Cleaning out the fridge

I ticked off another overdue bit of housework today: cleaning out the fridge. I took an hour or so to remove everything from the shelves and trays and door compartments. I removed the glass shelves and washed them clean with detergent, dried them, and put them back in. Cleaned out the vegetable crisper drawer of all the little bits of old vegetables that had accumulated. And wiped down every other surface until the whole thing is as new. I did it in stages, moving things around inside the fridge so that I didn’t have to leave cold things out on the bench for an hour. There was just enough room. I had to do it just before a weekly grocery shop, because if I tried to do it tomorrow after shopping there would have been too much stuff in there.

Not much else to report for today. The rest of it was pretty much the usual old stuff. Ethics classes in the morning and evening. Walking Scully at lunch time. Made a sourdough loaf.

Oh, I did work a little on my Dungeons & Dragons campaign, preparing for tomorrow night’s game. I added up all the treasure from last session, assigned shares and experience points, and determined that the two dwarves in the party and the cleric retainer all levelled up. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game!

New content today:

Handyman level-up: locksmith skills!

We’ve been having trouble with the deadlatch on our front door for a while. Normally you can turn the lock on the inside and have it hold in the open position so that you can then use the same hand to open the door handle and open the door. But for a while now it’s been slipping from the hold-open position and relocking the latch, so you need a second hand free to hold the deadlatch open at the same time as opening the door handle. Meaning you can’t exit with anything in one hand.

I’ve been putting it off for a while, thinking I could try removing the deadlatch and seeing if there was anything I could adjust inside to enable the hold-open mechanism and stop it from slipping. Well, this morning I finally got the screwdriver out and removed the latch body from the back of the door. I looked inside and saw that the hold-open mechanism relied on a friction catch between a rotating plate and a surrounding fixed plate. It seems like the metal has worn away slightly with age. I’d been hoping I could just tighten a screw or something, but this looked like it had just worn out with usage.

So after having some lunch I went to the hardware store and bought a new deadlatch. This turned out to take some time, because it’s one of those items that isn’t on the general shelves, because it’s valuable or for security reasons or whatever. There’s just cards that you have to take to the service desk, where they give you the item.

Of course there was a huge queue at the service desk. Eventually I got to the front of the queue. I could see the deadlatches on a shelf behind the counter. I could have reached them, but the woman who served me was shortish, so she couldn’t reach them. I thought she’d use a stepladder, but no. She had to go get a powered lift – one with a stand-on lift platform on top of a moving vehicle thing. It was parked outside the service counter a few metres away. The queue of people waiting to be served was in the way, so she had to get other staff members to help her clear everyone to a different waiting area, so she could drive the lift through.

Then she tried to start the lift. It wouldn’t turn on. She called for some other staff to bring over another powered lift from elsewhere in the store… The whole time I’m thinking to myself if you just let me behind the counter I can reach up and grab the lock off the shelf myself.

Anyway, eventually I got the new deadlatch and took it home. Now, how difficult was it going to be to replace the old one? Well, I already knew how to remove the rear lock mechanism from the door-mounted plate, so I did that again. Then came the trickiest part…

Removing the new latch from the plastic clamshell case. I started using a screwdriver to kind of tear the plastic open, but slipped and sliced my finger. I got two slash cuts on the ring finger or my right hand, and had to go put iodine and a band-aid on it. I got my Stanley knife to teach the clamshell case a lesson and managed to extract the new latch without further injury.

I took the new latch rear assembly and stuck it on the existing door plate, screwed it in tight, and ta-da! The whole job was done in less than 5 minutes from getting the packaging open. Tested it and it works fine. I didn’t bother removing and replacing the front barrel, so we can still use our old keys to get in. The rear key barrel uses the new keys, but that’s okay. If it means saving $200+ labour cost on a locksmith doing the same (5 minute!) job, I’ll live with it.

I also did some cleaning up today. I have to get the place into shape for Friday night, when friends are coming over for our next Dungeons & Dragons session. And tonight started the “Prejudice” topic with three ethics classes.

New content today:

Time to replace the kitchen tap

The aerator has fallen out of my kitchen tap. I can push it back in, but it falls out whenever I turn the water on. I can’t see any way to make it stay in there. There’s nothing resembling a screw thread or a locking mechanism that might be engaged by twisting. This is a problem because the water now splatters all over the place if turned on any harder than a trickle.

As it happens, I’d been thinking of replacing the tap for a while anyway, as it’s been dripping a bit. So I guess it’s time to buy a replacement tap and get a plumber in to install it.

It was another very cold day today, but the sun was out and it didn’t rain, so that was nice at least. We went on a long walk with Scully to Maggio’s Italian bakery after breakfast and I tried a special of the day – a pastry a bit like a pain au chocolat, but with lemon custard also inside and lemon cream on top. We always joke about the combination of chocolate and lemon since on a trip to Rome many yers ago we bought two packs of biscotti—lemon and chocolate—and the old lady who sold them to us muttered to herself in Italian (which I understood just enough of to work out) that it was a bad sign that we liked two flavours that didn’t go together. But this pastry was delicious, and honestly I don’t think there’s any issue with lemon and chocolate together.

