Water Woes…leaks, broken appliances, and more!

image1Welcome to the last week of 2017!  In the last two weeks of 2017, I was quite pleased with myself.  We purchased a new fridge (awesome deal because it was a scratch and dent model) and a new dishwasher (Christmas present to myself and my wife).  Sure, my kitchen will be the same old kitchen but two of the appliances are shiny and new.

Then I opened the letter from the water department.  It nicely stated that we might have a water leak because our water usage was higher than normal.  My first thought was excessive use of the shower by my two teenagers but that was quickly dismissed by shutting off the house water main in the house.  The water meter was still moving.  Ah…a nice slow leak between the meter and my house.

Not to worry…I have a step-cousin in the water line repair business.  He has a big house and his kids are in private school so I’m sure this will be a cheap fix.  He also likes to take fancy vacations….

Then my son tells me that the water main value in the garage is leaking.  This is the same water main value I had turned off to determine the other water leak.  Sure enough, it was leaking.  After three trips to the local McLendon’s Hardware store and three hours, we had replaced the broken gate value with a nice new ball value.  (That’s fancy man talk there).  I thought for sure my soldering job would cause a spray of water all over but I’m pleased to report that it didn’t leak at all.  Considering I haven’t repaired a copper pipe in about ten years, I did pretty good job.  $32 in parts, three hours of my time, but I missed my Aunt’s Christmas party (that was disappointing).

The next water related item: my sister and Mom managed to jam up their garbage disposal.  So I had to pack up my tools and head over to their place.  Luckily, it was merely a jam and the disposal didn’t have to be replace.  Yeah! One “win” against the Water Woe Wars!

Along with the new fridge, I mentioned I got a new dishwasher.  I paid for the removal of the old one and installation of the new one.  No problem there except that it was installed on Tuesday December 26, I didn’t use it until Thursday December 28….and it ran for half a cycle.

I tried to cancel the cycle, I tired to drain it, I tried to resume the wash cycle, I even flipped my breaker on and off and tried to do a new wash cycle.  Yet, my new Maytag dishwasher won’t do anything now.  Not to worry, it is a Maytag and under warranty.  I had the delightful pleasure of sitting on hold for 20 minutes and then the system hung up on me!  Awesome.  So I did an online chat support and now have a repair tech coming out on Tuesday, January 2.

Back to the outside water leak.  The water leak detection crew finally made it out on Thursday to find the leak.  Now, I have my cousin’s crew out here digging up my yard.  I’ll let you know what they discover.

And the last two items of water problems…leaky bathroom sink faucet and a broken bathroom sink faucet.  My son’s bathroom sink faucet started to leak.  Now, it might be a washer but the cold water handle is also a bit broken so I’m just going to repair the whole faucet.  And of course, my bathroom faucet has been broken for about three years.  The hot water side is messed up so I’m just replacing it as well.  What the hell, right?

In the meantime, enjoy your final weekend of 2017.

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What is the Best Time to do Yard work? Never….

With Spring officially here, it’s time to tidy up the yard after winter.  So for the past several weeks, I’ve cut down a cherry tree, trim back my huge rhododendrons, and hacked back my bamboo hedge.  Needless to say, I’ve filled my green waster bin, my neighbor’s green waste bin, and about four extra garbage cans full of yard debris.

We still need to do a few more yard tasks. In the next few weeks, we need to clean out the pool, mow my lawn (I’ll ask my son Hayden to do that and it will take probably three weeks of nagging for him to do it), and do some weeding.

As I’m out in my yard working…you can enjoy a mint and my misery.

Mint

 

Worthless Travel Tips – Best Worthless Advice Tips for Your Next Airline Flight!

plane-50893_1920Let’s face it, you hate people, I hate people, and we really hate sitting next to them in the airplane.  Sure, we all wish we could afford First Class but we can’t.  However, we can use certain techniques to maximize your seat space on the airplane.

  1. Bring Your Own Smelly Food – Since the airlines want to make a profit, one of the first things to go was the food service.  But this is an awesome time to bring your own food along!  And it had better be extremely good and stinky.  We all know that the stinky food is the best food!  Pickled eggs, sauerkraut, sardines, garlic bread, cat food, and maybe some strange food that would make a billy goat puke is just what you need on your next flight.
  2. Stake out the Armrest – the seats and the armrest aren’t getting any bigger on airplanes these days and you need to stake your claim to them.  As soon as you sit down, stretch out and take as much space as you can.  When your neighbors arrive, just cough a lot, and wipe your hands all over the armrest.  Ha, these armrest belong to me now.
  3. Take Those Shoes Off and Let Those Stinky Feet Breath – why should your feet be trapped in your shoes?  These flight is the beginning of your vacation.  Take those shoes off and relax.dirtyfeet
  4. Don’t Brush Your Teeth – nothing says “I don’t care about life, you, or your comfort” than skipping the brushing those pearly white teeth.  Your mouth should smell and taste like the inside of a elementary school dumpster on a hot spring afternoon.
  5. Don’t Shower – Again, you want to push people away.  With your awful breath, you can add to the sensual pleasure by not taking a shower for a few days before your flight.
  6. Dress Poorly – dress like a slob AND make sure you wear the wrong travel clothes.  Pants that are too tight – check!  Coats with not enough pockets – check! A big hat that gets in the way – check!bum
  7. Have a HUGE Carry On Bag – The heavier, the better.  Just like all the unsolved resentment you carry around in your soul, your carry on bag should be just as heavy.  Make sure that you can’t lift it over your head.  Ideally, your bag should make a professional weightlifter pop a blood vessel as he lifts it.
  8. Talk to EVERYONE…be loud and proud!  Everyone wants to hear about how you had an awful time on the taxi ride to the airport, or how Aunt Megan thinks you drink too much.  Make new friends by asking questions that are way too personal.  Remember, make them feel uncomfortable and they will scoot away from you as far as their little seatbelt will allow.

As always, I know these eight awesome travel tips will really bring you to the top of your worthless life.  What better way to make it to the lower bottom of life?

The Cold Freeze is Over! (And I’m not talking about my blogging vacation either!)

For the past couple of weeks here in the Seattle area, we have enjoyed a nice frosty cold spell.  It was so cold, we had numerous days of the temperature dropping in the 20’s (F) and even into the teens.  That is pretty unusual for us.  It cause my little fish pond to freeze over. Don’t worry; the goldfish are still going strong under the ice.

It also cause Lake Josephine on Anderson Island to mostly completely freeze over.  The other sister lake, Lake Florence, also was frozen over from this recent cold spell.  Again, pretty amazing stuff for our mild martime Puget Sound climate area.

We broke up some of the ice by the dock.
Winter is coming….
Bella on the ice!

Now, when I took these photos, the ice was 2-4 inches thick and clear.  That will support my dog’s weight of 37 lbs with no problem.  It could support me…but why take that chance? My son and I happily stayed on the float section of our dock.  I didn’t want to fall through the ice, die, and leave you (my dear blog readers) sad and depressed, right? In this case, instead of my usual “Safety 3rd” motto, I bumped it up to #1. Heck, safety is no accident.

(Here is a link to some ice information.  It isn’t for Washington State. Click HERE to Ice Safety information).

My dog Bella enjoyed the ice and chasing the ball for hours.  My son flew one of our Phantom 3 drones over the frozen Lake Josephine as well, hopefully we will have some drone video to post in the next week or so. 

Now, the weather has warmed up into the 40’s (F) and the ice is disappearing.  Until next year….I bid you a fond farewell my frozen lake friends….

Thanks for reading, please comment below on my amazing blog post about ice safety in Washington State, Anderson Island, or just how darn funny and good looking I am.

Well, Everyone made it back from Pinnacle Peak Hike – Dr. Martin Luther King Day

While the folks back on the East Coast are battling snowstorms, we have had sunny, clear weather with temperatures into the high 50s and low 60s. The bad part about all this warm weather?   The freezing level has skyrocketed up to 10,000 feet and that translates into no snowshoeing for us in January! Yikes! Normally we wouldn’t do this lower elevation hike (at this time of year) because I would much rather get out in the snow.  It’s winter, we want to see some snow!

So last week, instead of a snowshoe hike, we hiked up Pinnacle Peak in Enumclaw. My hiking partners this billy goat trip were my 12 year old daughter and two of her friends. All three happen to be part of our Girl Scout troop and I wanted to see if this would be an age appropriate hike and skill level for them. As it turned out, they didn’t have any problems keeping up with me.

Pinnacle Peak is part of the King County Parks system. It is a short hike (2 miles round trip) and starts at 800 feet elevation and ends at 1800 feet elevation. Since the weather has been fairly nice, the trail wasn’t as muddy as it could have been this time of year. I wore my Merrill walking shoes and didn’t get them too muddy. There were a couple of slick spots but nothing that deter us from reaching the top in a timely manner. Here’s the link to the Pinnacle Peak map PDF

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Success at the top of Pinnacle Peak!
Success at the top of Pinnacle Peak!

One thing I neglected to do on this hike was to track the time we were on the hike. I do know that we left Kent around 2 pm and returned by 5 pm. That includes stops in Enumclaw at a chocolate shop and a stop at Kelly’s Latte Stand.

Do you have any favorite hikes you’d like to recommend?  Leave your tips and advice below!

Why I hate Driving on the Freeway….

Today, I actually had to work at my studio in Burien and had to drive today. Usually, this time of year I work mostly out of my home office. So on my way back from Burien in the middle of the day, one should expect the freeway traffic to flow easily. In the Seattle area, that is never the case. I made it past the madhouse near the Sea-Tac International Airport. Once on I-405, I get stuck behind a guy in a gold minivan doing 46 mph on the freeway that is clearly marked 60 mph. This is way I hate driving. We have some idiot on the freeway that thinks he is on a nice country drive. It isn’t a nice country drive; it’s January and it is a cool 40 degrees out. I’d like to get on my merry little way home. I don’t need you endangering my life with your slow driving.
Sure, I could whip around this guy in his golden minivan; however, I have to take the next off ramp to get onto the other freeway. It makes no sense to barrel around this guy. Of course, he takes the same exit. I wasn’t in a hurry but I was annoyed. I’m not a freeway Nazi; I just ask that you drive the speed limit. Go at least 5 mph over or at least the speed limit. Is that too much to ask? I’m not asking you to drive at an unsafe speed. The pavement is dry, the sky is a mix of sunshine and clouds, driving conditions are pretty darn good out there…just do the speed limit so the guy behind me isn’t tailgating me.
Thanks for allowing me to offer my own personal piece of Worthless Advice on how to drive on the Freeway!

Everyone loves to drive on the freeway, right?
Everyone loves to drive on the freeway, right?

Let’s Talk About YOU! (Because obviously talking about me isn’t working….)

With the weather turning to gray overcast skies, even the die hard optimist can get a bit depressed with the rainy weather. Everything around you can be depressing; the wet roads, the bad traffic, the gray skies, the rain, the gray skies, the rain, the cold 40-50 degree weather. Did I mention the gray skies and rain?

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It isn’t always bad here in the Pacific Northwest but you would think it is because of all the lousy weather we are currently having. We had great weather up until the middle of October. Now, it is the normal Seattle weather. I tend to be very busy at work (since I am a school photographer) during this time of year. I don’t notice how bad it is until I have a little breathing room. And with Daylight Savings Time ending, you really notice that it isn’t nice here anymore. It isn’t as bad as Alaska but you do notice that it gets really dark around 4 pm everyday. We haven’t even seen the worst of it yet. The shortest day of the year: December 21 Winter Solstice.

That means from now until December 21, the days will get shorter and the people of Seattle will die a little more each day.

I don’t really care. To me, it is just another day in a series of depressing days where I live my life. Oh, before you get all concerned about my well being, just know that this blog post is about you, not me. I can weather any storm my way. I just jump on YouTube and get all pumped up by listening to some Tony Robbins or Les Brown. I like the crappy weather because it forces me to look at what I’m doing in my business and life.

Now, some people can’t handle all the rain and gray skies around Seattle. They complain, they mope around, yet here they still are…wet and whining in the Emerald City called Seattle.

For me, the rain and gray skies bring my busy work season. I know during this time of the year, I’ll be making the bulk of my income as a school photographer. I know that I’ll be busy working 60-80 hours a week. I know I’ll be getting up at 5 am, putting in a 12-15 hour day. On top of my work day I will also need to be a dad, a Scoutmaster, an aikido student and teacher, and a blogger. I will be attempting to balance my work life with my personal life during the months of the fall school photography season.

My darling wife is also more than willing to point out that I pretty much have summers off (work free) as a trade off for my busy, crazy fall. However, during this hectic fall season, I also think I should be creating an online business of some sort to balance out my income. I imagine it would be extremely nice to have a summer schedule during the rest of the eight months of the year. Don’t you think it would be nice to have a few extra thousand or tens of thousands of dollars to live on and invest in my retirement? People who say money isn’t important must not be too concerned about the future (or even the present). Money can’t buy happiness? But it sure makes life a lot more enjoyable!

What makes you survive the fall season? Do you feel you live in a better area and therefore can make fun of schmucks like me?

As always your sarcastic and non-sarcastic comments are welcome! At least hit that like button!