Category: Family

Ward Manor Thanksgiving

We had our first Thanksgiving at Ward Manor. The Wife and the SIL have decided that the holidays will be shared between our place and theirs. This year, we had Thanksgiving and we’ll go to their place for Christmas. Spurred on by her co-worker(s), the Thanksgiving decorations didn’t last more than a week before the barrage of Christmas decoration festooned the house. The Wife has all of her prior decorations, plus some that came over with MIL, plus a line item in the budget for purchasing more. I don’t fight it, I just kind of ride the wave and hope it passes over peacefully.

Thanksgiving was good. The family got to see the nanday parakeets that have been stopping by the bird feeder infrequently. We also managed to not have a ton of left overs in our fridge. I consider that a win. Over the long weekend, I did something that’s been incredibly rare around here. I actually got some work done on my fantasy novel. It’s nowhere near done, but it was just nice to get words down on paper (so to speak). Then I helped The Brother put together his new standing desk. It was nice to see someone get the benefit from the experiences I had when putting together three desks (one a standing) in the span of two months.

On a different note, The Wife hates to put gas in her car. To the point that the fuel light comes on. Sometimes I think she does that just to see the veins pop in my head. Anyways, I went to go put gas in her car. There’s a gas station a few miles down the road from the subdivision. The speed limit is supposed to be 45, but that only happened in the last couple of years. Most folks treat it as the 60 mph road it was and should be. Except for the person in front of me as I go to get gas. I swear, I found the only person from Texas who drives the limit.

Life At Ward Manor Update

— On Veterans Day, Mom and I went down to our local range and turned money into noise. She has one of those Taurus poly-revolvers, and I needed to test the Bren. I had field stripped it and cleaned it a couple of weeks ago, and I had this irrational fear that I’d done something wrong. The Bren ate the two mags of Speer 5.56mm without a hiccup. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten how to adjust the red dot to zero the stupid thing. I have a laser boresight on the way so that I can do the hard work in the comfort of my own home and not in the bay of a busy indoor range.

— I got the new mesh system up and running, which meant I could now get the outside cameras to work. This one went up much easier than the eeros I’d bought before we moved in. The eeros just didn’t want to play nice. I’ll give the new system a couple of months to before passing final judgement, but at least it’s a promising start. For the record, it is amazing how many individual devices are now connected to the network.

— I understand that restaurants have to be judicious in what they put on the menu. More to the point, I understand that they need to use just enough words to entice and explain, without making the menu unnecessarily long. However, if the restaurant is going to offer waffle fries, I think they should at least identify them as sweet potato waffle fries. That’s what we like to call “material information.”

Living With Future World Problems

I love technology. I love living with smart home devices. I know that there are risks and downsides, but in general, I get more use and enjoyment than not. Then, there are times when it’s not working right.

I bought an eeros mesh system before we moved in to Ward Manor. I had first gen eeros at the old place and my Tampa house. They worked great. Don’t know why but the new eeros just barely worked at Ward Manor. Any fluctuations in power or just oddness, and the whole thing came crashing down. Finally got frustrated with it. So, we talked to the internet company. They upgraded us to essentially a low-tier small business plan. With The Wife and I both working from home, and the MIL moved in, we were pretty much running two small businesses and a house. The internet company’s router seems to be handling all the load, so I’m loathe to get the additional expense of a new mesh system. (Sorry eeros, but if we do, we’re not going with you again.)

Fuck, I have a lot of stuff connected. It’s been a lot of finding things that are connected to the internet and getting them moved over to the new network. (Yes, my security friends, I changed the default name/password on the company-provided router.)

This frustration was on top of the fact that I got a new phone. Which entailed a lot of frustration getting everything switched over and logged in to my applications. When you build up essentially three-years’ worth of workflows from your device, you find all sorts of little issues. Apple is pretty good about helping with that, but there’s still a great deal of frustration.

Welcome to my week.

Life At Ward Manor

  1. We have a bird feeder in the backyard because we enjoy looking at the various black birds, doves, and even ducks that come by. A couple of months ago, we had a pair of brilliant green birds at the feeder. We thought they were someone’s escaped pets. Then we saw them again last week. Then, we saw their half-dozen friends. Then, we saw the rest of their two-dozen strong flock. Some quick googling and we found out they were nanday parakeets. They also completely emptied our bird feeder and the neighbor’s like feathery locusts.
  2. The Manor came with a doorbell camera tied into the security system. It never really worked right and stopped working all together. So, The Wife and I decided to just replace it and add a couple more cameras that work inside the Echo ecosystem. It won’t be perfect coverage, but it will be perfect enough for the main areas.
  3. The Sister-in-law asked if I would do ribs for her birthday dinner. So, I smoked my first rack of ribs over the weekend. Pork ribs with my coffee rub over cherry wood. Came out pretty well.

