Thursday, July 26, 2007

Garage Door

We've had a comedy of errors with our garage door, and it finally all came to a head last night. The blow by blow:

When we had the house inspected prior to closing, it was brought to my attention that the garage door opener was connected by two modified extension cords, and it was not very safe. I could picture Moose pulling the cords apart and frying his hands, or worse. So, I knew the thing was going to need a little work before we signed on the line. Looks like it had been installed by the Prior Owner, and he wasn't necessarily an electrician, bless his heart, may he rest in peace. Also, the security eye beams that usually sit near the bottom of the door tracks to keep it from closing on, say, your SON or your DOG, were installed at the ceiling, right next to the opener, pointing at each other about six inches apart, entirely useless!!! Clearly, Prior late Owner, wanted the door to work quickly, so he slapped the eye beams up at the ceiling and didn't bother worrying about the extra wiring it would have taken to make those beams function as they were designed. Ugh. Oy. More electrical work. Fine. I can accept that.

When we closed on the house, we were only given one garage door opener by owner (the widow of the garage motor installer). I should have asked about it at the time, but she and her late husband were the original owners, she's in her 80s, and I figured they only had one car at the time they moved out. OK, OK, one more thing to repair with the garage door. Deep breath, it's just not a major deal.

Very soon after we moved in, we had the door opener hard-wired by a licensed electrician. Not cheap, but they did a fine job, and they also did a lot of other work on the house that came up in the inspection as well. They did not have the ability to get me a new remote for my car, however.

So, I went to Sears to find a replacement remote. It's a Craftsman door opener, and those are sold by Sears, so I expected it would be pretty easy. Low & behold, I found a remote identical to the one we already have for just under $40. Cheaper than an new opener, I thought, so I bought it.

Got it home, and I couldn't get the remote to mate with the opener. One of the "high-tech" things that generates a new security code each time you press the button. OK, OK, guess I need to find another option, I thought. Then I got busy with the new job and unpacking and such. Finally went back to Sears last night and got a different remote. And it worked!

And then the gear on the #$%^ motor died!!! I couldn't believe it. So I can operate the motor from my car, but the motor neither raises or lowers the door. DAMN. I had to release the door by pulling the rope thing, and then I did a sort of ballet dance to get the door to lower before it popped back up to the open position and locked again. I finally got the thing to go down, and BAM it closed with a rather loud crash. Nothing was damaged, fortunately. But geez, that's a heavy, solid wood, 43-year-old garage door! Today the garage door doctor, or whatever the hell they're called, is coming to fix the motor. I just hope we don't need a new one, because the remote I got at Sears will have been all for naught. If I weren't bald already, I'd be pulling out my hair.

It's getting Money Pit out. Let's hope it doesn't come to that, though!

UPDATE: wow, within 30 minutes the thing was fixed! Chain came off the track. Guess we're not getting into Money Pitt-edness after all Whew!

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Cafe in A New town

Finally, it feels like we're settling into Large State Capital (Capitol? No, I think it's Capital, right Jason?) to the point where I'm taking a day to work on the dissertation. Believe it or not, my new employer is giving me time away to get this thing done. Lots of pressure to produce, therefore, since I'm literally being paid to finish up this project. This will be good pressure!

I've found a couple of cafes near New Chesterley that have wireless Internet access, so here I sit replicating my productivity from when I lived in Small College Town. Today I'm going to try contacting a couple of folks I know back in SCT to see if I can recruit the few more participants I need for the study. Then, I'm going to continue what I started earlier today...some edits to the proposal. If I can get just a lot done on my dissertation days (D-Days, as a colleague called it yesterday), and a bit more over the weekends, then I will hopefully finish things up this fall. Imagine that! The minute my new boss told me to take the time I needed this fall, I finally became able actually to imagine finishing. Remarkable.

Mid-afternoon today just about my entire extended family will come to town to celebrate Moose's sixth birthday this weekend. Should be much fun. It required getting a few more boxes unpacked so my two nephews can crash on sleeping bags/Aerobeds in my office/prison. I hope they find it comfy. Perhaps I'll post a few pictures at the end of the weekend.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

No More Painting, Please!

Hi Blog,

Last night I finally finished with the initial round of painting I had hoped to do early on in the tenure of our residence at New Chesterley. I painted two bedrooms prior to when we moved in: ours and Moose's. As of last night I finished the other two bedrooms, which wife and I will use as office space and will eventually have places for guests to stay as well. If Moose were fortunate enough to ever have a sibling, then we'd easily turn one of those office/guest rooms into a nursery. I'll probably post some pictures sometime soon.

I have enjoyed the process of painting, and, darn it, I think I'm pretty good at it, too. I didn't need any of that painter's tape or anything. I've done this enough that I was able to keep the brush under control, usually. haha. There was the occasional drip that I needed to clean up (especially last night on the last room...ugh!), but that wasn't so bad. The house has good baseboards varnished an "oak" color, wood floors, and solid wood doors on the rooms and closets which are also varnished to match the baseboards. I'm thankful I only needed to paint one color in each room and not have to also paint the trim separately!

