Shiny new fingerprint collector

Posted on Apr 29, 2016 in General, House | 1 comment

Sometimes it’s better  to cut your losses. Our existing stove had a quirky computer. It’d somewhat randomly read a sensor error and not work for hours. I took it apart last year, cleaned up connections, tested all the obvious items (it all checked out), and the issue was resolved for about six months without having actually fixed anything. And then it came back… And I wasn’t going to attempt to fix what I couldn’t figure out again so we went shopping. Behold the newness! We got a monster deal at Sears with a price match and applying for their credit card (to be paid off and closed immediately) – something like $800 for a $1300 stove delivered and installed. Hoping this will take my daily fried eggs to the next level 😉

Would ya look at that!?

Would ya look at that!? Just look at it.

Farewell, Shreddette

Posted on Apr 28, 2016 in Cycling, General | 0 comments

Awaiting pickup.

Awaiting pickup.

I really dig indoor park riding. So much so that I went out and bought a bike for it. Unfortunately, it’s hard to learn at this age and hitting the ground at my size or really any adult size hurts. About half the time I go riding I return home with something to mend (screw digging through my elbow, crushed shins, a limp for weeks, etc). I’m currently dealing with a hip pointer that’s more than a month old and not getting too much better (hip flexor is still OW). Last week I did some soul-searching and put the bike up for sale and it sold yesterday for my asking price. It’s not often that I sell a bike without it being an upgrade so this is a big deal. We had a good run and I learned some techniques that will help me in my other cycling, but my days jumping things and getting rad are now over. The new owner will be traveling the US in a Eurovan so the bike is sure to see some great sights and I’m glad somebody will be using her better than I could ever hope to.

Adventure Time

Posted on Apr 26, 2016 in General, Vacation | 7 comments

This time next week I’ll be heading home from DC. I’m inheriting my mother’s car (early 2000s Toyota RAV4) and rather than pay to ship it, why not use it as a chance to see the US again?  Heck, it’s been almost three years since I made the 3000 mile trek; I’m totally due.

My father will be delivering the car to the annual 5k we run (I’ll be walking this year – injuries… bummer) in my mom’s honor/in support of brain cancer. He’ll be bringing it packed with the road bike I had purchased for his place following my mother’s passing (I need to sell it and the Portland Craigslist will do a much better job). I’ll combine the car and bike with a bunch of stuff that I’m bringing and be ready to spend a week or two on the road – camping, working, riding, driving.

Camping

This bit worries me the most. Will I find camping along the way? Will it be warm enough if I take the route I had originally planned (northern through the Yellowstone)? Is camping a dumb idea I should bail on and instead stick to cheap motels? Should I go for a more southern route?

Working

Free wifi has got to be pretty abundant across America. If I plan my days appropriately this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Mobile hotspot + libraries are always a good fallback. I’ve scheduled some vacation anyway just in case I need it, but I’m hopeful I won’t. I have pretty regular meetings three days a week so those days my schedule will be pretty fixed to traditional hours and I’ll need a reliable connection so motels are looking good there. Other than that, anything goes – my work can be done pretty much at any time of the day.

Riding

Thanks to the internet I should be able to find some pretty solid rides everywhere I go. If nothing is published for wherever I may find myself, a quick look at a map should give me an idea of what’s possible. I picked up a Garmin Varia for a little added safety since I’m sure to be on roads that are less cycling friendly than I’m used to (hopefully lower traffic though).

Driving

I’m not sure how I’ll combine the above with managing to drive across the country, but that’ll be part of the fun. Every day will be an adventure. Ride now? Drive now? Work now? Drive to where? Where will I sleep? Where can I get a shower? Do I need a shower? Where will I work? Laundry day? I theoretically have until June 1st to get home, but I certainly don’t want to live on the road that long and if it proves to not be as fun as expected I can always hightail it back. My estimate is 10ish days.

Tips? Advice? Comments? Things I must see? Things I must avoid?

Oh yeah, my chalazion

Posted on Mar 28, 2016 in General | 3 comments

Hopefully this is the last post of my busted face for awhile. A few weeks back I had my chalazion removed. It had grown enough that it was affecting my vision and it was clear the non-surgical treatment options weren’t working. Due to some clerical errors, I had about four exams before finally getting scheduled for surgery. Heather took me in, they warned me I might die (typical doctor disclaimer stuff), popped some needles in my eye (the worst part, by far), made a little cut, squeezed the junk out, and I was done within minutes. The surgery itself was painless, but the needles kind of sucked. The intern was actually there to hold me down because I guess it’s a pretty dangerous bit of work. It was funny how they were clearly trained to small talk the entire time to ease my nerves. We talked about the silliest of BS, but it was entertaining. I did ask to see the output – a small little pebble of solidified oil roughly the size of a coriander seed.

I was warned that I would likely look like I got punched in the eye pretty good and my vision would be murky for a few days. No bruising, but it did feel like I had been scratched in the eye for about a week and a half. My vision is perfectly back to normal now, you’d never know I had the bump, and the loss of those few oil glands has had no noticeable affect on my eye comfort (the procedure takes out maybe 10% of the glands on that eye). I’m going to have to be pretty serious about eye washing from now on because apparently I’m predisposed to these blockages because my pores are actually hooded (genetic defect) – more surgeries would mean less and less glands and eventually that becomes really bad.

