Sep 26 2004
Hurricane Jeanne damaged our roof, our neighbor told me earlier in the
morning. I’m hoping to get some positive news later in the day, when the
hurricane passed, that we’re not facing a worst case scenario. (with regards to
the extent of roof repairs needed, water damage inside the house, etc.) Anyhow,
I am flying to Florida this evening to make repairs. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Edit: They canceled my flight for tonight to Orlando :( It doesn’t
make any sense. The only reason may be that they don’t want to fly around the
hurricane. But, as the hurricane moves west, air service in Orlando will resume
this afternoon. So?

Just when you thought you had your seat on the
plane & car reservation set. Murphy (’s law) may now leave me alone for a
while. The last thing I need is more stress.

PS: If I get a chance,
I’ll add a comment to this entry later in the week, or will let C do that on my
behalf.

Click here to read more …

Sep 23 2004

Locked in on the target. Both playing dead? Hypnotizing to unveil
secret information?

(please ignore the antique carpet & the
green trim in the hall way – it’s not mine! I swear! LOL)

I hope she
reads “it” it’s rights! ;-) Anyway. Seven caught her 2nd(*) mouse. We suspected
mouse activity upon moving in, and found some new “evidence” the other week, so,
recently we’ve let the cats roam the house at night. Every night, Seven, who has
a super sense of smell (she even smells deep frozen shrimp!), has parked herself
in the kitchen on the floor or on a cabinet, for hours. Last night, shortly
after I noticed she was sitting on the countertop again, I was thinking about
the “no cats on any furniture rule”, but then she’s hunting, right? So, I let
her be … and 20 minutes later she’s there with a mouse! Seven: 2* – Mice: 0
You go, girl!

* Something went on Saturday night where she &
Wizard disturbed the nightly peace and we’re pretty sure she caught something,
and either it got away or Wizard wanted in on it.

Click here to read more …

Sep 23 2004
I agree, it was a little too quiet around here.

Unfortunately my “icecube” had been acting up more and more the past
days, actually weeks. Lately I simply couldn’t get it to boot and stay on any
more. Initially, xx weeks back, it needed to boot two or three times, but not
always. I thought perhaps it was a Panther hick-up on a RAM module. No biggy,
however, this became progressively worse to having to boot 8-10 times over the
weekend. The past days, I tried up to 20 times and it was still stuck :( So,
tested some RAM. All fine. Switched to VGA instead of ADC (less power draw).
Same. Swapped the graphics card. A-ha! The cube booted in no time, head first
for the desktop without no Kernel Panic, no Blue or Black Screen of Death (it
would lock up right before it shows the boot progress indicator). At least it’s
not the VRM module or other part (knock on wood). Now, I just need to pick up
another graphics card for “Cube2″.

DSL was running on 1 cylinder the
past days. We were only getting 400+kb/s instead of 3000kb/s. First time that
happens, the GWI tech said. I’m not so sure about that, but at least it’s fixed
now.

A booting cube & simmering DSL connection = time to blog,
email, … catch up with online life!

Click here to read more …

Sep 20 2004
You exhibit a slight twitch when introduced to anyone with the first
names of Charley, Frances or Ivan

Your freezer never has more than
$20 worth of food in it at any given time

You’re looking at paint
swatches for the plywood on your windows, to accent the house color

You think of your hall closet / safe-room as “cozy”

Your pool
is more accurately described as “framed in” than “screened in”

Your
freezer in the garage now only has homemade ice in it

You no longer
worry about relatives visiting during the summer months

You too
haven’t heard back from the insurance adjuster

You now understand
what that little “2% hurricane deductible” phrase really means

You’re putting a collage together on your driveway of roof shingles from
your neighborhood

You were once proud of your 16″ electric chain
saw

Your Street has more than 3 “NO WAKE” signs posted

You now own 5 large ice chests

Your parrot can now say”
hammered, pounded and hunker down”

You recognize people in line at
the free ice, gas and plywood locations

You stop what you’re doing
and clap and wave when you see a convoy of power company trucks come down your
street

You’re depressed when they don’t stop

You have
the personal cell phone numbers of the managers for: plywood, roofing supplies
and generators at Home Depot on your speed dialer

You’ve spent more
than $20 on “Tall white kitchen bags” to make your own sand bags

You’re considering upgrading your 16″ to a 20″ chainsaw

You
know what “Bar chain oil” is

You’re thinking of getting your wife
the hardhat with the ear protector and face shield for Christmas

You
now think the $6000 whole house generator seems reasonable

You look
forward to discussions about the merits of “cubed, block and dry ice”

Your therapist refers to your condition as “generator envy”

You fight the urge to put on your winter coat and wool cap and parade
around in front of your picture window, when you finally get power and your
neighbor across the street, with the noisy generator doesn’t get electric

And finally, you might be a Floridian if

You ask your sister
up north to start saving the Sunday Real Estate classifieds!

Click here to read more …

Sep 16 2004
It feels good to be back on broadband. It’s like a breath of fresh air
after two weeks of some dial-up and a week of no internet.

So far
I’m very happy with our 3Mb DSL line from GWI.net Of course this is still day one, but,
everything was delivered and activated on time. Support answered within 5
minutes this morning to authenticate (one of) our MAC address(es) and offered
setup help, which I kindly declined. Ran a quick speed test to
NY and I was very glad to see we were around the 3000/768 mark.

