Monday, December 28, 2009

Lunchtime Wiring Project

It looks so obvious now

When we bought out paradise dream home, we knew that it wasn't perfect. Opulence aside, there were a few issues we would need to work on in the coming years. One of those is the wiring, which wasn't quite finished up before we moved in.

The previous owners were kind enough to leave me a number of electrical puzzles. The most interesting so far has been the three way switch, which they attempted to wire with two-wire rather than three-wire on one leg. That took about six hours to sort out; we still haven't gotten around to doing the actual work.

But they threw a curve ball today. Or maybe it was a sinker. We have three outlets in the dining nook that were unpowered. I checked the nearest three outlets for a loose connection, but none of them looked to be powering these three outlets (one was a dead end, the other two were connected to each other). Of course, in checking those outlets, I discovered that they didn't leave me enough wire to pull the outlet out. What should have taken a few minutes total took twenty minutes just to reassemble.

Just a dead end?

Anyway, I gave up (for the second time) and returned to work. When I was sufficiently distracted by SQL my subconcious reminded me how a previous puzzle turned out to be a wire run from one outlet to the other, but it was not connected at all. I decided to have a second look at the nearest outlet (that appeared to be a dead-end).

I took out the outlet and stared for a second. No loose wires. Then, I got on my belly.

Coiled on roof, the missing wires

Coiled on the roof of the box was the wire I was missing. Connecting that up took less than two minutes, followed by flicking the power back on and -- success!

Some day, I want to build a house and put all these kinds of puzzles in it for the next owners. My dad and I spent a lot of time in the walls of his old house. I think it's our turn to start playing tricks.

I've got to wonder what then next little surprise will be!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cooks' Dinner, 2009

A few weeks ago I introduced Tom to Simon. Tom, as you might remember, was the last person I reported to at Insightful before the layoffs, merger, and my new overloads took over supplying me a paycheck. Tom, however, is much more than a boss -- more like a life-long friend that happened to show up at work one day.

Simon is the husband of Vena, my first friend in Seattle (I met Rishi shortly after, both at the Pearl cafe). He trimmed our trees recently, and has impressed me with his culinary skills at Vena's parents' house years ago.

We invited these to boys over for dinner, and they ate politely, and we had a very good time. They made it clear they would be back, and not to eat. To cook.

Tom and Simon convinced Quincy and I to host a dinner where they would do most of the cooking. They like our stove. So, we did. First, we invited Megan and Scott, friends of Quincy who I just can't get enough of. Scott is a talented musician and Megan is a brilliant blogger and crafter (check her stuff out at Not Martha). They had gotten along swell with Vena and Simon at our house warming. I like inviting Jake to any gathering, because he is the consummate mingler; one of the best party attenders and hosts I have ever met.

Of course, we invited Maggi and Jeff & Rishi and Jamie, but their schedules were booked. Vena and Simon invited Vince, a talented musician and soft soul.

As a surprise, Megan and Talina were in town for the weekend, so they joined us. At this point, the quiet panic was in our bellies, and Quincy and I have never put on a dinner for so many people. So, we stopped inviting!

Simon prepared an exquisite trout main course. I can't possibly describe it, you'll have to see it for yourself. There was bacon and cherry tomatoes and lettuce frizzle involved. Simon also baked more than enough polenta cakes with roasted veggies as a side dish, which are so good I've been trying to limit myself to only two slices leftover per day.

Tom has the most intense side dish I have see in the making: a chestnut, celery root side that had subtlety and depth. He also fried us up some green beans and sliced almonds for color. There was not a single bit of either of those sides at the end of the night.

Quincy and I threw together a salad and a dressing from a Jamie Oliver cookbook. Quincy baked rolls, which also were consumed at a frantic pace.

For dessert Tom make a walnut cake swimming in some sort of sauce that I wish I could describe! I must get the spelling of the French words that mean "melted ice cream from heaven." There was one slice left over, but only because I hid it behind the microwave.

As if the food, conversation and company weren't enough, Vince and Simon set up with guitar and drum box and blessed us with mellow, soulful, relaxing ambient music at the end of dinner.

Overall, this first Cooks' Dinner was a huge success. We missed a couple things, and the "front of the house" fell over; but we'll get it right next time. Simon is lobbying for dinner for 30 -- I guess it's time to buy some comfortable kitchen chairs!

Check out all the photos on Flickr .

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wedding Blog

Well, our wedding web site is up and running. It's pretty sparse right now, with just a landing page and a blog, but we'll be putting more information up as we go. We sent our Save the Date cards out last week, and a couple of Seattle locals have already received them.

I bought the domain name before I knew that a woman's name always goes first for wedding related things. Oh well!