I did my 5k run this afternoon, since it was too cold in the morning. It was barely warm enough at 2pm in the sunshine.

I worked on some Darths & Droids strips today, completing one and getting a completed script written for another, which is actually really good progress for a day.

New content today:

Deep carpet cleaning

Today was dominated by cleaning the carpets. I hired a carpet cleaning machine from Bunnings (a hardware store) and picked it up this morning. Then after moving as much as possible off the floors, I spent a couple of hours thoroughly cleaning the carpets. The machine sprays hot water with a detergent onto the carpet and sucks it back up via a nozzle. I did two complete runs across all the carpet. The water that I emptied out of the machine at the end was black with the dirt and dust it had picked up.

The carpet was left a bit damp, but it was a good day to do this as it was warm and dry. We had all the windows open so the carpet could dry out properly. This carpet cleaning is exhausting work though, hot and hard on the muscles. I’m looking forward to a nice relax tonight.

We also made good progress on the jigsaw puzzle today:

Jigsaw, day 4

My wife wanted to finish it over the Easter weekend, but it looks like we made it about 70% of the way. Should be done before next weekend, hopefully.

New content today:

Refreshing the bathroom

Today, without my usual array of online ethics classes, I spent a bit of time attending to housework chores. I went to the hardware store and bought a brand new toilet seat, to replace our old one, which had been getting scratched and discoloured due to age. Then I had to figure out how to install it and wrestle it into place. The screws have a lot of horizontal movement in them to allow positioning of the seat relative to the toilet bowl, which is good, but meant that actually getting it into the right position and staying there while I tightened the screws was tricky. But the result looks good, literally like brand new.

I also grabbed some more calcium chloride crystals for the damp absorbers around the house. And then emptied the water out of those and refilled them with crystals. It’s shocking how much water can be absorbed from the air so quickly around here.

At lunch I took Scully out for a walk to the fish and chips shop and got a take-away to eat at my favourite lookout spot with a view across the water to the city. The sky was dramatic with dark grey clouds. It was a cool and cloudy grey day, but the only rain was early in the morning.

I worked on some future topics for my critical thinking/ethics classes. I’m planning one on dreams—as in sleep dreams, not aspirations—and one on asking “why don’t we” questions, to get the kids thinking about things like “why don’t we eradicate fleas?” or “why don’t we ban unhealthy food?” Things with different reasons: economic, social, scientific, and so on.

This evening we went out for dinner, since the usual Friday night tomorrow is Good Friday and most places won’t be open. We felt like Thai food, but since our favourite Thai place closed down there aren’t any within walking distance that have dog-friendly seating. So we drove a few suburbs over to the one we usually go to now with Scully, only to find their outside table was occupied. We drove back another suburb and thought we’d just get out and have a look around the shopping area to see what restaurants were there, and we found a Thai place with several tables outside! It turned out they were all booked (by other diners with dogs), but the staff were happy to carry an extra table out onto the patio for us.

The food was great too! My wife ordered a vegetable and cashew stir fry which was very tasty and spicy, and I tried the daily special, which was a black pepper and chilli sauce over sliced chicken pieces. It was all very good and the staff were really friendly. I think we’ll add this to our list of good Thai places to go to.

New content today:

Considering countries

This morning I took Scully on a walk in the cool dampness after a night of rain. She’d been off her food all day yesterday until a late dinner, but was hungry for breakfast and perky again this morning.

Back home I wrote up my lesson plan for the new week’s critical thinking and ethics topic, on “Countries”. I framed much of the lesson around a story about a girl who goes on her first overseas trip with her parents, and all of the different things she encounters. She visits a museum to learn the history of the country she’s visiting, and I’ll get the kids in the class to compare that with countries they know, for example.

The post office received another visit today, as I packed and sent another Magic card to a buyer. I also took the chance to drop in that envelope with the Opal cards in it.

I completed this week’s batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips and uploaded them to the buffer. And made another Darths & Droids strip too.

And with everything I wanted to do achieved by early afternoon, I spent some time cleaning the house. I cleaned up the balcony, sweeping and removing spider webs. I also took out the bathroom window sliding pane and cleaned it, and removed the insect screen so I could reach outside and clean off a lot of spider webs from covering the window. They’ve been annoying me for ages. I really should clean all the windows, but that’s a big job for another day.

And when my wife got home from work I took the opportunity to do a 5k run. The day was warm, though not too hot, so it was a bit warm for a run, but I persisted and got it done.

Oh, and after dinner (potato and broccolini tikka masala with rice) we gave Scully a bath. She rolled around a lot in the grass at the park today, so we thought we should clean her up a bit.

It’s good to have a day when it feels like you got a lot done!

New content today:

Not in hot water

Today I had a maintenance guy from the gas company come around to replace our hot water meter. This is a periodic thing they do every 7 years for all customers, to ensure the meters are up to date and working properly. They gave me a window of 10:00-12:00 when the guy would arrive. Of course, there was no sign of him until almost 12:30. Then it took half an hour to do the job. Meanwhile I was hoping that Scully didn’t suddenly need to go out for a toilet, as I would have had to ask the worker to leave while I took Scully out. I don’t want a stranger in our home while nobody else is in here.

