Steve contacted us a couple weeks ago, concerned 'cause we'd gone radio silent. We truly appreciate that!
We're both okay; healthy, reasonably happy and as borderline sane as can be expected during a global pandemic in the middle of winter.
We're very fortunate that no close family members or friends have been seriously ill with covid. We did lose a distant family member to covid who was elderly & had serous underlying health issues. A few friends were infected, with results ranging from four weeks of misery to completely asymptomatic. Our hope and heartfelt prayer is that our KZR community has fared at least as well.
We completed a major winter DIY remodeling project the last week of February that was begun the week after Thanksgiving.
We got an 8 week old Australian Shepherd puppy the first week of March.
We'll be back to our old, wordy ways here on the forum in the coming weeks.
May as well start now.
The long version:
We withdrew from much contact after Thanksgiving. In hindsight that was a big mistake. We burrowed into the house and spent the winter on a DIY home remodel project, isolated, to the exclusion of almost all else. Only ventured out for food & supplies. The upside is, we stayed well.
Overall tasks; repaint, re-carpet, remodel two rooms, remodel guest bathroom, rebuild & update the home network. Sounds so simple when stated like that.
More to the point:
The room that serves as a 'puter lab/office had not seen paint since the late 1960's. Ditto the guest bedroom. Both rooms needed new carpeting. The guest bathroom circa 1960's was in dire need of remodeling and updating.
Fix many floor squeaks. New windows. Re-hang four doors, fix a pocket door, and re-hang four sliding closet doors, all because the house has settled over the past 60 yrs. & there's not hardly a truly square corner remaining in the house.
Did I mention wiring? Clearly, the house was wired by the lowest bidder's beginner flunkies. Flaky grounds. Reversed polarization. A mysterious ~70 volt back feed slmjim finally gave up on, disabled that circuit entirely & pulled all new cable. Old armored cable under 18 inches of insulation in the attic space that was so much fun to trace... NOT! Weird circuit splits using crimps at junction boxes. At least they didn't use screw-in Buss fuses...
A main logistical challenge was what to do with all the 'puter lab furniture, as well as the guest bedroom furniture. Everything had to be moved out of both roome. The question was where to put three desks, seven computers, three printers, two MFP's and three chairs, plus a rats nest of CAT. 5 cabling and assorted hubs, switches, two routers, the home node of the mesh wireless network, and four UPS's, while still maintaining minimal broadband connectivity. And that's just the 'puter lab. In order to empty the computer lab we had to empty the spare bedroom for a minimal network, because that was the closest to the existing broadband jack.
Emptying the guest bedroom meant removing a full-on antique twin bed set including chest of drawers, dresser, vanity, cedar chest, sewing machine and various tables. Once the bedroom was emptied, we could move the 'puter room stuff in and make a temporary skeleton network out of a minimal amount of hardware
What to do with it all?
Why stack it to the ceiling in the dining room, what else?
What can't be seen above:
Every horizontal surface in the house became storage. Stuff stored in the trailer. The hallway bathroom. The kitchenette area. On top the 'fridge. The bed of the truck. The next door neighbor's basement. The back patio. Even that most holy of spaces, the service bay downstairs where we work on bikes.
Once the bedroom was empty we could movbe the 'puter room stuff in & create a skeleton network in the now empty and bare spare bedroom. That skeleton network consisted only of two mission critical computers , one printer and one MFP, and one wireless nolde for our tablets. The hobby computers running assorted versions of Linux, cabling, switches & assorted other peripherals & gadgets were all stored on boxes placed anywhere & everywhere. The 'entertainment' PC used for general browsing that also runs the VPN necessary for access to KZRider was idled as well until recently.
Once painting, carpeting & carpentry was done in the 'puter lab we moved everything back in and gradually rebuilt the network from scratch, doing away with a few switches, an ancient hub, a rat's nest of CAT. 5 cables, and generally making the kludge network that was built piecemeal over the course of 25 years into something streamlined, neat, and more easily managed. Then we tackled the the now-empty spare bedroom with The Full Monty of carpentry, paint, new carpet, power updates and moved everything back in.
Next; remodeling the guest bathroom.
As with anything involving 60 yr. old plumbing and design, there were some unanticipated challenges, and some mission creep, mostly with AC power & getting ground fault outlets installed & behaving. But, finally last week of February, we wrapped everything up. Just in time to start a new multi-year project the first week of March.
