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Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, United States
A guy finding out if life really does begin at 50.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mama always said …

I painted the posts Saturday night just before supper. So they were dry Sunday morning and JB and I fastened them together so they overlapped to make a 12 foot mast. We mixed the Sakrete and set the mast. Then after lunch we unspooled the 1000 feet of coax to form four 250 feet runs. We then set about trenching 190 feet from the mast through woods. We went behind the garage then through the foundation under the dining room cantilevered window. I just looped the slack in the crawl space near the fireplace which is in the center of the house. About 160 feet of the trench was in the woods. They should call woods - roots. Cause the woods are full of them. I cut & dug with the axe and JB placed the 4 coax cables, filled, and covered. The 30 feet across the back yard was a snap compared to the woods.

Guess Mama was right. She always said JB and I ended up digging ditches. But what's a little ditch digging when you get 70 HD channels on the new satellite?

Since I'm a day behind I can tease you with these pictures from today.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Guy Stuff

JB and I got metal sign post to use as the mask for the satellite dish. We got the Sakrete to set the mask. The Sakrete site has a handy calculator that tells you how many bags you will need. You tell it the diameter of the hole, how deep it is, and the diameter of the post/pole. No need to do V=πr²h for the hole and subtract the area of the post- ain't the Internet neat?

I did my usual run etc today, but we had a late lunch. When supper time came JB and I weren't that hungry, so I made sloppy Joes. Good thing about Sloppy Joes is they don't take much counter space to make.

See normally I only keep one cordless drill in the kitchen, but JB feels if one is good three are better. The drills along with drill bits, level, and tape measure take up most of my counter space now. I still have room for a dish towel and normal stuff like paper plates and munchies. Guys need Doritos, peanut butter crackers, and hard pretzels etc. Water bottles filled with tea to wash the munchies down. The tortillas are for JB's Shrimp Tacos. We made room for the fruit by putting the biscuit (plate) joiner on the floor (black box).

Our non work time like writing this blog is done in the den while piled up in a recliner. Here JB reading his paper, his laptop and library books close at hand. Since I'm a paperless reader mostly I only need my laptop. Gale our sister is a non computer person (lucky for us) so I'm safe posting these pictures. JD her husband will not rat on us since that would break the guy code. Right JD?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Appointments and Projects

I've missed a few days, so I'll get you all caught up. After I picked up JB at RDU Tuesday evening and after getting some Chinese food for supper we headed home. On Wednesday we didn't do much except for going to the Holly Springs Wal-Mart to stock up on groceries. That Wal-Mart is supposed to be the largest in the state and JB was impressed. I still think it's neat that the freezer cases light up go when you approach and turn off when you move away.

Thursday I had lunch with Mimi and Rollin in RTP and ran a couple other errands. I left JB at home asleep with the toaster (aka the xB), my library card, and 5o cents. Sure enough when I got home I found JB in his recliner wrapped in the electric throw, his computer in his lap, newspaper scattered around on the floor, and a stack of library books on the coffee table. Since I have two recliners, which of course is the minimum number one should have, I piled up in my recliner until supper time. For supper I cooked (gulp) my chicken strip fry and added some of JB's shrimp. Yummy if I do say so.

Today was project day. I've been having trouble for several months with one of my garage door openers. So with JB's help we replaced the faulty opener with one I bought on eBay. We had it working in an hour or so except for reprogramming all 7 remotes I have. Where's Chris when I need him. I got my exercise today by digging a nearly 4 foot deep hole for the mask of the new satellite dish. Tomorrow maybe I'll trench and bury the coax.

Last thing I did was hang the plaque that JB brought me. He got the plaque on it on his Africa trip in Mossel Bay which is on the east coast of South Africa. Mossel Bay's claim to fame is a mention in the Guinness Book of Records as having the mildest all-year round climate in the world, second only to Hawaii. JB being from Maui appreciates good climate. I suspect JB will finish his stack of books before I finish my book. I just cannot stay wake for more than a page or two.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Killing some time

JB is due in from Maui shortly. He's been in LA at our uncle's for the last week. Since I needed to pick JB up about 4:30, and I had a lunch appointment it RTP I decided I kill some time at Wally's house. I really didn't have time to go home and then come back to RTP to pick up JB at the airport. So I went over to Wally's and he showed me his newest accessory for his noise canceling headphones - an adapter that adds a microphone which allows him to use the headphones for the phone. Works with both desk phone and cell phone. Very cool.

I went for a run while killing time and set a personal best according to Paula Radcliffe who congratulated me after my run. Neat thing about that Nike+iPod - it gives you some positive feedback whenever you achieve a milestone. Lance Armstorng told me yesterday 'Good workout - you burned a serious amount of calories.'

