DHI 34-40

Mucking about in Mac OS X, fun with water, more gas, desktop action, FM broadcasting, curtains for Rochelle, and a party!

DHI 34: I updated software on my Mac, on a second hard disk that I’ll transition to, once I get all my stuff moved over. I did a small part of it today. Pretty lame, but sustaining a daily pace for these tasks is turning out to be a killing pace. Plus, when I get finished, I’ll be able to disconnect the very noisy hard disk in my Mac, making the office quieter, which will be a major improvement.

DHI 35: We had the missing gas line replaced yesterday, providing gas to our groovy vintage heater once again. But, the alterations to the gas lines required cutting off the gas for an extended amount of time, and blowing out the gas lines. Once hooked back up, our contractor re-lit the pilot light, but there was air in the lines, which caused the pilot light to go out on our hot water heater. In the middle of the night. Cold bath the next day. It took quite a bit of figuring to realize that it was air in the lines that caused it to go out, and make it hard to re-light, but I did eventually get the pilot re-lit.

DHI 36: While the hot water heater contained cold water, I drained it, to get the silt and stuff out of the bottom. Apparently you’re supposed to do this a couple times a year. So I did it.

DHI 37: Cleared off one side of my desk of the crap piled up there. The other side will be harder, a weekend DHI for sure.

DHI 38: I hooked up a $4 antenna to the stereo in the front of the house, so now we can listen to the radio when we’re in the office working on the computer. Or, hey, maybe someday we’ll have another party, and people can sit in the parlor, and, like, hear music!

DHI 39: I helped Rochelle hang curtains that our decorator picked up for us. We had to replace the old curtain rods, which were far too flimsy to support the heavier velvet curtains he picked out, so that was most of the work. It would have gone a lot faster, but both batteries for our cordless drill were dead.

DHI 40: We threw a small party at our house, our first in nearly a year. (We plan to do better in 2003 than we did in 2002.) This was a small gathering (10 people) with a focus on tasting fine champagne (more on this in a post tomorrow). Of course, there was a lot of cleanup and so on beforehand, but the DHI is really for inviting people into our house and making sure they had a good time. That’s a home improvement, in any sense of those words.

Fun With Water

This week I drained our water heater. My mother tells me you’re supposed to do it every month, but our last plumber — who was there to fix the water heater — said twice a year. The concept — hooking a hose up and turning a valve — seemed simple. I thought this would be an easy DHI.

So this week I drained our water heater. My mother tells me you’re supposed to do it every month, but our last plumber — who was there to fix the water heater — said twice a year. The concept seemed simple, so I went for it. Turn off the water feed, hook a hose up, and open the valve. Trickle of water.

OK, need a way for air to go in, or the water won’t drain. Nothing obvious on the water tank itself, so I just opened a faucet in the house, which worked great. (Later I discovered the bleed valve on top.) An easy DHI.

But, then the drain spigot keeps dripping after I’ve put things back to normal. And dripping. Drip. Drip. Drip. Not good. Dan won’t appreciate that it only happened a drop at a time, if I still manage to flood his basement office. So I go to the hardware store to get a replacement, or at least a plug. Except they have no idea what it is I’m trying to do or fix (language barrier, really). I come home with a couple of PVC pipe caps, which of course don’t fit.

So I drain the tank a second time, so I can remove the entire valve and take it to the hardware store. This time I use the bleed valve to let the air in (and bleed the air off at the end). And try to take the drain spigot off. And it won’t come off.

At this point I had put way too much time into the project. So I MacGyver it. I stuck a wine cork in the spigot, which worked until water started seeping through the hole drilled by the cork screw. Slower than the valve dripping, but still a drip. So I got another cork and caulked it on both ends, ran the hairdryer on it for 20 minutes, and swapped it into place.

So far, no dripping.

DHI 27-33

Magazine reorganization, another basement disposal trip, long efforts on the computer, sanding, and more.

DHI 27: I pawed through my stack of unread technical magazines, unwrapped all of them from their plastic, threw out all the ad inserts and CDs, and grouped and sorted them. They’re back in the same bin that held them previously, but there’s less stuff there, and it’s at least organized. Culling out the junk will have to wait another day.

DHI 28: Rochelle and I took a large sheet of particle board down to the basement (we had been using it to firm up our bed a bit, to see if that would help my back problems; wasn’t helping, don’t want it in the house).

DHI 29: More magazine sorting and purging, this time from the pile under my nightstand.

DHI 30-31: Long, long efforts spent on troubleshooting my MySQL database installation. I finally resorted to downloading the binary installation from the mysql.com web site, and replacing my existing installation with the pre-compiled version.

DHI 32: Migrated the database for this weblog from my desktop Mac to the server, so that I can actually shut down my Mac without disabling my weblog.

DHI 33: I spent 45 minutes doing the “polish” sanding on the wainscot in the water closet, as my (very minor) contribution to Rochelle’s efforts to finish that project.

Missing Mate

Yesterday Rochelle did a load of laundry, and this morning I was putting my items away. I came upon a single sock, and couldn’t help but ask aloud “Why is it that I only lose socks when Rochelle does the laundry?”

“Why is it that I only lose socks when Rochelle does the laundry?”

Yesterday Rochelle did a load of laundry, and this morning I was putting my items away. I came upon a single sock, and couldn’t help but ask aloud the above line.

Which of course is unfair, it’s totally unreasonable to immediately blame one’s spouse for a missing sock, when it could easily have still been in the laundry hamper. So, while the trail was fresh, I went down to our basement — where we have the washer and dryer — to look.

Found it. In the dryer. Waiting for its mate.

DHI 20-26

More CRAP improvements, getting rid of boxes of stuff, a dozen items of clothing, and rearranging all the BeBoxes to give Rochelle most of her parlor back.

DHI 20: I emptied a box in my office, from the pile of many next to the office door. I cleared and sorted the nearly three inches worth of papers I accumulated in my last Java class. And I threw shit out.

DHI 21: Killed another box; it’s by the back door, waiting to be taken to the Goodwill pile in the basement. Among the things discarded are a couple of old messenger bags, a padded shoulder bag for my also-discarded StyleWriter printer, and a slew of baseball caps I culled from my collection.

DHI 22: I put my old ADB keyboard away in the dressing room, cleared out a large pile of old mail, filed some other papers, and cleared off the entire surface of the footlocker in the office. Then I moved the two plastic bins on top of the footlocker, for a later effort.

DHI 23: I culled from the back of my closet, getting rid of a pair of slacks, a couple sweaters, and a bunch of sweatshirts, none of which I wear anymore. (I did my shirts a while back, before 2003 got started. My closet’s ready for me to buy a few new items!)

DHI 24: Emptied a box of miscellaneous computer items. Kept the interesting items (a few lights parts), and will give the rest away (a very old scanner and a very old, semi-working inkjet printer).

DHI 25: Cleared off the sofa in the parlor of all my stuff, and a few of Rochelle’s items, too. The sofa is now actually usable for the first time in 10 months or so.

DHI 26: Moved all but one BeBox out of the parlor. Packed up all the crap I had littered on top of our bar. Consolidated a dozen shipping boxes, and prepared them for storage in the basement. Rochelle almost has her parlor back!

We also paid the interior design consultant Rochelle found, for the week’s worth of work he’s done with her, including amazing progress on the water closet and the lovely new arrangement for the back deck. Our house could actually be pretty cool in another month or two!

BeBox Extension Top 10

Rochelle suggested that I should write up a Top 10 list of reasons why I should get an extension on my BeBox project, instead of her throwing them on the street.

Rochelle suggested that I should write up a Top 10 list of reasons why I should get an extension on my BeBox project, instead of her throwing them on the street. So here goes:

  1. Technology’s complicated.
  2. Fun with Gas #1
  3. It’s the NFL playoffs, goddammit!
  4. What BeBoxes? That’s a permanent art installation.
  5. The cats distracted me with shiny things.
  6. I’ve been drunk or hung over every weekend since I got them.
  7. Hey! You tricked me!
  8. Oh, yeah, right, I guess I need to work on those.
  9. Because I wear the pants around here!
  10. What about your projects?

BeBox Project Update

Back in October, Rochelle got me to publicly commit to finishing my BeBox refurb project, or terminate it. She cleverly suggested a deadline far in the future. The date was last weekend.

Back in October, Rochelle got me to publicly commit to finishing my BeBox refurb project, or terminate it. She cleverly suggested a deadline far in the future. The 17th of January, the anniversary of my buying the collection. I later modified that to be the weekend after the 17th, to give myself an extra two days.

Those last two days were this past weekend.

So, I’m not finished, and haven’t actually made a whole lot of progress. My Daily Home Improvements are primarily going to tasks to clear space for the BeBoxes in my office, so Rochelle can have her parlor back.

DHI 13-19

BeBoxes, software updates, configuration fixes, more clearing of shelves, meta tags, meetings with designers, more fun with gas, clearing a flat surface, and over a dozen t-shirts bite the dust.

DHI 13: I worked on the BeBoxes, installing permanent RAM in the dual 133 that I plan to keep. Installed a network card too, but the Kingston card I tried isn’t working, not sure why. Might be tomorrow’s DHI — with my BeBox deadline fast approaching, that’s all I really have time for.

DHI 14: I updated my Mac to OS X 10.2.3, and ran the Repair Privileges tool on it, which corrected a few errors.

(Mac OS X tip: It’s always a good idea to do this after installing an OS update, or really, any installer that asked for the administrator password. You can run this without rebooting, or booting from a CD. Just run /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility, and do a Repair Permissions on your boot disk. Works fine, and catches errors.)

I also found and fixed an error in our MIMEDefang configuration file, which may have been causing us to lose mail since the 5th (yikes!). So if you wrote to us and didn’t get a reply, try again!

DHI 15: I worked on the bookshelves again, selecting more books to be pass on to another household. I pulled out enough books, both paperback and hardback, to get all the other books that I didn’t have room for onto the shelves proper, instead of sitting casually on the edges.

I also installed MovableType, a different weblogging package, for Rochelle to try out on her weblog…if I can get her to start one!

DHI 16: This one’s kind of geeky (even more so than usual). I added my ICBM Address (latitude and longitude) to my blog page and registered with GeoURL. Now you can see what other web sites are near me physically.

DHI 17: Rochelle and I met with an interior designer for about two hours, to start the process of getting help to finish the water closet project we began almost two years ago.

Rochelle also got someone to come over and hook up the gas heater we’d worked on so hard previously. But that’s a whole other story.

DHI 18: I got rid of almost 20 old t-shirts from my dresser. I kept most of the Be t-shirts, though; I still can’t bear to part with them…

DHI 19: I cleared off my nightstand, throwing some stuff out, and getting rid of a pile of crap I was pretending I would eventually read. With a clear nightstand, I can now hook up my alarm clock and actually use it, a big improvement from Rochelle and I passing back and forth a little travel alarm (the person getting up earliest got the alarm).

I should add that Rochelle blew me out of the water this week, with less than two hours of work on the back deck. It looks fabulous, and it’s now worthy of having people over and hanging out on the deck. Woo hoo!

Fun With Gas #2

On Friday Rochelle had an appliance repair guy come and hook up the gas heater we had such fun with two weekends ago. We felt the need to have an expert come in and handle it, since we’d gone to another 5 hardware stores (yes, that’s 9 total), and not found the part we thought we needed.

On Friday Rochelle had an appliance repair guy come and hook up the gas heater we had such fun with two weekends ago. We felt the need to have an expert come in and handle it, since we’d gone to another 5 hardware stores (yes, that’s 9 total), and not found the part we thought we needed.

And the funny thing was, Mr. Pearson didn’t want to turn off the gas either, he used Rochelle’s approach of “open the windows and work fast.” I guess when you know what you’re doing, it’s not a big deal.

But when he took the cap off the gas pipe, no gas smell! Hmmm, what’s up with that? A trip to the basement to trace the gas line revealed that, much to our dismay, the pipe has been removed over a 5 foot section. So there’s no gas running to the line, and it’s an ordeal to repair it.

Ah, well, we tried. And the vintage heater looks really cool where it’s installed in the dining room, even if there’s no gas to make it glow.

Someday!

DHI 9-12

Thursday I moved some cut boards from the hallway to the back of the house, where they will go to the basement. Friday I culled out a shelf’s worth of books, for selling/donating. Saturday I put a bunch of books that were stacked up around the house into boxes for storage. Sunday Rochelle and I de- and re-constructed our bedframe to be more stable, added a new power strip for my side of the bed, and rotated our mattress and box spring.

I’m going to stop posting these daily, and instead just post a weekly report on Sundays.

DHI 9: Thursday I moved some cut boards from the hallway to the back of the house, where they will go to the basement. (They moved to the basement Sunday.)

DHI 10: Friday I culled out a shelf’s worth of books, for selling/donating.

DHI 11: Saturday I put a bunch of books that were stacked up around the house into boxes for storage.

DHI 12: Sunday Rochelle and I de- and re-constructed our bedframe to be more stable, added a new power strip for my side of the bed, and rotated our mattress and box spring.

DHI #8: Phone Charger Swap

I unplugged my old mobile phone charger from the rack, and plugged in the new one. Now I can charge at my desk, instead of random places around the house that have a free plug.

I unplugged my old mobile phone charger from the rack, and plugged in the new one. Now I can charge at my desk, instead of random places around the house that have a free plug.

DHI #7: A Coupla Boxes

DHI #7 was emptying three shipping boxes of detritus, recycling the plastic inserts, and consolidating the shipping boxes to my “will be using for eBaying old computer books Real Soon Now” pile. Hey, it was three boxes in the way of my bookcase, it counts!

DHI #7 was emptying three shipping boxes of detritus, recycling the plastic inserts, and consolidating the shipping boxes to my “will be using for eBaying old computer books Real Soon Now” pile.

Hey, it was three boxes in the way of my bookcase, it counts!