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December 31st After a dull day at work waiting for the city to come and inspect the solar panel setup, we went to Sacramento for Sharon's 40th birthday party. We saw a whole bunch of people I haven't seen for ages, as some of the old YSR racers were there. A fun time was had by all.

December 30th The day started off grim, too grim to go hang gliding, so I lopped some more off the trees in the front.

The next dumb idea was in the garage. For hang gliding, I bought a 20' extension ladder and pulled one part off to make up a roof rack to carry the hang glider on the Subaru. I keep looking at the other half of the ladder lying on the floor, and thinking that I could make it into something to get up into the roof of the garage without having to unfold the step ladder. So, I bolted a cross joist in where I wanted it, bolted a hinged piece of wood to it, and bolted the ladder to the wood. Easy. I just need to figure out a way of holding it up to the roof when it's not in use, but it'll do for now. The main thing is that it's no longer under foot.

December 29th We've been having problems with the refrigerator recently - it's been freezing stuff solid, and always seems to run colder than I've told it to. For a while I put it down to the thermometer that's built into the front panel being wrong, but when it started freezing the guinea pigs' carrots, it was clear "that something must be done". Bugger. Tilly's still teething, so she loves frozen carrots, but soon it'll be freezing my Dr Pepper!

My first hypothesis was that the freezer door seal was broken, or that the door wasn't closing properly. The freezer is at 0 degrees, per the manual, so it's over cooling the refrigerator, rather than a compressor problem. A brief search with the Google showed that it's not a door problem, rather a damper problem - there's a little door that opens to allow cold air from the freezer into the fridge. I'm calling that a partial victory.
The next thing was to get the mechanism out of the fridge for inspection. This involved taking more and more stuff out of the fridge to get a smallish plastic mount out of the back until it was just an empty box. I've obviously done some of this before, as there are compact flourescent bulbs in most of the light sockets, but I'll be buggered if I can remember doing it. Anyway, eventually I managed to remove the mechanism to hear the broken door flailing around inside. It's a little disappointing to find a really expensive fridge is mostly made of polystyrene held together with masking tape (I kid thee not - it's good to see that Mexico is keeping up with China on the build quality stakes), but I finally got to the thing. I've decided to risk gluing it back together, rather than order a replacement, as you can't get just the door, you have to get the whole mechanism, and I figure if the superglue doesn't hold it, I can replace it later. While I was waiting for the glue to dry, I cleaned the shelves - hell it's been months since I've had any chocolate, and there are fragments all over the place. It's all back together now (with new, blue masking tape), so hopefully that's one problem solved.

I got time for a little World of Warcraft, and managed to get my hunter to level 53.

December 28th The solar panel guys came out and finished up some wiring - the hot tub's been turned off since they were last here as it didn't have a circuit breaker any more. Well, that's fixed, and the spa spent the night warming up again. I was relieved, as it takes it about a week to cool down, and we were now at risk of bursting pipes if it froze.

December 27th Tilly has decided that her favourite thing is playing in the bubble bath with Vic. Well, that's one way to clean the floor in the bathroom.

Playing World of Warcraft, and joined a run through Zul'Farrak. I managed to get my druid to level 49, then 50. As I've set my home as Shattrath City, I could then go and get Master abilities on my professions, allowing up to 375 skill level :o)

December 26th Work was quiet, so I spent a little time tinkering with the van at lunchtime, and waiting for the solar panel guys to show up with the inspector. It didn't happen. We're hoping for Monday now, I believe.

December 25th Xmas day, if you're in to that sort of thing. I get up early with Tilly most days, and play a little World of Warcraft. Today I had a high level mage port me to Shattrath City, a level 60+ area, with my druid, a level 48 toon :o) It means I can now go anywhere fairly easily.

Other than that, we had a quiet day, with me cooking a duck. That went well until I slopped some oil in the oven, and we had to put up with the smoke from that burning off... Tilly was most unhappy about that.
Still, she got a couple of new toys which she's already destroyed, and she spent the whole day with us, chasing around, which made her happy. And tired.

December 24th We spent the evening watching the most excellent adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Hogfather on the TiVo. Tilly slept through most of it.

December 23rd Vic didn't feel up to hang gliding, so we just hung around the house. We decided to take Tilly to the Bear dog park to see how she did. As she's currently 20lbs, we went into the large and the small dog areas. I'm not a fan of small dogs, or their owners, so I think we'll be going in the large dog area in future. With a little coaxing, we managed to get Tilly through the tunnel, over the jumps and the A frame.
On the way home, we stopped at the local Petsmart and picked up a few new toys to replace ones she's eaten - she's teething at the moment, so toys don't last very long :o)

December 22nd I tinkered around with stuff in the garage, and spent half the day watching the inverter. I think the best I've seen is 1.3KW of power generation, but we can see that we've saved about 13lbs of CO2 emissions being produced to generate power for us. You're welcome.

December 21st The solar panel guys came and fitted the inverter. Despite it being past 3pm on the shortest day of the year, we saw the electricity meter turning backwards for the first time. I'm supposed to leave it all switched off now until the eletrickery company has been out, but we'll see how that goes :o)

December 20th The guys showed up and put the solar panel stuff on the roof. Unfortunately there was a problem with the inverter wiring, so they're just sitting up there doing nothing. I thought they'd be putting out 12 volts, so I could use them to charge the van and Subaru batteries, but apparently they can put out 40 volts, and they're connected in series, so the wires will be transferring over 400 volts on a good day. Maybe we will wait for that inverter then.

Playing World of Warcraft, I got my hunter to level 52. I'm going to let the rested bonus build up a bit, and concentrate on building up some of my toons' professions for a while, I think.

December 19th Playing World of Warcraft, I got my hunter to first level 50, and then 51.

Vic called to say that the SPCA were having problems with one of their computers after some flooding from a burst water main over the weekend. I threw Tilly in the van and went over, but they'd fixed whatever it was by the time I got there. We sat around chatting, and Tilly got her nails clipped. You'd have thought they were pulling them out from the noises she was making, big baby :o)

December 18th I couldn't sleep, so got up at around 2am to kill time playing World of Warcraft. I got my hunter to level 49, and almost to level 50.

It was funny waking Tilly up for once :o)

December 16th I started the morning by playing World of Warcraft and got my druid up to level 48. I should work on my hunter for a while, seeing as they're the same level now :o)

As an experiment, I bought some big U brackets and bolted the ladder to the Subaru. I'm far happier with that solution than with strapping the ladder on, as it can't move now. I'm going to get another 2 brackets, but it doesn't need it.

We went hang gliding, and the wind was totally wrong for the tow site, so we adventured down the dirt road to the training hill. The good news was that as it was more simple, Vic flew her hang glider straight away. Despite there being very little wind at the training hill, she flew a lot further than she would have with the training glider :o)

We strapped the glider to the ladder on the Subaru, and drove it home without any drama, so that's a success right there.

Tilly had been eating everything she could get in her mouth, and ended up being sick and having diarrhea for a while. After a little bit of sitting in the car with me, she perked up and came up the hill to watch the gliders launch. I was thinking what a strange view of the world she must have - the neighbourhood's all lit up for Xmas, and has been the whole time she's been walking around it. People fly and jump off hills, and have the whole time she's been coming out with us. Poor, screwed up little animal :o)

December 15th I met Andy in Azeroth, and we hit a few quests in Tanaris. No levelling though.

I cleared leaves, then hacked bits off one of the trees until the green waste bin was full... the pick up every other week, and this is the week :o)

We hung Vic in her new hang gliding harness from the roof of the garage and decided that it needs some adjustment.

In the evening, we went over to Fred and Marsha's for dinner, then took Tilly for a longish walk before bed.

December 14th I was peering in Tilly's mouth, and it looks like she's finally losing her puppy teeth. Just incisors at the moment, but I'll take it as a sign that those nasty pointly little canines aren't long for this world.

December 13th I played some World of Warcraft and got my druid up to level 47.

December 12th The solar panel guys showed up a day early and fitted all the racking to the roof. Next step, panels and wiring, but at the moment I'm not sure when that'll be... apparently there's some sort of screw up with the permits to fit the panels :o(

December 11th I spent a short time playing World of Warcraft and got my druid up to level 46. The latest patch has definitely made things a little easier, as I've taken down Elite monsters that are just 2 or 3 levels below me. I'm not saying it's easy, I'm saying I can do it :o)

December 10th Tilly slept well all night. So, all I need to do to catch up on my sleep is give up work to play with her all day, every day. Easy.

