Monday, May 31, 2010

Freaky and Leaky

The dead black widow spider to the left is part of the freaky part of this blog. Standby for that. First, the leaky: So the pool opened very nicely this year and cleaned up quickly. We have been in several times and it is doing well. We have a small leak up on the solar panel on the roof - there is dampness up there that I can see from the ground at night when the water is not pumping up there. I have a friend who is more man than I am and goes up there and fixes my leaks for me. And now the little power washer I have is starting to go. I did some reading and it turns out there is a crack in the pump housing. I use it a lot to wash the cars, clean the house siding, wash the driveway and pool deck, etc. I think I just wore it out. Costco has a nice gas powered one on sale that I am looking at. It may be a combo birthday / Father's Day gift to me.

So here is the freaky part: Ashleigh found that dead black widow on the front steps the other day. That is the second one we have found here in the last 8 years or so. Ugh. The best spider is a dead spider... Anyway, I have the house configured with an X-10 system so I can control the house lights with a remote control. The other night, our bedroom lights were completely unresponsive to the remote. Just our bedroom. That is number 1. Then the outside sending unit for our wireless remote temperature thing stopped transmitting. (We have an inside clock that shows the inside and outside temperature). That is number 2. That same day, Lucie's cell phone could answer calls in the house, but no one could hear her. That is number 3. Finally, my wifi in the house would only work if I was in about a 5 foot range of it. Normally I can go three houses down on either side of us and pick up my signal. That is number 4. I felt like going outside and seeing what sort of alien spaceship was hovering over the house. Freaky stuff. Of course the next day everything was working again...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Awards Week

It's been a busy couple of weeks since my last blog. Let's see, Ashleigh had her lacrosse banquet, Ashleigh and Elliott had academic awards night, Lucie had her church play, Elliott had his belated birthday party, we had a work department picnic at a local state park, and I was busy working on opening the pool. All good stuff so I can't complain. Oh, and I took a half day off one day from work to play with Mocha and the family in the pool.

No big plans this weekend - which was the plan all along; get the pool opened BEFORE Memorial Day so we can enjoy. That is working out well.

Here is a bonus video of Mocha swimming in the pool:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hiking Mocha

Today we took the dogs on a walk. A few weeks ago, we got this great backpack for Mocha on wicked sale. It has bladders on either side we fill with water and it has spigots to pour it out from. So we loaded her up and put our own water bottles in there and went for a 3-mile walk at a local park. She loved it! Newfoundlands are born to be work dogs and she really had a great time. Did not bother her a bit. The temperature was in the low 70ยบ’s and we stopped to rest and drink along the way. They say Newfies can easily carry a third of their weight. On May 1 she was 75 pounds (the same weight 12 year old Jasmine was when she died) but what she was carrying was nowhere near 25 pounds. And tonight we are the proud parents of two tuckered out dogs!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hanging Up The Cleats

This season of lacrosse has come to an end for the kids. Elliott had a good time and played well. Ashleigh's team had a winning record and about won more games than the previous three years combined. I am proud of them for sticking it out (lacrosse is tough!) and still maintaining 4.0+ GPA's (the Cambridge program they are in adds extra weight to their grades). So now maybe they can finally clean their rooms with all the spare time they are about to have...

Speaking of sports, it was almost a disappointing night for me last night. No one came out for my weekly basketball night. A couple of months ago I had to limit the people to 18 and we have been having around 8-12 ever since. Not many things worse than coming home and having to take off my basketball stuff while it is still dry. I sat down to watch the Celtics game and both of the Tivo tuners were recording shows. So I switched the TV over to straight cable input and the Comcast digital transition had occurred so I had no channels. But wait - I had a free cable box I never hooked up. (I got it a month or so ago for the digital transition but thought I didn't need it as I used other ones for the other TVs.) So I hooked it up and wouldn't ya know it, the power supply was no good. Right out of the box. That is unacceptable. (I tried another power supply and it worked fine.) So I am off to the cable place this morning to wait for an hour to change that. Anyway, by the time I got done troubleshooting and calling Comcast, the shows Tivo were recording ended so I got to see the Celtics beat Cleveland and move on to the conference finals.

Mocha continues to grow but she is still a little puppy inside that 75+ pound body. Still bitey, still jumpy, still a little scared. She means well... The other night there was a fox out back screaming. If you have ever heard that, you know how creepy it is. Mocha would not come out of the house to investigate. Britni the beagle and I were right at the fence with my super flashlight watching it walk around but Mocha stayed in the kitchen.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Giving and Receivering

Both of the avid readers of my blog may remember back in March that I ordered a stereo receiver online to compliment my new Blu Ray player. I wound up returning it to my local WALMART store because I found the sound issue I was having (and thus the reason for the new receiver) was actually a setting on the Blu Ray player. When I changed that, all was good (and has been ever since). Well, this past Thursday, Ashleigh called me and asked why the receiver was back on the front porch. Sure enough. They hadn't sent me another one, they sent me the SAME one! I tracked it through FedEx and saw that it sat for about a month in limbo after I returned it before someone sent it back to me. I also checked to be sure I wasn't charged again. It is a super nice receiver and I would love to keep it but I already got my cash back and it wouldn't be right to just keep it. So I emailed WALMART and told them what had happened and asked how I should proceed. About 48 hours later I got a call and an email from WALMART pretty much saying that THEY had discovered a mistake and had sent me a duplicate item. I could print out a label and bring the receiver to the Post Office to mail it back to them. Uh, wait a second. I am the one who found the error and I shouldn't be expected to print labels and lug the thing to the Post Office and stand around to ship it back. And I told them so. Clearly it was an automated response from them but that is the problem with some of these companies. They have lost the human touch. (Not the one I work for though!) Someone found a pigeonhole close enough to match my situation, plugged me in, and out came an automated response about returning a duplicate item. Which is not the case. They don't sell this item any more and had I not been honest and alerted them to the problem, they would have, and probably have, written it off. In the back of my mind I am hoping they just let me keep it but at the very least I would like a tiny bit of appreciation for making the initial effort. So I told them I was putting it back on my porch where I found it and they can come get it...

You may ask why I put WALMART in all caps here a few times. One time I wrote about my cable provider in this blog and shortly after posting it, I received a call from their customer service rep offering to help me. Apparently they scan the 'Net looking for comments. Maybe WALMART will do the same.

Meanwhile, we have had some really warm days the past few days. I power-washed the house, car and driveway yesterday. Mocha jumped in her little Tugboat Tuggy pool and had a great time. Then Lucie and I went to Elliott's lacrosse game and did our parental obligation of working the concession stand. His team is struggling but he plays well and I have to give him credit for sticking it out and taking the hits that he does. Ashleigh won her game the other day. She is now playing defense but managed to score the first goal of the game!

Lucie brought her Kids Church program into the main sanctuary for her annual opportunity during the morning service last week. That went over well. Pretty funny to see the adults doing all of the hand motions and jumping around during the songs.

I got my replacement router and that is working fine. I have a security setting where I only allow certain computers and devices on my network regardless of if they know the password or not. So I was setting it up (it was a slightly different model so I couldn't just load the settings from my old one) and entered the unique identifier information from one of the Tivos first. As soon as I hit "apply" to only allow that device, I locked myself out of my own network! (I forgot to add the computer I was on first!). Had to reset it to factory defaults and start all over. But all is fine now.

Elliott's birthday is tomorrow but due to games, we won't be able to go out for the traditional dinner till about 9 at night. So we are going early today (he wants to go to the Olive Garden).