The Zero Years

Leading up to my 50th birthday today I have been reflecting on the past five decades and what has transpired in my life. Not since I first added a zero (and a digit!) to my age at 10 have I spent so much time focused on my age. It’s just a number, right? Continue reading ‘The Zero Years’ »

Achievement Unlocked: Personal Fitness

Today marks the 365th consecutive day I have been improving my fitness. I am proud to say I’ve lost over 30 pounds. I weigh (much) less than when I graduated from college. I weigh less than when I got married (only a little). In fact, I cannot remember when I last weighed what I weigh today.

I am in the best shape of my life, ever. Continue reading ‘Achievement Unlocked: Personal Fitness’ »

Say What You Will About Verizon…

I think they get a bad rap.

Sure, when you call them on the phone, their automated menus are infuriating, and when you do get to a human, you’ll be lucky if that’s the last person you’ll need to speak to about your issue.

However, at least in my recent experience, their on-site technicians are five-star, top-notch professionals.

Today we had FIOS Business Internet installed at the house. (The 20Mbps down/5Mbps up package with a static IP address.) The installation could not have gone more smoothly nor have been more pleasant. (That being said, I will report that I was prepared to grease the tech’s palm to make him do what I wanted. But I didn’t have to.)

When he arrived (at the time he said he would when he called about 30 minutes prior) he introduced himself and was nice enough. He let me tell him my “vision” of what I wanted him to do including pulling the fiber into my basement and mounting his equipment where I had already mounted a piece of plywood in my furnace area. He was happy to do it like I laid out. (It probably helped that I had an electrician there at the same time installing the necessary electrical, and he offered to help snake the cable.)

The tech spent about 45 minutes outside running the fiber from the street to my house, then down the side, into a hole he drilled (and later filled on both sides with heavy-duty exterior caulk), and into the basement. The inside work took about 30 or 45 minutes, and the final initialization of the FIOS gear took about 15 minutes. (I think two attempts were necessary, because on the second attempt it actually did what it was supposed to do: download a bunch of stuff and restart itself, which it did neatly.)

Five minutes of reconfiguring my router, and my internal DNS server, and I was up and running. I did not take the Verizon-provided router, and I did the software reconfiguration myself.

All in all, a great experience from the time I placed the order with a knowledgable sales person, through today’s installation.

Great job Verizon!

A Great Loss Happened Here

Shock is the only word to describe it. We learned last night of the tragic and unexpected death of a wonderful man, Dr. George Marcus, z”l. He was literally a pillar of the Jewish community in MetroWest, and all over Eastern Massachusetts from the South to North shores, and indeed Greater New England. He will be sorely missed, as he was such an integral part of so many things for so many people and organizations.

I only knew George for about 5 years, since the time I and my family joined Temple Beth Sholom. But from the day we met he was nothing but warm, friendly, gregarious, and funny. And learned. He was a Jewish scholar in his own right, often relied upon by professional clergy and lay people alike for information or interpreation of Jewish law, Jewish custom, and even Jewish humor. George loved a good joke, and would often — nee, always! — have a joke to tell you. And always with that wonderful smile on his face.

George touched countless lives through his work training Bar and Bat Mitzvah students, his deep involvement with and love for Jewish camping and the Cohen camps, and his deep love of Judaism and teaching. We are all poorer now, left only with the great void he leaves behind. This loss will not soon be healed.

May his life and his memory be a blessing and an inspiration to us all.

Plumb Satisfied

There is nothing more satisfying than not having to call a plumber. Doubly so when you have completed a task yourself for which most mortals would call a plumber. It is a feeling of joy from both having completed a home repair task and saved $75 bucks for a house call!

Case in point: Our upstairs sink faucet’s hot water valve had been leaking for months. Maybe even more than year. In addition, the rod that controls the sink stopper had rusted away. While having the water heater replaced recently (for which I did call a plumber!), I had the plumber look at the sink. He didn’t have the parts (the valve or the rod) and couldn’t identify the brand of sink. I watched carefully as he disassembled the various components, though…

He didn’t look hard enough for the brand info, it turns out. I discovered the sink brand on the front of the faucet aerator and located the manufacturer’s website. A phone call later I had the form to fill out by e-mail, and within 10 minutes the form and a check for $9.95 to cover shipping was in the mail. (Turns out the valves were still under a 10 year warranty, and they threw in the rod for nuthin’.)

The parts arrived today. In about 10 minutes I had the the sink stopper control rod and the hot water valve replaced. No muss, no fuss, and no mishaps. And virtually free.

Now that is satisfying!

Caulk ’til You Drop

There are certain home maintenance jobs I do not particularly enjoy. Re-caulking the bathtub is one of them. I especially dislike this job when I have to do it twice in a 2 week period!

I had the perfect scenario a few weeks ago: The family was away, and I would be joining them for a few days, leaving the house empty, and more importantly the tub and shower unused, for several days. A perfect chance to recaulk the tub and have it perfectly cured when we all returned. Or so I thought.

I went to Lowes (because it’s closer than Home Depot) to buy a new tube of caulk. My preferred brand and variety, a GE Silicone with an anti-mold additive, was not to be seen. I bought something else which seemed like a perfectly reasonably substitute.

In about an hour’s time I had removed the old caulk and had applied the new caulk. It looked wonderful. Bright, clean, and more importantly, done for a good, long time.

Sadly, and much to my chagrin, when I returned from the weekend away, I was greeted with my worst caulk nightmare: shrinkage! I knew that a re-do was in the offing, but when to do it…?

As luck, circumstances, and vacation planning would have it, another opportunity presented itself last week to re-caulk the tub. The family was away again, but this time I wasn’t going anywhere to meet them. This meant that I had to find a time where I could do the job early enough after I had used the tub and before I’d use it again the next day to allow the new caulk to properly cure.

I made a mental plan that I would attack this problem last Wednesday. This time I went to Home Depot and acquired a new tube of the right product, GE’s Silicone Tub caulk with the anti-mold additive.

On Wednesday I awoke at 0530, showered, and dressed. By 0600 I was removing the defective caulk, and by 0700 I had once again re-caulked the tub.

It looked wonderful. Bright, clean, and more importantly, really, really, done for a good, long time.

By 0700 the next day, the caulk was properly cured, and this time, without shrinkage!

Who Cares?

Or more specifically, who cares what I have to say?

I’ve had this blog up for months, more because I knew how to set one up on the Linux system I have in my basement than because I thought I had anything to say that  anyone would want to read.

But having the blog available means that occasionally I run across some topic on which I have an opinion and think to myself, “That’s a great blog article!” But then I think, “Do I really want to put that out there for the world to see? Who cares, really?”

I recently helped a friend setup a blog with his hosting provider. He wanted to start writing about Marketing stuff. After several weeks, he has yet to post his first article. What is stopping him? Not enough time? Not enough ideas? Both? Something else? Or has he asked himself: “Who cares what I have to say?”

It sounds pitiful, really. I mean, I know there are people in my life who care about what I have to say or what is going on in my life. But really, I don’t think of myself as someone whom everyone needs to hear from on any regular basis.

Sure, I suppose I could come up with stuff to write about if I dedicated my blog to some specific interest of mine. I’m not like that though.

Again, who cares?

Test, test… sibilance, sibilance…

The ubiquitous first post.