Preop/postop

Preop/postop and now there’s nothing to be seen

Closing out on the face

Posted on Mar 28, 2016 in General | 0 comments

Long overdue for the 2nd to last check-in (six months will be the final), but this is how the healing has gone. It’s pretty noticeable in the right light when I’m freshly shaven, but I’m rarely freshly shaven so it’s hardly noticeable 99% of the time. Still numb and a bit bumpy, but it is what it is. No more pain in the cold or anything.

Face

Face

New Roof

Posted on Feb 13, 2016 in House | 1 comment

One of the items flagged on the initial inspection of our house was that the roof had to go. We eked another two years out of her, but the company we had received a proposal from had an opening (we had been procrastinating otherwise) so we jumped at the chance. New roof in Portland winter? Crazy? These guys work year round so it’s part of the gig. Besides, it was going to be a two day job and the forecast gave us that window clear.

Step one was to tear the old shingles off. We could have put new shingles on top, but we opted to do he job right, get a good look at the base layer, and replace felting and rotted wood. Good thing for that. The Saturday morning of the tear-off, while we’re sitting on the couch enjoy some warm beverages, we receive a knock on the door. It turns out that one half of the house had not been plywooded and was instead 100+ year old cedar shingles underneath the tar ones. Welcome to having bought a rental property. There had clearly been a patch job or two, but nobody went to the trouble of doing the job 100% right. So there was an extra 25% to the cost. It was an option to leave it, but not when we’re doing the job right. Hopefully that value comes out when we sell down the line.

Anyway, that adds a day to the project. A lot more removal labor and then tacking on new plywood. The weather didn’t give us an extra day. With no roof on the house, the skies open up. The fellows put down weatherproof fabric and tarps, but in the middle of the weeklong string of rainy days, I was awoken to water dripping on my face. Yes, literally right on my face (pic below). Of all the spots on the roof, it leaked directly above where I slept. It turns out that the high winds had caused our sewer line vent to rub through the tarp and create a channel in the tarp that funneled a stream of water right to it. Without flashing, the water poured right down the outside of the pipe to the basement. Apparently our bedroom wall/ceiling touches the pipe on its way, saturated, and then caused that 4am drip. Despite living an hour away and the fact that a storm was howling, the owner of the roofing company came out and remedied it. After the job they also patched the wall.

After another weather delay or two, the job was finally completed and it looks pretty good. I don’t know squat about roofs, but I chose these guys because they really took pride in their work and it was a small/personal operation.

In case you were wondering, the color of our shingles is “Heather.”

Cutting the cord

Posted on Jan 18, 2016 in General | 5 comments

We did it. I just dropped off our Comcast equipment and I hope to never have another cable box again.

The combination of Netflix and Amazon Prime (services we’ve always had so they were a sunk cost) have slowly grow to eat up pretty much all of our time in front of the television. A week ago I went into the Comcast store to see what our options were, came home, made a spreadsheet (duh!) and it was clear that getting rid of cable television was the answer. Today I went back in to finalize the deal and we’re going to be saving about $1000 per year.

There are some new costs we’ll incur, but they’re nominal.

  • We had to add a tuner to the Xbox One for $50.
  • We had to get situated with an HD antenna for $40. The third time was the charm here as the tuner came with a small one that would only suffice if you lived next to the towers and the  unpowered antenna we bought to replace it wasn’t good enough (25-mile stated range, we’re six from the towers – odd).
  • We will have to buy Game of Thrones seasons for $38 a year.
  • We will have to buy Outlander seasons for $40 a year.

The tuner is sweet because it has a 30-minute pause function. We’ve never had a DVR so this is an improvement for less money.

The antenna isn’t perfect. The signal can be finicky (especially when the weather is typical Portland winter) so you need to mess with it now and then. If we could come up with a solution to put it in the windows facing the towers I’m sure we’d have no problems at all, but instead it’s on the opposite side of the house so we’ll have to deal with it. I’m making it out to be a lot more significant than it is… It’s truly hardly an issue. One bonus is that the reception is uncompressed. If you’re a video geek like me, you probably cringe at the compression that’s visible (NFL games seem to be the most obvious). The image is not only free, but better than what you can pay for. We get about 50 channels – all the basic network stuff, PBS, a few networks that might as well be Nick At Night (Heather is gobbling them up), some Latin flavor, and a lot of Bible thumping.

With both shows we plan to purchase there are cheaper options to buying on iTunes, but we’ll cross the cost/benefit/legality bridge when we get there.

The only thing we really miss out on is brainless time spent watching Food Network, Discovery Channel, History, etc., but there are so many offerings on Netflix and Prime we’ve not considered that I’m sure we’ll be alright.

Coupled with our refinance last month, we’re looking at a stupid amount of money saved per month. All the better to pay for the new roof that is just finishing up!