Monday, February 20, 2017

Nous Allons Skier

Well, here we go! 

It's our first day up on the ski hill. It is raining here in town but apparently snowing heavily up on the mountain. I'm actually starting to see some breaks in the clouds and sun. I'm sure it will be foggy at Mt. Spokane. In fact, here is the webcam shot for 8:26AM.
I'm no meteorologist but I'm going to call that foggy.

In any event, I shall report back here upon our return and lay out all the steamy details.

Mark is late so we haven't left yet. I just updated my mountain info and go this picture.
It might be a decent day up there. Now if only Mark would show up.

Later that day: It turns out that Mark and I had a miscommunication. I thought he was coming here and he thought I was going there. It turns out that it made a lot more sense for me to go there, and I might have figured that out in a while.

Anyway, we got on the mountain at 11:00. It was kind of foggy but not so bad that it wasn't skiable. Being our first time up for the year, it was pretty apparent that we were not prepared for a long day of skiing.  I was having issues with my gout knee and being short of breath. But the good news was that there was no chest pain. Just a very very out of shape fat man. We skied four runs before going in for lunch.

After lunch, Mark and I decided we had to get in a couple more runs but Susan had had enough. By then it had started snowing but we needed those two runs.

So the manly men ventured out into the winter. It turns out we only needed one run but we got the two in. When I pulled up at the lodge, I knew I was done! 

We were pretty beat by the time we got home. We didn't even go to the Hub for beer. Instead, we limped into the hot tub. I commented that being in the hot tub at that time made it worth the other 350 days of the year that we didn't use it.

I think I'm going to be paying for this ski day for a while.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Punch List

I have been dawdling on the finishing pieces of the bathroom so Susan has suggested we get Phil to come in and finish things up, 

Phil is coming by in about 15 minutes to go over the following list.

1) Finish trim around door
2) Finish trim around window
3) Build window sill in window
4) Install shutters on window
5) Build cabinet/shelves in stair space

Susan and I are going to knock heads on the cabinet because I want it on hinges so it opens like a door and she thinks it will be fine on casters.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday @ Home

It is another sunny day so we shall be expecting the melt to continue.

I suddenly realized I never showed the end result of the new faucet. 
It came out fine but I have two problems that I need to deal with. 

The first problem was that I was not happy with the water pressure I was getting out of the tap. This turned out to be easily solved by removing the aerator and checking to see if it had a flow restrictor. 

It did not but just the act of pulling the aerator, letting the water run for a minute or so and reinstalling it was enough to markedly improve the water flow at the tap.

My other problem is simply an ascetic issue. The nice braided water lines I bought to supply water to the faucet are a little bit too long. I measured and figured for an 18 inch hose. Unfortunately, my choices were 20" or 16". I chose wrong.

So, at some point, I'm going to purchase 16 inch hoses and replace. If I was smart and frugal, I would do it today and return the 20" hoses. However, I am neither smart nor am I frugal. Additionally, I'm a heart patient. 

One of the drugs I take makes me very dizzy when I lie on my back and look up to work on something. I discovered this years ago when I crawled under a truck to change the oil and discovered I was getting nauseous from doing the work.

I felt the same effect yesterday and just don't feel like experiencing it again.

So today is a lazy Saturday with me doing little nothings around the house while Susan is preparing treats for tomorrow's Valentines Day celebration at church.

I am going to take a moment to pat myself on the back. I used the new shower this morning and while standing under the shower and looking out onto the new bathroom, I have to say that I am very happy with the results. 

Susan will be pissed off when she reads this because, technically, the bathroom is not finished. We still have to finish the trim around the window and door. We still need to build a little shelf under the window and we still need to place the shutters and remove the horrible cheap shower curtain that is presently serving as a curtain.

We also have a giant cupboard to build to hide the old stair space.

Even so, I am very pleased with the result. The bathroom is so much better than what we had. If you doubt that, look back to entries I made back in May of 2015.

On a totally different subject, I have a picture that is a good illustration of the amount of snow we have.
This is my neighbors garage and it clearly shows a snow depth of about 18 inches. I'll try to monitor this and use it as my snow gauge.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday @ Home

I am home today, recovering from my surgical ordeal from Wednesday. I am pretty much recovered and should have gone to work today but I am waiting for the CenturyLink Technician to show up and fix the phone.

