A New Toy

Today I gave this reel mower a spin. 


I’ve got a smallish yard and thought a non-electric mower would work better than always charging my batteries for my Ryobi mower. 

It did not do well on my thick, six-inch grass and was nearly impossible to push. 

I’m definitely going to wait to give my final review until I try cutting the grass in a week or so. 

Snap Power

Tonight I installed a new nightlight for the hallway as our three year old is potty trained and I wanted to give her a little light without a bulky night light and found this cool outlet cover by Snap Power.

This cover is super easy to install at it pulls power from the outlet. The spec sheet says the batteries will last for 25 years using about $0.10 of power per year.

The screws on the side of the outlet were not tightened, so the two minute installation turned into about fifteen.

Overall, I’m real happy with it and excited to see how it looks when it pitch dark upstairs.

Plus, their store is built on WordPress and WooCommerce 🙂

The day that Wasn’t

Ever have one of those days where everything is going right and you know you are going to crush your goals?

Today was one of those days for me, well, until 7:30am. 

I’m an early riser, so by 7:30 I had:

  • Done my morning routine brain games (Flow Free, Elevate, and DuoLingo)
  • Recorded this weeks podcast
  • Started working and got caught up with all of things that happened at Automattic since I’d left work the day before
  • Got my daughter up and fed her breakfast
  • Had scrambled eggs for breakfast for myself

I was just finishing up cleaning up the kitchen when our nanny got her and it happened. 

The kitchen sink was clogged. 

I quickly took it apart, hoping there was a bunch of goop in the trap that caused the clog. 

That didn’t help 😢

I started to work while asking some of my local friends if they had a drain snake. 

After CrossFit, I went and picked it up and after a few more errands, started to tackle the clog. 

Well, the 15 foot snake wasn’t long enough to fix anything, so I needed to find a local plumber. 

It took calls to seven plumbers until I found one that could actually help today. 

The blockage ended up being about 35 feet down the pipes, so I had no shot of fixing it myself. 

Next time this happens, I’m not even going to attempt to fix it and I can save myself two hours of frustration. 

More Progress

Today I got a few things hung on the wall in the baby’s room. 

The sign with a K weighs close to forty pounds, so I wanted to make sure it was secure on two studs, so this took a bit of planning to get it positioned properly. 


After the holes were drilled and the screws were in place it was time to hang it. 

Boy, was that a job to do by myself. The thing is huge, awkward, and really heavy. 

After a few attempts (and a lot of sweat later) it was secure on the wall. 


Next up were a few floating shelves. 

I had some leftover wood plugs that I was able to use to hide the screws, plus they add a bit of a decorative feature. 


Now we have to add things to the shelves and hang the decal with the Bible verse and we will be all ready. Only 15 days to go!

Working on Baby Brother’s Room

Tomorrow the baby’s is going to be painted, so I spent some time this evening prepping the room: taking down blinds, removing electrical covers, and moving furniture to the center of the room. 


I also spent some time working in the garage building a valence for the room. 

Three cuts and a handful of nail gun nails and the job was done. Now I’ve got to wrap in with some padding and cloth that matches the other items in the room. 

Once installed, along with blackout curtains, it will make the room extremely dark; perfect for multiple naps for a newborn. 

Next mini project

Some supplies for my next project (and some salt for our water softener), building a valence for around the window in baby brother’s room. 


Definitely didn’t want to go out to Lowe’s in the sub 10 degree weather, but everyone else stayed home so I was in and out in no time. 

New Obsession 

There is a website called bitfta.com, that is an online auction site where you can score some significant deals.

It’s a huge warehouse filled with hundreds of items.

We’ve bought wine fridges as Christmas gifts, bathtubs (yes plural, as I thought I was going to be outbid, so I got two tubs for a total of $14), a new rocking chair for the baby’s room and quite a few other miscellaneous thing.

Today’s haul include a rain barrel to collect water for our garden and a Gladiator cabinet to go with the other ones I recently installed.

As you can see, the boxes of some things are a bit ragged and some items are open box, so you have to read the auction post carefully.

