Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Rainouts, Faucets and What's Next?


The Final View of the Repair
Elkridge, MD
May 25, 2022
The rain and cold returned. It is 55 degrees this morning as the day begins.

I very much enjoyed the dry 90 degree temperatures of this past weekend and so, my reward apparently is rain and much cooler temperatures. 

The rain has already postponed two baseball games and thrown the schedule askew. And there is rain in the forecast for the next four days.

Despite the rain, however, the plumbers returned to the scene of the faucet debacle. Amazingly, in about 90 minutes the problem was resolved with another new faucet. The copper work actually looks much better than the previous attempt and it works--or rather it does not leak while in use! Yay! Check yesterday's blog to see the before image.

I was happy that there was no additional charge to complete the repair, however, I would have preferred that it had been done correct the first time. I did feel bad for the plumbing team because at times they needed to be outside in the cold rain. 

Now it is on to other repairs. Wait, I already repaired the automatic chlorinator for the pool. Next up; the dryer which is making a bad sounding noise which may just be the blower has become clogged with lint causing it to be unbalanced. Unfortunately, cleaning or replacing the blower requires complete disassembly of the dryer including removing the drum. That is an all morning project.  

Always one more project to accomplish!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Faucet Repair, Part 2

 After opening the treasure chest to pay for a plumber to repair an exterior faucet and thinking the problem was solved, there is a part 2 to the story. 

The faucet does not leak when it is turned off. That is the good news. The plumber departed believing that everything was good. 

The next day I actually used the faucet. Trouble, unbeknownst to me, began as soon as I turned on the water. The faucet, while providing water to the hose was also spraying water behind the wall into the house. Yup, huge mess. Fortunately, I needed to go into the basement and heard the water running behind the wall and was able to minimize the mess and damage. 

I had initially thought that the solder joint had failed, but upon further investigation I determined the water was coming into the house from inside of the the concrete wall itself indicating that the faucet was broken. And unusable. My diagnosis was confirmed by a plumber yesterday who will be returning today with the proper tools to chip away the concrete packing that the first plumber placed around the new and apparently broken faucet.

Today should be interesting as the plumber wrestles with this disaster. Yesterday I asked the plumber that was assigned to correct the problem why the other plumber used concrete as packing instead of silicone, which was used by the original faucet repairer over five years ago. Without vocalizing an answer, he gave me a look that said it all. And now the concrete must be chipped away, piece by piece. 

One wonders why the other plumber never turned the faucet on to see if it worked.

We may never know.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 23, 2022

Monday Musings - May 23, 2022


1. Welcome the 4th Monday of May 2022. Yay! Next Monday is Memorial Day. 

2. Thunderstorms last evening broke the heat, which I was enjoying. The pool made it to 80 degrees during the hot spell, however, after the rains I expect it is a bit cooler. 

Baby Grapes
Big Cork Winery
Rohersville, MD
May 22, 2022
3. Yesterday, Chris and I took a break from downsizing the house and baseball. We joined friends and ventured off to enjoy one of our favorite hobbies: wine tasting. The day began at Big Cork Vineyards where we enjoyed a fantastic tasting and then lunch as part of our Case Club pick-up event. The wines at Big Cork are tasting great! The 2021 Syrah Rose is truly special and was only recently released. The 2021 Sauvignon Blanc also was drinking very well as was the 2019 Cabernet Franc. Following our time at Big Cork we visited Sunset Hills Vineyards in Purcellville, VA. It was our first visit there and we sampled a selection of their wine offerings. 

4. Baby Birds! The Orioles have generated some enthusiasm all of a sudden. I attended a game against the Yankees on Monday and the Club Level of Camden Yards seemed more like a hospital wing than a sports venue. But then on Saturday the call-up and arrival of the number one Minor League prospect catcher Adley Rutschman has generated excitement as this begins the expected revitalization of the Orioles club house and may begins to add the final pieces needed for the Orioles to move from perennial cellar-dweller to contended. Last evening the Orioles managed an 11th inning walk-off win to take a series from the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time since 2020! And who scored the winning run? Adley Rutschman off a single by Rougned Odor!

5. With there rains and storms of yesterday I was reminded about why I love owning a pool. Because it needs love after the storms to remove the debris! Oh how I wish I could have a lanai. 

6. Today in History. On May 23, 1934, notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police while driving a stolen car near Sailes, Louisiana.

Bonnie Parker met the charismatic Clyde Barrow in Texas when she was 19 years old and her husband (she married when she was 16) was serving time in jail for murder. Shortly after they met, Barrow was imprisoned for robbery. Parker visited him every day, and smuggled a gun into prison to help him escape, but he was soon caught in Ohio and sent back to jail. When Barrow was paroled in 1932, he immediately hooked up with Parker, and the couple began a life of crime together.

Russian soldier sentenced in first Ukraine war crimes trial - CNN

White House explores tapping emergency diesel reserve to ease price spike - CNN

Beijing urges millions to keep working from home amid COVID outbreak menace - Reuters

On Asia trip, Biden says would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan - Reuters

Iran will avenge slain Revolutionary Guards colonel, president says - Reuters

Shale Drillers Are Pumping Out Dividends Instead of More Oil and Gas - The Wall Street Journal

Suspected Graves at Canada’s Indigenous Schools Prompt Search for Answers - The Wall Street Journal

From Sandy Hook to Buffalo: 10 years of failure on gun control - The Washington Post

Civilian killings soar as Russian mercenaries join fight in West Africa - The Washington Post

Fire engulfs Philippine ferry carrying over 100 people, killing 7 - The Washington Post

Opinion | Florida lawmakers, too busy with culture wars, missed an actual crisis - The Washington Post

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Split, the heat, and the cool pool


Jax In-between Games
Bowie, MD
May 21, 2022
On a hot Summer-like day it was time for a baseball doubleheader.

The Severn Seminoles 14U baseball team played two solid games in the 90 degree weather and split with the Bowie Bulldogs. Had the Seminole bats warmed up during the first game, it could easily have been won. 

The official high for the region, taken at BWI Airport was 91 degrees yesterday, but the "feels-like" was over 100 degrees due to the humidity. The team survived and played some great baseball because the dugout was covered and the boys were able to stay out of the sun when not on the field. The coaching staff, and parents, also encouraged everyone to drink water at every opportunity. I actually felt bad for the umpire, there was only one yesterday instead of the usual two, he was in the sun constantly for each game and he called consistent and fair games. 

Game 1
Bowie, MD
May 21, 2022

Game 2
Bowie, MD
May 21, 2022

Unlike major league baseball, we get to switch between home and away when playing a doubleheader. The success for the games was really on the shoulders of the pitchers who minimized walks and pitched out of some tough jams, but also on the entire team for hanging together in the heat and playing generally rock-solid baseball. Winning, or losing, is a team effort and everyone contributed yesterday. 

An injury suffered by a Bowie player that took time to resolve was the reason that the second game only went 6 innings (actually 5 1/2) since the home team (Seminoles) was ahead as time expired. Fortunately, indications are that the Bowie player will be OK, but he had to leave the game. Baseball injury time is not added to the time limit, unlike soccer. 

The picture of Jax between games really shows the hard part of playing a doubleheader. His uniform is dirty from sliding back into base, he is hot, and yet he was the starting pitcher for the second game. He posted a solid line: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 14 BF, 49 P - 27 S. I can also write that in English: 3 innings pitched, 2 runs allowed, 0 earned runs charged, 2 walks, 2 strike outs, 14 batters faced, 49 pitches thrown - 27 of those were strikes.

As for the pool--I was hot after the game. I consumed a great amount of cold water during the drive home, which fortunately was not excessive. But, when I got home to the "ready for Summer" pool, I admit to falling into it to fully cool off from the heat. Even though the 70-something degree water was a bit of a shock when I first dove it, it really did the trick and returned both my body temperature and mind-set to the proper temperature. 

Who says a pool needs to be 80 degrees to be enjoyed. Oh wait, that was me! I am corrected.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Doubleheader Saturday


Sumner arrived almost exactly a month early yesterday. 

I looked at my watch just after 3 PM yesterday and the reported temperature in Elkridge was 90 degrees! I was outside and loving it! Officially, the actual high was only 89 degrees, but the heat of the day was sufficient to raise the pool water temperature 5 degrees. It is now 70 degrees and should climb even more today. I am seeing projection for the expected high of between 93-95 degrees!

My plan for the day? Coaching a baseball doubleheader! Yup! In the heat. We will be monitoring the boys carefully and are planning to bring home two wins! I am more excited about playing in the heat than I was about playing baseball in 30 degree temperatures. The ball should be flying today because our boys can really hit. 

And the good thing? After the game I can come home and fall into my pool to refresh from the heat and dust! Maybe that is the part that excites me most. 

BTW, the official first day of Summer is June 21st, but with Memorial Day next weekend and the heat continuing today and tomorrow before a respite it feels like my favorite month of the year: July!

