Thursday, June 26, 2008

Awright, Awright

It's been a few weeks, I know. But I've got a perfectly viable explanation - I've just awoken from a three-week, heat-induced coma. Frightening stuff, to be sure.

Here's the deal. As noted in the last post, I was all geared up to enjoy the luxurious climate control that was to be delivered by my Jet Propulsion Laboratory made central air conditioning system (which I later learned was only engineered by NASA).

At first, I thought my misprogramming of the device was the reason it hadn't kicked in to deliver those first precious bursts of cool, cool air. The next two days were relatively cold, so it then seemed that the ambient temperature was to blame. Ahhh... No.

Fast-forward to Friday of that week. Outside temperatures rising in anticipation of the big weekend heat-wave. Inside temperatures dutifully keeping pace. Then the weekend arrived and things began to accelerate - out of control, one might say.

The 'cool' air that had been blowing constantly turned out to be not-so-cool, at all. The whole time, I kept wondering why the compressor outside wasn't spinning. A vicious cycle developed with me sweating on the couch, fiddling with the JPL/NASA thermostat, looking out the window anticipating (hoping? begging?) the compressor fan would start whirling - as it had done the month before when the heat was running.

Sweating, fiddling, begging. Sweating, fiddling, begging. Temperature rising. Sweating, fiddling, begging. Temperature rising... Sweating, sweating, sweating.. Until Sunday night when the thermostat read a blistering 85ºF.

That's when I lost consciousness. Apparently, I've been languishing on the couch, caked in a layer of salt from the gallons of sweat that had dried on my skin, ever since.

Actually, that's not entirely true. Oh, everything up until the Sunday night bit is 100% fact. The heat-induced coma is just a bit of hyperbole on my part.

Truth is, I got hold of the guy that installed the HVAC system and he showed up to have a look at the compressor that Monday afternoon. Timing is everything, they say, yeah? He found a conductor of some sort that had been fried, leaving the compressor powerless. Conductor replaced, compressor repaired, and the coolness did flow. Ahhhh...

It's been brilliant ever since and I couldn't be more pleased with it. Some say central air conditioning is a luxury; I classify it more as a necessity.


In the meantime, not much else of import has passed. Yeah, I'm aware that just about everything posted here is of little import. Touché. I'm gonna continue to put it down, regardless. So sod off! No, not really. Yes, Mr. Stokes, I am havin' a laugh...

That's not to say nothing at all has happened. This past weekend after mowing the lawn, I came in to wash up and after taking off my sneakers and socks, I noticed this :

Dirty Feet
Dirty Feet

That's exciting, innit?


One thing I've been happy with since moving into mi casa nueva, I have to say, is the small community of wildlife that I share my space with.

Birds, chipmunks, snakes (I've seen one). Over the weekend, I noticed a new visitor. A red cardinal (are they really called St. Louis cardinals?). I saw him in my front yard on Saturday, then saw him again out back on Sunday and took this photo :

Red Cardinal

It's not the clearest picture. He is much more vibrant with the naked eye. I hope he sticks around all summer, though. He's pretty cool to look at.

That's about it for now, so I'm gonna fly...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Baby, It's Warm Outside

Oh shit. Here it comes. The first real heat of the season.

Technically it's still spring until 21 June, the first day of summer on the calendar. Yet, the upcoming weekend is supposed to be bringing us a July-August preview, as it's said it could reach 90°+ for the weekend. I didn't want to say it - but - in super-technical meteorologist lingo, that's considered a heat wave.

Some of you will be lovin' it. I won't. The heat is my kryptonite.

Don't get me wrong - I loooooove the fine weather! However, much like Julio Lugo, I just can't cope with the 'high-heat'.

So tonight I thought I'd start working on the ol' central air-conditioning system to get the house primed for the scorching weekend. How's it working out, you ask? I'm sweating my Motha'uckin nuts off! That's how.

When I arrived home about 4:30 today the ambient indoor temperature was 75°F. After more than five hours with the C-A/C running the temperature is currently a cool.... 75°F. No shit.

It's likely that I'm not setting the NASA-regulated operating panel appropriately. But shouldn't setting the temperature LOWER (much lower) than the ambient temperature get the thing kick-started? That's how my old system worked - and that was only heat. No central-air. Set it a few degrees higher than ambient? Heat comes on. Set it a few lower? Yup. Heat goes off. Simple, innit?

Now I've got it set to the minimum - 45°F. I'm leaving it at that setting overnight. Maybe it will take some time to remove the residual heat from the square footage. To suck out all the heat. Mmmmm...

I'm hoping I wake up in the middle of the night, my teeth chattering, my David Bowie Nipple Antennae shredding my T-shirt and sheets whilst still sending 'dah-ta back to earth', and reach for the down comforter next to the bed. If not, something's not functioning properly. And - last time I checked - the antennae are in working order.

