A Blast of the Past #123: Tenth Birthday


Nathan’s 10th birthday is today’s view of the past.



Clean up: the house, the refrigerator


Today’s task was getting the movables out of the addition, the “play room” that had its wall bashed in by the tree. But that put me in mind of our refrigerator, and the drawers on the bottom, and shelves in the door, stacked with items not getting used.

So we also cleaned out the shriveled or must apples, spoiled cheese, dried carrots, etc. Our compost bin got a windfall.

The playroom had a lot of loose items: papers that needed to be compressed for buring, toys to empty out of a toy chest, items strung here and there.

Getting the youth motivated to do those tasks was, shall we say, interesting.

But after that comes the heavy items.  The old sofa bed we are tossing out the door for the contractor to haul away, or to go in the city’s big item collection. It was the biggest and most used item. Not worth passing on to anyone, and won’t fit our planned redesign of use for the room.

But that leaves the empty toy chest, the half pew (a sample pew for salesmen — the ends are different showing different options{, the corner table, the folding dining room table that was my maternal grandmothers (it survived the tree, close as it was, thankfully for sentimental reasons), and the oversized lounge chair from the living room that has the dropped springs and needs some repairs (but still salvageable enough to not get rid off).

They all have to go somewhere. Somewhere else in the house, but where?

There isn’t a lot of room in the basement, and that is a long way.  Most of the items I am cramming into the office that is the connecting room between the main house and the play room, but it is a small room that probably won’t fit everything, especially since we never got it cleaned out and set up before this need to move all these items in.

I think the folding dining room table will end up in the living room. The pew will end up in the office. We already have our regular dining room table in the office, so whether we can get the corner table and the oversized lounge chair in the office as well.  I’m thinking the table gets the office, and the chair, well, we will find somewhere for it.




A Blast of the Past #122: Rocky


Hard to realize that it has already been 8 years. Sept. 12, 2009 we went to Wayside Waifs and adopted Rocky (called Devito at Wayside, after Danny Devito, because of our dog’s short legs). Here are the pictures when he first came home.

We were warned we couldn’t leave him out in a back yard, that he would dig and is an escape artist. And though the escapes have gotten less frequent, the most recent one took place this Tuesday Morning. So he’s still the same ole Rocky, though perhaps the world old does apply more than it did to our frisky pup.

Technology Day


Today has been a technology day. At this point it has ended on a positive note, though it didn’t begin there.

I woke up, took the dog for a walk with the bicycle, and then came back to check my e-mail. I needed to print a document so I could sign, scan and return it.

The first page printed out on our HP printer in perfect white on white. The trouble we had been having with the printer not able to print black ink was continuing.  So I tried to find a way to print the PDF page in a different color. But I don’t have that option, It wouldn’t send to OneNote (OneNote never fixes itself every time it opens, but it tries), and the copy I was able to get into work was some sort of bitmapped mess.

We like the concept of the HP Instant Ink plan we have, where we pay a monthly fee for printing a set number of pages, and never have to worry about buying ink again.

But lately the cartridge is half full but we can’t print anything in black. We clean the print heads and get a page or two, then are back to square one.

So I spent close to an hour on the phone with HP service, with an excellent tech, Nigel, who showed me the vent on the top of the ink cartridge which I cleared, and then we cleaned the print heads many times until everything was printing correctly.

He also let us know that today was the final day on our warranty of the printer, so if an issue came up in the next couple of days, to call and make sure it got hooked to the current case, since it would be part of the same incident we were working under warranty, and not a new one outside the warranty.

So I got my document printed, signed, scanned, and e-mailed.

Next I picked up the box received earlier in the week from Nest to try and install their fancy thermostat. We got that for free on a deal with KCPL, our electric company, that will control our thermostat up to 15 days a summer during peak hours to control their energy generation. But as I opened that box, I read that you have to check online with Nest to confirm that your furnace is compatible with their thermostat.

So I went to the website, and input the information. It said to confirm to chat with their agent and upload a picture of the wires in the thermostat for them to confirm. So I took the picture with my dumb phone camera, and hit the chat button.

I was number 21 in order, and got to the front in less than 2 minutes. But when I uploaded the picture it suddenly closed out the chat. The second time I was number 26 in order and waited something like 20 minutes, but managed to get back to the same agent who already had my picture, but couldn’t see what she needed, so I took another picture with my video camera, which was still somewhat blurry, but between that and my reading a couple things off the thermostat, she was able to tell me that our furnace and their thermostat were compatible.

But she also recommended with our dual-unit setup (heat pump with backup gas furnace) that we have a professional install the unit. So I called KCPL, who said they could set that up, but that  we wouldn’t get the $50 check for installing it ourself. I decided to forgo the $50 and have them install it. So we are waiting for them to call us back to set up the appointment.

I was still on the chat after I got off the call  with KCPL, and she was going to send  me a schematic of  my thermostat. She asked me what color the various wires were.  I told her they were all white, except for those that didn’t have a color. Yes, based on that, I think letting it be installed professionally might be the good idea.


Then we finally got out of the house for our usual Saturday run to the library. Up to now, that was followed by a run to Worlds of Fun for lunch, but since they aren’t open now, and won’t be until Winterfest (which is evenings, anyway), we went to Sam’s club for the Pizza Slice Combo lunch. $2.49 apiece comes to $10.98 with our local tax, giving us all food and beverage.

Then we took a tour to Home Depot to look at carpet options for the storm damage fixes, dropping the kids off at GameStop while we did so.

On the way back we dropped them off at home while we went to the Sprint Store, where we had our first fully successful technology event of the day.  I picked up a new phone. A Smart Phone (to show how dumb I am), the Samsung Galaxy J3 Pop. Same as what Betsy got earlier, though with a larger SD card, no screen protector, and a Black (instead of white) case. Took us 40 minutes from start to finish.

So now I am at the end of the day, looking at music I have already purchased from MusicNotes. I’ve decided to print off two of the songs as good candidates for singing at the upcoming Christmas Musical Extravaganza (or whatever it will be called this year) at AUMC. And now the printer is doing what it did this morning.  Well, on the first copy it printed 2.5 out of 4 pages before going to white. I am still working on cleaning and trying to get a good copy to print.

I am running through the steps from this morning, and starting to get a passable copy. So I thought I’d try to put in the new black ink cartridge (we got a box this morning with our replacement inks in the mail) to see if that would work, since we think it is a cartridge issue. Turns out they only sent color inks. Since we have 50% on the black, no reason to send us that replacement yet. So I can’t replace our bad cartridge with a good. Instead I have to waste 5-10 pages of paper on test pages before being able to print each print project I want.

And I’ve already sent back an e-mail to the help desk extending our case, and explaining why I am not happy, though clearly stated that I am not holding Nigel responsible for any of this — but credited him with excellent technical knowledge and service.

So that has been my technology day.

A Blast of the Past #119: Geauga Lake


Of all the Cedar Fair Parks we have visited, Geauga Lake probably has the sweetest spot in our hearts. It no longer exists as a park, but in our two visits there, it always seemed a special water park, and we always seemed like we got special VIP treatment when there. Perhaps it was because we were always able to rent a cabana at 40% off regular price, or something like that — which made it more affordable. Then the pools, slides and waitstaff were always just the right balance of service and fun.

So, here are a few pictures from our 2009 visit.