iPad, therefore iAm

I ordered an iPad the first day that Apple was taking orders. I thought (still think…) it will make a great internet appliance for my elderly mom, who has no real experience with computers. Some of those characteristics that are perceived as negatives for techies I think will be positives for her. It has a great web browser, for an almost full internet experience (I will have to steer her away from addictinggames.com, of course), a perfectly good email application, and there are already a bunch of apps for news, which she is feeling out of touch with. Having played with it for a day and a half (on and off), I am pretty impressed. On the down side, it feels a little heavy (compared to my iPod touch. What was I expecting?), and it won’t sync wirelessly, which is a shame, because she and my dad live downstairs, and that would make it just that much easier. On the plus side, it doesn’t multi-task ;-). The touchscreen is much easier to adapt to than a mouse. It just feels much simpler than a PC/Mac, which for my use case is a decided plus. I am now waiting for the keyboard dock, which should make it more comfortable to sit and type at before I give it to her, but I have added some music, photos, contacts, apps, etc. The on-screen keyboard is definitely usable, but the lack of tactile feedback is noticeable. We shall see…

Here are the obligatory, goofy un-boxing photos:
[set_id=72157623774383176]

House Update

Over the winter, we had our old two-level back porch torn down and replaced. The old porches were getting a bit soft in the wood, and of course required regular maintenance (mostly painting). We also wanted to make them larger and hence more usable, in addition to creating a third level deck to complement the doors we added to our attic finishing project that until now led to the steeply pitched porch roof.

[set_id=72157623663839902]

The decking is ipe wood, a hardwood that is very durable and insect resistant. The railings are mahogany, and the rest of the framing is PT lumber. Our hope is that this will make for a low maintenance addition to our home that is very usable.

One unforeseen effect is that with the decking spaced as decking normally is, rain now comes through the second floor and drips down onto the first floor porch. The previous flooring had been painted and installed with no spacing, so the rain ran off the end instead. Of course, the second floor is actually roofed, so it’s just wind-blown rain, but inevitably when it rains, we get more rain on the first floor porch now than we used to.

The deck on the third floor is a nice new addition. Up there, with the greater exposure to the sun, we had composite decking installed. One fun thing we were able to do is make the deck two-tone. The railings are the same mahogany as the other levels.

Our contractor was going to install the very pedestrian lattice for the skirt, but I prefer the look of the previous vertical slats, so I will be working on that later this spring.

Basement Project

We had our favorite contractor do a quick “facelift” of our basement. Removed one partition wall, added a new one and a small, additional partition to create a laundry area for the first floor apartment. Hopefully, we can create an inviting space for the kids to be able to play down there without a complete remodel. The ceiling, walls, and floor were painted to clean and brighten up the space. Then with the help of Susan’s sister, Nancy and niece Melissa, we added some color to the walls.

[set_id=72157622830020871]

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, this is a bit late. Here’s a poem I wrote for our family football pool mailing list, as I’ve been in the habit of writing one for the weekly mailing. Usually, they are football related, and they are always written under pressure of time. So don’t judge too harshly 🙂

Pause for a minute to reflect, on the men and women we elect,
On the soldiers who our freedoms protect, and all who warrant our respect.
And be thankful.

Think, if you will of all we expect, the greed that can our souls infect,
When we our blessings do neglect, and God’s great offered peace reject.
And be thankful.

So on this holiday connect, with family and friend and seek to perfect,
Creation; and in joy bedecked, let the Hallelujahs go unchecked.
And be thankful!

The House

In the fourteen years we’ve spent in our house, we’ve been blessed to have only four tenants, all of whom have been really great. But I am enjoying our current tenants the most, because they are… My parents! With their health on the decline, the upkeep of their own house became more and more overwhelming. So after fourteen years of our asking them, they finally acquiesced and moved in downstairs about a month ago.

Their house is now on the market, so if you know anyone looking for a lovely, small home in southern Connecticut, with a bigger-than-average yard, and a finished basement with an awesome workshop, let me know.

It’s been a while

I’m not much of a blogger. Having the summer trip provided me with an endless supply of material to write about. But (my) ordinary life hardly seems worth writing about. Another roadblock for me was that I wanted to “preserve” the trip blog as a sort of whole. And in fits and starts, I have, I think, accomplished that. There is now a Trip Diary page which lists the posts related to our Big Trip in chronological order. The blog format is nice if you’re “following along” in that the most recent entries appear at the top. However, if I were to tell someone today that we had a great trip this past summer and that they can read about it on our website, the standard blog ordering (reverse chronological) is less than ideal. So with some help from the WordPress community, I was able to code up a page that presented the trip log entries in Forward chronological order, as a diary would be. Which I think you will agree is much more friendly for the newcomer.