Month: August 2003

The Kitchen Change

Yesterday we moved the refridgerator and the stove. We got the stove electric line moved too, but still have the refrigerator electric line and water line to move. We’ll do at least the electricity portion tomorrow, Labor Day, September 1, 2003.

We have the fridge plugged into another outlet temporarily. It’s right there, but the fridge deserves it’s own circuit.

It has made my kitchen non-backwards to do this switch. My fridge is now in the corner, by the door to the garage, and flanked on the other side with cabinets. It was a horrible spot to cook in, as this house was built for it that way. With the fridge there, it makes the spot look a bit small, but it works to get in the fridge and disturb no one else in the kitchen, AND there is a counte perpendicular to being in the fridge, which makes taking food out very nice, or putting it in, there is a place right there to temporarily put things.

On the other end of the deal is the stove. Now it’s down the aisle from the door to the garage, nearly right across from the dishwasher. There is plenty of space for someone to be at the stove, someone have the dishwasher open, and someone be walking through the kitchen now. Also, the stove isn’t positioned in such a way as to make one feel secluded, as it was before. My back was to everything when at the stove. Now, it’s part of life, with a long counter on the left right next to it and lots of open space. I just hated cooking in a corner.

The refrigerator is in that corner now, and it works. The stove opens up the middle of the kitchen now and it’s incredible. Now all we need is new cabinets to configure the space even better! And new countertops too, of course. Someday we hope to get that done. A new stove, new dishwasher and a new sink and faucet as well. A new refrigerator too, and retire the primary one we have now to second string, for particular things, like dairy.

Well, now I have a bunch of re-arranging of what’s in the cabinets. My kitchen is making more sense finally, and I don’t mind thinking of re-arranging it now. Before it didn’t make sense to to much of this or that, put that there, etc. Now it does. Positioning of stuff is important. It must feel right, or it surely all feels wrong, upside-down, backwards and worse. We lived here for nearly 6 years, not liking the kitchen space until the change this weekend brought. Whew!

Anniversary soon

Time is sure flying. It’s already August 19, which means Frank and me are drawing near to our 11th anniversary. It’ll happen on August 22.

We’ve nothing extraordinary planned … still in the throws of poverty 😉 But climbing out soon, hopefully.

Septic fun

We’ve had toilet trouble for awhile now. Thursday was one of those “ITYS” days for Frank.

Cloggy toilets are no fun to live with. We have five people living here, all who use the plumbing. That makes for some busy rooms throughout the day. And since one of those people is not yet Three years old [Sept 13, 2003!] there’s a tendancy for more than what’s supposed to go into a toilet, to actually go into a toilet.

So the last month to two months, the plunger and snake have been employed often. Bad days, decent days, bad days, flooding days. It’s been no fun. All along I’ve said that the septic tank needed emptied. We’ve been here since Nov 1997. So, finally, with a toilet uninstalled yesterday, Frank saw that it wasn’t going to be solved with any kind of snake … and called a septic company.

So we now have a basement toilet that flushes just fine. And it doesn’t bubble when the hall upstairs toilet is flushed, or the washing machine starts to drain. That’s the simplistic description, to spare gory details.

Well, it was an educational day for the youngun’s. They saw it all. If that’s all a septic tank is for … to educate young minds as to how things work, it’s a good thing. Well, it’s more than that. It’s useful for homes, no monthly sewage costs from the city or county. And then to get get it pumped out every 3-5 years … if it’s done proactively, it’s not expensve.

To be on the other end of it, it’s a lucrative business. Just look around when out and about, what kind of slogans are on septic tanks, bumper stickers of septic business owners? It’s cute, in a dirty way. Hey, we all understand it though. It’s part of being an organic being.

Sony Vaio laptop woes and fixes

Computers. Ugh. Problems. Ugh. I was on my laptop this morning, literally using it on my lap … I moved it over to reposition my legs, and vrrroooop. The whole this shut down instantly, like it’s magical powers had suddenly vanished into thin air. Nothing would make it come back on. The battery was fully charged and it was also plugged in with the power cord.

I learned much this morning and afternoon.

I found out where my CMOS was finally. I’d wanted to know that before. The thing that I’ll write here are the basic symptoms, to help some poor soul in a similar crisis.

I learned that if I took the battery out, and re-plugged the power cord in, the caps lock line of lights above the power button would flash for a brief second when the plug met the receptacle on the back of the laptop. Then, pressing the power button on the laptop would elicit the hard drive and battery lights to light up momentarily, as if they’d be doing more … but then they’d go out. No other things would happen.

