Friday, April 22, 2016

Chainsaw Arm.

Which is not a medical condition like, Morton’s Neuroma, by the way.  It’s the pain that comes along two days later after hanging onto a chainsaw for what was not a very long period of time at all, I thought.

Apparently it was long enough.

And of course, as it was an affliction that didn't happen until two days later,  it took me at least a couple minutes to realise just why my arm was complaining the way it was.
*thinks*.  Maybe that’s why my back was complaining too?


Anyway,  we’re back to this. 

And the arm is fine once again,  by the way.

That whole “weed and feed” thing is a bit of a mixed blessing,  since I'm pretty sure I'm the only one around, in this neighbourhood at least, who has had to cut the grass so far this season.
I did the usual to the machine.  Changed the oil,  sharpened and rebalanced the blade, cleaned the air filter and put in a new plug.  Had one left over from the pair I bought a couple years ago.  I got two seasons out of that last plug, but this time around the electrode was worn away just ever so slightly,  so I punted it out.

Topped ‘er up with fresh fuel,  and it started on the first crack.

And I noticed that,  even though I “look after” this machine, it has started to show a few scrapes here and there.  I'm guessing it must be the concrete edging around the garden at the side of the house.  It’s not like I’ll be rushing out for some touch up paint or anything,  but I was ever so slightly taken with the amount of wear that I've inflicted on the thing so far.  It’s only three years old. 

A while back (like last year?) I might have mentioned that I bought one of those crazy assed vibrating/oscillating tools?  This particular one is called a “Sonicrafter”, made by Rockwell.

Anyway,  as there is very little kerf on the blades that this thing takes,  they do tend to burn up pretty quickly,  so I thought I’d order some from Amazon.  Heaps cheaper than the Chinese made ones available at Home Despot or their ilk.

I mean,  let’s be clear,  they’re all made in China.

They look like this.

The tool looks like this.

I was somewhat taken by the address.

Check it out.

Um. Ya. 
I got the last bit.
I guess it’s better than trying to read the characters.

The fun part is,  the package actually arrived.  Well,  these people  seemed to know what they’re doing,  and there was no “Pigeon English” involved.  Usually a good sign.

The last two things I ordered directly from China through Amazon never did arrive.   I got my money back for the one item,  but never did see the couple bucks that I paid for the second.  

They were using USPS. 

Think about that.

Note that on the address above there’s a honkin’ big “CA” up at the top?  Well,  that’s probably because these folks realise that I do in fact live in Canada.  Them other two chimps?  I don’t know what they were thinking..  “USPS”  from China isn't going to cut it.  Or at least, the lack of any parcels coming from China with such a shipping method would tend to indicate. 
I don’t know,  maybe in some other dimension,  there is some way to ship USPS from China to Canada. 

But not on this planet.

Oh,  and they wanted me to take down my negative review.  Right.  Well,  if you can figure out what flippin’ country I live in,  then by all means.


Funny too,  any of the “one star” ratings on Amazon (too bad there’s no “Zero stars”)  has to do with lousy shipping.  Seems it’s kind of hit and miss. 

I’ll stop now.

Enjoy your weekend.

But as I do say from time to time,  “Every day is Saturday!”
(Except I won’t be caught dead in the stores on the weekends.)

Keep yer stick on the ice.

Thanks for stopping by. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Nice to go outside.

Without shivering and shaking “like a dog….”

Well,  as an exercise in propriety,  I won’t finish off that expression.

Although,  today there’s a bit of a breeze that tends to make it at least jacket weather.  But whatever,  it was pointed out to me this morning at breakfast that it seemed that I had gotten a little more sun?
Which is not to say that I was out lounging in the sun with a book in hand.  You just have to out there.   The “UV index”,  which I rarely pay attention to,  has been pretty high these last few days. 


Of course,  it may have something to do with being out at my sister-in-law’s place for all of the afternoon yesterday taking down a tree.

Now don’t get me wrong,  I was only there to help.  You know,  pull on a rope now and again. 

That kind of thing.

Me,  "at the end of my rope”.

And yes,  I do wear some sort of safety gear.  My brain is going to mush as it is at an alarming rate,  
I certainly don’t need to speed up the process by getting bonked over the head.

Anyway,  that’s my nephew Dan up a tree there. 

Naturally,  his Mom really didn't want him up there,  but I did remind her ever so gently that he is indeed a fire-fighter around these parts,  so rappelling and scaling things isn't beyond the scope of his abilities. 

