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Must be spring

Started: 2007-05-02 17:22:11

Submitted: 2007-05-02 17:56:42

Visibility: World-readable

Further signs of spring: I booted my sprinkler system without much trouble. I had to tighten a few joints in my sprinkler box (nothing my pipe wrench couldn't handle), replace an elbow joint under the mushroom bubbler irrigating my shrub roses, and dig up a sprinkler head to replace the extension riser that brought the head up to ground level. The head itself was fine, but the cheap plastic riser failed. Go figure.

I had better luck turning on the sprinklers at the house my parents own in Longmont and rent out to a CU grad student and his family (I'm their property manager on the ground); nothing broke, but I had some trouble remembering that one of the drain valves was stuck closed. I had to tighten joints in their sprinkler box as well; I wonder if it's part of a greater conspiracy.

I also planted peppers in planter boxes on my front porch. (If I were home while writing this changelog, rather than riding home on the Bolt, I would tell you what peppers I actually planted. The best I can do right now is two sweet peppers and two hot peppers, which seemed like a good idea at the time.) I went to The Flower Bin, a garden store in Longmont, which has a vast selection of plants of numerous kinds. I still prefer The Tree Farm for trees and shrubs, but The Flower Bin has my vote for general garden center.

On Sunday (29 April), I hiked nine and a half miles from NCAR up Bear Canyon, to the top of Green Mountain, back into the canyon and up the west ridge to Bear Peak, and back down the north ridge through Fern Canyon to NCAR. I managed to cram five liters of liquid in my Camelbak hydration system (three liters of water in the bladder, one in a Nalgene, and one liter of Gatorade), which wasn't enough; the forecast high was eighty degrees in Boulder. One thing I didn't anticipate before entering Bear Canyon was spring run-off on Bear Creek; the trail crosses the creek multiple times as it climbs the canyon, and many of the crossings were under water. I happened to be wearing my waterproof boots, which kept my feet dry as I waded ankle-deep across the rushing creek. Bear Peak's west ridge was a pleasant, gradual ascent to the crowded summit; I wasn't the only person who took advantage of the nice spring weather to climb Bear Peak.

This was the first time I climbed both Green Mountain and Bear Peak in a single day, which I decided was something of an accomplishment. I didn't have the time, water, or extra calories to hike the 1.4 mile round-trip across the saddle from Bear Peak to South Boulder Peak to make it a three-peak day; that milestone will have to wait for another time.

I purchased a replacement for my GPS receiver on eBay over the weekend; I hope to have it sometime this week, at which point I can continue recording everywhere I go for my own personal amusement. I've hiked every major trail in Boulder Mountain Park (with the exception of a few random trails on the flat lands between the mountains themselves and civilization), but I haven't yet recorded every trail for the amusement and enlightenment of myself and the Internet at large.

After taking virtually no time off all year long, and accumulating 24 hours of comp time*, I will at last spend entire days on vacation at the end of May. I'm flying to Boston on 17 May to hang out with Bethany (who lives there) and Willy (who's heading out as part of his sabbatical quarter) and see the historic city, which should be great fun. I fly back Monday night, 21 May, spend a day and a half working, and drive to Lincoln on the afternoon of 23 May for Megafest 6.0. Hopefully none of my customers will want me on-site during that time; if they do, it'll be too bad for them.

[* I'm paid strictly hourly, so my "comp time" is extra hours I worked in the past that I've reserved against the possibility of taking time off in the future. This would be horribly confusing to keep track of if I didn't have a series of spreadsheets to tell me exactly how much time I've worked on which projects and how much vacation and comp time I can take off.]

I drove to Golden yesterday afternoon to install a power supply in the computer I VNC into so I can work on a cable set-top-box remotely. My IT tells me that the vintage of computers I'm using has issues with its power supplies; they'll send the one I removed back and try to get it replaced. While driving home, I ended up in a spectacular hail storm in Denver's northern suburbs; traffic on I-25 slowed to 25 miles per hour as marble-sized hail blanketed the road. It was so loud I was afraid my windshield would break; I couldn't hear NPR no matter how load I turned the volume up. (The popping every time lightning struck was a nice touch; lightning is obviously an impulse function, with components on every frequency.) Motoko didn't appear to have suffered any permanent damage.

In home improvement news, I managed to remove and replace my garbage disposal in the kitchen last night; Kiesa dropped and broke a glass casserole dish somewhere near the sink, sending glass shards into the disposal. Fishing out little shards of glass didn't seem like a good idea, so I applied my vast engineering skills and figured out how to take it off the sink so I could hold it above a trash can and shake the shards out. After a few false starts, this worked fairly well, although it did appear that the o-ring seals had decayed in the decade since the house was built; they fell apart in my hands as I worked the disposal off its mount. The sink didn't appear to leak, so I may be safe for the near future.