Saturday, July 23, 2016

A pleasant surprise...

A pleasant surprise...  A few days ago I ordered an automatic door closer for my office door.  The main goal was to make sure the door always remained shut on the air conditioned space (the rest of the shed's second floor is a veritable blast furnace in the summer).  A secondary goal was to ensure that the door never slammed shut too hard, as the acoustic panels mounted to my ceiling with magnets can be jostled loose if the building shakes too much.

So I chose a well-reviewed model (photo at right) and looked over the reviews.  A surprising number of them mentioned challenges in installing the unit – nothing that reflected on the quality of the unit itself, just that it was tricky and time-consuming (one to two hours).  I really didn't see any reason that it would be, but I steeled myself for the challenge UPS was going to deliver.

I received it yesterday, and installed it this afternoon.  The instructions were crystal clear.  It comes with a paper template that was easy to use, and was spot on.  I drilled six pilot holes, spun in six screws, mounted the arm, adjusted it, and voila! ... I had a door closer.  Total elapsed time: 12 minutes.  Challenge level (1-10 scale): 1.5.  Which leads to a ponder: who the heck are those people who wrote the reviews that had me a bit concerned about how hard this would be? 

One lesson here: when I read in Amazon reviews that installation or assembly was “challenging”, I'm going to be a bit more skeptical of that than I have been :)

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  Well, the extra dirt didn't all get cleaned up, as I suspected :)  To be fair, though, most of it is cleaned up – and I'm promised final cleanup on Monday.

I've been trying for nearly a year now to get a contractor (who shall remain unnamed) to install sprinklers in our yard.  We're also potentially interested in “fixing” our lawn, which in the areas immediately around the house is quite a mess.  There are lots of holes, it's far from flat, and in some places there are more weeds than grass – and where there's more grass, most if it is fast-growing native grass that looks more like a hay field than a lawn.  This unnamed contractor keeps promising to get going on our project, but at this point I've given up.  So I got a reference to another contractor, and he will be here on Monday to scope out the job.  If that doesn't scare him away, maybe we'll have some action this year (which is my goal).

Someday we'll probably have a straightforward project around our place, but ... the sprinkler system we need is not that project.  One complication is that a nice, paved driveway separates our lawn into two sections, and we don't want to dig up the driveway.  We have a solution for that, though: the 8" diameter Paradise water feed goes under the driveway now, and we will no longer need it after this project is finished – so we can use that as a tunnel to get the sprinkler water and wires through.  Another complication is our need to deal with highly variable pressure from the Paradise water feed.  The flow rate is generally fine, but the pressure often dips too low to reliably run sprinklers.  The new contractor instantly recommended a holding tank and pump solution: a standard and reliable way to handle the problem.  Finally, because Paradise water is full of all sorts of junk including weed seeds, we need a filter system to keep all that off the lawn.  The new contractor has a favorite solution for this, using water filters from an Israeli firm.  They're easy to clean, he tells me, which is music to my ears.  So I have hope :)

Yesterday I made lunch for Debbie and I: a BLT for her and a turkey sandwich for my own.  She pronounced the BLT “best BLT evah!”, so today she sent me out to buy the necessary ingredients for a repeat performance.  My turkey sandwich, using turkey ends from Lower's, was outstanding.  Today we're going to make an outing to the Maddox drive-in, as a treat for both of us.