Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sorry About This

I have to apologize for a couple of things. First, I haven't updated the pictures on the site for a few days. In addition to adding a new feature, I am in the process of tranferring the site to a new host, to save money and also add more space for a future video gallery. And also to get a hosting company with 24/7 customer support.

Which brings me to the other thing I need to apologize for: if anyone has tried to send me email this weekend, I have been unable to get it, and it's possible it got bounced back to you. No, I have not disappeared, but my mail accounts have, and I can't contact customer support until tomorrow. If you are still having trouble, try my gmail address, gordonbrooks57 at, which always works.

This transition to another host may take the site offline next weekend as the domain name registrations are transferred and the DNS servers catch up to the change. Just keep trying.

The new host is 1&1 ( and I am impressed with how much more you get for the money. Right now it's about $69 a year for hosting and almost $30 for registration of and 1&1 charges about $60 year for hosting with 240 times as much space, and throws in the domain names for free. I like saving money and getting more.

Once everything is in place, you shouldn't notice any difference right away: same email addrresses, same Web site address, and the same site content, until I get around to changing it.

Meanwhile, we are plugging away on the house. I have my electrical permit and I'm buying supplies tomorrow. I was going to do that today., but I didn't feel like going out in the snow and there was plenty of other work, including (wouldn't you know it) snow removal. The plumber can call for inspection on the under-slab pipes now, and the well has been drilled (225 feet, 6 gpm) so the septic contractor can call for inspection as well.

And I need to get to bed in preparation for a busy day tomorrow. Work, of course, which doesn't change much (although we are at least busy now and I like that), but William has basketball practice after work, and I have to stop on the way to buy materials. And tomorrow night I promised myself I'd install the locks on the exterior house doors. And since I've been moving lumber and lifting 50-pound bags of salt and 60-pound bags of sand, I think a good night's sleep is in order.

What a concept.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


It was cold today. Not as cold as the Weather Channel had predicted, but the temperature never got above 20, and that's cold. It didn't stop William and Daniel from going out sledding on our driveway for quite some time.

I missed most of that because I was out with Thomas giving him some driving practice. New Hampshire law requires that a driver under 18 cannot get his or her license without practicing with a licensed driver over the age of 25 for at least 20 hours. I prepared for thie drive with a shot of caffeine and Tylenol. I couldn't find any Valium.

Actually, I'm joking. Thomas is a good, cautious driver and it's kind of nice having a chauffeur. We drove for over two hours today and the only time my knuckles got a bit white was when some knucklehead in a pickup popped out from a blind parking space in front of the car. Thomas handled it well, which is more than I can say for the (adult) knucklehead.

By the way, if you are impressed that I remember how to spell chauffeur, don't be. Beyond spellcheck, I have a great dictionary that comes with Mac OS X. If you can just figure out how the word starts, it gives you a list of possibilities to choose from. And when you find the right one, it highlights it so you can copy and paste. I love OS X!

After we got home and before it got dark, Tom and I cleared off the tarp covering the leach field to keep ahead of the next snow storm, expected Tuesday, though not expected to amount to much, which is fine with me.

And now it's time for dinner. Salmon tonight. Karen prepares it with orange juice and butter, baking then briefly broiling the fish. One of my favorites, so I won't linger here, for both snow removal and cold weather give me an appetite.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Break

The weather picture is looking up, although my California family and friends might not agree with my assessment. The weather prognosticators are backing off on the prospects for weekend snow, and the deep freeze that is heading our way Sunday will not be as bad as originally feared, with highs around 19 degrees. Fahrenheit. No, really, but it's better than single-digit temperatures for 48 hours straight. And the rest of the week will be a more normal high-twenties sort of week with no precipitation.

There is now a truck on the building site with a drilling rig, which will be employed to get us a well in the next few days. Even with the snow and the cold, the project continues. Karen has a few days off, but except for some phone calls and planning, and moving many of my tools, there is little we can do for the new house during that time, so we are going to spend the long weekend preparing the old house for sale.

I'm hoping to spend some of that time working on the changes to the Web site, and putting up some pictures of the house and other recent happenings. We'll see how much time I end up having.

William had another basketball practice last night. The skills he most needs to work on are dribbling and listening; we'll help him work on both over the course of the season. I don't actually know how long the season lasts for these first-graders; there isn't even a game scheduled yet that I know of, so it's probably going to be a while.

I need to get up early tomorrow so I'm available to do snow removal for the well driller if need be.

And you know how much I love to remove snow.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I Hate It When I'm Right

As I predicted in my last entry, predictions for the snowfall fell short, by about four inches. There is a foot of snow sitting on our picnic table as proof. The Seacoast, where I work, got somewhat less. How much less is hard to tell because it was windy enough to blow the snow off the tops of cars, but there was snow up to my calves while I was clearing off my van at the end of the work day.

Karen and the boys were home and spent a good deal of the day shoveling. There is still a good deal of digging out to do, especially up at the new house, where we have to clear a parking spot for the drilling rig that's due Wednesday. WInter construction is so exciting.

I put snow removal way up the list of time-wasting activities, even above video games, which at least provide entertainment for the time spent. Snow removal provides muscle aches and a colorful vocabulary, especially when one is digging out from the third major storm in about a month.

Yesterday was spent moving long pieces of lumber and digging tarps out from under the ice so that we could cover the stacks of lumber to protect them from the coming storm. We also took one of the tarps and covered the open leach field so that, perhaps, we might have an easier time uncovering it when it finally comes time for the state to inspect it. We still need the well and a bit of plumbing work before that happens, but it should be soon.

William missed out on basketball practive today because of the storm, but there's another practice on Thursday. I wish we had a good place for him to practice, but everything is covered with snow. Maybe he can at least get in a little dribbling practice on the floor when we pour the slab in the new house. Just a thought.

