Monday, July 31, 2017

Word to the wise:

If you own your home, and are thus liable for paying for repairs yourself, and have central heat/air, double-check where the condensator for your AC drains.  And where your blower motor is.  And if the two are too close together, think about paying an HVAC expert to change where the condensator puts the water.

Yes, we learned this the hard way. 

Last week, very early on Tuesday morning, we had an...issue.  The blower stopped.  Completely and entirely.  The compressor still kicked on, but the house had no AC for all intents and purposes.  We tried turning the system off, then back on.  We tried flipping the breaker for it.  No dice.  Called the company that had put the system in, and they said they likely wouldn't be able to get to us for a couple days, but might have been able to slot us in that day. 

The high was projected to be triple-digit, with higher heat index (thanks, Missouri humidity).  For the rest of the week. 

We called someone else.  They made it at five pm that day.  Crawled under the house where the blower unit was, and found that the motor was burned out.  Completely.  Dead, with no chance of resurrection. 

The heat pump is only 5 yrs old.  It shouldn't have died, were it properly installed...which it wasn't.  Turns out, the condensator drained onto the ground under the house...under the blower motor.  Which raised the humidity under the house significantly.  And wound up killing the motor. 

It was, thank God, still under warranty.  For 30 more days.  And the place that installed the heat pump had one in stock.  The guy that we had out who found the problem picked it up Wednesday morning as soon as they opened, got over here and installed it, and put in a drainage system and pump to put the water from the condensator out from under the house. 

Overall, we were out a bit north of $350.  It could have been far, far worse, if this had happened a month--or year--later. 

Check your HVAC units.  Make sure proper function isn't going to cause a catastrophic mal- or nonfunction.  Spending a little now will head off spending a lot later.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


I don't know if it's the laptop, Windows 10, Blogger, or what, but something isn't letting me comment or reply to comments.  It signs me out when I look at the blog, and won't let me sign in to comment as me.

Don't know what's going on, here.  Bit frustrated by the whole mess.

Update:  Figured out what was going on and fixed it.  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

New laptop

So far, so good.  It's a Lenovo IdeaPad 110.  8G memory/1TB hard drive.  Runs Windows 10.  I've turned off all the "Getting to Know You" shit, so privacy issues should be addressed (who uses Cortana, anyway?).

It's quick.   There's a few weird quirks--the right hand shift key is TINY, and on the far side of a page up/arrow up key.  I have VERY small hands.  My eight year old son's hands are almost as big.  Makes hitting the shift key...problematic.  Especially with more than two decades' familiarity with a full-sized shift key on both sides.

I'm probably investing in a USB ergonomic keyboard.

I've got a USB 2 and a USB 3 port, and an HDMI port.  It has made uploading the files transferred with a jump drive at least 4x bigger than my first laptop*--and a hell of a lot bigger than my first desktop--really fast.  Less than an hour to get ALL of the files transferred: documents, music, and pictures.  

36 G total of files transferred.  In less than an hour for the upload.

Speakers are wimpy, but I usually use headphones.

It's having...issues...downloading iTunes, which happens to be my preferred listening platform.  I can probably find a good work-around for that, though.  And who knows.  A download that might have not worked yesterday may work on a different day.

Got my Firefox bookmarks transferred, too.  It just left my bookmarks toolbar behind.  I can deal.  I can rebuild it.

One of the big failures with both of my Averatec laptops and then the last two Acer laptops was the DC jack.  In all four cases, the jack was on the right hand side.  This laptop has the DC jack on the left.  None of the DC jacks that have been on the left hand side have broken on me.  I hope this is no different.

All in all, I'm hoping this laptop can last me for a few years.  I really don't like changing machines, especially not mid-book.

And I wouldn't have, if the keyboard on the old one had remained reliable for a while longer.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Random ramblings

The kids continue to be massive little assholes.  Granted, I'm still working on getting a good routine built for them, but it's difficult with trying to do the things I have to do while trying to ride herd on them.  I've taken to chasing them outside and telling them to not tattle to me, and to resolve things themselves.  Most of the time, this resolves by one of them coming in and taking their Kindle Fire to their room, and shutting the door.  Most of the time, that's the pixie. 

The imp has transitioned from riding a bicycle with training wheels to riding without, and then transitioned into a bigger bike that fits him better, and that goes through mowed grass easier than the little bike he had.  And he now has a bell on it, which pleases him immensely. 

The pixie has learned to ride her bike with the training wheels on the room-sized patio just out the back door, with Merry-dog running alongside.  She's starting to want to transition to a bike without training wheels because she can't ride her bike anywhere off the patio. 

Both kids are spending something like 3/4 of their time outside.  Drawing with sidewalk chalk, playing on the patio, running all over the mowed part of the yard and pasture, riding bike (imp) up and down and around the driveway...

