Mark counts by tens!

As we relaxed around the house tonight.  Holly and Mark got ready for the annual 100th day of school celebration that the Kindergarten holds every year.  Before we knew it, Mark was sitting there counting by tens.

Check it out.

Black Out!

Life’s events continue to keep us on our toes.  Especially the utilities.

Tonight while I was at the men of note rehearsal with Bob, Gary L, Dwight N., Bud B., the butcher Simon and his boys, and Jeff S.  when at 6:50 PM, or there about, the lights started to get dimmer and dimmer and dimmer, then shut off.

It was the strangest power outage I’ve seen here. 

We all agreed that the power outage was very bad for things, the way the voltage dropped off like that seemed really bad.  We all got out our cell phones and head lamp light sources and sang on through the song we’d been singing then dismissed five minutes early to go home prepare for the long dark night.

When I got home, the three boys were hopping around the living room all excited and still wet from the tub, Holly was carrying the flashlight and John Caleb was holding out his hand and screaming his lungs out trying to convince her that he needed to have the lone flashlight.

In short order, I found the candles out in the utility room and lit up the corners dimly while Holly told the story of Job to the boys as a good-night story.  Regrettably, the UPS on the alarm clock started chirping to tell us that the power was out (why is that a good feature again?), so the boys did not go to sleep immediately. 

It is now 8:32 PM, 2.5 hours after the power failure and there is not a light on in town anywhere, which makes this, by far, the worst power outage since I’ve lived in Haines.

Severe Electrical Problem

On Monday Holly called me at work and said that her mother had called her to say that the dryer had made a flash and a loud noise and then the Toyo Stove (Laser 73) had shut off along with a bunch of lights.  The breakers had flipped.

It was during the 4-minute passing period when she called right before my prep period, so I went home in a borrowed car and unplugged the dryer and the Toyo stove and then flipped on the three breakers that had tripped.  Immediately they tripped again and also gave off a large spark with a snap.  Obviously this wasn’t your garden variety electrical problem.  I found an outlet that was still working and ran an extension cord to the Toyo stove to keep it working and keep the house warm, then called Irwin Hertz, the electrician to puzzle it all out. 

Houston, we have a problem.

For three days, we heated the house by closing doors on in the extra rooms, running electric heaters on working circuits that I’d bought at garage sales over the past 10 years: an 1800w oil/electric register type on wheels, a small 1500w thermostatically controlled ceramic heater with a fan, and a parabolic radiator dish on a stand.  We kept them powered down to 2/3 power most of the time and lit the house with extension cord powered lamps.  When it got too cold, we turned on the oven at 350 degrees with the door open.  The nice thing is that we have a propane stove to heat with and the circuit for the hot water heater was not faulty.  We didn’t dare try the washer or dryer.

In the end, the power company had to run a new wire to the house, as the old one was corroded and insufficient, we lost the Toyo stove, the dehumidifier, a number of the lights, and the electric piano.  This will probably cost around $1,700 by the time we have our Toyo heating stove back from Gene Strong, as it needed both circuit boards replaced, along with the wick and the burn pot, which amazingly was cracked due to the excess heat in the igniter, if I’m understanding everything correctly.

When summer comes, we’ll have to run a new wire to the power box in a metal conduit, if we can find the time or perhaps see if AP&T can move the box to the house for us.  For the time being, we have all the proper wires from the power pole to our house and we are safer than we’ve been for a long time.

Currently, the house is being heated with a loaner Toyo Laser 72, the model that preceeds our model, which Gene installed to keep us warm until the parts come in for our stove. 

Life is good.

Dinner with the Horns…

On Sunday night, we were expecting to have our weekly dinner with the Greens at our house.  Holly and Shannon are both on the RAW food band-wagon whenever they can be and so Holly wanted to make a nice RAW food meal for Shannon with home made raw chips, salsa, beans, guacamole sauce, etc.  She also was going to put out the normal taco salad meal for the rest of us (with chips instead of salad).

She worked for a number of hours on Saturday and then also Sunday morning and made a huge mess.  She and I cleaned up most of it Sunday after the ball games.

And it was all working out fine for her until the Greens called in sick and canceled so Holly called up Margaret and asked if she’d started dinner yet.  They eat early often and were already underway so Margaret suggested she invite Ron and Jacquelyn Horn–which is a great couple for us to have over because Ron and I have cameras and computers in common and Holly and Jacque both love the benefits of RAW food.

The meal was great.  Holly did a wonderful job.  But I should also warn you that making RAW food is really messy compared to opening up a package of dried pasta and boiling it along with opening a can of tomato sauce and a few packages of greens.

