“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


They're Not Clairvoyant, And I'm Not Very Bright

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

So, in our house, dinner time is TV time.  Yup.  We are one of those couples who eats dinner in front of the TV.  If that bothers you, then now might be a good time to look away for a bit.

Our show of choice lately has been The Big Bang Theory (recorded reruns, of course).   I mean, what do you expect?  We are the Geek and Geekwif afterall.

So we turned on the TV in order to queue up the show and the news was on.  They were talking about the massive power outage in India. 

Okay, let me backtrack slightly.  In case you haven't ever watched The Big Bang Theory, it is a hilarious show about four very smart, geeky scientist guys and their beautiful, non-geeky neighbor – think Friends with geeks.  One of them is Raj, a young astrophysicist from India who is living in the U.S.

So back to the news.  They were talking about this power outage in India that affected 670 million people or something like that.  Crazy.  My first thought (after "holy crud!") was "I wonder if Raj will talk about this on the show tonight."

My next thought was, "Seriously?  That's what you get from this?"

Okay, now let's break down a small sample of the plethora of reasons why this is so very, very screwed up.

1)  Hello!?  It's a sitcom, taped in front of a live studio audience LONG before I ever see the show.  As such, they would have to be clairvoyant, or prophetic, or whatever you want to call it, in order to talk about an event that is happening on the day I see the show.

2)  Uh, hello!?  It's a recorded rerun!  Which just compounds problem number 1.

3)  Hello again!?  Raj isn't real!  His family isn't real!  They rarely (if ever) talk about real events going on in the real world.

4)  I'm a total doofus.

Now, in my defense, it was a fleeting thought.  Very, very fleeting.  As in the subsequent thought of "Seriously?" nearly overlapped the end of the stupid thought of "Will Raj talk about this?"

But still.  I thought it.  And now I'm sharing it with you.  I'm not sure why exactly.  Perhaps I'm in a bit of a self-deprecating mood tonight.  Or maybe I wanted to make you all feel better about the times you've done something similar.

Please, please tell me you've done something similar.

Labels: ,


The Traveling Geek Phenomenon

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Geek has been in the UK for a week now.  He comes home tomorrow.  (Yay!!)

There's this phenomenon that happens every time he goes out of town on business: some crazy weird thing goes wrong that would never go wrong if he was here. 

There was the time when I dented the door of my car by side swiping a boulder in a bank parking lot because it was covered in snow and I couldn't see it. 

And the time the garage door fell apart and the bolt broke and I had to find a new one and fix the door myself. 

And then there was the time I locked myself out of the house and had to use my neighbor as a ladder to climb in through my kitchen window.  (Which required human contact at a level WAY beyond my comfort level.)

Oh yeah, and then there was the time I was awakened at midnight by my doorbell, which I did NOT answer because it was midnight and I was home alone and no one can hear you scream in the country.  And then I looked out the window after whoever it was finally drove away and thought I saw orange tail lights (is there even such a thing?) just hanging out on my driveway, so I called 911 because I was a more than a little freaked out that someone was just hanging out in their car on my driveway at midnight in the country.  Yes, after the fact I did feel a little foolish for calling 911 because there was a car on my driveway, but it's a darn good thing I did because it turned out that the orange light wasn't a car at all.  It was my neighbor's mailbox on fire.  (I have a really long driveway, and did I mention it was midnight?)

So yeah, weird things happen when he's gone.  Sometimes they're just weird random things and sometimes they are self-induced ... like this time.

I almost made it.  Just two days to go.  But last night I was sitting in my living room after starting a load of laundry and a load of dishes, when my wash machine started beeping in a very insistent manner, as if it was trying to tell me, "Something is definitely wrong here.  You'd better come take a look right now!"

So I did.  It was flashing the letters H and F alternately.  I had no idea what that meant, but I knew it wasn't good.  And then a light bulb slowly appeared over my head.  There was a slight chance I might have left the water on in the garden a few hours ago.  Living in the country, we don't have an unlimited supply of city water.  We have a well, which uses a pump and a holding tank to deliver water to our house.  If the holding tank runs dry we get no water.

I checked the bathroom faucet.  Sure enough, two little drips were all that came out.  So I went outside and shut off the water, severely berating myself with every turn of the handle.  Then I went down to the basement to flip the little L-shaped switch that resets the pump.  But nothing happened.  Did I flip it the wrong way?  I ran upstairs and tested a faucet. 

Drip drip. 

I thought maybe it would just take a while for the tank to have enough water to deliver to the faucet.  So I waited a while.  Tried again.

Drip drip.

Went downstairs and flipped the switch the other way.

Drip drip.