Our oldest Australian Shepherd, Piper, a ~13 year male, has been in declining health for the past year or so; age-related thyroid decline, and anemia problems likely due to an inoperative pancreatic tumor that's bleeding. We thought we were going to lose him last summer, but the miracle of modern veterinary medicine has bought some very high-quality time. He's insisting on playing frisbee again as if he was two or three years younger, although the throws are measured in tens of feet now, instead of tens of yards. We're thankful for that, and Piper is happy just to play again.
We also have Amber, a female miniature Australian Shepherd who is ~5 years old. Amber has never known life without Piper, her canine companion. She would not do well as an only dog, especially if slmjim & Z1BEBE both were to leave the house, leaving Amber home alone. Too, Piper's energy level has been declining for the last few years with age. He no longer engages Amber with active play at the rough & tumble, hyper-velocity-running energy level that Amber had become accustomed to. The result? Amber lost her playmate, but not her companion. They still sleep together, bark together at noises during the night and such. Amber has also become somewhat protective of Piper around other dogs. Amber just seems to know Piper is getting weaker.
We've been looking to add an additional pack member since last summer, when it became clear that Piper's meds were going to be a holding action at best. Our thought is to allow Amber to develop a bond with a new pack member while Piper is still alive, so that when the inevitable end comes and we lose our beloved Piper, that Amber doesn't suddenly find herself alone.
Meet Copper, our Australian Shepherd puppy. Our new, multi-year project.
“I'm gonna be a big boy!”
Born Jan. 2, 2021, he came home at 8 weeks old.
Look deep into my eyes... you're getting weaker... Resistance is Futile... You will give me a treat!
Papa is a 75 lb. Red Merle, the biggest Australian Shepherd we've ever seen. Mama is a Black Tri Aussie, about 55 lbs.
Sometimes I nap between a couch cushion and a soft spot, aka slmjim!
Copper is our 7th. Australian Shepherd over the past 35 years. Amber has accepted Copper as pack member & playmate, and they've bonded quickly. Amber engages in the sort of play with Copper that she enjoyed with Piper years ago. Piper is happy to chill & watch. Famously aloof with most other dogs, Piper is even showing signs of bonding with Copper, tolerating Copper's puppy antics and even nosing Copper in the butt to egg him on for some gentle play sometimes.
"I'm slmjim's cyber buddy. I always keep in touch."
The Pack. Left to right we see Piper, Copper and Amber.
That pretty much covers our last three months. We cocooned to a fault, but likely stayed healthy as a result. Z1BEBE has been Pfizerized twice now, 'cause she's more, ahem..., 'chronologically challenged' than slmjim, and slmjim has had his first shot, with the second due on March 30. We've got some vintage bike related things in the works the next few months, and are looking forward to emerging from our self-imposed isolation & join the real world again. The full network is finally complete, and we finally have the VPN PC in service, so we can see KZRider again.
What'd we miss?
slmjim & Z1BEBE
A biker looks at your engine and chrome.
A Rider looks at your odometer and tags.
Hello Jim and the Mrs. Glad to hear. Love the dogs. I miss mine! Best friends ever. Yes, Life comes first!
Good for you re-doing the home.
Get that old wooden furniture stuffs out and try and sell them. Certain areas love the Old Antiques.
I'm still starting new projects and never finishing any yet??
Keeps me busy though.
All good here!
Stay well and enjoy the nice weather.
Marty in Buffalo
Livin in "CheektaVegas, NY
Still have a Kaw! 76 KZ900 Pro-Street.
Went thru 25 of these in 40 yrs.
And The Old Girl, Harley 75 FLH Electra Glide,
Old faithful! Points ign. Bendix Orig. carb.
...Get that old wooden furniture stuffs out and try and sell them. Certain areas love the Old Antiques...
Good to see ya' still around Marty!
We've tried selling Grandparent's antique bedroom set, and also the inlaid Italian dining room set we stacked stuff on during the remodel project. slmjim's Grandfather brought that back to the U.S. from Italy at the end of WW 1. We've been offered pennies lowball prices by local auction houses & antique dealers. Moving cost becomes a main limiting factor, as well as sheer size; the stuff is big & heavy. The local market for large, quality antique furniture just isn't here. We've been told it would be more valuable & sellable down south say, around Atlanta in large estate-type houses. The sentimental value of Grandparent's imported furniture is worth more that what we've been offered. Unless offers change or we're forced to downsize, we'll probably die with the antiques & it'll become someone else's problem.
Now there's a first-world problem...
slmjim & Z1BEBE
A biker looks at your engine and chrome.
A Rider looks at your odometer and tags.