Play Ball!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 20, 2022


I like to repair things. Fortunately, I usually understand when something is beyond my ability as was the case with an outdoors faucet repair.

Hole in the Wall
Elkridge, MD
May 20, 2022
Hooking up the water for the pool house and the house after the winter, the main outdoors faucet was not functioning properly. It was not leaking when off, but when I turned the water on the faucet leaked along the stem and out the handle. This is a fairly simple fix that I have done before on other outdoor faucets--but, this one was different. It was a ProFlo faucet and although I followed the YouTube instructions, the leak would not stop. Unlike non-frost free faucets, I could not take the innards out to repair it.

New Faucet
Elkridge, MD
May 20, 2022
This very faucet had been replaced about 5 or 6 years ago. I was disappointed that the ProFlo faucet did not last, but I was also aware that this repair required a professional because I had watched the previous repair. In the end the repair required soldering, pipe cutting, and about three hours of work by a professional plumber to replace the faucet.

All is good now, well, except for the hole in my wall that I need to fix. I have purchased a cover that will hide the hole nicely and when painted will be almost invisible. There actually was a smaller existing hole and cover, but I decided that since, for the second time, the hole needed to be enlarged to effect the repair that I would just put a larger cover on the problem instead of repairing the bottom portion of the hole to fit the existing cover which only provided access to the turn-off valve.. 

Not that I'm just covering over the problem, the problem was resolved.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Finally Out on my Bike

I finally got out on my bike again. I have not been riding too much since returning to Maryland due to the weather and life's busy schedule. Similarly, I have not one yet managed to visit a golf course to embarrass myself with how miserable my game has become. 

My ride was Monday as the weather was nice. I rode out in advance of expected storms, which did not happen--much like many of the dire weather forecasts that we have had in the area. I knew the expected storms were over an hour away and I was planning a 40 minute ride. 

In the end it was just over 8 miles and 39 minutes. The problem with this area is the hills. Riding the hills is tough. My app recorded over 500 feet of elevation change. While coasting and riding down the hills is exhilarating. going up can be a slog. I did manage to exceed 29 mph on the downslopes twice during the ride, but slowed to only 6 mph nearing the tops of some of the hills. The ride has almost no flat riding. I miss Florida for that. It seems almost everywhere I ride in Florida is relatively flat, with the exception of crossing the drawbridges which more resembles the hills here in Maryland. 

Hopefully, I will get out again soon. The weather is going to be in the 90s for the next three days. Yay! But, there is rain in the forecast.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Preparing for the Summer


Freshly Open Pool after Initial Vacuum
Elkridge, MD
May 17, 2022
Happy Hump Day!

In what should be the last pool opening in Elkridge, Chris and I enjoyed 80 degree temperatures and Pool Opening Day 2022 was one of the smoothest in recent memory. 

The day began with a trip to our local pool store to purchase chemicals and supplies. OMG, what a shock! Literally, chlorine is $4 a pound--up from $2.25 just a year ago. And when buying 50 pounds that makes a difference. All of the other chemicals and additives likewise have experienced a radical price increase. 

Under the cover, the pool was clear with only some debris that had blown into the water to remove. The algae bloom that we suffered with during the past few years was not present and only 12 pounds of chlorine shock seem to have brought everything into near balance. I still need to adjust the alkalinity and hardness a bit--but chemical wise, the pool is swimmable. Yes I am still doing the obligatory after the winter cleaning and need to brush the sides and vacuum again, but wow--the new pool cover I bought last season really seemed to do the job. 

Gray Tree Frog
Elkridge, MD
May 17, 2022
Adding to the excitement of pool opening day was the visitor we had watching the activity: a gray tree frog. The frog perched on one of the galvanized fence pipes and spent the day in the sun. 

The frog remained all day and even after we concluded about 4PM to get ready for a baseball game. The frog did not seem to mind having us around and even posed for a picture. I hope to see it again today.

With the pool open and nearly swimmable all we really need are a few more days of warm/hot weather. It was the forecast 91 degrees for Saturday which spurred me into action. I did not want to miss that opportunity to get the pool up and operating in advance of the Memorial Day Weekend in two short weeks.  

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Scams and Sellers

It is no secret that Chris and I are downsizing and selling many of our possessions in advance of our permanent relocation to Florida. I have principally been using Facebook Marketplace and have generally been successful. 

Yesterday I experienced something new and sinister. Scammers! Two very different scams, one that I successfully defended against and one which I didn't understand and got scammed--but was able to quickly repair the damage with no loss of money.

