Moving with a cargo van from Lowes is amazing!

Last weekend we rented a cargo van from Lowes to move some furniture and it was amazing! It rocked U-Haul out of the water.

The Van

A Mercedes Sprinter Cargo van, definitely big enough to move a small apartment. We had a queen sleeper couch, storage ottoman, and chair, plus full size bed frame, 6-drawer dresser, full mattress, and queen mattress. It all fit easily. There’s a fold out loading ramp that spans he whole width of the back of the van so getting stuff in and out was a breeze. Oh and it was a clean, comfortable ride.

Gas

Included. The diesel engine was very efficient, we drove over 60 miles and the needle hardly moved. They ask you to return the vehicle with at least a quarter tank and the gas card is inside the vehicle to pay for it. We didn’t have to use it.

Cost

$15 per hour. Gas & insurance included. Mileage was $0.30 or so per mile, this is less than half of what U-Haul charges. There were no extra fees, insurance costs, etc.

Experience

We went to the Hertz 24/7 kiosk at our local Lowes the night before. I had tried to sign up online but it didn’t work. The kiosk has you live video conference with an agent, she was competent and helpful. It did take about 15 minutes to get setup and reserved. They require the usual stuff: driver’s license, name, address, credit card. It was much much much better than going to a U-Haul or car rental place.
At the end the kiosk printed an instruction sheet and a plastic membership card that lets you scan into the vehicle at your rental time without any further interaction. Literally just walk up to the van in the parking lot, hold your card to the scanner in the windshield, and get in.
We ended up needing way more time than we thought (I hired bad movers), and the time extension process was incredibly seamless. The instruction sheet has a phone number, you call and give your name or member # and tell them how much longer you want. There was no wait time.

Overall

We will totally be renting from Lowes again, hope they keep this deal around. It was amazing, thanks Lowes!
(Now please don’t do anything / pull a Hobby Lobby that makes me have to boycott your store)

We grew grass! And other thoughts on first-time homeowning in Southern New Hampshire

We’re entering our second summer as first time homeowners in Southern New Hampshire. We moved from Cambridge/Boston/city and wow has there been so much we didn’t know.

First thing: there are lots of bugs — flying bugs, biting bugs, ticks, mosquitos, mayflies that bite, spiders, ants, ants that eat your house… You will need to use insecticides on your lawn, GrubEx, diatomaceous earth on ant colonies, mosquito beater, bug repellent (we like the deet-free Off Botanicals), etc. Start in May, don’t wait until you have an insect crisis and have to hire pest folks unless you want to part with $500 unnecessarily. Use the spreader (see below) to put insecticide on the lawn and dust a perimeter around the house. Sprinkle the mosquito beater around the deck and front door. Check the dogs for ticks relentlessly and put the frontline to kill fleas.

Second thing: yes you need air conditioning in the summer. We have a standard rectangle house with 4 bedrooms. Each bedroom that we use required a small window air conditioner and we have one large window unit downstairs that blows all the way across the house. Last year we thought we could save money with fans and open windows, and it was really really miserable because (a) heat, (b) see the first thing. We tried buying the ACs at the store, but found them loud and ineffective. So we had to order, but then 2 weeks of miserable ensued before they arrived. Just save yourself the trouble and budget $1000 or so for window AC’s (unless you want something more powerful). Get them in May before it gets hot so you have time to figure out how to install them, and get the LG ones with dehumidification.

Third thing: yes you need a lawn mower. You need it in May when the grass is growing fast, not June when you already have a jungle. You need a gas (or battery powered) self-propelled mulching lawn mower at least, not a manual reel mower. Urban eco-friendly hipster reviews on Amazon may tout how pleasant and effective manual reel mowers are, but they are not sufficient for New Hampshire sized lawns. Lawn mowers cost $300+ or $1000+ for the riding type, maybe check CL. Don’t cut the grass too short or it won’t grow back next year, you just have to deal with cutting it more often — to 3″ every week or more. You will also need a leaf blower, weed whacker (+ gas cans), wheel barrow or cart, and spreader (see below).

On grass: all your neighbors will have perfect lawns and look like they know what they’re doing. Here’s what we learned to make our house appear inhabited and keep our lawn at least at the low end of average:

  • Your lawn is probably larger than 10,000 sqft, and certainly larger than 5,000 sqft (they often sell the bags of stuff in 5,000 sqft increments).
  • You have to use the spreader to put fertilizer in the spring and fall, otherwise the grass will be brown. We have the Scott Snap Spreader and we just refill the bags with other stuffs — we aren’t smart enough to handle a real spreader with complicated settings.
  • If you have pine trees you have to use the spreader to put lime to raise the soil pH otherwise nothing will grow right except moss and weeds and more bugs; we used Jonathan Green MagiCal. If you work in a biology, chemistry, biotech, or other lab (not unlikely if you’re coming from Boston) you can use the pH strips to measure your soil pH, just suspend some soil in di-water, incubate 30-60 min, and read.
  • You have to put the GrubEx in the first week of June or you will get tons of beetles that fly around and die in your house and look disgusting and eat your garden.
  • You can use the spreader to overseed your lawn with grass seed in the spring or fall (fall is better), this will prevent your grass from looking bare and dead. Overseeding just means putting new grass seed over your existing grass. The internet says many steps to doing this, but make sure you water the seeds. Buy a timer and an oscillating sprinkler (<$50) — you’ll probably need multiple sets, or seed only one area per week and move the sprinkler weekly. Or install in-ground automatic sprinklers like all our fancy neighbors.
  • You could also hire people to do all this stuff.

