There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

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amberwolf   100 GW

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Jan 22 2018 3:42am

No leaks yet on the pipe fix. :)

My brain kept working on the problem anyway (like it usually does) and realized that if I have further problems with the crimped/soldered "fix", I could desolder that entire branch, taking it's "T" out of the pipe along with the extension from that T to the next one (that goes down and out to the shed faucet), and then solder that one's T to the point the old one was at. Hopefully I won't have to worry about that for a long while. At some point if I ever have spare time I may go ahead and do it anyway, but I can't imagine spare time happening.

Today was cold, about 56F at my place for a high, and breezy which made it feel a lot colder. Made it hard to do everything outside, but I managed a few things. (but didnt get pics yet)

THe first was to finally get around to stringing the extension cord power for the yard light (at the orange tree) overhead instead of on the ground. The main reason for this is that both Yogi and Kirin sometimes just grab at things on teh ground when they get the "crazies", so excited that they just run around in circles playing. Sometimes what they grab is a cord or water hose, and while they tyipcally just drop it cuz it's not what they wanted (theyr'ea fter sticks), there's always a chance one day they'll bite into it.

So I added a clamp to the corner of the roof nearest there, and ran the power cord between the top of the light pole and the clamp, then under the eaves over to the wall above the only outdoor outlet (which has a GFCI breaker on it). Then mounted the metal powerstrip I'd been using for it's switch to that wall, up near the eaves so it is mostly shielded from runoff, if not direct rain. I dropped it while trying to mount it, so I broke the little breaker inside and had to wire around it. :(

Next up was adding a pair of small CFL lights in reflectors (on their own strip/switch) running from that strip, mounted above and to either side of the doorway, to better ligth the back porch area since I use it for working a lot.

After that was finally moving the networked motorized camera from its' spot just above the back porch light, where it really can'ts ee anything but the porch and area directly around it and in front of it (because the trees and lantana have grown a LOT since I put it there), to a shaded spot just above the yard light (that is on it's pole above the orange tree).

First I had to build a littel "roof" out of an old computer case side panel (aluminum), by bending it gently in the middle to makea peaked roof, then bolting that to the end of an elongated "H" shpaed 1" square tube steel piece I'd saved off something. It's about 18" long, I think and about 8" wide at the verticals of the H, but it's used with the short ends horizotal at top and bottom, with the long center beam vertical. The lower end beam I cut short down to about 1/2" on one side, so it would fit between the yard light and the mounting plate of the pole. the top beam is intact, with holes drilled thru it to bolt the roof to. The roof is offset so it's edge is against the end of that top beam, so the roof will completely cover the camera centered under it.

The bottom beam is clamped with hose clamps (becuse I can't ind the Ubolts I was going to use) tothe support tube of the yard light, so the whole assembly mounts above the light, looking down onto the yard, house, alley and street. The camera itself is mounted on the vertical of the beam, upside down, just uder the ceneter of the "roof", so it can look down and all around. The only place it can't see is of course where the roof itself is, and directly below it becaus the yard light housing is there, and behind itself because the beam is there.

Because I want to be ablet os witch the yard light on and off (even though it has a light sensor to turn off at dawn and on at dark; I don't always want to leave it on all night, like if i'm stargazing) but leave the camera on, I made an outlet/switch box with one outlet swtiched and the other not, that plugs into the cord coming from the house, and the unswitched outlet gets the camera wallwart, and the switched gets teh yard light. i's not waterproof, but it's temporary until i get time to run a second line for the camera and put the switch for the yard light at the wall by the door. No idea when that will happen--might take as lng as it did to move the camera in teh first place. ;)

I also used up a few hours loooking for things, some of ti pieces to do the above work, and some of it for more trike bits (both mine and my brother's), and some of it for the packs of Buss fuses I have for various things--I know i have some my dad left me when he moved away before he died, but I seem to have moved them from their spot in the utility room, and no idea where. And some more time looking for ethernet wire to make a long cable to run from the camera to the house (never found the wire; ended up just stringing several cables together with "adapters" that basically straight-wire two female connectors toghete rin a thumbsized plastic box, and wrapping the junctions with electrical tape to keep water out).

I need the fuses because the one in the microwave blew during a long reheating cycle, and I do't want to just wire across it to see if it ws just a momentary overload that blew the fuse, cuz if it wasn't then it'lld probably destroy something i can't fix. there's nothing obvious wrong with the circuitry I can see and test, but it could be something tha tonly shows up under load. I use the imicrowave a lot, so need to fix it soon. maybe tomorrow i'll find the fuses. if nto, maybe i'll pull one out of something else.

i also ache all over btoh from lifting/movign a lot of stuff, and from falling off the ladder (missed the step getting down, maybe 3 up? dunno for sure) and landing flat on my back. nothing broken but been getting achier in the hours since hten. probably feel just great by tomorrow. :/

dogs were pretty bored by the whole thing, even with playtime breaks whenever i could. everytime i came inside they'd bot h come running in with me, and when i finally sat down to rest a bit after i fell, they both came in and plopped right down with me, yogi on my feet and kriin next to me her head on my leg, and they both started snoring in a couple minutes, all worn out.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Jan 22 2018 8:17pm

Fixed the microwave; no fuses the right size/type, but had two 10A microfuses in each of some old PSUs, with holders. So I desoldered the entire holders, paralleled them, and put the quick-connect tabs from some of the wiring in the PSU onto that, so I could just plug it in in place of the regular fuseholder in the microwave.

Plugged it all in, put the cover on, and plugged nto the wall--light comes on inside. Tested 5 minutes with bowl of water, and heated just like before, so it's fixed for now.

Was warmer outside today by 10 degrees F, so I got some other stuff done, including moving the ground wire clamp off the oldest city supply PVC pipe (why in the world anyone would put it there, I don't know, but that's where it's been since the post-fire remodel if not before) and onto the old copper pipe stub from the other unused not-as-old city supply.

Cleaned up my mess from yesterday, played with the dogs in between things, etc.

I started wiring up some other yard lights, but about the time I got all the bits together and started connecting them, the assholes in teh green house with the super-loud house-shaking bass in their trucks/cars started thundering the neighborhood. Tried to get them to stop, but they just turned it up louder. Police aren't going to do anything, either. Since this bass is so loud it rattles my head and guts, I ended up abandoning the whole thing and coming inside, where it's just enough less to not make me sick. After a while they finally unparked and drove around the neighborhood with it even louder, revving their engine and eventually left, but by then it was too dark out there to do the stuff I needed to do (since I would have to unplug the power to the other lights to wire up the things I need to), and shortly would be too cold to do things with my ungloved hands anyway. (and gloves keep me from holding/manipulating stuff correctly).

So...that's it for today. Maybe next weekend I'll get more done. And maybe someday I'll get a vacation, if my workplace can ever get us people to take my shifts for the week. :/

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Jan 22 2018 10:22pm

Oops, forgot the pics again:

yard light with camera above it
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and lightswitch
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back porch lighting
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still of dogs playing
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video version is still uploading (can take hours to days, will post link when done)
dog crates in background are squished ones i had in teh shed under other stuff for years (since the fire) hoping teh sun will warm them up enough to unsquish enough to fit them back together correctly. Too small to use with any dog I have now (the biggest one might fit the cat) but someone else, maybe a rescue, could use them.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by Chalo » Jan 23 2018 2:42am

I admit I haven't read through all this, but what's the camera intended to take pictures of?
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Jan 23 2018 3:29am

It's just for security monitoring of the yard, for the most part. I don't really expect people to come into the yard with the size dogs I have ;) but at least I can keep an eye on things remotely (and record it) if I need to. I can also check up on he dogs remotely while I'm not at home, at least when they are outside.

I originally wanted cameras because after the fire there were a lot of thieves breaking into the yard and stealing stuff, and the police would do nothing about it even when they caught them red-handed (as I understand from neighbors, they'd typically just let them leave *with* my stuff), when neighbors would call in (I wasn't usually here at the time, because the house was being rebuilt and I couldn't live here until it was done, but the rebuilder crew would only be there a few days to a couple weeks at a time, then gone for weeks waiting for city approval for next stage).

I looked into it but couldn't find a practical way to set them up with wifi and power and whatnot for an affordable price, because there would be no grid power at the house until the rebuild was complete and signed off by the city.

After I moved back in, Bill gave me a remote camera he'd bought for his place but didn't like how it worked (wifi issues mostly I think), and I used it to monitor the backyard from the back porch mounting. Worked well enough until the lantana and trees grew back, but by then I'd stopped having trouble with the thieves anyway, so didn't worry much about it. But Id' still wanted to put it somewhere it would be useful. (I already have one at the front door).

I thought about putting it at the sheds, pointing out across the yard under the trees, just to see the dogs, and that was my plan for a while. But when I was up on the ladder redoing the power wire to the yard light, I could see the camera might e useful up there, and wanted to try it out...hence the present position.

It has some issues; even now with the mulberries defoliated by winter, they still block much of the yard, but I can see the sheds and the periphery, and the house/back porch/door/windows, and the gates, etc. And the main area of the yard the dogs play in and where they nap when outside.

I may move it down to the sheds as previously planned; we'll see.

If I had money to burn I'd get a few more of these and put them where I could monitor all of the front and back yards.

I also wish I could afford to fully computerize the telescopes so I could use them the same way, only to watch the sky/stars. :)

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Jan 30 2018 12:03am

In preparation for next week's time off (when 'll be able to do more work on the SB Cruiser trike and hopefully "finish" my brother's trike (except for lights, which he hasn't gotten yet)), I've been spending most of my "weekend time" trying to finish up yard lighting and power outlets, so I can see well enough to work after dark (since the days are so short right now), given that it's been warm enough to keep working for hours after sunset the last few days, and might still be next week.

I didn't fall off any ladders today, but I did smash my left thumb with the hammer twice, and pinch various fingers with other tools several times, and burn a few (and the back of my hand somehow) with the soldering iron.

As noted last week, I added some floodlights above the back door to light the back porch itself. Today I moved the west one a bit further west so it can be pivoted to cover the area to the southwest of the porch (which is where it will point all the time except when being used to light the porch itself). Both of these lights are presently on a power strip with it's own switch and breaker, mounted on the doorframe just east of the door itself, so they can be switched off if not needed, even if other things on the outlets they're plugged into are still on.
east porch light
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west porch light
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I had used "floodlight" CFLs in these, 60w-equivalent, but found a six pack of generic LED floodlights, 600 lumens 60W equivalent, warm white, on deep clearance for a few dollars, and am now using those. They work much better, are much brighter and come on full immediately regardless of temperature (where the CFLs never brightened fully if it was below around 45F, and could take 20-30 minutes to get above half brightness below about 55F).

When the back room was torn down during the house rebuld after the fire, I'd saved the old lighting pole that used to be on the roof over the back door; it has two floodlight mounts on it and wiring already in it's conduit, etc. Yesterday I mounted this to the front of the shed just north of the barn shed taht's under the biggest mulberry tree, so it sticks up above the shed a few feet, and aims the floodlights to cover the work table just under the mulberry tree just northwest of the backdoor (which doesn't get enough light from the porch lights), and the ground parallel to that area north of the table.

The pics below were taken after sunset, nearly dark outside; the sky looks lighter than it was cuz of glare from the shed light. All of the light in the yard itself is from the shed light not the twilight.
north of table/tree
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shed light on yard w/dogs
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The mounting/conduit box that was part of that pole is bolted to the face of the shed just above teh door, both with a bolt/nut/fenderwasher set, and with a threaded conduit tube with it's locknuts into the box (so I can also feed wiring into the shed for lights inside) and I've clamped the pole itself to both the face of the shed and the edge of it's roof between the roof panels. In teh box itself I installed a GFCI outlet that also breakers the lights themselves. The floodlights used are glass outdoor-rated Sylvania "85W equivalent" 650 lumen warm white LED bulbs, which I found on deep clearance this weekend, only a few dollars each (cheaper than comparable incandescent or CFL types). They are actually quite bright, more than I expected from their ratings.
shed outlets
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shed lights
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I havne't gotten the 4-foot fluorescent fixture mounted to teh shed roof inside yet, but when I do it'll get wired to that outlet for GFCI protection as well, and will have it's own switch just inside and above the door. The fixture was saved from the driveway's carport roof when the back room was torn down; I've saved a few bulbs with a bit of life left in them from the alley bulk pickup in the last couple years, to use in it.

The wiring to the house is part of an old extension cord someone had tossed out becuse it was missing one end and the other was broken up. I cut the broken end off and replaced it with a cord I'd saved probably 30 years ago from a duct fan in a big rack mount cabinet (I had several of them, just two left now); it's soldered and heatshrink-covered on each splice, with the splices staggered so even if insulation fails there's no way to directly short them (I always do this with power supply wiring, having learned the hard way long ago).

I removed the "security" motion-activated light just to the east of the backdoor, since it's no longer needed there, and replaced it with an outlet/switch box, with another outlet box on the side of that. One of the outlets in the main box is switched by the switch in that box, the other three are unswitched. However, the power there is switched by teh wall switch just inside the door, so *all* of the outlets there are switched by that, so all of the yard lighting except the main greenish mercury-vapor lamp over the orange tree (with the camera over it) is turned on and off from that inside switch.

The over-door porch lighting is plugged into an unswitched outlet above, and the over-shed lighting is plugged into the switched outlet.
porch outlets/switches
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The security light mentioned above was moved to the driveway, southeast corner of the house just under the carport roof, where it can light the driveway and that corner of the front yard if needed. It uses "75w equivalent" CFLs in daylight blue-white; the same ones it's had in it for some time now. I've been wanting a light for the carport ever since the fluorescent fixture that was always there before was removed during the post-fire rebuild, but this is the first time I've gotten time and parts and energy all at the same time to do this.
security lighting up frontyard
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security lighting up carport
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Power is provided via two old vacuum-cleaner cords cut off of stuff from the alley bulk trash over the last couple years, spliced together like the other cords noted above (though in this case no need to cut off the last plug, as that two-prong polarized plug the cord came with is used to plug it into the powerstrip that plugs into the only outdoor GFCI outlet the house has, just to the east of the back door almost at ground level.

That powerstrip provides power to the security light, the camera, and the over-orange-tree yard light, and provides a place to plug in my powertool/etc extension cord that has 4-outlet box on the end of it.

All the cords to the lights are "plastic stapled" just under the eaves to keep them away from the wet, and then run from the corners of the house to the yard light in the east case, and the sheds in the west case, and just staying under hte eaves and carport roof to the security light.

