Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Brief Notes of Rachel's First Four Years

At Rachel's school, they do a party on the last friday of each month to celebrate those birthdays that fell during the month. Rachel's was last week, so her party was today, along with her friend Lucy. Part of the party includes having the child walk around a candle representing the sun with the names of each month in a circle around it, once for each year of age, while a parent reads some brief notes about the child's life. Here's what we read for Rachel this time:
  • 0-1 yr. Rachel began to give beautiful, warm smiles. She learned to sit, crawl, and walk. Rachel used simple sign language before she learned to talk.
  • 1-2 yr. Rachel enjoyed looking at books, and being in the swing at the park. She loved going to painting and music class. One of her favorite foods was fruit, and she would ask for "boooorreeeees" to more blueberries.
  • 2-3 yr. Rachel started at school in the toddler room. She started talking even more and learning silly songs. One of her favorite songs was "the Itsy Bitsy Spider." She learned to make muffins and pancakes, sifting flour, cracking eggs, and stirring batter.
  • 3-4 yr. Rachel has learned to conquer her fears, like climbing a tall ladder at the park. She learned to trace letters and write her name. Rachel has made friends at preschool and in her neighborhood. She went on her first trip to Disneyland.
We so wanted to expand on those, but had to keep them brief...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Basement Renovation, Part 8

OK, so the basement's not really completely finished. For one thing, I have to get the rest of the new wiretech shelving we want, install it, and get everything that should be in there moved back in from 'Son of the Black Hole'. Son of the Black Hole is the downstairs bedroom... the downstairs bedroom was Return of the Black Hole when we moved in. Before that, one of the rooms in our old place was 'the Black Hole' for quite a while after we moved in there...

Anyway, it turned out that there was something wrong with the new dryer Sears brought us on Monday... I noticed it initially as early as Tuesday, I think, when the control panel didn't light up when I pressed a key and I had to open the door, close it again, and try again. Since it lit up at that point, I figured it was just that the door hadn't been closed quite all the way or something. Thursday night, though, when I was showing Dawn's father the basement, it wouldn't start up at all, so I called Sears and told them I was having trouble and that it looks used because the inside of the door hinge is kind of banged up and I really don't want to have to deal with a machine that has problems and essentially died 3 days after they installed it. So, they're bringing us a new one tomorrow morning.

But that's not quite all... as I more or less concluded after some 'net searching, and as was confirmed by a couple of my more electrically inclined friends, you can't buy a 240-volt extension cord, and you can't get a 240 dryer cord over 6 feet long unless you make it yourself (or find someone to do it). That means the 240 plug is too far from where the dryer is going to be. Fortunately, the electric line for that plug is in flexible conduit.

After Rachel's third fourth birthday party, her grandfather and I shut off the dryer circuit, moved the plug, painted where it used to be, and positioned the washer where it should be. I may still have the Sears people who come tomorrow replace the exhaust hose they put in last time with a 'low profile' one I got at OSH... the low profile exhaust hose is rectangular rather than circular, which means we can push the machines a bit closer to the wall behind them.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

We're On A Mission From God

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Blues Brothers (IMDB), and one of the more frequently used lines in it is "We're on a mission from God". I'm not quite sure why, but that came to mind just now as I was starting to make this entry...

We're thinking about solar panels. Thinking about them very seriously. In fact, I'm starting to have pretty strong impulses to do everything I can to get us as independent of fossil fuels as I can manage. Now, that doesn't mean I'm going to put a whole mess of huge batteries under my driveway or garage, but I'd like to get to the point of generating at least as much electricity as we use.

I'm also thinking about bio-diesel cars instead of the hybrids we've been considering. My main concern with bio-diesel is that if I have to process the oil the way my neighbor does, it's going to be a heck of a lot of work. He spends about 2-3 hours on every 40 gallons. Now, of course, a lot of the point of doing this would be the environmental benefit and political statement of getting off the fossil fuels, so it may well out-weigh the opportunity cost of the oil. I have been hearing that there are starting to be places you can drive up and pump the oil just like in a gas station, which may well counter that.

Decided I ought to take a look at that, so I did a search for bio-diesel, which Google offered to change to biodiesel. The first non-ad entry was for the National Biodiesel Board where they, naturally, have a click-able map of the US showing biodiesel retailers. There is, in fact, a place in Berkeley: BioFuel Oasis. They are charging $3.71 a gallon right now, which is still a bit more than regular diesel. Again, though... opportunity cost vs. political statement & environmental benefits. Not to mention that I might be able to buy it from my neighbor for less than that. How cool would it be to have a diesel hybrid running on biodiesel?