On leaves: leaf peeping is great when you drive north from the city and view pretty fall leaves from your car, but when you have a yard those leaves *fall* and become your problem. Don’t try to rake that many leaves, you will spend hours, make yourself sore, and new leaves will fall there tomorrow. Use the mulching lawn mower to mulch the leaves. That was so not obvious to us.

On snow: you will need a snowblower or hire a snow plow. The snow plow people cost 10x less than they do in the city — $30 or so per storm.

We are by no means done learning, but fyi it weren’t easy nobody told us anything… probably because it’s all so obvious.

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Dandelion Trestle Love


It’s finally finished!!!!  And I LOVE it!!!

It was a rather ambitious project to make such heavy modifications but it all turned out just perfect!  The sleeves I planned were just right (if only I had followed my calculations properly the first time…) and the shoulder improvisation I did on-the-fly also turned out perfect!  I just can’t believe it all worked.

For all the gory details about the sleeves, see the first progress post; and for the much swifter shoulder process see the second progress post.

Of course, the Noro colors are beautiful and earthy — such a lovely contrast from my bolder first Trestle.  I would totally make this sweater again… maybe in cool colors?  The diagonal stitches are pretty cool I think they would make a great sweater all in one color, too.  Maybe for a men’s version, in stockinette. But how many of the same thing could I make and wear without appearing creepily obsessive?

Selfie of dandelion trestle
Selfie with bad light and messy room, but the sleeves and shoulders are so cute!

Apple App Store won’t refund my purchases anymore

I sometimes download apps that I think could be useful on my iPad or iPhone. Sometimes they’re great and sometimes not. Sometimes they don’t work at all. In the past I could go to report a problem and get a refund. The last time I tried this, after the in-app purchase settlement, the website said “purchase is ineligible for a refund.” What why?! The app doesn’t work at all and it was $5. I’m pretty peeved. It’s not like you can try apps before you buy, you just have to go off the developers word that it works. Guess I won’t be buying apps anymore. My phone makes phone calls and my iPad takes notes that’s enough.

UPDATE:
I managed to contact Apple support by email to complain and they readily refunded my monies after reminding me that their policy is that App Store purchases are final, here are some ways to prevent accidental purchases in the future.

So I guess I still won’t be buying any apps to try.

I saw another Asian person at the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival!

So KC bet me that I would be the only Asian person at the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival. I almost was, one other Asian woman spotted! But, I did have to go back Sunday to the Ball & Skein booth and the proprietress did remember me – maybe for being one of two Asian people?

I bought some yarn from the cutest family with adorable Alpacas! They were called Curly Q Farms, they’re not on Ravelry, but they let me pet the alpacas! The two daughters and their dad were so sweet. They suggested I buy a skein to make a hat or gloves, but I’m too lazy to wear accessories so I bought 5 skeins/1000 yds to make an In The Sky sweater. I have some Madelinetosh Pashmina in Antique Lace leftover maybe I’ll use that for a gentle contrast color.

I finally bought some yarn from Dirty Water DyeWorks. I’ve been eyeing it at Gather Here, but there were just so many colors at the booth. I bought some blue for a man sweater and some dirty off white color way aptly called Dirty Snow to make myself something. I’m actually excited because the one base is Blue Faced Leicester which I’ve never worked with before. And it’s superwash!

I found a new love in Ball & Skein yarns. The  colors were all just so beautiful and soft and lovely. I bought two reds, one skein each. Wish I had bought more but I can’t plan too many large projects at once or none would get done!

All in all, my first time going to a wool festival and I felt largely out of my demographic but well entertained. Can’t say the later was the same for him.

My Bosnian-Siberian Slipper Pattern!!!

I wrote my slipper mods into a pattern, download on Ravelry or free below!!!!! I have been working on my slippers and I think the mods have come together so nicely. I’m so excited!!

I am offering this pattern for free and outside of Ravelry (which is also free), but I ask in lieu of “payment” to please post projects on Ravelry with descriptions of your yarn, needles, sizing, etc so that other people can also benefit.  Thanks!

UPDATE: how did I totally miss that the white bands on the cuffs are totally different!? What was I thinking!!!
Continue reading “My Bosnian-Siberian Slipper Pattern!!!”

Posting with BlogPad Pro not so hot

I like the idea of using an app to post to my blog.  It’s convenient on my iPad because I can take pictures, filter & edit them, then post them all in iOS.  Too bad the app I chose, BlogPad Pro, is too buggy :(.  I’m still using it, but it’s weird.

