Category: Fixing Stuff

So Friday evening I rebooted my running program.  I had done cardio at the gym every day during the week and didn’t feel horrible so I figured my standard 13 lap run would be a good gauge of where I was at.  Cindy actually came with me which was nice.  It had just gotten finished raining so the temps were down a little bit although there was still plenty of humidity in the air.  I had no pace goal whatsoever, the only intent was to put one foot in front of the other for roughly 3.4 miles without stopping. I managed to accomplish the goal without major incident.  It was tough and I felt some mild pain in my right side but I felt mild pain in various other spots too, likely from not running in close to a month.  It felt good to get back out there.  I’m hoping I can build from here instead of slowly crumbling.

On Saturday morning Cindy and I busted our ass in a major way.  After tending to the chickens we weeded the property.  I then set Cindy up on the tractor while I grabbed the weed whacker.  We did battle with the yard all morning, manicuring it to an even level.  When that was done I told Cindy I wanted to move her trailer to a different spot.  It has been sitting stationary most of the summer so there was all sorts of weeds and high grass under it.  I hooked it up to the Tacoma and did a big loop.  We mowed down the old spot and moved the RV to a different spot, closer to the chicken area.

By the time we were done with everything it was after 1PM.  It was a long, hot, sweaty morning.  I was just glad that Cindy was able to do the mowing or else I would have had another two hours tacked on top.  However we of course had more to do.  We went and grabbed lunch at Culver’s which just opened up in the shopping center about 9 miles from the house. After that we had to drive up to Cape Coral.

Cindy had sold a table of hers to a guy that lived up there.  In exchange for him agreeing to pay Cindy’s full asking price we agreed to deliver it to his office up there.  He is a lawyer who is in the process of getting a divorce.  The guy had a very lawyer-ish personality if you know what I mean, but it didn’t matter.  He handed Cindy the cash that was agreed upon which is all that mattered.

On Saturday night we watched our Netflix rental, The Shape of Water, which was something Cindy requested.  I recall the movie getting mentioned for a lot of awards last year.  I had no idea what the movie was about.  Well the first adjective I would use to describe the film is strange, followed by different, very different.  Multiple times Cindy and I gave each other repeated WTF looks during the movie.  This isn’t to say it was bad, I would probably give it a B+ just for being so out in left field.

Sunday morning we took a different approach to my EUC ride.  Elsa, Cindy and I drove to DD together.  Once there I pulled my 18L out of the trunk of the car and rode it North Collier Regional Park while Cindy drove there.  She walked Elsa around the park while I rode to and around there.  It was a fun variation on my normal weekend rides.

Sunday afternoon I watched the Eagles game, but not on the Directv receiver that I spent 90 minutes getting working the week prior.  No, for the second consecutive week I was getting terrible reception on the Sunday Ticket channels.  It’s ironic that I wound up signing up for the more expensive MAX package that includes streaming, because without it, I would have been unable to watch the games.  When the signal was bad last week I dismissed it to bad weather at the time.  When it was bad once again this week the skies were mostly clear. I assumed the issue was the oak tree that is near the dish.  A couple times in the past I have had to trim branches that were in the line of site so I figured it was time to do so again.

Well at halftime I thought I would run outside and knock off the branch that seemed like it could be problematic.  I grabbed my battery powered sawzall and a ladder.  The limb I cut was very long and angled over the corner of the garage.  I was very nervous about it damaging the new roof/gutters I recently had installed.  I cut it carefully.  As soon as I saw it starting to drift downward I stopped cutting so it could lower onto the roof and gutter in a controlled manner.  Once it was resting on the roof I cut it the rest of the way.  I then had to get back on the ground and pull the 15 foot limb off the roof, it was a hassle.

So anyway, I ran back inside to see how much better the satellite reception was since I cleared the obvious obstruction.  Imagine my joy when I saw no improvement whatsoever.  Weird, so I went back out and stood behind the dish trying to calculate the angle the signal was coming in on.  There was one more branch that could possibly be in the way so I quickly climbed up and knocked that one down as well. Again when I went inside I saw no improvement in signal.

After the game was over, which I will talk about next, I went back outside, not to cut any more off that tree but instead turning my attention to the other large oak tree.  When the roof was installed my project manager told me that it was important to not let any of the branches of the oak tree drag on the roof.  Right after the roof was done I cut a couple branches that were close but I saw there was one very long one that was within three feet of the roof.  I figured I already had the equipment outside so I may as well knock it down as well.

