“If you go in for argument, take care of your temper. Your logic, if you have any, will take care of itself.” – Joseph Farrell

Monday, August 12, 2013

Robbie the Robot

As you probably know, we have a pool. And, pools require maintenance. Opening and closing. Chemicals. Cleaning.

When we first moved into the house in NJ, we bought a pool cleaning robot from AquaBot, and nicknamed it "Robbie". Each weekend we throw Robbie in the pool to clean up grunge from the bottom. It is amazing how many leaves and worms, along with sand, dirt and bugs can accumulate on the pool bottom in a week. Robbie does a "random walk" around the pool diligently vacuuming up this stuff. He occasionally gets stuck on the ladder (he really loves the ladder), or on pool-bottom drain. And, he seems to spend more time cleaning the sides of the pool than the bottom. He ingests his own power cord sometimes. But, mostly he works unsupervised for six or seven hours and produces a clean, sparkling pool.

I decided to use the time-lapse camera that Lynne gave me for Christmas last year, and make a movie of Robbie cleaning the pool last Saturday. This movie filled the memory in the camera, but Robbie was about done by then anyway. Enjoy!

(PS: The pool heater should get installed next week!)

Tags:  videoat-homepool
Posted under: New JerseyStuff You Gotta Know! • by Rick on 08/12/2013 at 07:18 AM
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Great Swim Tonight

Water temperature is about 86 degrees. Wonderful. Swam 40 lengths tonight, will go for 50 tomorrow. I know that is not much, but the best of the season. Swimming is my favorite way to get exercise.

We have committed to a pool heater. Should get it installed this summer. Going with propane, so need tanks, etc. Will set it at about 82 to 84 degrees and extend the early Spring and late Summer seasone by a few weeks as well as keep the mid-Summer temperatures very comfortable. We'll see!

Tags:  at-homeactivitiespool
Posted under: New JerseyStuff You Gotta Know! • by Rick on 07/17/2013 at 07:26 PM
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Sleep Number 0

We have a Sleep Number bed. Have had it since we moved to New Jersey in April, 2006. A Sleep Number bed is nothing more than a glorified, permanently installed air mattress. Still, since I like a firmer mattress than Lynne does, it has allowed us each to select our own level of comfort.

Recently, I noticed my side would deflate some overnight and throughout the day. Each night I'd need to adjust my side from a number of 45 to my comfort level of 60. 

So, yesterday I decided to follow some troubleshooting procedures to attempt to isolate the leak. I was not successful, but in the process did something that caused my side of the bed to completely deflate overnight. I tried pumping it back up a couple of times, but within minutes would be back to an empty air bladder. So, I had an uncomfortable night on a mattress with a Sleep Number of 0 -- not fun.

This morning I took it apart enough to refit all the plumbing and inflated it back up to 60. We'll see what it is tonight, but I can't spend another night tossing and turning in the equivalent of a hammock.

I hate mattress shopping, so am not sure of the next steps if I can't fix the mattress we have.

Tags:  at-home
Posted under: Stuff You Gotta Know! • by Rick on 07/15/2013 at 08:58 AM
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Saturday, July 13, 2013


I think we are mid-summer. Tonight, out by the pool we saw only a few, last fireflies. They have moved up into the trees. Their blinks are bright and long, but there are very few of them. And, I think we heard the first (non-17-year) cicada tonight. It only lasted a few minutes, but is a signal of the noise to come. Next week is historically the hottest week of the year, and it is not going to disappoint this year. We will be in the 90s all week. 

That means lot of pool time! 

The pool water has been evaporating, so tomorrow I may add an inch or two of cold well water--something I always hate to do because it lowers the pool temperature by a degree or two. But, the hot weather will warm it back up.

Tonight we swam some. I did 10 laps, Lynne did 20. The water is about 83°. Not bad at all, but I've grown to love 86° or 87° wink

Alex is doing great today. He has now had two chemo treatments, but the first seemed to kill off most of the bad cancer cells. We are celebrating his strength and progress while enjoying the nice evening. 

Oh, and we got the canoe back today. Andy did a phenomenal job of giving her a spruce-up with new varnish and polished fittings. I left her on the truck tonight with the plan of taking her out some tomorrow. We'll see.

Tags:  at-homepool
Posted under: New JerseyStuff You Gotta Know! • by Rick on 07/13/2013 at 07:19 PM
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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy 4th of July, 2013! [Updated with Photos]

Wow. It is another 4th of July holiday. Of course, I have off work today, and even though tomorrow is a work day, I'm taking it off.

Plans? Well not much. Our activities will revolve around food and the pool, of course. It is supposed to be in the high 80s but with the humidity percentage equal to the temperature, it will be a muggy day with a heat index well into the 90s. The pool is open and the robot is cleaning to prepare for an afternoon in the water.

We call this the Chic Sheik Shack. A great place to hang out if not in the water!

I'm going to try a ceviche for lunch. I love ceviche, but have never tried to make one myself. I'll let you know how it goes.

It went well!

And, around noon I will start the process of smoking then roasting a pork shoulder for pulled-pork sandwiches. I made a spicy rub yesterday and the pork has been sitting in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, sucking up the flavors of the rub. I've got hickory chips soaking in water. Soon, I will fire up the Weber charcoal grill and when ready smoke the pork for about 3 hours. Then it gets wrapped in foil and goes in the oven for another 2 hours. Then into a double thick paper bag for one hour. Even after resting for an hour, it will be very hot, but by then we will be so hungry I'll tackle it with a couple of forks to "pull" the meat off the bone. We'll serve it on hamburger buns with a ketchup-based barbeque sauce and cole slaw. Yum. I can hardly wait.

Pork shoulder smoking.

Pulled pork.

The completed dish.

Ice cream for dessert.

Tags:  at-homefoodactivitiespool
Posted under: New JerseyStuff You Gotta Know!Food and Cooking • by Rick on 07/04/2013 at 07:09 AM
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