While we were enjoying a post meal chat session.  Mark and Luke went off to play.  At one point, I went by the Utility room to get some water and noticed them in there quietly doing something, but didn’t bother to investigate because they seemed to be getting along fine.

After about ten minutes of quietude, Mark came into the living room with a big fist full of hair in one hand, tiny pair of scissors in the other hand and a big smile on his face.  Luke was trailing close behind with a big grin on his face.  Mark said, “I cut Luke’s hair, ” and stepped to the side so we could get a good look at Luke.

Luke smiled and waited for a response.  He looked like he’d got run over by a lawn mower that could only cut hair.

Needless to say, We were all quite shocked.

I was a bit sad, “Luke, your curls were so cute!”

Luke was not put off or repentant, “But daddy, I wanted to look like Kyle Fossman.” Kyle, the best basketball player the town has seen in many years recently shaved all the hair off his head and Luke just got back from the ball games this weekend.

I said, “But Luke, your curls were just starting to get real long and curly again after the summer trim.”

Luke was adamant, “But I don’t like it when the hair gets down in my face when I’m taking a bath.”

I said, ” But Luke, when people see you, what they often say is, ‘Look at those curls!’ They really think the curls are cute.”

He smiled, tilted his head to the side and said, “Besides, I wanted to look like Daddy too.”  We all laughed.

Well, what can I say to that. I mean really:  If my own son wants to propose that he wants to look like his daddy, I suppose I can accept that argument.

HD trials, tribulations, and triumphs!

At first when I loaded the image of the new 500GB drive onto my computer I was crestfallen, as the 500gb drive only showed as a 91GB HD, see below.  This was the state of my computer for the last three weeks.

Disk Management

But today, after three hours of monkeying around, I was greeted by the following, it was time to celebrate:

HD restored

Finally, today, I graduated up to a 500GB Seagate Momentus Drive on my Dell Inspiron 6400, and let me tell you it was a pain.  First off Acronis True Image did me wrong when I burned an image of my old 100GB Seagate Momentus HD onto the new one, as it duplicated the size of my smaller HD onto the newer one.  It turns out that this is a pretty common problem on the Dell Inspiron line of laptops.  There’s a lot written about it here.


Posts #21 and #48 were really good, but the one that did the trick for me was post #77.

A couple of the posts are really good and worth printing out.

In essence, here’s what had to be done:

  1. Use Acronis True Image (15-days for free, fully operational)
  2. Swap out the drives: 4 screws–no problem
  3. Zero LBA-3 with Roadkil’s Sector Editor
  4. Use MHDD and run the NHPA command
  5. Use HDAT2 to solve the 48-bit, 28 bit problem
  6. Use Easus Partition Manager to enlarge my main partition to fill out the remainder of the drive (Free CLICK HERE!! and get the home version.
  7. Celebrate.  As soon as the drive size was recovered, Holly ran to the bathroom and got some dental floss so we could celebrate with clean teeth (life is good).

I was supposed to use the back-up and restore  mode of Acronis True image, but used the disk image tool instead, and that was where I went wrong.

All that aside, take a look at the following screen shot and look closely at the numbers.

Some important numbers to consider:

  1. 465.7 GB HD
  2. 384.0 GB free (83%)
  3. The original HD was badly fragmented, primarily due to two 8 GB thumbnail files used by ACDSee
  4. 23.5 GB of fragmented files.

HD graduation


Here’s another interesting graphic: look at those numbers.  I wonder how those numbers will seem in 5-10 years.  By then a 465 GB flash drive may be commonplace, whereas in 2009, it was a pretty LARGE laptop (2.5″) HD.

HD pie chart

I suppose I’ll defragment the new space tonight and read my book, while I’m at it.

Perhaps tomorrow, I’ll replace the hinges on the LCD and put in the new keyboard, after I download Turbotax 2008 Home & Business and calculate my optimum depreciation schedule on the new engine and rebuilt transmission on the gillnetter.

Swimming at the Haines Pool

Yesterday, Holly took the boys swimming by herself because I was at the Fire Department’s annual dinner.

Mark and Luke elected to go to the men’s bathroom by themselves instead of going through the women’s room with their mother, as they often did in the past.  It was a point of pride that they could manage by themselves, and from what I can gather they cooperated quite well and got along well too.

They did everything they were supposed to all by themselves, they did their clothes, used the locker, used the shower, then headed out to the pool to wait for Holly and John Caleb to come out of the women’s changing room. 

The lifeguard saw them standing by the yellow steps shivering patiently while waiting for their mother to get into the water and whispered to them what must have seemed fairly obvious to him, “Boys, you forgot your swimsuits.”

Two bare bottoms hurried quickly into the changing room and returned in short order with their swim trunks on.

Some stories are best with no pictures.