Posts Tagged 'skylight'

My New Toy

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Memories of Key West

For several weeks I’d been seeing an advertisement on my FB stream. It was for a photo display device called “Skylight“. It was billed as the perfect Mothers’ Day gift, then as the perfect Fathers’ Day gift, and a graduation gift. You get the idea. One day I clicked through on the ad to see what it might be.

It appears to be the perfect gift for the technologically-impaired relative who doesn’t want to mess with computers, phones or tablets, and/or has poor eye-sight so that viewing photos of loved ones on a phone/tablet is not that clear. The part that caught MY attention, however, was that it holds around 8,000 photos. I have a LOT of photos. I always took a lot and once the phone cameras came into being, my picture taking increased exponentially. I thought why not give it a try, it’s a fairly reasonable price, it sounds easy and if I don’t like it I could give it away. I ordered it just before Fathers’ Day and ended up getting a discount on the price. Apparently so many people had ordered it that if I didn’t mind waiting a few extra days, they’d knock off $15. Sure, why not, right? It was for me. I’m not a father. *grin*

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Memories of Rockefeller Center

As is par for me, I did nothing with it for a few weeks. In the meantime, my niece had a baby. This is the first baby of that generation in our family, although I think she must be the 5th of that generation in my brother-in-law’s family. We all met the new addition and I thought that maybe I should just hand over the Skylight to my b-i-l’s mother (who is as a second mother to me – we’ve been mishpacha since before my sister married her son.)

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One of my favorite photographic subjects

I didn’t hand it over but I did finally set it up. (Okay – I know you’re reading this so I’ll confess – my friend set it up.) It took less than 15 minutes to turn it on, connect it to my wifi, and start sending photos. In a nutshell, the Skylight is meant for someone who is the recipient of other folks sending photos. Perfect for a great-grandma with a new baby where the distant parents are sending regular photo updates. Each device has its own email address, and anyone can email photos to that address, where they appear “magically” on the Skylight as long as it has internet connectivity. There are a few settings (how often does the photo stay up before the next one appears, show them chronologically in the order they arrived or randomly) but basically it’s as simple as someone sends you photos and you look at them.

I LOVE IT.

There is no USB connection. I thought at first I’d just hook up a USB cable and dump all my photos. Nope, you have to email them (again – think of the purpose – distant relatives sending regular updates of family members). This means I need to go through all my photos and attach the designated pictures to the email and send it to the device. I am having so much fun going through the photos, recalling things that I’d forgotten about completely, reliving happy memories. Photos of people and pets who are no longer with me, my son’s school events, family gatherings, excursions, office parties – they are all there and I’m reliving them all. After viewing a few folders of photos I find myself grinning ear to ear – so many happy smiling people! I have to smile back.

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Memory of major snowfall – over 2 ft

I loved it so much that I bought one for my other mother (see above *grin*). My sister set it up for her and now her children and grandchildren and I are all sending her photos from all places and ages. I’ve found so many good ones from the past. Every time I send one to her Skylight, I laugh and smile – it makes me feel so good to send her something that will make her happy. And it DOES make her happy – she loves hers, too. She knew about them because a friend has one. She says the friend no longer watches TV, she watches her Skylight. *laughing* It really is captivating. Last night I encountered a myriad of photos from my former office and coworkers. I started sending them out as well. I found the photos from a Passover seder where one of the guests turned 62. I sent those. IT FEELS SO GOOD to send happy memories to people.

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Memory of Cocoa Beach

I guess you could consider this an advertisement. That isn’t usually my “thing” – pushing products. But this particular ‘toy’ has given me such joy that I’m telling everyone about it. I love sorting through my photos, cropping and cleaning them, and sending them off to the Skylight. It’s sitting on a table in my living room at the moment. I’m not sure it will stay there because I don’t actually spend that much time there. I almost think I might move it into the kitchen where I can watch it.

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Memories of St. Croix USVI

I have no idea how many photos I’ve loaded. I’m actually working my way forward from 2 points in time: 2002 when I apparently began taking digital photos, and 2013, the first year I had on my laptop. I’d archived all the earlier photos onto removable drives. It has taken me several days to make it out of 2005. *grin* 2016 is also proving to need many days of curation. I’m not sure 8000 photos will suffice for me. I may need to get another one. Considering the joy it gives me – it’s well worth the price.

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Enough already – pay attention to ME!

Finally the Ceiling I Wanted

flat ceilingI can’t remember how long ago we did the addition on the house – maybe 28 years ago. As I’ve mentioned before, when I requested a skylight, it never occurred to me that it did not come with a slanted ceiling automatically. Instead I’ve had a shaft going up to the roof, letting in light and air (the window can be opened). It hasn’t been bad, or a problem, it was just not what I had envisioned. After we all agreed to slope the ceiling, it was almost a matter of minutes before all the extraneous boards were removed, and the proper supports to satisfy the engineer were installed. I wish I knew how to take photos that would convey the slope, but you will have to make do with what I have. As happened with the widened doorway, freeing the skylight from the shaft has already made a HUGE difference in the room, even with only rough boards. I now also have a beam that WILL be noticeable when all is finished, but I am already planning to hang flower baskets from the beam. That may NOT be a good idea unless I put in fake plants, because I tend to water my plants until it runs out the bottom, and I will also have a brand new floor under those plants. I’m open to suggestions because I’m fairly certain a beam like that is calling for something creative or funky.

