Tag Archives: house

Impressions After A Week in the New House

So we’ve been actually living at the new place for a week… and the fun just doesn’t end:

  • Having both sets of parents willing and able to help is huge.
  • Circa 1962 toilets don’t come out without a fight. They also don’t get picked up at the curb.
  • Whomever assigned rooms/outlets to circuit breakers in this house was either a certified genius or an authentic wacko. I’m going with the latter.
  • Two prong outlets are the devil.
  • There’s phone jacks every 5 feet in every room, yet coax in only 2 rooms. Total.
  • Buying a new/different house is just a licence to spend even more money on new/different stuff. Despite the fact you paid someone to move all your old stuff over here too.
  • MyLowes is a great name for their loyalty program, because it will indeed be Your Lowes by the time you buy 1 of everything in the store.
  • It’s fun having twice the space as the old house, yet cramming most of your stuff into one room so the downstairs floors can be replaced.
  • There’s such a thing as having too much flooring to replace.
  • I have my one-hour workout all set as far as mowing the lawn.
  • Goodbye bushes and shrubs on the side of the house!
  • The neighbors we’ve met so far have been awesome.
  • I know I made the joke too, but if I had a nickel for every time someone mentioned the Jeffersons…

Cold, But I'm Still Here

(With apologies to Evans Blue…)

So the online presence has suffered a bit while we recovered from the holidays. I worked Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all of which were relatively slow days (I mean, see the monkey? He was chill.). 8 hours of holiday pay on New Years Eve, during the day, was nice. Not like anything goes on during the day anyway, revelry-wise. We kept the night low-key, Pat and Jodi came over for a ton of snacks, good beers, the USA-Canada World Juniors game, some Wii, board games, (oh yeah, the ball drop!), and we called it a night watching the South Park movie. After we awoke in the morning, we soldiered on with our now-annual New Years Day tradition of going to brunch at Cracker Barrel. We started this last year when Dave and Michaela stayed over and suggested it, and this year we continued with Pat, Jodi, Tiff and I meeting Dave and Michaela there for another old-fashioned American fill-your-face-fest. Dayyum!


After we rolled out of there, Tiff and I came home and started to deconstruct the house a little bit. Putting gifts away, cleaning up, etc. In anticipation of my new computer parts arriving soon (Thanks Mom & Dad for the Newegg GC!), I swapped out the guts of my main rig into another case and re-installed Windows and some apps. (For those scoring at home, the main tower case in the basement is getting the new parts, the AthlonXP went into what used to be the server and now lives in the office, and the old server parts (a 1Ghz P3) are awaiting a case of their own, anyone got an empty ATX case they don’t care about?) All while watching the Winter Classic! Fenway was a great venue, and obviously the last five minutes were the best, but another good job by the league, and by USA Hockey to capitalize on the day by announcing the US Olympic team after the game. After dinner, we watched the Sabres come from behind on the Thrashers, and laid low.

Saturday was more decoration removal, and the start of our winter-time spring cleaning. Kinda went through a bunch of stuff and figured out what we don’t need. Ventured out in the afternoon to do a couple of returns, grab some lunch, and pick up some groceries. Tiff made Spiedies for dinner, we had some nice wine (and some not-so-nice wine!) and then watched one of Tiff’s movies that she received for Christmas. That being the horrifically-bad House IV. So bad it never made it to DVD. I fell asleep and missed all but the beginning and ending 10 minutes. Apparently I didn’t miss anything.


Sunday I got up early to feed the cat, moved the Ethernet cable and access point from the swapped guest room to the new office, replaced an outlet, helped Tiff rearrange the kitchen, and kinda watched the Bills game. Picked up some other odds and ends, watched the Sabres game, shoveled the driveway, ate dinner, we folded a mountain of laundry, then watched most of the Jets-Bengals game. I thought I scored a sweet deal at Sears online on a snowblower, but it was too good to be true and the order got canceled before it even got out of the gate. Them’s the breaks I guess.

Back to work this morning, and my parts from Newegg arrived, so I’ll be putting most of the new rig together tonight, but I can’t finish because the power supply shipped from California instead and doesn’t get here until tomorrow. Bummer. It’ll look pretty, though! More on that when it’s together and up and running. Promise.


The Holiday Silly Season

As I write this, the whirlwind Christmas season has come to a close (can’t really say the holidays, as New Years is still ahead of us.), and what a season we had this year. Work ended on Tuesday night, followed up by volleyball. On Wednesday, we made the colossal Wegmans run, prepped the house for the ensuing visitors, and got a good night’s sleep. Woke up Thursday morning, got some last minute wrapping done, and we welcomed Mom and Dad S. to the house. We got them settled, then made another Weggie’s run to get the catering and some last-minute stuff. Came back home, and Tiff and her mom went to work in the kitchen getting food for dinner and Christmas Day ready. We had a very nice dinner and celebrated Tiff’s father’s birthday. Opened a couple stocking stuffers at night to get in the Christmas spirit, and called it a night rather early in anticipation of Christmas Day.

We got the house ready, Tiff and Mom got the food ready, and then the Bonus/Kowalenko caravan rolled in around 12:45. We got them unloaded and in, and commenced with the food, drink, and merriment! Tons of snacks, Amanda’s buffalo wing dip, some good beers, getting full even before dinner. We packed 15 people into the house, and that’s about our limit! We opened a couple gifts, then had Grandma’s perogies and Dad’s mushroom soup as appetizers. Gotta move some of the old traditions to our place! Opened a couple more gifts, and then it was time for the big dinner. Ham, squash, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, etc. Excellent. After everyone digested and had their fill, we filled up even more with cookies and the cheesecake my aunt and uncle brought. It was awesome to have everyone up to our place, and thankfully the weather held out so driving for everyone wasn’t a factor. A wonderful Christmas, and for our first time hosting, it went really well.

What to do the day after Christmas? Why, go shopping of course! We hit a couple places in Henrietta, then after lunch at the Distillery and a quick detour to Beers of the World, we trucked out to Eastview to get our shop on. The mall was packed, even more so than any mall I saw before Christmas. A jaunt back to Barnes and Noble in Pittsford, then back home for a dinner of the best leftovers from the night before. Still tasted great. For the nightcap, Tiff and her parents watched the latest Harry Potter movie while I watched the Sabres lose.

We got up early the next morning, and grabbed a really good breakfast at Peppermints on W. Henrietta Rd. Yum. We saw Tiff’s parents off, cleaned up the house a bit, then Pat and Jodi came over. We did our little gift exchange, and went out for a big late lunch at Sticky Lips. One BBQ platter later, we rolled out of there and came back to the house and visited for a little bit. We saw Pat and Jodi off, and then I saw myself off to Buffalo to meet Adam and hit up the Every Time I Die Christmas show at Mohawk Place. Since that didn’t start ’til 9, we grabbed some dinner and pre-gamed a bit at the Thirsty Buffalo on Elmwood. Had a good time there, watched the Jets prevent the Colts from going undefeated, and watched the Sabres beat the Blues. We trekked down to Mohawk, met my buddy Art, and had a great time hanging out at the show. Thankfully, I only had to drive back to NT, not Rochester, and Dad was still up to greet me!

Slept in a bit, putzed around in the morning, and then Dad and I grabbed some lunch at Ted’s (mmm, Char-Broiled hotdogs!) before I bounced back to Rochester and Dad took off for the office. Got back home, lounged a bit, made a Weggie’s run, and after dinner I organized the basement, watched some hockey, I’m still watching some football, and barring some disaster, I’ll win my second straight fantasy football title! Not looking forward to getting ready to head back to work tomorrow, but I do have volleyball tomorrow night though, so that oughta be the usual rip-roaring good time! Working Wednesday and Thursday also, and then New Years Eve festivities…

Show Us Pictures!