When I got up in the tree I was annoyed to see the roof under that branch already had a bunch of black mess on it from the tree, presumably from rain run off.  Hopefully I can clean it off.  This oak tree is much bigger, probably close to double the size of the tree on the garage side of the house.  I used the aluminum six foot ladder to get up into the main branches.  I utilized my childhood tree climbing skills to scale another 10-12 feet which was made more challenging trying to do so while wielding a sawzall.

I finally got myself into a position to cut this branch which was at least 15 feet long and 9-10 inches in diameter at it’s base where I was.   Cutting something this big with the sawzall was a lengthy process, requiring me to take a few breaks to switch hands.  Once again the branch was over the roof so I used a similar technique as before, dropping it slowly until it touched the roof.  Once it was resting on it I cut the branch the rest of the way.  As the heaviest and thickest part of the branch came crashing down to the ground it hit the ladder on the way down, instantly mangling it and making it useless, damn it.

While I was up there I cut another branch that wasn’t a problem yet but could be in the future.  So now it was time to get down, sans ladder.  Cindy was not home during all of this fun, which was probably a good thing as I repeatedly put myself into precarious spots.  To get back down I wound up wrapping my arms and legs around a branch like a monkey before finally dropping to the ground.  I felt fortunate to escape the tree with only a few scratches.

So now I had huge oak branches littered across the yard.  Cutting these thick branches with the sawzall would have been very time consuming and inefficient.  I dug the chainsaw out of the big shed and used it instead.  It made short work of the limbs, allowing me to cut them into more manageable sections.  The last step of the process was loading the back of the Tacoma with three huge piles of oak tree branches to be dumped in the fill pit out back.  I was pretty beat by the end of it.

So the fact that I still could not get good signal on the satellite dish after clearing line of site had me place a call with DirectTV.  I have two theories.  The first option is a simple one, maybe the dish just somehow got knocked out of alignment.  The second theory is the other thing that has changed since last football season is the new roof and gutters were installed.  The new gutters are an inch or two wider than the old ones.  I am wondering if that is just enough to get in the signal path.  If so the only option would be to remount the dish with some sort of spacer block that pushes it a few inches off the wall of the house.  I will find out on Tuesday, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun.

So the Eagles came away with a close victory in Carson Wentz’s return.  There were a lot of good things that came out of the game.  Carson seemed like Carson, he didn’t seem all that rusty and was still able to move around and run as needed.  He made a lot of good throws.  He also made a couple big mistakes, turning the ball over twice deep on the Eagles side of the field.  Thankfully both times the defense held the Colts to field goals.

I think the Eagles got rather lucky in this game.  On the long drive that resulted in the game winning TD they were helped out in a huge way by penalties to keep the drive going, once on a second and 26, and a second time after a failed 4th down attempt.  The game was filled with penalties on both sides of the ball.  The Eagles dominated on time of possession but that did not equate to much scoring.  I also can’t stand Mills, the Eagles CB.  The guy gets burned for huge penalties every game it seems.  Yesterday was no different as he got called on pass interference, twice.

But I’ll take the win.  Last year there were tons of situations where the Eagles got lucky just at the right time.  There were so many Eagle teams in the past that would have allowed the Colts to come back and score on their last drive.  In their two wins this season the defense has come up big when they had to.  Sure it would be nice to have a comfortable win where the outcome is decided before the last 3 minutes of a game but that seems to be a rare thing nowadays.



Saturday morning Cindy and I were up early to head out to the Run for the Paws, the race Ali started a dozen years ago mostly due to our experience with adopting Nicki.   Cindy and Sadie came as well.  We sadly left Elsa at home but she would have been absolutely terrified the entire time and it would have been miserable.   Cindy and I both were wearing Eagles jerseys which drew more praise than negativity at the race.

We arrived close to an hour and a half before the 8Am start.  It was nice to see a lot of the old familiar running club crew although some of the key roles are now being handled by other people.  I primarily let Cindy tend to Sadie while I lent a hand here and there in a very minor way.  It certainly felt odd to have so little responsibility in a situation where I used to have a ton of weight on my shoulders, but I’m certainly not complaining.  I have not missed timing races at all with the only caveat being the positive interactions with race organizers and participants.

So the plan was for Cindy to walk Sadie with a friend of ours and I would just run it, my first chip timed 5K in years.  With my weekly runs, a fast pace has dropped off the radar as one of the goals so I didn’t really know what to expect.   I ran the race like I normally do, see people in front of me I identify as targets to pass, and then try to do so.  For the most part I took down all targets but overall my pace was slower than I expected.  My chip time just barely got into the 29’s.  I knew I would be slow, I didn’t think I would be that slow. Oh well, good thing I’m not qualifying for the Olympics.