I will not be appearing on the stage this spring with the Village.Players, which I regret, but there's just no way to keep up with the rehearsal schedule and do the work on the house, not to mention the conflicts with Karen's work schedule, which caused problems on "Pajama Game." It's okay, though. There will be other plays in the future. I've caught the bug and I have no intention of taking any kind of cure.

But from now until the summer, my focus is on the new house. Building, decorating, and moving in. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to concentrate our energy on that.

Instead of snow removal.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Oh Right, Winter.

The weather is once again coming at us. After a couple of weeks of unreasonably mild weather, including some rain which took away a lot of the snow, there is now the prediction of heavy snow on Monday throughout the morning. No word on predicted accumulations, though those predictions have during the season to date been fairly useless.

Today Tom and I spent a lot of time moving lumber out of the way so that the well can be drilled in the coming week. Tomorrow we will have to cover our leach field and stack more lumber, and get anything off the ground that we can't have buried in snow. And the next day we will spend a lot of time shoveling snow. I'm tired.

And unfortunately my work is beginning to take its toll on my wrists, thumbs, and back, which makes it harder to do the lifting and loading I need to do to get the new house done. The house will get done, but I think that the makers of my favorite anti-inflammatory drug are going to profit admirably from the effort.

William just started playing basketball last Monday, and I'm afraid that his second practice is going to get called off because of the weather. Most likely they won't even open the school that day. Makes it hard to plan anything. Karen and I, of course, will not be so lucky as to get the day off, so there will be work as well as shoveling and a horrendous commute for each of us. I'm ready for winter to be over, even though it's not a third of the way done.

I complain too much. I should send myself to bed until my disposition improves. Well, no, I can't sleep through the winter. I'll just have to see how I'm doing in the morning.

Night all!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Weekend Thoughts

The house is coming along nicely, considering the problems from weather. We now have a roof complete with shingles, and the windows and doors will be installed starting Monday. I'm going to wander around tomorrow and make my electrical plan, in the last day I'll be seeing the house in bright daylight before I apply for the electrical permit on Thursday night so I can start pulling wire next weekend. We're getting a spell of warm weather--by New England winter standards--for more than a week so we intend to take advantage of it.

New front-page house picture will come tomorrow; I didn't have time today until the light disappeared. I will try to create a couple of picture galleries, too. I have at least three subjects to cover: our trip last month to Santa's Village, Christmas, and the house. And I could probably do an entire gallery on snow, if it doesn't depress me too much.

My pickup truck, which sported a plow, has been declared DOA, at least as far as my budget is concerned. Bad brake lines and rotting where the cab meets the frame, along with transfer-case trouble, mean too much money for a twenty-year-old truck. That repair bill would pay for a lot of plowing by someone else. Not that I want to spend money on plowing, but I think it's just going to be that sort of winter.

I'm going to be making some changes to the Web site this month, designed as usual to make it easier to update. Now if I could only design some extra time into my schedule. The front page will remain similar to what it is now, with a hot spot on the bottom (where the holiday page link is now) that will take you to a page of links to other features. The holiday page, for example, or the picture galleries, or anything else I can manage to toss up onto the site. Karen wants me to put up recipes, poems, and stories, and the new format will make that easier. In a way it will be like the holiday page, but perhaps with a little more structure, at least in the long run.

The banner will change every month intead of once a season. That's because it has always bothered me that a few short weeks after the end of a season, last season's banner looks completely out of place. Look for the December banner to appear within the next couple of days. A page of old banners will be available from the main links page then, too. It will probably appear without captions at first, but I will add them later.

I now have a working scanner again, so I will be adding some artwork as well. William and Daniel will be glad to share with you; we'll see if the teenager will consent to include some of his art. He's very picky about what he shows, although the only people who can see flaws in it are his artist mother and himself (and Karen only points out technical errors; she's very supportive of his art).

When the year is done, I'm hoping to make the site a richer experience, more fun for friends and family to visit, with more frequent changes to keep you coming back every day or so. If you have anything you'd like me to add to the site, send me an email and let me know.

Ah, yes, email addresses. There are no links to our email addresses because of the amount of junk email we get on them from having published links earlier. But I will give them to you here (and list them on the site) in a form that an automatic search engine can't find. Just use the name of the person you want to email as the alias, and as the domain. So mine would be gordon at thebrooksbunch dot com, in proper email format of course. If you misspell the first name, don't worry, it will come to me as the administrator, and I will pass it along.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A New Year

Well, the new year is here. It looks a lot like the old year. Yesterday, the last day of 2007, we woke up expecting about five inches of snow on the ground. Instead, we had a foot of snow. Whatever plans we had for the day (and we had plans) were replaced by shoveling. Shoveling the driveway. Shoveling the deck. Shoveling the walks. Shoveling the exposed top floor of the new house,. where there are only two suitable openings to throw the snow off from. And this morning I needed to clear off the trailer and the trash corral before receiving another foot of snow. Which started while I was outside clearing. Seems kind of pointless, really.

I won't miss the snow while we're gone from New Hampshire. The boys will, but we can always head north in the winter, play in the snow, and then go home without ever having touched a shovel. That sounds just fine to me. And for William, who has taken a fancy to skating, I think that the fact that it's a year-round activity in California will thrill him.

And when we return to the Granite State, as we plan to, snow will be less of an issue. Intead of a narrow, 150-foot driveway to clear, we will just have a short front parking area. And because the new house is closer to the road, we'll be able to park our cars up front, nose out, and get out to go to work or take the kids to school and worry about clearing away the snow later in the day.

In addition, I certainly hope I won'y be getting up at 5:00 to go to NPC by the time we get back; shoveling snow in the morning in the dark is a real drag.