Apr 25

Okay, time for a bit of trivia. What do all of these things have in common?

  • Alarm system
  • GFI electrical outlet
  • HP inkjet printer
  • Linksys wireless router
  • Garage door opener
  • Air conditioning system
  • 27″ Sanyo television

    I’ll give you a moment here to think about it.












    Answer: At our house, they were all fried by lightning yesterday!

    I got home around 3:30 or so. As I pulled into the driveway, I was unable to open the garage door. I went so far as to get out and punch the code in. When that didn’t work, I stopped the car and headed for the front door.

    The first sign that something was amiss was that the alarm system was going off and a phone was ringing somewhere. At first, I thought maybe Leann had just set the alarm and that I’d set it off because I got home before her, which is fairly unusual. As I quickly began looking around the house to find out which phone line was ringing (T&S or our personal line), I discovered that lots of lights and electrical appliances in the house were not working. I also eventually discovered that the number pad for our alarm system was ringing, not any of the phones. And there was also nothing on the number pad’s display.

    After calling Leann to have her drop the kids off at the Kumor’s house, I found a flashlight and headed out to the garage. It turned out that about half a dozen of our breakers had tripped. I reset them, hopeful that I had just fixed all our problems. Little did I know…

    As I went back inside, the alarm was still going off. I started going around the house to see what was back on and what wasn’t. Initially, it looked like everything was working again. However, when I picked up the phone in the kitchen to call Leann, I got nothing. I tried the cordless phone in my office, which is on the other phone line, and still got nothing. Frustrated, I called Leann on my cell phone. She had actually just pulled into the neighborhood, and got to the house a few minutes later.

    I called the alarm company and they walked me through disconnecting the battery first, then disconnecting the actual wires from the control panel. Thankfully, the alarm stopped. They told me to try to connect it again in an hour or so.

    After I got off the phone with them (my cell phone, of course), I started trying to figure out why the phones weren’t working. I was able to get a dial tone on my corded office phone and the phone in our bedroom, but not the kitchen phone or my cordless office phone.

    In the office, the line to the cordless phone first goes through the printer/fax. It turns out the printer had been fried. In examining the other equipment, I found that my router had been somewhat fried as well. The wireless access was still working, but the wired access was not.

    Those blinking lights are deceptive.

    The old printer. The new one is identical except for the stickers from being on display.

    In the kitchen, Leann and I determined that one of the circuits with the GFI plug in it (that’s the plug with its own circuit breaker) was not working. At the same time, Leann had discovered an electrical burning sort of smell in the kids’ rooms. So we went ahead and called an electrician as well.

    The electricians showed up and replaced the GFI electrical outlet. They also determined that the electrical smell was likely the alarm system. We also discovered then that the garage door opener was shot.

    The fried garage door opener

    I called Brent up and headed to CompUSA to replace some of the computer equipment while Leann stayed at home and waited for the alarm guy. So the next two parts of this story happened concurrently.

    Brent and I had the following shopping list.

  • Two UPS’s (those are battery backups, if you don’t know), one for the computer equipment that wasn’t plugged into my existing UPS and one for the big-screen and Tivo in the living room
  • A new printer
  • A new wireless router

    I’m pretty cheap, so we ended up getting two fairly inexpensive UPS’s. On the wireless router, I did spring for a wireless N router. On the printer, I ended up getting the exact same model we already had. It was the last one they had, the floor model, actually. I got 10% off, and ended up saving about $65 total over the next model up, once you consider price difference and ink cartridges I didn’t have to buy.

    Meanwhile, the alarm guy had shown up at our house. After a half hour or so of checking everything out, he discovered that the alarm system was totally fried. However, it wasn’t responsible for the smell.

    This is where our number pad was before the alarm guy took it.

    Our next-door neighbor is a heat and air guy, so he came over and offered to check out AC system, which is in the attic. Turns out it is fried also and was responsible for the smell. Leann also found while I was gone that the television in my office was gone.

    Air conditioning circuit board

    So we got fixed and replaced the things that we considered emergency, or that I personally needed to get back to work on web design stuff tonight.

    Here’s the damage and status of it all:

  • Alarm system – Company will come out soon and replace the whole thing
  • GFI electrical outlet – Replaced
  • HP inkjet printer – Replaced with identical printer
  • Linksys wireless router – Replaced
  • Garage door opener – Need to buy a new one and install it
  • Air conditioning system – Next door neighbor is working on it for us
  • 27″ Sanyo television – Need to replace

    What fun. Hopefully all this will be taken care of by this time next week.