Once I finished I stood at the finish line with Ali for awhile waiting for Cindy and Sadie to finish.  After waiting 10 minutes or so I started walking back out on the course to make sure everything was ok and to walk/run in with them.  Everything was fine and Sadie seemed to be holding up well, much better than last year, to the 5K distance.  We slowly jogged across the finish line where Sadie was greeted very enthusiastically.

Last year after the race I stuck around for the entire awards and even helped clean up some but I was there by myself.  This year we had to let out a friend’s dog on the way home and we wanted to get back to Elsa who was likely very unhappy. We just stayed long enough for Ali to introduce Sadie at the start of the awards and then headed out.  We didn’t go around to do a round of goodbyes but we will see a number of the people at our Super Bowl party so it’s all good.

So on the way home like I mentioned we had to stop to walk our friend’s dog but before that we wanted to do a DD pit stop.  I was on Airport Road turning left onto Pine Ridge.  I was behind a cargo van.  As I approached the light the van partially blocked my view of the light but just as I started making the turn the turning arrow went from yellow to red.  Oh well, I still cleared the intersection before opposing traffic got a green.

Well as I am sitting on Pine Ridge I see flashing red and blue lights in the mirror.  I then realize the lights are directly behind me and not trying to get anywhere else.  Yep, I was getting pulled over.  I think the only other time I can recall being pulled over was early in my Florida residency when they had a speed trap out by my house.  I got off that time with a warning.  Well this certainly wasn’t what I needed for my post race celebration.

The deputy, who was probably a guy in his late 20’s, early 30’s was pleasant.  He said I ran the light but it “wasn’t bad”.  I had my registration and insurance in hand and apologized, saying the van partially obstructed my view.  After running my plate he returned with a piece of paper, luckily it was only a warning.  I thanked him for cutting me a break.  If he was a Yellowstone Park Ranger he surely would have thrown the book at me.

So when we got home we dug right into chores with chicken clean up being first on the list.  Earlier in the week Cindy had noticed all of the cameras but one in the coop were showing offline.  I figured I just needed to reboot the DVR as this sometimes can happen.  Well when I was out in the coop run I realized that no amount of reboots would fix the problem.

I had drilled a small hole in the side of the coop that I ran the camera wires through to the head unit inside.  I filled the remaining gap with pipe foam insulation. Well when I glanced at that hole I saw it as empty with 7 sets of chewed through wires hanging there, the damn mice were at it again.  They evidently destroyed the wires and insulation in order to give themselves free entry into the coop.  I have already ordered new wire sets but I will need to modify my installation to make it mouse proof.  I have been live trapping and relocating the pests.  I have caught three so far but evidently more remain.

Despite the early rise and 5K I deemed Saturday afternoon as the time I would pressure wash the two sheds which were both various shades of green/black.  I used the gas pressure washer which has much more crud blasting power than our electric model.  It’s always a bit hairy standing on the wet roof of the big shed as I lean awkwardly over the edge to blast a few of the panels.  But hey I haven’t fallen yet in 15 years of doing the task, I’m a pro at this point.

Saturday night we watched our latest Netflix dvd, the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  Johnny Depp has been a bit of a joke recently with an embarrassing string of box office failures.  I hoped one of his most iconic roles could reverse the trend.  Well the best I could offer is, sort of.  I thought the movie was ok.  I once again dozed off a few times due to being up early for the race.  My general feeling at the end of it was that hopefully I had seen the last of the series.  It was a shrug my shoulders B flick, I guess.  I just didn’t care.

Sunday I started off with chicken cleaning and bill paying.  Mid-morning I hopped on the Monster to ride to Dunkin Donuts.  I arranged with Cindy to meet me there with the dogs so we could go run errands afterward.  I was carrying some major speed during the ride.  I did not have a tracking app running but I am pretty sure most of the ride was at 20mph+.  I got there faster than expected, so fast that I had an extra 10-15 minutes to roll around the side paths and roads until Cindy got there.

We then hit Pinch-a-Penny, Rural King and Home Depot to pick up several things.  One of the things I grabbed were some longer weather proof roof panel screws to replace a few I saw that were loose and/or missing from the big shed.  I replaced them later in the day.

The rest of Sunday was pretty chill.  Cindy spent a lot of time working with her Cameo.  She just loves creating things on the platform and I encourage her to do so.  I too messed with my laser engraver as well as playing a nice chunk of WoW to wind down my weekend.  All was well with the world…

And now with the plugs!

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Esun Cleaning Filament –
Creality Cr-10 3D printer –
Dagoma Neva 3D printer –
FlashForge Finder 3D printer –
Hatchbox white PLA filament –
ESun white PLA filament –

The gimbal I use –
My GoPro camera –
GoPro foam windscreen –
Selfie stick –
Segway MiniPro –
Segway S1 –
DJI Mavic Pro –

My EUC protective gear
Killer 187 Wrist Guards –
Triple Eight Helmet –
STX Elbow Pads –
Killer 187 Knee pads –

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Check out all my sites!

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So as I expected, trying to trudge through hurricane remediation has been a pain in the ass.  I have been patiently waiting for my insurance company to contact me with a settlement offer after they told me I needed to wait up to 14 business days for them to receive the information from the adjuster company.  The adjuster was at my house on September 26th so this past Monday marked the end of those 14 days.  So I still had not heard anything so I called.

The representative checked my case and said they still had not received back the information from the adjuster which seemed crazy.  When the guy was at the house he told us to expect about a week until the stuff was sent in.  They gave me a direct number to call the adjusters although I questioned why Tower Hill doesn’t do this themselves?  Why is the customer responsible for making sure the claim is processed correctly….

So I call up the adjuster and tell them that I was told they had not submitted their information yet.  She looked in their system and verified that it indeed was still not completed, it was waiting for review by their “desk adjuster”.  I went on a bit of a rant asking why was I told a week and we are now three weeks out and it wasn’t done.  The woman apologized and said they would get it processed that day and sent in.  I asked for someone to call me back to verify it was done.

So the day passed and by late afternoon I still had not received a call back so I called again.  A different woman told me that the system now shows the information as being submitted and I should hear something back from Tower Hill in 24-48 hours.   I didn’t bother asking why no one called me to tell me this, I was just glad it was finally done.

So I waited another two days as instructed, hoping for a call but expecting to not get one.  I pick up the phone and call back yesterday, 48 hours later to Tower Hill, once again asking what’s up.  Imagine my delight when they tell me they STILL do not have the information from the adjusters.  I told the rep she must be mistaken as the adjuster confirmed on Monday it had been sent.  She didn’t know what to tell me but forwarded me to some “escalation” number that nobody answered and went straight to voicemail.  I supposedly was escalated on Monday as well and received no follow up.

So, I call back the adjuster company again, telling them that for some reason the insurance company says they still don’t have the information.  The woman on the other side sheepishly tells me that the info actually had not been sent yet.  There was one more part of the process that had not been completed.  I unleashed a barrage of anger at their incompetence, asking why they would tell me it was sent when it wasn’t, how can that be a hard thing to get right?  I reminded her that their continued delays make my efforts to remediate my issues more and more difficult.  Of course this woman just answered the phones but I had no one else to aim this frustration at.  She assured me it would be transmitted today and promised a call when it was, to confirm it.  Later in the day I did have a voicemail on my cell phone stating it was sent which I will be keeping for verbal proof.  Now I need to wait another day or two to allow Tower Hill to digest it. I am already anticipating this escalation when after all of this delay, Tower Hill comes back with a lowball offer that won’t be acceptable.  I can only hope I am wrong.

Last night after work I put my plan to “sew” together portions of the temp pool cage screen together.  I threaded some fishing line into a big hook needle I bought and worked on the vertical seam near the one door.  I stitched it every 5-6 inches which seemed to close it sufficiently to keep unwanted animals/objects out.  It turned out well and I plan to use the same strategy to connect the half dozen or so horizontal seams as well.

This weekend I hope to tackle the open roof section using two 4 foot wide strips.  It will be a two person job as I need someone to toss me screen while I secure one edge along the roof line.


So a couple weeks ago I had routine AC maintenance done on the house.  During that work it was brought to my attention that the blower in my air handler was covered in mold.  I am sure it is related to when the overflow kill switch was defective, allowing water to puddle in the bottom of the system last year.  So anyway, it was recommended that the blower is pulled, completely disassembled, and cleaned thoroughly.  They also mentioned that a UV light kit could prevent this scenario from happening in the future as it blasts the entire air handler with UV light which kills microorganisms like mold.  The idea of mold existing in my AC system made the decision easy, even though it wouldn’t be cheap.

The work was done today so I just took the day off, giving me an odd 1-3 work week.  The tech showed me the inside of the blower assembly before it was cleaned, it was totally black.  To think that shit was getting circulated in the system is pretty gross and potentially hazardous to your health.  They also showed me the same parts after the cleaning and it was night and day.  In total the work took about two hours and even though I am out about $700 I feel better knowing my HVAC system is not a petri dish any longer.

After the tech left I loaded Sadie and Elsa up in the Prius to take Sadie home and return Ali’s computer to her which I finally got working again.  Ali’s boyfriends dogs were excited for the unexpected visit.  Elsa was scared, submissive, and excited all at the same time, it was very funny to watch.  All four of them slept up in Ali’s office as I completed the work, it was very cute.

I plan to veg out most of the rest of the day, an appropriate course of action since we are mired in a several day rain event.  I started leveling a new character in WoW so that can keep me entertained for as long as I need.

Yesterday was a good one in my preparations for the building move.  I was able to take a laptop over to the temporary building and successfully connect to our network.  That was really the biggest concern in my mind, now that the two areas are connected it is just a matter of moving equipment and changing a few numbers around.  The only other thing I am looking to do is increase the link between the two networks from 100 mb to 1000 mb which will be handled by adding two 1000 TX SFP transceivers into two Cisco switches along the way.

I am also prepping for my upcoming Tacoma project which will lift the truck roughly 3 inches in the front and around two in the rear.  I bought a set of ratcheting wrenches last week and a 22MM impact socket last night which is necessary for some of the big bolts and nuts involved in suspension work.  Just like any project, I have some anxiety about ripping into my new Tacoma in the most extensive way so far.  However I have watched the install video for the kit twice so far and I don’t think it will be too bad as long as I take my time.  Having Chuck, who installed a much more involved 4″ lift on his Tacoma , help me do the work makes the probability of success very high.  The nice thing about this set up is it is totally reversible, just in case.


I have been in one of those periods of time where I feel like there are so many little things that need to be taken care of and I don’t feel like I am getting anywhere.  It’s not a feeling I enjoy.  The funny thing is feeling that way despite getting a decent amount of things done over the weekend.

It started out early Saturday with me getting outside to work on weeding a little after 7:30.  That rolled almost immediately into doing the oil and filter change that was due on the Prius.  Cindy and I headed out to do a Rural King run, something I hadn’t done in a couple weeks, a long time for me.  We brought Elsa along for the ride and she once again oscillated between being ok one moment and terrified the next.

We stopped at Home Depot on the way home.  We picked up some more vegetables for the garden including tomatoes, something we historically have a horrible time getting anywhere with.  If first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  I also picked up a new LED floodlight for the other side of the house, similar to the awesome stadium style bright unit I installed on the other side a couple months ago.

When we got home we made plans to go with Katie to go look at rvs/trailers/park homes.  She is looking to move ahead with having a place to call her own and wanted to get a first hand look at some options.  The first place we went surprised the hell out of me, they sold Airstreams.  For some reason I had it in my head that Airstream was no longer in business.  I am not sure where that notion came from.

Not only did they not go out of business, they make some of the highest quality trailers on the market we came to discover.  Katie loved the stainless steel shells that wrapped around highly functional living spaces.  We looked at models that ranged from 16 feet to 30.  Regardless of the size, every single model we checked out was really, really nice.  Of course top of the line comes with a price tag, they are far from cheap.

I talked a bit with the sales manager at the location.  He used to work at the Airstream factory store in Ohio for a long time.  He really stressed how well made they were and how they steered clear of shitty Chinese components as much as possible.  He also told me that depending on the price of he unit, they can be financed for as long as 20 years, making one affordable even for someone just getting started like Katie.  The last interesting fact was they are just over 8 feet wide, meaning in theory one could be driven into our wide open backyard through the 10 foot gate with little fuss.

In addition to the Airstreams we looked at more traditional trailers as well as “park homes”, another thing I wasn’t aware of.  These were apartment/condo sized homes on wheels.  When you were inside it looked like conventional construction.  When you were outside you saw the big trailer it was built on and would be a permanent part of it’s structure.  I guess the name comes from the idea that typically you park these once and leave them there, unlike an Airstream-like trailer which could be relocated pretty easily.

Out of everything we saw Katie definitely liked the Airstream option the best.  The ability to pick up and move while having all the basic necessities to live day to day was very appealing to her.  The design of them was really interesting to Katie and she spent a good portion of the drive home researching the hell out of them on her phone.

