Thursday, March 15, 2018

Step One and Two

We have taken the first step towards a remodeled kitchen. 

Last week, we met with our Financial Advisor. Let's call him Lee.

We have been building an account dedicated to our kitchen remodel. We are doing okay. We have about $30,000 in that account. I would like it to be $45,000. 

So we made some adjustments to stocks we own and are setting our sights on being able to remodel the kitchen in one year.

We are taking step two today. We are meeting with a cabinet guy to try and get an idea of the layout and more importantly, the cost of cabinetry.
Here is my self drawn blue print of the kitchen. That thing in the middle represents our current island and the sink. We want the island to be bigger and are open to the idea of the sink being moved to the south wall in front of the window.
I'm also bringing along pictures of the oven, cook top, fridge and dish washer. We are ahead of the game because we already own these items.

I hope to have some information to impart after the meeting.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

End of Phase One

We have just completed Phase One of the South Beach Diet. We take advantage of Lent to try and loose some of the weight that nature and cookies have put on us. 

The most significant part of Phase One for us is "NO ALCOHOL!"
Phase Two allows a glass of wine per day and so we are trying to stick to that.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Oscar's Appt & Mo Sno

It's Saturday with nothing really planned. So it's fortunate that it snowed over the night and I had the time to do some significant snow blowing. 

It's 1:00PM now and it looks like the snow may be over for the day. There was about two inches of snow on the ground and that's about what was forecast. I'm still going to go out later and get the alley cleared. 

One of the Shear Bolts broke on the right side tine on the main rotor. So I wasn't picking up snow very efficiently.

I went out on some errands that included getting a new shear bolt. Luckily, I got the last package.

While the streets around the house are snowy white and a little chunky, the main drags are clear and wet.

Susan had an appointment with the Vet this morning. No, she doesn't go to the Vet to save money on Doctor bills. 

It was time for Oscar's annual check up. We assume he is somewhere around 18 now. He has lost a pound from last year but other than that, he's doing well.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Trying to Snow

It's been trying to snow all day but it has amounted to only a skiff of snow. I wish it would dump and get it over with. Especially since I have the time on a Sunday to snow blow.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

CenturyLink and the Snow Blow Man

It snowed through the night and well into the morning. I needed to get out and get to my snow blowing but first I had to deal with CenturyLink and the hopes of getting my internet running consistently.

The funny thing is that the internet has run pretty steady for the last couple of days.

I got a text message at 8AM that said the Technician was on the way. That prompted me to get out of bed.

The guy showed up at about 8:45. His name was Jason. He was very competent.

I led him to the basement where the phone lines come into the building and the phone blocks (circa 1952) are located. You will note that I did say "Lines".

When this house was a group home for mentally challenged adults, there were three phone lines coming into the house. One was for the fire alarm. We are only using one line so we really have no reason for the other two.

Jason had already confirmed that the internet had been stable for the last couple of days but that it had produced several error codes. He looked over the jumble of wires and immediately began running tests to find out which wires were active. He suspected that the nightmare of wires connected to three different terminal blocks was causing interference. 

It took him about an hour but he got us up and running.

The bonus from his visit was that he thought our connection should be updated. He told me he would call me on Monday or Tuesday and set up an afternoon appointment to run a new line and update the terminals in the house.

This service order with CenturyLink went pretty much the same as other contacts I've had with them. Arranging an appointment over the phone was a nightmare. Dealing with the Technician went smoothly and restored my confidence in the company. 

I told him about the issues I had getting him to the house. He said he has worked for three communications companies and they all suck as far as talking to each other. 

It continued snowing until noon. As it was easing up, I got out there and began my routine. I got through all the main stuff, the driveway, the sidewalks, and some paths through the yard. But I wanted to get to the stuff I missed the other day when it snowed. Specifically, the alley. 

I like to snow blow the alley because I throw the snow from the driveway into the alley. Also, it makes it easier on Garbage Day... easier to get the bins out and easier for the Garbage Guys.

As I was coming down to my last couple of passes in the alley, the snow blower started acting up. The motor started to sputter like it was running out of gas. I checked the tank and it had plenty of gas. I messed with the throttle and choke switch and it kind of cleared the problem. For a while. It did it a couple more times. I managed to get through my rounds without it completely dying on me. 

I think there is more snow in the forecast so I'm worried about it. I don't mind taking it to the repair guy but it is a bitch to load in the car.

I was probably out there for an hour and a half. Doing the alley was slow and hard because the snow was thick and heavy from the previous snowfall.

When I finished, I was spent. I enjoyed a nice long bath with Epson Salts.

It's great to be in shape. At least, that's what I hear!

