Archive for Surlywood

Low-yield incendiary device

It was, in fact, a teensy wedge of potato that somehow had glued itself to the underside of the back burner, presumably last week since I hadn’t used that burner since then. I duly set a very large pan of water back there to boil for pasta, waited about 90 seconds, and the smell rapidly overtook me. No problem identifying the source: the flames around the bottom of the pan gave it away. I withdrew the pan, turned off the burner, poked around with a wooden implement until the offending tuber was out of range, then resumed.

The stench remained, of course. I shut down the air conditioner, popped open several windows, and cranked up the attic fan. Win: it cleared the scent in three minutes flat. Lose: humidity inside climbed from just under 50 percent to just over 70.

The punchline here is that I used the A/C downtime to change out the filter, there being few instances of downtime of this sort generally available in July, and I admit it: I was a lot more panicky about getting that damned filter into place than I was about flames shooting out from under a pan.

Comments (1)




It’s all too much

Nothing in life prepares you for finding a hefty chunk of tree just lying in the street on an otherwise-peaceful morning.

Well, nothing has prepared me for it, anyway.

Update: Morning wood gone by evening, so to speak.

Comments (4)




We got your easement right here

It was almost exactly seven years ago when I contemplated the possibility of getting actual sidewalks on my postwar suburban-ish street, and I was sort of dubious about the prospects:

[D]oes it go on my side of the street, or on the other side? There’s a sidewalk around the corner which, if continued, would end up on my side. The city, I believe, would have no issues with taking out my elm tree, or the one next door, but I suspect they draw the line at having to relocate my water meter, which is even closer to the curb than the trees are. Argument for the opposite side of the street: it’s a lot flatter over there.

We learned this week, though, that they’re actually coming, along with resurfacing of all the east-west streets in the neighborhood, most of which are crumbling concrete with approximately one part per thousand of grass. (The Neighborhood Association was very high on both these prospects, and I can’t say as I blame them.) And yes, it’s going to be on my side, so I can presumably kiss that tree goodbye.

The pitch from the NA, which voted overwhelmingly for the sidewalk project:

Any homeowner whose front yard is in the path of development of the new sidewalks will lose approximately 5 square feet of their front lot. The benefit will be a greatly improved and beautified neighborhood, increased walkability, and likely improved resale values.

As Martha would say, those are Good Things. The “5 square feet” bit is bungled, of course: it’s five feet back from the curb. My lot is 60 feet wide up front, so I part with 300 square feet, less the area already covered by the driveway. As for that “flatter” bit, here come the graders: an incline of two degrees is as much as they’re going to tolerate, which means I’m also presumably getting some sort of retaining wall.

When this will happen, I do not know. The repaving ordeal begins in August and will take, they say, about a year: there are 15 blocks scheduled for repaving, so maybe three weeks per block. No timetable has been unveiled for the sidewalks. And how long does it take to move a water meter, anyway? If we’re going to be waterless for long, I need to plan an escape route.

Comments (11)




A solution crashes into place

A rueful observation from a couple of years ago:

Several of this house’s light fixtures are inclined to give me grief, though the one most likely to give me grief at a moment’s notice is the two-bulb fixture over the kitchen sink: it has a neat and tidy design — the lower 15 percent of a sphere — which allows for a reasonable illumination pattern but which allows considerable heat buildup, and it fastens with three twist-screws, none of them placed favorably unless you’re two feet tall and can actually stand in the sink.

The advice given last decade was to replace the garden-variety 60-watt bulbs with 8-watt CFLs, which use so much less electricity that there’s just no excuse for not using them. An excuse promptly presented itself: CFLs in this installation lasted about five percent longer than the Standard Bulbs despite costing ten times as much. Must be the heat locked up in that hemidemisemiglobe, I reasoned, and reinstated the classic bulbs, grumbling all the way at having to climb that ladder yet again.

And there things stood until yesterday afternoon, when the ground, or at least the walls, shook a bit, and the hemidemisemiglobe, apparently insufficiently tightened down, yielded to the force of gravity, forcing me into Shard Removal mode. Results: fairly unsightly. On the upside, it’s a hell of a lot brighter in there, and now the freaking CFLs ought to work better, so long as I don’t actually replace the glass. God only knows what it would take to put a less-intractable fixture up there.

Nick Lowe, incidentally, was not available for comment, but I’m pretty sure I know what he would say.