So much I have to look into about both solar & biodiesel/hybrids. Now that the basement is basically finished, I need to catch up on bills & such and get started on those topics...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Basement Renovation, Parts 6 & 7

Saturday was an easy day, when it came to the work on the basement - all I had to do was paint a bit more of the white trim and then the second coat of the waterproofing paint on the floor. I'd have done some more of the main color, except I don't have all that much, and it's the basement so it doesn't seem as if I need to take the time necessary to really make it look perfect. After that was finished, the floor needs a long time to dry, so we went to Sears to order the new washer and dryer. We also picked up the new Hubbarton Forget table lamps I ordered a couple of weeks ago. They're really pretty, they take up less space than the cheapo Home Depot lamps, and they're bright. Almost too bright, really - I thought they were 3-way lamps, but they're only 1-way. That's the only real problem with them. I have to figure out what to do about that. I'm hoping I can find a three-way switch to insert onto the power cord.

Today was vinyl tile day. Duane came over to help. First, he did a little more painting while I started figuring out how to approach the tile. The room's a little bit of a strange shape, and I wanted to make sure that it looks good from the outside. Most of the edges will be under or behind things, so the entrance and the main floor are what need to look good. I remember at some point in the process thinking about doing linoleum again. somewhere I read about a number of different types of flooring... when I got to the section on vinyl tile, I decided I was finished thinking about it as soon as I read the part about how vinyl tile is by far the easiest type of flooring to install.

It turned out to be even easier than I expected. We put a chalk line down from the entrance to the back of the room parallel to the edge of one of the whole tiles in the hallway. We were going to start from that side as well, but Duane had two good ideas - start from the other end so that we'd be sure not to have to cut any, or at least not many, tiles along that whole side of the room, and push the tiles toward the foundation wall to make sure we don't have odd gaps against that side of the room either. It seems as if that probably helped; if we'd started at the entrance, we'd have done 2 tiles without cutting in that direction, the tiles along the wall parallel to the hall wouldn't have lined up (lots of cutting), and the tiles along the far wall might not have lined up either, which would have meant yet more cutting.

We put all the tiles in that we wouldn't have to cut down first, leaving us with, basically, three sides of the room unfinished, along with a tile at the far wall under the sink. Duane started with an odd point where he'd basically have to cut off about a quarter of a tile with a round corner & some other oddities. I was going to start at the opposite side of the room where we'd be using most of the tile, but wound up starting up near Duane on some small pieces. I was able to do two pieces from each tile that I was cutting, which seemed great... until I did the other side, where I was leaving fairly small pieces behind.

All in all, it took us only about 3 hours to get all the tile down and cleaned up. Then we went for lunch before going to Long's where I picked up a couple of new shelving packets. Also discovered, thanks to Duane, a very cool toy to go with our new lamps - a touch-dimmer that lets us plug the lamp into it and if we touch the metal, the unit goes through low, medium, and full voltages and then back to off. It's quite cool. I found this one on

Lessons from this project? Mold is a bitch, but it went away fairly well. I probably would have been better off cutting out the linoleum in pieces and trying to get the backing (if not the adhesive) up at the same time. I'd have had more leverage that way, and more material to work with. The heat gun might well have done the trick in that case... Not much to say about the painting, but I could have done more of that. Ideally, I should have arranged for Dawn and Rachel to be out of the house for a few days so that I could yank the water heater and take care of the floor under it and the walls behind it properly. And, as I suggested earlier, always cut tile for the largest spaces first so that you can use the small remnants for the small holes. I don't think we really wasted much tile, but we could have saved at least 2 that way.

The new washer and dryer should be here tomorrow... and not a moment too soon. Having done all our laundry (every stitch) before the insulation went in on the 9th, we're all getting close to running out of clean laundry...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Basement Saga, Parts 3, 4, and 5

I am really, really tired. This project got a lot bigger when I discovered that there was mold under the linoleum, although it was probably bigger than I realized anyway. I didn't do anything on the project on Monday or Wednesday, but Tuesday night I did a little.