Well in case you are wondering.... I did get the garage cleaned up. Here are the before and after pictures. Funny how things are. I have to clean up the house before my sister comes for a visit and clean up the garage before my brother comes. So if I could get them to come at the same time I have the whole place clean. Oh well.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It can't be dark already

I spent the night at Wally's and Carol's house. Staying over on a Thursday night is typical for me. I often do that during baseball season went we go see the Durham Bulls play. Chris is our designated driver so Wally and I get to enjoy refreshments at the game. If I enjoy a bit too much Wally and Carol let me stay in their guest bedroom. I've done that often enough that the guest room is now referred to as "Don's room". After sleeping over we get up and go to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We did that today. It was nice to have Chris with us since school is out for a teacher workday.

Since I slept over I got to witness Carol's reaction to the TV. "Oh My!" She then said all the right praises us guys need to hear. She even commented on the no visible wires. She seemed to like it well enough.

On the way home I stopped by Lowes and Ace hardware. I got some of those new Compact Fluorescent Light (CPL) bulbs and a motion detector for Fluorescent lights. I installed the CPL bulbs in my new home office overhead light and installed the motion detector in the garage ceiling lights. I attached it to the fixture closest to the door. Opening the door will cause it to turn on two of the fixtures (of the 12 fixtures in the garage). I've tried this before with another detector (Leviton) but the two fixtures would not fully start and flickered badly. This motion detector (Cooper) starts the fixtures fine. Still a small amount of flicker but I can live with that.

I did my run and then cleaned up the toaster. The wet roads yesterday got it dirty but I used my California Duster and some spray car detailer to clean it up. Needless to say I'm staying in tomorrow - snow or no snow.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Practice makes perfect

Today was one of those cold rainy gray winter days. It never stopped raining and it never got out of the 30s. I was up at 7am hoping to see snow but I was disappointed. Most the snow was melted by the rain that was falling. It rained all day.

After I woke up from my afternoon nap I headed up to Wally's. Wally and Carol had a beautiful sun room built on to their home this summer. All it needed is a nice HD set in it. Only Wally and Chris are home. Carol is out of town on a business trip. She gets back tonight. So boys being boys we decided to install an HD set before she gets home and surprise her. Nothing like going on a business trip and coming home to see a 42 inch LCD hanging on your wall. For sure it's every guys dream!

Wally picked out a wall mount before he picked out the TV set. The mount needed to allow the set to tuck into the corner of the sunroom. Wally got an UCL Articulating Wall Mount at Costco a couple months ago and then started looking for a set to use the mount. Turned out he found a 42 inch LCD HD TV also at Costco and had it delivered today.

This is my third large flat screen install and 4th wall mount of a large screen set. I didn't like the 1st place I put my 50 inch set so I moved it. So by now I've gotten good at mounting these things. Of course Wally and his son Chris did most of the work. I was just the guy who drilled the holes in the nice smooth walls for those great big lag bolts.

Anyway I think we did a good job. Notice no wires… Also in the lower right of the frame you'll see the wall mounted heat pump Wally and I installed in October.

Boy is Carol going to be surprised!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Toaster gets new window vents

I installed the window vents on the toaster Thursday while I was cooling down from my run. The vents are 'in channel' type. I had to hunt for those. They fit in the groves that the window slides up and down in. The in channel design makes for a very clean seamless look. The vents stick on using 3m VHB tape which means there is no taking them off.

In the case of the toaster they are for more than just looks. Twice last summer I left the windows cracked and it rained. The 1st time the seats were wet I just figured the wind blew the rain in. But after the 2nd time having wet seats and a puddle on the floor mats I realized that the nearly vertical windows and the way the door seal is that any rain that comes off the top will just flow directly into the open window. The in channel design should allow the rain to just drip off the edge of the vent.

It takes me about 20 minutes this time of the year to cool off and stop sweating after I run. I heat the garage to about 55 degrees so it's a good place to cool off without getting uncomfortable during the in process. In the summer it takes like an hour before I cool off. The AC in the garage and the fan I have out there help the summer.

I use this cool off time to clean up whichever vehicle I drove last. I have a California Car Duster and it keeps them looking good between washings assuming I avoid mud and wet roads. I've been known to stay home and not go somewhere because the roads were wet. I really like a clean car and I have to say it pains me if my car gets dirty too quick after I wash it. I clean the brake dust from the rims also during the cool down time. I tried some of that wheel spray that is supposed to prevent the brake dust from accumulating. Nope still accumulates. I also spray the tire black stuff on then clean the over spray from the rims. That one cleaning takes care of both the brake dust and tire spray.

If by chance I have not drove either vehicle then I use the cool off time to put up tools and do general garage clean up. I'm way behind and I really need to be spending extra time cleaning the garage before JB gets here next week. 4-5 hours should put the garage right.