Comments




No threat presented

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled on my bathrobe and set off down the driveway to fetch the Sunday paper. This is generally a fairly long haul, inasmuch as the Sunday paper weighs two or three times as much as the usual daily edition and the chap lofting it from the middle of the street can only exert so much force on it.

About halfway down, a robin approached, and proceeded to follow me down the driveway for a couple of yards. On foot. Not so much as the flap of a wing. The bird stood there as I retrieved the plastic bag and started back up; he waited until I was within a meter or so of him, then emitted one note and took off for the top of the nearest holly.

This isn’t the first time the robins have put somebird on guard duty — turf must be protected, after all — but they don’t often make it so obvious. (And I, as the possessor of a mulberry tree, have provided a food source, which they are loath to let go without a fight.)

Comments




I was here first

Pink rose and orange iris battle for the sunlight. So far, it seems to be a draw:

Rose and iris living together

Then again, there are dozens of roses nearby, and barely half a dozen irises, so you know which way to bet.

(Blown up to ridiculous size at Flickr.)

Comments




Rained out on opening day

After overpruning a rosebush the year before, I decided to leave it alone, and I believe it will produce close to a bumper crop — eventually. For now, we’re running at a hair above 85 percent of normal rainfall for the year, but a nice six-hour soaker yesterday got this bud to start opening wide:


An embiggened version, as usual, is on Flickr.

Comments




So totally unwired

There used to be a metal pole west of the driveway that contained a light fixture; the light would go on at dark and turn off at sunrise, or at least it did for a while. Then the bulb socket broke, and I didn’t rush to have it fixed; when the ground to the west began eroding away, the pole began to lean at an embarrassing angle. Finally, on a day of 60-mph winds, the pole loosened up from what little base it had, and a couple of scavengers hauled it off for scrap metal.

I don’t miss it, exactly, but I’m wondering what I should do with this length of cable the thieves left behind. I am loath to call my usual electrician, since he’s fixated on bringing the whole house up to code, at a price that leaves little change from a $10,000 bill.

Comments (8)




It never gets that warm

ComfortMeter by LaCrosseYou’ve seen this contraption before; it sits by the bedroom door “so I can feel some sort of justification when I start kvetching about how frakking uncomfortable it’s gotten all of a sudden.” In that photo, it is reading 74.3° F. In the six years since then, it has never once read 74.4°.

In fact, it routinely skips various possible temperatures. It will show 74.5, but not 74.6; if a warming trend is afoot, it will update at 74.7. After noting that it seems to skip three or four out of every ten conceivable readings, it dawned on me what the issue might be: the manufacturer has to sell this device in lots of countries, most of which measure their temperatures in Celsius, thank you very much, and this would require the little electronic brain to update in tenths of a degree Celsius — and 0.1 Celsius degree is 0.18 Fahrenheit degree. This explains it well enough: 74.3° F is 23.5° C, 74.5 is a hair over 23.6, 74.7 is somewhat thicker hair over 23.7. And it will display 74.8, which rounds to 23.8.

I’m not sure which is less useful: the fact that it took me so long to notice that, or that it took even longer to explain it. And while I’m thinking that maybe the Canadians might be pleased, forty years ago they had few kind words for Celsius.

Comments




Reporting from a very wet garage

At some unknown point between 10 last night and 6 this morning, my garage began filling up with water. I’m not at the point where I have the plumbers on speed-dial, but I do have their phone number memorized, and they dispatched, luckily for me, a chap who’d been here before.

Now this house was built in 1948, and a garage was added on in 1951; when the big boom in home laundry equipment came, the path of least resistance was to install the washer/dryer pair in the garage. It’s only two steps from what used to be the back door, but there’s a substantial environmental difference. In 1997, in an effort to reduce that difference, the owners installed batt-type insulation along the outside garage walls and sheathed it with plywood. This works better than you might think it would: on the coldest day I can remember since buying this place in 2003 — this would be 10 February 2011, when the mercury dropped to -5°F — the garage was still in the upper 20s. Still, there’s always the danger of water-line freeze, even with the lines tucked away into that insulated space.

Freezing, however, didn’t seem likely: it was 27°F this morning, so it would have to have been a byproduct of yesterday’s low of 11°F — though garage temperature that morning was a balmy-ish 38°F. And no, it was not frozen: I had the unfortunate combination of a rubber line to the washing machine that had split, and the faucet to which it was connected following its natural Spew procedure. New lines were obtained — I figure, if one’s gone, the other can’t be far behind — and the faucet was inspected and found merely to be full of looseness. Things are gradually returning to normal, though the concrete floor (and the rug that sits over some of it) will remain wet for a few hours yet.

