Thursday, September 14, 2017

Back from the Wasteland that is FB

Since the internet is such a new part of our lives, we tend to see the generations of internet fads and innovations fly by in our lives like a race car in a video game - the ride is kind of wild, bumpy and out of control, and we kind of try to keep the car on the road and not crashing.  At least that is how it seems to me.

I remember.....says the old man  with a cackle.....back when my son told me about email.  I was underwhelmed.  What was the point, I asked him?  You can just call someone on the phone and talk to them.  What is so great about email?  But pretty soon email was really important, and then it became the medium to tell all your friends, and many people that you didn't know at all, to tell them all the latest jokes.  And then it got so big that lists of jokes and stories were forwarded to hundreds of people on lists and that part of email became impersonal and annoying.

Sometime after that blogging  became quite the fashionable way to  communicate - not that blogs and vlogs ever replaced email, but they were new and in the spotlight, and a great deal of creativity was poured in to millions of pages of digital print.   Blogs came to be a great way to keep up with what was new in the lives of our children - most of them took to expressing their thoughts and telling their stories in their blogs, so Annie and I embraced them too.

And then along came FB.  The last four or five years I have been seduced by the siren song of FB.  It was so easy.  You can register your approval with a like or a love, or a comment.  You could share a meme or a video, and many of them were and are touching, funny, alarming, or tragic, or some mixture of emotions..  Several times I tried to get back into my blogs, but I had become lazy, and it just took so little effort to scroll through the FB feed.

And then came the election.  There were just so many voices...and so many of them were and are so angry.  I feel a little PTSD'ed from all the politics and so found myself backing away from FB, and not missing it much at all.  Feeling a little guilty for not checking in and wishing friends a happy birthday, or liking their posts.  But just a little guilty, and less so each day.

Then a couple of days ago my brother sent me (via email!) an obituary for the father of a childhood friend..  It was a sweet tribute to a gentle, kind and thoughtful man, but a man that I had been a little afraid of as a child because he was a pretty strict dad, and I thought that was a little scary.  Later on, as an adult I came to realize what a great man he was and wrote a blog post about that realization.  It was kind of my tribute to his many good and admirable traits and I dug through my old blogs until I found it (Walt) and sent it to my brother.

I guess that the conclusion of this story is the realization that I have wasted a lot of time on FB.  I probably waste a lot of time anyway, but re-reading some of my old posts, I came to realize that I put a lot more thought and feeling into each post than I did in all my FB posts, and so I concluded that I should be better about chronicling the events and adventures that Annie and I have in these sweet years that we have together.  I don't really need to share it all with the world, but it does need to be written down.  It's not anywhere near the New Year, but that's my September resolution.

Light My Fire! The Story of Our Wood Stove

In November of last year we decided to put in a wood stove.  We had a wood pellet burning stove that came with the house, and we used it from time to time to supplement our central heat pump system.  But it was noisy and it took electricity to run it.  Late in 2015 we had a heavy wet snow that knocked out the power for a good sized part of Douglas County.  We were out of electricity for about 22 hours, and the house got pretty cool (low 50's) by the time the power came on again.

We knew that we didn't like being cold, and that this area could be subject to freezing rain, and consequent outages from time to time.  So a wood stove seemed like a good idea.  But wood stoves can dominate the room, and having a big bore chimney going up the wall makes it hard to decorate and make the room beautiful.  This was important, especially for Annie as she has a discerning eye, and knows right away when something is out of balance, or just kind of ugly.

I wanted the stove to be a stove and not an insert.  We had an insert in our fireplace in Utah and even though it was a sophisticated design, advanced and efficient (theoretically) it didn't ever really heat the room that well, and it was totally necessary to have the fan running.  It was stuffed into a big stone fireplace....and, well, it just wasn't the best heater in the world.

We talked about this for a long time.  We really started talking about it right after the electrical outage, and we had a hard time coming to a good conclusion.  Wood stoves get hot, and they need to be some distance (depending on the construction materials) from walls, floors, and ceilings, so they tend to set out into the room, dominating it... Then the big chimney also dominating the view, and overshadowing any pictures or wall hangings...couldn't it be an insert? But an insert isn't efficient...we want something that will keep us warm when the power is off...but we don't want it to be ugly....but we want it to work.... This conversation kept going for almost the whole year.  Then one night while talking about it for the nth time we said what if we built a fireplace like surround around a free standing wood stove.....?