Meanwhile, I had just finished drinking a 12 ounce Coke Vanilla Zero in a glass of ice.  And it was too late to call a plumber.  It was a rough night, and that's all I have to say about that.

Except that the kitten didn't help make the night any better.  Did I mention there's a kitten in our lives now?  He's very cute, but he becomes an absolute monster at night, trying to claw and bite the flesh right off of my face or fingers or toes or any other body part that dares to attract his attention. 

All.  Night.  Long.

Thankfully this morning I was able to become conscious enough to get someone to come fix the pump switch thingy.  It got stuck somehow, but it's working now.  Soon I'll be able to take a shower, and finish washing those clothes and dishes which have just been sitting there stewing overnight.  Let me tell you, just washing my hands was an absolute delight.

My Geek has two more trips planned this summer.  I may be in serious trouble.

Labels: ,


Entertainment Center Extreme Makeover

Saturday, July 21, 2012

See that entertainment center in the corner?  It's one of those "some assembly required" units from Target.  We bought it several years ago and while it's served us well it was time for a change.

We've been working on finishing our basement and part of that project is a home theater (photos to come), so most of our TV components (DVD player, PlayStation, VCR [yes, we still have one], etc.) are now downstairs in the partially finished room.  All we need upstairs is a small unit to hold the smaller TV, and a few extras.

The first step was to chop off the top half of the unit.  I forgot to take a closeup of the whole unit before, but you can see from the top photo that we cut it down from a unit that was about 4-1/2 feet tall to more of a console type unit.

Because we had to use a saw to chop off the top half, the edges of the new "top" were a little rough, so I filled them in with some of that fun, fancy spackle stuff that starts out pink and turns white when it's dry.

I also filled in some holes in the top ...

... and lots of other holes like where the old handles were in the doors.

Then everything got a good sanding ...

... and in some cases another coat of spackle until it was as smooth and even as I could get it. 

I still wasn't quite happy with how boxy the top was though.  It needed a little oomph.  A little pizazz.  A little something more.

This piece was the old top of the unit before we chopped off the top half.  See how it has a nice curve on the front and a slightly rounded edge?  That was just the extra touch I needed.  So I unscrewed it from the side pieces to reuse it as the top of the new shorter unit.

I sanded it to be sure that it would adhere properly.

Then I applied Gorilla Glue (suggested by my father-in-law – that stuff is way awesome!), placed the new/old top carefully and clamped it.  Since there was no place to put clamps on the back side, I put as much weight in books and pieces of the old unit as possible to weigh it down so it would adhere well.

Now on to the doors.  You can't tell very well from that crappy before photo at the beginning of this post, but the doors were plain, boring, flat.  Ugh.  Like the top, I wanted them to have a little something extra special.  So I got some half round from Menards, measured several times very carefully, cut each piece at a 45 degree angle, and glued them to the sanded faces of the doors with Elmer's Wood Glue.  They look a little weird this way, but ...

... a good coat of paint made a world of difference.

And another coat (or two) made them even better.  Isn't that just so much nicer than a plain flat door?

Once the glue had dried on the main unit, I gave that several coats of paint as well.

There was a point at which I really thought I might never be done painting, but eventually, there were enough coats on all the pieces to cover every hint of the old fakey wood veneer.

I set my new unit in place and put the TV on top and also added in the center shelf, which, by the way, got a little makeover of its own.  It had been just a plain shelf with a squared off front, so I added a piece of half-round to that too, to give it a little more polished look.

Then it was just a matter of attaching the doors with their new prettier handles, and adding in a few accessories, and voila!  The look is complete.  It took a couple days of work, but it was so worth it.  This piece of 100 times prettier than the original was.  (In my ever so humble opinion, of course.)

Now on to the next project!

Labels: ,


Catching Up

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A lot has happened since our three inches of snow in February.  It's been a hot summer (as it seems it has been all over the U.S.) but a good one with the exception of a couple of sad moments.

On a sad note, we lost two of our sweet kitties this year.  Maestro and Beethoven are sorely missed.

Razz the spaz, on the other hand, is lively as ever and I've been working on training her using the Dog Whisperer's techniques with a small amount of success.

We've changed our plans a bit on the hobby-farming side: we'll probably start with chickens next spring and hopefully goats the following spring.  Building a barn is uber-expensive.

The garden is very green (both veggies and weeds) and keeps me crazy busy.

We've been working on a HUGE basement finishing project which has been moving along nicely, but is starting to slow down a bit due to expenses.


I've had some fun refinishing furniture.


Our twentieth anniversary is coming up in December and we have a big vacation planned to celebrate!

My Geek is traveling all over the world this summer for his work.  While I'm not going along this time, I may share some photos when he gets back as he promised to take some for me.

Details and "after" photos to come in future posts!