Comments (5)




New noises in the night

It started about 10:30. The furnace went through its usual startup routine, the piezo starter clicked, and then — nothing.

And then BAM! A very loud thump, and things continued normally. This had all the signs of being Not Good, so I turned to the keyboard and sought answers. Apparently the most common cause of this ailment is grunged-up burners which pass insufficient gas. (A problem I myself have never had, I noted.) The furnace is legally old enough to drink, and I don’t trust myself around things that might explode, so I cut it off for the night and the next morning summoned the pros from Dover.

And of course, my YouTube-enhanced diagnosis was wrong. Combination of two things: bad capacitor at the blower motor, and gas pressure about 20 percent off spec. Total outlay: just under $200. And at least it didn’t happen on a day when the temperature was down in the ridiculous zone.

Comments (4)




Where it all goes (’14)

The property-tax bill has arrived, and the bank will cut them a check on the 30th out of my depleted escrow account. Fortunately, while the amount isn’t exactly trivial, it’s smaller than it was last year, the result of stagnant property values and an unexpected decrease in the actual tax rate. As always, the county treasurer has sent along a manifest showing what this sum is being used to fund, and last year’s numbers appear in [brackets]:

  • City of Oklahoma City: $120.39 [$126.58]
  • Oklahoma City Public Schools: $462.53 [$478.05]
  • Metro Tech Center: $120.39 [$122.50]
  • Oklahoma County general: $90.78 [$94.52]
  • Countywide school levy: $32.26 [$32.77]
  • County Health Department: $20.18 [$20.50]
  • Metropolitan Library System: $40.52 [$41.16]
  • Total: $887.04 [$915.88]

This year’s millage is 113.84, down from last year’s 115.70. (Record millage: 117.58, 2011.)

Comments (1)




Goblin report

For a change, I was ready by 6 pm: decorative light hung, bowl of goodies primed with the first load. On the off-chance that traffic levels might had stagnated, I bought about 17 percent less candy than last year. And no, I didn’t plan to slip anyone any Brussels sprouts.

Sunset was 6:38; ten minutes later eleven of them descended upon me. An hour passed with no more activity, and I finally closed up shop. This is disappointing in several ways — there were 45 last year, and 49 the year before — but mostly because instead of the two pounds I typically gain in November, it will probably be more like three. Or five.

Admittedly, it was a trifle colder this year than the previous two, but close to seasonal norms (high today was 60, normal is 67).

Comments (3)




Unbugged

As opposed to “debugged,” since the annual termite inspection here at the palatial estate turned up nothing that wanted to chew on the structural wood, the same clean bill of health I’ve received every year since I took possession of the place eleven years ago. I doubt it, really, but I’d like to believe it’s the abundance of spiders outside, who will happily chow down on many six-legged creatures; there exists at least one web spanning eight vertical feet. (We watched its occupant making really good time heading upwards.)

Surprisingly, the trees on the premises didn’t seem to be harboring any of the critters either, and the deadest one — the one containing the most detritus, anyway — might be far enough away from the house to make reconnaissance missions problematic, since they’d almost certainly have to get through SpiderNet.

Comments (1)




Increasingly dear

From last year, about this time:

When I bought the palatial estate at Surlywood, insurance on the place was a hair under $900 a year, which sounds high until you consider that we have every known disaster here except tsunami.

Last year, it dropped by the price of a combo meal, to just shy of $2400. Obviously this downward trend could not be allowed to continue, so this year it’s going to nearly $3000. This, mind you, on a house insured for a mere $130,000. I can only conclude that they expect a visit from Godzilla, or that they’re wanting to get their hands on some of those sweet, sweet government bucks the way the health-insurance guys have.

(Note: I’ve changed carriers before. It’s a major hassle, and based on previous experience, I expect it would save me next to nothing in the long run.)

Comments




You live where?

If you can identify one house on my block, you can figure the addresses for any of them: the numbering is consistent — each lot west is plus four — and usually the number is actually readable. This is not, however, the case everywhere:

Older son is a pizza delivery guy. He routinely sees what the paramedics see: no house number, confusing house numbers, illegible house numbers, dark brown house numbers on black backgrounds, white house numbers on cream backgrounds, house numbers twenty feet off the ground where you would never look, house numbers painted on the curb with cars parked over them, house numbers so small they can’t be seen from the street, house numbers that appear to have been installed at random; the list is endless. The pizza guys would like to find your house quicker as time is money for them. The ambulance guys would like to find your house quicker as they hope to save your life. The FedEx guy and the UPS guy would like to find your house quicker too. So do plumbers, electricians, paper boys, and furniture delivery guys.