The only – I would give them is for not offering one of the Toshiba
or Ericsson modems I’ve used in the past with a “stand by” or “pipe lock”
button. This one is “hot” all the time. The router will stop scanners in their
tracks, but I still like the convenience, security & peace of mind of
locking down the broadband connection. Small detail about their setup
documentation. Towards the end it is not organized properly. Everything is
bundled under USB setup for Win98 then XP. Step 5 = USB driver setup; so with
ethernet you skip it and you’re on a dead lead as there’s no step 6.

Click here to read more …

Sep 16 2004
The welcome signs on the highways into Florida received a small update

2004
is one very active tropical season for Florida. One hurricane out the door,
another one under way … and we’re only mid September.

Click here to read more …

Sep 13 2004

I was hoping to get by with dial-up for a little bit, but with multiplemachines & users it’s too inconvenient. We did dial-up sharing a few yearsago before broadband started to appear on the horizon, but once you have asomewhat active online life, there simply is no turning back. It takes too longto get your email, then your browsing is tied up ’till your email is done, andthen it’s a snail. Oh an OS/AV/FW/… update? Then iBlog decides to reload thesite … which literally takes hours, and you don’t want to cut it off as itwould start all over later. Then in the mean time you can’t call to orderbroadband! ;) LOL. Anyway, I should be receiving my DSL self-installbox from gwi.nettomorrow and Verizon should have flipped the necessary secret switch (pulled awire?) behind the scenes by or on Thursday. Can’t wait to put that 3Mbps/768Kbpsto some good use, catching up with some online things like my fellow bloggers’sites & forums :)I’m crossing my fingers we’re not going tohit one of those quite common DSL install nightmares, where it takes 2-3 weeks& several tech visits before the thing is up and running at good speedwithout drop outs. Click here to read more …

Sep 10 2004
If there was one thing about hurricane Frances, it was that it was ever
so slow (hence the flood watches) With the plastic & sand bags in front of
the doors & garage to prevent flooding, tape on the screen door, etc. all we
could do is wait. Boots, ladder, tools & supplies ready just in case an
intervention is needed.

All in all things went very well for the
hurricane passing over our area. Less wind and rain than forecasted is a good
thing. I went outside periodically in a dry moment to check on the house and
water levels, measuring around 40-50 mph winds. Not bad at all. One thing I did
not anticipate was quite a bit of rain / rain water being blown in-between the
sectional garage door panels. Apparently the profiles don’t close tight enough
to keep horizontal rain out?

We lost electricity, which we
anticipated, but fortunately it was restored within 24 hours. Really quick
compared to some other areas. Neighbors lost roofing shingles (again), some
fascia & guttering. The lake & canal did flood more than we had ever
seen, but the garden shed remained dry and there actually was no water nowhere
near the house, not even in the low spot near the garage. Only some puddles
towards the street. There was quite a bit of cleanup of aquatic plants that
washed on the beach. I’m holding my heart a little for beach erosion, but I’m
not going to worry about it. (I was rather unhappy the first time we had beach
erosion a few years ago) Some extra branches to take care of, but nothing major.
I was quickly reminded however of ants moving to higher ground. The fire ants on
some of the branches I had to cut up were terrible! Fortunately the carpenter
ant colony that moved into the garden shed wasn’t so aggressive.

Two practical problems: We couldn’t get on a flight out of town and
Hertz wanted to charge triple for the rental extension. It should have been less
than double based on the number of days. Price gouging? Well, some of the things
the girl said on the phone did not add up. We dropped of car A, and picked up
car B at regular cost to avoid whatever they were wanting to charge us. And the
whole availability thing? The Hertz lot was pretty much full, if you ask me.

Click here to read more …

Sep 10 2004
If it was ultra quiet here the past week, that’s because we jumped on a
plane Thursday evening without time left to post a message (3 hours to the
airport + 1+ hour for security etc). Hurricane Frances was heading straight for
home in Florida. Forecast: 1 day of high winds & 12+ to 24 inches of rain.
With 2 bodies of water at our property, that was not a good thing. So, we packed
a bag; grabbed flash lights, portable tv & radio, a load of rechargeable
batteries etc. and flew south.

Friday morning. hardware stores. Of
course plywood (any thickness) was no longer available, nor were plastics &
tape. Not that I had any realistic hope there would be any there. Plus, I
couldn’t transport plywood anyway with the rental car. At least I had some
reserve plastics & tape at home to get by :)

Off to the fire
department to get a sand bags. They allow you 20. Not quite enough for a garage
door & 2 doors, if you want to stack them 2 high. Next time: BYOB. No, not
“bring your own bottle” – “bring your own bags”. There’s always a backup with
garden / garbage bags & garden supplies.

Time to gas up the car?
Most gas stations were already running dry.

We made some
preparations, but, as the hurricane was slowing down, what better to do than
catching some of the 20-25 mph winds?

Big thanks to my darling for the photos!

The evening was
surreal with a beautiful sky.

All is well now, but the hurricane is coming, leaving you wondering
what will tomorrow and the day after tomorrow be?

Click here to read more …