Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas, 2012

My Christmas status report...

Well, it seems we are all still here, Mayan calendar not withstanding.  I kept telling people that their calendar stopped because they ran out of numbers!

I've been living here for about a year and a half now.  Doc Deb was gracious and invited me to move in when I lost my job last year.  I'd been doing maintenance stuff in exchange for my keep, until she lost her job in March.  She decided to move down to Texas to be with her parents, who are getting a bit frail.  I'd pulled the pin on my retirement benefits (such as they are), so now I'm staying in the house, making the mortgage payment.

The last three months have been exciting - I started working as a contract writer for a company called Remilon.  I'm writing on-line classes on programming for them, for starters.  The idea is, you could take a full class on one of many subjects for free, and then take the CLEP exam, and get college credit for the class.  It's an inexpensive way to clear out a lot of undergrad requirements, given that the cost of a CLEP exam is usually under $100.00.  My first lesson is finished, and I just uploaded the video for my second one yesterday.

Given that I live at the main crossroads in Red Lion, there is a *lot* of traffic, and traffic noise, which makes recording my lessons pretty much impossible.  I went to the local library, and asked if I could use one of their conference rooms as my recording studio.  I wound up talking with the director, Don, about it.  One thing led to another, and I wound up hanging a projection screen in the board room for them.  We are working on starting some computer skills classes there.  I use the library as my office sometimes, as it gets me out of the house and away from potential distractions (like Baxter helping me type).

Got the heater working, and think I've located the leak that flooded the basement.  It's not the boiler, nor is it the water heater.  I believe that it's in one of the pipes going through the cellar wall to the heater in the kitchen.  That means, the kitchen floor will have to come up in order to locate and repair said leak.  Fun.

I got an estimate on getting the old siding replaced.  The Home Depot guy (also named Don) was mostly worried about the sagging laundry room.  I did a little poking around, and it looks like there is no really code-grade footing for it.  The floor will also have to come up for diagnosis and repair, and possible jacking/shoring.  Yay.

Christmas... I'm going to get the place picked up and cleaned up this weekend.  My plan for Monday is to bake.  Current projects are to be two pumpkin pies and weapons-grade fudge topped brownies.  (I may do soft oatmeal cookies before that, just to get me through the weekend.)  Christmas day will be my Christmas movie marathon: The Ice Harvest (John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen), The Holiday (Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Jude Law), Scrooged (Bill Murray, Karen Allen), and a new one, the 200th episode of NCIS.  I think of as a take on "It's a Wonderful Life", with Gibbs taking George Bailey's place in the center of things.  And maybe, if I can find them, the "Eureka" Christmas episodes, too.  Dinner will be turkey tamales and Caesar salad.  And french vanilla ice cream laced with brandy (from the book "Ice Cream Happy Hour").  And, of course, I hope to chat with my daughter.  She is on the road from L.A. to Billings, Montana as we speak.  She expects to arrive today, and will be staying with my cousin and his wife until she can get situated.

Update - pictures!!

Living room with tree, candles, and Baxter

Dining area/work area

Bar, red hat, and Dakota

Kitchen work station, with pie!!

Close-up, workstation and pie!  Kitchen composting happens in the green bins on the left.

And that's about it for year end here in PA.

Merry Christmas to all!

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