We were honored to host another Kent State architecture class out at the house for a tour over the weekend. It was a chance for the students to see the sustainable and energy saving tactics in use in the house. Plus it was a great excuse for us to pick up around the place and run a vacuum so win win. We spent an hour or two walking through the house talking about windows, passive solar, geothermal, rain water collection and other neat green building topics. The students are working on a Habitat for Humanity project so hopefully some of the things we talked about can be used in their projects. I see no viable reason why not, as most of the tactics and systems cost no more to design and build, and as we’re seeing they can save homeowners money. If you’re not familiar, Habitat for Humanity helps build homes for low income families around the world. The homes they build are built to be environmentally sustainable, healthy and energy efficient whenever possible. Take a look at their website and volunteer or donate if you can; it’s a worthwhile cause.
Later Saturday we had our friends over to talk bees. They’ve been raising bees for three years now so they were our go to source for the ins and outs of starting our hive(s) this Spring. We walked the land looking around for an appropriate spot for the hives. We all agreed on a spot that would get good morning sun (to help wake up the bees via the sun’s warmth), have a good wind break (from our prevailing southwest winds) and be easily accessible from the house. Retiring indoors, out of the cold, we boiled up some pasta and opened some wine. There’s a lot to know and I’m not sure how much sunk in but it was a good chance to figure out what order steps need to be taken in to get started. Next weekend will be bee prep day. We’ll drive out to the bee supply store and get our hive components. We’ll also put in our order for our bees. The little gals (and guys) should be ready sometime in April I believe. Next week I’ll clear an area in one of our meadows for the hive(s), lay down some gravel and cinder blocks. Upon the blocks the hive(s) will rest. I’m not sure if we’re doing one or two hives yet. I forget what we decided.
Elsewhere we ran out yesterday and replaced my old computer with a new one. Being jobless, I’ll need a good computer to work freelance or consult so now was as good of time as any. The old one made working with photographs or illustrations impossibly slow. If I’m being paid by the hour then I need to work as quickly as possible. It was kind of depressing having to get the new computer, as I’d rather be employed but it’s really not my choice. I snagged the cheapest Apple iMac they offer; it’s also the smallest as to best fit in my home office desk. I used an iMac at the old job and really like the Mac for working on Illustrator, Photoshop and Form Z (CAD). A laptop would’ve been cool because then I could work anywhere, Ohio, Florida, wherever, but seeing as if I don’t even have any freelance work lined up I don’t have to worry about that. Plus the laptop is really expensive. Eventually as business takes off we can get a little more mobile. Or if we have to sell the house and buy an RV to park in Walmart parking lots then we’ll go the laptop route.
Reluctantly I unpacked the new computer; Apple packaging experience as orgasmic as ever, but notably less so under the circumstances. The computer is amazingly light and thin. I placed its cool aluminum frame on the concrete patterned laminate desk top. Without taking its thin protective foam cover off I slid it back across the desk. Wouldn’t you know it: the all in one computer was too tall! It only fit under the wall cabinets if I angled the flat glass screen ridiculously skyward, or uneasily downward. I sat there dumb founded. I know I had looked at the dimensions of the computer online, even the new iMac that just came out (which I had purchased). Hmmm….
I weighed all my options and ultimately decided the only course of action was to raise the wall cabinets. I employed the help of my wife as I had no intention of taking the cabinets apart. Rather we’d raise the cabinets upwards, about an inch, all in one piece. I measured and there should be 18″ between the counter top and wall cabinets. I had mounted my erroneously 3/16″ to low, which is all it took. Apple designed their computer to fit under 18 inches but they did so way to closely in my opinion. Suffice to say I messed up and needed to rectify the situation. It only took us about 15-20 minutes so no big deal, but as with everything in (my) life, nothing is easy.
I decided to set the wall cabinets at 19″ to give myself plenty of room for the computer but also not look out of place with the other cabinets in the room. I cut two boards at 19″ to use as supports. With the help of the wife we unscrewed fasteners holding the cabinets to the wall studs. I clamped the lower two letter box cabinets together for additional support as they are just attached by their front edge below the upper cabinets. With all the screws out we quickly slipped the support boards under the cabinets. We then drilled new holes into the studs and secured all the screws in place. Pretty easy and the computer fit like a charm.
The new computer has just one cord so I don’t need the huge power strip that I had hanging there before. I ordered a pretty cool looking dual outlet surge protector. I’ll show it to you when it comes in. With the power strip gone, and the fact that the new all in one computer doesn’t have a huge tower taking up space, my desk is downright spacious now. I’m really happy in that regard, lot of space to work.
Only other news is I bought the wife her first LED light bulb. She wants to take art photos in her studio and needed a little ‘daylight’ color bulb so for $14 I splurged and got her a 40W equivalent LED bulb. Uses about 90 cents a year in energy but she won’t use it that much, should last fifty years for the number of times she’ll turn it on.
Ok, it’s Sunday…the Oscars are wrapping up (thank god; dismal as ever) and I should be in bed. This week will be mostly continuing on the job hunt (which I’ve been neglecting a little in the past week…mentally I’m shot, but a good weekend helps recharge that a bit). I’ve got art to work on, art shows to apply to, finish setting up computers, beat the pavement for a new gig, and get ready for bee season.
One thing I’ll say, and it’s related to absolutely nothing, the place is feeling more like home. We’ve been here almost a year. I like the dining room table set up. Tonight I was fine just sitting at the table, watching our shows and drinking wine. No need to go and sit on the couch. Having just one dining table makes it more special as opposed to a dining room table and a dinette table. So I’m getting used to a few spots in the house; my dining table seat, my seat on the end of the couch, my studio. The boys seem to be settled in too. In less than 24 hours since all our guests left, the place is trashed all over again with toys, sweepers and food debris. Like a frat house on Sunday morning without the passed out co-eds (much to my dissapointment).
Well enough of my nonsense. If I don’t talk to ya, have a good week, be nice and count your blessings.