and who knows YOU will be very important.



Sat. Mar. 18, 2023 – meatspace baby

Cool, but clear.   Damp, well that’s a given.  Cleared up yesterday and dried out a bit.  I was able to do some work in the sun in shirtsleeves, but it got chilly when the sun went down.

While it was up though, I got some work done.   Got the remainder of the grass mowed.   Got the loose deck boards screwed down on the dock.    Installed white and red rope lights around the edge of the dock.   Put them between the slats on the benches.   Standing, you see them and they mark the edge of the bench and the dock, seated, you only see the glow cast under the benches, but it’s enough to move around, and know where the edges are.   The red is specifically for any astronomy nights.

Spent some time repairing two of my patio heaters.   They wouldn’t stay lit, which suggested thermocouple issues.   Cleaning with a fine sandpaper is usually enough, and that worked on one unit.    The other turned out that the t-couple nut was loose.  Tightened that and it worked fine.   Just in time to provide some much needed heat for movie night.

Found a few minutes to sight in the finder scope on my wife’s 8″ dob.  Unfortunately last night was overcast.   Maybe tonight it will clear up.

Couldn’t do the annual service on my mower because I still haven’t brought a complete tool kit up here.   I needed a socket driver extension to get to the wheel and oil drain bolts.  Oh well, next time.

I finished my mowing anyway, and then did the HOA lot next door.  Part of the community, solid citizen, all around good guy, that’s me.

Speaking of which, I’ll be headed to a not quite a neighbor’s house on the lake this afternoon to help with an antenna tower raising.   More meatspace, more networking.  More finding my place.

Go forth and help someone.  Stack up some community.  We’re all gonna need friends, come the day.


Fri. Mar. 17, 2023 – Happy Feast of St Patrick, and TGIF

No idea what today’s weather will be like, but it’s supposed to be clearing to a nice day.  Yesterday was overcast until it started misty drizzle followed by eventual downpour.

Spent the day messing around.  Got some small stuff done, or at least under way.   Not my most productive day, but small steps are still steps.

Today we have D2’s friend and her mother joining us for a couple of days.   Place looks pretty good for being a work site…

I hope we get some clearing and sun though, that will make it all easier.

The rest of you, stay away from amateur drinkers…and the roads they drive on.

And stack something.


Thur. Mar. 16, 2023 – two is one, and one is none…

Cool, possibly cold, and rain in the forecast.  Yesterday sure got nice once the sun heated up the day.   I was in shirtsleeves for most of the day.

We are supposed to get really cold, maybe freezing and possibly get rain later today.   Didn’t look like it was coming when I went to bed.  We’ll see later, I guess.

Spent the day doing stuff.   And stopping because of failures.

First challenge o the day was my wife working from here.   Cell as hotspot, VPN, applications running on back end servers in the office, and a lot of latency.   Not a good combination.   Lazy programmers, assuming everyone is on a fast connection, erroring out if something takes too long….  not a pleasant day.   The real problem was laptop battery life though.

It’s good.   So good she doesn’t think about it most of the time.   So when she got the low battery alert and went to connect the power brick… and didn’t have the AC cord, it was suddenly an issue.   I’ve got cords up here.   I’ve got cords in my other truck.  I’ve got BOXES of cords at home.    I didn’t have the one that looks like mickey mouse here though.    She ended up going into town to try to find a cord.   Walmart SAID yes, but was wrong.   Dollar Store, everywhere else, no dice.   Last chance, and why not, the pawn shop had one.   She paid $15 but didn’t have to drive a couple hours round trip to get one.   It is DIFFERENT up here in the country.

My day was similar.   I decided that knee high weeds instead of lawn wouldn’t do, so I got the mower charged up and started cutting.    I didn’t do my annual maintenance first, thinking I would bang the snot out of it one last time, then start my season with new stuff.    Well….    While I was waiting for the battery to charge, I got out my string trimmer and started clearing edges and flower beds.   Ran out of string.   Since I didn’t have a gas string trimmer here, I took the string home to use with the trimmer there….   and brought that trimmer up but didn’t bring any string.   GAHHH.

However, I have a trimmer here, new in the box, not even assembled yet.   It probably came with string… so I took the time to set that up.   Called my wife and had her get some string while she was at Walmart.   Used the new trimmer until it’s string ran out.   Started the mower up and SLOWLY began cutting grass like plants.   Tall and tough plants.   I ended up cutting only a 1/4 of the width of the deck on each pass.   More would bog the mower down.   It took a long time to make progress but I was about 85% done when the drive belt for the mower deck failed.

No more mowing for me.   A belt was not one of the maintenance items I bought for the annual.    (It will be next year.)   Wife came home with some line, and I went back to work.   It only fit the old trimmer head.   Which was fine until I dropped the trimmer and broke the gas tank…   OK, switch the head to the new trimmer motor and get back to work.  At least until I ran out of string again, because my wife bought a whole lot less than I hoped and asked for.

