ar_wahan: (Default)
I spent a considerable sum buying the "Q-towers" and clips so we could put a Yakima rack system on Samurai's Saturn. It was her Christmas present. The boxes have been sitting in the living room by her "spot" since then. I intended to install them today and use the 48" bars that had originally been on my Corolla (but which were too short for the wider Prius). The idea was that she could use the cargo box we bought in August to cart her goods to Suffolk (on my Prius) to cart things back and forth herself in the future, as well as carry her ski gear. AND, to be able to transport our two kayaks herself (especially when she and Mai are on the Cape with us this June) without hijacking my car. In theory, she'd just have to transfer the J-bars from my car to her rack system.


Wherein I get annoyed with myself for not doing my homework )

Last night I made a recipe from The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook. I'd ordered two copies at the same time I'd ordered the small rice cooker for Samurai, had everything shipped to her to save on shipping charges('cuz I'm cheap that way), and asked her to bring the second copy home with her during spring break. There are some very interesting recipes in there! It includes "small meal" recipes, which means you aren't just cooking the rice, but vegetables and meat or other proteins at the same time. Kind of like a casserole or one-pot stovetop meal, only steamed instead of baked. And then there are other recipes for the use of the above-the-rice steamer basket.

Today was a lovely spring-like day. We could walk around without our coats, it being in the low 50s. (Of course, in a few months, we'll be thinking that is chilly!) Samurai and I went to the UU service, which was unusual -- "Jazz Theology: The Creative Pulse." Alison made some fascinating analogies between jazz and Unitarian Universalism, and all the music was jazz.

We went to the Route 9 Diner for a late breakfast, brainstormed places she might check out this week to see if she can get an application in for a summer job now (and came up with the same place at the same time, which she said meant we were reading the other's mind again; in this case, I think it's just because I know her interests). I shared [ profile] starseeking 's comment about her not getting the RA position -- that something bigger and more suitable for her was waiting -- and she appreciated that. She is already planning to do some training with PFLAG in Boston to be someone schools or other places could call to get youth to come in and speak about their experiences, and was wondering if she could get a paid job doing filing or something for them this semester. She's also going to talk to a law professor who taught an undergrad course last semester who thought very highly of her, and who might have some connections.
After we came home, I basically sat around reading because my blood glucose had dropped and I felt shaky (was waiting for the treatment to kick in). She kindly did some "spring cleaning" on my laptop, removing a bunch of "temp" files and also doing something to prevent some never-used programs from loading when Windows XP starts up (such as Kodak Easyshare, which I never use). This thing would take forever to load, and now it springs into action! Arigato, Samurai!

It was just too nice to stay in, so once glucose was up, I went out and started picking up some of the smaller sticks that are littering our front yard from the December ice storm and subsequent winter winds and ice. It looks a little better now. (There is still some snow on the ground.) I don't know what we're going to do with all the larger branches. The main parts we can use for firewood, but not the parts with twigs. The tree guy who came twice after the storm to do work said he could come back to take down the dangerously damaged pine in the spring, and bring his chipper with him to get rid of everything. Or, I could get a brush burning permit and start burning some of it. I see several of our neighbors burning brush now.

It's been a low-key weekend here, which is good. I've been deligent with my physical therapy exercises, and can feel the difference. Spouse played the guitar a bit this afternoon (I could hear him playing inside the house when I was outside picking up sticks). He finally did the dishes (his job) and is now taking a little nap. I think I'll brown some ground beef for spaghetti, then take a quick shower before continuing the rest of dinner prep (I'm not doing the shower first because I don't want the cooking smell to get in my hair!).

That's about it. *pokes you if you've dozed off*
ar_wahan: (cranky)
It's a weekday, this time -- not the weekend, when the service call is higher.

Our 10-month-old, "state-of-the-art" furnace is out AGAIN.

Temperature upstairs, where my office is: 56 degrees F.

ETA: The competent technician I nicknamed Data (when he was here in January) said there was something wrong with a box-like thing called "a control," so he replaced it.
ar_wahan: (Default)
Very nice older guy came. I watched him take the dryer apart to get at the drum. The belt had, in fact, broken. How to do this:

1. Pull out the vent/lint screen and unscrew the two screws on each side of it. Tilt back the control panel (I think this is when he did that) and pull off the top of the dryer by pulling it towards you. There is a catch under the front corners of the top. The one on the left was hard to undo, he had to stick a chisel or something in there and pry at it a little.

2. After the top is off, lift off the front panel of the dryer after unscrewing one screw that is on each side to secure it to the sides of the dryer.

3. You can then pull the drum right out.

4. Under the drum on the floor of the dryer is a rectangular flat piece, toward the back and to the right of center, called the tensioner. The excess part of the belt, after you get it around the drum, hooks onto that somehow.

He left us the old belt so we can use it to pick out the right replacement belt if we decide to do this ourselves in the future. But, it was tricky for him (he needed a headlamp to see what he was doing, and it was a very small space) to get the tensioner set up right, because it can move out of place.

So maybe we don't want to do this ourselves! But we at least would be able to accurately diagnose the problem.

He said the dryer's in pretty good shape, despite its age.

On Wednesday when I was bemoaning the cost of repairs and weighing them against the cost of a new dryer, Alison mentioned how she'd been doing the same thing in regards to a 27 year old (??) washing machine that needed fixing. The repairman said the repair was well worth the money, because her machine was much better made than today's machines. I'd like to think that the same could be said of our old dryer, but don't know if it's true.


Jan. 18th, 2009 10:51 am
ar_wahan: (pissed puss)
Our furnace is not working . . . AGAIN.

The good news, however, is that it is "only" 19 degrees outside, instead of yesterday's 1 degree. (Inside, it is 53 degrees.)

And we DO have electricity.


(Why does our furnace -- this one and the last one -- always choose to break down on weekends, when service calls cost more?)

ETA: Other good news: The service guy just showed up, and it is NOT the Ferengi. Not Riker, either -- but this guy does look a little like Data with glasses.


Nov. 23rd, 2008 08:04 am
ar_wahan: (Default)
The furnace is out. Again.

(Last time was Thursday.)

15 degrees outside, 56 inside. Lather, rinse, repeat.

ar_wahan: (Default)
For future reference ...

The boiler shut down because of a combination of cold oil and a cold chimney. Since it was installed in May, the manufacturer (Buderus) has been sending them with a larger nozzle because it, well, learned from its mistakes, I guess. So we now have a larger nozzle and "hots" have been added to the fuel in the tank (kind of the equivalent of anti-freeze, I guess). Some adjustments were made also to make it run better, and to keep the chimney at a warmer temperature. (Don't ask me why this matters, but it does.) We need to keep the garage door closed in the winter, because even though the garage is very cold, it won't be quite as cold as outside. If this happens again, we need to request that "hots" be added with each winter oil delivery, but the repair guy thinks we'll be fine from here on out.

Still cold in here, but the furnace is running now.

And HOW COLD WAS IT? Cold enough that Stella and Jesse were curled up on our bed together, something one simply does not see here! I guess instead of an Alaskan Three Dog Night, we had a Shutesbury Two Cat Day.

I tried to get a photo, but Jesse jumped off the bed as soon as I pulled out the camera....


May. 13th, 2008 09:50 am
ar_wahan: (cranky)
Friday: New boiler is installed. In the process, this meant no heat or hot water all day. At end of day, had heat downstairs, hot water both levels, no heat upstairs, because wiring needed to be finished.

Saturday: no heat upstairs. OK, we can live with it.

Sunday: Ditto

Monday: Guy comes back to finish up. He's still here when I leave house (with no heat). When I return, he's gone, there is heat, but boiler is making a RACKET!! Call after-hours service number, guy there says it sounds like a wire is loose.

Tuesday: No heat or hot water AT ALL. Service guy comes at 9 s.m., says the (brand-new) transformer is fried, he (of course) does not have one with him, has to get one from town 45 minutes away. He will be back this afternoon.

(And, FYI, it is about 55 degrees out. Not warm summery weather. It is cold in here!)

Meanwhile, I have a board meeting that will run from 7 p.m. to past 10 p.m. this evening, so I need to go out to find something that my family can heat up for dinner without having to think too much.

On the plus side, Alison just called, and we're going to meet in town before the board meeting to have dinner.
ar_wahan: (Default)
Spouse, upon returning home and hearing jazz music coming from the basement (one of his CDs on my machine), and then coming downstairs: "Wow!"

Samurai, upon returning home and poking her head downstairs at my request: "Wow! We have a floor??"

It is conquered.

Today the basement.... tomorrow the world!

And I am SO glad I am not going to choir practice (7-9 p.m.) tonight! I just took my last hot shower before the new heating system (includes hot water) is installed tomorrow. Given our last oil fill-up was $800, I am not sad to see the circa 1965 boiler go.

Now I'm off to concoct dinner (vegetarian chili and rice), and CRASH.

I have a Small Group (UU) meeting tomorrow, a TON of paid work due by end of day, and Stella to probably pick up and bring home after the meeting. So that means I need to remember to take my laptop with me in the morning, so I can get started while waiting and waiting in the waiting room of the veterinary hospital, since Dr. Katz will want to talk with me before releasing Stella. And he is always running late.


Oh wait, that's right -- can't do *thud* yet. Dinner first. :P

I wanna!

Mar. 19th, 2008 07:08 pm
ar_wahan: (highland kitty)
I've decided my father's pipes should be more prominently displayed than they are currently (hidden away in my office -- see icon). I remembered an original Star Trek episode (or maybe it was one of the movies) in which we saw Scottie's cabin on the Enterprise, and he had his bagpipes displayed on the wall. I just did a Google search of "bagpipe wall racks" and this was the first result:
Link here )

Well! :-)

Mar. 19th, 2008 06:05 pm
ar_wahan: (koska and ro)
Samurai just got an email from Northeastern University saying an admission packet was on its way. A year ago this time, Northeastern was her first choice -- and still was until just a month or so ago. It's flattering that she made the cut. (On paper, she looked right in the middle of what they were looking for.) We'll have to see if their "lettuce" offer ( [personal profile] daily_rant calls financial aid "lettuce") is more lavish than Suffolk University's miserly $3500 a year loan. It will have to be really lavish, though, for her consider attending.  (Northeastern is $8000 a year more than Suffolk. )

She has received one rejection letter -- from UNC Chapel Hill!  I find this kind of bizarre, actually, since its English Department folks came a'courtin' HER back in October, when she wasn't even thinking about UNC. It was a nicely written rejection, though, noting that 21,000 students had applied for 3200 first year slots. They also encouraged her to consider applying again as a transfer student, but she's done with them. For four years of free tuition (the scholarship they dangled in front of her), yeah. But otherwise, she'd rather stay in the northeast.