So I'm going to putter around the house today and see what I can get done. I have already shaved, showered and dressed so I am ready to face the bright sunny day that lays before me.

We still have a good solid 12 inches of snow on the ground and we are in the middle of a giant melt. As I said, it is sunny today and the temperature is currently 36 degrees on the iPod and 47 degrees on the StanOmeter 5000. Since the StanOmeter is mounted on the roof, I'm going to take that as a more accurate reading.

Time now for a waffle!

Ahhhhh! That was good. That and my coffee topped with Bailey's. I am satiated!

It's 9:20 and nothing from CentLink. I just went to their website and updated my appointment information and now I have been moved up to between 10:14AM and 11:10AM.

That means I can move on to a project.

Susan bought us a new faucet for the main floor bathroom that is more commensurate with the style of fixtures we already have in there.

We are replacing this
with this.
It's quite obvious that the faucet we originally installed is too modern looking for the space. Just look at the bathtub fixture.
That should be the guide for every other fixture in the bathroom.

So why don't I stop writing and get to work!

Okay! The faucet is in place but I need to get new hoses. The old faucet had hoses built in and this new faucet needs it's own independent hoses. Further, the hoses need to have an 1/8th inch connection at the shut off valve and 1/4 inch connection at the faucet shanks.

I cannot go and get the hoses yet because I'm still waiting for Century Link. It is now 10:14 and I need to recheck the website and see if I'm still on.

Okay the update has pushed me back to between 10:52AM and 11:48AM. 

10:18AM: I just got a call from the Tech. He's going to the box at their facility and another guy with the bucket truck is coming by the house.

10:45AM: The guys are here and the bucket truck guy is up the pole. The one tech told me he didn't think they needed to get into the house but I have unlocked the door just in case.

There is standing water everywhere which is going to be fun if a freeze returns, but so far, I don't think that is in the forecast.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Still No Phone Service

A technician from CenturyLink was indeed scheduled to come by today and fix our phone. The appointment window was between 1 and 4. I left instructions with the Representative that the Technician was to call me a half hour before he was to arrive so I could get home. 

I had absolutely no confidence that the technician would call in advance and had I bet on it, I would have been rewarded handsomely. 

I have just got off the phone to arrange appointment number seven concerning this issue. I told them I would be home on Friday and they gave me an appointment window of 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM. I have never been given such a tight window.

Now it just remains to be seen if they follow through. Since my lack of confidence continues, I have a very low threshold of faith that they will follow through. 

Driving down the street feels like I'm driving through a war zone. There are ruts and potholes and all kinds of obstacles to overcome until one gets to a main street. Then the driving is fine. 

I was surprised to arrive home tonight and see the plows had been by. Even more surprising was to discover my driveway was not plowed in. Usually they leave a berm as they pass that the homeowner then has to dig out. But that was not the case today. 

I think I need to do a little investigating to make sure one of my neighbors didn't clear it for me.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Little Snow, BIG snow

It snowed for most of the day yesterday as well as into the night. It is still snowing right now but the flakes are very very small. I estimate we have six new inches on the ground. 

I need to get out there and fire up the snow blower. The added challenge today is that I am on the downhill slide of an outbreak of gout in my right knee. It's the worst I've experienced in years. More information about my gout is available on my health blog, 
I have been successful with the snow blow of my D.S.R.A. I was out there for about two hours. I did our driveway and the sidewalks on Wall, Cleveland and Waverly Place. I also did half the alley in order to keep it clear for Garbage Pick Up.
They are forecasting more snow tonight. As you can see from the picture above, we got seven inches here at the house. The news has said 7 to 12 inches have fallen.

I was wiped out when I finished and came in for a nap.

Our phone is out again and I'm waiting for a Technician from Century Link to show up. They set an appointment for today from Noon to Four. However, I got an automated call last night about 4:45 confirming the appointment and saying the tech would arrive between Noon and 7:28.

It is quarter after 6 right now and I'm about to call and find out if a tech is coming.