Plus,  I had a tree service type Dude come to our place and do some trimming while we were away in Maui,  and that was a thousand bucks.  I did negotiate the removal of our sick and dying plum tree that used to be on the corner of the property for that price,  but still,  an entire tree? 
We’re talking several thousand here.

And it’s not like out in the woods where you can just cut ‘er down and yell “Timber!”. 
These be “city trees”.

She has a couple more that are looking not too well,  including an ash that looks like it’s been set upon by the wrenched Emerald Ash Borer.

Anyhoodle,  while the boys were off to the transfer station with all the narly limby bits,  I fired up the chainsaw and cut up the remaining pieces.

Yes kids,  I can still operate a chainsaw. 

Preferably while firmly planted on the ground.

Probably should have left my hat on.  But the compressor makes quick work of errant sawdust on the pate.

Anyway,  it was a hickory tree,  and once we get the wood split up at some point in the future,  and it dries out of course, it should make for awesome firewood.

I didn't seem to have any problems sleeping last night. 

Funny about that.  

Not really surprising.  Also somewhat surprising was that I didn’t really have any aches and pains this morning.  Maybe that comes tomorrow?  I guess I’ll find out.

And that’s all the fun that can be had here at The Ponderosa.

Oh,  and I did get some news back for the good folks at Amazon.  They had refunded the money I had paid for that receiver as of Monday,  and I checked the bank account today,  and that amount has been duly credited. 

Good for them.

Now I have to shop for a new one.  Gah.

Thanks for moving your eyes back and forth.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Seeing Sparks.

Once upon a time,  having bedding that was say,  “200 thread count”  was all hip and cool.  
Or something.  We had to have it, so I didn't argue.

These days,  it’s entirely possible to have sheets and such that are 1200 thread count.  And yes, this does seem like an odd thing for a guy to know, but unless you’re living in a hut somewhere and sleeping on a straw mat,  you know this.
Admit it. 

Besides,  if you’re living in a hut somewhere and sleeping on a straw mat,  I'm not entirely sure why you’d be spending your money on an internet connection instead of something half decent to sleep on. Get yourself a better bed!

Anyway,  on the very same night that the DVR for the security cameras crapped out,  Travelling Companion further added to my confusion by stating that she was seeing sparks come off the bed.

Well,  unless you have a ground strap running from your big toe down to a water pipe somewhere in the basement,  you’re bound to create a whole heap of static electricity if you rub your hand across bed sheets that are 1200 count!   I kid you not!
And,  it’s a just a little bit odd.
I didn't really keep trying it until what’s left of my hair was standing on end, as I was more interested in going back to sleep,  but I was reminded yesterday morning of my lack of personal ground strap when I took the aforementioned fitted sheet off the bed.  Ouch!

Oh and,  even though I sort of "poo-pooed" the idea of 1200 count bedding,  between you and me,  it's really,  really nice.

Meanwhile,  the issue with the Lorex security camera DVR has been resolved.

A new DVR arrived Wednesday,  after I had called on Tuesday to enquire as to why I hadn’t received an email requesting a credit card number.  Seems it wasn’t necessary.

So the new DVR is up and running,  but then I had to spend some quality time (insert sarcastic font there) with a tech in order to be able to see the cameras on the PC.  I still haven’t set it up for T.C.’s Ipad,  but I’ll get there.

To be fair,  the tech was very pleasant,  and did an awesome job.

Considering that this device came in its own dedicated box,  I somehow suspect that replacing these things is maybe a bit commonplace??

Just a thought.

I managed to screw up the order of the cameras,  but it doesn't really matter.

Still haven’t heard anything from the good folks at Amazon.  I’ll not order a new unit for downstairs until they’ve put the money back on my card for the one I sent back.  I've been shopping for one for a couple years now,  so a few more weeks isn't going to make my head explode at this point.   Not going to “cross the streams”.

I think that’s all I have in my pea brain at the moment.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Yay! I didn't have to shovel!

And that,  Ladies and Gentleman,  is a sad sad thing to say when you’re almost half way through April. 

Unless you’re in Tuktoyaktuk, or some place like that.  Somehow though,  I suspect if you live in “Tuk”,  as it’s known locally,  you don’t even bother trying to shovel out.  You either have a four by four or a snow machine.

But I wouldn't know.

Personally,  I’ve never been to Tuktoyaktuk, (I just love saying that out loud), but one of my older brothers used to go up there with the Canadian Air Force.  Something to do with Norad or the DEW line. or some such thing.  He’s a great one for telling stories too.  None of them far fetched either. 
Some of those northern outposts,  airports in particular,  have a certain way of doing things.  Like when the guy in the coveralls who is going around tidying up the place,  turns out to be your pilot. 
Remember that show Wings, from back in the early 90s?  Kind of like that,  only with far fewer personnel.

But I digress.

We had some more snow last night,  and I thought for sure I’d be out there this morning,  shovel in hand,  trying not to keel over.  But whatever was on the driveway and walkways has melted. 
Pretty exciting!


Now it’s just cold and dreary.  It’s above freezing mind you,  but still generally crappy.   Not sure when the forecast is going to be less crappy either.  

I’ve gotten tired of looking.

Couldn't help but notice this poor little bastard.  He doesn’t look very comfortable. 

Anyway,  it’s been a frustrating few days in the electronics department here at the Ponderosa. 
Just this morning I had to ship back a Home Theatre Receiver to Amazon after the thing would no longer produce any sound.  Acted suspiciously like there was a cold solder joint somewhere on the amp side of things,  but I've only had it a few weeks,  so it went back.

There was an offer to send a replacement,  but it would first of all be “4-6 weeks”,  and then if it’s the same model,  who’s to say it won’t have the same problem?

The thing is,  Ive been a long time fan of Yamaha Receivers,  as I have an old beasty that I bought in 1975 that still works like a charm.  It’s been relegated to the garage mind you, but it still works.
Of course,  it was three times the cost of the one I bought from Amazon, (and in 1975 dollars!) probably due to the fact that it was made by folks who actually knew what they were doing?   Not sure.  So now I'm in a quandary as to what to buy.
Might have to go over to Onkyo,  although, after just now reading some of the problems with a number of their products,  I'm not sure about that choice now either.  *groan*.

Thus begins another “quest” for a decent product at a good price.  This could take a while.  I might have to break down and actually go to a proper stereo shop.
How “Old School”.

Now,  that wasn't the only thing that crapped out in the last little while.

Friday morning at about 12:30,  T.C. woke me up to report that the DVR for the security cameras was beeping.   I was out cold at that point and hadn't heard a thing. 
In my half awake stupor,  I couldn't seem to come up with any other solution other than just shutting the damned thing off,  and then took a closer look in the morning.
After some in depth analysis,  all the while on the phone with the Lorex Dude,  we determined that the Hard Drive was indeed pooched.  So IT’S going back.   I'm just waiting to hear from them,  and might yet give them a call later today,  since I want them to send me the replacement so I’ll have a box in which to send the other one back.  There was some talk of taking my credit card number,  much in the same way you reserve a rental car,  just in case I have amnesia and forget to send the defective one back?  I didn't think that would be a problem.

We’ll see how that all pans out.

Fun stuff huh?
Talk about “First World Problems”.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Cold little buggers.

So, I've noticed that the Robins have come back but,  as it has been known to happen every so often,  we have snow in April.
And it doesn't matter how many times we say over and over again, “Well yes,  we have had snow in April’,  I don’t give a shit. 
I don’t like it.

It wasn't as if I had put the snow shovel up in the loft of the shed or put the ice melter in the pit or anything,  but I still had to traipse through the snow this morning to GET to the shovel.

I not so fondly remember coming home from Puerto Rico on something like the sixth of April 2003 to a driveway that we could barely get through. 
Well,  the driver of the car we had pick us up from Buffalo wasn't willing to attempt it,  as it was about six inches,  covered in about an inch of ice. 

Shovelling that the next day was brutal.

In a way,  it was a lucky thing that we had flown in to Buffalo,  as the Toronto airport had been shut down.  They were having some difficulties keeping the runways clear,  and had run out of glycol to boot.

Anyway,  I saw this poor little bugger this morning.  Not sure he knew what to do.  I later saw either him or one of his brethren perched in the tree outside our back door,  and he was lifting his one foot off the branch in what looked like an effort to keep warm. 

In the, “I’ll never finish before I die” department,  I was prompted yesterday to tidy up the caulking around our ancient bathtub.

So it wasn't exactly “Sunday Fun-day”.   And then this afternoon I went about replacing the caulk with something a little more neat and tidy.
Putting it back on was a cinch. 
Getting that stuff off?  Oy.

Of course,  since I suck at this,  I've learned to simply get out the painters tape and tape it all off.

It’s a rare occasion that I won’t use tape.  And it’s been a long hard lesson to learn,  but I’ve had to accept the fact that caulking just ain’t one of my strengths.

And this is on a tub that I'm thinking we’ll rip out within the next while.  Note the fifties “Avocado” colour.
But whatever.   And when I say “we”,  I mean “me”.  Might be this year.  It depends.   I need my play time..

Probably going to go with a nice big shower,  and then renovate the bathroom off the “man cave” downstairs and install a tub down there.  Maybe something with jets?  