I’m somewhat familiar with the insides of my Sony Vaio laptop, since the COKE SPILL INCIDENT of last month. So, I took stuff apart and poked around, went down to Frank’s computer and search online, go back upstairs and poke, plug, poke, feel like slapping it … then back down to surf again … on and on we went.

I finally found a thread online about COMPAQ laptops of a certain model that had something similar in common, with each other, and my situation. I didn’t hear an difinitive answers though.

I was research then how to get my laptop hard drive slaved to the PC, to save the data that wasn’t yet saved. Most was, but not all was externally saved. I found one online place with possible $13,+ change little kit to hook one up and even mount it to the PC, cool. Anyhow, that’s a future solution perhaps.

I read and read and read, and finally realized that the CMOS battery may look quite different than what I was looking for. I finally found it, blue shrinkwrapped plastic two segment thing with a two-prong jumper cable coming out of it. It has battery info written on it, but it was upsidedown and very hard to read due to location.

The thing I read that enlightened me enough to try this, said to put the battery in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then re-install it and the dead computer with revive.

My Vaio PCG-GRV550 has been through so much the past month, what the hey, why not just pry that battery off of it’s sticky perch on my motherboard. And pry I had to, really tug and pull. Off it came. I precautionarily put it in a plastic freezer bag to keep it dry. I set the stove timer for 10 minutes. I twiddled my fingers waiting, looked at the timer, it said 8. Time flies when you are having fun. The opposite is also true.

So, I took myself down to the PC to surf for more info meanwhile. Wouldn’t you know it, time flew. Beep, Beep, Beep, … I was called back upstairs in such a short time.

I turned of the timer beeping, and went to the freezer, removed the battery from there and the bag, and plopped it back into the Vaio GRV550, snapping the jumper in first, then re-seating the sticky bottom of the CMOS battery. I plugged the power cord in to the computer, and no lights flashed. Good.

Then I pushed the power button, and voila! BIOS was reset to 1987 and everything was working great!

I had to reset the time.

Now, I suppose the search for a new CMOS battery will begin. As long as I don’t power OFF, BIOS will hold. That is, unless it decides to go bye bye in the middle of stuff again, which the freezer trick will work to cure again, and again, perhaps.

This sad tale is not as sad as it has to be. A solution was found in less than half a day. I saw later a site that advertised truly fixing computers, repairing motherboards, etc. not just “replacing things”.

They had a banner below some of their info that read something like:

“Has you Sony Vaio Laptop stopped working is dead? Send it to us and for $90 we’ll revive it.”

Hmmm. sounds a bit familiar … is this a Sony Vaio laptop problem? CMOS Battery goes bad? Sony was no help on their site. It was torture trying to load any helps on sony’s site. So, now I just need a local source for a new CMOS battery. IT friends are helpful when it comes to parts, and so I sure hope to have this all solved completely soon.

I thought perhaps I had this problem due to the Coke Incident, but maybe not, or partially not. Hmm.

Window Blinds

We have Windows XP on both our computers, a desktop, and this one I’m typing on–my laptop. I found, through looking for something else online today, that WindowBlinds is available for XP as a shareware model, free download, and use as is. What is it? It’s a skinning app for your OS. I was sick of the XP particular look, and am now using Corona XP, via Window Blinds. You can check it out at their web site. At any rate, it makes everything look totally different, and I find the start menu and program menus much improved, and the windows just look nicer.

This is an example of the Cornona XP with small titlebar subset, on my desktop tonight. A few different windows open to show the style. Perhaps I’ll do a few more screen shots of other elements later. My desktop wallpaper is a blue plaid I made in Photoshop Elements sometime ago.

Here’s the square, in case anyone wants it. In IE right click the link, Save Target As …, or however else you prefer to save a picture on your harddrive.

I’d heard of Window Blinds before, but heard of lots of problems. THIS XP version is integrated into Windows Display Property Settings, so you can easily use it, or use Win XP settings itself. It’s written for XP OS, then brought down to the other [older] Windows OS’s. There are lots of skins to download and use, and there are tools you can get to make your own skins, if you are so inclined.


Things are looking up for us, a bit. Frank has at least one, with more coming onboard soon, sub-contracts to work for people. This will possibly mean we’ll be doing better than before getting out of CMD, the company he worked for when laid-off-terminated in December 2001. We have lots of “catch-up” to play, but it’ll be nice to be able to do that, instead of have the “catch-up” get bigger and further away.

We’ll be happy when that “catch-up monster” is long gone.

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