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So what could cause these freezers to be empty?

August 1, 2010, 11:37 PM

First of all, I have power again. The power was restored last Tuesday evening, only to go out again on Thursday after another storm (but back on before I got back from work). One would think that burying the power lines would eventually pay off if it means saving money from not having to send crews out to repair the lines after every storm. After all, we practically never lost power in Stuarts Draft, where the utilities are buried, even during hurricanes. The power stayed on during Hurricanes Opal, Fran, and Isabel.

Meanwhile, with no power to run the refrigerator for two days, I was kind of screwed, food-wise. After all, even keeping the fridge closed, without refrigeration, things start to get ugly. And therefore I had to dump a whole load of food after the outage. Thankfully, I didn’t have much in there in the first place. I didn’t go shopping before going to Chicago, deliberately letting stuff run out with the intention of replenishing afterward. So I didn’t have to pitch much, but still… I don’t think I’ve ever put so much down the garbage disposal. Seemed to put the least amount of stuff into the waste stream that way (and recycling the containers). I nuked the frozen stuff enough to make it somewhat soft again (I didn’t actually clean out the fridge until the weekend, so everything had a chance to refreeze), and then down the garbage disposal it went. If it was too big to go down the garbage disposal in one piece, I broke it up until it fit. The food item that was the most fun to “flush”, so to speak? A frozen pizza. I put the whole thing down the garbage disposal. You just break that sucker up, and then watch as the garbage disposal obliterates it, piece by piece.

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Categories: House, Target

And so now I lease an apartment full of glorified paperweights…

July 26, 2010, 6:08 PM

Right now, it seems that would be the case. At least until the power comes back on. With no electricity at home (I’m composing this entry from the office after work), all of my electronic devices are essentially glorified paperweights. The refrigerator doesn’t work. The microwave doesn’t work. The toaster doesn’t work. The television doesn’t work. And most importantly, the computer and the Internet both don’t work. No electricity to power it all, after all.

You may have heard about strong storms coming through the DC area on Sunday. Well, Montgomery County looks like a disaster area for it. Seriously, this storm, which came and went in about ten minutes, did a whole lot of damage. First I noticed it was when I heard wind, and the trees were blowing about crazily. Then the rain came down really hard, really fast. It rained so hard that water from the gutters on my apartment building overflowed onto the balcony. It was crazy. And then the lights went out. And came back on. And then went out again. And came back on again. And then went out for good. I went out on Sunday evening in order to break the boredom of being in a house without electricity, and discovered lots of downed branches and such, including a very large downed tree limb in the far right hand lane of southbound Georgia Avenue near Leisure World. That blocked the entire lane.

Whether you had electricity or not was somewhat hit-and-miss. Some blocks had electricity. Others didn’t. One traffic light would work and another wouldn’t. I happen to live in an area where a large chunk of area was affected, from Bel Pre Road just south of Leisure World all the way down to Reedie Drive in Wheaton. No traffic lights were operating between Bel Pre Road and Reedie Drive as of this morning, and driving down Georgia Avenue last night was a rather dark affair. Still, it was weird. You’d drive through a section of road, and everything was pitch black. Then go a little bit further, and everything’s lit up like nothing’s going on. Then a little further, and it’s black again.

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Categories: House, Weather

So we went from box to parts to bike…

July 6, 2010, 10:50 PM

So I finally finished the birthday present process. My parents got me an exercise bike for my birthday, and the monthlong process of actually getting it ready for use is finally complete. It wasn’t supposed to take a month, but you know how things happen. But yeah, about a month ago, we ordered the exercise bike from Sears – a ProForm recumbent cycle. A couple of hours later, it was ready for pickup at the Sears in White Oak.

As a side note, by the way, the Sears in White Oak is the biggest Sears store I’ve ever seen, and the only standalone Sears I’ve ever seen. It’s got a footprint the size of a large grocery store, and it’s two stories. If that building used to be something else, I would be surprised, because it looks like your typical mall-based Sears with multiple exterior entrances, but without the mall attached to it.

So I headed over to Sears, and picked the thing up. The gentleman in the store helped me get it in the car (it’s things like this that make me glad I have a station wagon), and I took it home. However, getting this massive thing up the stairs was another issue altogether. But I somehow managed, and ended up with this:

The exercise bike, still boxed up (but in the house!)

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Categories: Furniture

It’s raining, and wouldn’t you know it…

February 22, 2010, 8:08 PM

It’s raining, and wouldn’t you know it, I left my umbrella on the Metro coming home. I find this kind of ironic for two reasons.

First of all, while I was still at work, one of my coworkers wanted to take the umbrella, thinking I had pinched this one that had been sitting abandoned in a corner for about six months or so. I told him that this one was my “work” umbrella, and that the other one was still there.

Then secondly, when I got into my seat, I noticed that someone else had already forgotten an umbrella in that same seat. Then on the long ride back to Glenmont, I took one of my famous Metro naps. I woke up as we were pulling into Glenmont (going over the switch south of Glenmont tends to wake me up), and got off the train. The train went out of service at Glenmont, and headed for the yard. Then as I was riding the escalator up to the street, I realized it – no umbrella. Crap. Well, there goes ten bucks. So I saw that some poor schmuck had left their umbrella in the seat, and then left a second one to go with it.

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Categories: Furniture, WMATA

If I go the IKEA route, this will be rather complicated…

October 6, 2009, 11:15 PM

You know, IKEA does some things very well, and some things seem just needlessly complicated. The comforter situation fits the latter quite well. I went over to IKEA this evening to get some ideas for a new comforter for my bed. I got my current one from Target in July 2007, and it’s not looking too good, mainly because it’s faded quite a bit. So I’m looking to replace it. The way IKEA sells comforters is more complicated than I think I like. The comforter itself is white – they only come in white. Then you buy a duvet cover that goes over the comforter that provides the pattern and what have you. While it certainly provides the most options for color vs. warmth and such, it’s WAY beyond what I’m going for. I can really see myself having a rough time getting that comforter into the duvet cover and then snapping it in all nice-like. Something tells me I’m going to go a different route than this. It seems more complicated than I want. Sometimes the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle is a good thing. IKEA’s bedspreads, which, while nice and simple, also failed to impress me. However, I’m probably not going to go to Target for another comforter, either. I think I’m probably going to hit Bed Bath & Beyond or something like that for the new comforter or bedspread.

However, they did have lots of nice things there, and I came to the realization recently that my apartment is really kind of blah as far as decor goes. The carpet is tan, and the color scheme pretty much follows that, as everything is different shades of beige. Schumin Web is all flashy with the rainbow-colored logo and the squares-in-squares background, but my house is less so. I need color and flair. I have a striped fitted sheet that I use for guests, and once, after Mom stayed over, I left the fitted sheet on the couch for a week after I put the futon frame back in the upright position. I loved it. So as things wear out, I need to start thinking about bright, vibrant colors. Plus I need to hang up those bloody picture frames, already…

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So now I wonder if my apartment is possessed or something…

September 6, 2009, 12:16 AM

So the second clock I’ve placed in my bedroom has quit on me. And here it is…

The stuck clock in my bedroom

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Categories: House

Nothing inspires cleaning like a visit from the parents…

August 1, 2009, 11:45 PM

My parents are coming by early Sunday afternoon. Both of them, this time. Mom comes fairly regularly, but Dad doesn’t come nearly enough, and I’ve told him that. So we’re meeting up here, and then probably going out for lunch somewhere, likely in downtown Silver Spring. So they’ll be here for maybe an hour, tops, before we go out for lunch.

And so the cleaning begins. I don’t care if they’re only going to be here for an hour. This place will be clean. At this point, I’ve done everything except vacuum the rugs, and a Journal entry is a good reason to take a break. Now, though, you could eat off my kitchen floor, though the question remains: Why would you want to? And besides that, I wouldn’t let you, because then I’d have to clean the floor again. And cleaning the house is no fun.

But you know the drill. Attack the bathroom, and make everything all white and shiny. Soft scrub is our friend, but make sure the fan is on, because the bleach smell can be overpowering. Then attack the kitchen. Stove, counters, microwave, fridge, floors, etc. Gotta make it all nice and pretty. Then dust the living room. And finally, vacuum the rugs. All in the name of cleanliness. After all, one does not want one’s parents to see how one really lives. They saw how I really lived when I lived with them. Now I like to at least make it look like I keep things a little neater now that I’m living on my own than when I lived with them.

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Categories: Family, House, Work

“I don’t want you to see how I really live!”

May 29, 2009, 11:15 PM

Once again, this place is clean. And it looks quite nice, if I do say so myself. After all, Mom’s coming tomorrow morning, and so this place has to look its Sunday best. And when it comes to Mom, you see, I must pay extra attention to cleaning, because Mom just can’t help herself. If it doesn’t look spotless, she’ll clean. I still remember the time she “accidentally” swept the kitchen floor.

Still, though, having visitors over on a somewhat regular basis is one way I keep the place all neat and tidy. After all, I don’t want people to see the place the way I see it when I’m just kind of doing whatever. I want to put its best face forward.

Of course, if I really want to make the place look sharp, I need to get serious about decorating. I’ve had a whole bunch of picture frames from IKEA, still in their original shrinkwrap, in a corner in the blue IKEA bags for nearly a year and a half. The idea is that I’m going to take a bunch of my pictures to somewhere to have them printed on nice paper, and then frame them. After all, what better way to decorate than to have selections from your own body of work on the walls, right? And I have plenty of photos that would look very nice on the walls here. It’s just a matter of actually doing it already

Categories: House

It’s the world of Monsieur Stenchy, where even a skunk can come out smelling like… a rose!

March 31, 2009, 11:45 PM

I think that phrase, from an episode of Power Rangers Zeo, could be used to describe my apartment. Seriously. Mom’s coming over tomorrow, and so I made sure this place was in tip top shape. I dusted, I scrubbed, I shined, I mopped, I swept, I vacuumed, you name it. Anything to make the place look less “lived in”. After all, you really don’t want to show your mother how you really live. I carefully control the way my mother views her little boy’s apartment. Any time my mother comes to visit, the place is all shined up and looking awesome. And that’s important, after all.

Plus it’s kind of nice to have the house smelling all clean, too, since otherwise, it can kind of start to smell like whatever, and what “whatever” is depends on many factors, and it’s not always a pleasant thing depending on what’s going on. This time, the cleaning wasn’t to the extent of the total clean I did in December, where I really went to town on the place including shampooing carpets, but that’s a once-a-year kind of cleaning, and we’re not there yet. Nonetheless, I want to make sure Mom is comfortable here while she’s in town for the Virginia Writing Project, where teachers meet in Washington to meet with legislative offices and such, to promote writing in schools. And for the Virginia Writing Project, I find it amusing that Mom will be spending NO time in Virginia whatsoever, since all the activity will be held in the District of Columbia, and she’s staying with me in Maryland.

So I’m excited. And then Mom and I are probably going to hit up IKEA on Saturday after all the writing stuff is over with. Whatever happens, though, my mother will see a neat apartment. After all, I have made sure that it’s like being in the world of Monsieur Stenchy, where even a skunk can come out smelling like a rose.

Categories: Family, House, Power Rangers

So the apartment is clean from top to bottom…

December 28, 2008, 2:09 AM

I just finished giving my apartment a thorough cleaning ahead of my trip to Stuarts Draft for a week. I did the rugs, I did the floors, I dusted, I completely cleaned the kitchen, and I completely cleaned the bathroom. It was a long ordeal, but the place looks great now!

Most bothersome, though, was cleaning the carpets. I had Mom’s shampooer, and I went the whole nine yards. I picked everything up, moved furniture around, and everything. I had my coffee table up-ended and in the kitchen, if that tells you anything. Bedroom, hallway, and then living room. The living room was perhaps the most challenging. First I had to make sure not to shampoo myself into a corner, but also what to do once the carpets were done.

\Determining what to do once the carpets were finished was actually pretty exciting. I grabbed my coat, my hat, my iPod, and my phone, and took to the Sable for a few hours late at night. Makes me glad that gas is cheaper again, because I finally got to explore a bit. It’s time to see what’s beyond Silver Spring. So I took a small late-night road trip. Previously, I’d only been on Georgia Avenue as far as Norbeck Road, which is not all that much further north than my street. Now, I followed Georgia Avenue a long way. I went through Olney, seeing roughly where Montgomery General Hospital is (the Y bus’s northern terminus), and continued, finding out that Georgia Avenue narrows down to two lanes once you clear Olney. Olney also appeared to be a lot smaller than I expected. I expected a larger town, but there you go. And then beyond Olney, Georgia Avenue reminded me a lot of various back roads in Augusta County, Virginia, where I used to live. Lots of curves, and two lanes. For the first time in a long time, I broke out the high beams.

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No, no, no, nothing like that…

September 2, 2008, 7:23 PM

Today, I was telling my coworkers, along with how my vacation went, about how I did a little decorating yesterday. Remember back in February when I bought those little mirrors at IKEA? Well, I finally put them up. I put five of those little mirrors on the wall above my bed. Check it out…

The "Malma" mirrors on the wall above my bed

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Categories: Furniture

Ever wondered what a single person’s apartment looks like?

August 12, 2008, 10:52 PM

I was fiddling around with the Kodak camera a little bit this evening, trying to figure some stuff out. Specifically, I was trying to figure out how to overcome a focus problem where photos come out really pixelly. I think I have that figured out how to turn the feature that’s responsible for that problem off, but while I was playing around, I also screwed around with the panoramic shot mode.

What the panoramic mode does is take three images and stitch them together in the camera, giving you an edge to use to line it all up in the second and third images. And since I was practicing at home, let me show you what a “bachelor pad” looks like…

My living room, facing the balcony door

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Categories: House

Continuing to stain…

February 18, 2008, 1:32 PM

Now that the stain has proven to be a match, we’re staining two more:

Staining the Malma mirrors

Two coats later, it looks like my bedroom set. Excellent! And it’s 60 out right now, according to Weatherbug, which to me means it’s good staining weather. This is going to look so nice when it’s all done. I haven’t decided yet whether it’s going to be two rows above the bed staggered, or a tic-tac-toe style arrangement. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, speaking of home decor, I’m going to hang the Sable’s old grille on the wall in the closet. Why the closet? Well, it’s not something I want to put out where everyone will see it, but nonetheless it is a keepsake of sorts – a memento of my run-in with the deer, a somewhat traumatic experience.

Categories: Furniture, Mercury Sable

Staining the “Malma” mirrors…

February 17, 2008, 8:47 AM

Out of the nine mirrors I bought at IKEA when we went last weekend, I have so far stained one to match the bed. I got a can of water-based stain that’s not necessarily a “wood” color, but a “black” stain, which I was a little worried about. However, it’s exactly what I needed. I was using the first mirror to test out the stain to make sure it matched before I committed to the rest. After applying two coats of stain and letting it dry, I held it up to the dresser to see how it looked. Wouldn’t you know – it was a perfect match, and so it will look good once it’s all finished.

And this is a stain I can deal with. Unlike most stains, this one is water-based, and therefore doesn’t have a pungent smell, and also, it washes out of the brush, and off of my hands so easily. Of course, that’s not saying I’m doing the staining inside. Any time the lid is off on that can of stain, it’s going to be out on the balcony. And on my little balcony table, I make sure to lay out some bags from Shoppers to make sure it doesn’t get on the table.

My only complaint? It’s winter. So it’s a wee bit cold out there staining these mirrors. But I’m an adult – I can handle it. And it’s supposed to be 48 today, and 58 on Monday (a holiday!), so I don’t think it will be that bad.

Meanwhile, freezing rain is even worse than I thought. You may recall that in the previous entry in this space, I complained about slipping and sliding due to the freezing rain. Add to that losing power, too. I woke up on Wednesday morning, and my alarm clock was dark. Not a good thing. Check the light switch – nothing. Not a good thing. Check the hallway outside my door – dark. Confirmed, it’s not me – the power is definitely out. So I ended up having to get ready for work in the dark. Well, almost. I have this big flashlight that doubles as an electric lantern, and so at least I had some light. Not a lot, but some. In Stuarts Draft, we had underground utilities in our neighborhood, and so for the most part, freezing rain didn’t affect the power situation. In my neighborhood in Silver Spring, it’s overhead wires, and it does. At least I still had hot water, though. If not, I’d be taking a towel to work and showering there.

So there you go.

Categories: Furniture, Weather

You know, you’d think I lived here or something…

November 20, 2007, 11:30 PM

Yeah, based on my activities today, you’d think I lived in Maryland or something. Today, I finally got a Maryland driver’s license. Emphasis here on “finally”. I’ve lived here for what, six months now, and I’m just now finally getting the Maryland license. So that took me a while.

Of course, I’m pleased to have a license that once again agrees with the state where I actually live. Now whenever I get carded for the Manischewitz that I occasionally buy, the birthdate will be nearer the center, vs. in Virginia, where it’s towards the edge and partly blocked by the edge of the pocket in my wallet. Likewise, when I go to the bank and they ask for my ID, now it agrees with what’s in their systems, since I changed that to my Maryland address right away online.

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