[ Note: There are no photos for this post. ]
TUESDAY 18 October
Life is gradually returning to normal, which is to say, we are moving back into the rhythm of our normal, daily routines, local activities, and commitments. Not completely, of course. Adapting back to home life after an extended trip takes time, and we are not necessarily in a hurry to complete the transition.
Linda placed an order last night with one of our local Panera’s for a baker’s dozen bagels, to be picked up this morning, so she fetched those first thing.
A technician from Schutz Heating & Cooling was supposed to be here this morning between 8 and 10 AM. Sometime between 8 and 8:30 I got a phone call from the company. The technician had called in sick and they needed to reschedule. No problem, the appointment was routine maintenance, and was easily rescheduled for Tuesday, October 25 at 10 AM.
Around lunch time we drove over to the Oceola Township Hall and picked up our absentee ballots for the November 8 general election. It turned out that our new voter ID cards had been returned to the Township as they were mailed while we were away but could not be forwarded to our daughter’s house. The reason they could not be forwarded, and that we could not pick them up in person, was that they constitute a confirmation of address. We confirmed that our mail was, once again, being delivered to our house, and the clerk said she would re-post them.
As part of the transition, bridging our travel adventures with our home routines, we met our friend, and my former co-worker, Kate, for an evening out at the Corner Brewery (Arbor Brewing Company) in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Kate and Brian live in Ypsi, and she still works at Wayne RESA, so we typically drive in her direction about once a month and get together for food and beverages (usually beer) someplace relatively convenient for her.
We left around 4:45 PM in a light drizzle and drove through mist and rain of varying intensity all the way. We got to the pub around 5:30 PM and Kate joined us a little before 6 PM. We always try to arrive early enough to get a booth (we didn’t) and get our first glasses of beer at happy hour prices (we did). Linda selected a table near the booths. A booth opened up before Kate arrived, so we snagged it.
It’s always a wonderful evening when we get together with Kate, and this was no exception. She is an intrepid traveler, and has been following our trip blog with genuine interest (which I very much appreciate). And we are always interested in where she has been recently, or plans to go next, as well as the goings on of her (very talented) nieces and nephews. She had birthday presents for Linda, a couple of books, wrapped in paper that she had designed and printed herself (she’s a graphic artist) with a repeated pattern of an F-150 pulling an Airstream trailer. Linda removed the paper carefully, treating it like a treasured object. We had a couple of gifts for her as well from our travels.
We finally returned to our vehicles around 10:15 and headed home.
WEDNESDAY 19 October
The HVAC technician (Mike) from Lakeside Services (Lakeside Heating and Cooling) arrived around 1 PM today to service the Bosch hot-water baseboard heating system for the house, and the heating portion of the Bryant HVAC unit for the library. When he tried to flush out any debris from the hot-water tank, he discovered that the floor drain in the furnace room appeared to be almost fully clogged. That’s not a good thing, as the furnace is a high efficiency natural gas fired condensing unit, and the condensate drain line discharges into this floor drain. The water from the floor drains (this one and the one in the laundry room) flow to the sump in the NE corner of the basement. I could hear water dripping into the sump, but removed the lid to get visual confirmation as well. We waited a while and the water level in the floor drain slowly dropped. Obviously the rate at which the furnace puts condensate into this floor drain is slower that the rate at which it flows out to the sump, but not by much, and certainly not by enough.
Lakeside Service doesn’t not deal with drains, but Mike gave me the name and phone number of a company that does (Clog Busters). He was here until about 3:30 PM. The library furnace filter was fairly clean (last changed on May 24, 2022), but Mike suggested I get a MERV 11 filter element instead of a MERV 13, which he felt was too restrictive, and reminded me to replace the batteries in all of the thermostats. We also talked about CO detectors, making sure we had ones that were sensitive enough to actually matter, and that we had them installed in the right places. I will call the company Mike recommended to deal with the slow drain. I could run a long hose out the downstairs doorwall to drain/flush the hot-water tank, but I will probably wait for the drain to be opened up.
I got a text message from Lakeside Service not long after Mike left asking me to provide feedback. It was a positive experience, and I responded accordingly.
THURSDAY 20 October
We got our seasonal Flu shots and bi-variant CoVID-19 boosters at a local CVS this morning.
Sometime during the day, a Boondockers Welcome guest arrived. It was someone we have hosted before, and we were glad to have her return.
I called Clog Busters, the company I was referred to by Lakeside Service, and set up an appointment for Monday morning.
In the afternoon, Linda met with Dave, the Controller from Metropolitan Baking Co., to pick up work and discuss a major upcoming software project.
Yup, we were returning to our normal routines. Except for the barn, of course; having a building that size constructed on our property is not a routine occurrence, and there is nothing about the experience that is routine.
FRIDAY 21 October
According to our calendar, Linda met up with Diane to go for a walk today. I am writing this post weeks later, and have no idea what else we did today.
SATURDAY 22 October
The two youngest grand-daughters arrived today for a sleepover. Paul and Nancy also came over for dinner as they were in the area staying with their son and daughter-in-law in Ann Arbor.
The weather was also warm enough to paint, and looked like it would stay that way for the next few weeks, so I started acquiring the materials I would need to prime and paint the inside of the shop and storeroom, as well as the stairs, in the barn. More on all of that in a separate barn update post.
SUNDAY 23 October
The morning after the sleepover night, Paul and Nancy returned to have breakfast and visit. They enjoy interacting with our grand-daughters. They eventually returned to Ann Arbor in the early afternoon. We then gathered up the munchkins, drove them back to their house in Ann Arbor, and stayed with them for a bit before returning home. On the drive back, the system information screen in the center of the dashboard (navigation, entertainment, information) went completely dark.