I mean,  we’re not big “hot tub” fans,  but on the rare occasion that T.C. and I have ventured into a hot tub,  I've been more than OK with the whole thing. 

Possible tired muscles after a round of golf?  Get yourself into the hot tub for at least twenty minutes to a half hour,  and you’ll be fine. 
 At least it’s worked for us.  And that’s my story.

It took us a couple weeks of close observation of the maintenance of the hot tub at the condo in Maui before we decided that yes,  they do indeed keep the thing clean (no bits of skin for me thanks) and maybe we’d try it out.  

We’re just a bit ‘funny’ that way.

Here’s hoping the snow melts soon.   The boats go in the water April 30,  and there was already a note today from the skipper asking for who wants to sail on what days.  I haven’t quite figured it all out yet.  I’ll let him know over the next few days I imagine.  

I do tend to take the commitment of signing up for either a Tuesday or Thursday somewhat to heart,  so I’d rather not commit to a day and then find that it doesn't work for some reason or other.

If it’s a Tuesday say,  then T.C. and I can go to a cottage on the Wednesday and come home on a Saturday.  You know.  Like that.  Watching all the cottagers heading north as we’re on our way home.  Always gratifying.

Kind of like not shopping on the weekends,  when all the working folk NEED to get to the stores.   I'm about ready to spit any time I see a retired person dare set foot into a store on a Saturday.  EVERY DAY is Saturday!   What’s yer freakin’ problem?

That’s a whole rant coming on right there,  so we won’t be doing that.

Thanks for stopping by.  And keep yer stick on the ice.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Trying not to be smug.

I've compared it to having automotive insurance and never using it,  but that’s not quite the same.  I certainly wouldn't feel too hard done by if I never have a car accident after having paid all those premiums. 
Although,  let’s not talk about that.  That’s a subject that could develop from an ugly scab to a festering wound in no time flat.

However,  when the power goes out and you finally get to keep the lights on when the entire neighbourhood sits in the dark? 


See,  we had one rip snorter of a thunder storm last night, and man oh man did it ever rain.  That was another happy feeling too by the way,  since we now no longer have a roof/chimney/whatever the hell it was, that leaks.  I never did really pinpoint exactly where the water was coming in,  but I think it was because the chimney was basically crumbling,  but looked OK. 

Fooled me for a long time,  but let’s not go there either.

We had gone out last night,  but it eased up just enough for us to get ourselves into the house,  and then the skies opened up and it came down in buckets.  Sorry I haven’t any photographic evidence of this. 
Sometimes my pea brain slips into neutral.

Right along about ten p.m.,  sure enough,  there was one helluva crack,  and T.C. and I were sitting in the dark.

“What now?”  was her only response.

“Just wait a few seconds.”   And sure enough,  we had power.  No internet or phone mind you,  but that didn't matter.

And I suppose we could have sat there in the dark,  or rummaged around for some candles. It wasn't all that cold out,  so it wasn't like the house would have started to cool down quickly or anything. 
We do have boatloads of candles around here somewhere.  But I'm not overly keen on having a bunch of lit candles hanging around for some reason.  All that open flame.  Just makes me nervous.  I’d sooner listen to the din of the generator running out back as I read my paper and sift through the flyers.

Have to sift through them flyers!  It’s a weekly ritual.

It's a bit loud if you're right there,  sitting next to the thing,  but trust me, it's hardly noticeable when you're inside,  and trying not to feel at all smug or anything.

I took a random video a couple weeks ago,  knowing that it would fire up right at noon time to do its weekly test.

Starts around the 20 second mark.

So that was kinda cool.
Helped justify the cost and aggravation of getting the damned thing installed.  The primary concern was,  what might happen if we were to say,  go to a tropical destination for an entire month? 

You know,  just saying.

Turns out, we didn't need it for the month of February,  but now at least I'm doubly sure that there would have been no issues.  And really, I don't think I ever had any doubts,  but it's still comforting to know that the damned thing will do what it's supposed to do.

I think the power was out for maybe an hour.  I didn't really pay too much attention.  At one point I heard the transfer switch flip us back to the grid,  looked out and the lights were on in the 'hood. Other than that,  it's rather seamless.  The generator then does a "cool down",  which seemed like a rather long period of time,  (like at least 10 minutes maybe?)  and then it shut down.

And of course,  with just a bit of warmer weather and boatloads of rain, it looks like I’ll have to start cutting grass again in the not too distant future. 

All this “lawn care/fertilizing/whatever” business is a mixed blessing.

Thanks for stopping by.