Friday, July 18, 2008

Plugging Along

A long time since my last entry, and not because the is nothing to report. Karen and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on the 9th with a low-key but quite delightful dinner at one of out favorite local restaurants, East of Suez. After twenty years of marriage, I still get excited whenever I get to have a date with my wife. Life is good.

We went down to New Jersey last weekend. Alan, Sharon, John, Diane, and the whole New Jersey gang threw a graduation party for Thomas, and, as you can see by the pictures, it was a good time for everyone. Even Danny, who was feeling a little under the weather, had fun swimming and running around.

I've been making progress on the house since we got back, and the siding is finally going up, but everything is moving much more slowly than we had anticipated, which may prompt some changes in out plans. We're still committed to going out to California for awhile, but it may have to begin later in the year. That's okay; there's lots to do and we'll be more prepared for the trip later anyway.

Meanwhile, life goes on at Shaw's Pond. William had swimming lessons again this year, and he's doing great. He's also making wonderful progress in his reading. Danny's getting ready to go into kindergarten, learning to recognize letters and write and count. Thomas is settling into his job at The Strawberry Patch. one of the better places to eat breakfast or lunch in Wolfeboro--ever tried a strawberry omelette? Magnificent.

Karen is doing just fine at Lowes, and I'll be back on the job market as soon as the house is done and ready to move into. I'm trying to avoid going back to work in Portsmouth; the commute takes too much of my time and money each week, and we already have to work out transportation issues now that Tom is working.

Thomas almost has his driver's license. He passed the written test, but he wasn't able to take the road test because the local DMV office didn't have anyone available to test him, and won't until July 31st (they didn't mention this ahead of time, naturally)! We're going to try a different office but Tom's work schedule makes it tricky. Soon, though!

Weather was nasty today, with high winds and thundershowers just when I was getting down to work in the basement. I had to turn on work lights at 5:30 in the afternoon. Apparently they had some minor tornado activity to the north; knocked down some tress and took out the power in parts of Wolfeboro and Ossipee. We got lucky here; usually it's out power that goes out. Maybe I shouldn't say anything. Oh well, at least no one in this house needs to get up early in the morning.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A New Look

Well, the new version of the site is up, warts and all. I will be removing all those warts little by little over the course of, well, the rest of my life, probably, but the major ones will be excised over the course of the next week.

Using Picasa to organize our albums means that I can upload a bunch of pictures when I get anywhere by a high-speed connection, and then worry about organizing and adding captions to them later. Only four of the nine old galleries have been moved over, and the captions haven't been copied for three of those, but I only started the galleries on Saturday, so I'm not doing so badly.

Videos go on YouTube (of course), but I haven't figured out how to get the best quality out of the Flash video that they ultimately encode to, so I'll probably have access to higher-quality video for download on this site soon.

Buttons on the bottom that don't work are just not activated yet; think of them as little promises. Feel free to come back and explore often; I hope you'll find new little gems popping up all over the place.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

High Wiring Act

Taking a bit of a break from wiring today, though I'll be up at the house in the last hour or so of daylight to get a little done for the day, mostly things not involving drilling or sawing, which require the laying out of 150 feet of extension cord, too time-consuming for a mere hour's work. Yesterday I was up on the high ladder hanging the boxes for ceiling fans. On the top story, they are about 14 feet off the ground, which is a bit high for my tastes, but I managed to get through it, only to find out I had done it wrong. I won't go into the details, not because they are technical and boring, but because they are extrememely embarrassing.

So tomorrow morning, when Karen is around to hear me scream if I should fall off the ladder, I have to go up and redo those two ceiling fan boxes. Fortunately, I figured out my mistake in the middle of doing the second box, and did the remaining three the right way. Of course, none of those was on a cathedral ceiling. That's what I get for trying to do the hardest part first and get it over with.

Today I decided to spend more time with the boys. We went in to town so they could play at the park while we waited for Tom to get off work, then we made a short visit to the local craft fair for some fried dough and water

I also decided to get a little groundwork done on the new version of the Web site. It will look different, though at Karen's request Thomas will still be on the banner. If he doesn't send me pictures each month I'll grab them from video chat sessions or (if there have been none of those) I will doctor another photo with thick glasses and a handlebar moustache as a reminder to him that he is being remiss.

Today I started moving the galleries to the Google service Picasa, which I've chosen for the time being as my online picture album site. Videos will go to the ubiquitos YouTube, although I will keep copies of the best of them on my server so that you may view them in a higher-quality format. I will also be setting up a "podcast" area where you can listen to us talking about our adventures at the click of a mouse.

Since we will be on the road for a couple of weeks, we will be providing some different ways to contact us as well. And Thomas will get a page that he can update as he sees fit.

We went to see the fireworks in town, which was something of an adventure. Since we live so far north, darkness does not fall early this time of year, and the fireworks start an hour and a half past the young ones' bedtime. And we had to give a couple of people rides home, so everybody got to bed late.

And today was not a day for sleeping in! Thomas started a new jub yesterday, as the dishwasher in one of our better local restaurants, with the chance to train in the kitchen if he does a good job. The job starts at 7:30 am, and Thomas still has no license and no car, so guess who gets to take him to work. That will change by the end of the month, though.

The boys are swimming in the pond at the moment; when they are done (or I am) I'll find them something quiet to do while I help prepare for a birthday party here tonight (don't panic, family, you didn't miss someone; it's for Tom's friend Jeremy), and then head up for some minor buttoning-up work at the house.

Fortunately, Tom's workday starts a bit later tomorrow, and Karen has a later shift, so we both get to sleep in a little in the morning.

Sleep? What a concept!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Another first in my electrical experiences: I hung an outlet on a concrete wall. Not a big deal, but I had never done it before and I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing. But I never let that stop me. I also built a small wall to encase the drain plumbing that runs through a corner of the basement bedroom. I made another wall in the upstairs bathroom, but I made some mistakes that I have to find a workaround for before anyone tries to hang drywall on it. Oops!

You might have noticed that the pictures have started cycling back again. No one seems to have time to take pictures! I've asked Tom and Karen to take pictures of work on the house and boys at the beach, but everything now is rush, rush, rush! But that will ease off a little very soon. Once I get my rough electrical inspection, I have to wait for insulation and drywall before I can do any more work myself. So lots of phone calls, supervision, and decisions, but a little more time with camera in hand. And more time at the computer for updating the Web site--and getting it ready for its next incarnation for our cross-country journey.

I'm not saying exactly how the site will change when we start the trip, because I have no idea! Well, a couple of ideas maybe, but no definite plans, except that there will be more pictures (perhaps made easier for all by using a site like Flickr or Webshots) and movies (again maybe through YouTube, though I think I would like to make higher-quality versions available for download on this site).

Thomas will no longer be on the banner, just because I'll have no end of trouble getting pictures of him! But I will set up ways that he can keep us all up to date on his doings and link to them from here. And if Thomas is too busy to post anything online (or just too interested in other things), I'll pass along messages from him on my blog.

One of our goals this year is to increase our involvement in the arts. My hope is that the Web site will be a place where you can find some of the fruits of our efforts, and read about how pursuing this goal is affecting (hopefully enriching) our lives.