But that's what happens when it snows/sleets/freezing rains/rains in the area. Pretty much the worst was from the 395 on ramp to the beltway. Once I got outside of that it wasn't too bad. But there were definitely some nervous spots.

Home for a snow day! )

Anyways, don't forget to visit Xandrapolis today. Hopefully you won't see the kind of crime you find in the Rogue Isles.
So, after discovering the oven wouldn't light this evening, I called the GE maintenance desk and discovered they weren't willing to troubleshoot you through a problem and instead would only schedule an appointment. Yeesh.. So we microwaved our dinner (the penguin joined us again), not the end of the world. But now I need to figure out what to do about our non-lighting oven.

Aftewards, my wife and son took a walk to discover that the co-worker she bought a train table from lives about five houses down the street from us. Small world. Meanwhile, I started cleaning out my car, which had accumulated the usual detritus that I amass: Used tissues; old City Papers; a book; hooks from the dry cleaners for carrying the large number of clothes we pick up because we only drop laundry off once a month or so; some feeback forms from my son's daycare; a doctor's office receipt or two; my work pass card (why I was digging through the car in the first place); and my missing registration sticker.


Later, after Matt watched Scooby-Doo (I'll get to that in a bit), we washed the dog and then had a lot of fun racing around upstairs hiding from the (imaginary) monster.

After Matt went to bed, I joined my regular Wednesday night City of Heroes game and we were very successful there, acquiring eight badges and finishing a couple of very challenging missions. Fun all around.

Anyways, please don't forget to visit Xandrapolis today. Every day you visit is another happy citizen.
So [livejournal.com profile] iridum_wolf said "Hey let's play City of Heroes on Wednesday night and we'll start with brand new characters and stuff.

The Fun Part )

Not So Fun )
My wife's father and I have come back home to try and work on the air conditioner.

Except when we go in and restart it, it works properly.

The worst thing to have is an air conditioner that works some of the time.

Oh well... better look at that service contract.
So, very mysteriously, our upstairs (we have dual-zone) air conditioning has failed.

Well, more accurately, the air conditioner outside is running, the upstairs unit (in the attic) is cooling, but it's not blowing any air out to the rest of the house.

We were planning on going to my wife's parents tomorrow to celebrate her birthday. Instead we're fleeing today.
Not wasting time. The materials haven't shown up yet, but someone's come to dig post holes in our yard.
The deck approval from the HOA came yesterday. The builder called us and said they were having the materials delivered tomorrow!
Well we got the front seeded, fertilized, and watered. We got a portion of the back done as well.

I am highly skeptical of this actually working. But it's worth a shot.

My wife, perhaps not realizing how personally bothered I am by the yard's condition, described the front as mangy.

She's not wrong, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.
So I'm out in the yard doing work, trying to get some of the thatch out of the grass before I try and overseed. Other than mowing the lawn and digging some holes for bulbs last year, it's been ages since I've done that much manual labor.

I swear, within the first 30 minutes my thumb develops and then bursts a blister.

I'm such a wuss...
So we're adding a deck to the back of the house. We signed the contract this evening. It'll be roughly 14X25 with stairs down to the ground. I think it'll be pretty nice.
But when you're wiring the garage, don't you think it might be a good idea to not wire the outlets for the door openers on the same circuit as the switch activated overhead light?
Howard County Edition: Page 5

Howard County Council Member Charles Feaga, R-District 5, is asking the County Council to withdraw legislation he introduced that would create a secondary cable franchise classification for companies, allowing developers to provide customized cable to new communities. The bill, which was intended to create a competitive marketplace, came under fire at a recent public hearing. Residents from Taylor Village in Ellicott City said this bill would force residents to purchase cable from certain companies

Well if there was any doubt whose side (blech)The Examiner was on, it's right there in black and uh... gray. They've been rightward leaning their entire time and their defense of Feaga's bill, even as it slinks off to regroup, is just another sign of the crap that paper puts out. Feaga and Taylor, the developer, are close friends and Feaga knew exactly what the bill was doing.

The war's not over, but it's another battle to the good guys.

Update: This afternoon's Legislative Work Session of the Council has been cancelled. Not sure what that means for the long run. The voting session is next week.
Councilman Ulman came to our community last night to discuss possible compromises on the Ellicott City Cable issue. We're not in his district; we're in Merdon's. Merdon and Ulman are the two councilmen competing for the County Executive, so it's a little odd. I'm not sure whether he knows someone in the development, was politically poaching, or has a genuine interest. But he didn't bring up his campaign at all during the meeting and I think, in the end, it was productive.

His basic proposal was this: "You're right in that you've got a problem here. We can do one of two things, reject the bill entirely, or pass it in a way that's to your benefit. The risk you take with the first one is that there's going to be an entirely new council next year and you don't know what you'll get."

His thinking makes sense. And I think, with our help, a good bill may come out of this. That's a good thing. Right now I don't know how Ellicott City Cable will be able to compete, but I anticipate Taylor will not be happy with the outcome as proposed. Right now the plan is to table the bill for amendments, Ulman says he has enough votes to make that happen, and then move on it next month.

I don't know why Merdon hasn't been more involved in the issue, but Ulman just got my wife's and my vote.
So we've been out digging in the yard again yesterday and this morning. We've got most of the bulbs planted now and even have some of the mulch down. We never buy enough, I don't know how, but we never do.

Anyways, my wife went inside to get a shower and asked me if I could keep an eye on both Matt and the dog while spreading mulch. I said, "sure," of course.

(My friends are all thinking, foolish mortal, right now.)

Matt was watering the beds and I didn't realize that my wife had left the car keys outside on the porch. He decided those needed watering too.

So now the car remote is broken, and constantly unlocking and locking the car doors.

So I had a talk yesterday with a neighbor, and it turns out my car hasn't been the only one broken into, and it hasn't happened just this past week.

Seems to put a nail into the developer-as-suspect coffin. Not that I thought it was really him anyway.

I spent today at home recovering from my illness, and was letting the dog out before heading over to daycare to pick up Matt.

We wander over to the neighbor's, and in the next neighbor's yard I see my briefcase.

Phone's still gone, but the more valuable thing, they ignored.

Huzzah for stupid criminals.
So I took a couple actions on it yesterday, other than posting my plight to a couple of LJ communities centered in Maryland.

Today I called the Department of Consumer Affairs to thank them for sending a representative to the Council Meeting on Monday. The person I spoke with was not the rep at the meeting, but the one I've been working with over the past few months. She said that it's now not likely to pass, at least not intact and certainly not to the wishes of the Developer. Though we should remain vigilant on the matter

Council working session: late September
Vote: October 3rd.

I'll be there for both.
So I've been fighting off a cold for about a week now. It hasn't been helped by things like the late night I had on Monday. I haven't, as a result of the cold, been thinking too clearly, especially when tired.

My car got broken into last night. They stole my briefcase. The briefcase had a CD wallet and my cellphone in it. It didn't get broken into in Baltimore when I was at [livejournal.com profile] metromancer's birthday party. It got broken into at my house.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, they were either clever enough to not need to break into the car, or I left it unlocked. I'm not sure, like I said, not been feeling well.

Anyways, don't call my cell phone, I won't answer.

As a parenthetical, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the developer did it. :)
Last year we moved into our new home. We've been very happy, overally, with the property and are thrilled to have our own single family home, even if we're paying a ridiculous amount of money for it. This past spring however, our developer came to our Home Owner's Association meeting and informed us that they had signed a contract with a cable company to provide exclusive service to our community and we would have to pay $65.00 a month for the next five years...

...whether we used the company or not.

Now the developer, since our community is still under development, owns an 80% share in the HOA, so anything they want to do, they can. But we began fighting it immediately. When we asked what justfication they had for it, they said it was in the HOA documents. We asked where. They gave us a section in the easements section where it says they can lay lines on the property. (but nothing about charging us $65.00 a month). We asked to see the contract, and they said it hadn't been signed yet.

You might want to go reread the first paragraph if you don't know why I underlined that portion.

It took referring the matter to the Consumer Affairs office to even get a look at the contract. It turns out the contract is for ten years, and they said, there's nothing to prove the contract wasn't signed the day before they got it. And you know what else, it turns out that the cable company is owned by the developer. That's right, he's using his power to force us into an arrangement to benefit himself.

Tonight the County Council, courtesy Councilman Charles Feaga, took up a resolution that would grant this faux cable company the power to do exactly what it wants in this situation. The bill is CB69-2006. So, as a dedicated county resident, I came and spoke against it, along with many of my neighbors.

It was a nerve wracking and tiring experience. I'm not the best as a public speaker, especially when forced to sit down. I think and speak better on my feet. But I got up and I spoke, and despite the fact the developer will likely try and find any way he can to get a lien on my, and my neighbors who also spoke out's properties, I am proud of what I did.

They did not vote on this last night; that happens on October 3rd. So, I ask you, if you're a Howard County resident, to contact your council member and strongly encourage them to vote against CB69-2006.

And if Councilmen Merdon or Ulman, who are up for the Executive office in November do vote for it, I want you to remind them you will remember when elections come around.
So we went to the Home Despot today and bought a bunch of things for the yard. This is the first time we've really done some digging in the yard. So it came as quite a surprise to discover that below our scant inch of topsoil is sand.

A lot of sand, and rocks.

Back in the old house we lived in, we had those centrally located community mailboxes with key access. You know the ones that were in a block of around sixteen and had no aesthetic appeal whatsoever?

It was pretty much impossible to put mail-to-go in those boxes and actually have it picked up. So that meant having to remember to take the mail to some other post office box and, hopefully, have the stamp to send it as well. Since most of my outgoing mail was always bills, this meant running the risk of having a payment run late if I didn't have my act together.

Now I live in a community where I have my own mailbox. I can put the little red flag up and everything.

Except now I pay the vast majority of my bills online and barely use the mailbox at all.



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