Car Crash. Ending your day.

Tonight I heard a sound that I thought was something blowing around (it’s been extremely windy here with gusts up to 50 MPH). I thought it was a trash can blowing over. Or something blowing down the road.

I looked out the front window and saw something very different.

Car upside down on the road.

I saw the car with a side smashed in at first. The other car was hidden behind some bushes. When I saw it, I called 911 while another person was already with the driver speaking to her.

The 911 Operator said the call was being reported. The guy speaking to the driver’s wife was on the phone with 911 already.

Once the Operator told me she had the call and dispatched people I hung up.

Thankfully, there are two fire departments very close by and there were police cars here in moments with the fire trucks and ambulance not far behind.

Fire truck parked in my yard.

The driver was able to walk and talk. Besides being shaken and in shock seemed mostly fine. Other than having a bad Thanksgiving.

Be safe out there everyone.

A tale of topiary and routers

Today started with yesterday. Last night, I upgraded the firmware of my router. Instead of going smoothly, it failed to complete. I spent 2 hours trying everything in the documentation to revive it. To no avail. I gave up about 1am and crawled into bed next to an annoyed wife.

You get the good and the bad with nerds. I got the lecture this morning of, “Most people don’t even know how to login to their router. Why are you even logging into the router to know there was an update to install!” And she’s not wrong. I had a second router up until a few weeks ago, when I set it up and leant it to her sister to replace a failing router she had.

I am a believer in Two is One and One is None. The idea is having one is the same as none because when that one thing breaks, it’s gone. However, having two means you’ll have at least one left. It’s an idea for backups, which I need to revisit after this, but it can be applied to other things. I’m not saying you should have two routers around at all times, but I wish I did.

I replaced the router this morning after Microcenter opened. After a few hours of research trying to balance a router with enough nerdiness for me and ease for my wife. If I can work on projects and she has no idea, that’s a win.

The router I settled on was the TP-Link Archer C3200 which is an older router, but I was able to find one at a good price. I liked that it combined both the 5ghz and 2.4ghz networks into a single name. The extra 5ghz channel will be useful as our home becomes smarter it helps to have more lanes on my information superhighway.

After getting the router setup and making sure the smarts in my house started working again, I had a long, long day at work to get through.

After work, we went to see the new Addams Family movie. And get a donut. Which inadvertantly let to the Discovery of the Season.

After selecting our donuts, we went to Home Goods to see what sort of wonders it held for Christmas. We were there a few weeks ago for Halloween decorations and a small topiary.

My wife made an Edwards Scissorhands doll for Halloween since she couldn’t find one (and is extremely crafty).

Edward with the trimmed tree we had to use instead of a topary.

We were looking for a topiary. We went to Home Goods, Michaels, AC Moore, Targets, and every other store we could think of that might have anything. We failed at every turn.

There was no topiary to be found. Certainly not one of a proper size to stand next to Edward in the front window.

Until Christmas.

Edward and topiary. Reunited.

We walked into Home Goods and there it was. My wife about screamed in delight and rage. The perfect topiary. Standing there. Waiting. A week too late for this year. But perfect for next year.

Why I setup an email address to read newsletters

I setup a dedicated, private email address for newsletters and now they’re a joy to read instead of anxiety-causing clutter. This may not seem like a big deal to you. But it has changed how I read newsletters and reduced my stress in seeing new ones piling up in my Inbox. I enjoy the Newsletter Renaissance and when I see an interesting one, I sign up for it. The problem started as many of them arrive on the same day (like podcasts on a Wednesday, but that’s another story). So I would get overwhelmed by the number of emails in I wanted to take the time to read but would never find that time because they added to a pile of anxiety instead.

The first solution I tried was Stoop. I thought it was a perfect solution. An app for newsletters. I could send them to that email address for Stoop and read them in the app at my leisure. It worked well for awhile, but the problem was I didn’t want another app to remember to open. So again, newsletters I wanted to read would sit unread for months. Also, the app wasn’t a great experience for newsletters I want to open links from in other tabs to read after I finish the newsletter. I want a computer screen for that, not a phone.

The second reason I stopped using it was more than one person writing about (I don’t remember who) how they were starting to remove stoop.email addresses from their lists because part of the point of a newsletter was the intimacy with the audience, being invited into their Inbox. And Stoop was taking those emails and instead of providing the authors with real people, it gave them a pile of junk addresses essentially. It’s hard to get intimate with a piece of code.