I should state here that when I took over the palatial estate at Surlywood, there were two sets of numbers, neither of which passed muster: a set of chrome digits over the garage door, fine once, not so fine once new guttering was installed just over it; and a set of black digits on a brown background, not readable except under very specific lighting conditions.

I toyed with moving the black digits to a pink background, but ultimately decided to install a vertical plaque, black on white, 19 x 4 inches, just east of the garage door. It is not as handsome as I thought it might be, but it’s readable.

On the curb? One set of digits painted on each of the two curved sections, where it takes considerable effort to block them with cars.

And I should probably admit that maybe my block is not so easy after all: the numbering is as I stated, but there are eight houses on the south side of the street, only four on the north. This seems to baffle some people, even when they can read the digits.

Comments (1)




A branch at a time

Sustained winds of 30 mph or so yesterday knocked down another piece of the same sweetgum tree that tried to take out my phone line about 90 days ago. Inasmuch as the tree is now too short to hit the line, there were no issues other than the need to haul away yet another piece of dead wood.

Yeah, I know: I should have it chopped down. Of course, at this rate, it will have taken itself down by next fall.

Comments (2)




The quiet intruder

The hell of it is, you can always tell if there’s a mouse in the house — they tend to leave, um, calling cards in favored places — but ferreting (!) out their hiding places is difficult, and they’ve evolved responses to our feeble attempts to dispatch them to Mousedom Come.

I hadn’t heard (as opposed to “seen”) any indications of this little guy’s presence until Wednesday, when there was rustling along the wall opposite my desk. I wasn’t quick enough to spot him, but I figured I could do the old trap routine this weekend.

It may not be necessary. He left no pellets Thursday that I could find, and Friday afternoon, I found a mouse keeled over in the 96-degree garage. (Temperature outside the garage: 96 degrees.) He’d nearly made it to a gap in the garage-door weatherstripping before giving up the ghost. I almost felt sorry for the critter, even as I swept him out onto the lawn for the amusement of predators.

Comments




Fan disservice

Bayou Renaissance Man and Miss D. are once again Not Sweating:

To my surprise (and irritation), we learned that modern A/C motors are no longer the simple units of old. Apparently one has to tell the supplier the type of unit (manufacturer, model, etc.) in which it’ll be used, and it’s then “programmed” to work in that particular system. I can see how making a single motor that can be programmed to work in 20 or 30 different units is easier from the factory’s perspective, but it means one can’t just walk in, buy the motor one wants, and take it out the door. Now one has to provide the necessary information and wait two to three hours until the supplier can put it through the programming process — and pay rather more for the motor as a result. I’m not sure this is an improvement from the user point of view.

It’s not. Then again, the last motor I had to buy (back in 2009) was specifically designed for this oddball unit: there are others, much more common, with exactly the same specifications, but the output shafts are something like a quarter-inch too long, so they won’t actually fit. This could not possibly have been good for the price. (I asked an HVAC tech once if the shaft could be filed down a bit: he looked at me as though I’d asked him for a Federal unicorn license.)

The only time I’ve come close to this sort of predicament before was with my old Toyota Celica. Apparently at the beginning of model year 1975 they changed the starter design, and then midway through the year changed it again because the newer design sucked the Japanese equivalent of donkey balls. Replacements, therefore, were difficult to come by. In the twenty years between Off The Showroom Floor and Off My Hands Entirely, little Dymphna went through four starters, and judging by the scratches in the paint, her fourth one was her first one, rebuilt. Too bad they can’t rebuild air-conditioner motors — or at least they say they can’t.

Comments (1)




LED astray

Last November:

I escalated to LightCon 3, installing a pair of funky-looking but still bulb-shaped LED lights, with approximately the same brightness — 800 lumens — and 12-watt power consumption. Color temperature, at 3000°K, is slightly higher (therefore less “warm” — go figure), and assuming three hours’ usage a day, these critters are supposed to last eight years. I’m not entirely sure I’m going to last eight years.

Admittedly, they got more than three hours’ usage a day — six was typical — and yet one of them has died at the pitiful age of nine months. It also made a weird blat and emitted a strange smell, like I don’t get enough of that in the kitchen already.