Friday, February 16, 2018

CenturyLink and How NOT to Communicate

We have been having issues with our inter-web at the house. It's been at least two weeks where it drops in and out. The other day I was watching the modem and the DSL light would blink out and then reboot and come back, only to be followed by blinking out again within a minute. 

I was going to call in and report the problem to CenturyLink, my inter-web provider, but we were gone over the weekend and I thought I would wait until we got back.

So, I called up the service line on Tuesday evening. I spoke to Ava who was from another land. It was difficult to understand her. 

I explained the problem and she set up an appointment for the next day. I told her I wanted it late in the day and I wanted a call from the Technician prior to his arrival. We arranged for an appointment between 3 & 5.

I left work early at 2:30 and noticed a message on my phone. The Technician had called at 8:30AM and announced he was on his way.

When I got home, I had a nice tag on the door from Tony Technician saying he was unable to complete the job because no one was home to let him in.

So, I called up the service line on Wednesday evening. I spoke to Pete who was from another land. It was difficult to understand him. 

I explained that I had called in and had an appointment for that afternoon and the guy showed up in the morning. Pete said that was not the information he had on his computer. I told him I'm not making it up and their communication within the "Communications Company" was horrible.

We set up another appointment for the next day. The window was from 1 to 5. I again requested a call from the tech prior to his arrival.

Fortunately, Susan had the day off so there was going to be someone there for the whole appointment window. I told her I would call her if and when the tech called to let her know he was coming.

I never called her cuz I never got the call.

I got home and nobody from CenturyLink had shown up.

So, I called up the service line on Thursday evening. I spoke to Kossi who was from another land. It was difficult to understand him. 

During the five minutes on the CenturyLink phone tree attempting to get to a human, I was informed by the pleasant recorded voice that my service ticket had been closed.

In speaking with Kossi, I learned that Tony Technician had closed the service ticket on Tuesday because my phone line could not accommodate the high speed upgrade I had requested.

As my blood pressure began to spike, I told Kossi I had not ordered an upgrade to high speed internet. I was having trouble with my internet staying on-line. I then asked why that little nugget of information had not been explained on the previous day when I called to ask why the tech showed up se7en hours before my appointment window.

I also pulled an arrow from my quiver that I didn't necessarily have. I told him I had already left work early one day and missed a half a day today. All for nothing! What are you going to do to compensate me for that. The answer is nothing. They don't care!

Kossi doesn't have to know that Susan was there all day.

Okay, I lied to them and, Gloriosky I feel bad. No...wait! That's not it at all. I am not concerned that I have laid out the truth here and it's possible they might find out. They were already going to do nothing about it. The only leverage I have is this and Xfinity.

Once again, this is a company whose soul mission in life is to provide communication.  They must have farmed out the communication portion of their mission because they CANNOT talk to each other.

The incompetence level on this out sourced phone service is off the charts!

At this point, I have an appointment for tomorrow, Saturday, between 8:30 and 1:00. Stay tuned for the conclusion.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentimes

We were greeted this morning with a snowy blanket of love...five inches of love all over everything. It was pretty wet snow so I decided I had better get out there and get my area cleared. That made me late for work. Not by much though.
Now I am home and battling the phone company. My Internet has become very spotty and drops out all the time. I'm fully expecting to have a problem while writing this post.

I called CenturyLink last night and made arrangements for a technician to show up here after 4PM. I arrived home at 3:45 to find a note from the CenturyLink Tech who showed up at 8:45AM.

I just got off the phone with them with a new appointment for tomorrow between 1 and 5.

We shall see how that goes.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

SuperBowl LII

We do not care at all about this years Superbowl.

It's not because we dislike football. Quite the contrary. Whom doesn't enjoy a good football game?!

But we are not excited about the teams playing. This year it is Philadelphia Eagles against the perennial forever-there team, the New England Patriots.

We are going to go over to the Hub and watch at least the first half. Hell, it's an official American Holiday, without the paid time off from work.

We feel guiltless to take the time to watch the game because we have had a good weekend of productive productivity full of productiveness.

I have been cleaning the basement. I started the other night with the vacuum on the stairs and the landing at the bottom of the afore mentioned stairs.

It's been a while since that area has seen a vacuum. 

Yesterday, I moved my cleaning operation to the wine room. I failed to take a before picture which is too bad because the change is astonishing. Wow I'm a slob! This is sooooooomuch better than it was.
Today I continued work in the wine room trying to organize the shelves. I have quite a bit of work yet to do.

Susan has decided to revive her dormant Stained Glass skills and get to work on a piece that will complete our stained glass window hangings in the kitchen.

Here is what she has already done.

Now we need to fill that space.

She spent yesterday cutting the glass for her design. Today she broke out her grinder and cleaned up the glass pieces and got them to their proper size. 
I'm glad to see she hasn't forgotten her skills because we still have a lot of leaded glass to repair.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

TV and Other Stuff Update

A couple of weeks ago I discussed the travails we were going through with our Dish TV Satellite and switching our local channels over to an Over the Air (O.T.A.) antennae.

Earlier this week, I called and canceled the O.T.A. service. We were unable to reliably receive channel 4, our ABC affiliate. We were not willing to save $10 a month but not have one of the major networks.

We I called they told me I did not have to return the antennae and so we continue to get the extra channels the O.T.A. antennae provides. And we continue to not get the ABC network via O.T.A. 

We do get it from the Dish. So, we're cool!

I was very cool yesterday because I was skiing. I drove up to Lookout Pass and met my friend Geoff Fanning up there, who has season passes that are transferable. So except for the cost of gas ($26.00) and beer ($11.00), I skied for free. 

But it was not free. When I got home it was time to pay the price in the form of body aches. I was soooooo sore last night. I dragged around the house for a while and then took a long bath, followed by passing out upstairs.

However, I am pleased with how I feel today. Don't get me wrong, I'm not ache free, but I can move around pretty well and I think I'm recovering nicely.

A good first day on the hill!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Handy Man Failure Update

I am happy to report that all seems to be well with the hot tub.

I went out tonight and it was up to temperature. I ran the pump and they spewed a little water and then stopped. They ran smoothly the whole time I was adding fresh chemicals and did not appear to have any small leaks.

I seem to have dodged a bullet but I think the bullet might still be out there looking for me.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Handy Man Failure Story of the Day

I went out today to add chemicals to the hot tub. We haven't been using it at all and it had been some time since I treated it. Like a couple of weeks.

I opened the lid and the water was cold. 

Uh Oh!

I messed with all the breakers and couldn't restore power. Finally, I found a tiny little reset button hidden out of the way inside the access panel and got the heat turned back on. I have no idea how long it had been off and we have had some cold nights. I turned on the jets and water spewed out of the both pumps. 

Uh Oh!

I decided to leave the chemistry issue alone and see if the thing will heat up again.

I'll get back to you.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Handy Man Success Story of the Day

Last weekend I noticed that the agitator in the washing machine was not agitating too much. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the agitator was not agitating because it might be broken.

Susan and I went out today to see what a new (to us) washer might cost. We were hoping to keep it in the region of $200.00. 

We drove up to Fred's Ding and Dent Center and found we could acquire an okay washer for around $350.00. 

Then we drove to our old reliable "Go To" appliance warehouse, the Appliance Warehouse. While looking at their selection (lowest price $239.00) I got to talking with the guy there and in the course of our conversation, discovered that the agitator could be repaired.

After a detour to pick up the lawn mower from a servicing, we returned home and I set to work to figure out how to remove the agitator. Prior to doing it, I thought I had better run a load of laundry since I did not know how long the washer would be down.

Once my load of laundry was done, I pretty quickly figured out the agitator. I jumped in the car and returned to the Warehouse. The guy was prepared for me and had checked to make sure he had the right part.

They took the agitator to the back and returned in five minutes. For that, I happily paid them $50.00 and went home victorious.

To make sure, I grabbed the sheets off the bed and threw them in for a wash. 

Suffice it to say that I am pretty pleased with me today!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Good Bye Snowbird

Back in November, I took a bunch of pictures like the one above.

It was time to sell Susan's old car. She has owned it since 1990. She was the second owner. She named it Snowbird,

Last week we put it on Craigslist and listed it for $1,800.00.

Today, we met a guy named Ryan at the STCU Credit Union by Northtown and signed ol' Snowbird over to him. We got the full price.

We had a number of people call about it, a couple came to see it, but Ryan was the guy that finally said yes.

Susan is a little sad to see her companion of nearly thirty years go away. I told her never to love something that can't love you back, but I understand the sentimentality of it all.

Now I have to get on Craigslist and cancel the ad.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dish Success

It did not happen immediately and it was not a smooth transition but I am happy to say that the Dish guy showed up and we have Over The Air (OTA) channels.

The Technician got it all plugged in and it seemed to be receiving channels but it wasn't showing any of those channels to us. He said it probably needed to upgrade the internal software, which it would do overnight.

He gave me his cell phone number in case things did not go smoothly and he said he would return the next day if the update didn't work.

A couple of hours after he left, I was suddenly getting the over the air channels, but no programming information. A while after that revelation, the programming info started working. 

It seems like everything is hunky dory and I've had no reason to call Connor, the Dish tech guy.

I must say that I am pleased with the clarity of the picture. I didn't know what to expect but I am happy with things so far.