And they've made a friend.  There's a little boy--our neighbors to the east have a grandson who's over a lot--who's a LOT like the imp in interests and personality quirks (including ADHD, which is medicated, while imp is off his meds for the summer).  He's over on the weekends a lot, but not a lot during the week days (he's in summer school).  And when they're off playing, I have to CALL them in to eat, because they won't come in when they're hungry. 

The dog needs bathed and shorn.  She needs the Marine Boot Camp cut.  She REFUSES to be an inside dog, especially since she's got that wonderful room outside with a ceiling, cement floor, a ceiling fan, and no walls.  And it's forecast to be a hot one, this summer.  But she hates--HATES--baths and grooming.  I did get her bangs trimmed, and a couple of matted bits cut off of her back fur, but she stayed out of reach after I got those few things done. 

You'd think she'd appreciate the whole "I can see, now," thing, but no. 

Cricket has taken to lounging on the end of the table in the library/living room.  She loves that spot.  Especially when the pixie leaves the desk lamp on, and kitty has a warm spotlight for her fuzzy self. 

Shadow has delighted in the fact that the kids have a hard time getting their bedroom doors to fully latch.  She shoves the door of her choice open, goes in, and sleeps on the child of her choice.

Often, this results in the comical view of a 40 lb 6 year old pixie carrying a 13 lb cat out by her middle because she doesn't want the kitty sleeping on her, but Shadow is not deterred.  She just goes and either shoves the imp's door open (which she prefers, normally, because of his 4' high loft bed) if she can, and cries outside it until he opens it if she can't get it herself. 

We are pulling books out of storage.  We're limited on how many we can bring out, because we just don't have the shelf space.  Yet.  Odysseus is going to be building bookcases after we get everything out of the old place, and get repairs going on it.  We've got almost everything, but still have a bit more to go.

As for the new place, I love the house.  I love the house, the patio, the yard, love the space, the quiet, and the fact that we have six full acres to ourselves, and have so very much to explore. I love that I can shoo the kids out without worrying about the pedophile a block up from the old house anymore, or the nasty white trash kids that moved next door to the old place teaching my kids language and attitudes that would get them in trouble at their Christian school.   I don't care for the ticks, but that can be dealt with a lot easier than the problems at the old place. 

Yes, the house has issues.  It was built in '70, so it's an older house.  The chimney on the fireplace needs work (the liner's rusted, and the dampers are rusted shut), the plumbing drainage needed fully replaced (done), and we've got some roof leaks (flashing around one of the turban vents, and a hole that was plugged with expanding foam both leak during monsoon downpours)...and the garbage disposal has decided to leak through the bottom as of the other day.  The garage doors need replaced (so do the tracks on one), and I need a strap fastened to them so I can reach them to close them when they're up.  Most of this, though, is livable while we wait until the other place sells. 

I am feeling immensely better.  The inflammation has not resolved, so I've still got issues with joint discomfort, but a whole lot of other symptoms have eased or disappeared.  The difference is that the endocrinologist that my primary care doc referred me to put me on a different formulation of thyroid meds.  I'd been on the generic for seven years.*  And I'm now on a name brand specially formulated to be hypoallergenic.  There are four ingredients to it.  And after a couple of weeks on it, my brain fog cleared.  A lot.  Not totally, and if I overdo it even a little, I get nasty brain fog regardless of any other symptoms (but they do tend to come back in full force if I do overdo it). I have a bit higher energy level as a starting point (it's still not back to normal, and likely won't be for a while, yet), but still wear down quickly without being able to build back up without a full night's sleep, and less activity for a few days.   I need 8 full hrs of sleep per night to function instead of 10 hrs.  (I do still need around a half a pot of coffee, regardless.)

All this means I'm keeping up with housework a bit easier, with a little more mental energy left at the end of the day. 

Unfortunately, my laptop seems to be having issues, now.  I'm starting to lean toward a different brand, because this is the second Acer in two years developing hardware issues early.  It needs a new keyboard (half the time, it won't register that I've pressed a key, which makes writing an adventure in misspellings and typos), a new wireless card, and needs the power jack re-soldered, none of which I can do because of the laptop's design.  I'm eyeballing a few different machines.

Odysseus is also looking at new laptops.  He's looking at bigger ones, since he's not hauling it back and forth to college anymore. 

Me?  All I want is a full size keyboard that works reliably. 

In the meantime, I'm getting a LOT of use out of what Odysseus got me for my birthday: a TWSBI piston-fill fountain pen that holds about three weeks' worth of my writing output in ink. 

Anyone know if there's some type of adapter that will let me plug a very old ergonomic keyboard into a new laptop that only has USB ports? 

*And apparently, people with a wheat allergy can react badly to the inactive ingredients in the generic levothyroxine, because some manufacturers use wheat starch to as a binder, and others use something else that people with wheat allergies react to.