Monday, July 24, 2006

Home improvements

First you notice the new mailbox. At least now my crazy mail lady will be out of excuses for holding, tearing, and returning my mail. Anyway, that's what I hope. She'll probably think of something -- she's quite creative in her resentment of the people who provide her paycheck.

In the back, I finally put up my folding clothesline -- the kind that's sort of like an umbrella. I bring it in every night, but especially with this weekend's hot weather, it did a dandy job of drying my clothes without making me use a drop of electricity.

The strawberry pot I bought a few weeks back has also been planted; I hope the snails don't wipe it out too quickly. The instructions called for a piece of PVC pipe with holes drilled in it, run down the center of the pot to aid watering. I used flexible clear plastic tubing, with notches cut into it with my roseclippers, the whole tube spiraled through the pot and sticking a little out the top.

And the gardenia's about to be in bloom, another boon of hot weather.

-- Rachel

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lawnmower headaches

I should ask Will Shortz -- is "lawnmower" the only English word that has "wnm" as a consonant cluster?

Anyway, mine won't start. Bought a new sparkplug. Didn't do it. Emptied the gas tank and let it dry overnight (since there did seem to be, um, WATER in the tank, and surely the mower wouldn't be happy about that). Refilled the tank with fresh gas. Didn't do it. Bought some Gumout and poured it in, left it overnight. Didn't do it.

Came home last night, and my neighbor in a combination of annoyance and helpfulness had mowed my driveway (taking out several nice flowering plants -- a platycodon and a California native with nice coral flowers) that had been engulfed in weeds, and leaving a 6-foot-high hawkweed [giant dandelion to you, city boy].

-- Rachel

A cute car

I rode last Friday in a Honda Element. One of my friends thinks they look "too boxy", but then -- my current car is a Volvo station wagon (1982, with almost 350,000 miles on what I assume is the original engine) -- and didn't somebody parody Volvo ads a few years back by teasing that their company slogan was "Boxy but good" ?

I was in the back seat, which was elevated just slightly so that I could see easily out of the front window. The driver says this is called "stadium seating". The ride in back was a bit stiff but basically quite comfortable -- MUCH better than riding in the back seat of an Aerostar van I remember, where it seemed like the back seat was part of a totally separate car.

The other thing I really liked was the lack of a centerpost on the passenger side of the car. The front door opens from the front -- duh -- but the back door has its hinges at the BACK of the car, so when both side doors are open, there's a HUGE opening at the side of the car. I assume one can move seats in and out to configure the vehicle for passengers, cargo, camping trips, etc. And the overall length seems quite short, so I assume the turning radius is pretty good. I may take one for a test drive, not that I can afford anything right now. It's always good to do ... RESEARCH.

-- Rachel