I stopped at OSH (shopping trip #6) on the way home and picked up a tube of concrete caulk, a new mop head, a heat gun, and another scraper. John suggested the idea of the heat gun for getting the adhesive & remaining linoleum backing off the concrete slab in the basement. It seems good in theory, but it only helped a little probably in part because it left me scraping with a 1-1/2" wide scraper; I have serious doubts about the notion that it was putting out 750 or 1000 degrees. I mean, it was able to heat the scraper blade enough that I'd feel it through the heavy work gloves I was wearing. Otherwise, it sucked... I spent almost two hours and did some of a few square feet. The mold smell is still pretty strong, even though I threw bleach or tsp/bleach at it a few times.

Wednesday afternoon, I decided to get some Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner from Berkeley Bowl since I was doing shopping anyway (so it doesn't really count as a trip for this project). Before bed, I threw another bunch of bleach at it... this time about 1/3 bleach to 2/3 water, mopped it around & tried not to leave any standing liquid. Oh, and I got permission from my boss to take Thursday and Friday off. Since Dawn's dad is coming up for Rachel's birthday weekend on either Thursday or Friday of next week, I really want to have this done - almost everything from the basement is in the guest bedroom right now!

Given the less than stellar performance of the heat gun (which I plan to take back), I decided Thursday morning first to try out the Simple Green. I sprayed a bunch of it on a patch on the floor and waited a couple of minutes; that seemed to work fairly well, so I went to Berkeley Bowl again to get another spray bottle of it & a larger bottle for refills (shopping trip #7). Then I went to Ashby Lumber, mainly to get more scrappers, gloves and face masks, but also to see whether they might have a more hard-core adhesive remover that was still citrus-based, non-flammable, and water soluble. They had something that was two of the three (a semi-paste, non-flammable, water-soluble one), though it's flammability might be suspect - it isn't liquid so it doesn't produce as much vapor. Since I don't really want to have to turn off the gas to the water heater, I decided not to bother with that.

From there, I went to Truitt and White. There's a worker pickup area around there, almost like a casual car-pool. For some reason, people looking for construction work started hanging out there (but not at OSH or the Home Depot). I found two guys, Carlo & Roberto, and agreed to pay them $12/hour to help me out. This suddenly made things a lot faster... we used the Simple Green some of the time - it definitely helped some - and scraped and scraped. Once the scraping was done, we started some painting. I dropped them off near BART about 5, agreed to meet them there at 10 Friday, and went to get Rachel. I was tired and sore; the basement is 5'8" to the joists, and at 6'4", I can't quite stand up straight even between them, so there was much bending over to go with the squating, kneeling, etc.

Today, we made even more progress. I returned the mop head I got the other day because it wasn't the right type and picked up another tube of caulk, the correct mop head, and something else I can't even remember right now. That's shopping trip #8. After I picked them up again, Carlo and I started with scraping out the concrete cracks while Roberto worked on painting. Carlo patched the cracks with the caulk (except the crack between the slab and the foundation, which just started swallowing the caulk - I sent Aaron to get two more, he got three, but we decided to stop after 1 of those) while Roberto and I did more painting. And then there was more painting. Once we did the majority of the painting (and it was getting a little late), we painted on the first coat of the Quikrete waterproofing. This stuff is bizarre - it's like paint, except a lot thicker and almost mealy.

The waterproofing needs 12 hours to dry before the second coat. It also doesn't smell too bad, but it's worse than the paint. The bleach and Simple Green seem to have taken care of the mold - the paint smell was enough that I couldn't really say whether the mold is gone, but Dawn, who is clearly allergic to the mold could smell the paint and Simple Green but didn't react to mold the way she had the other day. In the morning, I'll do another coat. I don't really know if it has to dry 12 hours before we start putting the vinyl tile down, but my instinct tells me that it should, since we'll be covering it up.

That means I won't have much to do Saturday after all, at least as far as actual work in the basement, but I'll have to spend most of Sunday on the vinyl tile. Saturday, I will try to spend some time finding someone who sells WireTech shelving parts; we have a black 4' wide, 52" high unit and we want to line the walls with this stuff; it looks reasonably nice and works well. Ultimately, we may wind up ordering the stuff online if I have to, but since I really want to get the basement all squared away by Tuesday, I'm hoping to be able to buy it locally.

The end is in sight.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Barry's Return & Giant Playoff Hopes

I went to the Giants' game against the Padres yesterday, not because it has post-season implications (which it could), or because the Giants are playing well (which they have been doing a bit better the last few weeks), but because it was going to be Barry's first game back. I don't know whether I'd have gone if I didn't also have the tickets available (we never sold them). My brother, a neighbor (John), and a former co-worker (Mike) and I all went together, which was a lot of fun. John's not much of a sports fan, but thought it would be fun to go with me and wanted to see the "new" park, not having been before. Mike was the only other person I could get to go with us; it was good to see him again.

The game started off looking as if it was going to be just atrocious - the starting pitcher, Kevin Correia, who's had some good games walked the first 3 batters on something like 13 pitches. I remember looking at his pitch count and saying, hey look, a strike! That was after 7 balls. He got yanked after giving up 3 runs on 1 out. Matt Kinney, who actually gave up Bonds' 660th HR last year while he was with the Brewers, came in and pitched into the 6th or 7th without giving up any more runs, and actually only a hit or two, I think. That was much better.

Barry's first at-bat in 11 months went 11 pitches, including two fouls that went straight back... an inch-and-a-bit different and either of them probably would have been in the seats. In fact, the 11th pitch came very close to it! Probably would have hit the wall about a foot down if a fan out there hadn't reached down and grabbed it. He was ejected from the park. Bonds proceeded to score on Durham's single the next at bat. Awesome.

I was fairly impressed that the Pads actually pitched to him. I was half expecting that they'd just walk him and deal with everyone else, but they went after him in each of his 4 at-bats. Then they walked Durham intentionally at one point after getting Bonds out! That was funny, but it was because he has been hot lately, was 3-3 for the game at that point, and while he was followed by Alfonzo who was also 3-3, first base was open. This put the force on at any base, and I think Fonzie wound up grounding out...

As for the post-season implications, the Giants are 6 games out of first, a game behind the Dodgers and half a game over the D-backs. With 6 games left against the Padres (tonight and tomorrow being two of them), the Giants could catch the Padres just on the games they play against them. I think it's unlikely the Giants will make it, and I'm a little torn on whether I even want them to. They're 13 games under .500 with 19 to play, and it is beginning to look as if this might be the first time ever that a division is won by a team with a losing record. A brief search suggests the '73 Mets made the playoffs at 82-79.

I guess I'll pay the Giants for our playoff tickets anyway, since I'll want to go if they make it, and in case they do make it, I really want the wildcard to be Florida (or any team in the NL East, anyway). That way the Cards, who currently have the best record in the majors, will play the wildcard team in the first round, leaving the Giants with Atlanta, whose record is not quite so impressive.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Basement Renovation, Part 2

Sadly, the moment we opened the door to the downstairs, which we kept closed over night, we could smell the mold. I can't really tell whether it's worse than before, because it didn't have much time to fill the space while I was working in there, but clearly I am going to need to go after it again. During our family dinner last night, I was talking about all this with my 'uncle' Ed who suggested bleach instead of TSP. At some point, I found that TSP and bleach can be mixed. I assume that will improve the efficiency!

Yesterday, I made around a quart of TSP with around 4 quarts of water. This time I'm doing a quart of TSP and a quart of bleach with 2 gallons of water. I want plenty. I'm going to let it soak in for a while and then go after the backing & adhesive with the floor scraper. I'm also going to wear my respirator - Xin mentioned the possibility that the adhesive could contain asbestos. Now, we're not entirely sure whether asbestos stopped being used in 1977 or 1985, but it seems unlikely that the old water heater (which we replaced in 2003) was 18 years old or more and it was installed before the linoleum, as evidenced by the way they cut a hole in the linoleum to place it around the water heater. This gives me some comfort, but there was very little dust when I was working yesterday, so I'm not really too worried about it. Even if it did/does contain asbestos, our exposure to it is pretty limited and won't be repeated extensively, or over the long term.

Also, the rest of the work I'm going to be doing in getting it out is going to involve getting it wet before scraping, so we should get even less dust than I did yesterday. To that end, I started spreading my concoction around the room with the mop and scrapping it up with the floor scraper. This is delightful work, especially with the mask on, but so be it. I have my little radio tuned to KFOG - yesterday it was the Giants game - and later I might switch to the iPod. After a while of this, taking breaks from time to time, it's time for a pause; I've just spread a lot more of the solution around the basement and want to give it time to soak in for a while before I start scraping again.

Hmm... how 'bout brunch with my girls? Dawn makes 'beefritos' for Rachel and an egg sandwich for me. Yummy.

Now back to our irregularly scheduled scraping. The solution's made quite a dent in the backing and adhesive, and it's coming up a bit better, but the scraper's still not really the best thing... or maybe I'm just getting tired again. Four hours of this isn't easy on this concrete floor. Anyway, we've been talking about going to the game with Rachel for a couple of days, and it's almost time to go. I put the rest of the solution down and spread it around to let it go after the mold while we're gone. My brother came over to house-sit... we want the back door open for the day to give some ventilation to the basement.

By the time we got back from the game, the mold was clearly not completely gone, but it seems better. We'll see how it is tomorrow. Now that the floor is dry, it is also clear that I made more of a dent in the work than I realized, but there'll be more to do, and I am starting to think that I need to use an actual adhesive remover of some kind to boot. As long as I'm doing this, I want to make sure that the mold isn't going to come back and the adhesive on the self-stick tiles will do well.

I guess that makes visit #5 to a hardware store tomorrow or the next day (the first two were the paint store and Home Depot (just to look at tile) on the 3rd). I need to get a roller for the waterproofing, concrete patching material (preferably something like caulk since I just want to fill the cracks), the adhesive remover, and whatever I'm going to need to work with the adhesive remover...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Basement Renovation, Part 1

We've been wanting to do some work on the basement laundry room for a long time. The primary problem with it is that the walls do not go all the way up to the floor above them. As a result, when there's a breeze outside it goes through the crawlspace and right up over the wall into the basement. This makes that room very cold, along with Rachel's room, which is right above it. The breeze, if strong enough, will also go up the stairs into the kitchen.

The way that we're going to deal with these breezes is to seal the wall using insulation and to seal all the miscellaneous holes through the wall from the crawl space to the basement or the floor up to the main living areas. We think this will make a big difference, but insulating those walls and the exterior wall of the laundry should help too. This will make the basement warmer, which should keep Rachel's room (on top of it) warmer.

I spent a goodly chunk of last weekend (mostly Sunday, really) working on getting everything out of the basement. Mainly, I needed to get enough stuff out of there to let the contractor install the insulation, but I also was planning on painting. Until Dawn says, "you know, as long as we're taking everything out, we ought to do the floor too." Uh... OK. Keep in mind that we have a limited amount of time to do this - with Rachel's birthday coming up, I have to have all the stuff back out of the guest bedroom before Dawn's father comes up to visit.

My plan this morning was to vacuum the whole place and trim back the linoleum to give me access to the foundation & base trim and then start painting. Of course, I immediately hit the first road block - the last time I used the shop vac (with the 1-1/4" inch diameter hose, I think), I was apparently cleaning up needle leaves. I can't remember why at the moment. The problem is that the hose is so narrow that the leaves got stuck in the hose, so there's next to no suction left. I tried using my plumber's snake to clear it, but that wasn't working... so, after breakfast, I made a trip to Home Depot.

Back from Home Depot, I'm now armed with the tile I'll eventually be putting down, a floor scraper to help get up the linoleum, a good knife for cutting both the linoleum and the tile, and a bunch of 2-1/4" vacuum parts. I think I still need to go back at some point and get a better connector for connecting the hose to the vacuum, but one of the ones the hose came with will do for now. It's vacuuming much better now.

I'm really not sure why, but after doing some of the vacuuming, it occurred to me that the work of getting the linoleum out and cleaning the floor to whatever degree is necessary may be a bit messy, so perhaps I really should do that before I do the painting! Taking up the linoleum really wasn't hard at all, especially with the handy dandy knife and the excellent extra blades I got... Of course, the stuff doesn't always come up with all the backing, but that's what I got the scraper for.

Oh, and now I discover that there's mold under the linoleum. Great. Just great. That means I'm going to have to clean the mold up. Time to go back to the hardware store. They suggested using TSP and then sealing the concrete floor with this water-based Quikrete waterproofing. I picked that over the other two they had because it is water-based; oddly, it's not on Ace's or Quikrete's web sites. I probably need to get a different roller for that, but I didn't yet. I also haven't concluded one way or the other whether I really need to use an adhesive remover.

To finish off the day's work on this project, my neighbor and I pulled the washer and dryer out (but not the water header), and I made up a batch of TSP/water and used our mop to spread it around. I've already figured out that water will at least help get up more of the linoleum that's still down, but I'm not convinced entirely that it's going to help with the adhesive. For now, though, I just want to let the TSP do it's thing on the mold (it already smells better right now), so we'll see how things are in the morning.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Please Don't...

This weekend, my friend John and his girlfriend Louise came over for dinner & a movie. At one point, while John was cooking something and there was a lot going on, I noticed that Louise, having been asked by Rachel for help throwing something out in the kitchen trash, was teaching her to open the cabinet door.

Please don't teach the child to defeat the child safety locks.

I know Louise was thinking of them as earthquake catches, and it's not really a big deal because Rachel's really old enough to know not to get into the stuff in there. It was quite funny, though.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Networking at Last!

We've lived in this house for just over 3 and a half years, and I've wanted to have full networking throughout the house all along. We've had cable into the study basically since we got here.

In an attempt to stick with DSL, I went with Earthlink, because that was who we had before. I was hoping that the speed would be better here than at the old house, because we're closer to the new CO than our old place was to the old. Earthlink got things done reasonably quickly, but couldn't actually get it to connect. As far as they could tell, it was all fine, but it couldn't connect, so they wanted to have Pac Bell come out to figure it out (my next door neighbors ave Pac Bell DSL, and theirs works fine). I'm convinced it is anti-competitive behavior that Pac Bell wouldn't come out in a reasonable amount of time, but they weren't going to.

I called AT&T to get cable on Friday thinking they'd want to come in a week or so. How's tomorrow between 9 and noon? Great! Took 45 minutes and we were online. Awesome. AND it's always been faster than DSL. We're up to 4.5mbps now; not sure how high they're going to push it. Only about 360kilobit upload speed, but that's OK.

Bought a LinkSys 802.11g wireless router back in April 03, but it never really worked to our bedroom or the back of the house. I even tried getting a range expander and then a signal booster. Didn't try both at the same time. The signal booster did a bit better than the range expander, whose problem was that while the connection to my laptop was great, the connection between the RE and the base station was no better than my laptop's connection. That means the throughput is actually no better.

In January, I bought a bunch of networking equipment - 12-port patch panel and various terminators - with the plan of wiring the whole house and placing a wireless access point in the back of the house on the same SSID. In February, with the help of my father and brother, I ran wires from a place in our crawlspace to the living room (2), study (3), dining room, Rachel's room, and into Rachel's closet. We terminated the one in Rachel's room and the two in the living room then.

Today, we finally got around to completing more of the project. First, we terminated 2 of the cables in the study and put them on the patch panel, and quickly had the cable modem routing the signal down to the patch panel. Then we put the rest of the cables (8 altogether) onto the patch panel and tested the ones that had been terminated and terminated the others, except the one in Rachel's closet. This let us confirm they were all working, and figure out which port on the panel each went to.

After lunch, we started on the cable in the closet. This one is meant to go up to our bedroom and, eventually, out the back to a hub which would have a WAP on it along with a wire back into the bedroom (for the Tivo) and two down to the downstairs bedroom. It's really too bad we didn't get the cable further last time. The problem is that we had to pull a lot of stuff out of the closet to get in there to work on the cable, and I wish we'd at least gotten it into the first closet in our room then.

Oh well, with various trials and tribulations along the way, we got it as far as the back corner of our room. Left the extra length of cable coiled up and terminated it there so that I can pull it out the back of the house later if I want to. I made sure to put a port of the hub onto the patch panel port that goes upstairs, so it was easy to test just by putting the other hub on the new termination.

Naturally, I couldn't just leave it alone at that point... The Tivo upstairs is a series 2, so it needs to be on the network now that there is one. And I clearly need to get the wireless up there. And there's no good reason not to have an 8-port hub in the crawl space so that all 8 ports can be live.

The Linksys 54GS router is actually cheaper after rebates than their 54 access point, and it has a 4-port hub on it, so I figured I'd get that. And Tivo supports the Linksys USB200M USB-ethernet adapter. And they have an 8-port switch (faster than a hub). I thought about getting network cords from Best Buy as well, but they wanted 14.99 for the cheaper ones (of which they only had 1) and 16.99 for the more expensive. I think they might have been cat6 cables, but there's no reason to get that. We stopped at Radio Shack as well - cat5e for 5.99; when you need 8, that's good!

Rachel was pretty great through all this; she had some trouble leaving to get her haircut, but when she was with us she was very charming, wanting to watch and help and know what we were doing.

The other day, happiness was quiet brake pads on my bike; right now it's 4.5Mbps to my laptop over wireless in my bedroom...