Sunday 15 Jan 2017

Had to get up early, as usual for a Sunday. Cold last night; frost on the car. But sunny all day. Rain in the forecast for most of the week.

The usual Sunday meetings. Fixed the problem I had with processing donations last week. It was my fault. Interesting how problem can seem quite easy to fix when you know the cause. Or how less-than-knowledgeable you feel when you make a silly mistake. But no problem, all is well.

Quiet evening; should stay that way. Tomorrow’s task include making a new MissionaryLetters site for an old friend from Loomis.

Clear and Not Quite as Cold

As I write this, the temp outside has risen to a balmy 41F after an overnight low of 20F. Blue skies with just a hint of high and thin clouds and minimal wind. Should be a nice day.

Not much planned for today. Some preparatory work for tomorrow’s meetings (agendas and such). A couple of loads of laundry, and some minor cleaning.

I think that I figured out the plugin installation problem. Turned out to be my fault; I didn’t have the distribution files in the right spot in the WordPress plugin depository. I’m going to check that out with some final testing today.

And, decided to put a weather widget over there on the right. Just in case anyone wants to know what the weather is here.


After an overnight low of 20F, currently 37F, so most of the frost outside has gone away. High thin clouds, so some sunshine. Expected high is 37F.

Filled up the hummingbird feeder outside. It had frozen, so the refill made our two hummingbirds happy. One is more territorial than the other; the territorial one will chase away the other one if it catches it feeding. But both are using it; the other one sneaks back. The feeder is right outside the back windows, so can easily see them.

The view out the back windows allows me to see the local eagles, usually every day. And the cargo and other ships transiting the Puget Sound. I use the site to see which ships are going by. Mostly cargo of various types, some US Coast Guard. And if I am paying attention, the occasional submarine transiting to/from Bremerton. Those are not shown on the web site map; they are hidden, because of terrorism, you know.

Today’s tasks are to continue working on those two WordPress plugin installation problems. And the garage door guy is coming this afternoon to replace the broken springs on the garage door.

And to watch out for any black cats and ladders.

Sunny but Cold

Today was clear and cold. Temps in the mid-30’s, clear blue skies, no wind. Nice views out to Puget Sound through our big living room windows.

Made arrangements to get the garage door springs replaced. Cost will be about $280 – $70/each for two springs, and $99 install. A reasonable cost, so the garage guy is scheduled to be here tomorrow.

Still working on getting my latest two plugins to install properly from the WordPress plugin pages. Not sure why they aren’t; asking the googles about the error message has not been fruitful yet. Tried a few more things, but have to wait a bit for the WP plugin area to sync (I think).


Woke up this morning to a power outage; not hard to wake up with those since I wear a CPAP mask. Heard some sirens from the local fire department shortly thereafter, so figured the news wasn’t good. I figured it wasn’t weather related, since it was cold (about 30F) but not windy. (All the trees around here can sometimes irritate the power poles and wiring.)

Took a shower while the hot water heater (insulated, but in a cold garage) still had hot water. Then popped on FB to check the local Public Utility District (PUD) status; they usually have fairly quick updates. They said a transformer failure at the local distribution place.

So, the morning was quieter than usual; no music via Pandora. No interwebs to wander around. Although I hadn’t charged my phone and tablet last night, there was still enough to use it. (Hence the ability to check FB.) And I do have one of those external USB batteries to recharge.

It was a nice sunny day (well, some high clouds), so there was enough outside light through our big windows to see things. The windows are all double-pane, but still can let in some coldness.

Fired up the propane fireplace. It doesn’t’ really put out much heat, even with the powered fans. Might have to think about replacing that.

The PUD was saying that power might take 12-24 hours depending on location. So at about 130pm, decided to fire up the generator. Went out to the garage, did the ‘release’ thing on the garage door opener, but couldn’t get the door (double-wide metal sectional thing) up. Turned out that the garage door spring had broken, so no assist on getting the door up.

But the generator is just inside the garage. Hooked up the extension cord to the door opener, and started the generator (after figuring out the generator battery was out of charge, so had to use the pull-rope). Got it started after about 8 pulls, quickly opened the garage door (because gas engines inside a garage are not really healthy) and moved the generator out on the driveway. (It has a heavy-duty cable to secure it from wandering away.).