I've been perusing the instruction manual throughout the evening and I'm still baffled. Here's the control panel, which appears harmless enough. Trust me - based on the fine "detail" in the instruction booklet it'll take a PhD in Thermodynamics and Technical Application to figure this thing out :

(NASA™) Control Panel
Control Panel

See that LCD screen? The number on the right is the current temperature setting. The number on the left? Yah, that would be the current ambient temperature... after five hours running. Granted, I've eff-ed with it quite a bit tonight. And there has been a constant flow of 'cool' air from all the outlets. It's just not like my old, 30lb window A/Cs. Give those beasts 1/2 an hour on a 90° late July Saturday afternoon and you're sitting chilly. Just have to figure this thing out and adapt accordingly.

I only hope I can figure it all out by Thursday night and I'm well adapted by the weekend.

Oh, I just saw a pretty big spider cruising across my bedroom wall. Second one in a few weeks - and this one was bigger than the first. Like about an inch or more. Those mini, ¼-inch to ½-inch ones don't count. Creepy. In the family room is one thing but the bedroom? Super creepy. Imagine what might happen while sleeping. That thing was fast, too.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Of Bugs and Wires and Then Some

Thursday eve was out of the question. I wanted to put something up but I was a bit lethargic after watching the Celts/Pistons game at Ye Olde Hillside Pub with some friends Wednesday night. Question : "How does a basketball game, made up of four 12 minute quarters (48 minutes), take more than 3 hours to broadcast?"

Nevermind. I know how. Unacceptable. The marketing infiltration these days is offensive and needs to be curtailed, if not entirely eliminated, now. Odds on that one? Nil. Never gonna happen. Mini-soapbox - descended.

So, there wasn't much missed in those extra days. Yesterday made up for all that, though. What an afternoon...

Friday night; return home about Eleven pm and pop on the tele. No live tv feed. Alright, I'm thinking there's a sporadic outing and things return to normal in the morning. Watch some pre-recorded stuff. Bedtime.

Saturday morning; attain status of connection (tele, yes, in addition to internet and telephone). No connection on any of the three. It's time to make a call.

Saturday afternoon; Comcast agrees to send a repairman as soon as available and doesn't disappoint. For the second time since being in my house, Comcast has done me right in terms of service. This time, however, it's not your normal visit. No.

This time, the outside feed from the street to the house has been entirely ripped away. Completely. It no longer exists.

So, the first repairkid makes some calls to the 'bucket truck' (because this is no ordinary fix-it) and, eventually, gets up on the roof. Re-installs the necessary wiring; helps the 'bucket truck' guy with his wiring; I help the both of them with some tree manuevering, and such, to get the wiring into place. You know, standard Saturday morning shit.

No, I really didn't have that much to do with it - but the work that went into getting me re-connected? It was well appreciated. They did a fantastic job.

They had me back on-line (in all three senses of the word) before Five pm. Brilliant.


In addition to all of those shenanigans, the freakout of the month, nay, year also occurred. Those dreaded of most dreaded creatures appeared. Termites.

Holy Shit!! Oh fuck. And that's putting it cleanly. The last F-ing thing I need to deal with now is those buggers. I can't even type the word again.

The running theory is that they're the final bits of the colony and the sign of a defunct population. I'm betting high on that theory. What the hell!? I paid well over a grand to protect this place from those.. those... uuurrgghhh! Fuckin' termites!

I don't understand it. Although, I hope to be educated soon enough - like tomorrow afternoon. A guy from the company that did the initial treatment is supposed to come by and have a look. Surprise, surprise! Theeeeeey're baaaaack!

Which is what I find most puzzling. It's been almost three months since I first looked at this house. Nothing in that time would predict this. There had never been live activity? Jeepers... I don't fucking get it.

But, then again, I'm no insect expert. And it pisses me off.

I've got photos of the pricks writhing on the top of my dryer but I can't bear to post them... It's as if they'll win. I'll give the control company the benefit of the doubt and hold all comment. Until I hear from them. Then all bets are off.


Outside of all that craziness, good things also happened. Home Depot gift cards were used to get some privacy, among other things.

As much as I hate that I screwed up the measurements, it all worked out okay. The blinds I picked up still cover (most of) the windows in the family room. It's so nice to have the windows covered. Definitely going for the rest of them, first thing.

One thing I can recommend with 100% return : Always write down the measurements you need. Don't rely on memory - 'cuz it don't work! I was off by a half-inch and it almost sunk me. I was lucky enough to be able to put the shades on the outer part of the window... but I'm glad I took the HD employee's advice and went with the cheaper option.

Take my word - Measure twice, thrice... cut (buy) once.

And that's the recent excitement. god, what the hell...