[misc] Murderface Monday Tuesday: Post Irene Edition

Well, Vermont is pretty much wrecked. 20+ hours of non-stop rain flooded rivers, inundated homes and fields, washed away roads and covered bridges. It is absolutely heartbreaking- some people have lost everything. Dollar and I are thankful that the new house weathered the storm without incident. Our driveway didn't wash out, no water ponded anywhere around the house, the basement is dry. We are very, very thankful.

I previously mentioned that we were having "issues" with our generator. The electrician came last Wednesday to check on it (dead battery) and brought a new battery on Thursday. I was checking the status panel on it every day leading up to the storm and I was getting "Inspect Battery" and "Low Battery" warnings right away. So, the problem is deeper. Still, when we lost power on Sunday night at 5pm, there was enough juice to get the generator going. Which was awesome- we continued to do laundry, run the dishwasher, dehumidifiers, cook supper, etc. We let the generator run all night. I need to ask someone (a) how much propane my generator is using per hour, and (b) how many hours straight that it's safe to run the thing. Is it okay to run it non-stop, night and day, for days on end? Just curious, because we'll probably have to do that in the winter when we lose power, right?

Monday morning I went for a walk to the end of my road and saw a tree down across the road, but other than that our dirt road is a-ok. Hardly washed out around the edges. I'm glad I called the town last week to regrade our end (which was quite washed out). I called the town clerk in the late morning last Thursday and told her, she said she'd call the road crew and when I got home from work, it was graded/smoothed/redone. That's some pretty swift service.

The only part that took some heavy damage is a 4th class road that runs through our property, up to a small pond. The pond overflowed and the water spilled down the road. Here's how it looked Sunday afternoon:


Dollar and I walked up there yesterday at noon to see:



Which is nothing compared to the actual devastation and loss across the state, it's just amazing to see the damage that mere water can do.

Monday afternoon at 3pm, the generator crapped out. I was sitting at my computer and heard the air circulation in the house cut out. Uh... oh... I thought. A few minutes later everything stopped. I didn't get hysterical right away, that came hours later. Dollar and I were playing a board game by candlelight and I felt my way to the kitchen to fill up my glass with tap water. The water came out as a faint trickle. I lost it and started jabbering about "no water... pee outside... can't pee in the house... how can the tank be empty... i'm so thirsty..."

This was, like, 6 hours after the generator died and I was sure we were going to die next.

At midnight on the dot, the power came back on. Of course we were both fast asleep but the shrill chirp of something in the house made me get up. Light's didn't seem to be working (that's weird, since alarm clocks were flashing and our phone was working) but I sleepily started punching buttons on the home alarm console, which is where any shrill chirping in the house comes from 97% of the time, but it was not the source. I followed the sound to the laundry room, to a Carbon Monoxide detector on the ceiling. A shrill BEEP in one minute incriminates. I thought about what to do BEEP how to turn it off... It looked like there's a big button on the face of it but since we have BEEP such lovely high 9-foot ceilings, I had to go into the broom closet to get a broom and hold the stick end up to the button and... push BEEPBEEPBEEP ... ... ... ... ... ... ... I think that BEEP Ooooooh fudge. The beeping was starting to drive me insane, so I went up to get Dollar.

He came down and tried to take the thing off the ceiling (always his answer for our smoke alarm chirping at the apartment: take it down and take the batteries out. Safe!) but when he got up on a step stool and unscrewed the thing, it was attached with wires. Oh yeah, all the smoke detectors and stuff in the house are all connected. He put it back in place while I offered helpful advice like, "Maybe it's chirping because we really do have a carbon monoxide leak" and opened up a window.

It's late, we're tired and slowly being driven crazy by a chirping that we can't turn off. I head down to the basement (where the lights ARE working for some reason) to see if there's switches or something to turn on and off. I stare at the breaker box for a while before Dollar's like, "Let me see." By the grace of God, he sees that half of the switches are facing the wrong direction and flips them back to the right side. And lo, there was light upstairs and the evil chirping stopped.

That cats during all this? During the hurricane? During the generator running? The power out? The chirping? Santana wants to play and Murderface is passed out somewhere.

Isn't that right, Santana?


I thought so. Murderface, what do you think?


Of course, I forgot, you helped by eating wetfood. Yeah, that helped. A lot.


[misc] Murderface Santana Monday


Had a good weekend with Santana. She napped on my legs while I watched The Wire yesterday and I was able to pull her up into my arms, with her on her back, and pet her stomach while she purred. I told Dollar and he didn't believe me.

Lost power last night around 2am. I woke up about 3 seconds before the power went out. It's the first time (when we've been home, at least) that we've lost power and I waited for the generator to kick on. It's a 20kW Home Standby Generator and it's hooked up to the home propane system. It's meant to come on the moment we lose power to the house. I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Then I got up, turned on a flashlight and went downstairs, out to the back yard, lifted the lid to the generator and started flipping the auto/manual switch to manual (it was set to auto). Nothing. No power. No juice. WTeverlovingF. I know that it works- I was there when the electrician tested it.

I couldn't get back to sleep. The home security system doesn't work with no power. I had convinced myself that we lost power (not because of all the heavy rain / thunderstorms / wind ALL DAY) because burglars/killers were outside and cut the power to the house with a big tree-branch cutter or axe or something and were quietly slipping into the house to burgle/kill us in our sleep. The power came back on in 30 minutes or so and I went downstairs to re-set the alarm.

