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December 31st I spent the day doing chores - I cut the grass, fixed the neighbours' computers, caught up on the web site and did a little work on the train set. I was tightening up the chain on one of the garage door openers when Vic brought me out a recently born guinea pup. They look like little guinea pigs, they're born with eyes open, hair and ready to go, so it was a surprise. We've also discovered that one of the pigs sexed as a female is actually a male, so we're expecting all of the females to be pregnant. The ones that weren't already pregnant could well be now, and apparently they're ready to get pregnant within hours of giving birth, so the new mother could well be pregnant again already. Great :o)

December 30th It being Saturday, I went to the SPCA. Vic took 4 of the foster guineas in with her in the Subaru, so I rode the KLX. The family came in, and adopted 2 of them, so there's just 8 now. One of them's at Vic's place, as her roommate is interested in adopting her (the guinea, not Vic).

In the evening, we ate pizza and watched "Curse Of The Were-Rabbit" :o)

December 29th Vic took 2 of the foster guinea pigs to work, but the family didn't come in to see them :o(

I've been arguing with Surewest about my phone service - since I went back to DSL, they've been telling me that my old phone numbers should be working any second now. That's since November 8th. After having all manner of people promising to call me back, then not doing so, I finally got hold of somebody who explained that because I've now cancelled the old phone service (what did they expect me to do, keep paying for it for several months?), and they didn't move fast enough (ie the 2 weeks they promised), I won't get my old numbers back now. So, I have a new home and office phone number. If I didn't mail you, call me and I'll tell you what it is :o)

In the evening, we watched the Wallace and Gromit shorts that Mum and Dad sent for Xmas. It's been a while since I've seen them, and Vic's never seen them, so that went well :o)

December 28th I ventured out on the KLX to meet Vic for lunch - it was blowing a gale (but strangely I still have leaves in the garden) but wasn't too bad. A family had come in to the SPCA and were interested in some of the foster guinea pigs after we'd done a little information sheet on each one of them, with photos. Great, it would be cool to have some of them adopted :o)

December 27th I managed to spend some time on the train set, doing a little more landscaping, and putting in telegraph poles. I'm not going to string anything between the poles, as it'll just collect dust and look weird. I got a couple of 9.6V radio control car batteries, so I want to try and get the track clean enough to see if they can drive the train, and if so, for how long. Then I'll wire them in properly, and build in a little shelf to hold a battery under the hill where I want it to be.

December 26th Back to work, but it's quieter than quiet. I did try to call Stephan, to see about getting the van back over there, but it seems like they're closed this week. I'd rather it sat outside the house where I can keep an eye on it (it's too heavy to push up the driveway) than outside Stephan's place, so I'll try and deal with that in the new year. Oh crap, it's almost 2007!

December 25th Ho ho ho indeed.

After lunch, we stopped by the airfield so I could replace the missing "S" link on the tailwheel of the Rans - I've got these little screw together things that

  • Can't drop off
  • Have a breaking strain of 220lbs, rather than the 35lbs of the S links I could find
We had to drive all the way along the front of the flightline, as our gate's broken, but there was nobody there, it being Xmas and all.

December 24th Vic had to work, so I just bummed around the house, playing World of Warcraft for a while, changing the oil and rotating the tyres on the Subaru (being AWD, you shouldn't let the circumference on them vary by too much, as it puts a strain on the drivetrain). After she got home, we went across the road to Fred's for dinner and chatting with the neighbours for a while... Jim had originally been planning to host, but then moved it over the road. He told me "about dinner time", so we showed up late :o)

December 23rd It's Saturday, so I went to the SPCA. It's been a busy week there, with about 50 adoptions so far, but there weren't that many adoptions today. We then went home, and I fiddled around with various stuff while Vic taped 5" cardboard slats around the edges of the Guinea cages, so there shouldn't be any more late night screaming.

December 22nd I got the day off, and as Vic was off, we went to show off the newly re-engined van to Jeff, taking him to lunch. As we pulled up near the restaurant, it was smoking - there's an ATF, or possibly powered steering pump, leak :o( Jeff's daughter came and picked us up, and ran us home. I called Stephan, and he's happy to look at it, but I need to get it there. The towing that comes with the insurance is only good for 5 miles (AAA is something similar), so I got it home (2 hours for the driver to show up and tow it home, due to Xmas traffic), and I'll figure out something after Xmas. Triffic, this is all I need.

