3 in the hand

Yesterday was the first time that all three hens laid eggs on the same day. Additionally, they all laid them in the nesting box! Hunting all over the yard wasn’t necessary this time. I think they’re starting to “get it.”

Three fresh eggs and a decoy
Three fresh eggs and a decoy

The decoy is a golf ball that some friends made for me in high school. Oddly enough, we may see them again for the first time in nearly 8 years this Friday.


The dishwasher stopped suddenly on Thursday night. Well, it didn’t stop, but it wouldn’t drain. I tried to start it again to force it to drain, but luck wasn’t with us. In fact, I think Luck must have taken an early weekend, because the problem wasn’t a clogged drain or a kinked hose or anything simple. By Saturday morning, the motor seems to have died.

Both Michelle and I hate the dishwasher, but it’s such an unimportant thing to consider when it’s working that we just went with it. Sure, it frequently left detritus on the glasses and bowls, but it should be sanitized. We hope it was sanitized.

Anyway, it was clear that the old box was dead, so I pulled it out then went to work on my thesis while Michelle shopped around for replacements. After taking it out, we also learned that apparently there were some dampness issues because the subfloor had some mold on it. By 2pm, Michelle had found a washer and I was tired of working on my thesis so we got back to work on the washer. The old one was a bit of a tank, partly because it was made of steel, and partly because it still had some undrained water in the sysem, but most of that leaked out while evicting it with a hand truck.

The new one was light enough to pick up and carry myself, which was great for carrying, but makes me a tad nervous. I opened the box, took out the instructions and noticed on the second page that the required cabinet height was 34″. We had a 32″ opening. Crap. It wasn’t listed anywhere on the outside of the box, so we had to open it up to find out. We quickly checked the internet for several other models and manufacturers and it seems that 34″ was the minimum cabinet opening across the board. Crap.

At some point in the past, one of the previous owners had remodeled the kitchen by adding an additional crap-board subfloor and non-adhering vinyl tiles. To make the opening work, I removed the subfloor inside the cabinet and removed some of the extra trim around the cabinet and viola, 34″.

Next, I had to prepare the utilties. Electrical and the drain were simple enough, but the previous owners had a section of iron pipe (like gas line) in between the water line and the dishwasher, so there was this nasty section of rusty gunk that had to be removed. The dishwasher did not come with the necessary 90 degree elbow for connecting the supply line, so we had to make another trip to the big box store. Since we use pex for plumbing, I was tempted to just run out to Parkrose Hardware (awesome) since I knew they would have the appropriate parts, but my dad brought over a sharkbite fitting that spared me a trip all that way and instead we were able to get the parts at Lowes with just one complete redesign based on inventory.

Finally, 5:00 pm, hooking up utilities. I managed to wedge the washer into the cabinet and feed the utilities to the front. Hooking up the drain was a cinch, electrical not too bad, but connecting the water was a pain, and by that point, my arms were starting to loose initiative. I was on the opposite side of the connection, so I was trying to attach something and tighten it in reverse in a space with not enough room to turn a wrench to tighten it. Still, persistence paid off and all the connections were in place. With the water and power back on, there were not sparks or leaks, so we started a load of dishes.

It worked.Ella helps dad install the dishwasher

Debate parties

When Michelle was in law school, we routinely met with friends to watch the debates for the 2004 election. The events were great – you pack a room full of smart people who are drinking beer and know more about politics than some of the candidates, then you try to make out what the candidates actually say over the live auto-correction and fact checking. At one of the debates, a dog sensed the negative energy towards the incumbent candidate and started barking and jumping up at the screen while that candidate was speaking.

This election season was much more subdued. We’ve watched or heard all the debates and now with Tivo, we can pause and discuss both fallacy and history while the debate is going on. THere was still beer, but by a large part, there was less yelling at the TV. We’ve caught up with many of the same friends from 4 years ago several days later, and the analysis, while delayed, is just as good if not better.

Last night’s debate was by far the most interesting of the 3. I was hesitant to watch it since I’ve known who I was voting for now for over a year, and frankly, I’m exhausted of politics. The only reason I’ve been keeping up though is what I would call “morbid curiosity.”

First “old” moment

This morning I woke up around 4:30am in considerable pain. I had tried to roll over to my side and immediately stopped due to the sharp stab in my lower back. Michelle was asleep so I did some self-diagnostics and realized that my back was “out” as I’ve heard a number of my older acquaintances say.

Yesterday I put 1.5 yards of cedar chip in the chicken run and around the yard and may have hurt it shovelling, or I may have hurt it lifing the wheel barrow over my head to get it around some obstacles (it was empty), or maybe it was the pumpkins, or all the toting Ella around, but I ended up going to bed with a sore back.

Anyway, come 5am, i was trying to pin the blame on a certain moment or action so I could avoid doing it again in the future. My dad pulled his back like this the day we went to Seattle for last year’s STP and I thought it was pretty amazing that he rode and finished it considering the pain. Now I’m especially impressed given how difficult it was to eventually get out of bed (with help).

Now I’m taking it easy and trying to milk the pain for sympathy. It’s not working entirely well, but I didn’t have to carry the laundry downstairs.

New Commuter

On a Sunday morning in early September, we found an abandoned bike leaning against the tree in our front yard. It was in wretched shape. The frame was mangled as if hit by a car, the brakes missing, the bottom bracket shot, the wheels out of true, the seat post was duct-taped in place, and it smelled weird. Still, it held promise as a commuter bike. But first, I had to clear it with karma.

I posted about the bike on bikeportland.org and craigslist on the off chance that someone had it stolen or lost it. Bike thieves are among my most hated kinds of people, so I didn’t want any guilt by association. After 2 weeks, I decided that the posts and the wretched shape were enough that I could adopt it and return it to usable condition. However, I didn’t want to spend much money because the idea was to have a bike I could ride to work and leave parked outside. So, for a minimal investment, I returned it to working order. Brake pads, a spoke wrench to true the wheels, and a seat post that was the correct diameter. I have two spare saddles, so I put the lamer of the two on (again, minimizing my potential loss). After a small investment of time and money, I had a commuter. Here’s the Smoke in its current incarnation.


I love bikes, and I love tinkering, so even after 2 weeks of use, it has been difficult to not make any more changes. It will need a few fixes eventually, like that whack bottom bracket and some back brakes, but for the most part, it’ll do. I really need to replace the saddle though. The current one is a triathlon seat that is so hard that feels like someone is punching me in the perineum when I ride. 2 weeks hasn’t really improved that either, so I think it’s time to switch before it does any damage to my… bike seat area.

Still, its a perfectly good machine again and I’m pleased to have it. Thanks mystery bike santa.