May 28th, 2008

#1082: Wednesday miscellany

The lawn tractor enabled me to cut the front grass in about ten minutes. Next time I cut the grass I'm going to have to time myself. But I won't be cutting it before Sunday; cold weather, clouds, and minimal precipitation have slowed the rate at which the grass is growing.

* * *

Then we moved the shedlet. Mom wasn't happy with where it was, so I figured out how to move it using a hand truck and what little assistance she could lend. If I'd had another 40-something man around, we could have just picked it up and carried the damn thing. It wasn't too hard to manage this way, though, and Mom likes its new location much better, and so do I.

Crete zoning laws say that a shed has to be on a concrete foundation if it's over 50 square feet. Well, the shedlet is barely a bit more than six feet by four; my guessitmate says it's 24-odd square feet. Allowing for crude methods, at the outside I'd say its base covers 30 square feet of ground, which is well inside the law for a shed without a concrete foundation.

* * *

Last night we had to turn the heater on. It's a scant handful of days until June. Back before the '00s, Dad would turn the thermostat down to 55° at the end of April, or mid-May, and only turn it back up on particularly cold nights, but the house typically stayed warm enough that the heater wasn't necessary. Just keep the windows and doors closed, and the waste heat of lights, appliances, people, etc, was enough to keep the temperature from dropping. (Sunlight warmed things during the day, of course.)

But that was during an ordinary spring. This spring has been unusually chilly, and Mom needs it warmer than she did even 10 years ago. She's in charge of the thermostat, but I was just as glad when I smelled the hot metal smell of a furnace that hasn't been used in a while.

Mom made a wry comment yesterday afternoon about it snowing, and I had to think about it before I realized it was irony--I mean, it was that damn cold yesterday and freezing temperatures seemed possible.

There was a comic strip in the paper once--one of the Far Side imitators--which showed people shoveling snow in July, and had the caption, "The year everyone at the gas company got bonuses". I'm starting to wonder if this'll be that year.

Then I thought about the fact that Frankenstein and Dracula both were written in "the year without a summer", and I started to wonder if there'd be a year like that in my life. If the sun continues the current solar minimum, it might. Solar cycle 25 should start sometime in 2019 and it's expected to be a snoozer; so maybe when I'm in my 50s.

Well, the money we're saving on electricity for air conditioning is being spent on gas for heating. They get you one way or another, I suppose.