Speedy Delivery

Last night, my wife was having some issues with her gaming laptop.  The one she bought when she needed a new portable computer and decided to get this fancy-schmancy one that can be used for gaming (or hacking mainframes I fervently believe) and is a behemoth.

For whatever reason, it was dragging in terms of doing what she needed for it to do online and she asked me if it was on the fastest connection we had.  I told her, no, it’s not.  For one thing, it’s on WI-FI through the house network, so it’s only able to go as fast as the wireless connection allows.  If it were connected via hardwire to the router, it would be able to utilize the faster connection the wire provides.  After checking the wireless connection I confirmed she was using the 2.4 GHz connection (Odin) instead of the 5 GHz connection (Loki) through the D-Link router.

She asked if I had the password to the faster connection.  Of course, the answer is yes, but I don’t have the password memorized.  I change the password every six months, so I can’t remember it each time, I don’t have that memory capacity, and have no desire to memorize thirteen character alpha-numeric plus special character passwords ad nauseam.  I have a password program that does the work for me.  I’ve been using it for ten plus years and it’s been working just fine for the jobs that I ask of it.  Too, I can access it from anywhere through my smartphone, so that makes it useful out in the world, whether I’m near or far from home.  So again, the answer was yes.  I just had to go get it.

Once I accessed the password and put it in, something rather odd happened.  The connection was faster than I expected it to be.  I checked the throughput of the SSID, and it was telling me the connection speed was 868.9 Mbps.  That wasn’t right.  I only say this because I’ve been paying for a 100 Mbps connection for the last four years, and while there’s an option through my provider for a 1 Gbps connection, that option is $15 more per month.

Being the curious sort, I went to my desktop computer that’s wired to the router and checked the speed there.  Sure enough, it was reading 1 Gbps.  Odd.  I checked the speed through an online speedtest and got the same result that I normally get, that the speed is somewhere between 75 and 90 Mbps.  Which makes me even more confuzzled, since that’s what I’ve been paying for.  I’m thinking there’s some sort of problem on my end, as I figure the ISP is correct, or else I would have gotten a bump up in my bill.  I highly doubt with the current world situation they would bump up everyone’s speed and put more stress on the system.  If anything it would be the reverse, they’d slow down everyone because so many more people are logging on at this time, with only certain people’s back at work physically and so many more are telecommuting from home.  Or outright not working and spending time streaming movies, or other things online to pass the time while we all wait for either a cure or the coronavirus to pass on.

Either way, it’s something new to keep an eye on.

Home Repair

Living in an older house, things have a tendency to break, usually at the least opportune times.  Though I suppose that could be said for any home or apartment, usually when something breaks or needs repair, it’s not necessarily the most convenient thing.

On my return from work last evening, I lifted the garage door as I normally do, pulled the car in, and then exited to lower the door.  The door used to have a mechanical garage door opener when we first purchased the house, but over a few months it started to have issues, so I disconnected it and screwed in a handle on the outside and went to physically opening and closing the door when I needed to get the car in and out.  Several years ago I replaced almost all of the hinges on the door, and several of the glass panes in the door have been replaced over the years as well, but there have been no major repairs to the door since we bought the house.

Upon lowering the door, I heard a loud bang from inside the garage.  When I went to lift the door again, it wouldn’t budge.  It seemed to be stuck, or perhaps locked?  But that didn’t make sense as to how would the locking mechanism just suddenly trip and what was the noise that was made come from?  I went inside the garage to inspect and discovered that the cable on the right side leading to the spring had snapped.  Ah, broken spring.  That explained it.

Of course, the next problem was getting the now unbalanced and heavy door back up so I could get the car back out since Wednesday is a day of appointments.  Instead of dealing with it right then and there, I went inside to investigate if there was a local garage door repair-person since it was nearing 5 pm and usually businesses aren’t open past that point.  Since we live sort of off the beaten path, it’s not always easy finding someone to repair things of that nature and repair people can be a little finicky about coming out to places that they’re not overly familiar with.  And some charge for mileage.

Even so, I did manage to find someone that’s nearby, has mostly good reviews on both Google and Yelp so I will be calling to see what they can do, and hopefully not charge an arm and a leg for it, or try to upsell me on replacing the door entirely.  While the door is pretty old, so is the garage, so having a brand new door on an old rickety garage doesn’t make much sense to me.  Better to fix what’s borked, and continue on.

I called this morning, and they can come out, but none of the times they suggested meet with my ability to be here to supervise.  Friday is out as we have two other appointments, next week is pretty booked up, but Friday 2/7 seems to be available for now.  My wife doesn’t want workmen here when I’m not around, so we have to work on a very limited schedule in that regard.  So it seems the car will have to sit outside of the garage for about a week while this gets remedied in a time frame that meshes with our requirements.  At least it shouldn’t cost more than $200-300 for a repair like this.  I hope.

Old Neighbors

I grew up in a rural part of New York State.  At that time, there were some transplants from New York City (90 miles south) that had purchased houses and lived there on weekends and vacations, but certainly not the way that they have transformed the town in the intervening years since.  In my own neighborhood/cul-de-sac, there was at least one family that fit this description, as the house was not often occupied during the week, but came to life on the weekends and in the summer when school was out and the weather was much warmer.

The family had two children, but neither of them was educated locally.  Even so, the family was pretty subdued and didn’t make much of their present or past significance in show business.  There was a persistent rumor that the father did voiceover work in commercials (the one I remember vividly was that he was the voice of Starkist’s ‘Charlie the Tuna’ from television, [which I recently discovered turned out to be false]) and that he had acted in a soap opera or two in New York City.  As neighborhoods go, ours was pretty seemingly uninterested in things that were considered sensational so this information was left to rumor and innuendo and nothing much was ever made of it.

I have a small fixation with the neighborhood I grew up in, in that I keep tabs on the house and the surrounding area, even though we sold the property in 1992 and it’s gone through several owners since then.  I did visit the property two years ago with my birth mother, to show her where I grew up and for me it was a possibility of seeing the house where I spent 27 years living and supposedly maturing.  The current owners of the house weren’t amenable to us going through it, since the elderly father of the woman that owned it lived there with an aide, so we were relegated to walking the grounds outside. I was able to peek into the windows of a few of the rooms to see if much had changed, some things did, others haven’t.  But that isn’t the topic of this entry.

A couple of nights ago I was looking at Google Earth and thought to check out the street view of my neighborhood (if indeed it was available) and discovered a Google car had indeed made it to my cul-de-sac.  I just happened to be checking out some of the other properties and decided to look at the cluster of mailboxes near the intersection of two streets.  Lo and behold one of them looked strikingly familiar.  The family name of the ‘famous’ family was still on one of them!  It was the same size and shape that I remember, and the little brass and black stick on letters I’d remembered seeing there were still present, spelling out the last name.  So I was intrigued that perhaps they still owned the house and property.  Only a couple of the original residents of the area are still in their houses, all of the others have either died or moved elsewhere.

Doing a little Internet digging I discovered the tax records (they’re publicly available in case you were wondering) and sure enough the property is owned by their Limited Liability Corporation, but it has the family name attached to it all the same.  From that I discovered the father had died in 2015, but the mother still lived mainly in California, and apparently the son now lived in the house as he was apparently retired from his former work at CBS Sports (he was a producer).  There was a police blotter report from a couple years ago where the son was ticketed for DWI by the local yokels, and it listed his age.  From there I came upon the obituary of the father, and it listed his accomplishments and among them were his voiceover work, as well as acting in a soap opera from the 1950s.  A serial called Young Dr. Malone that apparently had started as a radio program but morphed into a television one when tv became the norm and housewives needed distraction during that era.

As it turned out, the rumors were partially true.  We had a somewhat celebrity living in our midst.  They were very nice people as I remember and didn’t make much of their celebrity.  Of course, we also had a millionaire living in our neighborhood, but that’s another story for another day.