Also, this now indicates that if she wanted to transfer to Northeastern after a few years at the much-smaller, more intimate Suffolk, she'd likely be able to do so.

Taxes are done! I can pick them up this week and use them to update the FAFSA and CSS Profiles! Whee!

Samurai is on vacation this week. The car wash manager called this morning to tell her they weren't going to open today because of the snow/sleet/rain (no one in his or her right mind would wash a car today), so she had a day off (with no earnings, either, of course). She's going to Anime Boston on Saturday and wanted to buy a shirt at the mall to use as part of her costume -- she had a coupon for a particular store, and she can wear the shirt other places, too. So we went out together to eat a late lunch and shop for clothes.

This morning, a guy from my heating company came out to evaluate our heating needs... we really should replace our ancient (mid-1960s vintage) furnace before it dies. Our tax refund will just about pay for one of the two systems he suggested; but the other system, about $1230 more, will make up the difference in cost in energy savings in 3-4 years. If we go with his company (and I've been with them since 1985), he will "erase" the bill for the $227 repair job we needed on March 10, and use the new expansion tank that was part of that repair with the new system.

We can't do anything right now because a snowbank is blocking access to the backyard and the basement door, but he understands that. (Same reason why I haven't replaced the basement freezer yet, even though I have it picked out.) PLUS... we will REALLY need to clear JUNK out of the basement to allow access! It's high time for a cleanout, anyway. This will be the incentive.

I'll update on other things later.
ar_wahan: (Default)
First, you should know that I inherited my woo-woo stuff from my grandmother. And I inherited my "I-love-the-hunt-for-a-bargain" gene from my mother.

The day got off to a rather odd start. I was supposed to be at a rehearsal at church at 10 a.m., so I set my alarm to go off at 8:30. When I woke up on my own, the clock said 8:20, and I thought, "Wow, it sure is dark this morning!" When I rolled out of bed and went downstairs, I realized that all the other clocks said it was 7:20! I had moved my clock's time ahead by an hour last night by mistake. Oh, well. I was up, might as well stay up. I took the time to look for tag sale ads. There hadn't been many in yesterday's paper, but there was a new one listed on Poet's Corner, a subdivision.

It was raining, so I figured any tag sales planned for today would be off. The rehearsal was shorter than expected, so I decided to go over to a new resale shop that opened last month. It takes donations of items and resells them to benefit a hospice facility that just opened here. Last weekend, the children at church had held a tag sale to benefit a family shelter in town. I'd offered to take the items that hadn't sold to the hospice shop. I hadn't been in it before.

And now...  The sun had come out as I'd returned to town, and I decided to see if I could find a chair at  the Poet's Corner tag sale. As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted one to put in the kitchen to replace a glider that I'd found years ago with a "free" sign on the side of the road. It had finally collapsed the other day. We'd use it for sitting and reading the morning news, lazily using the arm rests to prop up our elbows while holding the paper.

The Poet's Corner families had retreated into their garages during the rain. Now they were cautiously putting items back out onto their driveways and lawns. No chairs that interested me. But .... my grandmother had some Revereware cookware that I brought back here after she died in 1983. One pot has a slightly dented lid, so I can't use it for rice or similar things. The other pots and frying pan are fine. But  sometimes I've wished I had other saucepans of different dimensions. I wandered around a bit and found...

These were $1 each! I decided what the heck, I'd get all five. Almost more than I need, frankly, but what I don't use, Samurai can take with her to college. And now I have a medium-sized pot with a lid that fits tightly.

Now, while you're still in this cut, take a look at the chairs around the kitchen table. I was looking for a chair that would not clash with them, but that would have arms. I had already looked at Salvation Army, Target, and on line, and not seen anything close. The styles in fashion today are either too modern, or too fussy to go with the other things here.

So, I decided I would next go to a used furniture store in the musty basement of an old building. I bought lots of things there in my impoverished reporter days. I walked in, picking my way through its crowded series of dark rooms. There was one chair that was so-so, but the wood stain was a little too dark. I went into another room, and suddenly had the urge to look up. The store is so packed, the old man who has run it for decades sometimes hangs the lighter chairs from the ceiling. I found myself looking into the shadows at the bottom of a chair that looked... the right color. And the right shape. At least, from what little I could see.

I asked him to retrieve it from the hook.


I like to think my mother and grandmother went shopping with me today.


ar_wahan: (Default)

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