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Happy Solstice

Started: 2006-12-27 10:16:28

Submitted: 2006-12-27 11:03:31

Visibility: World-readable

I'm sitting in PDX, in front of gate C8, waiting for my 1050 PST flight to Denver. There's supposed to be free wireless; I can associate, but I can't get an address DHCP nor see any traffic on the network. So I'm stuck listening to The Crane Wife (one of the best albums in 2006, by a band from Portland) and documenting my recent snow-bound accomplishments. At least I found power... which could be the reason I can't get an Internet connection, since I'm sitting by the window on the edge of the concourse.

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Weld Library District closed, since there was something like two feet of snow on the ground. I decided to work from home, since my primary task at the moment was writing a design doc for $SET_TOP_BOX, which I could do from anywhere. I overrode the normal weekday temperature cycle (preferring to set the furnace to maintain 68°F rather than 60°F), plugged in the space heater we recently acquired, and camped out in the basement. My temperature gauge told me the temperature held steady around 20°C; unlike my last work-from-home adventure, my fingers didn't get chilled after several hours.

Around noon, Kiesa wanted to go out and get groceries, since we weren't planning on being home today. I found six more inches of snow on the driveway -- after I shoveled sixteen inches last night -- and managed to clear a path to the street. I drove Motoko the kilometer or so to the nearest grocery store. The roads were generally snow-packed; a bit slippery, but passable. It didn't hurt that very few vehicles were out on the road. We made it to King Soopers without incident and accomplished our shopping.

A few minutes before 1722 MST, the exact moment of the solstice, I called Willy to wish him a happy solstice. (I'd link to Willy's pages for The Gate and Fences, but my Internet connection in the airport -- which came up briefly -- is down again.)

Friday, 22 December 2006

Kiesa checked the library and learned that it was opening at noon. I let her take Motoko to work, which meant I had to clear another path to the street; the packed snow on the street had been pushed aside by a front-loader's attempt to plow the street. Kiesa tried to get out and got stuck; I had to dig her out, pushing foot-long chunks of hard-packed snow out of the way. After she left, I cleared the rest of the snow out of the driveway approach and headed back into the basement to resume working from home.

Aside from not having a satellite feed or a set-top-box at home for development, my biggest outstanding problem with working from home is not having a good phone connection. Kiesa and I abandoned our landline long ago, and our wireless phones get barely-adequate coverage on the main level of the house. Coverage is especially lousy in the basement. I've instructed my coworkers to e-mail me if they need me to call them; I do remain connected to my employer's VPN (when I'm not connected to our client's VPN, which is pickier about what else I can connect to), so I get e-mail as fast as if I were in the office. The best solution would probably be for my employer to give me a soft phone which I could connect to my hypothetical VoIP network in the office. But since that's unlikely to happen, I've contemplated playing with Skype (apparently I'm one of the last people on the block to sign up), but I haven't yet gotten around to actually doing it.

I managed to get Yoda out around noon for a trip to Lowe's, one of my newest Temptation Zones. I thought about adding lighting in the basement but settled for incandescent bulbs that will cast light on a wider area. (I'm still not thrilled with the outcome, but I don't foresee having an option to do anything about it before the Fest.)


Kiesa and I amused ourselves by making the house safe for Festing (laundry, cleaning, decoration, clearing space in the basement). I undertook a small project -- move the vertical blinds in the dining room half an inch higher so they don't rub against the carpet. This modest-sounding project grew; I ended up filling the old holes, buying a gallon of the appropriate paint (Sherwin-Williams #6121, Whole Wheat), painting the newly-filled spots, and finally remounting the blinds an inch higher than their previous position. It took much longer than I thought, but the end result was superior blind behavior -- and I even managed to patch a mysterious hole Willow managed to pick in the wall near the door.