Finally Cut the Cord

Last week we officially canceled our Dish Network subscription we’ve had since 2010. We don’t regularly watch television but we’ve kept the service for two reasons:

  • Watching sports
  • Time-shifting all content by DVRing all shows

Our monthly bill was only $60 per month, so I was willing to pay for the convenience of DVR.

Now I’ve found two great services that allow us to consume mostly the same channels and DVR local channels.

Tablo

The Tablo is a DVR for home antennas. Well, technically, it provides the TV guide for local channels. After purchasing the $200 device, you have to hook up to an external hard drive. I had an extra 500GB one, so I hooked that up to our ReLeaf Antenna.

The crazy part of the Tablo is that the antenna doesn’t need to be hooked up to the TV. On one TV, we use an Amazon Fire Stick and the other TV we use a 4th Generation Apple TV. With both devices, you download the Tablo app and you stream your content thru your home network.

You can watch your DVR’d shows on your iOS devices as well, or you can use this DVR Extracter and pull an .mp4 file on your computer for offline viewing.

The Tablo does cost $5/month, or $50/year, or $150/lifetime for the channel guide and the ability to set the DVR to record at a certain time.

Playstation Vue

The Playstation Vue is a contract free service where you can sign up for one of four ‘cable’ packages. I originally signed up for the $34.99 plan as it included the B1G Ten Network so I could watch the Buckeyes play games early in the season. I’ve since downgraded to the $29.99 plan.

The great part is that this plan includes the Disney Kids network, so our daughter can watch Minnie Mouse and Doc McStuffins thru the apps on an iPad, Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV.

The Vue also has a cloud DVR feature, so you can watch your shows later. Or you can watch on demand content (but you have to watch commercials, boo!).

I like watching DVR’d content on my iPad, because when it’s time to skip thru halftime of a football game, I can quickly use the scrubber to fast forward thru halftime.

Since I’ve packed up my Dish Network items, our TV budget item will be cut in half from $60.66 per month to $29.99. And I can still watch live or recorded sports from ESPN or local channels.

Daily Blogging Hard

Usually when I set my mind to a goal, there’s no stopping me. However, with the daily blogging goal, it’s been a struggle.

Every day it’s on my to do list and it just gets pushed off until later. And I’m in no mood to publish a blog post after dinner.

The first five days of the challenge were easy. I was on the road traveling and I got up earlier than the rest of my team and was able to write a post before heading out for the day.

Last Saturday was when the wheels fell off.

I discovered around 10am that our sump pump in our house wasn’t working and the backup had kicked on. It had rained most of Friday and Saturday morning and our sump croc fills up with water quickly.

I dropped all plans for the day and ran out to Lowe’s to buy this stuff to start the process of replacing the broken pump.

2014-12-06 11.09.10

I worked for a couple of hours and after another trip to Lowe’s, finally was able to get the new one installed temporarily to start pumping the water out of our house.

We had family Christmas pictures schedule so I had to leave before the job was fully completely. Luckily my mom was in town, so we left to get the pictures taken and she baby sat the sump pump.

I wasn’t able to install the float, so I needed her to unplug the pump if the croc ever completely emptied.

When we returned from pictures, my dad had arrived and we spent until 6:30pm getting the new pump completely installed.

So, finally, at 7pm, I was ready to start my day.

I decided to spend time with my family and not blog and that’s when the daily posts stopped.

Now that I’m caught up from the weekend’s adventures and my traveling from last week, I’m all set to tackle the daily mission of blogging again.

Starting to Look Like a Patio

Over the last few days our backyard has undergone some huge transformations.

Dump trucks full of gravel and sand have been brought in with a bobcat and the ground is now perfectly level.

Last Friday, the sitting wall got started and today pavers began to be laid. Looks like surface is about 75% completed now. Here are a few pictures of the progress.

Goodbye Concrete Slab

Ever since we’ve moved into our house (August 2010), we’ve hated our outdoor living space.

Our house had a 12′ by 12′ concrete slab, which wasn’t quite big enough for our six person table, grill and tower garden. When we had people over, we brought out the folding chairs and table and placed them on the uneven grass.

Well, today is the last day for the old concrete slab. Tomorrow a local company, Deal’s Landscaping, will be cleaning out the old and preparing for our new paver patio.

Here are some before images: