Thursday, November 23, 2017

No More Screaming

A week ago, I finally found a replacement valve that looked like it would work in our toilet. It took me until yesterday to have the time and energy to actually put the thing in. The longest part of the job was mopping all the water out of the tank so I didn't flood the bathroom. The actual replacement part of the job took all of five minutes. So no more screaming toilet valve at 3am.

And someone still needs to start up a punk band called The Screaming Toilet Valves.

Or maybe a death metal band.

Either way, someone needs to get on that.

We barely survived the weekend. Saturday was the Toys for Tots Band Marathon. We put in a 17-hour day for that. We didn't raise as much as last year, but more than the year before, so not too shabby overall. Sunday was another insane day because of a big jackpot that was guaranteed to drop. It was also the one Sunday a month that I need to be at work at 6:30am instead of 8am, so another 12 hours in the can. So yea, my butt was seriously draggin' by the time I crawled out of that place on Tuesday. When I was in my twenties, a 60-hour week was no big deal. I ain't in my twenties no mo. I had big plans for yesterday, but that whole toilet valve thing and taking the clothes off the line was about all I could manage.

Next weekend will be more of the same with two Toys for Tots events on Saturday (because one just isn't enough). Then we wrap up the Toys for Tots fundraising with the Christmas Ball on December 9th. After that, the crazy turns into simply busy until the St. Paddy's Day event we have every March (natch...). Once that day of insanity is over, the snowbirds start flying north and we go into summer mode.

And what a blessed day that will be.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

A Little Site Maintenance

I did a little long-overdue site cleaning over there on the right. For some historical reason I don't even recall, the list of links was separated into two chunks. The reason for a link being in one list vs. the other seemed increasingly arbitrary, so now it's just one list.

I finally removed the link to Jerry Pournelle's site. Today is the first time in 20 years that I am maintaining a site without a link to Chaos Manor. I also removed the link to the Non-Sequitur comic as they now refuse to show content if you run an ad blocker. Sorry, but you're not that funny. I also removed a site run by a very nice gentleman in upstate New York because the things he wrote about were so far out there, they make Uncle Charlie seem mainstream.

Matt Taibbi came close to getting deleted. His recent articles just seemed to have lost some of the edge that his GFC articles had. But he redeemed himself with this excellent bit on the student loan racket. If you have a child thinking about attending college or you yourself are considering doing so, you really need to read it. The conclusion:

It's a multiparty affair, what shakedown artists call a "big store scheme," like in the movie The Sting: a complex deception requiring a big cast to string the mark along every step of the way. In higher education, every party you meet, from the moment you first set foot on campus, is in on the game.

There is no way to win this game other than simply not to play.

I added links to RT (pretty bad that a citizen of the land of the free and home of the brave has to depend on a Russian site for objective news), and Condemned to Debt. If spending five minutes on that site doesn't convince you to stay far away from student debt, nothing will.

And I'm off to the laundry room and down to the 'rents to help them get settled.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Another Quick Update

It's been cra-cra-crazy around here the last few weeks. My work has more or less gone completely off the rails lately. We are going into the busiest part of the year with a half-dozen large, public special events coming up and all is chaos. We had decided that Debbie would bring my parents down some time back, and it's a good thing we did, because there is no way I can disappear for the better part of a week. I'm not sure how it will all turn out, but right now it ain't lookin' good.

Ah well. Two years is about average for me to keep a job....

We still have our screaming toilet valve, but it's screaming a lot less frequently thanks to the overall drop in water pressure in the park now that all the snowbirds are flocking in. I was hoping to get over to Home Depot and see if I could scare up the right pieces-parts but I'm not sure that's going to happen anytime soon (see above).

At least we finally got the hot water heater situation sorted. I got a little snippy when I called our propane company to tell them it was leaking yet-again and got some clueless BS about how there was no record of us having any problems. So we were pissed before the repair guy even showed up. Fortunately for him, I was at work and Debbie was on the phone with a client, which saved him from getting his fracking ears burned off. Of course, they never have the parts on hand even when I tell them exactly what the problem is and to not bother coming out without a replacement valve in hand, so he declared that the valve was indeed bad, shut the gas off to the hot water heater and left. That was Monday.

We also needed another tank of propane, so I had ordered that up while I was on the phone with the propane company. He came Wednesday and swapped out the empty for a full tank. Understand, this has been done every couple months for the five-plus years we've lived here without a problem. I don't know what happened, but Debbie called me at work gagging and coughing because the trailer was filling up with propane. I flew home and shut everything down.

Now we have no hot water and no stove. And I was shopping for a new propane company.

Thursday, Debbie called me at work to tell me that I need to call someone at the propane company to "discuss the water heater situation." There really wasn't much to "discuss" in my book; just fix my damn hot water heater already. After some phone tag, it turns out the company that made our hot water heater wasn't going to honor their warrantee and in any case, couldn't ship the replacement valve for several days. That was unacceptable, so we now have a bright new shiny hot water heater installed at absolutely no cost to us at all. Not even the usual $100 service fee we've had to pay all the previous times.

So as of right this minute, I cannot smell mercaptan for the first time in five years. I let you know in a few months if that holds.

I guess I should get off my butt and go do some sweeping, weeding, power-washing, etc. around my parents' place before they get here. I spent a good chunk of yesterday doing all the interior cleaning and plugging everything back in. It's all done other than I need to take a bunch of batteries over there and get all the clocks running again. It's weird. We have battery clocks here, both inside and out. We replace the batteries in them maybe once every couple years. But batteries in their place don't even last through the summer. It can't be the heat, because as I said, we have a battery clock outside that gets direct afternoon sun for several hours a day, and I've changed the batteries maybe twice in the four years we've had it. Besides, we talked them into leaving the AC on over the summer instead of shutting everything down, so it never got above 80. And it isn't just my parents' place; for the last month all you hear walking around the park is everyone's smoke detectors chirping. I've replaced the battery in ours twice in five years; the day we moved in and about a year ago. Why can't batteries sitting in empty trailers not even make it through six months? Do batteries die of loneliness sitting by themselves with no people around?

Things that make you go, "Hmmmm...."

(And before anyone has a burning desire to lecture me about it, yes I am aware that I'm "supposed" to change our smoke detector battery every time I have to reset all the clocks for the semi-annual stupidity called Daylight Savings, but that's just dumb. Every smoke detector sold in the last, oh, twenty or thirty years or so will tell you when the battery is low. Replacing it on some arbitrary schedule is simply wasteful and stupid. That entire campaign had to have been thought up by the dry cell industry.)