I ask questions when the workmen are here, hoping to learn more about how things work, what other people do when renovating old houses. sloped ceilingI was pondering putting in a new electric skylight but we all agreed that making it a power window (and shade) would be adding one more potential headache. I’m not sure what to do about a shade up there. I have a suspicion that now the window is freed from the shaft, there may be a lot more heat than even I will like (I have a very high tolerance for hot weather). That is one of those things that can be addressed at a later time. Still on my list of “things I’d like to accomplish this year” is the replacement of all of the upstairs windows. I can think about the skylight at that time too. Also a new front door. I really want a new front door, too. 🙂 The window people usually do doors as well. Again – that’s something for the fall. I figure maybe October/November time frame to replace the windows. It would be nice to have more energy efficient windows come the cold weather.

I believe that I have mentioned my dislike for the knob & tube wiring in our house. The K&T struck again. We knew that the dining room chandelier was down the line from the kitchen K&T. skylight with high hatsThe electrician had come up with an ingenious solution for getting the dining room back online once we replaced the kitchen K&T. I’m going to spare you the photos and diagrams that would explain this, because – spoiler alert!! – we didn’t do that anyway. I’m sharing it so you can truly appreciate the nuances of replacing K&T. By the way, 3 knowledgeable folk have told me that K&T is SAFER than the current approach. I have NOT understood their explanations but they have all assured me this is so, and they are people who would know. The explanations for why insurance companies won’t insure homes with K&T make as little sense to me as do the explanations for why K&T is safer, but we do what needs to be done to get the permits from the township.

The plan was to take the new up-to-code wiring from the kitchen and run it up the wall to the ceiling, where it would hang a left and go into the breakfast room area. At THAT point it would hang a right and go outside the house, secured to the siding by tubing. I was told that there would be no problem with this if/when we replace the siding. Once the new wire was in line with the dining room chandelier, it would hang a right and head back into the house in the ceiling. They would take down the chandelier and hook it to the new wiring. If all went well, and if they had a clear sight line through the ceiling, they would even send the new wires straight through the ceiling to the sun room, where they would put the ceiling fan/light on the new wiring. You remember the new fan in the sun room, right? That’s what started all of this a year ago. 🙂

Well, the best laid plans and all of that. When they went to replace the K&T in the kitchen, they discovered that the hot wire and the neutral wire did NOT go in the same direction in the dining room. dining room ceiling PLEASE, do NOT ask me to explain what that means. The hot wire went up the wall, hung a left, went down to the switch in the dining room and then up to the chandelier. The neutral wire did not accompany the hot wire on this venture. No, apparently the neutral wire went straight across the dining room and somehow met up with the hot wire near or at the chandelier. In other words – we couldn’t redirect as planned because we wouldn’t have all of the parts available.

The electricians were very apologetic and sorry and, to be fair, as unhappy as I was, but for different reasons, I’m sure. They needed to cut open the dining room ceiling to figure out where the neutral wire was exactly. We discussed all the permutations and as long as they were cutting open the ceiling in the dining room, we agreed to take the new wiring all the way to the sun room and get that done properly as well. That meant a hole in the ceiling and wall of the sun room. This is where again, they know what they are talking about and I imagine something else. That happened in the breakfast room when they said they’d “open the ceiling” and I didn’t realize I was going to lose the whole ceiling and get to beams. That worked out well for me, however. I was imagining the same “rip it all the way open” approach in my dining room as well. Nothing like that. They marked out sections to cut, hoping that they’d hit gold in the first one or two sections.

sunroom ceilingThey covered everything in the dining room with plastic, hung a big plastic sheet between the dining room and the living room, and proceeded to cut away. As you can see in the pictures, the openings are NOT very large (well, not compared to what I was imagining). It just means more painting at the end of the job to get the dining room and sun room cleaned up. In the meantime, I am almost completely free of K&T on the first floor!!!! The front hall light (and I suspect therefore the front porch light) and a few wall sockets are the only K&T left on the first floor. I’m hoping that when we go to deal with them, it will be a non-event. I hope. Please.

So the good news is all of that got done. We had our rough electrical and plumbing inspections last week and passed. I love how we pass the electrical with the wires all hanging down in the basement. aliens in the basementJim and I do need to go down there for laundry, and some other supplies, and we’ll need to empty out all of the STUFF we have stored there for the congregational rummage sale. Yay – we can bring our donations now!!! But we will have to weave our way through the alien life forces that have emerged from the basement ceiling and have congregated around the foot of the stairs.

We’ve started Week #6 and we are making progress. The next thing to be done is to get past the building inspection. I think I understood that means that all the holes around the wires need to be fire-stopped (plugged with fire-retardant material). And I *think* we may get the insulation put in before that too. But our township seems to only inspect on Wednesdays so despite the fire-stopping being completed, I doubt much will happen for another week or more, since the next Wednesday is July 4th. I rather doubt any inspectors will be here on July 4th. But once we pass this point now we start ADDING things instead of REMOVING things. We get walls, then a floor, and then appliances, and then cabinets…. It’s really happening!
approvals


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