This is Annie's concept drawing:

And here are some progress pictures:

So we got pretty close to solving both problems. I haven't ever seen anything exactly like it, but the stove works well, and looks much better than the old pellet stove did.  We thought we would only be using it when the power was out, but found that it made the house so pleasant and comfortable, that we used it for most nights this winter, and it cut our power bill in half!


Monday, May 2, 2016

Too Good To Be True...or Scamming Oldsters for Fun and Profit

It all started out with an ad in Craigslist.  It was time to sell Billy and Gandalf.  Billy is a two year old mini-nubian billy goat.  Gandalf is a yearling whether.  I priced Billy at $150, and Gandalf at $75 or both for $200, and put up the add on Craigslist.

In about 6 hours someone texted me and wanted to buy both goats.  And they didn't try to talk me down on the price, and even offered to give me and extra $35 if I would take down the Craigslist ad and hold the goats for a few days.  They would send a cashier's check for the amount, and some extra that they wanted me to give to their movers.

Well, sure, you are crazy trusting Mr. Goat Buyer, but then you are buying some eccentricity is expected, or at least tolerated. 

But then the check came today.  I had thought that it might be for $300 or maybe even $350....and somebody local with and old truck and a toothpick in the corner of their mouth might come buy and have to haul these goats far enough to justify a $50 or $100 charge.  Then we opened the envelope and found a check for $1850.50.  More than $1600 over the cost of the goats.

Annie was not impressed.  I was on the phone with our friend Randy - he was not impressed.  I thought it was about as weird a thing as has ever happened, and pretty sure it was a scam, but not sure how it could work.  After all, a cashier's check is as good as good,  right?

I did some searching and found this article.  You have to read down past the PayPal scams, but it is there.  The scam is, you get a cashier's check which looks good but isn't.  You deposit it and are manipulated into sending the 'mover' a Western Union wire.  Your bank floats the WU wire, and for a few days everything looks fine.  Then the bank eventually finds out the check is bad and comes back to you for reimbursement, which you probably have to do, or be charged with passing bad checks.  Meanwhile the scammers typically $1500 or so from the WU wire, and are long gone.

We are taking the check down to the post office tomorrow.  I doubt that much will come of it, but since they used the mail, it is mail fraud, and that is a Federal felony.  I'll let you know if anything comes of this in the future.  

Happy Craigslisting everyone!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again.....Maybe

It has been quite a while since I have made regular additions to this blog - so much so that it is a pretty poor record of all the things that have been going on in our lives.  I look back on most of the posts and feel that it was a good thing to take a few minutes and record some of the events of our lives (We= Annie + Me for anyone wandering in on this blog).

I think that I started slacking of on blogging sometime after January 2009....which was my start in Facebook.  Up until that time most of our kids had blogs and were active in documenting their lives.  That was a big part of starting this blog - make some kind of record of my life, and to connect a little with my kids.   And then the rot set in.....

Only a few if the kids continued to blog - most were sharing their moments on FB, and so slowly the blogs lost steam, and FB picked up the slack.  I was right there too.  Thoughtful writing takes time and effort, and as time went on, our lives were shared in memes and basically sound bites.  This is a somewhat broad brush painting, as some of the FB posts are very thoughtful, so it's not totally accurate.  But this trend has continued and strengthened and for me, right now, I just am tired of it.  Either I am sharing memes, or 'liking' other peoples memes, or not writing anything.  FB is just not where I want to share any feelings or thoughts.

So, I coming back to Sailor's World.  I think that I will leave it as Sailor's World.  That sounds better than 'Grumpy Old Grandpa Goat Farmer's World'....don't ya think?  I haven't been in a boat for three or four years now - not since we found this beautiful home and moved here.  But I still have the boats, and we might get busy with them again sometime.

That's all for now.  I don't know if anyone reads this anymore, and in a way it doesn't matter.  Sometimes the voices in my head want to write.