December 9th I spent the cold early part of the morning nailing half of a 20' extension ladder to the Subaru while Tilly slept off the excesses of last night. The poor thing was pretty tired, but we threw her in the car and went hang gliding anyway, and she perked up when she saw Tiger. Vic's hang glider has been delivered. George had managed to un-shortpack it, but the weather's not been co-operating for the test flight before she can fly it, so she took all the bubble wrap and strapping off and put it up, then we put it away. The ladder was so we could carry it home, but we left it with George so that hopefully he'll get it test flown when the weather and his schedule allows.

Vic only got one flight, as there were a bunch of other students and we were busy fussing with her glider, but it was a really good one. The plan is for her to do a few flights on George's Falcon 2, then take her glider up for the first time.

We got home pretty early, but everybody was tired from the weekend, so we had an early night :o)

December 8th We spent the morning in search of a ladder and some tie downs that were eventually sourced at Wally World. I then did a little more tinkering on the van before we went to Scott and Becky's for the annual white elephant gift party. This year I managed to come away with a wide angle mirror and some bath goop that I instantly dumped on Vic. Tilly spent the evening in the garden with Daisy and Brody, having a good time. She was pretty tired, so we got a good night's sleep for a change.

December 6th As it rained all day, I played some World of Warcraft and got my druid up to level 45. I think I'm going to leave him alone for a while so I can build up the rested bonus.

I started looking at the central locking in the van, and with the driver's door apart, I unplugged the 5 wires to the lock actuator. The other doors now lock correctly. I've taken the actuator out, and hanging by the wires it seems to work just fine, so the problem's in the lock mechanism, which is suddenly very stiff. I think that was stopping the driver's door locking, and as that's one of the controlling locks (ie locking or unlocking that door unlocks the whole van) it's keeping the van unlocked.
I cleaned everything up and adjusted the joint between the actuator and the door lock, and it seems to work OK now. Just the ticking speedo cable and the clonks from the new brakes to deal with now :o)

December 5th I've been thinking about the central locking in the van, and I think the problem is something to do with how stiff the lock on the driver's door has suddenly become. I guess it's time to take that apart and see what happens.

We finished watching Tin Man. I thought the ending was a bit sappy, but hey, this is America.

December 4th It rained! This is good, as it's warmed up a lot, the garden needs it (rain seems to make the grass grow better than just water), and we're hoping to take Tilly to the snow at some point, and there hasn't been any :o)

In World of Warcraft, my druid hit level 44.

We watched the first 2 episodes of the Sci Fi channel's new mini-series, Tin Man. It's an updated version of The Wizard Of Oz, but darker. It's pretty good, really.

December 3rd We picked the van up from Stephan. There's a bunch of funny noises from the front wheels that I'm hoping will go away as everything beds in, and the "lock" part of the central locking doesn't. I'll look into that, as the central locking's played up before. I just can't figure out why it suddenly doesn't work - hopefully it's a loose ground connection or something.

The solar people called, and they're pushing up the installation to the 13th and 14th. Next week! Cool - I don't know when we'll be generating power, as there's a bunch of paperwork involved before I'm supposed to switch it all on. It seems most people just switch it all on, then switch it all off when it's due to be inspected :o)

Later on, the new CD player showed up for the Subaru. Fitting it was simple, other than the contortions I need to get to the screws right in the corner of the boot. Still, it's another job crossed off my list.

In the evening we took Tilly for a long walk to the local coffee shop. She had a ball, and got to stare at people until they came and fussed her. Rather than being tired, when we got home she went into her Rocket Dog configuration, and ran laps around the garden, then the house, eventually ending up with her on the bed. That's not good news, as we were hoping she wouldn't be able to get up there for a while yet. Oh well.

December 2nd Today was too windy to go hang gliding, so we just futzed around at home again.

I played a little World of Warcraft and managed to get my druid up to level 43.

December 1st It was bitterly cold here, as there was an arctic weather front moving in. Vic took the Subaru to work, and Tilly and I just hung around the house. Well, I did get the grass cut, but that was the extent of it.

I played a little World of Warcraft and managed to get my druid up to level 42.

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