Sometimes spending money is fun — buying yarn, going on a vacation, upgrading your phone. But when money is spent simply to maintain the status quo? Not so much fun.
Case in point: we are emptying the checking account and [temporarily] racking up significant credit card debt for these maintain-the-status-quo items:
- New well pump.
- New tires for my car. X2.
- New mattress for me.
- New bicuspid crown for me.
- New desk chair for me.
- Buying online storage for backup.
New well pump.
The new pump @ $3,000+ is actually significantly cheaper than the thing we were first considering, which was fracking the well to get more water; cost of that would have been $14,000+. (Why do we need more water? The HVAC ground water heat pump runs best on 12-14 gallons/minute. Our well was originally rated at 5 gal/min and was running at 7-8 gallons/minute. HVAC guy forgot to check the well output before he installed the heat pump several years ago. It all worked reasonably well until this winter, when all household water pressure would drop to near zero when the heat pump was on.)
It amazes me every time I think of it, but, although we live right next to a lake, the well shown above had to be drilled 297 feet deep to reach water. According to this well guy, wells are difficult in our very localized area because of the basalt bedrock, referred to ’round these parts as trap rock. It remains to be seen whether this new, larger pump can deliver enough water to maintain normal household water pressure while the groundwater heat pump is on. Fingers crossed.
New tires for the Rogue.
Back in October Smokey ordered new tires for my car to replace the originals, which had 42,000 miles on them. I was pretty happy about this, since I was pretty sure that whatever he got it would be better for climbing up our steep-ish driveway hill in winter. Technically, this is not exactly maintaining the status quo; my blog, my rules.
Actually having the tires mounted on the car somehow did not happen until the week after New Year’s. But we have had almost no snow, so no panic. But it turned out that we had gotten the wrong size tires — Smoke had gotten the right ones for my car model, but had forgotten that it had an upgrade package that included bigger wheels. And we had missed Amazon’s 30-day return window by over two months, grrr. New, correctly sized tires are now on the Rogue, and I am eagerly anticipating a snowstorm or three.
Anybody want to buy some brand-new mud & snow tires?
It all started last Saturday morning when I woke up. Percy the pit bull, who likes to sleep under the covers with me, was curled up in the absolute center of the bed, covers pushed southward… and the bed was wet. Apparently, poor Percy had peed himself in his sleep. Gak.
We had dentist appointments in Excelsior (MN) that day, plus some other errands to run, so I left the bed in its pee-soaked state. Put a couple beach towels over that nasty spot when we got home late that night so I could sleep without getting damp. Result: damp pjs in the morning.
On Sunday I stripped the bed to wash everything and discovered that the memory foam mattress had been contaminated by Percy-pee. Smokey worked on eliminating it but was ultimately less than successful. All that combined with the fact that the mattress is 12 years old and showing its age took me mattress-shopping online. Consumer Reports, various mattress-reviewing websites, and, ultimately, comparing three top-rated mattresses led me to this one.
Mattress (and waterproof, presumably pee-proof mattress protector) has been shipped. Meanwhile I am sleeping on the foam base layer of the old mattress with an afghan serving as my sheet. So far, so good.
We have rather odd sleeping arrangements. Back in the aughts we inherited Smokey’s parents’ adjustable beds, which I loved and Smokey tolerated. Eventually we moved the queen-size bed that had been our former bed into our bedroom for him — he has always adored that particular mattress, plus the bed was big enough for him AND three dogs plus the occasional cat, including me — and moved his adjustable bed downstairs to one of the spare bedrooms. He was happy, and I was happy; my back does not tolerate lying flat while reading in bed, and the adjustable bed obviated that problem admirably. Our bedroom is large enough to accommodate a queen and XL twin comfortably, although it does look a little strange.
Why do we drive ~100 miles to Excelsior to see a dentist? Normally, I go to one 20 miles away and I like him fine, but the the Excelsior dentist is the one we went to when we lived in Minneapolis. He was a long-time instructor at the University of Minnesota dental school and practiced in a U clinic for low-income folks, largely southeast Asian and later Somali immigrants. He is meticulous and painstaking in his work, exactly what one wants in a dentist, plus he is a one of the nicest people on the face of the planet. So when I need major work done, like a crown, I go see Joe in Excelsior.
He started out the appointment telling me that he had no idea what he was going to find when he removed the temporary crown. Maybe there would be additional decay, maybe I would need a root canal, who knew? Much tapping and an x-ray or two later, he told me 1, it looked like a crown, rather than a root canal, would be the answer, and B, the nerve in that tooth could have passed for that of a teenager. As one ages, the pulp area in the center of a tooth calcifies, but mine had not. Yay, one part of me is still young!
He worked on that tooth for an hour and a half to get it ready for its eventual crown. Novocaine and nitrous oxide made it (relatively) pain-free, but I was still really glad when it was done. That is a l-o-n-g time to sit immobile with one’s mouth open very wide. Joe also gave me the formula for pain relief that he said is equivalent to that obtained from opiates: 3 ibuprofen and 2 Tylenol. I think he explained the chemistry, too, but I was drifting on the nitrous and didn’t pay much attention. All I know is that the dental tech gave me 3 ibuprofen and I had no pain after the Novocaine wore off.
New desk chair for me.
New desk chair because the one I have is losing an arm, and Smokey cannot fix it any further. Bleah.
Back in late 2018 Younger Son and I re-formed my desk set up. My four-year-old Mac Mini had been getting increasingly slow and erratic. The plan was for me to get a new one when the Jeopardy check arrives in late April. But after a trip to the Apple store in the Mall of America and discovering that the latest MacBook Air did not offer any significant advantage over what I have now, he and I decided that I would instead use my MacBook Air, purchased used about a year ago, as my main computer.
I decided to buy a docking station — the black vertical thing with the blue and green lights just to the right of the monitor stand — to simplify removing the Air when I wanted to use it elsewhere. The clunky gray numeric keypad is left over from a prior life; the Bluetooth one from eBay that matches the Air only worked once.
You cannot see the external hard drive behind the monitor. It is at least six years old, and YS warned me that it could fail unexpectedly, given its age. Since it holds all my data files, some dating back to the early aughts, failure was not an event I wanted to consider. The Air does not have enough storage to hold all my music and photos and data files, so I started researching online storage at YS’s recommendation. I thought I would use iCloud Drive, but it turns out that if I wanted to open a Word or Excel file stored there I would have to first download it to the desktop, work on it, and then manually upload it back to iCloud. That seemed like a royal PITA, not to mention the likelihood that I might manage to lose the updated file on my desktop. Instead I purchased 1 TB storage on Dropbox. I have used the free version for years and years to store files that I might need when I was away from home; now I will use it for all my files except music and photos. The latter is already stored/backed up in iCloud; not sure where the former will live because there is not enough room on the Air. Maybe that external HD will have to stay just to house iTunes.
And that is the minutiae of my life today. How is your day going?