9:56PM: Once again, no technician. The lesson I have learned today is to call on the day of the appointment to ensure they are still coming.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Shower Dedication

The shower has been christened!

Susan seemed a bit annoyed that I was so anxious to try out the shower. She still had clean up to do on the caulking. However, I believe the caulking is fine, everything looks good, and it is time to use it. I mean, we started this project in May of 2015.

Below is a close up of a small section of the edge of the shower and the bead of caulk we had to lay down. It seems to be working well.
My review of the shower is mostly positive. I can tell you that it performed its primary function. It got me wet. It is roomy enough to move around and kind of party in there. It did not appear to leak any water beyond the confines of the surround.

So I call that success!

It seems all is well with the internet connection in the house. I watched some Netflix stuff yesterday and that worked well. I was able to download all my podcasts this morning so that went well.

The only thing that remains to be seen is whether or not it lasts. That is the variable that we've been dealing with for the last week and I am gun shy waiting for the damn thing to drop out.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Century Link Appointment Number Fi5e

I have been unable to post all weekend because the CenturyLink C.F. continues in full bloom. We had a Saturday appointment between 8:15 and 12:30 for a technician to come to the house and solve the problem.

At 12:48, I was calling CenturyLink, only to find out that a technician completed the work and had moved on to his next assignment of neglect.

At that point, I became quite cross with Nina and asked her to explain to me the CenturyLink definition of "Completed Work". 

I ended up spending an hour on the phone with Nina (which I recorded) and I still have no internet. What I do have is an appointment for today from 1:00 to 6:00 for a technician to come the house and solve the problem. 

I will say that Nina was very helpful and apologetic but ultimately, no help.

So I am in to work early this morning and I will be leaving early to be at the house at 1:00 straight up for the technician to come by the house and solve the problem.

Oh! Here's one other little complication to throw into the CenturyLink C.F. batter. I turned on my phone this morning and put it in the inner pocket of my jacket. As I was walking out to the car, I heard something coming from the phone. I pulled it out and watched the end of a video promoting an up coming World Wrestling Smackdown Extravaganza event. 

The way my phone is set up, that would only play on there if the internet was working. I ran back inside and up to the modem, and sure enough, everything was lit up as it was supposed to be and the internet was connected to the rest of the world.

I am not planning on canceling this appointment. I want someone there to check the lines and make sure EVERYTHING works...and not just for the first 15 minutes after the tech leaves.

I shall update as appropriate!

3:22PM: It is now appropriate. It appears the problem has been fixed but not completely solved. The main thing is that the internet is on in the Burke house.

I just talked to the tech a little bit ago and he said he mostly had it fixed but a Cable tech was going to have to come and that would not happen until tomorrow. However, no need for me to miss any more work.

The thing is, he told me exactly what the other tech told me on Thursday, and what they told me again on Saturday. The problem is at the box. 

I told the guy they don't communicate with each other very well. He said that is their running joke.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Thursday with Century Link

When last we left the CenturyLink F-up, they had told me that the problem was with the cable and they would handle it and I would not have to be at the house.

While at work on Thursday, I got a call about 1:15 from a CenturyLink Tech who said he was about 15 minutes away from the house. I explained what I had been told by HIS company and he said that he thought he needed to get in the house if he could not do the work at the pole. Then he mentioned he could not do the work at the pole because it had been redflagged. (A diligent reader who is keeping track would remember a new pole was planted in the alley several months ago. It has blossomed into a magnificent pole where most of the wire harnesses have been moved, except for anything to do with the phone. It's on the old pole,The one that is now dangerous to climb, hence the "redflag".)

So the tech went back and forth between the basement and a junction box down the block. He finally fixed the static on the phone line but 15 minutes after he left, the internet was down again.

So I called in again and managed to wrangle an appointment for Saturday morning between 8:15AM and 12:30PM.

I can't wait to see what happens next!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

CenturyLink Cluster Fuck

I have to write this down quickly because I do not know how long my internet service will be on line.

I am writing the timeline of events since Saturday, when a Century Link Technician named Mike came to the house to increase the speed of our Interweb service. 

He was scheduled to show up between 10AM and 2PM. He arrived about 1:45. Mike and two other guys were here for about two hours. I know things did not go smoothly, but they did get the internet working. Whether or not it is faster, I was not able to tell.

