Beeping phones

At first, I started noticing that my phone would beep in the middle of the night.  Upon checking, there would be no missed call, no voice mail, no text message.. nothing on the screen to tell my why it beeped.  Recently, I realized that the phone would beep at 1:13am.  This was the great mystery that I typically didn't think about until oh... 1:13am.
Today however, the mystery has been solved.  I was up, the phone was near me.  Suddenly the phone lights up and the screen reads "open flip to continue".  I open it up, and "backup assistant" is running.  This program is designed to back up all of at a time designated "late night".  After it finishes, the phone beeps at me to tell me that it's done.

Summer of ’05

Talking with some friends got me thinking about the Summer of 2005. Thinking about that reminded me of a song, which I quickly parodied. There's a lot of inside references here, so don't worry if you can't follow along.
  Summer of '05
I got home by April sixteenth
Deployed for the very last time
Prayed that it would end
It was the summer of 05
Me and some friends were real cool
Had no job but we tried real hard
Jenny quit and Curt got fired
I shoulda known we'd never get bored
Oh when I look back now
That summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Ya - Id always wanna be there
Those were the best days of my life
Aint no use in complainin
When you got a job to find
Spent my evenins down at the Denny's
And at the Gateway we'd play pool
Riding in Evil John's car
He said that the tree-trimmin was over
Oh and even Chris got tanned
I knew we'd be friends forever
Those were the best days of my life
Back in the summer of 05
Then around winter time
We were no longer jobless
We ended up reassigned
I guess nothin can last forever - forever, no
And now the times are changin
Look at everyone thats up and gone
Sometimes when I play that old pool thing
I wonder if the gang will come along
Riding in Evil John's car
He said that the tree-trimmin was over
Oh and even Chris got tanned
I knew we'd be friends forever
Those were the best days of my life
Back in the summer of 05

PEX Master

i just wanted to say some amazing things about PEX piping. This stuff is simple, and it works. I'm not a marketing guys, but here's some things I love about it:

  • Smooth-walls: avoid build up of corrosion
  • Flexible: bend it around corners
  • Flexible: will expand to 7 times its size (frozen water) without any lasting effects
  • Simple connectors: Crimp it down, no glue, torch, or threading needed
  • Cheap: 100' costs less than $25 (Zimmerman's/Ace Hardware stores/Lowes)
  • Less measuring -- run what you need and cut off the excess

Anywho, I had the opportunity to do some plumbing last week. I had to replace two runs of pipe (hot and cold) running about 13 feet each, with 7 elbows (and small sections) on each pipe. I had a few holes 6"x6" each cut into my wall to see the existing pipes. I left these pipes in place, and did not remove an entire section of wall to do this. I started from the top and pushed the pipe down until I could grab it from the first hole. I repeated this all the way down to the floor, where I had to wiggle the pipe around until I was able to bend it and shove it into the basement.

10963 10966

This process, repeated twice (once for the cold, once for the hot) took me less than 20 minutes to do. Along the way, I eliminated the need for 14 elbows. Then on Saturday, I rented the crimper tool ($10/day; $150 to buy) and crimped the downstairs into place in about 5 minutes. I made a mistake here with the red pipe. I had pulled it down and then crimped the excess. This left me 2" too short up top. The blue pipe had no issues. I spent probably another 10 minutes struggling with the red pipe before giving up and buying an inline coupler for $2. I crimped that to a piece of scrap pipe and had Robin turn on the water. She reported some dripping downstairs at the valve, but up in the ceiling was dry. The dripping downstairs was actually in the metal, threaded, shut-off valves. A bit of cranking with the monkey wrench fixed one, the other seems to have a leak in the older, galvanized pipe. The leak is so small, I'm not going to worry about it (Randy's suggestion: put a cup underneath and use it to water your plants). But I'd say it would have taken less than 10 minutes to crimp it down, turn on the water, and fix the leaks on the threaded pipe, if it hadn't been for my mistake on the red pipe. The entire experience took less than 30 minutes all told.

I’ve had worse, but things are getting better.

So the last several weeks weren't the worst I've had.  I've been in some pretty messed up situations before.  That being said, the last few weeks sucked. I ran out of oil, so no heat or hot water, my car went on the fritz, Robin wrecked her car, and some new bills started coming my way.
So first let me tell you about the car.  I had some bald tires due to a bad alignment, plus the steering was sloppy.  I put two new tires on the car (making all 4 new again), then got the axle bushings replaced in the front.  Once I got the car back from that, I took it back to the tire shop to get a 4-wheel alignment. With this last bit of work, the entire front end has been completely redone.  The axle bushings were the only part of the front end that had never been replaced.  I was feeling good about this car -- since 2002, this car has not broken down or stranded me once (with the exception of some bad/cheap tires I put on it back in November popping open on me -- my fault).  The next day, the car overheats in front of Wal-Mart and shuts off.  I get it off to the side of the road, refill the radiator, put in some sealant, and things run hot, but fine for the next couple weeks.
Two weeks ago, the engine was a decent temperature, I'm driving down 26 and coolant starts spraying all over my hood -- I blew a top hose.  As it turns out, the head gasket is blown -- has been for months.  I had taken in to my mechanic many months ago complaining about the smoke in the morning.  He didn't figure it out, but Clark's Radiator knew right away that the head was dumping coolant into the exhaust system.  So while my car will run, only God knows for how long.
So around this time, the temperature drops into the single digits, bringing the overall temperature of my house to 38F, and freezing the pipes going to my bathroom.   I put 10 gallons into the tank to warm up the house, thaw out the pipes, etc.  I discover that the pipes going up to my bathroom have not only frozen, but developed a leak.
I, being the super inelligent plumber that I am, punch my way through the wall till I find the leak, cut off the offending piece and take it to Zimmerman's for a replacement.  There I am told (in the nicest possible way they can) that I screwed myself over (it's galvanized steel pipe) and will have to replace an 8 foot section of pipe, plus the two elbows piece I have.
Finally, things did start to look up.  I got ahold of the guy who's name is on the title of my Jeep and we agree to transfer the title next Saturday.  Chuck calls me to tell me where to get some coil springs for that same Jeep.  I discover that PEX tubing is the greatest thing to happen to plumbing since the pipe wrench.  So I begin my planning, researching and implementing phase.
Along the way, my Dad lets me know that their oven has died and would like some help getting it fixed.  I checked it out on Friday and determined I did not have the stuff needed.  The wires inside the oven appear to be wrapped in asbestos, not plastic like my wire has.
Saturday, everything comes to a head.  In the morning we go up, get the title transferred, registration, and plates needed for the Jeep.  I drop Robin off and head home.  I get all the pieces I need off of my existing pipes, and the pieces I need from Zimmerman's.  While there, I find their appliance wire ($1.29/foot!) and the correct connectors.  Randy stops by and helps me get the shut-off valves in place.  While Randy is there, the oil man stops by and fills up the tank.  Once he's gone, we get the water turned back on, and then I turn on the furnace.  I have water!  I have heat!
After Randy leaves, I put together the wire for the oven and take it to Mom & Dad's and we get the oven working.  Amazingly, I have accomplished four tasks in one day and it all worked.