At some point I'd like to use one of the various metal boxes I have to build an outlet / switchbox to contain all the outlets and switches for them, with breakers for each one or for sets of them, and mount it on the back wall next to the door, with good thick cords to run them to existing outlets inside the house (there's only one pair outside), so nothing is permanently wired in (since that technically requires permits and such), and is just "temporary" power extensions. ;)

Ideally I'd rather just add permanent outlets at various points around the outside of the house, and add conduit-wiring from the house to the sheds, permanently wiring all of them with outlets and lights. But that's money I don't have for all the permits/inspections/etc., so "temporary" stuff is all I can install.

But I actually started out the day by changing out the mailbox.

The house has never had an "official" type of mailbox the whole time I lived here. Before the fire, this one
old mailbox
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was mounted on the wall just to the right (east) of the front door, just below the ceramic tile address numbers. It's not very big, about a foot long, maybe 4" deep, and maybe 6" tall at the back (sloping lid down to the front). It's not even close to water resistant, but with it's original placement that didn't matter, being completely protected from rain by the porch roof.

However, after the fire, the rebuild moved it from the wall, to the outside of the porch support post nearest that point. That put it direclty under the edge of the porch roof, in the middle of the runoff from the roof. So even with the lid closed, mail would at least get damp, and if it was left open (which the mailman has often done for whatever reason, even with a big obvious "PLEASE CLOSE LID -- WET MAIL SUCKS" sign on the inside of the lid, though less often these days), any mail in there would just be paper soup in anything but a short sprinkle.

Plus, the lantana I've been growing to shade and screen the porch overgrows that area and covers the mailbox, unless I trim out a notch in it. WOuldn't happne if it was mounted on the wall still.

The obvious solution is to mount it back on the wall, but the landlord obviously doesn't want it there, or he'd've put it back when he did the rebuild. So...when Bill moved away, he left me the regular mailbox he'd found at goodwill a while back, that he'd been working on sanding down to repaint and replace his old one with, in case I could use it for something (like battery storage, etc.). So I mounted it on a board (piece of the internal wood saved from Tiny's broken-down feeding couch), then screwed that to a shelf-support-bracket (also saved from the backroom teardown) that's mounted to the porch-support-post where the old mailbox was. I also mounted the old ceramic numbers right above the mailbox (though I guess those won't be very visible once the lantana grows back)
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mailbox w/flash
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So now the mailbox is larger, water-resistant, and sticks out far enough that even with lantana growing aroudn it it's easy to get into and out of, so now I can let the lantana screen regrow there. It also has an outgoing mail-flag (which the old one did not).
mailbox no flash
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Before I could finish the mailbox (or any of hte other work), though, I had to come up with a new battery-powered drill/screwdriver. I got two pilot holes on the mailbox board drilled, then suddenly the smoke was let out, probably of the motor, based on the smell. :(
burned out powerdrill w/lipo
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So my options were to open up the crappy harborfreight drill (that I got off Freecycle a few years ago) and try to troubleshoot it, with a probably unrepairable motor, or go ahead and make up a battery pack for the much older Makita unit I've had for a while, which has NiMH packs that won't hold a charge long enough to do anything with.

Since RC LiPo had worked fine for the old HF unit for quite a long time, I decided the simplest and shortest path forward was to just do the same thing for the Makita, and worry about the HF some other day. The only complicated part would be rewiring one of the 6s packs as a 3s, as the Makita is a 14v unit, unlike the HF that could run on 6s). So I cut off the base of one of the two Makita packs, leavng just the plate with latches on the side and the stem that goes up inside the drill, pulled out the dead cells, and added wires/connectors cut off a puffed/dead RC LiPo pack to the internal connection tabs of the pack base. I was saved from haivng to rewire because even though I don't remember it specifically, I'd done this before for my old Ryobi SLA string trimmer (that burned out from the RC LiPo lasting a lot longer than the SLA, so it overheated the motor), and it turned out after testing that the pack is still good, and still balanced, having been left at 3.8v/cell last time I used it before putting it into one of the metal boxes I keep this stuff in out in a shed. I wrapped the pack in an old mousepad so it doesn't get beat up in handling while I'm using the Makita (it has no shrinkwrap), and ziptied it to the base of the Makita pack.

So it only wasted a couple of hours gathering the parts and doing the work, rather than the 3-4 if I'd had to do the pack rewiring, too. The good news is the Makita is a much better unit than the HF, and even run under-voltage (12.3v full RC LiPo vs 14.4v full NiMH).
lipo pack for makita
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lipo pack for makita
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lipo pack for makita
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Of course, the dogs did their usual supervising....
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kirin from afar
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kirin distracted
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old makita powerdrill
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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Feb 06 2018 1:28am

Today I finally got about 1/4 of the long-delayed (by the holidaze exhaustion and stress/etc from work mostly) yardwork done.

So now the lantana along the backyard's street side and carport and in the backyard is trimmed (on both inside and outside of the fence) and the mess mulched, swept up, and spread on the dirt areas of the backyard (where the dogs play and travel a lot, mostly).

And most of the trees in teh backyard are trimmed of sappers and whatnot, ready for spring to start growing taller and bigger up top for more shade (rather than down here where I don't need it). This also gives the dogs lots of new chewsticks and tugowar toys. :)

About half the backyard grass is mowed as well.

Still have to trim up the lantana out front, and the trees there, and mow the rest of the backyard grass (there's not a lot) and what little frontyard grass there is.

Then try to trim as much of the palm tree off as I can; the more I can remove of it's leaves, the slower it will grow.

I also would like to trim off some of the very tall "eucalyptus" in the northeast corner of the backyard; it's near the powerlines. The power company trimmed it a few months ago, but they didn't take much off (even though I told them to take as much off as they needed to), and it is getting to be a faster grower as the years go by, for whatever reason. I never ever water it, so I suspect it's roots have found the old sewer drain in the alleyway--I don't know if anything still flows in that, as I don't recall if they moved the drain system to the street when they moved the supply system there years back. But at some point in this tree's life, around 10-12 years ago, it suddenly started growing a lot faster than it had been, and that might explain it. I wish my other trees would grow like that!

Anyway, I don't have any ladders/etc that are tall enough to reach the stuff I need to cut off, and I can't climb that tree, so I'm not sure I can actually do it myself. Might have to see if I can recruit a friend (or an old coworker) that's younger and agile enough to get up there, but is also willing to follow directions as to exactly what and where to cut (so nothing falls into powerlines or on anyone's head).

I've also still got more in-shed lighting to install, and need to sort out stuff in the "barn" shed closest to the house, as I think I could probably get rid of half of what's in there and not miss it at this point. Most of that stuff was more sentimental things saved after the housefire, than anything I'll practically ever use (most of it my mom's or dad's or oldest sister's, none of whom are around anymore to care about it). The rest of it is bike parts and steel tubing, and some shelving I started to build up. IIRC last year or the year before that I moved the stuff that's in there now out of the other sheds to work on the trike or something...cant' recall ATM. But anyway, plenty of stuff I can recycle or give away that I can't use to build or fix things.

Side note: When I was picking up bits of hardware (kinds I just dont' have any of anymore, and never see at goodwill/etc) at Lowe's on Sunday, I peeked at their pre-made wooden fencing sections, to see what it might cost to put up a "solid" fence along the alleyway, in hopes it might stop some of the booming-bass from the house down the street from shaking my house so much (it probably won't, but can't know till I try). Unfortunatley, it's far out of my budget, at around $75 or so with tax for a 6' x 8' section of redwood (or pine, or cedar). I'd need something like 5 or 6 sections at least, so not a chance, unless I get a huge raise at work (pretty danged unlikely).

I've probably got enough other stuff of various kinds to build such a fence already, but I can't use any of it for that because the city requires all fencing to be of "consistent materials". :( I don't have enough of any *one* kind of thing to do it all.