On Sunday morning, I got up and was watching NCIS through Netflix, which uses our internet connection. It cut out about half way through the show and would not reconnect.

Later in the morning, around 10:30, I called Mom in Palm Springs and had a nice chat with her. About half an hour later, the phones had no dial tone. The internet connection was down. Nothing was working. 

(It appears I'm off line right now. I don't know how much I should write for fear of loosing it all.)

Okay, it seems to be back.

Sometime during the morning, I called Century Link at 1-800-573-1311. I went through the automated system with the goal of talking to a live person. I give the automated system my name, my phone number, my reason for calling and it finally connects me to a guy. I should have gotten the guys name. Anyway, the guy starts asking me all the questions I have already provided to the automated system, ostensibly to speed things along.

The guy finally agreed that my phone was not working and we set up an appointment for Tuesday afternoon between 2:30 and 6:30.

The guy also offered to forward our calls to my cell phone. That was nice.

Before going to bed on Sunday night, I checked the phone and had a dial tone.

In the morning, I checked the phone and had a dial tone. 

Just before I went out the door to work, I checked the phone and had no dial tone.

Susan checked it before she left and we had a dial tone. I decided it was appropriate to maintain the appointment because clearly, the service was spotty at best and someone needed to check it.

As I drove in to the driveway on Monday night, my cell rang and it was an automated call from CenturyLink confirming the appointment for the next day, Tuesday, January 24th between 2:30 and 7:30. That's right, somehow it got extended to 7:30, which I did not have a problem with since I would be here anyway.

So now it is Tuesday, January 24th, 2017. I left work at two, having come in early the last two days to build up the hours.

I pulled in to the driveway at exactly 2:29PM. It has been snowing lightly and I noticed there where tracks in the driveway of a double axle vehicle that had pulled in and left. There were also footprints in the light snow from the truck going to the back door.

There was a door hanger on the back door saying the technician had been here at 1:15PM. I pulled out my calculator because I needed to determine for sure if 1:15 was in the 2:30 to 7:30 window. I was able to determine that it was not.

Sp now I call the number on this door hanger, 1-800-201-4099. Again I do the dance of the automated system until I get to a person. Again, I did not get a name but I'm sure from her accent that it was something like Gishda or Flemzeetle or something other than Mary.

It took me a great deal of time to get her to understand that the tech showed up prior to the appointment time and I wanted him to come back today. She said she could arrange for another appointment and I very clearly and sternly told her that was not acceptable. I have planned for today! I have left work early today! I am home within the agreed upon window! The appointment will take place TODAY!

At that point, she wanted to be off the phone with me. Let me say that at no time was I rude or impolite to this woman. But I was mad and I was firm that a technician is supposed to show up today.

She tepidly agreed that would be the case. I am really not convinced she got the message.


I hope that I am not asking too much.

8:44PM: I ended up calling back at 6:30. This time I recorded the call so even though I don't know the name of the woman that helped me, I know I can find out her name.

She ended up telling me that they have determined it's a problem with the cable outside the house, not inside the house and I would not have to be there to let someone in.

I was a little snarky when I asked her when they planned on telling me this info. She apologized and said it will be fixed in the next couple of days.

I'm still not holding my breath. The phone still sounds fuzzy and there is lots of static. I shall be standing by until further notice.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Saturday Post on a Sunday

I am writing you today from the new enhanced Interweb. The phone guys have just left and I made sure all our Interweb compatible components were working. I had to reset it once but everything is cool. It is supposed to be faster now and we are paying less.

We have had a quiet day. It's still pretty warm out and the melt off is continuing. I built a fire this morning and it's been going all day. 

I had to restock the wood pile. I wasn't easy because the auxiliary wood pile is in pretty deep snow. I managed to get it uncovered and got enough wood back in the pile to last us for another day or so.

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017: I have not been able to finish this post because our InterWeb connection has not been working. It has been spotty all day. We even had a problem with the phone...although it seems to be working now. 

It has been raining today so it continues to be sloppy out there. Pot holes are suddenly appearing on the heavily traveled streets and residential streets are strewn with ruts made by the snow. It's quite difficult to navigate some of the side streets.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Slop Cometh

I woke up this morning to a couple of inches of snow on the car and the whole surrounding neighborhood but I had no time to handle any of it. Fortunately, by getting in to work early, I was able to leave early and get back home to meet the Cable Guy. Actually, it's the Dish Network guy. We had some issues with our new installation.

There were a number of channels that didn't come in. The technician whose name was Spenser, climbed up and re-aimed the dish. By the way...see if you can guess Spenser's last name. What's the natural last name to follow Spenser? That's right. Our Satellite guy is Spenser Tracey.

Anyway, I got home early enough to break out the snow blower and try to clean up the slop. The temperature was well into the 40's today so everything was getting very soft.

I was able to kind of get a start on coming close to digging out portions of what one might call the sewer drain. If it's going to start melting, we will need some exposed drains.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Eight Degrees of Warmth

It is a sunny and chilly Saturday in Spokaloo. I read 8 degrees at the moment.

It is a big day for us televisionally because we are switching from the DirecTV to the Dish TV. Warren is here now and installing the new Dish dish. The reason for the change is a savings of about 40 bucks a month, locked in for two years. Plus, we get "the Hopper". That means we have the DVR machine but we can watch recorded shows on any TV. With DirecTV, we could only watch DVR'd shows in the TV Room, where we never watch TV. (It really is an awkwardly named room.) We also have three months of premium movie channels and since we have the DVR with lots of storage, we are going to record the shit out of movies.

Another perk is that we now have access to Netflix through the TV rather than my old computer with the old set up.

I received paperwork from the state yesterday declaring my car is totaled and therefore, not legal to drive. I need to get the title re-issued and I only have until 1:00 to do it. The Licensing offices are closed after 1 on Sats.

However, I really need to wait for Warren to finish his work.

While Warren is toiling away, I worked on a little project. It's really fixing a screw up I did when installing the shower surround.
Here is the shower. Please to notice to handle on the door.
It is installed incorrectly...upside down.
My task is to turn it around. It's an easy fix except for the part of all the little extra beauty doodads that require an extra set of hands to put it together.

Warren is making great progress and the TV looks like it is connected and downloading info.

Now I have to make the unfortunate call to DirecTV and cancel my account.

It is now almost 3:30 and we are watching the Seattle Seahawks play the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta just scored in the third quarter making the score 26 to 10.

The Dish Network is now successfully installed and operating well. 

During the halftime festivities, we went upstairs and removed the last vestige of Christmas, the lights up on the balcony. Following that task, I went outside to tackle this rascal.
I wasn't especially worried about it other than the weight of it hanging off the house. It has now been knocked down and no longer considered a threat to the neighborhood.

The Seahawks have lost. Now, Susan and I will switch to rooting for the Green Bays for the remainder of the playoff season.

In the meantime, I am now concerned for any of the teams I root for. The game coming up is the Gonzaga Bulldoogies against the St. Mary's Gaels.

They play in about two hours and the big deal about this game is that St. Mary's is traditionally Gonzaga's stiffest competition. The Zags are 16-0 so they are having a GREEEEEEEAT season start. Hopefully, that streak continues.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Half a Plow

When I drove into the neighborhood last night, I was hoping to see the city plows had visited us. No such luck! Waverly Place was thick and chunky with snow. When I turned on to Wall Street, the street our driveway is on, the road was clear of chunks. As I approached the driveway, I realized the street was full of chunks past the driveway. 

I parked the car and walked out to the street to get a better look. It looked like someone with a blade on their truck has plowed the northern half the street.

After going in and getting settled a bit, I returned to the driveway to break out the snow blower and manicure the little bit of snow that fell yesterday.

My neighbor Lou showed up after a while and I asked him if he had hired someone with a blade to plow the street. He said that James had cleared the street with Lou's snow blower.

(James and Shelby live in the upstairs portion of Lou and Tammy's house.)

That is an impressive effort as the snow in the streets is very heavy and the snow blowing would be very slow going.

So...we continue to wait for the city to come down the street with the big manly blades and clean up the neighborhood. Lou said we are at the bottom of the list. I checked the official city plow map and he is absolutely correct. We are in Group 11 and it is listed last.