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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cross ventilation fix

Some of you may recall the entry on the main page Aug/2013 about the flying squirrel in the attic incident.

At that point I chose the simpliest option to prevent more invaders and insects by just closing the east window vent up there.  (The west vent was still good - no trees nearby to temp critters to go exploring.)

Well, that didn't work out very well.  Without cross ventilation upstairs, it got very moist and I noticed discoloration on the paper backing on the insultion up there.

So I had to actually fix the darn thing.  *sigh*  Hey - a project that was just begging for me to use my headlamp!  :-D

I tried to buy metal screening like was originally in there, but no luck so settled for fiberglass.  Initially I'd thought metal would be sturdier, but then - there was a large hole chewed through so hey - fiberglass it is!

First thing I did was remove the window - no biggy, just unscrew the bottom hinges.

Then I gingerly pried out the cedar strips holding the screen in place.

I used the old screen as a pattern to cut the new one.

Metal screen would have held a shape as I put it in, but the soft fiberglass took a bit of doing.  I tried not to poke or tear it.

Eventually it was tucked in and I tapped in the holding strips.  I re-attached the window and - tada!

A nice breeze from west to east up there.  Should take care of the moisture problem up there and from now on I'll keep a closer eye on the screen integrity.

I think this will really go a long way to keeping insects out of the upstairs.

It was in 2010 when I used my rainbow vacuum to suck in and drown a nest of yellow jackets from a void in that side of the attic.  Someday I'll post more of those pics - here's a sample for now:

Later that year in winter I found the hole up there from the inside, cleaned out the nest (not just the new, but a couple of OLD ones!), and filled the void with urethane foam.

Always something fun around here, no?  Else why not just live in an apartment. LOL

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mayday! Mayday!

Finally. It was May!  We are out of that loooong April and things are looking up.  I was up early as usual that 1st day of May, filled a mug with water and put it in the microwave, set the time for 3 minutes and looked forward to that first cup of hot tea.

23 seconds later my culinary world collapsed.  The microwave shut itself off - without even a terminal 'ding'.  It just shut off.  I tried other time settings.  23 seconds later it shut off.  Without any 'heat' action.  Wha???

Everything else worked: digital display, fan, internal light, timer.  But the zap, as they say, had (after only 14 years) lost it's zip.

I thought it might be a fuse, but since everything else was working, I feared the worst - magnotron and/or inverter.  Maybe I can fix it.... *smirk*  Let's get some tools. (pic 1)

It was nearly impossible to open up the chasis since Panasonic insisted on using non-standard screws, but after some time I modified a small flathead screwdrive to get the screws started and used a plier once they got going.

Hmmmm. (pic 2)

The fuse looked okay. (pic 3)

A lot of youtube vid repairs found that door latch switches could cause similar problems. (pic 4)

So I removed them as well as the door latch mechanism. (pic 5)

Everything seemed to work (ie: the switch buttons all worked freely and the latch system was unbroken.

I took the fuse and switches and latch to an appliance repair place I've bought from over the years.

Right off the bat they told me that do not deal in Panasonic parts, but they did check both the fuse and the switches.  They were all fine.  They suggested another place that fixes microwaves, so I went there.

Unfortunately he told me that all the symptoms indicated that (like I surmised) the magnatron/inverter system was done.  He could replace them (and other switches) for $200.  We both shook our heads.  No joy here.

Otherwise it's been a pain in the butt feeding myself right now.  I have to stand and watch something on the stove, keep stirring, plan ahead to defrost something.  I can no longer multi-task while preparing a meal and IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY!!!!!!
Thankfully the weather is warmer and I'm eating more cold meals anyway.  As for the dead unit (fully reassembled with cord removed) - it's joined other dead/upgraded electronics accumulating in the breezeway slated for a trip to the recycling center.  Thank goodness the county has provided us with a place to take these items so they don't end up in a landfill.

He recommend Sharp as a replacement - they don't use the inverter technology, just a magnatron to do the job (which is why they tend to be a heavier unit).  I'll keep that advice in mind when I go shopping. Realistically, though, the world has come 15 years since I bought this one and instead of 15 years worth of improvements and quality to look forward to, I'm already assuming that anything I buy now will be cheaply made, have less quality assurance and comes from China.  I'm expecting crap, no matter the brand.  *sigh* (This is why I try to repair older, better quality stuff!)

But, as you can see, your's truly can't fix everything!  LOL  But she does give it a try. :-D

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Canning jars and dry sink

Over the years I've used the dry sink in the breezeway to stage most anything on top (like garden harvest).  Basically it turns into a catch-all.

Below inside, I stashed canning supplies back when I was going to be the next canning queen.  Alas, with a glass smooth-top stove, it's not recommended to use the darn thing for water bath.  Crap.

I played with canning, though, back in 2008/2009 when I jarred up some crabapple jelly (8 cups), applesauce (6 pints), and some tomatoes (8 pints).  I water bathed them, cooled them down, labeled them and stored them in a small bookcase in the basement.

Then I ignored them.  I love the idea of canning, but am crazy afraid my food would make someone sick, including me.  *sheesh*

Anyway, as part of the big purge, that jarred food had to go.  I'm not one to just toss stuff in trash.  Nope.  I opened each jar, strained off all the solids into a bucket (for compost), rinsed all the jars and set them aside for further wash.  Gotta tell ya, every one of them were still totally sealed and, when opened, the contents smelled as fresh as the day I put them in.  (Note to self -- stupid head!  Eat the stuff next time!!)

With the bookcase empty now, I rounded up all the wide-mouth canning jars from the dry sink and other 'stashes' around the house and put them in the bookcase along with lids, rings, etc. (I made up a box of small mouth canning jars I wouldn't use - maybe Goodwill will take them.)

There.  The dry sink is empty and ready to be given away.  (Until it's gone, I'm using the top as a place to stage old, upgraded tech stuff for recycling.)

My plan is to put some kind of cabinet in it's place to hold ALL my tools (power and not).  I'm so tired of looking in the basement, in the garage, in the front bedroom and in the breezeway for an item.  Hopefully I'll find something just right for the job.  Can't be something that looks like you would find in a machine shop or auto shop.  Hopefully something pleasing to the eye and still do the job.

There ya go.  More progress.  More and more as I get into the swing of things, a lot of stuff is in jeopardy as I cast a critical eye its way.  Woohaha.

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