I'd also like to find time to finish sorting and boxing the stuff in the computer/studio/etc room, which is now basically storage instead, with some shelves built out of old roll-around carts minus the wheels, and also build up shelves for the sheds to put all the boxes on (so I don't have to move stacks of boxes to find things), and also to sort out everything and finally get it where I can find things without sometimes hours of looking (instead of building/fixing).

Just...not enough time, even with a week off, cuz i also have to do some work on my SB Cruiser trike, and try to finish up my brother's trike to rideable stage.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Feb 06 2018 6:59pm

I got the palm tree done,
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whats left of palm tree
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and the rest of the back yard, and trimmed the front yard trees, though still have to finish the front yard's lantana trimming and grass.

I'm so tired and my arms hurt so much from yesterday's work that I couldnt' use the big cutters or the handsaw on the trees today, and had to get the angle grinder out to power-cut branches and palm stuff off. It's not the safest thing because the grinder can bind in the wood if the branch or palm frond shifts the wrong way, especially while i'm up on a ladder, but it was the only way I could do it in the time I have (it'd take days otherwise).

Once I got the trimming done, I needed to get the stuff cleaned up and moved to the backyard, including the pile of 12 to 20 foot long palm fronds (a couple dozen of them, which is pretty heavy all together). So I loaded them up into the Mk III trailer, with it's kennel in "tub" mode (top unfastened from bottom and placed upside down in the bottom half), and strapped them down so they wouldnt' fall out while hauling it. Was too heavy to move by hand (which is what I did with it yesterday with the lantana trimmings), so I took the kennel off SB Cruiser (so the fronds wouldn't catch in it while turning), and hooked it up to the trailer to pull it to the back of the back yard.
palm fronds in trailer
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palm fronds in trailer investigated by Yogi and Kirin
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rest of front yard stuff in trailer investigated by Yogi and Kirin
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For now, until there is space in the trash for the fronds (cut into small pieces) or bulk trash pickup comes, they're on the ground parallel to the alley near the fence. (they're so acidic as they decay that I can't use them as fertilizer / mulch).

The other branches and the palm "brooms" (where teh seeds grow) and other stuff I cut up into dog-usable-sized pieces and piled up near the palm fronds, but most of it didn't stay there long. Kirin and Yogi helped distribute it around the yard over the next couple hours, especially the "brooms", as Yogi would pick one out, and Kirin would go after it too (cuz whatever someone else has *must* be better than whatever she has :roll: ).

When I was done with that, Yogi cleaned the trailer out for me.
Yogi in trailer cleaning up nommy palm seeds while Kirin tries to figure out what's so interesting 1
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Yogi in trailer cleaning up nommy palm seeds while Kirin tries to figure out what's so interesting 2
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Yogi in trailer cleaning up nommy palm seeds while Kirin tries to figure out what's so interesting 3
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Yogi in trailer cleaning up nommy palm seeds while Kirin tries to figure out what's so interesting 4
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Then I put all the tools/etc into the trailer, including the extension cords, and parked the trike/trailer ready to ride it around to the front yard as soon as I am capable of doing the rest of the work.
Yogi checks out the trailer full of yard tools 1
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Yogi checks out the trailer full of yard tools 2
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Yogi and Kirin check out the trailer full of yard tools
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Now I am resting and eating lunch while typing this, to recover enough to finish the front yard (or do some other project).

Lunch itself is some pulled-pork BBQ, slow-cooked last night, cuz they had a really good sale on the pork loin last time I was at the store. I decided to try a recipe recommended to me and it's ok, but I should've just made it the way I would have on my own. Still good enough to eat, though. And I also still have a couple bowls of chili left from last week's giant pot....

PIcs below of the backyard as it is now. Been really dry so despite the temperature there's not a lot of green. Kinda "pans" around the backyard POV near the back porch panning from the northwest to southeast, then moving POV to the east gate and pointing south then north then south. THen POV from southeast corner of driveway pointing northwest to it's gate, then looking at the dogs thru the gate as they impatiently wait for me to come back.
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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Feb 08 2018 2:31am

The yard stuff wore me out, so I didn't really get anything significant done today (at least, not of the things I wanted to do).

But I did get the four-tube fluorescent fixture installed and wired in in the barn-shed under hte mulberry tree, so now I have sufficient light in tehre to do things, and to more easily see even in daytime.

To get power to it, I altered the routing of the extension cord that ran to the over-shed light on the next shed to the north. Instead of going directly there, that now runs to a four-outlet box just above the door inside teh barn shed. From there, power runs to two switches in a second box next to the first. These are in that spot because the doors open at that spot, so I don't have to open the doors all teh way just to turn on the light (or use an outlet). One of those runs up to the four-tube light there in the barn shed, and the other switch runs to the over-shed lights on the next shed (taht point down into the yard / workbench area). There's also still an outlet pair there; it's switched with the lights (to simplify wiring).

I also got a bunch of stuff (mostly sentimental, some old tech, hobbies I'll never have time for again, etc) cleaned out of that shed to recycle. It's all stuff saved from the fire cleanup, that I thought I would want to keep, but the only time I've even touched any of it was to move it from one shed to another. So I don't need it, not going to use it, need the space it takes up so getting rid of it. There's still another pile of stuff there I'd like to remove but probably not going to do it till tomorrow--I'm too worn out to do anymore tonight even though I now have the lights to do it with.

A bunch of the boxes stuff was in disintegrated, so there's stuff all over the shed I have to pick up and sort out. Most of that is screws, nuts, electronic bits--I'm tempted to just sweep it up into bin to recycle, but I'm sure I need some of it, so I'll take a look thru.

Bunch of stuff in the farhtest north shed to dump too, and a stack fo styrofoam coolers (tougher than boxes over time, and also insulates the sheds some when they are stacked against the walls), to put the stuff I"m keeping in.

I'm just paring down to stuff I need to build other things that I need with, and maintain them, and the house, and take care of the dogs. No sense storing stuff I'm not using that doesn't serve one of those purposes. Wasted enough time on all that already. If I had done this before, then right now I'd be working on the trikes' improvements instead of this.

Getting too tired for all this stuff. Don't get old; it sucks.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Feb 08 2018 11:54pm

Today was more sorting thru stuff to toss/recycle,
junk to recycle / toss
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and bulding shelving to hold what's left in an organized manner.

But before i started that, i opeend the HF powerdrill to see exactly what went wrong in there. It was definitely the motor, as expected:
johnson controls motor
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teh actual failure is that one of hte commutator segments cam eloose, and destroyed a brushholder, plasmifying some of the metal around the inside of the motor.
exploded commutator 3
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exploded commutator 2
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exploded commutator 1
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ONce I had enough stuff cleared out of the barn shed to completely clear the back wall and north wall, i then cleaned out the space between sheds 2 and 3
between shed 2 and shed 3
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so I could get behind all the sheds, to get stuff back there out
behind shed 3
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and to setup a support for a small window-a/c unit so I can still work in teh shed in summer if i have to.
behind shed 2 and barn shed
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I've been storing pallets (to disassemble for their wood for various projects) and some of the wood itself, along with other bits and bobs too big for the sheds, in between sheds 2 and 3, and behind them.
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Also behind them were some very tall uprights for retail shelving,
wood and shelf uprights
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that I'd originally saved way way back before the housefire to build an awning for the back porch, by welding them together and then making a canopy over them. That never happened, for various reasons. They're way too tall to use in the sheds for shelving, (and don't fit the majority of the shelves I have, being a differnet brand), but I do have a handful of fairly deep (>30") shelves that should fit them.
more retail shelving 1
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Those deep shelves are planned for use as eaves over the back porch, to help with shade and with the potentially heavy runoff from the little rain we get around here (when it happens, it's usually either barely a drizzle, or it's a tremendous downpour you can't even see thru).

But I was going to have to invent a way to hang them up there, until I ran across these long uprights (that I'd forgotten I still had). They are tall enough to do what I want; I just have to fasten them to the house itself (bolt thru them into the studs). Then I can also use the uprights to hold other shelves permanently or temporarily, as workspaces, etc., as needed. And i have some extensions to the uprigths if i need them (or I can make more uprights by connecting them together
more shelf uprights
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I don't know that I'll get these up this week, but at least I can put all the bits in one place on the porch area to get it started. :)

Waiting to be put together and used, I've had a bunch of other shelving bits that aren't all complete, uprights from one, shelves from another, frames from another, etc. But since it all requires significant DIY, it hasn't happened yet, because everytime I'd palnned on it, other things came up I had to deal wtih. So since there's no seriously-pressing repairs to get done on anything (lots of stuff Id like to do, but not urgent), I'm dealing with that now.
more shelves to build plus tabletop
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more retail shelving 2
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more retail shelving 3
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Since I shouldn't need to move these soon, if ever, I"m jsut welding the retail shelving to the uprights I have from other shelves, since it's all steel. (I don't have uprights taht fit the majority of the shelves I have).

I do have four particle-board shelves, 3' wide, that fit one set of uprgiths, so am using those first. but the rest of those shelves are long gone, so I'm welding some of the retail shelves to the remainder of the uprights, about a foot apart to tive me four shelves starting from a foot above the floor to five feet up, same as the particle baord shelves. ATM I've got four 4' shelves on the north wall (with 3' wood ones), and four 3' shelves on the back wall up to the edge of the a/c unit.
barn shed shelves 1
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barn shed shelves 2
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I'll then use styrofoam coolers (saved from fish shipments at work) to hold various types of parts and whatnot, to sit on those shelves. cardboard boxes dryrot and disintegrate in a year or two, but teh coolers last indefinitely as long as they're not in the sunlight directly. It's also easier to seee what's ina white cooler vs a brown box, with less light. I can also friction-fit other bits of styrofoam in thema s dividers if I need to.

The a/c unit i'm using is a relatively new one, that a coworker used in his apartment when the whole building's a/c was out for more than several days in the middle of summer a couple years ago, and he had no use for it after they fixed the building a/c, and then he moved to a house and really didn't need it. it's not very high-capacity, but it'll be way better than nothing in the middle of summer if i have to work in there.

I had planned to use this very old (at least 30 years) unit, as last time I tested it out (years ago) it worked fine, but tested it today beofre doing anything else with it and it turns on and runs, but does not get cool anymore, nor does the external coil get warm. SO eitehr the pump isn't working or there's no freon left in it. i'll troubleshoot it eventually.
ancient a/c unit
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I also have a secondary old unit, maybe half the age of the above unit, but it's fan doesn't work (the compressor does), so combining the two units is a possibility.
slightly less ancient a/c unit
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Since without insulation the a/c would be nearly pointless, I have a fair number of just lids off the styrofoam coolers, saved either when coolers break or just taking those instead of the whole cooler for some of the fish shipments. teh plan was to glue them to the roof with sprayfoam insulation and/or roofing tar, etc., but i have a strong feeling that they're going to just come off in the summer heat. So rather than waste money on the foam/etc., i'll be screwing htem into the roof, with drywall screws.

Rather than each one being screwed in separately, I'll use one screw at each four-corner intersection, with a large fender washer overlapping the corners. I might not have enough of those, so since they're jsut styrofoam, I'll probably use bits of thick plastic sheet; should be sufficient.

It is possible the screws will leave leaks in the roof, so I'll use a dab of silicone or roofing tar (I have a bit of both already) in the hole as I isntall each screw. The roof already has a number of holes in it and in between panels, which i probalby wil have to ge some sprayfoam to seal up.

I also need to add a power-ventilation system, to suck out fumes from grinding/welding when I have to do that inside the shed--even with the doors wide open, unless there's a good stiff breeze/wind in the right direction, it's not sufficient and i have to leave the shed after a minute, and stay out for 20-30 minutes while a box fan clears the air. I have a few squirrel-cage fans that should work for this, just have to mount and wire them up near the roof along with covered exhaust vents to keep rain splatter otu of them.

This is the lighting and outlet/switches i got done yesterday
Barn shed lights
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barn shed outlets and switches
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for the a/c unit i'm going to run a separate extension cord that can be run into my bedroom's power thru the window. (sealing the opening with a strip of styrofoam since that will go around the cord and keep airleaks to a minimum).

And since Yogi and Kirin somehow avoided being in every single pic I took today, I leave you with Mouse the cat wishing us all death and dismemberment.
mouse says no more pictures 20180207_201536.jpg
mouse the cat wishes death to the camera
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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Feb 11 2018 12:41am

Mostly today I continued the cleanout and sorting, but I got one significant thing done:

I've had this huge pool-table-sized aquarium since shortly before the housefire, that I was going to turn into an aquaponics tank. But with sitting out in the weather for a year during the rebuild, it needed it's seals rebuilt, plus I'd've had to get new plumbing and pump/etc equipment for it (as all the original stuff went missing). That's more work and money and time than I had to spend on it in the time since, so I didn't get anything done with it. I also wanted to move it from it's spot in the weather under the tree to into the backroom, or under a different tree closer to the house, out of the way where it has sat--but it is far too heavy for me to do myself (I *barely* managed to move it where it is back then, and almost killed myself doing that), and the several times I scheduled with ohters to move it, they didn't bother to show up (somtimes they cancelled, sometimes they jsut all conveniently "forgot").

So at this point it'd ahve to be completely taken apart and resealed (which for it's size would take at least four to six cartridges of silicone, probably more), before it could be used, even if I had all the other equipment needed. :/

SInce it has to be taken apart anyway, I went ahead and cut thru the little intact silicone between the heavy thick glass panes, and took it apart and stowed teh pieces behind the sheds (which is where all the weatherable stuff I know I won't need easy access to is going). The marine-plywood-and-plastic base of the tank is also put there.

The marine-plywood stand/sump cabinet I am going to use as a worktable, with a stainless-steel tabletop for the work surface. The cabinet is relatively light, and easy to drag around wherever I need it, even with the metal top on it. For now, it's going on a pallet that happens to be the same length as the cabinet, to keep teh wood off teh ground, just under the eaves of the back porch, as far from the back door as it'll go (under the mulberry tree there for shade).

This will work for a lot of projects that have to be done outdoors, and it's a good height for working with smaller stuff (a bit higher than kitchen counters). I think the area is about 3' x 6', IIRC.

My other workbench, a shorter wooden one made of wood beam frame and old tabletop, is lwo enough to the ground to lift heavier things on to (like bikes) to work on them. Presently it's under the same tree the aquarium used to be, just to the west of the back door, but it's going to go just to the south of the barn-shed-door, right up against hte trunk of the biggest mulberry tree. There's a similar but smaller and much older worktable on the south inside wall of that shed, that I can work on stuff inside the shed if it's too hot (or rainy, etc) outside to work on stuff that I have to.

