Category Archives: A Day In The Life…

Family Motto

In Game of Thrones each family has a motto. The two most well known are House Stark with: “Winter is coming” and House Lannister “A Lannister always pays his debts*”

There are more that are less known:

House Baratheon: “Ours is the Fury”
House Tyrell: “Growing Strong”
House Greyjoy: “We do not sow”
House Targaryen: “Fire and Blood”
House Bolton: “Our Blades are Sharp”

I decided to come up with a family motto for us DiDonatos. The verdict:

A DiDonato reads the instructions.

Since the motto’s inception I’ve taken it to heart and made sure to read the instructions prior to getting started on new purchases, assemblies, etc. And I have to admit, it’s been a very rewarding experience. I have learned a bunch of new things and all those toy assemblies for J.Atlas have gone exceedingly smoothly. I’m really proud of the motto. I stand by it.

If you’re feeling motivated, come up with one of your own! Feel free to post in the comments. Though due to my poor posting history in recent months I’m not sure anyone reads this website much anymore, so there’s that. Anyway, if you happen to see this post, I welcome your participation!

*Apparently the official House Lannister phrase is “Hear me Roar!” though the unofficial debt one is certainly used more often in the show. I haven’t read the books, so I don’t know if they make a stronger appearance there.

HEY!

Hi!

It’s been awhile. I took the month of February off from technology as I try to do yearly. This year was different than years past because my use of technology has fundamentally changed. It’s hard to see how integrated we are with tech and screens until we try to stop using them. The general rules of previous years have been:

  1. No technology
  2. Unless it aids in socialization (FaceTime for example)
  3. Unless it’s needed for work – obviously
  4. Unless it dramatically increases efficiency (using my recipe index on my phone instead of trying to hunt down the originals in cookbooks)

This year I had to change the rules because my life is more wired. Examples:

  1. I’m reading a book on my kindle paper right now. I could go get the book from the library but occasionally I suffer from swells of insomnia and if I can read at night instead of using my phone – that’s aligned with the goals of the experiment.
  2. All GlowForge designs are implemented via a cloud service. Using the GlowForge is an exploration of craftiness, and the original goal of no-technology-February was to prevent wasted time, not to limit crafts.
  3. We have Alexa. That’s technology, but it doesn’t require a screen. Hmm. We’ll let it slide.
  4. Podcasts: this one I decided to go without. I have access to some educational CDs so I used those instead. It’s less information because I can’t listen to them at 1.5x or 2x speed, but that’s kind of to the point of the whole exercise? Chill with technology overflow? So maybe it’s good.

The biggest changes for the month were no reddit and no words with friends. I’m going to try to continue with limiting my reddit exposure. That’s probably the greatest sinkhole in my life of productivity. Better to limit that one as much as we can.

February was a success! I finished 1.75 books, and printed more GlowForge crafts than I had cumulatively in the previous months of ownership.

I hope everyone else has been doing well! Let me know if anything crazy is going on in your lives!

 

Breville’s Cafe Roma Espresso Machine

Ten years ago, Darcy convinced me to buy a Breville Cafe Roma Espresso Machine on a one day Woot.com sale for $94.

That little machine has been a work horse and stands as my single highest use appliance to date. It has made two cups of coffee almost every single day for ten years. Add in the occasional morning of 4-6 cups when guests are in town and we’re talking 7,500 shots of espresso.

Keep it up little buddy. I appreciate you.

Busy

I have a lot to share. It’s like a lake of words has collected behind a dam of time deficiency. Between high demands on the work front, chores circling J.Atlas and his daycare debut, and my unquenchable pursuit for self improvement, each day turns into a game of optimization. Most days I lose this game. As this blog admittedly lies low on the scale of criticality, it’s been often abandoned resulting in waves of guilt surrounding the neglect.

Things I’m happy about:

J.Atlas is the best. This week he learned how to say “water.” Although with his undefined ‘t’ it’s more like waawaa.

I got two new board games this week: Magic Maze, and Love Letter. Both are uniquely fun. Try ’em out.

I am podcasting like a champion: 2x speed to and from work. It’s exposing me to so much INFORMATION. I love it.

Meditation. Yeah, I’m trying it. So far it’s going poorly.

Reading: Is there a book that fundamentally changed the way you look at the world?
Give me your recommendations! I need to formalize my list.

