Finding Geek Balance

AntennaI was reading Scott Hanselman’s post “Paint Fence, Cut Wood, Pull Weed, Plant Tree – Finding Geek Balance Outside My Comfort Zone” and I would like to be one of the first of  many geeks to copy his post by listing my outside chores that I have been avoiding for years as a great personal improvement. I have a lawn service but it still doesn’t look good because I (and my son) don’t’ water it enough. My back yard still looks like a crater where the above ground pool was that I took out because I didn’t have the time to maintain it. It was fun taking it apart myself though. I did put in the hard wood floor in my living room (with my Dad’s supervision) when I bought the house about seven years back. I haven’t done much since.

I did just recently fix the antenna. With analog signals you can still see and hear what is going on when the wind blew and the signal was bad. With the new digital converters you first loose sound then the picture has artifacts then pauses without a resume. This happened whenever we had wind and once it happened during Heroes I had to muster up whatever handyman genes I had and fix it. At least it had to do with electricity. I couldn’t reach the top to see what the problem was so I had to take it down. Yes that is actually a picture of me on my roof. I had to use duck tape as the parts are no longer available. Now it’s grate and no problems with wind. We’ll see how long that lasts.I also crawled around the attic to lay cable wire so the TV in the workout room could use the antenna also. That’s still pretty geeky though.

CarAndTree At about the same time I fixed a problem with my car where the air conditioner condensation collected in the driver side floorboard. It’s a 2002 Mitsubishi eclipse and I had a mechanic look at it and he couldn’t sole it. It turns out that there is a warranty notice about this but my car is out of warranty. I had to take apart the middle console and the glove box to get access. I had to clean out the leaves from the drain pan and the blower motor. I couldn’t get the pan completely off so I had to MacGyver a smaller hose to my vacuum cleaner to suck then blow out all the leaves. I then went to the dealer to buy a specially made filter to put behind the glove box. There was a place a prebuilt place behind the glove box made for this filter. I assume there was an engineer argument about if the filter was needed. I can imagine one guy saying “Leave would never make it that far.” Unfortunately, he was wrong but fortunately another engineer had designed the filter placement. They started shipping it in the next years model.

Wood Just the next week as I was coming off my manly high part of the tree in my backyard fell down. You can see it in the back of the picture of my car. Half of it was dead because the people that put in the pool didn’t have it drain properly. The side with all the leaves fell down so so now it had to go. The base is about 18 inches so it’s a large tree. I estimate it was still 25’ tall. Instead of cutting it apart while it was still up we used a chainsaw to split it and pulled it down with a rope. It made a very satisfying crash. You can see my Dad’s van filled up with wood.

Did I grow from this? I feel more sure with solving problems in the real world and being handy around the house. My wife feels better cared for. It was goo to know that if I take something apart I can actually put it back together. I only have a few extra screws from my car. The real world is a little more permanent and mistakes will last longer but the same thought processes apply in the computer world.

Next I guess I need to landscape the front and back yards. I’m still not mowing though.