More Life At Ward Manor

  1. We now have a working fridge and freezer in the garage! It just required the installation of two new outlets – and significantly reorganizing racks and other items in the garage. It also led to a discussion with the electrician on guns once he saw my big safe.
  2. I have an idea, but not sure how to execute it. We have a lot of cats. Which means we have a lot of litter boxes. Including upstairs. I have a container that holds about a bag of litter. However, not every box needs a bag of litter to fill up when I do the monthly change. What I’d like is some kind of dispenser that can hold the month’s litter and let me fill up the container as I need. May have to visit some feed stores. Tractor Supply didn’t really have what I wanted.
  3. You know MIL is fully moved in when all of her appointments get added to the calendar.
  4. Proving once again how different The Wife and I think about purchases. If she shows me something online (cat trees in this instance), and I say “That’ll work,” I mean that she should go ahead and purchase it. Apparently, to her, this means I have agreed with Option 1, and she needs to go find Options 2 through Infinity.

Busy Weekend

This weekend was a lot of heavy lifting in clearing out the MIL’s house to get it ready for sale. It was exhausting enough that there was an accident with my electric razor. I’m beardless for the next week or so. I don’t grow facial hair fast.

We brought over a bunch of stuff, and we’re slowly putting away some stuff, giving away some, and throwing some in storage. This doesn’t include the large volume of junk that got tossed. At least I got to use my construction maul on a stubborn part of the desk.

We brought over the MIL’s fridge for a garage fridge. Unfortunately, when it was plugged in, it tripped the GFI switch. Electrician is coming out to see what needs to be done. We also brought over a couple of racks. They just need some attention with steel wool and WD40.

Where Did August Go?

So, the blog’s been pretty quiet, and there’s a good reason for that. My father-in-law has dementia. It progressed rapidly in August. Bad enough there were a couple of incidents. My mother-in-law couldn’t continue to take care of him. So, the end of August was spent finding the right facility that could take care of him.

Unfortunately that kind of care is not cheap. It looks like in the next couple of months, my MIL will sell her place and come live with The Wife and me. The good news is the Florida real estate market is still running hot, so she should get a good price. The bad news is that the Florida real estate market is still running hot, so rents are high and in short supply. Especially in less populated areas around here.

More Life At Ward Manor

This is more journaling more common events than anything else:

Last Friday, we baby-sat our 11-month-old great-niece. We love the little tyke, but she is exhausting. Particularly now that she is crawling – and want to explore everything. We also had her a little longer than normal due to scheduling conflicts with her parents. By the time we were done, The Wife and I decided to go the easy route and get fast food for dinner. Because of where the new manor is located, it’s usually faster to just race down the interstate. However, this was also at rush hour. Which makes things more interesting. So, while we’re in the drive-through lane, I’m going back and forth on whether it would be faster to go back on the interstate or go down the main street through our town.

The Wife, being much more brilliant than me, reaches over, turns on the GPS, and flips between the two routes and looks at the ETAs. Ah, technology.


The Wife picked up one of my various Transformers and asked me to convert it with the statement “How do you make it grow up?”

Then she was very pleased to find out there was a pink Transformer.


Before the move, Litter Genie refills suddenly became scarce on the ground. In fact, the only way we found some was in a big pack of a Litter Genie XL and 12 refills (or reloads, as I think of them). I thought the XL, being much taller than the regular, would be helpful with going up and down stairs and with all of the litter boxes. Yeah, not so much. I ended up wasting a large portion of the bag because you really couldn’t fill it to where the cutter was at the top. Anyways, the hinge broke while I was carrying it down the stairs, so I ordered a regular one.


Let’s just say my flip-flops and the stairs weren’t getting along. So, I switched over to some sandals. They do get along better with the stairs. However, since the mat I use for my standing desk and the desk elliptical both work better without the sandals, I take them off. Which has resulted in me going barefoot more around the house, since it’s more work to do the sandal straps than just pop off for a bio break or run down for a drink refill. Which may or may not have anything to do with some new pains showing up.

The Wife has also threatened harm if she catches me wearing socks and sandals outside the house.

Small Amusements

Yesterday, I saw this listing come across my FB feed. You really need to flip through the interior photos to see why it’s amusing.

The real amusement was sending it to The Wife, and then listening to her exclamations of horror and bewilderment at the interior decorating.

Life In The Ward House

Last week, since we were off the diet for our birthdays, The Wife offered to make us grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. I was trying to finish something up when I got a the following text:

The Wife: Sharp or have dry cheese

Me (After pondering for a moment): I’ll have the havarti

The Wife: Stupid autocorrect

The Wife makes excellent grilled cheese.

In other news, The Wife used some of her Prime Day monies to buy me a Masterpiece Transformers Prowl. I wanted one because Prowl was my first transformer, and I’ve always had a soft spot for that toy. It showed up last weekend. I managed to get it from police car to robot. It doesn’t transform like my old Prowl, but it does look much cooler (and much bigger) than my old Prowl. Now, getting it back to police car…

In the helpful life hacks segment, we have found that Method Daily Shower Cleaner will slow down a wasp long enough to bring the hammer down. And by hammer, I mean fistful of paper towels. My fear of insects and similar creepy crawlies evokes a insecticidal rage. They must be killed!