I Got To Clean My Own Car

It may seem odd to people who live outside New York, but New Yorkers don’t really get to wash their own cars. We live in apartment buildings and there’s no hoses or extension cords to do the job with. And real estate is too expensive for those high pressure spray self-service car washes you see in other places.

So as odd as it sounds I’ve really been looking forward to washing my own car. But parking is such that it’s hard to find a time get the spot directly in front of the house. So Friday I queued up during alternate side parking and got the spot in front of the house and spent the rest of the morning washing the car.

Turns out I was missing wax – so that didn’t get done, but the car looked much better after I was done…

'08 VW R32 getting cleaned outside a Harlem brownstone

Most people have no clue what kind of car I have. Most think it’s a VW GTI, which is close, but not right. It’s a 2008 VW R32 which I picked up from the dealer almost exactly 5 years ago (I special ordered and it was one of the first to arrive for that model year – got to the dealer in late July ’07 and I picked it up the first week of August). It’s only got 28,400 miles on it which is pretty low for a 5 year old car – less than 6,000 miles/year…

The one person who did recognize it as an R32 was the UPS guy. He didn’t even need to see the R32 badge – he could tell from the tailpipes. Like most people who are car guys – he stood around and asked a bunch of questions for a while…

So while I got all wet and sweaty washing and vacuuming the car, it was fun – a bit of downwind sailing after a lot of beating upwind… 😉

I’m A Geek – My New Rack Enclosure

I need to start doing posts on how the renos turned out. But things are a mess in most rooms since we’re still unpacking. But here’s one bit of the reno that’s presentable that shows that I’m a bit of a geek at heart… A 12U XRack Pro, sound insulated, rack mountable server enclosure…

rack enclosure

Real estate is just one of the things I do. I’ve been self-employed doing web stuff for 11 years now. I have some servers left over from when I used to have “colo” servers (now my servers are managed and owned by the hosting company). I’m repurposing those severs and the two rack mountable RAIDs I had for home use (the silver colored stuff). Then there’s the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) that I bought a few years back that’s rack mountable (on the bottom). And new for the house is the DVR for the CCTV security system (with the round dials), and the switch for all the ethernet outlets in the house (at the very top). Since the enclosure can be locked, it means if thieves break in it’ll be harder for them to walk away with the DVR.

All in all I managed to use 9 of the 12U. The rack enclosure tucks into the closet and I’ve designed the closet with a fan at the bottom that pushes in fresh air and a vent at the top of the closet to let out hot air (conveniently next to the A/C). There’s also a metal wire shelf on top that holds all the little stuff that’s not rack mountable. So I essentially have a miniaturized network/server room.

It does create some heat and even though it’s sound insulated it creates a little background noise, but not much considering how loud the server is inside it.

A Taste Of What’s To Come

It’s been a mildly frustrating week this week. Things we hoped would get done before freezing weather set in are still pending – work on the façade and electric/gas/heat – but those are what they are – it’ll get done eventually…

Last night we took a moment to just enjoy the house. Dan has been wanting to burn one of those fire logs to test out the fireplace. It was good we did – ’cause I took a close look at the damper and realized something was wrong and it’s unable to close. But once the fire got going we sat around in the cold with a friend and drank beer & bourbon and enjoyed the fire. It was great…

Fire burning in our fireplaceAt one point we had two fireplaces planned, then one got cut to help with the budget. I’m really glad we have at least one fireplace. It’s wonderful just sitting there watching a fire – very peaceful.

Work on the front doors we got from the salvage yard is also going really well. The guy working on them has them looking like new – it’s really pretty incredible.

Why Are There So Many River Rocks In Our Yard?

We have a bit of a geological mystery on our hands… Everywhere we dig we find rather large round rocks – about the size of a basketball (+/-) and quite smooth…

Large smooth rocks

They’re in the back yard. They’re in the cellar (when we dug the trench for the new drain pipes). They seem to be everywhere. They look like river rocks – from a fairly large stream or a small river. But there’s no apparent sign of wetness.

We’ve seen townhouses in Harlem that have streams running under them (one in particular on 141st – on the edge of Hamilton Heights – across the street from the new location of Alexander Hamilton’s Grange) – but there’s no sign of a stream at our place.

So how did so many river rocks get on our property? Could these have been left by glaciers? Are they common in Harlem or in Manhattan in general?