  • Apr 20

    Happy birthday, you two!

    Apr 19

    Things have been crazy busy lately. Here’s a few random highlights. I would have pictures, except Leann and I seem to be forgetting to bring the camera to interesting events lately.

    Easter. My parents came down for Easter. We had originally planned on having Josh hunt eggs at the house (like last year), but it didn’t work out time wise. We had also planned on eating at Ted’s for lunch, but they ended up being closed. Special thanks to the in-laws and my parents for putting up with Pizza Hut, which was close by and is one of Josh’s current favorites.

    We did get to go to Edmond‘s annual Easter Egg hunt/celebration. Josh got to hunt for eggs, jump in the moon bounce and hula-hoop with his Nana (my mom).

    Home owner’s association. Despite the fact that I’m against mandatory home owner’s associations (just like I’m against mandatory unions), we complied with our HOA’s “demands.” The trash cans are now crammed into the garage, despite an overall lack of room. The lack of room is really just because we were supposed to have a garage sale Easter weekend, but it ended up being too cold.

    Also, our lawn care people are now coming on a quasi-regular basis, once a week. I think the recent cold weather has thrown that off a bit, but hopefully it will become more regular soon. While there was no official complaint on this one filed with the HOA, it was the subject of that loving letter that was written to us.

    Josh’s birthday. Although it’s technically not until tomorrow (April 20), we celebrated Josh’s birthday early with my parents last weekend. Friday night, we got a couple of motel rooms in Paul’s Valley. Saturday, we headed out to Arbuckle Wilderness to see what all the fuss was about. We all had a great time. It was pretty chilly, but that ended up resulting in way less people there. So on the drive-through part, we didn’t get in others’ way, and they didn’t get in our way.

    There was a ornery camel at one point on the drive-through that freaked Josh out a little bit. Although to be fair, he first made my mom mad, which I think resulted in Josh being scared. We were stopped looking at (and feeding) the camels, when we started to drive off slowly. Well, one camel wasn’t happy with that. Instead of peacefully letting us go, he started running with us and kicking my parents’ van. Mom starting yelling at urging dad to drive off faster, which is probably what made Josh scared about what was going on.

    After we drove a few hundred yards, the camel started coming back. I made the mistake of mentioning that fact to dad loud enough where Josh could hear. From then on, Josh kept thinking that the “mean camel” was coming back, or at least that it could come back at any time. After a highly technical explanation of how the cattle guard worked, he seemed somewhat reassured.

    I’ve also been crazy busy with T&S work lately. Although I’ve outsourced some work in the past, I’m trying to modify my practices and find more people to subcontract to when it gets really busy. Currently, I have no fewer than three different people doing some kind of work for me, and by the end of next week I’ll have two more.

    Hopefully I’ll have more pictures soon. While Leann and I would slap unedited pictures on the web, my dad is more of a perfectionist about it than that, so he still has some editing to do. We’ll be sure to add the highlights of all this once we get some pictures back from him.

    Apr 15

    Well, sort of. He’s making a lot of noise, anyway.

    Apr 04

    I received 2 letters in the past week, one from our HOA to move our trash cans inside our garage or “wall” them in so they can’t be seen from the street. Yes, they are correct, my trash cans, according to the HOA, should not been seen from the street. SORRY! I will correct that after this weekend when our garage sale should help us remove our old furniture from inside our garage. If it doesn’t sell, it’s free….oh wait, I can’t leave in on my driveway because my HOA will go insane.

    The second letter, which by the way, was illegally put in my mailbox, was from a friendly neighbor who apparently believes that we do not take care of our property. Last week, you know with all the rain, I was unable to get out to mow our lawn, but that is no excuse for our friendly neighbor who is very upset that I didn’t get out during the tornado to mow and not make the “value of his house go down”. I also didn’t “pay good money for our home, and don’t want to be the the reason that property values go down”. I challenge you do drive by and look at my house and pick it from the block as being “trashy”. I guess our home sticks out like a sore thumb as being an eye sore.

    BTW, we did mow yesterday before the letter was put in my box, but he had already printed up the not mowing part, so he decided to leave it in…….so therefore, he looks really dumb.

    Let us know if you have received any nasty notes from your neighbors……I bet they will report you to the City of Edmond really fast if you don’t clean up your act like me……..

    MUAHHHHHHHHHA!! (evil laugh)