technology

Truck update!

Within seconds of Mark and his lovely assistant (who just happens to be our daughter!) peeking under the accelerator pedal in the truck,  the dilemma of the secret code “reduced engine power” became obvious!  There were broken wires! Mark had explained to me that there are actually a pair of these devices and when one malfunctions, the error code pops up in the dash. Redundancy. Mark always talks about it and it is used a good deal with mechanical gizmos and gadgetry.

So, the good news is that the truck is now parked in the driveway, awaiting a new part that Mark has ordered to replace the broken part. Thankfully, this one looks like a relatively easy fix compared to others!

In other news, it is snowing! We have been snowless for so many days, it seems almost strange to see white clinging to everything once again!  Oh, and I so am not complaining!!!

Let’s see….

 

Not very much has happened since my last post.  The day I wrote that, Mark received an email from a senator advising constituents to stay at home as the weather was so bitterly cold.  There were all kinds of warnings and advisories on weather sites. It really was very cold and truth be told, people and animals cold easily lose their lives in such weather.  Mark and I did a sanity check and headed out the door that evening.  Seeing our friends was of great value and seeing as our car is relatively new and running great, there seemed to be little danger.  We had a wonderful time!

Since then, we had a very strange incident in our not so new pickup truck!  We went to Canandaigua last week and after parking the truck at one of our stops, when Mark restarted it, a message came up on the dash stating “Reduced engine power”.  That was new to us!  We had some more errands, so Mark left the parking lot only to discover that our usually spunky truck wasn’t!  He pressed down on the accelerator and the truck acted sluggish.  We could drive around Canandaigua fairly easily as there are few steep roads and the truck seemed to do well as long as it could glide along.

When we finally completed our list of tasks, Mark thought a bit to try to discover the road with the least incline to go home. We settled on a route and found ourselves traveling well, cruising at some points, to 50 miles per hour.  Mark had chosen route 64 to head home and as we turned off route 5 &20, we saw a definite incline! The truck slowed down….and slowed down some more….until we were peaking out at about 20 miles per hour.  Mark had the flashers on and people zipped past us as the truck seemingly struggled up the road. Once we reached the top of the incline. we once again glided down with ease. And some speed!

We found ourselves feeling rather like sitting ducks just a couple of times more, then the big test was ahead of us. Yes, we had successfully reached the bottom of “our” road. As Mark briskly turned onto the road,  we could feel the truck slowing down.  We began at about 10 miles per hour and as the road increased in steepness, the truck slowed down further and further.  I sat, praying, asking that the angels push that truck up the rest of the way. By the time we (thankfully) reached the driveway, the truck was topping out at about 2 miles per hour.  The now overworked vehicle seemed to sprint up the driveway  (at 10 miles per hour) and I nearly jumped from it! How thankful we were to have reached home!

Mark did some research on the problem and discovered this is General Motors’ method of reducing risk of loss and injury when there is a problem with throttle control.  Mark bought a device that reads codes via a computer on the truck and displays them on his cell phone. He determined through this technology that there is a problem with wiring or connectors located near the gas pedal. I always giggle at Mark’s Mechanical Engineering skills….skills that keep him from tossing out broken things and skills that cause him to look into problem solving when most of us would throw our hands up and walk away!  I am so thankful for him and his skills! He is going to look at the truck today and see if he can discover the problem.

Since my last post, we have been down to our friends’ house once again for Mark to play music with his friends.  We had another lovely evening and the weather was so very much kinder than the previous week!  We currently still have no snow and had days above freezing. It would seem the weather pendulum is really swinging wildly out of control this winter!

Yesterday, Mark and I went out and I ran into WalMart.  I was picking up a few things and I saw a Mennonite mom and her young daughter, maybe seven or eight, shopping. They were coming out of an aisle as I was walking perpendicularly in another aisle.  The mother made a turn toward me, and the daughter turned the opposite way, now walking beside a woman in a long coat. The girl’s eyes were looking down and she continued to walk alongside the woman for awhile.  The Mennonite woman gently called “Twila!” when she discovered her daughter was going the wrong way.  I watched and when the girl didn’t respond,  she quietly called out again, “Twila!”. Suddenly the girl turned and looked, surprised she was no longer with her mom. She quickly walked back to her mother and the mother and I both giggled!  It was so cute.

As we left the store to go back home, I took a quick snap of the sunset. That is the photo at the top of this entry. For one reason or another, Word Press isn’t allowing me to arrange photos the way I want! Grr!!!

 

Motorcycle Bling!