When we got back we didn’t waste much time before we headed over to the school to ride our wheels.  I also brought my Mavic with as I wanted to see how it did tracking Katie and I as we rode around.  Well the drone did pretty damn well.  Even with sunset approaching rapidly the Mavic did a good job of following us around autonomously , keeping us in it’s field of view.

Cindy was doing more of her fence EUC training and did well again.  I think all she needs to do is get more frequent training sessions under her belt so she can keep building where she left off instead of having to refamiliarize herself when 10 or 14 days have passed.



Saturday night Cindy called in a food order that I picked up.  We had a Netflix rental in an envelope, a movie called Memento that Cindy picked out, some murder mystery flick.  Well we gave it a solid 15-20 minutes to spark our interest before all three of us gave it the gong.  I pulled out the dvd and instead rented Deepwater Horizon on X1.  The movie reenforced why fossil fuels and the companies that provide them need to be put out to pasture.  The recreation of the disaster on film was incredibly realistic and impressive.  I’d give it a B+.

I felt guilty when I didn’t start my Sunday morning off with a run.  The reality is my knee/hip/IT band on my right side is still messed up and running would just amplify it.  That didn’t make me feel any less guilty however.  I did however get busy once again outside, tending to the chickens, planting the vegetables I bought Saturday and starting the work to replace the floodlight.

Installing that floodlight was one of the very early home projects I took on after we built the place in 2001.  As I ripped down the old beat up light I realized that back then I did some pretty shoddy work.  I had the old light sloppily and loosely attached to the aluminum flashing, it wasn’t very solid at all.  I got the old light ripped out but realized if I wanted to install the new one correctly I was going to need a proper electrical fixture mounting box, which I didn’t have.

The three of us went to Dunkin Donuts and followed up with another ride into the Esplanade development.  It was SUPER windy during the ride.  At times if the wind hit us dead on it felt like it almost brought us to a standstill.  It was nuts.


After the ride we made a couple stops, including the hardware store so I could get the mounting box I needed.  When I got home I got to work.  Instead of mounting the light to the aluminum I attached the box to the concrete wall with tapcons, a much sturdier solution.  Once that was in place the rest of the light install went pretty easily.  It looks a lot better and lights up that area of the yard in a much more efficient manner.

I had a few other projects/chores keeping me busy during the afternoon.  Late in the day Cindy mentioned that Katie was interested in going over to the nearby Bird Rookery Swamp to walk with Elsa.  We came up with a plan where I would leave ahead of them on my Msuper and they would drive there with Elsa in the Prius.  With the ability to cruise comfortably at 18-20 mph, I got there pretty fast, fast enough that I had time to ride the length of the boardwalk and back before they got there.

Katie had never been to the swamp so it was cool for her to see.  We ran into a decent sized gator shortly after getting onto the grass path.  Cindy was scared, Katie was concerned, I just sort of shrugged.  I have seen so many gators at this location it just doesn’t affect me much.  Elsa seemed to like the hike as well although she got scared by random people along the way.  We stayed later than I ever had before, getting back to the parking lot a few minutes after the sun had set.

I told Cindy I wanted to ride the wheel back to the house as well instead of hitching a ride with her.  She was not thrilled with the idea but knew I was going to do it regardless.  The ride back was fine, possibly even faster than the ride there.  The headlight on the Msuper was definitely necessary as it was almost pitch black by the time I pulled back into the driveway.

I have a work week that is going to be very meeting heavy so don’t be surprised by short and sweet entries as standard practice.

So yesterday was Chapter 2 in my SQL corruption trial by fire experience.  Early in the morning we saw the document imaging system generated an error importing a single file overnight.  When we looked in the Windows application log we saw the SQL server generated a 824 error which is bad news.  It basically means for some reason it was unable to write data.   I ran a dbcheck on the database and was not happy to see around 150 “inconsistencies” reported.  I was actually surprised the DB was still online and functioning as this was similar to the errors I saw when the DB went offline 10 days prior.

So I spent the rest of the day trying to determine my best course of action.  Contacting the application vendor last time proved to be pretty worthless but we placed a call with them anyway, which didnt get returned until later in the day, after I already decided on a new course of action. In my research I determined I was missing an important part of a good SQL management plan, regular dbchecks.  By running these checks you can catch inconsistencies early, making it easier to recover from them with minimal data loss.  The only time I ran these was after a problem already existed.

So it seemed like my best option was to pay for a Microsoft professional services incident where you pay $499 and they have a high level tech contact you to remedy the issue.  I placed the ticket around 3PM.  They had a four hour response window.  When I closed my door shortly before 5 I assumed we would be tackling the problem in depth the following day.  Well as I took a couple steps down the hall I heard my phone ring in the office.  I instantly wondered if it was Microsoft calling.  I ran back into my office and picked up the phone.  It was indeed Paul from SQL support group.

We embarked on a roughly three hour trouble shooting session that involved restoring back ups and testing their integrity.  We determined that even the back ups had the same inconsistencies as the production database.  The plan then shifted where the tech ran a repair on one of the backed up DB’s which fixed the inconsistencies by deleting the records that contained them.  The downside of this was a handful of data was deleted but in the big picture in a DB containing millions of images, losing a few is not really a concern.

My main concern was that the application still ran correctly after the clean up.  The tech swapped in the repaired DB and I brought the application back up.  I was able to test various aspects of the document imaging process, it all seemed to be working fine.  I thanked the tech for all of his help.  It was great to deal with someone so knowledgeable and even better that he was not from India.

I didn’t leave the office until a little before 8.  I felt badly because we made plans go riding the PTV’s with Katie and Daniel to look at more Christmas lights.  I was happy that even though I got home late they were still there and ready to ride.  Instead of going to Ave Maria as originally planned we went to the nearby Waterways development which had some very pretty lights as well.

It was a bit chilly with temps in the mid 60’s when combined with the wind from rolling around at 10+ mph.  Even so we had fun and were out there longer than we originally planned.  We made plans to meet up again Friday evening and head out to Ave Maria on the wheels, it should be a very festive and fun way to start off Christmas weekend.

I have known for awhile that the struts on the Prius have not been in good shape which probably helped accelerate the wear of the tires that were just replaced.  It sort of hammers over bumps.  I have now watched the replacement process for the front and rear struts/shocks.  It involved taking a LOT of stuff off just to access to the parts I want to replace.  So although it is involved I would not call it difficult work.  I think I will buy myself a Haynes repair manual shortly and tackle the job as an early 2017 challenge.

This will be my last working day until next Tuesday.  I am looking forward to a great four days with lots of giving peppered with some receiving.



Yesterday was one of those text book miserable IT Mondays where something breaks over the weekend and your first task of the day is to fix it.  Well this was a rather huge break, the database of our document imaging server became corrupted somehow on Friday evening, before any back ups had run of course.

I spent the first half of the day working with the vendor for the imaging system.  It became apparent very quickly this guy really had no idea what to do.  I was clinging to repairing the DB and bringing it back online to eliminate any data loss.   When it was apparent this guy was just spinning his wheels I moved on to plan two, database restore from our back up appliance.

We had a full database back up from Tuesday night and a differential backup from Thursday so if all went as planned I could at least only lose one day of work.  Well of course that plan didn’t work out either.  For some reason, unknown to the back up vendor as well, the differential restore would fail at the end, leaving the DB stuck in a “Restoring” state.  However the full back up from Tuesday restored fine.  I went through at least a half dozen attempts of restoring the massive 90 gig DB until I had to make another command decision.

It was now 3pm.  If I just restored Tuesdays back up the system would be back online and allow the clerks to process their daily work they have been sitting on.  However I was then going to be losing three days of processing from last week.  I decided it was more important to get the wheels turning again and restored Tuesdays back up.

The way this system works is once a document is pulled into the system it is converted to a pdf which is placed in a folder broken down logically by date.  So any work from those three days was already sitting out there in pdf form, the problem is it no longer was linked to the database.  The rather klutzy fix is to re-import these pdfs into the system manually, a pain in the ass but doable.

I stated the process with my asst net admin late in the day, staying until a little after 5:30.  I did some more work from home last night and was into the office early this morning to continue the process.  For an IT job, things are abnormally stable with my current environment compared to what I was used to in previous jobs.  However days like yesterday were a reminder of the feet to the fire environment that can always be lurking around any corner.

14610955_1309904019022849_4634427452754950937_nLast night my dad and step mom took Cindy, myself and Katie out to dinner at the Watermark Grille, a place that I had not been to since I went with my mom on our last Mother’s Day together. It felt a little weird/sad as I walked inside.  The feelings passed and all five of us had an enjoyable meal with good food, laughs, and flowing conversations.  Cindy and Teresa had a lot to talk about from their two day adventure down in Key West.  They saw a ton of cool things and got to experience the “unique” culture quite a bit.

