Friday, January 31, 2014

"High" Bar in the Basement

The kids love to hand from everything in the house, the fridge, the dishwasher, my leg; so I thought it was time to put something up more appropriate for them.  I bought a 1 inch piece of black iron pipe and mounted it in the little hallway we have in the basement.  Nick is able to grab it without help, but Maddie needs a boost.  I am OK with this, as I can see her dropping on her head.  Nick is bit more cautious.

I think the 1 inch pipe might be a bit too large, I should have gone with a 3/4 inch.  Though a high bar in gymnastics is a bit over an inch.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A simpler time, a more innocent time

Internet not required.

Nick has started to play some games on my Nook tablet, the issue we have run into is often they need to be connected to the internet in order for him to play.  I would rather the wifi be turned off when he is using it (can't buy stuff on accident, in the car, ect).  He has also been playing some of my old NES games on the Wii in our basement.  So there is a perfect intersection, with a few apps he can play old NES, SNES, ect games on the tablet.
The best part is that he can use the Wii Remote to play the games.  In the picture he is actually playing Donald Ducks playground which my family had for the Tandy computer in the late 80's.  He is running the DOS version in DOSBox on the nook, again using the remote.

Pretty nice setup.  Here is the software I am using:
  • Jon NES (there is a lite version)
  • SuperGNES (there is a lite version)
  • DOSBox Turbo
  • Wiimote Controller (looks like it might not be compatable with 4.2+ devices at the moment.  There are a lot of these, so you should be able to find one that works).
DOSBox takes some configuration, so I had to play around with the settings.  Once you figure out the settings you can setup configurations in DOSBox Manager, so your kids can just click and go.  Once you get the emulators you need to find ROMS or DOS programs and get them on the tablet.

Nick likes to talk about how he plays Old School games, it is pretty cute.  He says that when he has kids some day he will have to call them Old Old School games.

Cold Days, Burn Wood

You know it is cold when the furnace is running and you are burning wood.  Our fireplace is rated to heat up to 3000 square feet.  When we are heating with it the furnace will generally not run.  The last couple days though it hasn't been able to keep up.  Also, stay out of the basement when it is running, it gets pretty cold down there.  On the plus side the water out of the tap is very cold.

Built-in Cabinets

I have been working on constructing some more shelving in our basement, so we can get a little more organized down there.  To that effort I have been working on building some built in shelving units to replace a stand alone shelving unit from ikea.  Here is the story in pictures so far.

I also put in a small door for the kids to use to enter the area under the stairs as a play house.  It will probably be awhile before I get around to dry walling the interior, but the kids don't care.

I built the cabinets in the garage and hauled them down on a dolly, that was a mistake I should have cut and routed in the garage and glued it in the basement.  I built a jig out of peg board to drill the holes for the adjustable shelves which worked pretty well.

I built the two tall shelves and brought them down.  They are not perfectly square, but once the face front is on I don't think anyone will be the wiser.  Jen didn't notice so I will call that a win!

It took me awhile but I was able to build some smaller upper cabinets as well.  They are 15 inches deep instead of the 24 inches of the tall cabinets.  I am very glad I did that, since they are almost sticking out too much as is when you are coming around the corner.  As you can see they are filled already... sigh!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Couple old pictures

Found a couple old picture that are relevant so I thought I would post them.

This was a repair I had to make because I forgot to turn off the water to the garage sink early enough in the fall.  I really need to learn that lesson better, but the kids like to use a hose attached to the sink to play with water pretty late into the fall.  The copper pipe burst and I had to replace it, I replaced it with a stainless steel one and I haven't had any problems since, even though I have still forgot to turn the water off early enough.  So I had to buy a new tool to get to the nut, I hope to never use it again.

 This is our mud room setup, the top and bottom unit were pretty well priced at ikea, it works well for us though Jen would like cabinet doors in there.  For what reason I am not sure since the whole area it destroyed most of the time :)  We have lots of fun outside.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pumpkin sales and Amazon Prime

Pumpkin carving contest winner
Just wanted to note two things quickly.  My sister grew a bunch of pumpkins for her wedding at the end of September.  After the wedding we thought we would bring them back and try to sell them.  It seems like our neighbors liked the idea too, because we sold almost $50 worth of them.  We were selling regular sized pumpkins for $3 and tiny ones for $0.50 a piece.  We just put them at the top of the hill on an honor system and it worked out pretty well.

The other thing I wanted to comment on is that, I forgot to cancel my Amazon Prime membership and it auto-renewed.  We didn't use it much last year, so I was trying to find a way to cancel it and get my money back.  It turns out that if you cancel the membership you get a prorated amount back, and since it just renewed we are getting the whole $79 back.  I think it is really nice of them to do that, they could have said the membership is for a year and you can cancel it then.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Comcast issue

I received a letter from Comcast saying that they were going to be sending us some boxes so that we could continue to receive the basic cable service that we pay for.  I kind of like not needing to have a box and we have adjusted just fine to only having 4 channels that we watch on TV.  We have a number of TV's in the house so it will be inconvenient to have to hook up boxes to each one.

Apparently this is the result of a recent court ruling that allows the cable companies to encrypt their basic channel offering, which up till now had been illegal.  Since we live in a metro area, over the air (OTA) will probably work for us.  Also, if I can find a neighbor to share internet with I might bid adieu to Comcast entirely.  I got an old antenna that my dad had been using, but it was kind of in pieces.  I tore out the rotate mechanism since all the signals come from one direction (and it seemed broken), and soldered the wires to the old coax circuit (just the connector, the old circuit carried power for rotating the antenna as well).  We get most of the channels, but if I split the signal I get none.  So I need to find a pre-amp.  Recommendations?