 

 

Ford Service

I really enjoy my Ford Fusion. And, until recently, it’s been problem free. This changed a few weeks ago when I noticed something funky happening with my transmission. I brought it to a local dealer, Hammonasset Ford, for an investigation.

The bad news? I needed a new $4,000+ transmission.
The good news? It was covered under my extended warranty. Woo!

The repair work took about 10 days which included some time waiting for insurance assessment etc. In the interim, I was given a rental car. Like any warranty claim the interactions were stressful at times, but overall I would describe the experience as smooth. I got the car back about a week ago and all’s sunny.

Yesterday morning Sander pointed out the really bad news:

WITHOUT MY PERMISSION THE DEALERSHIP PUT ONE OF THOSE STUPID LICENSE PLATE ADVERTISEMENTS ON MY CAR.
NOT COOL HAMMONASSET FORD!

I am passionately against those stupid license plate advertisements.
Unless under extreme duress, I assure you I will never return to Hammonasset Ford.

Not cool Hammonasset Ford. Not cool.

The Red Headed Woodpecker

When it comes to bird watching, Jen and I clock in somewhere around Vireo. We know what a vireo is, but I wouldn’t be able to pick one out of a lineup of lookalikes. BUT, when we see a new bird we are quick to jump up, take pictures, and look up the details in our Peterson guide (thank you Tom & Mykal).

So it was a few weeks back when Jen, in a startle, pointed to the window and exclaimed “WHAT IS THAT!?”

That, it turns out, is a Red Headed Woodpecker. What made this an extra exciting find is that the Peterson Guide didn’t even reference is as local to Connecticut. AND, where it was local, it was listed as uncommon!

Was this a truly once in a lifetime sighting?!?! Well, no. The bird came back twice over the next few days. BUT! when we notified our local Audubon society, they got Giddy. We sent them our pictures and they promptly posted them on their Facebook page.

Further, they sent our address (with our permission) out to a few of their birding colleagues who voiced an interest in coming to our street to see if they could also find the bird.

I think it’s marvelous that we can be surrounded by unique gems of nature, but be completely oblivious to them. If this bird had visited us a few years ago, we might not have noticed at all. And if we had, it might have been not much more than a momentary curiosity.

I’m glad we were able to celebrate its uniqueness. Thanks for visiting us, Red Headed Woodpecker!

Hand Update

Warning: pictures and recounts of mildly gnarly wounds to follow

ANNOUNCEMENT

Remember when my hand got caught in a roller and my fingers got smooshed? Yesterday, the pinky fingernail finally fell off! Hurrah! This is exciting because until now there was a constant risk of it getting snagged on something and causing a frustrating zip of pain or a tearing of the nail bed. Now instead of risk of injury, it just looks really weird-sauce.

The ring finger is mostly healed. There’s a mega lump on the top and side of the front knuckle that is slowly going away, but otherwise it’s okay. And despite much concern, my guitar playing is mostly unaffected.

Fun fact: did you know the end of your fingers are officially referred to as the Distal interphalangeal joints?

Extra fun fact: In traditional scrabble, at 15 letters long “Interphalangeal” would span the full length of the board. That means it could potentially hit THREE triple word scores. The E and G would fall on double letters. You’d obviously have to build it off of conveniently placed other letters since your tile rack is only 7 letters deep, but the potential score is 648 points.

 

Ford Fusion

Recently I hit 100,000 miles on my 2012 Ford Fusion. Always an exciting event, these mileage milestones demand close observation in those last few miles. Jen and I were glued to the odometer as the tenths ticked by:

99,999.7
99,999.8
99,999.9
100,000

WOOOO!! EXCITING! Wait… what?

The tenths position disappeared. Ford chose to limit the digital display to six characters instead of allowing for seven. This is mildly annoying. I used the tenths place all the time. “Take exit 42 in 6.5 miles” Dang it.  Sander pointed out that I could still use the trip gauges, but I reset these at gasoline fill-ups and oil changes to monitor the car’s performance.

Ford sold about 250,000 Ford Fusions in 2012. If we guess that the extra character would have cost Ford 5 cents more per display (maybe this is high) then in 2012 alone, their decision to use one less odometer character saved them $12,000. BUT, that’s only one year. I bet they used the same display in proximal years and similar models. This four second decision by some random engineering manager in Detroit could have saved Ford $100k.

I think I would have made the same decision.

Good call, Ford.