Is it Spring yet?

I keep waiting for things to warm up. It’s even cold (relatively) in North Carolina; when I went out to get some late dinner last night, I had to break the windshield wipers on the rental car loose. There was actual ice on the windshield; it was 30 or 31 degrees outside.

I’m more than ready to melt off the ice & snow, clean up the yard again, roll out the bike, tune up the air rifle for rabbit season and welcome the warmer weather. I believe our back yard may have become an actual glacier, so that may take a while to slide off into the fjord.

Consistency is the key.

I travel to Charlotte, NC fairly regularly. One thing that has been pretty consistent is the fact that it seems to rain almost every time I go there. This has not gone unnoticed; there was talk of bringing me back on consecutive weeks last summer when there was a drought killing off lawns down here.

Yesterday morning I was on a conference call and mentioned that I was leaving shortly to fly down to Charlotte.  One of my teammates there said, “Good, we need the rain”.  The weather was fine last night – but this morning, as I was walking from my car to the building… it started raining.

Consistency, that’s the key.

What a difference a day makes!

Wow. Yesterday it was 50 or above, snow melting, got the antenna feedpoint re-connected and actually grilled hamburgers on the gas grill outside! Pete took the dog out to the dog park, which was followed by a bath since he (Buddy, not Pete) came home looking like one giant mudball. What a nice day. Of course we had a small pond forming in the back yard, the joy of living at the bottom of a hill.

Now it’s 10 or below, the pond is now a glacier of solid ice, and it’s snowing. Wind is blowing like mad, it’s just cold as hell.

First day on the heat pump

The outside temp is finally over 20 degrees, so the heat pump has been running for the past couple of hours. Not bad… it’s a little odd to have what feels like barely-warm air coming out of the registers, but the noise level in the basement is a little lower (no gas burners or vent blower on), and the temperature is staying just as steady as with the furnace. We’ll see what the gas & electric bills look like.

Overall, the new system works much better than the old one. The temperature is staying much more constant, without the plus/minus couple of degrees we were seeing with the old furnace. I attribute that partly to the thermostat, and partly to the fact that the old furnace seemed to be just too big for the house. The air temp coming out of the old furnace was over 140 degrees F, so it would heat the house up in a BIG hurry. The downside was, it would also bump the thermal limit switch on a regular basis.  During the old furnace’s last day or two of life it was cycling on and off every 5-10 minutes and still not keeping the house up to the set temperature.

Baby, it’s cold outside

Three degrees F this morning, in fact.  That’s -16 to you Celsius speakers.  Damn cold.  Which is why it was especially bad when our furnace died last Friday.  We now have a nice, shiny new furnace and heat pump, installed yesterday as a couple of electric space heaters struggled valiantly to keep the parts of the house we were in above 60 degrees.  So far the new system seems to be working quite well.  It’s not quite as quiet as I had hoped, but it’s not bad.  Looks like the humidifier needs fixing as well, but it’s a minor thing.

All things considered, I’d much rather have the air conditioning conk out at 90 than the furnace die at 20.

Post-Christmas bloat

Some year I’d like to figure out how to convince myself I really do not need to eat enough for a small town during family get-togethers.   I think I did better this year than last, but it’s still going to take some gym time to work this off.   It may actually work out better for the dog.   Now that I have a decent hat to keep my ears from freezing, I may start taking the poor little guy out for walks again.   It’s easy to do when it’s warm, but at 20 degrees and windy it’s far too easy to just let him run in the yard and chase him around the house.

Well, back to the gym like the rest of the winter lemmings…

Is it just me…

or did the snow come about a week or two too early this year? I wasn’t quite done with things in the back yard when it started. I’m hoping we get a reprieve, maybe just a few days of decent temperatures with the snow melted off. I’ve got antenna work to finish!!

There’s no reaction quite like a knee-jerk reaction…

I received an email today, another forwarded message with someone’s teary reflections on how sad the world is. This one dealt with the recent Westroads mall shootings in Omaha, which are still pretty fresh in our minds. Locally, at least – the national news has pretty much forgotten them already and moved on to the next catastrophe. Part of the email read:

“We’ve learned that while the gun lobby keeps saying “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” that in this case “people with guns kill people.” We need to find a way to keep adolescents and guns away from each other, and that no hunter needs a semi-automatic assault rifle with armor-piercing bullets to kill Bambi.”

It saddens me to see that some people are shifting the focus away from the human reason for this tragedy, and onto the convenient scapegoat again. I’m not the least bit surprised, of course; it was only a matter of time. Usually this time is measured in minutes, if not seconds.

Let’s start with the glaring factual errors first: The moron was 19, not an “adolescent”, a mentally Continue reading “There’s no reaction quite like a knee-jerk reaction…”