Vic and I were drifting off to sleep when one of the fostered Guinea Pigs started screaming. She'd managed to get her head stuck in the mesh that the cage is made from, and apparently Guineas will only keep pushing forward when they're stuck. We couldn't get her out, so ended up cutting the cage and bending it. Oh well, we'll figure something out. One of the Guineas is also looking very pregnant (they have a 70 day gestation period, so she was pregnant when they were dumped).

December 21st I've been playing with an old junk laptop that I've had for a while, thinking that I could see about plugging it into my old Garmin GPS III+ to make a big, colour moving map display for the van. Having managed to get it running Windows 2000, I've now discovered that none of the software (Microsoft Streets and Trips or Delorme Street Atlas, anyway) will run on a P166 - even going back to 2002 versions of the products. Poot. Oh well, I'll think of something else then :o)

December 20th Vic took me to Stephan's Autohaus, on the way to work, and I drove the van home. I'm running it in, but it's a lot peppier than it was, for sure. The air conditioning now blows cold enough that I immediately switched it off, and the heater works well, too. It's funny passing trucks on the freeway in a device that's not supposed to go over 60mph :o)

I got to Fedex, in the van :o)

December 19th I've got a cold, so I'm now wishing I'd bought shares in Kleenex. Still, I spoke to Stephan at Stephan's Autohaus, and the van is ready to pick up :o)

I was going to go and Fedex some stuff out, when I remembered that Vic had taken the Subaru to work, as she couldn't find the key for her bike. Doh. Never mind, I'll do that tomorrow, I guess.

We found her key, in the ignition :o)

December 17th I just wasted the day watching stuff on the TiVo, but I did spend a few hours working on the train set. In a perfect world, it'd be finished in time to make space in the garage for the van to come home, but I doubt I'll get it done that quickly.

Ken from the airfield stopped in on his way past, as he hasn't been able to call me recently due to my telecommunications problems. He hasn't cashed my hangar rent cheques for a few months, so it was good to see that he's still alive :o) Apparently one of our hangar mates hasn't paid for a few months, so I'll chase him up during the week and see what's up there.

December 16th I ran a few errands in the morning, then went to the SPCA. As 12 puppies went up for adoption on Friday, things were chaotic. I got to help with checking people to see if they were really the right sort of people to get a 2 month old Boxer mix puppy, and help with the adoption process if they were, and Gail got to manage the visits. Most of them are now adopted, and they go to be spayed and neutered on Monday, so they won't be there next weeked. Puppies are cute and everything, but nobody even looks at dogs when there are puppies. Even if they're all spoken for.
Some upstanding member of society dumped 10 guinea pigs at the local Petsmart, so they brought them in to the shelter. Vic's decided that we should foster them while they figure out exactly what they're going to do with them, so they came home with me and took over what we're now calling the critter room. From the drive home, I think I've discovered that I'm allergic to guinea pigs, but not as allergic as I am to cats.

In the evening I went to the annual white elephant gift party chez Hadaway. Scott said we should all bring something foodwise that we're famous for, so I took cheese sandwiches and Dr Pepper. The party went well, but Les, Lori and Howard made it obvious that you need numbers to do well in the white elephant game. Oh well, there's always next year :o)

December 15th I had an absolutely joyous drive home. As the Benicia bridge is always backed up heading North ($3 toll to use a bridge that my taxes paid to build... go figure), I decided to go 580 and 205 to 5. There were several slowdowns, but it only took me about 4 hours to get home. Last year, at a pretty similar time, it took me 6 hours, so I figure that's a win.

December 14th I had to go down to San Jose for a business meeting. My boss was quite upset about Chloe, as she was always happy to see him.

While we were waiting for a table for lunch (Bay Area, gotta love it), Ivan called from Stephan's Autohaus to say that they'd finally lost their temper with Tiico about my engine for the van, and demanded a new one. Hopefully it'll be all ready in the next few days :o) I guess I should start tidying up the garage a little to fit it back in :o)

We went out drinking margaritas in the evening, and then I got to fall asleep waiting for the hotel's helpdesk to call me back and explain why the internet connection wasn't working. They never did, so no World of Warcraft for me.

December 13th OK, so why is it that when I want to fly the Rans the wind is constantly 15 - 20mph. When I haven't got around to fixing the silly little clips on the tail wheel, and when I drag all the leaves from under the bushes at the front of the house hoping that the wind'll blow them away so I don't have to do anything with them, it doesn't get above 5mph for days?

It sucks to be me

December 12th On the way back to the house after dinner, we decided to drive around the 'hood a little and look at some of the Xmas lights. Does everybody remember this from last year? Well, one of my neighbours has set up something similar. You tune your car radio to 99.5 to hear the music, and sit opposite, annoying those neighbours. Luckily it's a block over, so I don't have to deal with it, but it's opposite Chris' house - I should go and ask him what he thinks :o)

December 10th I was having a sad day, as I've been thinking of Chloe a lot recently. I spent a while catching up on the TiVo, and got the rear wheel back on Vic's bike. As it's a shaft drive, and it's slightly too wide for my lift, this is always fun.

When the rain (0.2") let up a little, I took the wireless antenna from my old ISP off the roof, as they were supposed to pick it up last month and I'm sick of looking at it. While I had the ladder out, I cleared leaves out of the gutters, and did Dorothy's too. The scratches, bruises and grazes I now have will probably take a few days to clear up :o)

December 9th I got up and went to work pulling the rear wheel off Vic's bike. After I found that the wheel was too tall for me to break the bead, I called Jeff. I picked up a new tube (no, not that one, dumbass, this one), and went over there. We still couldn't get the bead broken, but my "put it under the edge of the car and jack the bead off" trick worked, as his Geo jeep is tall enough to get a 170 section under it :o) Jeff had never done that before, so now he has a new trick he can show people :o)

After we got the new tube fitted (and the 2" wood screw removed), we were standing around chatting when we discovered that kids had stolen the crappy stereo out of the jeep. And to add insult to injury, they broke the latch for the glove box while they were at it. Jeff leaves the doors unlocked, as last time kids tried to steal the stereo, they didn't realise that the roof unzips until after they'd cut it with a knife. Still, he has the old CD player from the van, and I'm expecting that's already fitted :o)

I then went on to the SPCA and walked a couple of dogs in the rain (1.2" all day) before helping with a couple of adoptions.

December 8th I managed to get hold of Jeff and pick up Vic's bike from the SPCA at lunchtime. We needed Craig's help to get the heavy old pig on the back of the pickup, so we put some air in the tyre when we got home, to make it easier to roll off.

December 7th It was the holiday evening at the SPCA from about 4ish, so we didn't get the time to move Vic's bike. I spent the hour or so I was there mostly sitting in the shuttle van with Vic, as it was heaving with people most of the time.

December 6th I was busy rushing around in World of Warcraft after the latest patch had caused me all manner of headaches when Vic called to say she had a flat on the bike. We left it at the SPCA, and now I get to figure out how to get it here so I can decide what to do with it :o|

December 5th There was a loud roar from the nation of Azeroth, as the patch to World of Warcraft to allow some of the Burning Crusades add-on was applied. 492Mb of download later, I got to spend the evening waiting for the server to come back up. The restart was pushed from the usual 11am to 1pm, then 5pm, then 7pm. Then I lost interest :o)

December 3rd We wasted the day bumming around the Galleria :o)

December 2nd I decided to go to the airfield and take the Rans out for a spin. I listened to a guy joining the circuit who didn't seem to know his East from his West, meaning that he was on the wrong side of the field. He figured that out, and he ended up coming straight at me as he left the area... I'm guessing that he still didn't realise that he was West of the airfield when listening to my calls. I did a big deal out of turning out of his way, hoping he'd see the 40' flourescent green wing infront of him, but I swear he didn't. Still, I'd had him in sight the whole time, so there was no harm done.

Well, everything else went fine until the landing, when the plane veered off the runway to the right. When I tried to taxi back, I found that the tailwheel had broken one of the little clips that steers it, so I ended up having to push it back to the hangar. That was interesting. I'll figure out something better to attach everything in the future :o)

I then went to the SPCA for the rest of the day, where we had a few adoptions until the cats started to get sick. There were thoughts that it could have been some sort of poisoning, as lots of cats in the 2 adoption rooms came down, with no specific pattern. The cats in the intake area, not open to the public, didn't get sick. We'll see if anybody comes up with any real idea what's happened based on the vets' checkup of several of the cats.