I also got an old treadmill disassembled for teh usable bits, which makes it A) much easier to move/store, and B) possible to use just the bits I want. The intent is to use the power supply, controller, and main motor to run the lathe, so I can have a variable-speed that I can finely control. Have to figure out the input wiring first--unfortunately I think the control panel for hte treadmill is long gone, though I don't recall when or where (probably during the fire cleanup). So I will ahve to trace the wiring on the PCB from the panel connector, and then experiment with inputs. Most likely it's a simple 0-5v throttle signal, but we'll see, once I get a chance to get around to this project. In the meantime, the stuff goes to stay where the lathe is (whcih works, albeit with the old induction motor it's previous owner replaced the original with).

I have one more day to do stuff before restarting work, which will pretty much have to be just cleaning up the spread-out mess and putting back in the sheds anything I mean to keep or haven't been able to sort thru yet (which is a fair bit of stuff). Not really enough time to finish organizing things, so like usual they'll all just go back fairly haphazardly.

In other news....I had to water some stuff this week, as the forecast when I started was for a dry next week (and probably after that). Of course by the time I finished slow-watering the stuff that needed it, the forecast had changed to show likely rain by Thursday next week. As of just now, it's changed to show possible rain by Monday (10% chance) increasing thru Thursday to 40% then decreasing to 20% by Saturday.

But at least I had nice weather (if a bit warmer than perfect) for my week off of work.

Of course...the long delay in getting my time off means that the bulk trash pickup (most of what i have isn't allowed in the recycle bin) started in our area *just* before I had anything to put out, so now all the unkept stuff will have to sit out in the yard by the alley until the end of April. :roll: (at least, all the stuff taht can't be put in the trash bin or recycle bin, since nothing I've got would be wanted by anyone else--I have it *because* no one else wanted it).

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Feb 12 2018 2:44am

Forgot to get pics today, too, just kept working as hard as I could as much as I could, resting and doing whatever teh dogs wanted when I couldn't keep going, till I could go again (the normal way I do stuff at home). I'll get pics tomorrow and make a new post with new info if I have any.

But I did get everything cleaned up and back in sheds that I'm keeping (or that I didnt' finish sorting). It's not nearly done yet, but it's a huge step in the right direction.

So now it looks like I added a third of the total area to the yard, just because I removed the aquariums and moved some other stuff out of sight, and rearranged some stuff to make a more efficient "stack" that I can still get things out of relatively easily.

It also looks like I enlarged three of the sheds (never got to touch the 2nd one of four), because of the stuff removed from them, even with the other stuff put inot them that used to be behind or beside them.

The main things done today were:

==To get the pile of junk under the mulberry tree by the barn-shed removed, about half of it to the toss-pile, the rest to it's new homes in sheds. Most of it was old bike parts, some was bits of wood and metal scrap leftover from projects; some of that was still usable, some of it not really. Anything really small that I still have a lot of in bigger pieces I put in the toss-out pile. (I might still save some of that when I'm done with the rest of the cleanup, if there's room to save it and time to sort it).

==To move the workbench from under the tree by the back porch over to the spot cleared above. Had to clear off the project leftovers first, both off the bench and from under it (mostly scrap bits like above). I hadn't yet fastened the top to the bench yet, being "efficient" (lazy) and not doing any work I don't have to. So moving it was easier, in pieces instead of one heavier object. But once in it's new home, I went ahead and screwed down the several sections of tabletop to the frame, so it'll be eaiser to work with on some types of projects. I left the edges of the tabletop away from the frame so I can use them to clamp stuff to (this is one reason I hadn't screwed it down before; it's easy to shift for the best clamping angle that way).

==To build a workbench inside the 3rd shed (the one iwth the awning at the entrance; the one I park the trike in for bad weather like the rain we'll probably have this whole coming week). I've had the bits sitting unreachable in one of teh sheds for a while. The frame for it used to be my music-studio's main desk frame, until the rebuilders destroyed the whole desk to take it out of the house after the fire. The frame was all I could salvage, and that only because it's really heavy steel. So I bolted it back together (had to drill new holes cuz the originals were bent way too far out of shape to fix), then took the big flat particle-baord plastic-coated panel (saved from the treadmill I took apart yesterday) and made most of the bench surface from that. It's not quite long enough by a couple of feet, so I used anothe rsection of particle board of similar thickness and type saved from something else I forget, to cover the rest.

It's jsut desk height, not standup height, but it can be used standing--just not for eerything. Mostly it's just to set things on I'm charging or wiring up; this shed is becoming my electrical/battery/etc shed. I already have most of my old batteries in here, stored in metal cabinets for fire safety, in case something suddenly goes wrong--not an unlikley thing with some, like the old puffed RC LiPo (some of which is stored in metal boxes inside a metal cabinet). The two main metal cabinets for this purpose are now under the bench, file cabinets to the left hold other simlar stuff. Eventually I'll get all the parts like connectors, wires, breakers, etc., all stored in here, so I can easily find it all and work on packs or bike wiring, etc.

== I also got some of the insulation mounted to that same wall of this shed, old cooler lids which are first just placed against hte wall, two sizes below the midline support rail of the shed, same two sizes above it to the roofline. Drywall screw thru a square of coroplast that holds corners/edges of lids against the shed wall, screw goes thru that too. POinty end sticking out the wall on the outside pushed into a bit of wood scrap so nobody rips themselves open on it. Won't have to worry about that with teh ones on the roof.

== then I got the fluorescent fixture (very heavy for a single bulb) that used to be an office-desk unit mounted up on the shed roof above the bench. It's not directly bolted to the roof, but rather to two "beams" I installed from teh roof edge to the outer middle roof supports. The beams are two halves of a floor support rail for one of these sheds; I have seeral that came from someoen else's shed kit they never used when building it I guess. The tab at one end is screwed into the roof/wall interface rail and the toher into the roof support rail. Then a hole in th ecenter of each beam for the hanging bolt of the fixture to go thru. Since the fixture is really heavy, hard to hold up while fastening it, I used long bolts that are secured first to the beam with a nut, so they won't move when putting the fixture up under them, then just have to thread the nut/washer on there a bit for first one end, then the oher. THen tighten while it's hanigng there.

== moved the 90-gallon divided tank off it's stand, and then it and the stand (heavy cuz it's got a refrigeration system in it) moved to the south side of the barn shed, sitting on their ends instead of in normal position, cuz I'm not going to use them there, and no point wasting the work to set them up. At some point I'd like to take the dividers out of this tank and use it as a glass wind-shield for the solar water heater (which is still in the shed and needs to be reassembled and reinstalled, but I have to build a roof mount for it and then get it up there).

==parked the Mk IV big flatbed trailer where the above tank used to be, under the bathroom window. The crate from the back of SB Cruiser is also there for now (changing SBC to flatbed mode), and parked the Mk III kennel trailer next to those. The Raine Trike (still in progress) is near them, parked next to the big mulberry tree and the end of the barn-shed workbench.

--Yogi's "pool" is now moved to the north side of the backporch tree, where the above workbench was. So now it's out of the sun once the tree gets it's leaves back, which will help with algae control (I have to clean it more than once a week in the old position when its' warm out, hoping for less than half that often in the new spot). He's just happy it's back in use (was stored on it's side dry the last 2-3 months because it was too cold for it; he'd get wet and then get shivery).

== got the fans and motor out of the dead A/C unit, so the rest can be recycled once I take it to one of the dropoff points for that kind of stuff. When there's time I can use this stuff to fix the other A/C unit that still works but has a dead fan motor.

== when done with all that stuff, I pretty much just stacked antyhing left out back into the north shed (4), so I can still access the rest of the sheds easier (that shed holds stuff I definitely don't access much; eentually I intend to make it go away and use it's panels to make shades/awnings/eaves for other sheds and the house and stuff.

Lots of progress....but still lots left to do. :/

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Feb 12 2018 1:04pm

Pics, as promised.

First, the aquarium-stand workbench:
aq stand wb
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presently inaccessible, surrounded by the rest of the stuff that will be built into the back porch (eaves/awnings, swinging bench seat to relax on).

The old main workbench, now at teh face of the barn shed.
old main workbench
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it's got a bunch of bits stowed under it ATM till they can be sorted and filed.

thenew battery/electronics/etc workbench, littered with stuff to be filed.
new battery/electronics/etc workbench
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battery cabinets underneath.

The light fixture above it, and the mounts
light fixture above it
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The anchors for the styrofoam cooler lid insulation
anchors for the styrofoam cooler lid insulation
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The battery/etc cabinets with the charging station stuff and switches on top
charging station switches
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lights and outlets on cieling of that shed
lights and outlets on cieling of that shed
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bunch of crap to sort thru still in there
bunch of crap to sort thru still in there
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bunch of crap to sort thru still in there
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"new" gate between sheds 2&3 to keep dogs from chasing cats back there (and potentially getting hurt on stored items)
gate between sheds 2&3
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gate between sheds 2&3
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Yogi's pool, and their main outside water bucket (2 gallon) sitting on a cooler to get it to their height.
Yogi's pool, and their main outside water bucket
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Bored dogs wishing it was playtime (and thus it became)
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Kirin stealing Yogi's stick
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The rest below is a "tour" clockwise starting at the back door, then after pointing east it goes to the west side yard between house and sheds, then the back porch, then the carport side.
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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Feb 18 2018 1:42am

The IR from the pole camera is pretty bright, though I'd get better coverage if I had the IR lights under the trees separate from the camera, so it doesn't light up the trees and "blind" the camera to anything past them. I took these pics of the dogs via just that light using the sony handheld camera, (blocking the IR light on the camera itself).

Below those two pics is Kirin just come out of the bakc door walking towards me at the barn shed, with the freshly-dug-out expanded watertrap area under the mulberry tree next ot the back door (to give more psace to the runoff from the roof that ends up there). The stuff in the dirt is paper waste (like Raine's paper plates--I use plastic bowls but he can't always lift and hold the "real stuff" plus the food weight) that I soak in water and then mix with dirt so it eventually becomes more soil.
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Last edited by amberwolf on Feb 18 2018 2:50am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by The fingers » Feb 18 2018 2:24am

Oliver's water bucket is a little larger than a 2oz soufflé cup. :lol:
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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Feb 18 2018 2:54am

I suspect Oliver could use the little white bucket Yogi and Kirin drink from as a swimming pool, and use the cooler under it for a house. ;)

And probably use Yogi or Kirin for a horse to get around on. :lol:

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Mar 13 2018 12:34am

A few days ago most of the trees big and small began sprouting leaves; a few haven't woken up yet but with the recent "rain" (sprinkles) and warmer temps (75-87F highs, 60s F lows) they soon will. Have had to trickle water quite a few things to ensure they survive and start recovering from "winter".

The orange tree has a batch of small tangy oranges that I've been harvesting, and now has the start of new flowers. If it doesn't get too windy then I'll get more oranges later this year; sometimes the winds blow the blooms off before they get teh chance to do their stuff.

Some potato buds planted in various places are sprouting up, and some garlic, the onions didn't yet (might not, they rarely do).

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Mar 20 2018 2:13am

The three front bigger mulberries haven't awoken yet, nor the two central ones or the northeast corner one in back, but everything else is in full swing, with the biggest one and the next two smaller ones nearest the house already are filling with berry blooms.

Nary a drop of rain in the last few "storms"; and not quite a tenth of an inch in the last one we did get any.

Not much else since last time. Weather's been nice, might stay taht way long enough to get some stuff done. Work's crazy.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by markz » Mar 22 2018 2:58am

You need more wheels 8)

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Mar 22 2018 1:53pm

Yes, I do. :)

More old steel rimmed ones I can weld together and turn into fencing/gates woudl be nice--that's mostly what I'm saving the oldest ones for.

Some moped wheels.

And newer aluminum ones with good rim braking surfaces and wider (40-50mm) rims, in 26" size. Some to use on the trailer, some to use on the front of SB Cruiser (spare wheels), some as spare wheels for my brother's Raine Trike, and some for the new version of SB Cruiser I'll eventually build based around the stuff I learn from teh Raine Trike (which uses all 26" wheels).

And a spoke threading machine with heads for 15, 14, 13 gauges at least, so I can easily reuse all the spokes from wheels I rebuild into different ones.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Apr 08 2018 9:35pm

Since the weather has turned "hot" (mid-90s, approaching 100F in the next few days, with lows only getting down to the low 70s by dawn, still in the 80s until well after midnight), I've had to put the window A/C unit back in the bedroom, and the main house A/C has started to run.

Previously was able to keep everything cool enough to sleep well (as well as I ever can with all the stuff in my head) by just putting the box fan in the window to circulate cool (70s down to 60s or less) air from outside into the house.

Dogs don't like the heat; Yogi stays inside almost all the time, even when I'm outside like the last couple days I had off from work. Kirin stays with me except when the wind dies down around 1-2pm and it is about the hottest it gets. Sometimes she'll just dig a little under a tree where some damp dirt might be, and lay in that, sometimes she'll go inside for a bit.
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Watered pretty much everything in front and back and sides last couple days, since we've had no rain and all forecasts for it have failed to become reality. Still, spring is waking up the plants, and it's all significantly greener than this pic from 3-4 weeks ago, IIRC.
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I moved some more lantana and mulberry sproutlings around; some to replace ones that failed during the winter, and some to add some plant life behind the sheds, to eventually provide afternoon/evening shade for those. (wasn't possible until I moved the stuff from back there out, tossing it or using it or re-storing it, back around February).
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As I get more shade from the older trees, it lets me plant more things with no more water usage, and then the new things grow and make more shade, enabling more planting with litle more water usage (less, actually, in some areas, as the new plants are in the "water shadow" of existing ones, so they share and water that might've gone to waste now feeds multiple bushes/trees).

Had to trim out around 1/3 of the older mulberry near the back gate; it's the best-producing (best tasting) one, one of the very first we planted when we moved in at the turn of the century. That 1/3 didn't come back from winter, and was totally dead. There's actually 3 or 4 trees all sprouted from the same spot, which is typical of the mulberries I have here, so what it looks like is one of those trees simply died completely over the winter. Was a lot of branches/trunk/etc. Ended up having to use the angle grinder with cutoff disc to cut wedges out of thicker stuff and then bend/break them off. Still have to cut it up into small enough pieces for the dogs to use as chew toys; most of the pieces right now are almost as big as the whole tree in the middle of the backyard is. Presently is just piled at the back fence area till I get time/energy at the same time (probably at the end of this month on my housefire-anniversary-"vacation").

Still working on a design for giant planters I can roll out of the way on the driveway, that I can put trees and lantana in to shade the whole driveway/carport end of the house--that slab of concrete absorbs so much heat from the morning sun, and then passes that heat into that end of the house.... Have to be able to move them easily so I can get in and out of the driveway myself, on SB Cruiser, trailers, etc., as the carport gate of the yard is my main access. (I could still use the alley gate, but there's so many little bits of trash and junk and stuff mixed in the gravel in the alley that I'd probably get flats from it at some point).