Very quickly after I posted and antique on line for sale I received two quick offers. Of course I was ecstatic and that clouded my view. I have a bias that scams involve money, but I learned yesterday that there are other valuable things, like my phone number, that scammers desire to control.  

Both scams were running simultaneously using Facebook Messenger. The first scammer told me that they needed to verify that I was real and that sent me a verification code to send back to them. I totally missed that it was a Google verification code and it allowed them to disconnect my phone from my account and gave them control, briefly. The scam continued as we conversed about payment and they reported they could not verify my phone and did I have another number. At that point I began to suspect something and did not give them another number. The email from Google confirmed the scam by indicating my phone was no longer in my account. I quickly followed the instructions to regain control of my phone in my Google account and closed the scam. I reported it to the FTC and to Facebook.

While this was going on I was also managing another scam. The person was allegedly sending me payment for the item using Zelle. I checked out Zelle, which I did not have, and uploaded the app on my phone. I think this is where I was able to determine quickly that I was the victim of a scam. The scammer sent me an email, using an address that looked like it was coming form Zellepay, but upon inspection was from a gmail account, saying they had sent me the money. The scammer was trying to convince me that the money had been sent to my account, but that it was being held up because I needed to upgrade my account to a business account by having them send more money to the account, which I would then refund to them. Problem is, my Zelle account app showed nothing of this and did not register that any money had been sent. I had Chris call Zelle while I was online with the scammer to confirm the scam. Amazingly, the scammer contacted me via Messenger audio and was trying to convince me that it was all legit. I finally had to block the Messenger account. I reported a phishing attempt to Gmail. 

The old adage about "Buyer beware" is now definitely "Buyer and Seller Beware."

Scammers are out there, lurking to get something for nothing.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 16, 2022

Monday Musings - May 16, 2022


1. Happy Monday and greetings. Welcome to the third Monday of May! There are two Mondays remaining in May and 32 remaining in the year. 

2. Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins for another great season which ended last night with a game 7 overtime loss to the New York Rangers. The loss eliminates the Penguins from this year's Stanley Cup Finals. The Penguins held a commanding 3-1 lead in the series before getting swept the last three games to lose to the Rangers.

3. Rain! Yup, it is in the forecast for today. I wish we could readdress the rain and send it to the dry and parched regions of the country. 

4. Inflation. OK, so I am neither an economist nor a financial wizard, but I am concerned that the Federal Reserve (FED) is approaching the inflation crisis using outdated formulae. The current inflation crisis, unlike those of the past, is being fueled principally by outside forces: COVID, China lockdowns, Ukraine, and supply line disruptions. Our dependence upon the global economy, which is normally good, is underpinning the inflationary cycle. My view: instead of tightening the money supply to reduce demand, the Fed should provide inexpensive money to assist industry to research to overcome the problems. This should lead to greater U.S. economic independence and resilence. 

5. The Severn Seminoles 14U Baseball Team played a tournament in Delaware this weekend and posted a 1-1 record. Unfortunately the tournament was cut short by rain which thwarted their quest to win the Championship.

6. Don't miss the headlines that I have curated this morning. See below. 

7. Today in History. On May 16, 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out its first awards, at a dinner party for around 250 people held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.

The brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, head of the powerful MGM film studio, the Academy was organized in May 1927 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry. Its first president and the host of the May 1929 ceremony was the actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Unlike today, the winners of the first Oscars—as the coveted gold-plated statuettes later became known—were announced before the awards ceremony itself.

Ukrainian forces reach border near Kharkiv: 'We made it!' - CNN

China's harsh lockdowns could exacerbate population crisis - CNN

Kim Jong Un mobilizes North Korea's military in response to Covid-19 outbreak - CNN

McDonald’s to Exit From Russia After Three Decades - The Wall Street Journal

Buffalo Shooting Suspect Wrote in School About Wanting to Carry Out an Attack - The Wall Street Journal

America Leans on Aging Power Plants to Keep the Lights On - The Wall Street Journal

Ruling parties in Sweden, Finland back NATO membership in historic shifts - The Washington Post

Russian oligarchs loved luxe Sardinia. Now they’re frozen out of paradise. - The Washington Post

Suspected gunman allegedly inspired by racist theory underpinning global carnage - The Washington Post

Russia will not 'simply put up with' NATO's Nordic expansion - Reuters

Analysis: Neutral Switzerland leans closer to NATO in response to Russia - Reuters

China's economy skids as lockdowns hit factories, retailers - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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