So we’re having a drought…

…and it’s approaching historic proportions. The town has an unusual situation because of the two colleges and the university located in it, mostly because of the roughly 30,000 students at UMASS Amherst. We’re now in a mandatory water reduction, meaning we can’t do things like water our lawn, wash our cars, and so on, not that we tended to do such things to begin with. The big worry is running out of water. The town is being forced to close the primary reservoir because it’s fallen too low. That’s happening this Friday. At that point we’re on well water only, and the prediction is that so long as the rain eventually returns and we have a somewhat normal winter, we’ll be ok and the aquifer and reservoir will survive this and recharge themselves. However, we’re at close to maximum draw on the wells, and the drought is worse than any on record. There’s some uncertainty about how long the aquifer can sustain this draw on the wells. Additionally, should something happen to one of the wells, we’re in trouble. Meantime there’s no rain in sight and this morning I woke up to find a town employee checking out our neighborhood, seemingly to see who’s been watering their lawns. You end up doing funny things in the face of these circumstances, like super short showers, catching the water you run in the shower while it heats up to water the house plants with, and carrying the kids bath water out in buckets to the bushes so they (hopefully) survive this. Wish us luck – I’ve stocked up in 25 gallons of bottled water just in case and have been considering getting more just to be safe.

It took me almost 3 months…

but the site is back up and running. We moved, as my last post mentioned, and there were lots of things to take care of, including numerous summer vacations, before I had time to turn my attention to the website. I also moved the website. I’m not going to self host, at least for a while. For the next year I’m paying to host it for me on their platform. This has some downsides, chief among them being that doesn’t support custom plugins, so lots of the features I used to use are gone. A lot of things are currently broken, partly as a result of the missing plugins. It has some upside too though – frankly, php/wordpress self hosting is a PIA. It’s a constant battle with hacks and exploits and maintenance partly in the service of the battle. I’m tired of it, and this isn’t really what I do for a living any more.

It also means the photo galleries are currently gone. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that yet. For now I have all the photos over on google photos, but most of the old galleries are no longer around. I think I’m going to push this over onto my Synology NAS, but that will take some work that I don’t have time for. I’ll get to it this fall at some point. Meantime I’ll post here when I make galleries available in Google Photos.

We bought a new house

We have a signed contract to move into our new place on June 24th this year. Here’s a photo of the kitchen and sunroom to get a sense of the place, and an idea of one of the main reasons we’re moving – contrast this to our current kitchen and you know almost everything you need to know. Click through on the photo – it’s a 360 degree photo you can rotate once you click through to google.

Signed a contract to sell our house

Well, that was easy enough all things considered. We had 14 families show up at our open house, 5 of which asked to come back for a private viewing. 3 said they’d make an offer, though ultimately only two did, and after a bit of back and forth on the bids, we came to an agreement and signed the papers today. Now to find a house we want to move into. We’ve bid on one and lost, dithered on two others which sold before we could make up our minds, and looked at many other properties. So far, nothing has had the right mix of setting, features, location, and price. Our contract stipulates we have to sign for something before May 15th, so the race is on to find the right house.

Make me an offer I can’t refuse

To my great regret, we’ve concluded we need to sell our house. Two young children and a dogĀ in a cape with a small kitchen isn’t working. We tried working with an architect to design an addition for the house, but it turned out to be more expensive than we were willing to spend, and the banks weren’t willing to lend us the money because the house likely wouldn’t have been worth as much as we were considering putting into it once all was said and done. It went on the market this week. You can check out the listing here. There’s an open house this Sunday. We already have one potentially interested party, so here’s hoping the sale goes smoothly. Meanwhile we need to find a house we want to buy. We’ve already lost out on two we were interested in, but Spring is here so hopefully we’ll start to see things we like coming onto the market.

Snacking on classic literature

Here’s a cool app for iOS devices – Serial Reader, which has a large library of classic literature you can configure it to send you in small segments, once per day at a time of your choosing. It will remind you and keep track of your progress. It’s simple and pretty great – I’m a quarter of the way through Moby Dick and about 1/10th of the way through Middlemarch thanks to this app, both of which have long been on my too read list, This isn’t something you couldn’t discipline yourself to do on your own, but the app makes it convenient. The fact that it’s free makes it super easy to try as well. Two thumbs up from me.