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » Apr 23 2018 5:17pm

Well, its been five years just about to the minute that I came home to the results of the fire.

Seems both much longer and just like yesterday.

Life goes on; Yogi and Kirin are doing well (napping next to me right this moment, cuz its about 95F outside right now so we came inside to cool off).

My brother Raine and I are doing well enough; as of yesterday I got a promotion and a very small raise, so if things at least stay the same as they are now, itll be a little bit easier to get by.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » May 18 2018 7:39pm

Raise is nice but job sucks. First day back from ime off s6tarted out bad and got worse, and worse and worse since then, getting less and less sleep due to stress nightmares until this past week I didn't get any at all other than just dozing for moments at a time before being wakened by more nightmares and thoughts of stuff that has to get done that i have no time to do and ccan't get anyone else to do, or at least not correcctly.

So day before yesterday i had to leave work early becaue i couldn't continue, I could barely keep standing or sort of walk, and I couldn't think or remember things. I don't really remember the day itself, or the trip home, other than that, and waking up sometime before dark and panicking because I knew I should be at work and thought I'd somehow fallen asleep with y work clothes on, and forgot to go to work. I tried to get up and find my phone to call work but my ribs hurt and I couldn't really get up, was stll so wiped out I just couldn't do it. I guess I fell asleep again where I was, and woke again after dark; don't remember anything else.

Eventually after waking and sleeping a while I was good enough to hobble into the kitchen and feed Yogi and Kirin. I finally remembered that I left work early, but not much else--it's all hazy.

I was unable tto sleep more for a while, and played with my guitar and recorded it, dunno if its any good. couldn't work the software well enough to get a file i could upload though.

More sleep/wake thru the night, but my ribs still hurt enough to make it harder now that i wasnt quite so wiped out. No idea what I did to bruise them, since nothing shows up on the outside.. Maybe I fell while still exhausted, before I made it to the bedroom? No idea.... I'll never know.

Anyway, I'm pretty functional now, though still tired I'm not exhausted, after half a day of sleeping (still had nightmares, but slept thru most of them, waking up yelling / screaming a bunch of times though). Then sleeping more fitfully but still sleeping off and on thru the next day.

Yesterday I did some light housework i've been unabl to do for nearly three weeks. Was going to start the yardwork in the morning while still cool since i couldn't go back to sleep anymore. Did push he mower around he backyard a little but when i took it out front to do that, the extension cord wouldnt work. I

Its made from several cords spliced together with doulbe heatshrink over the splices, and all splices are non-overlappng, so even if insulatio fails it can't short to another one.

The ends are the molded-on originals. The outlet end had a definite problem, as every time I flexed it in a cetain direction, power would work again. So I cut that off, and replaced it with a screw-on end saved from a trashed cord a long tmie ago.

But it still didnt wrok. I got the multimeter out and stuck one probe on each prong a one end, and into eah outlet hole at the other, and contuniuity teted each wire, finding only the hot as open Left the meter on that wire, and flexted the cord along i's lengh until i found a spo t that caused the meter to beep.

THat was right at one of my splices, so I cut oen the heatshrink and found the wire broken right at the end of the soldered area. easy to fix, thugh i had to add a lenght of wire so as not to have to cut and reslice the other tw wires or have a kink in he cord.

Now he cord worked fine, so i got the weedeater out to pretrim some of the areas the mower can' reach, so the cut stuff can be mulched by it. But it didn't work--it was jammed and wouldn't spin. It wrked perfectly back on my time off when i did the yardwork, and had just been leaning up in the corner behind the front door until i could get back to finishing the ttrimmng.

Thankfully this Ryoby 137r is made to be serviced, and also has quick disconnects to take the head off either for brreakdown to travel with or to use different heads on it, so i took the head off and found only it was jammed, the motoor and shaft work fine.

Opened u the head and found three of four bearings jammed solid. The shafts they are on, with beveled gears on the mating ends dissassembled easily letting me get the bearings off for servic. I soaked them all in citrus cleaner/degreaser, then pulled the seals off (only ha them on one side of each bearing), then used a stiff brush to work out the old grease and debris . etc .

After cleaning them out, they all work and I regreased them. Cleaned the gears and the housing and packd it all with new grease, closed it u, and it all wrked.

Unfortunately I spent just about the entire day doing the two things above, napping now and then whether i wanted to or not, and then took quite a while to sleep again but slept an hour or tw at a time until the dogs decided they were going to waste away to nothing from starvation this morning. ;)

So I'm better enogh to work again, htough how long that will last I don't know, if stuff stays like it is..

I've never quit a job before...the places usually just go out of business or get bought out, or lay me (and others) off because of poor sales/etc. This might be my first, if things don't change for the better.

Would hate to do it after investing over 10 years there and finally moving up where I am now (which I was expected to be able to do years ago if it weren't for various crappy managers we had and all the various intervening events in the company that basicaly turned me into a cashier for years intead of doing the job I was hired for).

But I can't handle this kind of thing much longer--it might actually kill me, by lack of sleep causing an accident on the road if not by direct stress health issues.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by e-beach » May 18 2018 11:03pm

How is your B vitamin intake in the day? Around lunch time maybe?

I eat dark chocolate as dessert. Sometimes dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) and melatonin. It really helps me sleep.

Hope it passes as you get used to the work.

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Re: There was a fire at my house today while I was not home.

Post by amberwolf » May 19 2018 12:40am

lunch time? yeah, I don't even always get a lunch, cuz theres not always enough poeple to cover the shifts.

But the vitamins won't do much if i can't stay asleep long enough at a time. I've been thru this before; when my mom was really sick in her last year, about 13 years ago, and my workplace at the time really sucked cuz they wouldn't hire people then either, so I was owrking extra long shifts, with no breaks and no lunches, then going home to feed the dog dinner (Bonnie, at the time), then going to the hospital (later, hospice) to be with my mom, then going home to feed the dog breakfast, then going to work, repeat ad nauseum. I was a zombie and barely survived it. Can't count the number of times I collapsed on the bike (pedal only) on teh way to one of those places, dazed and confused and had to figure out where I was headed.

Also has been almost as bad after the fire itself a few times, but not quite like the above, or like now.

Now, the problem is nightmares triggered by stress, although i don't remember most of them the ones I do remember were mostly about work, though some are about the fire, or other dogs I've lost (mostly Tiny and Teddy).

I've tried all sorts of things to sleep despite those, and nothing works, other than exhaustion eventually forcing me to just sleep thru them anyway.

Sleeping pills wont' work because then I have to have something to wake me up, which then means I need something to make me sleep, which means I have to have something to wake me up, and then I'm stuck on a dependency cycle--don't wanna go there (even if I could afford a doctor for prescription stuff, or the stuff itself).

Also I can't wake up if some emergency comes up, so unless the stuff is so strong that it completely knocks me out I'll be so anxious about being unable to respond to a fire or dog emergency or whatever that I'll be laying there heart pounding being unable to allow myself to sleep for fear of a disaster happening. It's really just paranoia, but given the stuff thats happened in the past....

And anythign that isn't strong enough to seriously knock me out doesn't keep the nightmares from waking me up.


The problem is edited blahblaahblah dosnt matter anyway edited blahblah

Anyway, ther's no way to "get used to" the work because the workload is presently impossible.

When the work is not impossible, but jsut hard, I can do it--done that all my life.

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