When I start typing, the first letter gets repeated  so  sentences start like this: TThis is so annoying and now I’m going to pause.. hhad to think about what I wanted to say.

It’s also super laggy, I type and wait 3+ seconds for letters to appear.  This lag time gets worse as my posts get longer.

I wanted to like so badly.  Maybe I’ll try Blogsy.  Sad story.

Dandelion Trestle Progress 2

Continued from Dandelion Trestle in-progress yay post

4/20/14

Sewed C’s first ever baby sweater. She was determined to make the Baby Yoda despite the seaming. Then spent a month trying to sew and later abandoning the pieces. I’m terrible at sewing myself, but I managed for the most adorable baby I know.

C's Baby Yoda
C’s first baby sweater ever knitted: Baby Yoda I just sewed it together

4/22/14

Yesterday was a knitting break. There were eggs to be dyed, and my wrist has been hurting; feels better now.

Very many stitches. Every round takes forever and a day. On the upside we’re decreasing 8 sts every other round… The first Noro ridge was really bright orange, right now it kinda looks like halloween gone wrong. Hope it works together in the end. Because each round takes forever like I said. And the sleeves took forever to do and redo (my own deficiencies caused this), so when this is done it is done and I’m not going back.

Checking out making galleries with WordPress!

Body:

Sleeves:

4/24/14

Last two evenings have had Costco trips. Managed only a handful of rounds since they’re so long.

5/2/14

Got back yesterday from trip. Thought I would work on my Trestle on the plane but it was difficult because the project has gotten kind of large and unwieldy.

Plus, I want to give my mom a pair of house slippers of the Bosnian-Siberian flavor for Mother’s Day, which is coming up. So I made the slippers on the plane. Mostly done with those.

My wrist has really started hurting! I think knitting tight stitches with a small gauge is the culprit. So I can only do so much at a time. Will have to get back to my Trestle after the slippers are done, but probably at a slower pace :(.

5/9/14

Been studying for quals ick. Today I finally went back to knitting my wrist had been getting better earlier in the week but then I helped to move a large piece of furniture to the third floor and it was hurting again :(. Been really wanting to make progress on my Trestle.

Last weekend I wrapped up the pastel Bosnian-Siberian slippers for my sister to take to my mom on Mother’s Day! But looking at the photos a couple days ago I realized a mistake from looking at the pictures :(. One slipper has 2 garter ridges of contrast color at the cuff and the other slipper has only 1 :(. Everything so sad.

State of my wordpress blog

So far this is the longest and most I’ve ever written in a blog. That’s kinda encouraging. I think I feel some greater warmth for it since it’s on my server (well hosted) rather than my Posterous that got shut down, and therefore I can CSS and take the database apart all I want unlike the sad Tumblr I started. Not that taking apart your shiny new toys is ever a good idea…

It probably helps that I have something I am actively doing in real life (knitting) that I can ramble about, and a social network (Ravelry) that I can link up posts to.

So I think it be time I should think about moving my other fluffyfrog pages into my WordPress scaffold, like my Civ 5 controller pages and my serial dilution calculator! I also need to fix some JavaScript rounding errors with that calculator… And I wonder if all the JavaScript will play nice with WordPress? And the iPhone CSS I made and the custom fonts. Hmm. Wonder if I can get the urls to stay the same. Hmm.

UPDATE: Civ controller pages moved, that wasn’t so hard! Also installed a plugin, page-links-to, to put external links in the top pages menu, rather than my hack where I put HTML anchors in the page titles, which was making an extra ugly space.

For serial dilution calculator, think I’ll have to make a custom page template and use another plugin that allows per page or per post custom JavaScript and CSS…

Dandelion Trestle in-progress yay!

4/1/14

Starting with sleeves, modifying to make them in-the-round and recalculated!

4/2/14

Recalculated_sleeve_triangles.JPG
Sleeve triangles stuck together for in-the-round sleeves.

One night each – sleeve triangle sets ready to join. Mini sleeve swatch finished blocking maybe the 21cm wrist isn’t too wide, maybe a 19cm wrist will be too narrow hmm.

Sleeve triangle sets were worked like this (triangle increases are only at the joined edge of triangles – this is the underarm seam – the other edge is worked straight):

  • CO 3
  • (row 1) Left triangle in first st, purl underarm seam st, right triangle in third st
  • (row 2) Knit
  • (row 3) (left triangle) Knit to last st of left triangle, m1r, k1; purl underarm seam st; (right triangle) k1, m1l, knit to end
  • (row 4) Knit
  • Repeat last 2 rows until 29 sts per triangle
  • (increase row, rs) Knit to 3 sts before underarm seam st, m1l, k2, m1r, k1; p1; k1, m1l, k2, m1r, knit to end (= 31sts)
  • Knit
  • Repeat rows 3 & 4 once more = 32 sts per triangle + 1 underarm seam st, 65 sts total Continue reading “Dandelion Trestle in-progress yay!”