Then ran a long heavy-duty extension cord to the den, and hooked it up to the LCD TV and DirecTV box. The generator was able to easily power the TV, so that is good news – I did want to test that on the next power outage. I also used generator power to charge up the phone and tablet. (The battery pack did a good job on the phone, getting it from about 15% to 90%.)

I already had lots of flashlights (you can never have too many). The outside chest freezer only got up to 10F, so it was OK. The inside refrigerator was OK for the moment, but would probably need to connect it to the generator in the evening.

So I spent most of the day reading (paper and electronic books), and checking FB via the phone and tablet.

The PUD guys were rearranging the power switching, so were able to get some areas near us powered up. We got power at about 430pm, although it was a ‘brown-out’ level; the bathroom lights were a bit dim, so I measured the voltage at about 90VAC. It took until about 600pm to get full voltage back.

So, the results of this power outage

  • It’s time to get a generator bypass panel wired into the house. I figure the generator can run the TV/den, the bedroom, and the refrigerator and freezer. The generator is a 6000-7000W unit, so should handle that load OK. That will eliminate the hassle of running those orange extension cords around. Looks like the cost will be around $250-300, plus an hours’ worth of electrician time. (Although I could do it myself, I also need to get a whole-house power conditioner thing installed, so might as well let the electrician do it.
  • I also need to get the garage door spring replaced. Not a job for the do-it-yourselfer, though, since those springs can be a bit deadly.
  • I used to have several of those USB power ‘banks’, but they are hiding at the moment. So will need to find those this week. I ordered two more from the Daily Steals site at $10 apiece, which is a good price.

Other preps were OK. I’ve got a couple of LED camping lights that put out a lot of light at minimal battery cost. And I have lots of other flashlights around, including those that plug into the wall and light up on when power fails.

Food and water preps are good for short-term.

And, I figured out that although toilets still flush, the bathroom fan won’t work during a power outage. So a purchase of some air freshener might be a good idea.

New Grandbaby!

Congrats to Stacy and Justin on their new little girl! Cute baby!

15895317_10154783774741063_2306125257778464361_nBorn early this morning; Mom and baby are well.

She came a bit later than Stacy expected. We were thinking that she would arrive while we were staying with them over Christmas/New Year’s.

But babies have their own timetable, of course.

She joins older brother Dominic (5) and Audrey (3). Both are recovering from mild flu, so they probably won’t get to meet their new little sister until tomorrow. But I suspect a video encounter for them to see their new sister.

For us here on the Olympic Peninsula, some stormy weather overnight. I did see a few very short snow flurries this morning, but the storm has cleared out leaving just a few clouds and bright blue skies.

Plans for today – some more work on the WordPress plugins; two of the new ones have installation problems. Probably related to some wrong configuration on the Subversion paths/URLs that I inadvertently caused. Not a big deal, though…it’s not like I have thousands of users of those plugins. I made both of them for my own convenience in managing the Missionary Letters sites.

Catching Up – Again

A new year. Let’s see if I can get back into the habit of posting here. Mostly for my own amusement, as my visitor count can probably be done on one hand.

Fixed one of my WordPress plugins today – the AmazoLinkenator. It automatically adds Amazon affiliate links to any Amazon site link on a WordPress site. A German user said it didn’t work with URLs that have  ‘umlauts’ – those German characters that have those double-dots above characters.

The code extracts URLs from a text string into an array, then works on those URL items in the array to add the affiliate link. The regex (pattern-matching code) didn’t find a URL with a umlaut, so a lot of asking the googles found a better regex pattern that works with URLs with umlauts.

I’m putting it here for my own reference, along with where I found it.

It seems to work OK, so updated the plugin.

Got home last week from an extended trip to see grandkids (and their families). Went to Utah first the week before Christmas, and spent a few days there, watching them open their presents early. (The back of the Highlander was stuffed with boxes full of presents…there was just enough room for two suitcases.)

Then off to Roseville, CA to visit the other daughter and her family. She is expecting (any day now), and we hoped that we would be there for the birth. Had a great Christmas with their two children, but no new kids. We finally had to leave last Thursday, so we would avoid the big snowstorms on the way back into WA. Travelling was good on all three legs of the trip, due to my close watch on forecasted weather. There were bad storms on my non-travel days, so was nice not to drive through snow or blizzards, or worry about road closures.

While in CA, I worked on a couple of new WordPress plugin, and also on the site.

Nice visits, but always good to be back on home turf.