The other day, Mark and I went out for a little while.  We called the kids before we came home and found they wanted Tom Wahl’s burgers for dinner. We called in the order and went to pick it up.

While we were in the parking lot, a few people pulled up on their Harley Davidson motorcycles.  I went inside and the cyclists came in shortly thereafter.  I picked up our order and went out to the car.  As I got in, Mark told me to sit back in the seat.  He had his camera in his hand….I looked over and caught sight of the neatest thing!

I goofed up centering these pictures….I had rested my arm against the car, but it was running, so the first photos I took were blurry…I was trying to hurry so I just snapped a few photos.  There were actually a couple more color lights!  It was so cool the way they kept changing!  Hmmmm……I wonder if such lights are available for Subaru Outbacks?  Just think….one would never have to worry about losing his or her car in the parking lot!

The Joys of Ownership!

hahaha….

Yeah. The new camera really is cool. It is tiny compared to my big D-SLR, and takes great photos.  Especially if one knows how to burrow down through the many, many layers of  adjustments!  Not being very intuitive  concerning things like computers and electronics, I find myself aimlessly pushing buttons and hoping for the best!  Mark, on the other hand, is very logical and can figure his way through a new *toy* quickly. Bah!

So, last night, while we were out and about, I saw a pretty church in Geneva and asked Mark to stop for a moment.  I hopped out of the truck and took a photo.  I looked at it right after taking it, and to my dismay,  I had changed the picture from “standard” to “monotone”.  Oh joy.

Definitely an “oops”!  BUT,  I was determined to figure out how to get the color back,  AND, I refused to humble myself to the point of asking Mark if he could help!  I got back in the truck and fumbled, er….”worked” my way through the menus and, lo, and behold…..color!

Yuppers, doesn’t *everyone* drive around with an invertor plugged into their vehicle so they can plug in their toys? ….er, electonic necessities?  (that is the eerie green light!)

Okay, so I have shown you some crummy photos taken with the Micro four-thirds.  How about a “good” photo taken a few days ago from the porch?

Don’t you love the colors?  I do, especially since we rarely see anything like this because of the trees and surrounding hills.

So, the bottom line is this…..along with those fun new devices comes the frustration of learning all about how they work!

Yay!

I had a little problem with my computer. The Dell laptop I use was the problem, really.  I had accidentally caught  my sleeve on the Alt key and it pulled up in the air. I had removed keys from keyboards before to clean them, but this Dell key was pretty tricky.  I showed Mark and he told me to put it aside so he could fix it when he had time.  He thought the laptop needed a cleaning as well since he thought it felt too warm.

This afternoon, Mark got around to fixing the laptop and now it works much better.  And,  Mark even had some trouble trying to figure out how to replace that key that popped off.  (made me feel better!)

Hopefully I will be keeping up better now.  I must say that Mark was unable to totally resuscitate  the Panasonic camera….I never realized how much I missed it until it broke. I have a new model I am awaiting, but it is on backorder. It is also a Panasonic.  I was told today I *might* see it in about three weeks. Argh.

Oh, while the Dell was down,  I was using  my little Acer netbook.  Wow….the processor was so slow and it was nearly painful trying to upload photos for blogging.  I love the Acer and use it alot, but it really is good to be back to “more” normal!

The Waiting Game!

Michelle had been invited to meet with friends this evening  so Mark, Ben, and I  ran to Canandaigua.  We picked up some dinner and then went to WalMart jus to bide some time.  It is incredible how slowly time can pass when one is in “waiting’ mode!

After spending considerable time in WalMart, Ben and I decided to have a look in Lowe’s. I have to smile when I go into this store, as it has a sizable “flock” living there!  The flock definitely leaves its mark there, too!

Yes, this store has a flock of birds that are self-feeders!  When Mark and I walked into the store a few days ago, the sound of chirping was somewhat alarming!  In the chill of winter, it really is unusual to hear such cheerful, chipper song!  I asked one of the employees about the birds and he said they are so annoying! He then went on to explain that the store cannot kill the birds and in order to evict them from the premises,  a great deal of effort would need to spent. The net result is that the birds stay!  He advised us the flock is over two dozen strong, and they do indeed breed while in such a warm and conducive environment!

Personally, I would think the birds would encourage folk to “think spring”  and I would put out all manner of spring items!  Plus, one cannot help but feel uplifted by the cheerful birdsong.  Well, I do, at least!

While we were out this evening, I heard at least three people complaining about the cold and snow falling.  As I have said previously, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth before I complain about the winter!

As you can see, this day was so uneventful….rather dull, actually! So, before I go, I will have to show you the very cool app Mark installed on my phone…it tracks wherever I go, giving the local weather forecast.  Since it was chilly and snowing…

the snowflakes appear and eventually “pile up” on the phone!

Isn’t technology so much fun?

Picture this….

if you will!

Today was a relatively busy day.  I took Michelle down to work with Cindy this morning, then came home.  Mark was a little upset as he couldn’t find the key he was given to use on DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) lands.  He called the fellow in charge and found he could get a replacement by picking it up.  The office is located 40 miles away, but we decided to make the trip.

We needed to get some good cleaner for the Scottie ears as they have been itching some.  That required a trip over to Penn Yan. 

Mark, Ben, and I left this afternoon and headed to Bath for the key.  Shortly after we left home, I realized I had no camera with me.  I had the Panasonic in my hand, but when I went back in the house to get something,  I set it down and rushed back out without it.  Thus, this most beautiful day was photoless.  My heart was crushed….

We picked up the key, then stopped for a Chinese lunch.  We took a slight diversion up into some awesome hills to find an ATV trail system.  It wandered through the hills and around pastures and farmland.  It was a gorgeous trip with amazing sights.

We drove on over to  Penn Yan and I picked up the ear cleaner.  I cleaned each of the boy’s ears and am noticing they have not scratched at their ears since. Hurrah if this works.  The vet tech who spoke to us on the phone earlier wondered about a yeast infection, but there would be an odor associated with that and thankfully, that isn’t the case.

We picked Michelle up at 6:00 this evening and by that time, I was so tired!  Not sure why I felt so run down, but it might have been the stress of camera withdrawal. I’m pretty sure that was it.

I went to bed at about 9:30 and was enjoying a peaceful sleep when Ben came into the room yelling about a power outage.  I laid in bed for a few minutes, wondering why I should care about a power outage.  After all, who cares when one is sleeping?

Mark called our service provider,  Rochester Gas and Electric. (RG&E)  Mark reported the outage, then asked if I would drive up the road to see if anyone else was without power.  I drove up the hill, then down, only to see that we were the sole powerless home. 

Mark made another call to RG&E and spoke with a woman there.  She told Mark that the crew was on their way and they said the transformer might be bad or a fuse at the transformer might have blown.

We waited around. I was thinking the men might come into the house, so I straightened up with my tiny LED flashlight in hand.  I had tried to turn on the main breaker in the basement earlier, but it was a no go.

Probably within half an hour of  Mark’s call, we heard what sounded like a very large truck coming up the hill.  Sure enough,  the truck made its way along, finally honing in on our pole. 

Suddenly, our dark and lightless-at-night road was lit up like a small city!  Needless to say, I ran upstairs….

Yes, even without a fast lens, there was enough light to capture the action! There were two men working down at the pole.  They, of course, talked loudly to communicate, making this whole “event” seem so surreal!

The above was an artistic capture that I really did take on purpose, moving slightly as the image was taken.  I love the result!

So, back to the task at hand.  As the men talked back and forth, there was a noticeable increase in noise.  With the yellow lights on top of the truck flashing,  bright spotlights shining in all directions, and the otherwise pitch black sky with zillions of stars above, this whole setting was like something from a Hollywood movie set!  Honestly, when the noise increased, it sounded like what Hollywood might conjure up for a UFO sound!  I discovered, however, it was something to do with the cherry-picker.  Shortly after the motor noise increased,  I saw the lights rising in the sky.

Our house sits back about 150 feet from the road.  As you can see, when the lights from the cherry-picker shone down from above,  the road was very well lighted! (Wonder what the neighbors across the road might have thought?)

Well, finally, the truck came up the driveway.  Notice the lack of lights!  And believe me,  the headlights on this truck were bright!

I lit my little flashlight and one of the men appeared and told me the fuse at the pole had “popped”.   I hurried downstairs to turn on the main breaker.  As soon as the lights came on, the big truck backed on down the driveway, leaving before I even made it back upstairs from the basement!

Mark laughed, thinking these fellows probably attend to such activities all night long.  We never got to ask what caused or why the fuse popped, but we wondered if the overabundant rain might have played a part in all this.

After all the excitement of the night,  I am finding myself no longer tired.  Oh well, I will try to rest. In the meantime,  I am so grateful for people who work the night shift, helping us to keep the power flowing!

Oh, and one more thing….the night sky was just absolutely stunning tonight!  As I stood looking up, I realized I would have missed seeing this had the power not gone out…just another one of those blessings in disguise!