I told Dollar, "At least we caught this now, rather than in the middle of winter with 4 feet of snow outside." He said, "ZZZzzzzzz." Yeah, he's not much help at 2:30 in the morning. The electrician is coming this week to check it out.

Also called Elextrolux last week about the bottom oven not working. They couldn't find anyone in my area to come and service the thing, so they're going to give me an entirely new oven. They're going to bring a brand new one, take the old one out and install the new one. I was kind of surprised (Really? Bringing and installing a new oven will be cheaper than having someone come fix the one I already have?) but hey, as long as I don't have to pay anything...


[spinning] Blue Oceans

About 3oz of superwash merino, chain plied:

Superwash Meino

This turned out very nice- soft, nice drape, good semi-solid color. Wish there was more of it but it should make a pair of fingerless gloves.



[spinning] Coastal

A wonderful fellow Raveler recently sent me some spinning fiber. I didn't get a before picture of the fiber because of the move and because I started spinning it as soon as I was able. The finished worsted-weight two-ply:

Handspun - 2 ply

I'm calling it "Coastal". Not sure what I'll make with it but I'm happy to be spinning again and being productive.


[misc] Murderface Monday

MF is so nappy

Had a fairly easy weekend. Dollar mowed the lawn for the first time yesterday and it took FOUR hours on a riding mower. Seriously. I need to take some pictures. All we need now is a weed wacker.

I went up the hill to pick some blackberries (only picked a pint's worth- they're not ready yet) and made some turnovers. I planned on using the bottom oven of my double-wall oven. I self-cleaned it for the first time on Saturday but when I went to pre-heat it yesterday, it wouldn't get warm. UGH. Going to try it when I get home tonight. I'll probably need to call to have an Electrolux tech come out and fix it.

I'm crocheting away on hexagons for my Catan blanket. I have 40 water hexes and I need 22 more. Then 32 land hexes. I don't think I'm going to be able to get everything done in two weeks but I'm going to try.

[misc] Murderface Monday

Had a nice, quiet weekend at home. I didn't leave the house all weekend. We live so far out now that I really don't like to leave the house if I don't have to. I cleaned a bit (but not much), unpacked some more boxes, made some snacks (homemade chex mix FTW) and tried to make significant progress on my crocheted catan blanket.

Murderface was acting silly:


And cute:


Santana looks a little grumpy here (I think MF might have been following me into her room):

Santana's room

But she napped all weekend and I would come lay on the bed with her and pet her. She's getting better about her anger issues.


[crochet] Plastic Raffia Doily

Eons ago I picked up some spools of plastic raffia from a Chinese shop in downtown DC. I believe this raffia is meant to be used to tie packages but thought that it would be an interesting, non-traditional material to knit or crochet with.

I finally made something with it- a small doily:

Crocheted Plastic Raffia Doily

I didn't follow a pattern but took some basic skills/stitches that I learned form making my Colorful Doily and applied them here.

I love how this turned out- very shiny. Looks pretty with a small bowl of flowers:

Crocheted Plastic Raffia Doily


[knitting] EEK! A mouse!

A mouse in the house!!

Handknit Mouse

Oh wait, it's okay. I made this one:

Handknit Mouse

Pattern: Catnip Mouse by Mare Smith. The pattern is called "Silken Braid Mouse" on Ravelry.

Yarn: Small amount of leftover Encore Worsted in gray.

Needles: US 5

Mods: None, really. I didn't make the tail long enough to knot and I didn't add whiskers because it's cute enough as is. The pattern is great- knit in one piece and then seamed shut. The cables are clever, the eyes and ears are clever- just a great pattern. I would like to make TONS of these to use up leftover scraps of yarn.

I picked some fresh catnip outside to rub all over the outside of the mouse:

Handknit Mouse

Then let Murderface take the toy out for a test drive:

Handknit Mouse

Looks like it's MF Approved. What does Santana think?

Handknit Mouse

Looks like she approves as well:

Handknit Mouse

In fact, I'm not sure where this toy is now. I better get started on making more...


[cats] Their own private condo

Murderface and Santana, despite being son and mother, don't get along. You won't see her cleaning his face in a sweet, maternal way. You won't see him try to cuddle up and sleep next to her. Basically, he tries to smell her butt and she'll freak out and try to slash him.

I thought a kitty condo might help give them different levels to hang out at. Murderface is a ground-level cat; he likes to stay on the floor or lay with us on the couch or in bed. Santana is a loner and likes to be higher up; she likes to be on the dining room table or the kitchen counters (Santana! Get down! ... GET DOWN!). I ordered an Armarkat tree from Amazon (which was our first delivery to the new house! Yay!).

All the pieces:

New Kitty Condo

Halfway through assembly:

New Kitty Condo

I love putting together furniture. You couldn't pay me enough to tape and paint a wall but I will happily put together furniture until the cows come home.

Cat tree all done and pushed back into the corner:

New Kitty Condo

Isn't it awesome? But... where are the cats?

I picked up Santana and put her on it:

New Kitty Condo

Then she jumped down to the window sill.

I put some treats around the tree to lure Murderface up:

New Kitty Condo

Let's zoom-in on MF and his little pot belly in the most unflattering pose/picture ever:


Anyway- they're not using it. I need to rub some catnip all over it or hide some treats. Santana is still shredding the corner of the couch instead of using ANY of the scratching posts all over this condo. I was given some advice to tell the cats that the condo is NOT for them and STRICTLY off limits to make them want to use it. That might work with Santana...