Water Heater

Our water heater must have been jealous of my last post. It decided to stop working a few days ago. So, we are getting it replaced today, the day before my new gutters are scheduled to be installed. Of course, I hadn’t planned on spending the money this soon, but you are often forced to do what you have to do. Because of the poor timing, we ended up going with a standard water heater, not a tankless one. But, at least it made the decision easy for me!

My parents were in town this weekend for Zoe’s baptism (let’s be honest, they wouldn’t travel here just to see me). Luckily, they decided to stay in a hotel, so the lack of hot water at our house didn’t inconvenience them. It was good having them in town, and, because I had scheduled time off to be with them, I was available to have the plumber come out on Friday to determine the issue, and then again today to do the actual installation.

Speaking of hot water, the baptismal font was rather cold for Zoe’s baptism on Saturday, so I don’t know if the church is having issues with their hot water heater, or if they just decided to fill it up with cold water to speed the process. It normally takes 3-4 hours to fill it up with hot water, and since the service was scheduled for 8:30 AM, I’m wondering if they decided to speed the process by pumping in extra (cold) water from another source. In any case, we all survived the water temperature, and it was a great service. I was grateful for the chance to baptize my daughter, and it was great having family there to watch and participate.

Finally getting my gutters

So, I finally bit the bullet and scheduled roofers to come and install full gutters on my house. In a couple of weeks, I will finally have proper roof drainage. This will allow us to set my wife’s raised bed gardens in the best spot in our backyard, a spot that was previously unavailable due to the lack of gutters.

Over the past few months, I have also been installing Ring cameras in the front of our house. It started with a doorbell, and expanded to include additional front porch and driveway coverage. I eventually want to get their new indoor security system, mostly to get door and window coverage. I worry that the pets would make indoor motion sensors mostly useless.

I still want to replace our water heater at some point, but I am torn between tank and tankless. That would be the last original appliance in our house, besides one of the garage door openers.

I’ve been trying to move to more automated systems, including Google Home compatibility, where feasible. Not that I really need to be able to ask Google if my garage door is open, but I do think it would be cool.

Celebrating Labor Day

Labor Day, like Memorial Day, has always meant one thing here in Texas; swimming and grilling at Papa’s house. We decided to celebrate Zander’s birthday today, since the whole family was able to make it. We will have a small family party on Wednesday, his actual birthday, but we ended up giving him his main present today. For the past few months, he has insisted he wants the blue remote control car, even though his mom insists he has enough remote control cars. He and I know there is no such thing as enough remote control cars. Mindy made him a cool construction themed birthday cake.

Pokemon Go

I thought that one good way to get my daughter out of the house more would be to try Pokemon Go. So far, Zoe has risen to the occasion, though it is challenging finding time to go out wandering the neighborhood with my work schedule. However, I am not going to give up trying. Plus, it gives me something to do while walking the dog.

Driving the Speed Limit

I have always been one to believe in driving legally. The only area where I have been a bit flexible is the speed limit on highways. A month our so ago, as a result of the rising costs of auto insurance, I signed up for State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save program. It uses an app on our phones to track our driving habits. Previously, my drive to and from work involved driving as quickly as safely possible interspersed with periods of driving slowly in heavy traffic. With the addition of big brother, I switched to driving the speed limit the entire way. I am also a proponent of cruise control. Between going the speed limit and heavy use of cruise control, I managed to get my best gas mileage yet. And, it only added about 5 minutes to my commute each way. I consider it a fair trade.

Mowing Lawns

Even though I usually complain about the need to do it, I actually do enjoy having a freshly mowed (mown?) lawn. Those who know me know that I prefer to do a job using the proper tools. I have always liked Toro (thanks, Jason) for their lawn mowers and Stihl for other lawn equipment. The last time I owned a house, I purchased a nice Toro mower and a nice Stihl string trimmer. However, since we knew we were moving from that house into an apartment building in Chicago, I ended up getting rid of both of those lovely pieces of equipment when we moved. As a result, when we purchased a house again last year, I went out and picked up another, similar pair. I even added a Stihl leaf blower, replacing the electric one I left behind. Having good tools to do a job makes doing it that much nicer. I even occasionally get the hankering to help some of the people in my neighborhood who, for whatever reason, haven’t taken care of their lawns for the past few weeks. I don’t know the right protocol for something like that, but maybe one day I will get a chance to meet them and can broach the subject.

Cool parking

On Saturday, we needed to get out of the house, so we decided to make a visit to Nebraska Furniture Mart. It was about a 30 minute drive from our place, but traffic wasn’t too bad. Due to the temperature, we decided to park in the parking garage. It was there that I saw something I hadn’t seen before. They had sensors over every parking spot, with lights that showed you which spots were taken, free, or reserved for the handicapped. No more circling the parking garage looking for a spot. You could easily see, from a distance, any open spot:

Definitely something I want to see in more parking garages. Oh, and they had lots of furniture, too!

Rain gutters

One of the things that annoys me about my house is the lack of rain gutters on the entire roof. It seems, based on my observations made while walking the dog, that the builders in my neighborhood only put gutters where there are exits from each house. Aside from just being cheap, I really don’t understand the logic in that approach. Yes, it is nice to avoid a waterfall by my front and back doors, but a waterfall around the rest of my house is not good for the yard. One of these days it will be a high enough priority for me to spend the money to fix it, but it is an annoyance that I really shouldn’t have to deal with.

Popcorn

My dietary weakness is, you guessed it, popcorn. I cannot sit through a movie without a bag of popcorn. Whether at the theater or at home, popcorn is my kryptonite. Of course, I do prefer to pop my own, and never from a pre-packaged bag (I have popped my own in a brown paper bag, however). I have burned through two air poppers in the past couple of years, and I am currently using a Lekue microwave popcorn popper. So far, it has worked out well, with no signs of burning up.

For the past 21 months, I have been avoiding sugar and processed foods. Popcorn is a whole grain, and I use that fact to justify eating it. While I do generally avoid dairy, I like real butter on my popcorn. I try to limit myself to having it only a couple of times per week, but I accept the fact that I am only human. I have managed to keep my weight consistent for the past 8 months, in spite of my regular popcorn consumption.

Eating out with kids

My preference when eating out is a place with salad…and salad bars are even better. Of course, my wife doesn’t believe me, but the last two times I took one of my kids to lunch, they asked to go to Golden Corral. I am pretty sure it isn’t the salad bar they care about…but the chocolate fountain is definitely a hit.