So, there's a couple of blog posts over there, and I'm overdue here, but that's how these things go. When all other procrastinations fail, blog; but we're not procrastinating anything!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Engaged Again!

Quincy and I have been diligently working on our wedding planning. This time, we’re having a lot more fun. Last night Quincy surprised me with a re-engagement ring. I’d been hinting that I was jealous that she had a “taken” ring and I still looked single. Well, now I look married!

Here’s to another crazy year of a big project. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Selling and the whatnot


I've been away from the blogging circuit for a while. We've been settling into our new dream home and making good progress on selling my previous house. We're just waiting for the buyer's financing to finish up.

I'll miss 906 quite a bit. I'm doing my best to make the buying experience positive for the first-time homeowners who are taking over. I fixed everything on my original home inspection report, and countless other things, in the lead-up to putting it on the market. Since then, I've been keeping up the garden (more on that later). Once the buyers handed over their requests, we said yes to all of them (they were modest and reasonable) and added a few other things from their inspection report to the mix. Really, some things should just work when you move in, even if the previous owner didn't know they were broken.

All in all, we're really fortunate to be in this spot. There are a lot of houses still on the market, and a lot of folks had to drop their asking price considerably. We did not, and with any luck we'll be closed in early September.

I know, that's not much of an update. Once the rains come back I'll pick up blogging. We've got a nice backlog of garden photos and adventures to relate.

While you're not reading what I'm not posting, you can check out my friends' Vena and Si blog: they're building a house on Vashon island -- themselves! I have the most amazing friends.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Grete's new game

On the first afternoon we spend at our new house, Grete learned a new fetching game. I toss the ball from the balcony, she goes down the stairs, through the yard, and brings it back. We had the master bedroom door on the first floor open, so sometimes she'd run through the whole house on her return trip.

Yeah, the video is lame, but it shows the trick!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

New Truck

I did it. I finally broke down and dropped by less-than-five-grand requirement for a new truck. Rishi found this 2002 Ford Ranger Edge on Craigslist last week, and I finally made the purchase on the 3rd of July.

The truck is two wheel drive, but the Edge Premium package included the 4x4 suspension, so I can haul a bit more and have a higher ride. It has premium Panasonic Tremor sound, four doors, extended cab, color-matched canopy, rubber bed liner, and low miles. It was a good deal, even if it was a little more than I wanted to spend on a truck

There's a few more photos of the truck sitting at the Evenston Pea Patch on Flickr (click through the image above). I'll take some more photos once I get it all washed and whatnot.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Good day

Today is setting up to be a very good day. The last few weeks at The Company have been an experiment in focus and behavioral modification -- care less, do more. It's beginning to pay off as I am returning to the center of action without any tangential antagonism. Today a conversation with the Boss Man left me feeling empowered and appreciated. Also, my directs were supportive of my plans, which in this environment has been an ongoing challenge. Also, folks really love my charts and data visualizations -- adoption rates are increasing and productivity is, at least on paper, getting better. The phrase "better living through reporting" has been circulating. Love it!

To top the workday positive changes, I'm buying a new-to-me truck today. Pictures to follow, of course. It's a red 2002 Ford Ranger. Quincy and I decided that the new house expenses squashed the hopes of a new Toyota Tacoma, so we went for the inexpensive, reliable, frill-free used Ranger option. The pickup will come in extra handy in the Biggest Move Ever coming up in a couple of weeks.

And really, we're moving into our dream home. We spend a good part of last night pouring over graph paper sketches, trying to fit couches in rooms and fences in the yard. So much fun. We close on July 2nd; we have July 3rd off from work; we scheduled the movers to come to 906 on July 11th. I'm picking up boxes from coworkers this weekend and next week -- with my new truck.

As for the drop-in buyers of 906, that's all still pending. There has been considerable interest, but I think I might end up listing with an agent once we move. If that fails, renting is still a very viable option -- especially for just a year or 18 months. Worst case, we'll rent and rescue some of our plants to the new place as the front yard fills in more and more.

I went for a run yesterday. Only 2.5 miles of run/walk, but it really raised my spirits. First real outdoors exercise in a while. Considering Seattle just tied the all-time record for consecutive days with no rain (in May-June) at 29-days, it's hard to believe I haven't been running more.

But we have been eating well. Our garden has produced an outstanding amount of snap peas, which are just as good as a snack as they are in a stir fry. We've probably eaten three pounds in total, with many, many more on the vines. Strawberries are starting to ripen, as are the raspberries. The tomatoes are bushes with many small blooms. Our garden will be missed!

So, that's my news. I'm going to eat some gluten-free quinoa pasta in peace (most of The Company went out for a goodbye lunch at a Jason-unfriendly restaurant) and work on test plans.