As I’m wont to do, I got bored and revamped how the pictures on the site are displayed. All the photo galleries are now hosted with Google, on Picasa Web Albums. The ease of use, coupled with the auto-upload and sync when using Picasa on the desktop is what led me away from Gallery2. I’m also now using Lightbox and a WordPress-to-Picasa plugin called Shashin to make everything look pretty and work together (hopefully) seamlessly. There will most likely be some broken photo links in the archives and concert pages as I work backward to update all those pages. I just can’t leave well enough alone!

We had an early Christmas dinner in Elmira/Horseheads over the weekend, and had lunch with Rebecca and Joel as well, so we started our holiday cheer a bit early. Two days of work, and then a couple of days off to go berserk with Christmas stuff! The Bonus house is gonna be controlled chaos, as we’re hosting Christmas Day for the first time. Can’t wait to fill the house with people, food, and good cheer!

A Real Blog Post? HAVA at it!

It’s only been forever. I’m trying to get back into this habit as opposed to just syndicating Twitter/FB Status updates. Trying.

So from Thursday night on, I’ve been shuffling computers and AV equipment around a bit, as I picked up a HAVA Titanium HD streamer. This little box sits between my cable box and my router/cable modem, simplified my entire computer/TV/Media Center setup, and eliminated a power-hungry always-on PC in the basement (gotta be green!). If you’re interested in the technical details, read on:


After doing all the research, and considering I’ve been lusting after a SlingBox for awhile now while fighting with my current setup, I HAVA what? The Titanium won out over a Sling for a couple of reasons. It was cheaper, for one. Buying a factory-direct refurb unit took about 60% off of their price, and about 30% off of anyone else’s online price. It can serve multiple clients at once (obviously only watching the same channel), so you can run the player on multiple PC’s at the same time. In addition to their proprietary player, it also acts like a virtual tuner in Windows Media Center for any PC on the local network (changes the channels on the digital box and everything). Like Sling, it too has a dedicated iPhone app (and also like Sling, wi-fi only, but thanks to 3G Unrestrictor (jailbreak!) it works anywhere). Compared to my prior setup, this is much more streamlined, and now I don’t need to dedicate an always-on PC just to stream TV. I had been using Orb in conjunction with Vista Media Center on a box, and while it worked okay, changing channels on the phone was sometimes a chore, and more importantly, Orb was chained to Vista, as they still don’t have full Win7 support. I eliminated a whole PC, added a virtual remote (changing channels on the phone is way easier now), and now have a legit $30 academic copy of Win7 on the tower (which runs way better than it ever did with a sketchy copy of Vista). This bumped the O.G. Media Center box (the small form factor HP) down into the living room TV cabinet, where it’s now paired with the wireless keyboard so we can surf/watch YouTube/do whatever on a giant 42″ monitor. And now neither of those PC’s are on 24/7 anymore (yay power savings!)

Other than that? Let’s see…
After our long Cleveland weekend last weekend, the work week, interrupted by volleyball on Tuesday, came and went, which brought us to Friday. Another big Amerks game against the Crunch, in which we had a great time up in our usual section 221 haunt. Jon and Laura were even in town and came and sat with us! Naturally, the night never ends after the game, and it was off to East and Alexander for Mike’s birthday, where we did our usual up and down the street trek, this time with Pete joining us! It culminated in a half-dead A-Pub/Daisy Dukes where the cover band wasn’t half bad. Saturday had me doing computer tinkering, and while Tiff went and saw New Moon, I puttered around town “shopping”, if you can call it that. An early night back home to watch the Sabres lose, and more computer stuff.

Sunday was living room upheaval day, also known as setting up the Christmas tree. We re-arranged the whole room, got the tree up, threw some decorations on it, watched the Bills snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and finally ventured out of the house for a bit. Groceries and the like, more decorations, the usual. Came back and finished putting ornaments on, and cleaned up the place. Needless to say, Wizard has a new favorite spot, behind the tree on the nice new tree skirt. Thank God for rollers.

Long weekend holiday madness coming up this week!