Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Because my house is ancient and still uses an honest-to-god fuse box, the normal outlets in the living room can't handle too many appliances plugged in at once. Which means there are extension cords running from the kitchen up and down the stairwell, connected to big box fans to blow as much cold air as possible up the stairs.
That helps a little, but the front bedrooms still bake in the heat all day long. It would really help if I could get some kind of exhaust fan in there to blow out the hot air and pull in the cold air from downstairs, but the original windows don't have any screens, which means it would be completely open to the outside and all kinds of bugs would get in.
Solution? Build yourself a screen! Or rather, two screen sections, one that's just a normal screen and another that holds the small window fan I bought yesterday. I'm not particularly proud of any of these creations this weekend, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Also, bonus picture: these are the garage roses. I didn't trim them at all this spring, and then I was away for a week that brought them a ton of rain and sun. The result were these 10 ft monsters that you see before you. By necessity alone, this will probably need to be the next project.
Saturday, April 29, 2017
The first clue came Thursday. I was away from Richmond most of last week, and I knew it was going to be warm, so I set the AC to 75. When I got back from the airport on Thursday morning, the downstairs was comfortable, but the upstairs was not. Troubleshooting that difference was how I discovered I actually have a dual-zone AC. (Yes, I have lived here for almost 4 months. No, I did not know it was dual-zone until just this week. Yes, you may go ahead and judge.) "Ok, no worries", I thought. I'll just turn on the upstairs AC and everything will be fine. The rest of Thursday was a bit of a haze (it was not a pleasant or restful red-eye flight back), so I didn't think about it much more.
I woke up Friday morning and it was noticeably warm upstairs. The AC was running, but the air coming out of the vent wasn't cold; so I turned both ACs down a few notches to 70 and then got ready for work.
Then I got home late Friday night, and the downstairs was FREEZING. The thermostat said 67, so I bumped that zone up a bit. Then I walked upstairs ... straight into an oven. Seriously, the heat difference across just a few feet was ridiculous. The upstairs thermostat was clocking in at 84, which is a 17 degree heat difference between my 1st and 2nd floor. It's also quite an achievement when the outside is only 75, which means my upstairs must trap heat like nobody's business. UGH.
So, that is going to be this weekend's main set of tasks. First, check to see if there's anything obviously wrong with the duct work or insulation that I can fix myself. Second, go by a few fans and position them to blow the cooler air upstairs, because this weekend is going to be absolutely miserable. Third, call an AC repair guy and pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster that this will be measured in hundreds, not thousands.
Yay home ownership.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Well, not MY bathroom, but Mom's bathroom in at the gallery. I'm up visiting Lancaster for a wedding and spending the day in town with mom before the event tonight. Close to lunchtime a twenty-something girl walked in and asked Mom if she could use the gallery's bathroom. She explained that she was from out-of-town and auditioning for some role at the Fulton, and that it was just an absolute madhouse over at the theatre. (aside: I completely believe her, parking in town today is a nightmare).
Mom says "of course", I keep working on my laptop, a minute goes by ... and then a very deep and soulful "weeeeee-ahhhh-OO-UH-OO-UH-OOO" from the bathroom breaks the silence. That was it. No other sounds. Just a single lovely wail that would probably attract herds of fertile manatees if we let them in the gallery. Mom and I just looked at each other, shrugged, and then 5 minutes later the girl walks back out the door wearing a completely different outfit.
UPDATE: Between then and now, my buddy C called me and asked if I had a hideaway key so he could use my place to shower. So that's a second random bathroom-related thing to happen today. Will we get a third?!?
Sunday, April 02, 2017
Saturday, April 01, 2017
Sunday, February 12, 2017
But the warm weather also meant I could open up the sun room off the side of the house, which right now is unused except to store all my used moving boxes and a couch that doesn't fit in the living room. After looking out into the back yard for a bit, Lucy cat decided she likes the combination of fresh air and a comfy, familiar-smelling couch, and therefore this is the perfect place for her mid-day nap. Rock on cat.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Extra-pressed-extra-firm tofu, sliced into 8 towers instead of 6, extra-TLC on tower formation, and a well-oiled non-stick pan all worked together to produce some very pretty and quite tasty tofu towers. I'm rather pleased with myself.
On the other hand, I'm probably not going to make these again unless it's a really special occasion that really calls for them. They're not the easiest or most convenient thing to make, they take a long time for not that much output, and you end up with leftover ingredients that are annoying to find uses for. But the bigger reason is that pan-frying them on all six sides well enough to cook the chicken all the way through is a MESS. The oil spits everywhere. See that liquid sheen dripping down the front of the range? That's OIL, and it's gonna be a P-I-T-A to clean up. I suppose I could fix that by using a taller casserole or something, but then that just gets more annoying to work with. No reason to put that much effort into something unless you need to, and there are many other tasty things to make in the kitchen.
Random aside - somehow I've ended up with a ton of food in my fridge. Besides these towers (which with broccoli will be 2 meals), I have 4 meals of pot roast, another 4 meals of random ramen-like soup (more on that later), enough leftover veggies for 2 stir-fry's, 4 avocados and chips that were supposed to be guacamole before plans changed, a pound of kielbasa that was an impulse buy, probably 3 meals worth of bacon and eggs and toast (I treated myself to a nice big breakfast in my new house last weekend), to say nothing of all the frozen meals I stocked up on for the move. And I already know 2 nights next week where I'll be dining out for dinner. This will be an interesting week to see if I can get through them all without wasting food.
Some house pics later today!
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
I ended up using only 1/3 of the lb of ground chicken, so I resolved to try it again and next time pay more attention to forming the towers before cooking them. Tonight I kept that promise, and switched a few things up. First, I switched from firm to extra firm tofu, which may help the tofu hold together better. Second, I pulsed the vegetables in the food processor to get a much finer mince, which should give the tofu something much easier to mold onto. Finally, extra time and attention to forming the towers, pressing them together, smoothing over any bulges, and giving a good pat of corn starch on all sides. All of that helped, I think. Unfortunately, I didn't think about the pan, and THAT made things worse. While last time I used a nonstick pan, this time I used just a plain old iron pan. And even though those towers were sitting in 1/4 inch of oil, they stuck fast to the pan. The little buggers would just NOT come up. In the end, a metal spatula had to be employed several times, and it ripped a lot of the nice crispy crust off. Harumph. But this time I only deglazed with sake, and then mixed that with the leftover soy-heavy sauce from earlier. And THAT tastes much better.