MONDAY 24 October
Today was a slightly less routine day. First up was dropping off the F-150 at Brighton Ford for a service appointment. The appointment was originally to do a LOF, check the brakes, make sure the SYNC 3 and navigation MAPS were up-to-date, and investigate the slight hesitation when going from 3rd to 4th gear while driving slowly with the powertrain not yet warmed up. Since the info screen had apparently died last night on the way home, I added that to the list. The drop off was a bit less smooth than usual, however. When I made the appointment I was told to check in with a specific service advisor, the same person I have worked with exclusively for two years. I arrived on time, and asked for that person. He was busy, but that was fine, I wasn’t in any hurry. When he finally got to me, he didn’t think he was my service advisor, and that I was supposed to work with someone else that I had never worked with before. He agreed to do the write-up, however, but seemed pressed for time. Whatever, I described the issues, signed the paperwork, and rejoined Linda, who was waiting for me in her car. I should have read carefully what he actually wrote down, but I didn’t.
Clog Busters was scheduled to arrive as early as 10 AM, which they did. The technician started by adding water to the floor drain in the furnace room, and confirmed that it was mostly clogged and draining very slowly. He could see a lot of loose material at the bottom of the drain/trap, so he started by removing it, picking out the larger pieces and vacuuming out the rest. He then ran a drain snake through the drain, and was able to feel a T-intersection, which I presumed was the drain running from the laundry room to the sump in the NE corner of the basement. The snake opened things up a bit, but not that much. He then ran the snake through the floor drain in laundry room, thinking it would emerge in the sump. (It was my job to watch for it coming into the sump.) At one point he had 100’ of snake in the drain tiles, but was never able to get it to emerge into the sump, even though I thought I could hear it. In any event, by the time he was done the drains were emptying and flowing into the sump much better than they had been; probably for a long time.
We had in-home health assessments scheduled for 1:15 PM, and Clog Busters was done and gone before that. The health assessments were a no-added-cost benefit of our health insurance plan/provider. Having them done in-home was one of the options, so we gave that a try. They were conducted by a P.A. and took about an hour for the two of us combined. It was a very easy process.
Tuesday is garbage pick-up day, and the company (Granger) that bought out our service provider (Alchin’s) does our street in the first half of the morning. That means the container gets wheeled to the edge of the street on Monday at 5 PM, so as not to forget it in the morning.
TUESDAY 25 October
Schutz Heating and Cooling arrived around 10 AM, as scheduled, to service the Mitsubishi-Trane heat pump they installed in October 2021. Everything was OK with the unit in heating mode. They will return in the spring to check/service it in cooling mode.
Nothing else of special note occurred today.
WEDNESDAY 26 October
We were notified by Xfinity (via e-mail, IIRC) that they were increasing our broadband speed, apparently at no extra cost to us. Of course, our 1st year special pricing ended in July 2022, so we are now paying more for the service. The notification said I had to restart the gateway to activate the higher speeds, so I did. That’s always a bit of work, as I like to shut down all of the devices in the house, including the network switches, and then restart them in order: gateway first, then the switches, then all of the devices. The notification wasn’t completely clear if the speed boost would be immediate, or perhaps take place by “sometime in November.” I ran a speed test anyway, and did not see any change from what we normally have. I will try again in mid-late November.
I had not heard anything about the service work on the F-150, so I called the dealership later in the afternoon and spoke to my service advisor. He didn’t have a current status, but said he would check on it and call me in the morning. He did indicate that the reason he thought another service advisor was going to handle it was because of the transmission issue. OK. I wasn’t necessarily in a hurry to get the truck back, but it was unusual for them to have it for this long for relatively routine service.
THURSDAY 27 October
Linda has been doing a lot of work for the bakery and I have been working on whatever I can do in the barn. I called the Ford dealership back to see what the status was on the F-150, only to find that my service advisor had not made it into work today due to a “family emergency.” OK. That happens. I was directed to service manager, so I called him and left a message. What unfolded from there was a text message conversation rather than return phone calls, which I thought was rather odd. What I was told was that they had not been able to duplicate the “hard, delayed shifting from 3rd to 4th gear.” I communicated back that this was not the problem I had reported. Apparently, however, it’s what the service advisor had written down. So, they had apparently spent time trying to replicate and chase down the wrong thing.
FRIDAY 28 October
Linda spent the day in Ann Arbor babysitting. She took Halloween treats for the girls as we would not see them again until after that. I worked on the painting projects in the barn.
At some point I was notified that the F-150 was done and ready for pickup. Linda was home in time to drive me to the dealership. All I had to pay for was the LOF service. We bought the truck from this dealership, and have had all of the service done here except for the LOF and tire rotation in St. John’s Newfoundland back in August. My interactions with the staff have always been pleasant, and the work has always been performed correctly and in a timely manner, the events of this week notwithstanding.
SATURDAY 29 October
We got together with neighbors this evening. Marta was back temporarily from her contract assignment in San Francisco, so Gail arranged for a 6:30 PM get-together at their house with the usual suspects (Gail/Mike, Marta/Gary, Rose/Jerry, and us). Mike already had a really nice campfire going when we arrived, and kept it well-tended all evening. Everyone brought snacks to share and came bundled up against the impending cold. It was great to re-connect, and catch up, with our neighborhood friends.
SUNDAY 30 October
Just another day in paradise, apparently.
MONDAY 31 October
Boo! We have never had trick-or-treaters since moving to our current house, but to avoid any misunderstanding, we made sure the outside lights, and all of the lights on the main floor, were off and that the shades were closed. We then retired to basement and watched TV.