So switch gears again.   Put the blower attachment on the new trimmer engine and cleaned up where I could.  Until I ran  out of 40:1 premix fuel…

That’s a whole lotta gum flappin’, but it shows the value of having two (the trimmers) and the pain of only having one (the drive belt.)   And the value of a simple cord when you need it but don’t have it…

Hopefully, either my fisherman buddy or one of the stores in town will have a belt to get me back up and mowing.   I’ll probably end up going in to town in any case to get fuel and string for the trimmer.   If they have the belt, I’ll buy it and return my buddy’s (assuming his spare will fit my mower.)

None of this stuff is critical, but it could have been.   Have spares.   Have maintenance items BEFORE you need them.   Have duplicates of critical equipment.   Barring that, have good contacts and local help.    There might be someone up here that has the power cord my wife needed, but I didn’t even think to ask until afterwards.   One of the neighbors who is a full timer has a sign business, and probably has computers and a junk box of cords.  Next time, I’ll ask him if we need something similar…

Stacks.   You need them, even if you don’t think you do.



ps.   Wife was able to D/L and use a phone app for access to the database for work, without the latency of the pc connected to the hotspot connected to the nearest cell site…not ideal, but she can work with it.

Wed. Mar. 15, 2023 – groundskeeping… or gas powered slaughter, chlorophyll edition

Cool and dry, a bit windy.   Probably.   Houston was nice, with patchy overcast.   The BOL was sunny and patchy clouds with occasional local showers.   And chilly.   55F by the water last night.

Got the truck loaded, and made it to the BOL.  Met some people in the community (local ham club) where my feeling that everyone here knows everyone else was reinforced 10x…   The LEO knew which house we own as soon as someone said “Bob Johnson’s house”… and the lady sitting next to me has kin on my street.    The guy I’m going to help with his tower lives on the other side of the lake, near where we first were looking for a place.   If we were British the phrase “Are you local?”  would be heard…  and if things go badly I’m sure I’ll hear “y’all ain’t from around here  are you?”

As long as we can fit in, it will all be good.

Gonna work really hard on that.

And stack some stuff.   Lots of stuff.






Tues. Mar. 14, 2023 – 03-14-23 – Pi day! Also, a friend of mine’s birthday, but that’s just coincidental

Cool and relatively dry.   It stayed pretty cool yesterday too.  Great weather for the Carnival at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.   Today should be nice too.

My AAR for the rodeo  (as it’s known here) is in the comments last night.  Nothing like the other time with the arrest and all that…. just a nice day out.

I also did some pickup and packing before we went, but I’ve got some more to do today.   Then I’m heading to the BOL for a while.   Wife may or may not follow right away, she’s got some work stuff that popped up.

I’ve got a list to get from Lowe’s before I can leave and some stuff to drop off at my auctioneer if I can fit it in this morning.   And stuff to gather and pack beyond what I’ve already gotten together.   Never enough time to do everything…

So it’ll be short shrift today.   Hope the economy holds together for a while yet.   I’ve got stuff to do and having spending money to do it would be nice.   Western civilization was nice while it lasted.

Lynn asked if a run on the grocery stores was next.   Yes.  Yes I think so.   If people are worried, they’ll run out like a storm is coming, and there will be shortages again/still.

But everyone here already has stacks right?   Top them off, start some, or whistle Dixie, but don’t let denial catch you short.

What can it hurt to have a bit extra put by?   Stack it up.


Wed. Feb. 22, 2023 – 02222023 – more silliness ensues, no blame attaches.

Warm and damp.   Back in Houston, so overcast too.  Hot and sunny at the BOL yesterday with a very steady wind.   Not for the first time I’m thinking about a VAWT or even a small wind generator.

Did a few more things, mainly cleaning and organizing, before heading home yesterday.  Didn’t get any more fishing in.   Didn’t even try to fly a kite.   I’ve got some big ones that really  need a strong steady wind, and it would be fun to try them at the BOL.  Not really enough space though.

Today I might head over to my remaining client’s house to do some updates and installs.   Or not, if it’s not convenient for them.  I do need to get over there this week though, and the week is half gone.

Gotta do a pickup today too, and maybe a drop off.    Should be some checks waiting… had a couple of nice surprises in the last couple of auctions.

I’m also looking at the pile o stuff here and thinking I need to jump on some of this before it gets completely out of hand.   Always something to do…

And stacking, there’s always stacking…



Tues. Feb. 21, 2023 – getting stuff done…

Warm and windy.   70F and blowing 10-15mph when I called it quits last night.    Probably the same today.

So no slash pile got burned while I was up here.   Some nice fires in the pit were had.  It was actually pretty nice on the dock last night.  Fire was small and I put the screen cover on it.   The wind was blowing steady with the flags fully straight out.   Despite that it wasn’t chilly, so I listened to the radio for a while, then when the small fire was out, I came in.

Got my plumbing goal done.   Didn’t get to the hose bib, so we don’t have any working at the moment, but we don’t have any that will freeze either.  Seems nuts to worry about freezes, but we could still get another before Spring is really sprung.


Some more time in the attic and too much time crouching behind the tub and in the closet have me sore in places that haven’t been sore in years.  Do not like, can not recommend.   On the other hand, I’m getting pretty quick with the pex, once everything is ready to actually start putting it together.

Looking at my mug in the mirror I realized I didn’t have a razor up here.   That’s an oversight I’ll correct next time.

Today I’ll do some smaller chores, put things away, maybe organize a bit, then it’s homeward bound.  Stuff is piling up there too.   AND I need to start pulling stuff for the hamfest.   I need to decide if I want to rent a trailer.   I’ve got a bunch of stuff and want to blow it all out. Usually I stack my pickup higher than the cab, and I always leave some stuff behind.  This year I’d like to clear a bunch of stuff out and don’t want to  play ‘truck tetris’ fitting it all in place.  I’m thinking there will be some really good bargains.  Motivated seller.

I’ve been reading the “Laundry” series by Charles Stross.  I’m enjoying it a lot.  Finished the first 5, started the sixth.   He’s got a gift for jargon, and a razor sharp eye.  Book five involves a scrum and agile programming along with his normal skewering of management buzzwords and the latest trends.  Since in his universe magic is really just applied math, usually through computation, things go terribly wrong for our group of quants.  Plenty of pop culture and SciFi fandom shoutouts too.  Fun.

The world as we know it is rapidly changing.  The pace of change is accelerating too.   And while it might not end soon, SOME PARTS undoubtedly will.   Hard to know WHICH parts and how it will affect anyone specifically.   Preps will help though.

Keep stacking.


Mon. Feb. 20, 2023 – President’s Day

Cool to start but warming later?  Maybe.   Yesterday was pretty nice, sunny and warm.   Windy as Chicago until afternoon.  Decided not to burn my slash pile.

Also didn’t mow the lawn.   It would look better but I spent the time doing plumbing.    Took a while in the attic to get holes where I needed them.   Lots of belly crawling, lots of kneeling.  Lots of fiberglas.   Old boy used a kraft faced batt, and the facing is brittle and weak, so every time you touch or move it, it crumbles.   My N95 mask is filthy but my lungs are probably ok.

I didn’t buy the right sized adapter to connect to the existing tub controls, so I’ll head into town today and see if I can find what I need.  If not, I can solder on a copper to pex adapter, and leave a little stub of copper attached to the tub.  I’d prefer to do it without soldering, but if that is what it takes, well, that’s why they make that adapter.

Getting pex to the last hose bib was a challenge too.  I couldn’t get access from above, so I removed more paneling (fortunately in the bedroom closet behind the bath) and made a horizontal run, through a 90 degree bend where the walls meet… couldn’t have done that with plastic or steel pipe.  I’ll feed it from the toilet feed, and will put a valve on it.    It’s not ideal to have a valve in the closet, but there are nifty ‘snap in’ plastic access panels that will hide the mess.   As long as I get the valve in, I can turn the water back on to the toilet and tub, and worry about the hose bib later, with all the other spigots.

Getting the pex dropped into the wall for the toilet supply involved a lot of belly time, with my face down in the insulation.   I pick up yoga mats when they are cheap for just that situation.  Cardboard works too.  No matter what, it’s unpleasant and good PPEs are recommended.  Pex makes it a lot easier to do retrofit than any other system besides copper tube, and we don’t use copper tube for that anymore.

Finishing the tub/toilet/hose bib will leave just the hall bath sink, and the master bath shower on the old copper.   The sink should be straightforward if I remove the vanity.  The master shower is NOT straightforward, unless I open the wall in the bedroom.  Not looking forward to that.  That shower was replaced recently so I’m hoping the pipes are in good shape.   Yeah, I know.  Unlikely.

So today will be more plumbing.  Maybe some organizing.  And later a fire.  Hope the music is more uptempo though.

Stack some stuff and the skills to use it.



Oh yeah, it was pretty clear when I started my fire, but got hazy later.   The lake was dead flat- I could see the reflection of airplane lights in it.   I did see one long shooting star before the haze got too bad.

Sun. Feb. 19, 2023 – date feels weird somehow, what am I missing?

Cool here at the BOL, and damp of course.  Yesterday was nice.   Cool and clear with some clouds.  Bit nippy in the evening.  Today should be nice.

I did a couple of errands before heading up yesterday.  Dropped in on my gun store buddy.   Helped the wife and kids get ready for 6 hours of cookie booth…   then loaded up the truck and headed out.

Didn’t get much done other than putting food away, and unloading the truck.  Didn’t really expect to with the late start.

Today should be plumbing and electrical with a side of cleaning and organizing.  I might run the mower to keep the weeds down, and the gas fresh.  Battery is probably down though, in which case, I’ll get the charger going.   I need to do the full spring service before too long.   I have all the stuff but have been putting it off.

There are some branches to collect and maybe if there isn’t much wind, I’ll try burning some of my slash pile.  Lot of burning brush piles on the way in yesterday.  Given the level of the lake, there has been a lot of rain lately.  I might need to use an accelerant.  Always a good time…

The journey of a thousand steps– yada yada.

Prep.  Improve.  Stack…



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