So for those two reasons, I deleted stoop and then it hit me.

I want to get these newsletters delivered in email because email is flexible and can be anywhere I want to be. I also want the authors of the letters to know I’m a real person behind the address and when I wanted to reply to them, I could, from a real address. I guess that would have been a problem with Stoop, but I don’t reply very often so I never encountered that problem.

I setup a reading@ address. It’s perfect because it reminds me what it’s for. It gives me a place that’s not my primary mailbox to dive into at length and know I will find long, quality messages there. It’s been a perfect solution for me. I can open it on the phone, or on a computer and dive into as many or as few letters as I want at a time.

I can enjoy them in a quiet, peaceful space without other messages around them screaming for attention. Moving these newsletters out of my screaming, needy Inbox and into their own home, means I can read them with the slowness and patience of a good book rather than a screaming Twitter feed.

I’m starting to think about what other things I can change the context to enjoy more.

Autumn Excursions

Autumn Excursion train ticket

Today started with an adventure. An train ride through the countryside of rural Maryland. It started a few weeks back when we went looking for fall foliage train rides and located a few in Maryland. We decided to try the Walkersville Southern Railroad for our first ride. It was closer to home, cheaper and didn’t require getting up as early.

And it was indeed a train ride. Through the wilds of townhome developments and backyards. We passed over a pretty creek and held up traffic across a few roads. It was a short hour-long ride up and back a single track. (Did you know trains could go forward then reverse back the same they came?) It was a short train with two open-air cars (and hard wooden benches), two indoor cars (with padded seats and windows that opened) and a caboose decorated to be used as a birthday party setting with limited (padded) seats and two small chairs up a ladder at the top of the car.

It was unusually full, I had assumed on a beautiful 70 degree day in October people used that as an excuse to take their kids on a train. But the ticket taker commented this was as full as one of their Christmas rides and it wasn’t usually this packed (there wasn’t an empty seat on the train).

Creek with fall tree reflections.
Creek the train passed over.

I wish it had taken us past some actual fall foliage rather than through town, passed developments (that perhaps were trees once.) But it was a pleasant ride and not so expensive I regretted the trip.

After the ride, we walked through their small museum, and daydreamed about setting up our own elaborate country scene with model trains running through it.

Afterwards, we had some shopping to do which led to our next adventure of the day we didn’t plan.

Long aisle of books.
One of the few aisles that didn’t have books lined up along each shelf on the floor.

We stumbled upon Wonder Books and Video in Frederick, Maryland. And it was far better than I could have hoped. The book shelves stretched forever with cluttered, but well-maintained stacks of every sort of books, new and old, one could hope for. There was also a huge selection of DVDs and Vinyl. There were also cassette tapes and 8-tracks. I could have easily spent all day in the store and far more money than I did.

Books organized by color, available for purchase.
Need colorful books to complete your shelves? Wonder has them.

From the FREE OLD BOOK SMELL sign on the door, to the friendly, helpful staff inside, may be the perfect bookstore. We have already made plans to return with a list as I have the problem of never remembering what books I’m looking to buy when I’m in a place to buy them. Beforehand, they flood my brain. Afterwards, they haunt me like apparitions of a lost opportunity. But in the moment, my brain empties, achieving a perfect meditation.

Gas Man

Today got off to a weird start.

I had a man come to my door about turning the gas off to the house. I assumed he was working in the area and needed to turn it off for that. (Washington Gas had replaced our main gas line, as well as our neighbors, and dig up the street thrice looking for a leak.)

But no, he said we had not paid our bill. Confused, I said we had paid or online just a few days before. (Our last bill was about $17.) He read the amount due on our account was $1600-something.
I asked what address he had. He read the amount again. I asked the address.

“1000 Crawford Ave.”

I told him he had the wrong road. Crawford is three blocks away from here. Right house number. Wrong road.

He quickly left, presumably to show up at the correct house and deliver their bad news.

I thought of this because 1) we pay our bills online and on time. 2) We have gotten legal paperwork delivered to our house for that same address in Crawford more than once.

It’s interesting to me that neither a law firm or Washington Gas can read a map correctly enough to arrive on the correct street.