I'm going to hang up my paint brush for a while, even though there's a white entry hall and second floor hall that call out to me each day: "Rob, please paint me something other than white!" A neighbor told us those hallways used to have green fuzzy wallpaper as recent as last winter!!! I guess white is a good alternative, but sometime in the next couple of years we'll probably change that. Sort of fun.

But sort of exhausting to think about now, so I'm not gonna. K, bye.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Approaching Normalcy

Well, I really do laugh in the general direction of normalcy. After all, "My kid's autistic...what's you're excuse?" (that quote from a really funny series of t-shirts my sister-in-law found).

But what I mean is this: I'm now officially one week into working full-time, and I actually didn't fall asleep at my desk even once! haha (after not having an 8-5 job for five years, I was a bit worried about making it through the day in one building. Well wait a sec. I suppose I did that most Saturdays for the past year as I wrung the first half of the dissertation out of me like trying to obtain water from a dry sponge, but for some reason a full-time post feels different). Things are coming together quite well. I spent these past few years as one of about 25 researchers, all with slightly different views of conducting research and sharing the results. All part of the academic process, I suppose, and the argumentation was "fun" in an odd sort of way. Now I've entered a division of practitioners whom I respect a great deal, but researchers they are not. Suddenly, that's "my" job to assess things and help them improve. I went from being one of many to being one of, like, TWO. Fortunately the other researcher type appears like he'll be a good colleague. He gave me a good reality check the other day. I suppose it will be a good change to be one of just a few instead of one of many. Suffice it to say the transition is going just fine. Almost feels like "normal."

The other part of finding normalcy is that I've finally started back in on the dissertation after about a month away for the move and finishing up the GAship. I communicated via e-mail with My Committee about where things stood prior to the move. DC provided some more advice on how to recruit more participants. Oh yeah: funny thing happened. I was hoping to interview between 8 and 12 participants. I was able to find 9 pretty easily. All but one showed up for the interviews, which was pleasantly surprising. After the initial rush of interviews I looked more closely at the demographic breakdown of my participants. Hello...SEVEN of the eight are men?? And I didn't notice this before because...? Ugh. If this were a study of men, I'd be set. But if I don't find more women participants, then I'll be chucked in the student development gender oppression trash can with the rest of the higher education theorists from the 60s and 70s. Not a good way to start off as a researcher, eh? So, my goal is to recruit about four or five more women who qualify for the study and are willing to talk to me about college for about an hour. Not an impossible task, right? How the hell did this happen when there are far more women in higher education than men? Oh well, I could have worse problems than this. And I feel better now that My Committee is aware of the situation and hasn't fallen over in complete disbelief.

Related note: Pink successfully defended her dissertation last week! Congrats to her! Very inspirational to the rest of us.

Normal has not been achieved on all counts just yet. Moving to a new town is challenging for Wife and Moose...they have no built-in way of meeting people the way I do at work. Not easy. Today Wife is attending a nearby church to check it out for us. We can't all go, since Moose needs to be either in the nursery or with the other kids his age accompanied by an aid. We are the natural aids for him in this situation, but then one or the other of us cannot attend the service. Normally church nurseries are for kids up to age 4, and he's almost 6, so we can't just walk into any church cold without having made prior plans. Again, "my kid's autistic, what's you're excuse?" Normal is different for us. I am not complaining or asking for sympathy. Rather, I'm just stating the facts. Wife will go to church today solo and will let me know how things go. Seems like a pretty interesting and progressive place, according to their Web site, so we shall see. If she likes it, then we'll phone the minister next week and see if we can make arrangements for Moose to hang in the nursery with the toddlers. We're hoping to find some family normalcy pretty soon, but we know it takes a while.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Settling in slowly but surely

Hi Blog,

I'm now in day two of the new job, and it's going just fine. I won't discuss the details here, but suffice it to say I'll be working with friendly talented people, and my work will be cut out for me. The first day was a bit slow, with meeting a few people and mostly having my head buried in my predecessor's files. Today should pick up with my first meeting with my new boss and hopefully getting a better feel for what projects I'll be working on. Nice preposition at the end of that sentence. You can tell I've been away from my writing for a few weeks.

The new house is fantastic, and we're getting used to things pretty quickly. We've been living on our screened-in porch overlooking the back yard. The weather has been nice, but even when it's not we're still out there. Ah. Something I've always wanted...a porch! We also just got a trampoline for Moose, and yesterday he spent much of the afternoon bouncing and laughing. He just loves it. It's good to see him so happy. Of the three of us, I think he's adjusted the most quickly to the new house. He has slept through the night from the first day in the new house. Wife and I are still getting used to Chester's toenails clicking on the wood floors ... it can be difficult to sleep!

Oh yeah, the move was just fine. No real complaints...just one minor bump in the road where the local moving company had to go back to the old place the following day to get the stuff that didn't fit in the truck initially. Oh well. We lived.

Dissertation. Yeah, I should get on that. Just lemme finish unpacking boxes. I was lucky to have found my box of shoes yesterday morning when scrambling around my house getting ready to leave at 7:15 AM for the first time in about five years.