But Scully was fine, and after the guy finished replacing the meter we went out for a walk. The morning was cool and cloudy, with heavy rain from about 6am to 9am. It cleared up, and by the afternoon it was warm and sunny, though not too hot. The next three days however are forecast to be heatwave conditions, with temperatures around 40°C across parts of Sydney.

There’s also the tropical low off Queensland which is expected to be declared Tropical Cyclone Kirrily some time tonight. It’s still tracking to hit Townsville, and forecast to dump over a meter of rain the next few days to a wide area still recovering from widespread heavy flooding.

I spent much of the day writing new lessons for the new week of ethics classes. I have split topics for the two age groups this week: Gift Giving for 10-12, and Employment for 13-15. I managed to complete both of them by mid-afternoon, which is really good going. I also cleaned up the laundry a bit since that’s where the hot water meter is, and threw out some old cleaning products that we were unlikely to use. So that felt pretty productive.

For diner tonight I made calzones, filled with broccoli, pumpkin, and ricotta. Topped with a chilli and garlic tomato sauce, they were really good.

New content today:

A writer’s block day

I spent a few hours today staring at a text file, failing to write any comics.

Other than that, I did another 5k run this morning. The heat/humidity conditions were just as bad, and I was also silly enough to do my more strenuous route, with more hills, so I went even slower. But still, it felt good afterwards to have gotten some exercise.

Not really much else to say about the day…. OH! I remember. I spent a couple of hours housecleaning. Not that that’s exciting, but at least it explains the time spent without doing anything else interesting.

New content today:

Kondoing the bookshelves

This morning I had the first older student ethics lesson on Probability. Unfortunately only one student turned up, and that’s always a bit challenging because we end up going through all the questions a lot faster, especially if the student isn’t very talkative. I ran out about 5 minutes before the end and had to wing it by making up some more questions on the fly.

At lunch today I took Scully on a walk around to one of the local cafes where I had lunch. Last time I had the “Ultimate Sandwich” and chose the pulled pork option. But they also have a grilled chicken option, which I tried today.

Ultimate sandwich, grilled chicken edition

Yeah, that’s pretty ultimate. I did actually manage to fold the bread roll and encase most of the filling and eat it with my hands like a sandwich, but there were a few chunks of chicken and salad that fell out. It was good, but I think I slightly prefer the pulled pork version.

After lunch I dedicated a couple of hours to cleaning up the bookcases. They’ve been needing a proper dusting for a while, which is a chore I always put off because we have a lot of random little knickknacks and stuff on most of the shelves in front of the books, so it’s tedious. But I also had a pile of new roleplaying game books sitting on my desk that needed to be shelved, and I had to rearrange some things to fit them in. So I bit the bullet and tackled the job.

I went through everything on the shelves and tossed out some old stuff that I’ve never really used and couldn’t foresee a use for. Also some random things like the polystyrene spheres I used for this Proof that the Earth is a Globe. I also had about 20 card boxes full of plastic card sleeves just taking up space, which I moved to a large storage box to reduce the clutter. I moved some loose art supplies into the art supply box. And so on.

I found a large, folded-up sheet of paper. When I unfolded it, this is what I found:

Wave Echo Cave

It’s an artefact from when I ran The Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure for my Dungeons & Dragons group, back in 2017. We drew a large map of Wave Echo Cave as we played. I decided to throw it out, but I took this photo first to have a memory of it.

Tonight for dinner I bought a bunch of fresh basil from the corner store while taking Scully for her evening walk. I made pesto with that, a garlic clove, toasted pine nuts, grated pecorino (I know, but I’d run out of Parmigiano Reggiano), and extra-virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. We had it on penne pasta and it was really good.

New content today:

A pleasant Saturday for… housecleaning

What it says on the tin. It was a reasonably nice day, not too chilly. There were storms hanging off the coast all day, quite intense looking, but they failed to track inland over us so we had fine conditions, until just a few minutes ago when rain began hitting – but it’s after dinner and we’re comfy inside.

I did a big round of housecleaning: vacuuming, dusting, getting into some areas that I don’t do very often. Changing the damp absorbers in the closets and storage cupboards. Cleaning the bathroom and shower. And giving Scully a bath too!

In between I worked on some new Darths & Droids comics. And I played a playtest game of Ninja Grandma with my wife – this is the game I’m working on developing with the kids in the current Creative Thinking/Game Design course. In this first version every player has a team of 4 ninjas: a dragon, a panda, a tiger, and a penguin. The penguin was the idea of one of the kids. They visit various areas of Grandma’s ninja training castle to level up in skills, make sneaky potions to affect enemy ninjas, and smear peanut butter on floors to make them slippery so enemy ninjas can’t perform as well. There was plenty happening in the test game, but no clear goal to work towards, as I haven’t decided yet how to win the game! Probably the most important part, but I’m going to let the kids come up with ideas for that as part of the class.

We felt like something a bit different for dinner tonight, so we took Scully for a walk and passed by the nearest supermarket to grab a pack of corn chips and make nachos. Yum!

New content today: