Check out the proper working order of things before you install them...

Carole and I decided a few weeks ago to change to the back bedroom. We had used that as our bedroom since we moved in, but when Jason and Jeremy moved out, we took over the southwest bedroom along the front of the house, and Justin took the back bedroom. Carole had always used the full bath next to the southwest bedroom, and Justin always used the back bathroom, so logistically it all made sense.

Now that Justin is up in Northern California, we can choose any bedroom we want. The street noise from the front bedrooms can be a bother, especially if you're trying to sleep past 7:00am, and the southwest bedroom has limited closet space. All-in-all, it made sense for use to move back into the back bedroom — except for one problem.

The central AC works pretty well to keep the whole house cool in the summer, except for the back bedroom. There's a long run that uses external ducting for that room, and it just doesn't get the air flow needed to keep it cool on a hot day. The solution we came up with was to install a window air conditioner to help keep the room cool. (Before we installed central AC, there was an air conditioner in the window.) The problem was -- we have aluminum casement windows.

I did my research, and finally settled on an LG 8000 BTU model. It's not specifically designed for a casement window, but was thin enough to fit in our opening. The units I found that are designed for casement windows are not wide enough, and are mostly intended for mounting in horizontal sliding windows. I toyed with the idea of a split unit — with a separate compressor that sits on the ground and an in-the-wall blower unit — but they're much more costly, and would probably require installation by an HVAC contactor. The LG unit arrived from Amazon a week or so ago.

On Friday evening, Jeremy came out after work to help move everything out of the back bedroom. On Saturday, I started working on the installation of the LG unit in our window. I installed an 1" x 1" aluminum angle across the middle of the opening, and tapped some 5mm x 0.8 threads to hold it in place, with through-holes in the casement frame. The AC unit itself fit nicely — it has a 1" bracket all the way across the top that's intended to butt against the bottom of a wooden double-hung window, but it fit my aluminum strip perfectly. I went to Home Depot and bought a 2' x 4' x 1/8" panel of dry-erase board to mount above and to the side of the AC unit, along with some caulking and white weather-stripping to seal all the gaps.

It took all-day Saturday and most of the morning Sunday to get the mounting and paneling work finished, and Sunday was under deadline. Carole had borrowed her parants' Kirby vacuum/carpet cleaner, and the plan was to clean the back bedroom carpet by noon on Sunday, so that the carpet could have 24 hours to dry before we moved furniture into the room. (That plan got changed anyway — when Carole got back late on Sunday from a wedding luncheon for her friend, we decided to re-do an area that had some stains, and that didn't get finished until 11:30pm.)

This morning, we went into the check on things. The carpet was still a little damp in the areas we had re-cleaned, but we thought it would be okay by the time the furniture was moved in late in the afternoon.

The we noticed that the plastic wrap was still covering the power cord to the AC unit. It was installed and ready for use, but had not been tested. Oh, no...

Sure enough, when we plugged it in and turned it on, the fan sounded like a Cessna taking off from the local FBO. A few choice words were spoken.

While I processed an exchange with Amazon, Carole called Jeremy to postpone the furniture move. We have random pieces of furniture sitting all around the family room, living room, and dining room, and next weekend is fully booked with the rehearsal and wedding of Carole's friend.

The moral of this sad tale -- plug in and test an air conditioner right away, before you install it.

A screen capture/image upload tool, and an image re-sizer app

ShareX is an open-source tool to handle screen captures and general image uploads. It will do screen captures in any reasonable shape and size, and save them to a local folder. You can also configure it to automatically upload the images to an image hosting service (Imgur, Picassa) or to your own web hosting account via FTP. The initial setup can be a little confusing, but once you get it configured, its there to assist you when called upon.

Image Resizer 3 adds hooks to Windows Explorer to make it easy to re-size images from the right-click context menu. Carole likes to keep her camera set to a really high resolution, and the photos are too big to easily fit into a web or forum post. Image Resizer 3 has a few common resolutions as presets, and you can enter your own too. If you just need a smaller size, and don't want to open the file in a general image editing program, Image Resizer 3 is the right tool.

Both of these tools are free and Open Source, with ShareX under GPL and Image Resizer 3 under Ms-PL.

From Thompson Sweetback

Infants are the drill sergeants of parenting bootcamp. They give you four basic tasks - diapers, burping, feeding, and napping - and then scream at you when you do them wrong. There's no encouragement, no smiles, just crying and quiet. And they give you tasks at any time, day or night. Just finished changing my diaper? Change it again. Good job, now change that one.

After a few months of breaking you down, they build you back up again. They smile at you. They sleep through the night. They hold their head up, so you don't have to.

And after It's over, the tasks you learned - swaddling, diapering, bottle prepping - are tasks you will likely never use again. But the skills you've gained - patience without sleep, calm in the face of screams, moving your hand into the shit instead of recoiling - are skills that will serve you the rest of your life.