Comments (4)




The Death Star comes through

You’ve already read about my downed phone line, and also about my failure to read my trouble ticket correctly:

I got the “Monday” part correct; what I didn’t catch was which Monday. Turns out to be, not yesterday, but a week from yesterday.

Or, in other words, tomorrow.

I am pleased to report that AT&T actually beat their predicted repair time by a whole 24 hours. The tech explained that they were actually caught up from the stormage. The repair was completed in less than 15 minutes.

What still amazes me after a decade is that the phone line and the cable line actually cross, halfway across the yard — the poles are about 35 feet apart — and what has amazed me this month is that the cable line wasn’t affected when the phone line went.

No, seriously:

Non-intersection

The actual electrical power line doesn’t come close to either of these, but of course it has had its own issues with trees.

Comments off




A killa in manila

Friday the 13th started out about the way I thought it would: my weekly file-purge routine crashed, not once but twice. Eventually I figured out that the size of one particular array was set too low, and ran it twice more, each with half the batch. No one’s reported anything horrible to me yet, so I’m assuming this workaround actually worked.

Still, this was nothing compared to the horror that awaited me in my mailbox at home: a large, official-looking envelope from the bank that holds the note on my house. It didn’t precipitate a cardiac event, but it seemed to come awfully close. What in the world was this? Foreclosure? Not likely: I’m never actually late on a payment. Eventually I picked out one of the swirling thoughts that sounded plausible, and decided that they were selling me out to some uninterested (as distinguished from “disinterested”) third party.

It was, of course, none of the above. They’d sent me a copy of an appraisal they had ordered, stating no particular reason, though I figured that a two-year decline in property taxes might have spooked them about the value of the place, property values in this area having been stagnant for a while — or maybe it was just that I’d been here ten years. Worse, the cover letter was signed by someone from the Loss Mitigation Department, and contained the inscrutable phrase “one or more of the enclosed valuation(s) may or may not be used in determining the value of the property.”

The drive-by appraiser, though, figured it at about $8k above what the County Assessor had calculated earlier this year, and more than $25k over what I actually still owe on the place. (Status: Not underwater.) Still: never underestimate my ability to panic.

Comments (2)




I’ll just sit tight

Friday, you may recall, the top portion of a dying tree decided it couldn’t take it anymore and plummeted to the ground, directly on top of my telephone line, pinning it in place and pulling out just about all of the spare cable in the process. I left it there over the weekend, having misread the phone company’s response to my repair order. I got the “Monday” part correct; what I didn’t catch was which Monday. Turns out to be, not yesterday, but a week from yesterday.

Curiosity is, of course, considered a major cause of feline death. Having guesstimated that the line voltage was probably about 48 volts, and being stupid enough to consider that quantity trivial, I took it upon myself to separate line and tree. This actually proved to be fairly simple: the offending branch was not actually connected to the enormous trunk section that came down. (Smashed on impact, I suspect.) About forty-five seconds from OMGIMGONNADIE to “Take that, you miserable hunk of deadwood!” The line is still about 18 inches off the ground, but there’s not much left to fall on it.

Actually, this was motivated, not by my wanting to save the Death Star some work, but to clear some space when and if my lawn guy, who bailed last week because of stormage, shows up. (We’re tentatively scheduled for Wednesday. The lawn after 18 days is verdant to the point of nausea.)

There are downed branches here and there throughout the neighborhood, but the worst casualty was the Little Free Library, which was, after all, a wooden box on a pole; it took a swan dive. It has (temporarily, I presume) been replaced by a rural-style mailbox.

Comments (2)




Highly perishable

The last time I lost a sweetgum tree was back in ’06, in the wake of some 60-mph straightline winds.

Both its twin and the one that grew back in its place, once stirring (sort of) features of the back yard, have been on the wane for some time, and I’d about decided to have them taken out next spring when there’s a better chance that I can afford such a thing.

Then some time yesterday morning, the top third of the twin, thanks to similar winds and good old gravity, was testing an electrical line for deflection potential, which I discovered when I got home from work and was hauling some downed limbs from the front yard to the Informal Wood Depository at the far corner of the lot. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s an electrical line or a phone line: I have power, and I have phone. OG&E, which was summoned, is busy with actual outages, so maybe they’ll look at it later today.

Update: It’s the phone line. Now to inform the Death Star.

