An Alarming Situation

Old AT&T Alarm System

We got notice from AT&T several months ago that they were getting out of the home alarm business. They are divesting themselves and turning over the business to Brinks, the armored car company. I was able to schedule an appointment this week for the changeover. Pictured is all of the old AT&T alarm system that was replaced with a single iPad sized device. The new system does a lot more than the old one did and operates about the same so no new learning curve. Unfortunately, the new iPad sized device is slightly too big for the spot on the wall, where the old keypad was situated, so it sticks out a little. No big deal, but not perfect either. Fundamentally, the old system had to be replaced, because it relies on G3 wireless technology, which is disappearing sometime this summer. Out with the old and in with the new.

Potted Plants

Potted Plants

Yesterday, was kind of a workday. We installed four floating shelves. After mission accomplished we went out for lunch at a Thai place called Crying Thaiger. Our next stop was Idle Hands Brewery, where Dave and I got matchy-matchy t-shirts, plus a few beers. Back home again and then prep for dinner. Maren made a blueberry galette, while Dave BBQed chicken and tofu shish-kabobs. Maren’s sister-in-law Bella joined us for dinner, with her two dogs, Teddy and Barry. Puck went a little crazy entertaining at the party. After dinner, we played a board game called Hues and Ques. A tough game to play for the colorblind. Today, we went out for breakfast at the Duo Wop Diner, a favorite local greasy spoon. Our next stop was Loews, where we stocked up on two shopping carts worth of gardening supplies. Dave was definitely in his element there. We came home again and planted the four tomato plants that Kim had gifted and Bella had dropped off. The dinosaurs are there in honor of the Apple TV+ series that we watched. Even Puck seemed facinated by it and she never watches TV.

Newly Stained Back Porch

The back porch project was completed yesterday, and I paid for it today via a bank draft. It looks really nice! Plus, we are currently experiencing wonderfully temperate weather too, so it is possible to pleasantly enjoy it now. We can walk on it today and by tomorrow, we can reinstall our porch furniture.

In other news, yesterday, one of our neighbors called us and asked for our help. She had been violently throwing-up and was in quite a bit of pain. She was at the local urgent care and needed a ride to the ER and also for one of us to drive her car home for her. We both hopped into our car and headed over there. I took her car home and Anne drove to the hospital. Her car was a Subaru Outback. It had a jumpy accelerator. All I had to do was just touch the pedal and the car would leap forward. That feature in the urgent care’s cramped and crowded lot made getting out of the lot a bit difficult, but I successfully maneuvered my way home without hitting anything. Anne ended up staying with the neighbor for most of the afternoon. Turns out she had gallstones. The hospital diagnosed this using ultrasound. They also gave her morphine for her pain, which seemed to have helped ease her discomfort quite a bit. Today, we saw our neighbor again and she is feeling much better. She is going to wait and see how she does and hopes that she won’t have to schedule surgery after all. She also gifted Anne a really nice-looking potted plant for her Good Samaritan turn.

Felt Sort of Funny Today

Anne Felting

Today, I was going to write about the replacement back porch step that I successfully installed, but it is not particularly photogenic, even if it was more work than expected. So, I decided to go with what Anne is doing today. She is wet felting. She took a class in this art form a couple of weeks ago, where she practiced her craft. In the interim she has had me fetching various things, like a roll of bubble wrap and a pool noodle. She has been doing her felting mainly on the porch but came into the kitchen where I photographed her. She described this particular fabric as looking like either just some rocks or a gnome with spaghetti in its beard. I’m going with the spaghetti-fied gnome.

An Eye for Home Improvement

Newly Sanded Porch Flooring

It has begun to cool town today, with the forecast calling for even cooler weather next week. Yesterday, the man that I hired to clean, renovate and then stain the back porch arrived. He spent the better part of the day sanding all the horizontal surfaces (flooring and railings). Thirty years of grime got washed away in less than a day. Next week, he will return and do the actual staining. I had him replace one of the steps up to the porch, which had rotted, but today I found another step that was almost as bad. I removed the offending step and bought some lumber. Tomorrow morning, I’ll install the new step.

Yesterday, I had an eye doctor appointment. This was the six-month post-surgery checkup. As these things happen, I no longer have the 20/20 vision that I had immediately after the cataract surgery. I think that now I am sporting 20/40 vision. So, I decided to get glasses again. Frankly, having worn glasses almost all of my life, I feel kind of naked without them. These new glasses should restore my 20/20 vision, which pre-surgery wasn’t even possible with glasses. So, I remain quite pleased with the surgery’s results. In addition to the lens replacement for cataracts, I also got two stents in each eye to relieve excess pressure due to glaucoma. They appear to be still working just fine, which is good, because then I don’t need to use eyedrops everyday anymore.

One of Six

Concrete Pier

We made some small progress yesterday with our project to demolish the old play structure in our back yard, but it wasn’t easy. First, I had planned on renting an engine hoist, to hoist the six concrete piers that are all that remains of the play structure. I had watched a YouTube video that exhorted this process. I had already cut up all of the wooden parts and stuffed them into the trash bin and they’ve been carted away. So, all that remains are the piers. I had reserved a hoist about twenty minutes away, but arriving at the rental center, it soon became apparent that there was no way that this tool would fit into the RAV4. The trip wasn’t a total waste of time, because Anne’s favorite sewing machine store was located nearby. She had broken her foot, again. The one on her sewing machine, not the one attached to her leg. It took four clerks and an inordinate amount of time to get her all fixed up though. Returning home, still feeling frustrated that my part of the trip was unsuccessful, I tried again to extract the concrete pier that we had tried to pull out last week. This time we used some wood to act as a fulcrum for our five-foot pry bar. With all the rain that we got this week the ground was pretty muddy. Every time we tried to pry up the pier, the hydrostatic pressure acted as a giant sucking force. Persisting though, Anne was able to get the pier out of the ground. Still, she persisted! Out of the ground the two-foot pier only weighs about eighty pounds and can be lifted or much more easily rolled. So, one down and five more to go. We filled in the hole with a bag of mulch that had been sitting underneath the porch so long, since the pandemic began, that ivy had wormed itself into the bag.