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I've been dragging around Stuff (tm) dating back to my Seattle household for years. I got rid of a little before my first move to a house of my own, but not enough. At 10pm on moving day, the movers told me flat out that I ought to get rid of some crap. They were right about that, although it would have been a better idea to look at my basement before giving me an estimate.

Over the past five years I've definitely made progress unloading Stuff (tm), giving away most of the pile of old computer hardware as it became progressively less likely to be useful / as I let go of the idea that I would do those things again / as I got a life.

But today was epic. I made more than half a dozen separate posts to the craigslist free section, arranging to give away the dinner table (Roberta has a great one that doesn't wobble), the folding table and chairs, the box fans (central air baby)...

And a gigantic box of miscellaneous homeowner hardware, pretty much all good stuff, but no I will NOT break it up for you and two big boxes of computer hardware, same catch.

Some things were harder to let go of than others. That damn table? Take it, please. The Grolsch bottles? I will homebrew again but I can collect bottles at any time, and I refuse to look at the pained expression of a mover asked to shift empty beer bottles again. The bins of hardware? You have no idea how ready I am to let those things go.

Eleanor's baby sling... that was hard. But if I keep hanging on to the thing, another parent will never have a potentially life-changing option. I could carry the thing around with me forever. I wrote a sonnet about it instead.

The blaupunkt stereo cabinet I've been using as a sideboard... this was a curb find, and I always intended to fix it up and make it light up all pretty and hook up an MP3 player to it, turn it into an awesome media player. In the meantime I used it as a sideboard, which purpose it served very well.

But I've done nothing interesting with it, I don't want to pay movers to move a curb find... and through craigslist I found a couple who have plausible and very cool plans for it.

So okay... we move on.

When these boxes of hardware leave the premises tomorrow, my house will contain hardly any junk. For the first time I'll be completely free of Stuff I Haven't Had Time To Go Through. I can't tell you how good that feels.
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Let the record show that my vegetable garden is actually producing edibles this year. Matter of fact, everything I planted is doing well... As near as I can tell. There are some mystery plants in there I'm not sure about, apart from a reasonable certainty that they are not weeds. Maybe they'll bear fruit at some point and I'll learn what the heck they are. Once again I failed to put down labeled stakes.

The radishes and arugula were completely victorious. That was sort of the plan. They are tasty and easy to grow and I wanted to be sure I got something.

The edamame soybeans, which seemed likely to die the same buggy death as five summers ago (whoa, the time it do pass), have rallied and are producing pods. The pods are still skinny little beanless things though.

And the zucchini, as you can see, are very happy. But they are, so far, bearing very small zukes. I'm not sure whether I should be pruning some of the blossoms or what.

And the tomato plant Eleanor brought home during the last week of school is thriving and producing blossoms, though no fruit just yet.

Last and... well, least, but still cool: two summers ago I bought a blueberry bush and promptly killed it by not arranging for watering during the hottest week of August. Only one stubborn shoot refused to die. So I kept it around, moving it from pot to pot and plot to plot, for two more years. More vegetative growth, but still no blueberries... sheer guilt kept me from chucking it. And lo and behold: this year, one branch bears six blueberries. Six whole blueberries! Oh, the excitement.
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One of the ACs simply has a balky GFCI reset button or whatever the hell it is, and I managed to turn it on with a little more finagling. I've also installed Ol' Drippy in Eleanor's bedroom on the suggestion that it might be a question of the angle— it lived in my bedroom several seasons ago, maybe it'll run dry in hers.

That leaves me with one giant window AC with a fan that won't cooperate. But the smaller unit is cooling the first floor just fine, so I'm not too concerned.

Meanwhile I learned a lot from the comments. I didn't realize it was possible to buy reliable, efficient non-central air units and I'll be looking into that for the future. Thanks for the advice, all.
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I have, at the moment, four window ACs in my house. One of 'em (a Goldstar) works properly.

The Maytag powers up, and I think the condenser works, but the fan doesn't. The Frigidaire just doesn't light up at all. And the second, cheapest-possible-model Maytag I haven't bothered hauling out of the basement this season sort of works but drips wayyyy too much on the inside of the house.

None of these are over three years old.

WTF? Is this normal? What's the half-life of a window air conditioner anyway?

I have my kitchen ceiling fan turned on and a box fan at the top of the stairs to help recirculate within the house and assist the Goldstar, which is doing a fine job of cooling my living room. But I really doubt it's going to cool the upstairs effectively. That's just too much to ask.

I don't generally work at home anymore, but in a little over a week I'll be telecommuting for most of two weeks. So I reckon I have until then to get this problem sussed. I'd prefer to fix the buggers if that's possible... it seems much too soon to throw them out (except for the drippy el-cheapo in the basement perhaps).

Any advice, oh Internets?
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If I'd known working with someone else would be this good, I would have done it a long time ago. I'm really, really liking my job. Lots.

But the downsizing (not the elimination!) of Boutell.Com has had some surprising consequences. For instance, for some months now I haven't worked at my desk here at the house... an enormous IKEA armoire. Deluxe IKEA (*)— very swank.

This Sunday, too damn late in the day, I looked up from the couch and realized I had a giant white box dominating my living room for absolutely no reason.

So I took the whole thing apart and moved it upstairs to my bedroom. A handful of words which represent two hours and a whole lotta exercise.

When I did this I envisioned a room with some open space, a more balanced feel, better sightlines for DVD-viewin' and a place to hang my freakin' Frank Shepard Fairey Obama print (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] opadit). What I never imagined was that the living room would suddenly be big enough for two couples to dance in. At, like, the same time. Heck, three couples if they're used to the crowds at Brasils. Move the coffee table into the dining area and you're good. to. go.

I have rarely danced with anyone in my own house since laying down a halfway-suitable floor. [livejournal.com profile] tashadandelion more than anyone else, but still just a handful of times. Now I have a real jones to do it often.

Gee, if my dinner table folded into the wall I could fit a small dance party in here... why yes I am insane, when did you finally notice?

(*) How do I know it's deluxe? The instructions weren't printed on newsprint and it took four hours to build the damn thing.
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HALP MY GARDEN IS FULL OF SLUGS!

I found at least five slugs on a single cilantro plant when I picked it.

This thread looks informative, anything to add?
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There's more. Oh yes. )
They followed me home! Last week I found the Blaupunkt hifi around the corner. Yesterday the Smith-Corona was on death row three houses down.

The typewriter works. It needs adjustment, and the w hammer is missing, but it works. As for the Blaupunkt... well, I see no indication that this beast still has a power cord. But it is handsome furniture in a dining area that needed a sideboard. And you never know what I might coax from it... no, let's be honest, I don't have the time. But it's a wonderful sideboard.

When you close the door over the hifi console, you reveal a richly upholstered space tailor-made for sophisticated beverage-related items (click the cut to see the left-hand side).
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I think I need a cat.

Now: I am allergic to cats. Categorically. And I've enjoyed having my voice back the last three years.

But the vermin ignore my good housekeeping and the complete lack of attractive foodstuffs for them, and sneak into my drafty rowhouse all the same.

From where, I do not know; my next door neighbors are nice folks who clean house at least as much as I do.

I am not used to this. There were always cats; mice and roaches, if they ever dared appear, instantly became expendable extras in a low-budget floor-height remake of "the most dangerous game."

The vermin must be stopped. And anything we humans do to keep critters at bay will only limit their numbers. To strike true terror, ah! that takes a cat.
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I am declaring an end to principal combat operations.

Actually it's quite a bit better than that phrase of our President's implies. I have a floor down! It's nice!

I still have to:

Tack up quarter round
Paint the nasty roughed-up portion of the wall formerly covered by furring strip
Create a new transition into the kitchen
Clean the hell up and put everything back
Buy a new bookcase to replace the crappy on-its-last-legs ugly-ass one that I nevertheless probably should have avoided overturning onto the TV... which survived

I should note here that Pergo does not suck, nor is it Too Hard to install really. I was working with a really BIG room here (30x14 or so) and I did something Stupid:



Never ever work from a starting point that will later require you to work against the direction the Pergo has to be laid down.

Let the record show I floored my entire house (excepting the stairs and upstairs hallway, which will get nice new carpet soon) for $600. And, yeah, a lot of TIME.

Floor! Yay! Off to IKEA with [livejournal.com profile] solestria for some Nordic goodness!
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I have always been laying Pergo. I will always be laying Pergo. Finished floors are a filthy lie promulgated by the somularchy.

I am following Plan One (180-degree turn of the whole business, not requiring new planks, which I do not have and cannot readily get; and even if I did get them, if the old planks proved too messed up it would be good money after bad).

I have laid nearly four rows following this plan. They have gone down very well, and I have managed to use planks with unhappy-looking edges without major trauma. Two more and I can move the couch and other heavy objects back to their usual places, which is likely to help quite a bit actually.

9pm has come, no more bashing and sawing today. Time to take a... break? Not lay floors or chase children or debug code or engage in any other structured activity?

[Gazes distrustfully at the sky]
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Thanks to those who commented on last night's post about my Pergo woes.

I have reconstituted my living room, minus several feet. Obviously this means clutter, but Eleanor is enjoying the promised Normal Day. And I had a Normal Wednesday Night. Including salsa with [livejournal.com profile] solestria at Brasils.

Tonight (but not late tonight!) I'll start relaying pergo at right angles to the subfloor. I expect this to go Well. But hmm, I'm not going to have quite enough planks. Not unless I can lay hands on a few more boxes.

[Dial dial dial]

Oh hell.

Naturally this type is no longer available. Naturally.