After dinner we headed home and just hung out for awhile.  Of course it was sad that dad and Teresa’s visit was coming to an end.  Of course we also were sad to be losing the company of Maggie and Clara who provided all of us with tons of smiles along the way.  The dog/chicken issue was never a big deal.  We mostly walked the dogs in the front yard and allowed them in the back yard a few times while the chickens were in their coop.

Despite all of us not being late night people I found that pretty much every night of their visit I was up later than normal, hence why I feel rather sleepy today.  This morning the Outback was loaded up so they could get an early start on the first leg of their journey home.  They are planning to get to Brunswick Georgia.

14590315_10154898975577841_8384213929028082936_nEveryone handed out the hugs and well wishes.  Clara really did not seem to want to hit the road.  After she had been loaded in the car once she hopped back out to me and stood between my legs where I gave her one more pet and kiss on the head.  It was very sweet.  As they backed out of the driveway and slowly pulled away I had a small tear in my eye as I saw Maggie looking back at me from the back window and Clara doing the same perched on Teresa’s lap.

Since our family became geographically diverse years ago this scenario has played out many times so I should be used to it by now but it never feels good.  I spent much more time chilling during their visit than I did my first staycation three weeks ago so I guess that’s a good thing.

Of course I have not wasted any time placing my nose back to the grindstone.  I showered and headed into work to do prep for our Office 365 migration that I will be tackling over the weekend.  I am hoping that most of the in office work can be handled this evening with doing more remotely over the remainder of the weekend.  It’s a tricky process but I am hoping I have all my ducks lined up in a row.

I am hoping to have enough free time over the weekend to fix the tractor which appears to have one or more defective idler pulleys in the transmission drive assembly.  It is also Cindy’s birthday weekend so I am sure she would rather have me be around if at all possible.

Last night my dad and I went to Pelican Larry’s to grab dinner.  It seemed like there were a lot of people there for a Wednesday night but luckily since they have a ton of seating we had no problem.  We sat at the bar and ate there.  Our bartender was a young girl that seemed a bit distracted but bartending while taking food orders I guess lends itself to that.  The couple beers and food I ordered went down easy.

Last night Dad and I watched  a movie he recommended I rent from Netflix, The Lobster.  It was definitely one of the strangest movies I ever saw.  I told dad it seemed like it was one long Monty Python skit.  My eyes closed a few times, making an already confusing experience, more so.  I think this movie would be fantastic to watch if you were really drunk or high.  Unfortunately I was neither so I can only give it a C.

Today was dad’s last full one in Naples.  My step mom and Cindy were still down in Key West.  The reports we got from last night were they were having a lot of fun so far.  During the early morning I cleaned the coop and started to do more trouble shooting on the coop dvr.  I had received a replacement for the dead unit, another likely casualty of the lightning strike last week.  However when I hooked up the new unit, 3 of the 8 cameras were not working.  Through some troubleshooting I determined it wasn’t the new dvr or the cables, the actual cameras had stopped working.  Of course I assume this is more shrapnel from the power hit.  Later in the day I was able to replace 2 of the 3 dead cameras with lower resolution models I had laying around.  Yea the feed from them won’t be HD quality but they don’t really need to be.

14650357_10154901513987841_6399532201519563946_nI told dad we should go walk the dogs at North Collier Park, a place he had never visited.  Dad was very impressed with how nice the place was.  We had fun watching the collection of old retired RC sail boaters maneuver their ships around the lake as we started the walk.  Most of the walk was on the elevated, mostly shaded boardwalk which was perfect for the dogs.  We had a great couple miles.

After the park we headed to Pet Supermarket to grab some food and other stuff for the dogs.  Maggie and Clara had fun exploring the store and observing the small animals they had for sale.  We then made one final stop at Naples Cyclery.  Dad was interested in looking at some hybrid bikes as he has some ideas about doing more biking back home which would be good.  Dad isn’t all that mobile at this point so anything that gets him moving more is a good thing.

Later in the afternoon I headed out for a EUC ride.  The nearly 7 mile ride was good but tough because of strong wind.  It included a funny and unexpected political message when I rode past an intersection that somebody spray painted in large letters FCK TRUMP.  It seemed like an odd place to express those feelings but it will certainly get the point across to any oncoming motorists.

Tonight we are going out to a farewell dinner.  Cindy and Teresa pulled in less than an hour ago after a very fun two days in the Keys.  It has been a relaxing visit.  It’s a shame that geography dictates we don’t get together more often but when we do it always leaves positive memories.