Wednesday, May 29, 2019

You know that family, a driveway instead of central air

Yes, we are those people...

Cookie has two terrible headaches and is very hot.

No, not hot in that way.

Hot because Ville Cookie, located in the Capitol of Mid Atlantic heatwaves, Bawlimore, has no central air conditioning. 

You heard me - no central air - on the first floor.

The previous owners did install AC on the second and third floors, but they never did for the first.  That's because our house has radiator heat and not forced air.  So it is easier to put the condenser in the attic and run flexible ductwork around the third floor than is it to pipe the stuff down two floors lower.

So we rely on window units on the first floor, and that means fans to move the air about, room to room.  The noise!  The inability to rend the air of moisture!

To add central air to the first floor, we would have to add a second AC unit and place the condenser in the basement.  From there it is easy to install floor registers, etc. and so on.  But its expensive.

But no, we needed the driveway.   So we have a drive, but days are feverish feeling in the heat.

And it's early this year.  Miserable early.

So I have a headache from the heat.  But I have another headache on the street.

The brand new hybrid has a fucked up radio/Bluetooth unit. Bother.  We noticed it when we returned from vacation.  Normally, you start it up, the system pops up on screen and you drive away.   But that first day back, it took forever to load, and then it crashed, and loaded and crashed and over and over and over.  Every third crash, the audio source dropped.

So off to the dealer we went, they loaded the OS and then the latest map update, and said it was fine to go. 

Got in the car, started it up, set it in gear and the audio system crashed and started acting up.  Without leaving the parking lot, back into the service bay it went.  So the service department studmuffin jumps into the car.  and we remove my iPhone from the system, and the system from my iPhone system - the technical manual calls this a divorce. 

The car runs fine.  The audio system stays up.

Then we turn off the car and restart it, re-pair the phone to the car and the car to the phone.  Everything is fine.

I ask if we can test it from a cold start, and we shut the car down, restart it, the car and the phone hook up like Gidget and Moondog, I put it in gear and drive five feet and like Gidget and Moondog, it crashes.

Reader, I have to say that only thing more exciting than sharing my car with an incredibly good looking man is to have an electronic device FAIL exactly like it did for you when you were alone, but in front of a witness at the dealership. 

No, I am not going crazy.

This time we get "System Is Unable To Update. Continue Y/N"

Praise Jesus, we have a twofer!

So they call the manufacturer of the car's advanced diagnostics department and hook up the car.  Nothing.  They call Apple, and there are no bulletins, but Apple asks me to update et the phone, which was updated two days before. So that's no it. They ordered me a new radio unit - "It should be here in  ten days."  UGH.

Anyhow, in the past ten days, I have been keeping a log.  What makes the system fail and what doesn't:

1) The system fails if the phone is on when you turn the car on.
2) The system doesn't fail is the phone is on when you turn the car on and you back up (because the review camera function breaks the chain of failure.
3) Number two, but then the phone book doesn't load.
4) The system works if you start the car and the phone is off.  Turn the phone on and the car and radio and nav system work fine, but the phone book may, or may not, load.
5) Back to number one, and the system fails on a cycle of one to three minutes.  Every third failure loses the audio source if the radio is on.

We tried this with my husbands iPhone and had no issues just loading the phone alone. But when I loaded the phone and the phone book, it repeated the crash cycle.

My diagnosis is that the nav system can't load the phone book from the phone and that causes it to fail.

Unfortunately, a week has passed and the dealership called to say "shipments are running slow because of the holiday weekend."  So I wait and stress.  I know, let go and let Toyota.  But it's cramping my style. (Whine)

So yes, I have first world problems, and they are very, very real.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

You'll find me out watering the driveway

What Witchery is this? Not our house, but you get the idea.

In water conservation terms, you always hear people saying "Don't waste water on the driveway!"  But our new driveway grows!

So the husband and I have done the eco-bay friendly thing and added a "green driveway".  Its concrete pavers, like in the picture, but the holes are filled in and the grass is planted.  Slows the runoff, absorbs water, doesn't absorb heat, etc.  And when the grass comes in, you really won't see the pavers so much.

The house was never built with a drive, but one was in the plans from day one.

These are not very common here, so we get a lot of gawkers and they all have comments:

  • "What do you think you are doing?"

  • "What's the meaning of this?"

  • "Are you going to pave over it?"

  • "Well, I am not sure it's a good idea."

The most ludicrous comments come from old white men.  What flying monkey's ass do you think I care about when Mr. 70-Something Year Old Man thinks its "not a good idea or not?"

"How do you think you are going to shovel that?"

What difference does it make to you, Pickle Puss?

The neighborhood busybody came by and told us she would get an injunction to force us to remove it.  "I will do everything I can to keep this out."

Not so fast Dora. I showed her the permit from the city.  And I smiled.  It's totally legal, and the city wants more stuff like this.

We do get more positive comments than bad ones.  Most of the people come by and say it looks "neat", "cool", or "progressive."

"These are all over the Netherlands," said a woman down the street. 

Marylanders who live near the Bay or watersheds that drain into the Bay are all being told to do what we can to protect the Bay, so this qualifies - thus we were so easily able to shoo-off Dora. 

One word of advice - unless you have a very strong back - hire this work down.  We paid to have this driveway laid down and the contractor gave us $40k worth of work on a 20K contract.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Having a wonderful time, wish you were...

Looks like rain. Too much rain is bad for crops.  Too little is bad, too.

So we made our annual pilgrimage to New England, which is mostly us sitting with the in laws. 

I know, big fun.

But it happens once a year. 

This time we ate well, but it was a wee bit rainy.

On our first day we made it to Weston, Connecticut, to see a beloved friend.  I miss her very much.  We were stunned that she's been in Connecticut for thirty years.   But she looks fabulous.  Moreover she seems happy, all good things with her children and husband, too.  And she deserves all of it and more.  You when you make friends with someone who is special? Audrey is all that and more.

On the second day we pushed on to Windsor, the first European settlement in Connecticut.  There we found the "Ship" monument to the towns first settlers and found the names of my forefathers.  Sadly, the foremothers were not on the list.  That seemed a wee bit unfair.

I take that back, that is horribly unfair. 

Women are really unvalued, and in "His"-story, even more so.

In many cases, before 1850, unless your courthouse hasn't been burned down, that woman in your past may never be found.  1850 was when the census in the United States began to record women.  Before that, if they were not heads of households, they were just hashmarks on a sheet of paper.  Not even shown as a wife, they were just a woman in a certain age-range.

Anyhow, we honored the women with a moment of thought and pushed on.

Next we headed to rural, Eastern Connecticut, which is very lovely!  Stops were made in Windham, Ashford and Chaplin. 

We went to one cemetery to view the graves of ancestors only to find out that Find A Grave had applied the wrong address to the cemetery we were searching for.   That was a major bother.   But we pushed on and eventually found ourselves in the bosom of the in-laws in Natick.

In Boston I got a respite t the unending merriment with the in-laws when I drove down to Newton - to Newton Center to be specific -  to visit my fourth cousin, Murial, and Murial's twin sister Miriam.  They are 86 and both are very sharp.  Having a conversation with them is fun.  They speak in partial sentences, each one finishing the others sentences.   Their cousin Mordecai was there and he was fascinated that I was married to a man.   

I was the youngest person there by 30 years.

There was lots of good food, a lot of laughs and a great deal of Yiddish.  We are all getting together in Cleveland at the end of July for the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conference. 

Then today, we drove home, got the dogs and settled back into our lives. 

I love going back there, but to be honest, I really hate the traffic. 

So that was our week.  A real rip-snorting time!