Comments (2)




Neither pink nor white

From the last time we were talking roses, which would be, oh, last week:

There is a bush in the same flowerbox producing deep reds, but it’s at the far end of the box, on the east end, about 16 feet away. If there’s some crossbreeding going on, color me impressed. (And that bush is currently producing lots of red, but red only.)

It occurs to me that “deep reds” demands more description than that, and since this doesn’t need to be 1000 words long, here’s an actual picture:

Red, red roses

Okay, maybe there’s just a hint of pink. And this bush, the closest to the house and therefore most likely to be shaded, has produced nothing for a couple of years.

(If you should so desire, resized versions reside at Flickr.)

Comments off




Without benefit of graft

This one particular rosebush, on the west end of the front-walk flowerbox, has in the last ten years resolutely produced pink flowers, and only pink flowers, when it’s bothered to produce anything at all. (The trick for dealing with these plants, apparently, is to bestow upon them something more than mere negligence, but not to go crazy with the TLC.)

This week, the pinks have neighbors, and I mean really close-in neighbors:

Roses photographed May 12, 2014

As you can see, it’s not just a couple of strays: there are white roses adjacent to all the pinks. And the pinks aren’t suffering: if anything, they’re pinker and prouder than previous.

There is a bush in the same flowerbox producing deep reds, but it’s at the far end of the box, on the east end, about 16 feet away. If there’s some crossbreeding going on, color me impressed. (And that bush is currently producing lots of red, but red only.)

(Embiggened version at Flickr.)

Comments (1)




Semi-tremendous waste

That water leak out in the garage last month might have started five minutes after I left for work, five minutes before I got back, or any time in between; there was no way to tell in the absence of a proper time machine without looking at the meter itself, which is a couple of feet underground, and I don’t have the key to open it up anyway. (Plumbers, as a matter of course, do seem to have such things.) The water bill, which came out a couple of days later, did not reflect any of this mess, inasmuch as the city read the meter the week before, so I was definitely sweating the next one.

Normal consumption around here is somewhere between 2000 and 3000 gallons a month, and is billed as one or the other depending on rounding factors: over the preceding year, I had six bills for 2000 gallons and six bills for 3000. The March bill was for 2000. The April bill, which arrived yesterday (one day early, actually), was for, yes, 3000 gallons.

So apparently it wasn’t as horrible as I had allowed myself to think it would be. Still, we’re running about one-quarter normal rainfall this year (after a 60-percent surplus last year), so I hate the idea of wasting the stuff.

Comments off




Carrying on unbowed

A medium-sized ice storm came to town in the third week of December, causing a bit more damage than the water volume might have led us to expect. I reported at the time that “one of the twin redbuds was cut almost in half,” which turned out to be about five percent too high. Still, losing 45 percent of a tree is tantamount to losing the whole thing, so I was worried that it was a goner.

“Not yet, I’m not,” it said:

Twin redbuds

Now this tree was an anomaly in the first place: a redbud that wasn’t even red, fercrissake. This is not unheard of in Cercis reniformis, but it’s not exactly common either, another reason for hoping for its survival. This shot was taken from about 12 feet away, where you can see both white and red trees beginning to put forth their ephemeral blooms. In less time than you think, these will be replaced by actual leaves and occasional seed pods.

(Full-sized version posted to Flickr.)

Comments off




Not a whole lot of fun

I got back from the polls at just after 5 pm, and the far corner of the garage was soaked. Weirdly, the water was warm, which meant only one of one thing: the hot-water line to the laundry apparatus was leaking.

Stuff like this, ever since I moved into this place, has motivated me to keep specialists on retainer. The plumber arrived right at six, and he couldn’t believe his good luck: he didn’t have to cut into the wall, just unscrew it from the studs. (The garage was insulated in 1997; they hung plywood over it.) Then he couldn’t believe his bad luck when he got to see the shape of the water lines.

He muttered the occasional imprecation, and under the circumstances I don’t blame him. (Even an insulated garage still gets down to 40°F or so now and then; the record is 29°F, set on a day when it was -5°F outside.)

It took about two hours to button everything up; I wrote a largish check, pressed a Jackson on him so he could buy dinner, and life moved on at subsonic speeds.

Comments off




Yeah, that’s what they said

Generally, within a few days after the lawn treatment is conducted, the rain comes in.

Except, of course, when it isn’t rain:

Yard sign in the snow

See the full, uncropped shot on Flickr, if you so desire.

Comments off