Saturday, February 25, 2012
Sunday, February 19, 2012
We have a concrete patio, and between the patio and the front fence there is an area a little bigger than three feet by eight feet. The BW's second younger sister suggested marble chips, and we did have them scattered over that area for a few years, but the BW didn't like them because she wanted a smooth flat surface. She nagged me about it and wanted a patio extension this weekend - forget the painting for a while, so Thursday I bought a bunch of concrete pavers and brought home enough to do the job. I had to pick them up, put them on a car, pay, pick them up and put them in the trunk, drive home, pick them up and put them in a wheelbarrow, pick them up and stack them out of the way, but close to the patio. I also bought four 8 foot long treated two by fours for a frame.
Friday I bought four bags of river rock to make a bed for the sand under the pavers. They were pretty heavy, and I grabbed one with the tips of my fingers (started to make a fist to grab it) and poked a hole in it, so I sat it upright for the trip home. Then I had to pick them up and put them in the wheelbarrow, move them to the patio, and after that clean the loose stones out of my clean beautiful new trunk. I checked that the rear seats fold down because I expect my car to act like a truck sometimes.
Then I spread them over the patio extension area. There wasn't enough stone, so I let it go for a day.
Yesterday I bought two more bags of stone, spread an inch of sand over the whole mess after I had tried to compact the stone, and spread an inch of sand over the stones. Then I laid the pavers on the sand.
Today I cut the frame members and a bunch of supports two feet long to hold the two by fours in place. I realized that I had a bunch of two by two stakes left over from the grape vine fiasco, and I also cut five stakes for the three foot wide section of the frame and used a sledge hammer to drive them in. I had a shovel point on the stakes, so I drove them in about 8 to 10 inches, then worked them out and turned them around so the shovel point pointed away from the pavers. That worked so well (jammed the frame hard against the pavers), that I split the two by four stakes lengthwise and made shovel pointed stakes. I still had to take down the front privacy fence because there wasn't room enough to drive the stakes, but five stakes along the outside of the frame locked it in very nicely.
My side effects were not being able to use my left hand to type with for two days running, and then today having terrible cramps in my left hand. My left wrist hurt too much to move my left hand, but it got better in the morning twice. Today I ran out of steam after the first two stakes, and would drive a stake, then rest, then drive another stake. I worked up a good sweat and was breathing hard after every stake - so I guess I haven't been diligent enough to have good functional fitness. Or else old age is creeping up on me.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Saturday Autoway Chevrolet had an ad in the paper, and I had a coupon for my GM card that said they would bump my balance up to $3,000, even though I only had 1,900 in earnings on it. I thought my 12 year old Stratus might be worth 2,000, but since I didn't own a GM car, I would lose the $500 loyalty rebate, so maybe I could buy a brand new 23,000 car for a good price.
When we were first married and had moved to Indianapolis, away from family and friends, Sunday was always a dangerous day, because that was the day that boredom set in hard, and we would buy something stupid just to get out of the house and break the monotony.
Last Sunday we went down to the Clearwater store, and were there for about five and a half hours. I really only wanted to see if we could get the advertised price, and in the end we did come close. What was shocking was that we bought the car. I didn't bring my checkbook, but in the end I did give them $100 cash and signed the agreement, and then went back to get the car Monday morning for another three hours. I now know why they take a personal check - they had a machine that electronically takes the money out of your account like a debit card, but slows the official removal by two days as if it were a credit card.
I was so stressed out that I only slept about four hours Sunday night and thought I had done a stupid thing - and still wasn't happy Monday. I was perfectly happy with the Dodge, except it was a little noisier than the Camry - but I bought a new car anyhow. I think it was only the search for a bargain that got me - $12, 549 for a $22,770 car seemed too good to pass up.
Fortunately, by today I have quit thinking that I was incredibly stupid, and pretty much gotten used to the new car. It's a lot of change - the designs are a lot different after 12 years. But it was still a boring Sunday afternoon that caused the problem. Without that I would still be driving a perfectly good older car.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
The remote was completely dead this morning, and the story was that it was put on the charger wrong. I told Ella that I needed it in about an hour, so see if she could send a runner - but in 45 minutes Deanna (the big boss) showed up and showed me two secret buttons on the blue-ray player that turn it on and make it play - then she rushed out. I had to stop her to make her show me where they were (tiny buttons on a ledge - black on a horizontal ledge in a dark enclosure, so you can't see them, just feel them. That left me with the ability to play everything on the disk, but no way to see the menu or to reach any of the 14 different programs that I need to play from time to time.
Now I can turn on the TV, get the right input for the blue ray player, and play a DVD or blue ray manually. I still need training on how to get to the right video on the disk.
I didn't have any video today. On the way out I asked Ella if the remote was up now, and it wasn't. I know it has been around at least three years, and I know rechargeable batteries do not have an infinite life. What I don't know is how that mess is connected together, or how all the infinite number of command combinations are arranged. If there was a written manual I could probably figure it out, but when I tried out the DVD on my home player, I could use it just fine with the remote, but again could not sort through the manual with the button switches on the front.
I really miss the old days, when I had a VCR and a TV. I would turn on the TV and VCR, plug a tape in, and alternate between play and stop the first day. Then I would pop the tape out, take it home, and pop it back in for the second day. I wouldn't even rewind it there just bring it home and rewind it. The VCR never shut itself off, and the tape didn't need to be programmed - you got what you wanted in the order you needed it, without any choice.
The old days are only behind me by about three years - but it has been a steep learning curve with Coral Oaks.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Yesterday the carpet cleaners came and did the house in an hour. We had the windows and doors open and the overhead fans running to help dry it out, and later in the day I turned the AC down to get the humidity down. Today it looks like we have brand new carpet everywhere, but the price has doubled in the last four or five years, and went up 33 per cent from last year. I think the guy must be making really good money.
I also had the leg come completely off of the table we bought in Milwaukee, and which is about the only one I've found that fits comfortably in the dining area in this house. The BW used to push it around, and one of the legs came loose, and kept getting looser and looser. It came off completely, and the screw never does get tight in the hole. I looked at it carefully, and realized that the body of the leg never seats against the table top, so I tried drilling the hole deeper by hand, using one of my own 3/8 inch bits. It didn't help, so I looked again and noticed that I hadn't completely scraped away the edge of the countersink hole. After working on it for a long time, there was always a little more than a sixteenth of an inch gap there, so the leg would not be supported. I finally just bought some more five minute epoxy glue (3200 psi), along with the rest of the pavers and lumber for the patio extension the BW wants, and poured some down the stripped screw hole, along the countersink, and around the bearing surface where the leg doesn't touch. After the leg set for an hour, it was solid as a rock. After 10 years the table is really solid again, but we will never be able to take the legs off so it packs into the van again. On the other hand, the van has been gone for eight years, and no one plans to move.
Other than that, I have33 pavers, four treated two by fours, and a plan for a small extension of the patio (after I get some aggregate and a lot of sand to raise and level the bed for the pavers).
In between the carpet cleaners and the visit to Home Depot, I went to lunch and found out that Murray is really 92 - not 91 which is what I thought. We were at Tiffany's, and I had a really good Ruben. I drank water as a penance, but I hate healthy Rubens. Grant's, out in Yakima, had the healthiest Ruben I ever ran across - the rye bread was toasted instead of grilled in butter, the corn beef was thin and the cheese was thin, and the sauerkraut was dry. Grant's made fine beer but served healthy food, and sometimes that isn't what you really want.
Today I did the first half of this month's safe driving seminar - and the universal remote gave me fits. It started the day by claiming the battery was too low, so I took it back to Ella for charging. She sent it up with a runner, but it only lasted a short while, so I was working with videos periodically. One lady came in and fixed things for a short while, and I could stop and start the video for a while, but then it stopped OK but wouldn't start again. I didn't think I could get my DVD out of the blueray player after the class, but I did figure out an emergency button from the "battery low" screen that brought everything back long enough to get it out. Nothing else would work, but at least I haven't lost any hardware.
Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the battery will be good tomorrow. I never had that problem before, and I did get to show all but one of the videos today, so it should be fine tomorrow, or the battery is old enough that it won't take a charge any more. That universal remote is all they have, and I have been using it for three years, so maybe it's on a death spiral.
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