December 23

Winding down

Working from home today because the office is virtually empty with nearly everyone out on holiday.  For some reason or other my employer issued Dell laptop doesn’t want to play nice with this external monitor via HDMI and, I really don’t like programming on a tiny screen so I’ve moved over to one of the Linux VMs in my home lab.  The “allscan.pl” program is coming along nicely but I do need to re-order some things because of my scatter-brained approach to program layout.  (Which is to say I haven’t done any program layout at all for this and just started from the hip with subroutine stubs.)

Anyway I needed some coffee and for whatever reason decided to update my blog on what’s been going on since April.  I don’t think anyone reads this thing so I just update a few times a year when the mood hits.  So here we go:

This year was the year of home improvements.  Hal & I had a new roof put on the house in May because of some leaks in the master bedroom had gotten worse.  He & I gave the old one a once-over and decided it wasn’t worth trying to patch it, so I got three estimates and went with the middle one.  So far we’ve seen no more leaks and it’s been a very wet autumn.

As mentioned in a post around April, we got the construction permit approved rapidly from the city of Mesa.  Finding a company to do the work was not a simple process, but we ended up getting the driveway approach ramp completed.  It could have been done better, but at least it’s done and functional.

Over the summer we had lots of concrete work done starting with widening the front walkway on each side so it’s now three times its original width.  This will make it much easier to get in and out of the front door, which has also incidentally been enclosed in a powder-coated steel entry gate.  We had concrete poured four inches thick at the north-west lot behind the block wall on El Dorado, and at the south-east lot we had several large sections filled in with concrete four inches thick in most places.  There is a special pad poured six inches thick and at 4000psi where I hope to have an auto lift installed sometime in 2016.

After the concrete was poured and before the front entry was enclosed, we had powder coated steel bars made and installed over every window.  The bedrooms all have emergency fire releases, and every door has been protected with high-security steel doors with double-deadbolt locks.  The house is much more secure than it was and we can now leave windows and doors wide open without fear of being burgled.  Not that I live in a crappy neighborhood or anything but thieves don’t target poor people and, nearly every time I’ve heard of someone being burgled the perpetrator entered the premises through an open door or window.  Not here.

In August my employer (~2300 employees worldwide), was acquired by a huge multinational conglomerate (~30,000 employees worldwide), and I’m back to being just “another cog in the wheel”.  Not that I’m complaining or anything because they backed a truckload of money up to my door and said, “We don’t want you to quit your job.”.  A few months later, they gave me even more money just because the original company had done very well.  Then a couple weeks after THAT, gave me a written promise of even more money which is to be paid out in chunks over the next 3 years as a “retention bonus”.  Couple that with the fact that I’m the only IT employee they have capable of doing this job within probably 350 miles, I have no direct supervision and only have to commute 3 miles to the office.  I, for one welcome our new overlords.  I’m not going anywhere unless they forcibly eject me.  :)

Early September the front block walkway was completed and work was begun to excavate the remaining uncovered section of the rear yard.  We’re going to have block paving stones laid in the rear between the approach ramp and the concrete pads so that the yard has a bit of style to it instead of being just an enormous impersonal concrete slab.  The stones are not all completed yet and at this point aren’t going to be done until early 2016, which suits me just fine because it’s been quite expensive to get all of this stuff done.

Another one of my favorite money pits, “HobbyTown USA” has closed up and Hal & I had to start looking for a new hobby store.  Lo and behold, there’s a great place called Action Hobby at Guadalupe & Rural who have been happy to take my money and provide much better prices, products, and advice.  :)  Hal and I upgraded the quad-copters with First Person View capability and have started getting into more professional level gear in general since meeting these fine folks.  We even have an AxialRacing 1/10th scale Yeti with a two-speed remote control transmission and have upgraded most of the receivers in every ground-based RC vehicle we own.

Several of my co-workers are also car nuts and we have made a pact to strip my 1996 MX5 to the bone and prep it to race in the 24 Hour of LeMons in Wilcox Arizona next March.  Stay tuned for updates from Trashpanda Racing. ;)

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