I'm going to check in person, because the gentleman I talked to only checked the computer. But it doesn't look good.

Damn Cats

Aug. 28th, 2007 09:42 am
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A cat is poopin' in my garden every mornin'.

I bury the evidence deep right away, but it's too late: swarms of flies have already arrived by then.

Any advice on keeping the Damn Cat out of my garden?

Speaking of Damn Cats, The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats is a remarkable bit of retro.
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Is nice, no?



The horror begins!
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Planted sugar snap peas and cilantro. I had seed in hand and got tired of looking for other options still available locally while the summer continued to tick by.

I know I'm taking a risk with the peas, they might not make it to maturity starting this late. We'll see. They can take a light frost, so if we get another mild winter I should be golden.

The watering setup is working great. There's a tiny, tiny, tiny leak still at the spigot after applying quite a bit of plumber's tape. We're talking a drip a minute or so. I can live with it but I'd love to stop it completely. Hmm.
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The plumbers' tape works wonderfully. I still get a leak if I don't have the spigot all the way open, but once I open it all the way I get no drip at all. Thanks to the many who suggested it.

Now I need to plant something... something edible that will still grow to maturity despite being planted in mid-August. Suggestions welcome. Yes, I know these will be the most expensive vegetables of the ever, but I will still enjoy them.
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They found a control board for me... somewhere. I will receive it next week. And then someone can come install it. Eventually.

Mmmph.
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The Sears service guy finally showed up to install the control board for my dishwasher.

They didn't send a control board, just a front panel. The control board is no longer made.

They owe me a new dishwasher, he says, "unless they can find a control board locally, I reckon an 80% chance they will find one locally. They will call... hmm... call them Tuesday if you haven't heard from them by then."

I have had no dishwasher since the start of June. I have had three "sick" servicepeople, two bullshit "you weren't there" cancellations, and two actual visits. One to find out I need a new control board, and this visit today to find out they didn't send me one. Only once he got here did he check his system to discover there was no way his visit could have been useful.
* * *

As a rule, I don't blow dough on dumb toys. But last night while picking up some more dirt at Lowe's (mmm, dirt— thanks for letting me spin your wheels [livejournal.com profile] devotdsatellite), I got that geeky big-eyed crazy look and picked up soaker hoses and an electronic timer. A self-watering garden that won't die every time I go away in the summer! Yes! Never mind that it is maybe 20 square feet? Tops?

Except that it won't work. I can't seem to get a leak-free seal on the tap outside my back door. It's, well, old. And it's welded on.

Any clever suggestions? Apart from returning the toys? I do have neighbors who could conceivably water things. But... self-watering garden!... geek sigh.
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1. My handheld digital camera, a Fuji Finepix A345, is about to die. The lens refuses to zoom out and uncover itself about 50% of the time. Soon enough that will be 100%.

Any recommendations on my next affordable handheld camera (sub-$300 at most)? I want it to do two jobs: take good stills, and shoot good-enough-for-YouTube video. A wide field of view is also a big plus.

I've noticed that Jill's Exilim EX-Z50 shoots video that's plenty good enough for YouTube, with a very wide field of view. Saves a lot of trouble compared to fussing with my mini-DV, which has a very narrow field of view. Although the sound recorded by Jill's camera was pretty rough, even when we remembered to turn off the air conditioner. Heh. Of course, it would be nice to have the luxury of several weekends in which to make a movie sometime and properly dub the audio, rather than using the raw audio recorded by the camera.

2a. Something disgusting happened to my guitar case. I'm not prepared to discuss it. You can probably get it out of Eleanor if you give her enough chocolate.

2b. Eleanor's guitar wall mount, which was a flimsy wooden thing, split down the middle.

2c. I would order replacements for both from Musician's Friend, which always has killer prices, but they are moving their distribution center and won't ship for another two weeks. In other words, they are broken. Can anyone recommend an alternative low-cost musician's supply site that they trust?

3. As mentioned, my cell phone's ringer has died, and I must wait until 9/11/07 to get a free replacement. I'm checking for messages a lot.

4. After weeks of missed appointments, the dishwasher repairman finally came out to look at my Kenmore, which obviously has a logic board problem. He looked at it for three seconds and said "yep it has a logic board problem." The logic board will be shipped to me. The appointment to actually install it will take place in... I don't know, February I'm guessing. Yes, I paid good money for this service plan.

5. The plan was to get a little pergo-ing done this morning. My jigsaw blade broke. I didn't make it to the hardware store because my motivation-izer broke.

6. Instead I worked on burning Nine More Minutes to an SVCD. I tried to burn it with Nero, which has completely forgotten that I paid for it. I was unable to immediately locate any documentation of this fact, though I am sure it is on a credit card statement somewhere. Then I tried ffmpeg and cdrtools. cdrtools broke on the first try, but mysteriously worked after a reboot.

Strangely enough, I'm more amused by all this than anything else.

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